Week 3- Trials and Fruits of Faith
Hello all! I'll try to keep my letters more brief and organize them into important stories and sections so you can get samples of the good stuff if that's all you want.
First a quick funny story. I take my dictionary everywhere. I like to look up really weird or funny phrases because it confuses our teachers when we say random stuff that they wouldn't expect us to. I wanted to say in Portuguese, to Brother Beck, "Can I tickle my companion?" I think I said, "Con Licenca Irmao Beck, agrado meu companhero?" He gave me a puzzled look and told me to ask again. I repeated it and he freaked out sort of. He asked me what I was trying to say, so I told him in English. He laughed and told me that while "Agradar" technically is a verb for "to tickle", it also means, "to please", which is the much more common usage. Everyone busted up. Needless to say, I'm not using that verb anymore.
We're actually getting kicked out of the Residence Hall we're in. We were only given like one day of notice, and we have to pack up and move. We have to move out by 10:00am tomorrow and we don't even know where we're moving yet! I guess it gives real meaning to "I'll go where you want me to go." It does really stink though because I'm sicker than a sick dog and we have to pack up and move all our stuff. I don't know how we're going to move all the food we managed to hoard in our room.
So we have the craziest teaching schedule. First of all, we only really get 7 hours of sleep tops every night, since we have breakfast at 6:30 and such. It's kind of ridiculous. The 8 hours of sleep for a mission is a lie! It's okay though.
We also have the weirdest occurrences with who is teaching us. Our teachers have been Brother Beck and Brother Hansen, but we've had Brother Gessel, Brother Mummmey, and Brother Belchior for substitutes, and our new teachers are going to be Brother Smith (Eric Smith... hehheeh :) ), and Sister Hart.
Brother Belchior was the craziest teacher ever. It was awesome. He's from Mozambique, served a Spanish speaking mission, but speaks Portuguese and English too. He was very cool. He started his lesson teaching us how to look like we're studying, while actually sleeping. Hilarious. Then he asked me what he should do for his date that he had later that night. I gave him some good tips since I'm from Provo. It was a riot, yet he got really serious, invited us to repent of our fears and worries, etc.
He taught us some Portuguese grammar, and inspired us with stories about his Mission. I won't go into detail so that my Mom doesn't faint or anything, but he had some wild experiences. Honestly, the Lord watches over you. I've even heard General Authorities say that for every Missionary, they are assigned an angel to watch over and guide them. Miracles happen daily. I can't wait to get healthy and keep growing and learning. I'm actually pretty happy to be reassigned before heading to Brazil. It's a wonderful opportunity to serve "two missions". Or at least two different experiences.
Talk about a week of trials and testing of faith!
This past Thursday I sprained my right ankle playing Volleyball. I blocked their spike at the net, landed on it almost toe pointed, and my foot snapped backwards. I have to admit, that one was probably worse than the other two times I sprained my ankle. It hurt more, etc. etc. Anyway, I got treatment really quick and sent me away on those "good ol'" crutches.
It was really funny because Elder Christie in our District had been on crutches, and had turned in his crutches just an hour before I needed them, so I got his. Just thought we'd take turns.
The next morning I received a Priesthood blessing. Elder Clayson, who is now our new District Leader, annointed, and my companion, Elder Phipps, sealed it. It was a good blessing, and I want to testify to all of you that I've experienced many miracles this past week. I only injured it this past Thursday, and the swelling is almost entirely gone and I'm walking everywhere with a brace. A tender mercy would be an understatement. It's a miracle that it's healed so quickly, and I've been the recipient of a lot of love.
At the same time that my ankle was just getting to where I could walk on it, Sunday I started to feel sick. Considering how many shots I got before my mission, I think it's a cruel irony. Monday I woke up with a great Batman/Bane voice, but by the end of the night, I was dying. I seriously felt terrible. I was doing all I could just to stay conscious and I felt like my whole body was shutting down. In my mind I was thinking the usual good stuff like, "It'll help me to grow", "It's only a short time," "I can learn from this", etc. but it wasn't in my heart. In my heart I just wanted to give up. I was beaten up and ready to call it in. I'm not saying I necessarily wanted to just go home, because no matter where I was, I'd still be sick, but it was harder and harder to feel the spirit and I knew it was disastrous for my disposition.
That night, after our district prayer in the residence hall, I asked for a blessing, and I tried to get it from people who hadn't given them before. Elder Phipps annointed me and Elder Richards sealed it. It was Elder Richard's first time. I love him tons. He struggles with the language a lot, which is often kind of funny when I literally translate what he says, but despite whatever things he has a harder time with, he bears very powerful testimony, which always brings the spirit. We do a lot of role-playing together, and no matter how confusing his lessons, his testimony always made me want to commit to his invitations and be a better person. He gave me the most amazing blessing I think I've ever been given.
God promised me that I'd be able to get the rest I needed. I'd be able to feel the power of the priesthood and know of its true power. This experience would be an opportunity for growth and that it would be something that I can testify of. He promised a lot of things, but these are the highlights.
I want to bear witness of the power of the priesthood. I try to bear trials and afflictions with a smiley disposition, but this one kicked me down. I was depressed, grumpy, and the spirit wasn't as near as I need it to be. I was geting thrashed. After this blessing, I'd say my symptoms were at least cut in half. What stood out most of all was how happy I felt. I was healed spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. God didn't abandon me, but it is only until after a trial of your faith that you receive your witness. I know this is true. I'm not saying I was fully healed. I still feel terrible, but my testimony has grown from this and I'm humbled that God's been able to bless me with this experience.
This Church is true. We take it for granted, but it's the most beautiful thing throughout all of the eternities. God loves all of His children and wants us to succeed. The power of a Mission call should never be underestimated. The sheer fact of being called entails so much. God wants you to succeed as a Missionary. He wants you to learn the language and how to teach. He blesses us with unique power to testify and teach our fellow brethren. Even men such as Institute teachers, etc. who know the gospel better than we probably do, don't have the authority to teach in a way that we can. It's amazing. D&C 4:3 says (from memory so maybe not perfect), "Therefore, if ye have a desire to serve ye are called to the work." It's true. I bear witness of the power of the Priesthood, the gifts of the spirit, the authenticity and fore-ordination of Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith is a prophet and Thomas S. Monson is our modern day prophet. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.