Monday, January 30, 2017

January 30th - Inspiration and Perspiration

Family and Friends,

Thanks once again for all the support back home! I´ll be able to get my release date to you this week Mom, so Dave can start to put in his papers. This week we have interviews, so I´ll ask President Hill. You guys had a pretty fun week, as it seems from the emails. Mom seems to really enjoy being a seminary teacher. And Dad seems to really not enjoy having a messed up knee, lol. Good times. 

This week we watched a transmission that was sent to all the missionaries in the world. They changed up our daily schedule, giving us greater flexibility to decide when we are going to plan, and they cut out a big number of the key indicators that we had to report at the end of each week. All in all, good changes for us. Especially because we, as leaders, have to get all of the numbers of our missionaries at the end of each week. As such, a smaller number of things to report makes our life quite a bit easy.

This week it stopped raining and the weather got hot again. Yay! I'm sweating up a storm once again. 

I don't have a whole lot to talk about this week, but I'd like to tell you a small story about inspiration. One day this week, it seemed like everything went wrong. All of our commitments fell through. All that we had planned to do during the day didn't work, and even our backup plans didn't work. Our investigators weren't home. One lady called and canceled the appointment. We tried to visit some less active members, they weren't home. We tried to visit some active members, they weren't home. We could have tried just talking with people on the road, but it was raining, so there wasn't anyone there. So we sat and prayed for inspiration. Then we waited. After 15 minutes, the inspiration came. My companion remembered an address that we had in our planner. We visited it. The man accepted us into his home, and accepted to be baptized on a specific date. The Lord took us to that man's home. The Lord will guide us when we need it.  

Have a great week.

One more chance to offer all I have!

Elder Murray

Monday, January 23, 2017

January 23rd - Welcome to the Colony

Family and Friends,

Once again I write to you from the depths of the interior of São Paulo. This week though, it´s from a new place! It´s called Colônia, and it is part of the Jundiaí stake. This area has some pretty big hills too, but really nothing compares with Itatiba. I've got a lot of new stuff to talk about, so I´ll start with the area. We've got a pretty big ward here (~120 active members) and we are part of a stake with six wards. This stake hits half of the city of Jundiaí and some of the surrounding cities. As such, I´m in a big city this time, so it's much easier to find clothes that fit me and cooler stuff. The price is also better here. Our zone is also much closer, and we can do cool things, like play soccer on P-day.  I'm really quite excited to work here.

My new companion is Elder Larkins. He´s my first American companion that I've had. He´s from Georgia, and he´s been out exactly as long as I have. He´s pretty happy that the Atlanta Falcons are going to the Super Bowl. He´s doing Insanity, a really tough workout program, and I can't really keep up. Together we are the two Zone Leaders here.

As a Zone Leader I have to go to leadership meetings once a month, and I have to in general take care of and serve the other missionaries here in our stake. It means that we spend a lot of time on the phone on Sundays getting everybody else´s numbers. We also have to know what´s going on with the missionaries, what are their personal needs, etc. It´s a cool opportunity to help others.

As for a story about following promptings of the Spirit, I remember when I was teaching a guy back in Barão Geraldo. We were trying to help him overcome some problems with commandments, and I felt inspired to say the phrase "If you want to see miracles in your life, you have to pay the price". In our next lesson he told us that he had been thinking a lot about that phrase and that he wanted to see miracles, so he would pay the price of being baptized. The Spirit talked through me that day, and he was baptized that week. I know the Lord guides our work, and he helps us each day.

Have a great week!

One more chance to offer all I have!

Elder Murray

Monday, January 16, 2017

January 6th - C-c-c-c-COMBO BREAKER!

Family and Friends,

As you may have guessed from the title, my time it Itatiba has come to an end! No more hills after today! I have always stayed 3 transfers in the area, so I was bunkering down for six more weeks of winter (figuratively, Brazil doesn't have winter) here in Itatiba, when yesterday afternoon I received a surprise call from our President. I will be leaving Itatiba and I will become a Zone Leader! I don't know where yet, I'll find out Tuesday, but I am really excited for the opportunity. The hills have been real good for body weight and conditioning, but they've been real bad for my knees, so I won't be too sad to see them leave. 

We had a rather traumatic experience in a contact this week, when we were knocking doors and a really, really, really old lady came out. She looked like a zombie. We tried to talk with her, but she didn't understand anything and began to complain about pain! Then her care-taker showed up and explained to us that she was really old (durr), and that she can't answer the door. The old lady then hit us with the bomb, "I feel pain all the time! I just want to die! Pray for me!" We were a little shocked, but we prayed for her. Good thing we know about the Plan of Salvation. The mission ain't all fun and games.

We had a great talk in sacrament meeting this week from a member of the stake high council. He told us the story of a great warrior. As this warrior was tired of losing battles, he went and found a wise monk and asked for help. The monk gave him a box with two sides, one side to open when he loses, and the other to open when he wins. The warrior, happy and motivated, went and fought a battle. He lost. He then opened the box and found a small piece of paper. It said "Don't give up, this won't last forever". He then went and fought another battle and lost again. He read the paper once again, and it hadn't changed. "Don´t give up, this won't last forever". Then he went and fought again. This time he won! He opened the winner's box this time, and found another small paper. This one said "Don't give up, this ALSO won't last forever". We can never give up! What determines our success in life is our attitude! Have a great week!

One more chance to offer all I have.

Elder Murray

Monday, January 9, 2017

January 9th - Hills and Contacts and a Week Without a P-Day

Family and Friends,

After a slightly longer hiatus than usual, I am back! This week we didn't have any PDay because of the proliferation of PDays during the holidays, and let me tell you all, I missed talking to you guys. 8 days working without a break is a pretty long time too. You gain some special powers on the mission though, such as the ability to work for a really long continuous time and not feel the difference. Another power I seem to have gained is lack of taste. In general the food is good here in Brazil, but for that rare occasion when the lunch is real bad, I don't really feel the taste any more. I can eat just about anything. And in a country where they really like liver, animal joints, and extremely fatty food, that's a pretty big blessing of the missionary mantle. I also don't notice when things are too salty or too sugary. Another side benefit. 

This week we have been trying hard to hit our mission´s goal to speak with 300 people on the road per companionship, each week. But every time we planned a couple of hours to talk with people on the road, something stopped us. One day, we talked with a guy for 2.5 hours. He had about 1000 questions, and we ended up explaining every one of the 13 articles of faith in detail to him, we explained the nature of every member of the Godhead, and we talked for a good amount of time about Joseph Smith. I had to cite almost every scripture that I knew from the Bible, and we managed to make the guy really reflect in the end. He didn't come to church on Sunday though. He doesn't know what he´s missing out on. 

Another day that we tried to make contacts on the road, a recent convert called us up asking for urgent help with a move. They were going from one house to another and because of the man's hurt arm, they really needed our help. We did the move with white shirts and ties on, because we didn't have time to change our clothes, but we were able to get the whole move done. 

We´re trying to get some activities started up in our ward here, and free classes is something that everyone loves! My companion has started to teach piano, and we will be finding professors to help me teach English too!

Transfers are coming up next week. I don't know if I'll be moving or if I'll be staying here in Itatiba with it's many, many hills. We'll find out next time!

One more chance to offer all I have!

Elder Murray