Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16, 2013 Teaching and Testimony

2nd Christmas on the mission coming up...that´s pretty crazy when I stop and think about it. Last year I was still in my first transfer in the field, now I´m finishing up my 10th. Time is definitely very strange.

And it continues to fly by in Castelo! For the first time in a while we had a little bit of a slower week as far as the work goes, but every once in a while that´s necessary and I´m grateful for it. It was, as always, full of its small miracles. We´ve been teaching a 20 year-old named Matheus for the past 4 weeks and we´ve had some pretty cool experiences with him as a companionship. He and Elder Elswick get along really well which makes me happy because it´s helping him a lot in his adjustments to Brazil. I really feel like Matheus and I would be college bros if we ran into each other at BYU. Our lessons with him always seem to flow super well, he´s our age, and because of the real friendship the three of us have we´re able to be completely direct with him. Our biggest difficulty with Matheus is getting him to Church. He´s reading, praying, knows the Church is true and has born his testimony several times to us, but every weekend he drives an hour and a half to visit his girlfriend in a different city, complicating his visit to church a little bit. This Tuesday when we sat down and started talking he opened up the conversation with, "yeah guys, I´ve gotta say, church is looking like a plan B for this weekend." We read some scriptures but when I saw he still wasn´t changing his mind I said something like this:
"Alright Matheus, stand up."
"Now?" 
"Yeah. What do you want to happen after this life? Where do you want to end up?"
"With God, like everyone else."
"Perfect. Me too. I want you to imagine God and his kingdom are in the kitchen, okay?"
"Okay."
"So, you´re facing the kitchen. I´m going to stand next to you because I want the same thing you do." Then I turned his shoulders a fraction of an inch away from the kitchen entryway and said we were both going to walk 10 steps. "Did you make it to the kitchen?"
"No."
"Why not?"
"Because my angle was off at the start."
"Funny how that works isn´t it? We were side by side, basically facing the same place with the same goal, but you wound up half a wall away."

I remembered a talk from Deacon´s Quorum that Brother Flint, our supervisor shared with us. I think it was by Elder Hale (don´t quote me on that), about the decade of decision. We talked about how he probably didn´t see the impact of not going to church just for one week would have down the road. How these next few weeks and months and years are going to determine the course he sets for the rest of his life and eternity. Then we shared President Uchtdorf´s airplane story about the danger of a few degrees. I could tell it sank in, and when we invited him to church he said he´d think about it. But I could tell, he really was going to think about it. We stopped by to visit him on Friday and he said he still hadn´t made the decision. I called him Saturday night and he said he´d be there. Sunday rolled around and both him and his girlfriend Jessica showed up! It made my day. Beyond that, we noticed after Priesthood and Relief Society that Jessica was crying pretty hard. She told us that it was the first time in years she´d been to any church, and that during the lesson she heard exactly what she needed to. We took advantage of the situation and gave them a tour of the chapel and stopped by the font and talked about the Spirit and about baptism. I´m positive lots of steps were taken in the progress of the two of them. Matheus told Elder Elswick that we were right in having insisted that he go because he liked  it so much. So, again, I find my testimony stronger still that this really is God´s church. There´s really no way around it. I´m super excited to see how Matheus responds and how readily he´ll be able to progress towards baptism. A white Christmas would be awesome.

Daniel continues to amaze me. He has 240 talks prepared on every subject imaginable just in case Bishop decides to ask him to speak. He was confirmed Sunday and we visited him during the week with our Elder´s Quorum President and he walked out of Daniel´s apartment amazed, and undoubtedly excited about what he´ll do for the quorum and for the ward. Ricardo and Sheila are on the lunch calendar now, and we ate with them Saturday :) They did a Brazilian style barbecue (which just about killed Elder Elswick he ate so much) and invited over about half the ward. I´ve been blessed to get to know some really special people here in Castelo. That´s what´s carrying me through the difficulties that once in a while spring up.

I hope you all have a fantabulous Christmas in 9 days!! I´m not sure if I´ll be able to get an email off because our time will be spent emailing our families ( :D ) but we´ll see what President decides. Love you!!

Elder Sears


Oh yes, almost forgot (not sure how...), but tomorrow the whole mission is going to the temple!!!! I am beyond excited. The last time I got to go was March so I have some refreshing to do.

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