Monday, August 18, 2014

Year 1 Reflections

To my great surprise, I am staying yet another transfer in Campo Limpo with Sister Barboza.  There are still people to find, lessons to learn, and people to baptize.  We are excited!

As we were walking along the street one day, we passed a man smoking in his doorway.  We started to talk to him and he immediately opened up to us and told us he had lost everything because of his alcoholism.  Since then, he hasn't drank (drunk? eu não falo inglês) in over a week!  

It is weird.  Most of our investigators are alcoholics.  I'm not sure how we find these people, but I am happy to help them.  They are the ones who need it the most.  I may leave Sacrament meeting smelling like cigarettes every Sunday from sitting next to them, but it is worth it.  The gospel changes lives and can cure us emotionally and spiritually!  (Jacob 2:8)

Oh, and this week I hit my ONE YEAR MARK!  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

A year ago today I started out on this unknown adventure, having no clue what to expect.  And this week I had the oppurtunity to think and reflect over this past year.

As I reflected, I thought of the story of this rich young man in Matthew 19...

The rich young man was a follower of Christ who one day asked Jesus what he needed to do to get to heaven.  Jesus told him to keep the commandments.  The young man told Christ he had always kept them.  And then he asked a question that changed everything;

"what lack I yet?"    

He was a good man who followed Christ's teachings, but wanted to know what else was necessary, how else he could be better.  

So Christ told him..

"If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions."

Things could have been so different for this young man.  He could have been an apostle, could have spent all his days at the Savior's side, he could have written a book in the Bible.  But he chose not to follow the Lord's call.  

As I sat there thinking about this amazing year of my life, I asked the same question.  

What lack I yet?  What do I need to do and to change to reach my full potential?  To have a more full capacity to follow Christ and be the missionary He wants me to be?  

I surely have a lot of work to do and a lot to change.  But I am willing to give my all to Him.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

bons momentos

A True Brazilian

This week I recieved the biggest compliment anyone has ever given me on the mission.  (besides that one time a drunk guy told me I looked like the princess Kate Middleton).  And the compliment giver was my very own President Del Guerso.  

He told me that I had become a true Brazilian. 

Not because I have mastered the Portuguese language.  Not because I have adapted exceptionally to the culture.  

But because I got assaulted... again.

And President, in his good humor, declared me an official native.  I feel honored.  I will spare the details and simply say that we are okay, and the bandits must have been sorely dissapointed when they opened my bag to find nothing but a Bible and a Book of Mormon.  Maybe they will have a change of heart. ;)

I have learned that when difficulties come, it does no good to ask "why did this happen?"  But rather to ask, "What does God want me to learn from this?"

And when we ask God and ourselves this question, we can learn and grow a great deal.  As the men drove off, I was left once again on a street in São Paulo with nothing to my name, but a few pass along cards in my hand.  And what came to my mind in that moment was a scripture.

 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)   
I felt completely calm, knowing that things and stuff and possessions don't last very long and don't mean a whole lot.  What is important cannot be taken away from us.  
And this week our friend Carol laid up for herself a treasure in heaven.  She followed Christ's very example and was baptized.  There is nothing happier!
com amor,
Sister Burch