Everything is going great down here. I really do absolutely love it more than I ever thought possible. These people are amazing. Same thing goes for the food. I’ve only gained 15 pounds as of right now but I lost some of that in my last area because it was the second largest in the mission and right next to the beach which meant nice and hot and plenty of walking. Our area was 22 miles long and it was just a little branch with about 60 people. But I don’t think I have ever grown so close to people so fast in my life. It’s so easy to really grow to love everyone here.
I love it my new area too. I’ve only been here two weeks but I’m the District Leader now and I love it so far. Doing a baptismal interview is the most spiritual thing ever.
Time has gone unbelievably fast so I’m just trying to soak up every single day and moment. Here close to Sao Paulo teaching is much easier than the areas by the beach. We teach solid 3-4 lessons per day but then at the same time there are a couple of days with zero lessons and street contacts are your only hope. Our mission is a low baptizing mission for Brazil. I have had four baptisms in 10 months on the mission but frankly if I don’t baptize a single other person in my mission I’ll be happy because I know I’m doing my part and numbers don’t matter. I left my old area after breaking the six plus months of no baptisms and we finally turned the place around. We had a family and three other people marked for baptism for the first Sunday after the transfer so I did the work but don’t get to witness the baptism. Definitely the worst part of the mission. But I have had tons of comps, eight including my companion in the LTM and well I have had a few little disputes with some of them but that’s part of living with a dude. I have had three areas and all of them have been pretty different, 100% sum, beach and half slum and half rich apartments. But I really have loved all of my areas and frankly all of the moments I have had on the mission. This is without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done but it also is without a doubt the most rewarding and amazing thing I have done as well. It wasn’t easy for Christ during his earthly ministry so how can it be easy for us (D&C 122:7-9).
You need two just things to be able to serve a mission; be converted to the Gospel and the church and be spiritually prepared. First off about conversion, a mission is mega hard! No one really understands that until it’s you getting denied, it’s you that Satan is attaching harder than ever and it’s your faith and your conversion that is being tried. As Elder Bednar said in conference, with just a testimony we can waiver, but if we are truly converted we constantly receive strength. That strength is definitely necessary on the mission, physically, mentally and most important, spiritually. True conversion is the foundation that you need to take you through the trails that you will certainly have. But conversion is not the event but a process. It’s a process that you need to work on but if you do your part, God always does his (D&C 82:10). We have his promise so use it! But we aren’t converted through dodge ball fights at the church, your girlfriend that takes you to church or the snack you get after Sunday school. Conversion comes through silent prayers to Heavenly Father, diligent study of the scriptures and really just strengthening your love and relationship with God and Christ. Also like Elder Bednar said, a lamp without oil is a testimony without conversion (see the Parable of the 10 virgins). Persistence and patience but once you are truly converted, and then comes spiritual preparedness. There is a video on lds.org by Elder Holland called ‘Staying within the Lines’ that explains the importance of spiritual preparedness a lot better that I can. If you are not 100% worthy of the Spirit there is no way you will be able to teach the way the Lord wants. This is His work not ours. There is one way the Lord wants this done; the right way, and if you are not worthy of the Spirit or not spiritually prepared there is no way for you to pull it off. Satan has had a lot more time at this than we have so if you cannot get the Spirit he sweeps in and does the work that he does so well…the little turd. I know it may sound like a lot but if you are willing to accept the help of the Lord he always gives it. Whether it is through Priesthood leaders, Bishops, parents or the scriptures take advantage of it all. We really are so amazingly blessed to have all the help and ease we do living in Bountiful Utah. I think literally every single Church member here in Brazil would give just about anything to have the things we do. Take advantage of it all, church Seminary, Institute, mission prep and all the dedicated leaders we have. Is the missions hard, YES, is it worth it, YES!!!! I would go through just about anything to have the joy of sharing the Gospel with others. I thought I was happy with my iphone, car, x-box, McDonalds down the street, and a great home but you really never know what happiness is until you see someone’s life change forever through your help. Your simple testimony has a greater impact on others than you or I ever imagined. I LOVE THE MISSION. I’ve only been out for 10 months and I’ve loved something so much. This mission is also a blast. My name tag gets me free food and presents like you wouldn’t believe. Trust me on this one, you’ll love the mission. It’s a lot of extremely hard work but it’s also a lot of fun. Yes you are allowed to have fun on your mission. I have never regretted my decision to serve the Lord for one second. You change others lives and end up changing yours as well.