Saturday, December 6, 2008

June 24, 2008

Dear Family:

Sister Teixeira's parting words. From the door of her car. She was in the car when she stood up and called to me--in English, which she doesn't speak all that well--'Sister Todd! You are new, but you are great!'

So, I love Sister Teixeira. And President Teixeira. But mostly Sister Teixeira. I don't know why or how, but they both make me feel so loved. They've both told me that I'll be a great asset to the next Mission President. I hope I can handle the pressure. Our district had interviews with the President this week. Our last chance to meet with them before they leave the country. Before I had my interview I was thinking that I needed to tell Presidente Teixeira all about me and what I've been doing and how I've been doing so that he would know what to do with me in transfers and everything. But when I got in there he said he wanted to give me a blessing and asked if I had any questions or anything to report and all of the sudden I knew that I didn't need to tell him anything, because it's not him that decides. And so he just gave me an awesome blessing and said goodbye. And on Sunday I found out that I'm going to stay in Embaré with Sister Christensen. And probably stay here for the next transfer, too, because Sister Christensen goes home at the end of this transfer... and you gotta maintain some kind of consistancy.

So, about the people we are teaching.

Érika.She's began the discussions a while back, but when I came to the area, Sister de Jesus and I started teaching everything again because she wasn't really progressing, when it all finally clicked and she understood the purpose of the commandments and read the scriptures every day and wanted to get baptized! So she did.

Hamilton.He's a 50-year-old man and he's probably going to get baptized this week. Maybe. He was a Pesquisador Antigo (Old Investigator) which means that previous sisters had taught him... and stopped teaching him because he didn't progress. But they left a progress record and we stopped by to see if now was the time. We taught the 1st Discussion with the Restoration film, because he likes movies. He seemed really receptive. We left a Book of Mormon with him and scheduled the next visit. When we went back (this time with Sister Christensen) he returned the book of Mormon and said he didn't want it. Then 2 Sundays later he showed up in Church. And now we've taught him a few more times and he is just really excited to get baptized. He is a little inconsistent, so we're visiting him almost every day to make sure this is really what he wants.

Paulo and Lucas. Paulo is my new favorite. We just taught him for the first time last night. He wants to know everything. He wouldn't let us leave he kept asking so many questions. I really think he's going to progress. His brother is Lucas. He listened mostly, but he said he's going to read and pray, too. We've got some other people progressing, too.

I really want to see this area turn into a high-baptizing area. There are so many great people. The Stake President of the Santos Stake really wants the stake to grow. He wants to help us make a difference. And the entire stake has not been growing very much at all. But last transfers almost all the missionaries changed in the Stake and now everyone is staying. I think they're trying to change the attitude of the missionaries and the members in the stake. Get rid of the attitude that it's a low-baptizing area... Our ward had had 3 baptisms in the first 6 months of the year. We set our goal for 18 more by the end of the year. I really want to help this happen. But we need to teach more and teach better and work harder and do our part so the Lord can work the miracle. Even though I'm already really tired of the streets in our tiny area, it'll be really neat to see this change happen in the stake. If we can manage it.

Companionship Study: We studied about what exactly is Hell today. Mostly because we have to teach the Plan of Salvation to Paulo and Lucas the day after tomorrow and we know that they'll have lots of questions. And the thing that I didn't know how to explain about the Plan of Salvation is why does it talk about eternal damnation throughout the bible and book of mormon if there are only a few Sons of Perdition. So here's what we think now... I'd like to know what you guys think next week. If you're a really evil person who never repents of your sins this is what's going to happen to you. You go to Spirit Prison where you have a lot of chances to repent. Lots and lots. And while in Spirit Prison you are suffering for you own sins--damnation and suffering that is eternal in degree not eternal in duration (see bible dictionary Hell and D&C 19:6, which makes more sense in Portuguese than in English...não está escrito que não haverá fim para esse tormento, mas está escrito tormento infinito. it is not writing that there will not be an end to this torment, but it is written infinate torment.) And then you go to the Telestial Kingdom where you will not continue to suffer, but you will not be cleansed of your sins because you never repented, and so you can never be in the presence of God because no impure thing can abide in his presence. I think this might actually be accurate. I never thought of it this way before. It makes a lot more sense. We also read True to the Faith--Atonement. And the Atonement and Spirit World sections of Lesson 2 in Preach My Gospel. I feel really good about what we learned. Thought I'd share.

Gotta go.Love you!


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