So my American Express got revoked. It's ok though, they sent me a Visa instead. Hahaha!
Really though, they told me about two hours ago that I got my visa to Brazil. I GOT MY VISA. I leave on the 26th of April. I think I'm in a bit of shock really. I don't know what to do with myself. President called to tell me and I was just like..."are you serious..?" They are indeed quite serious. I don't know whether to shout for joy or be inconsolably devastated. So I'm kind of choosing both. This place is home to me now. I've been here so long. I finally know how everything is supposed to go, I GET it, I'm hitting a stride... But away I go, departing into the land southward. It's a change. So I'm going to hum a few bars of "I'll go where you want me to go.." and be on my merry way. I'm reeling a bit. Wish me luck in learning Portuguese. I don't know whether they're sending me back to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) or not or how it will work. You now know about as much as I do about it. I guess I'll send some stuff home, too? I don't know, but I think I have everything that I need. Testimony and all.
This week was pretty good. I don't know what I was thinking of writing about before, but I guess this would be a good point to reflect and think of change. There's just no way to describe a mission. No way to encapsulate the day-to-day and week-to-week and month-to-month. It can't be understood except if you've DONE it. Ya' know? It's the MTC and the joy and excitement and nervousness and the mission field with the door, and the testimony, and the tears, and the pictures, and the work, and the physical change you see in yourself, the shift in the way you see EVERYTHING around you. It's the brain structure shift, the motivation shift, the way you are and want to be. It's that moment of silence when an inspired question hangs in the air, the victory when you FIND them (those seeking God who are waiting for you to teach them), the Spirit, the pain, and the time spent waiting. Waiting. "They said they would come. They promised. They promised"... these humble seekers of truth say as they wait for us to find them and share Christ's gospel with them. It's all the heartbreak and the joy rolled into one. And you can't describe it and if you could, you wouldn't have time.
Oh, if I could just have my time here on tape and play it over and over and over again. But I can't. And that's ok. Life's good, ya' know?
There are consistent concerns that come up when people are introduced to the church, and I hear rumblings of concerns in the world about inequality, and whether God has a body and blah blah blah blah blah.
This is what I like to tell people when they present these concerns. IT DOESN'T MATTER. Got it? Look at the Book of Mormon. Look at it. Joseph Smith was quite simply a prophet or a fraud. This book is either the word of God or a hoax. It was either written with the help of God or the devil, and it's your job to find out which one it is and then act accordingly.
Now believe me, I've heard your concern before. Yes, I know that it says that at the end of Revelations. I'm aware of that issue of blacks and the priesthood. Yes, I've heard that Joseph Smith was arrested for that. I've also heard that Christ was arrested for blasphemy and executed for sedition, I know that Matthew 20 makes the authorization of every worthy male to hold the priesthood a fulfillment of parabolic prophecy, and Revelation was written in seclusion and I'll gladly walk you through the biblical history that explains those verses if you have the time for it.
However, all that pales in comparison with the fact that the Book of Mormon is the very word of God, that it draws you nearer to Christ and that you can receive the same witness that the Book of Mormon is true by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the ordained way for God to speak to man on this Earth. I have heard that voice and those whisperings and I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Priesthood keys reside with the presiding brethren today. In simplified terms, I know the Book of Mormon is true and that this is the true church of God upon the earth because God told me so, and He has promised to tell you so as well if you will heed his advice to open your heart and open your ears. He who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
I know it. I know it. I know it. More assuredly at the moment than I know I'm going to Brazil in the near future. And you really can, too. If you will read and ask sincerely.
Now I just need to translate that into Portuguese, haha. It's so easy to get caught up on the little things. Missing the forest for the trees is a chronic issue of our age. The trees are the concerns, the forest is the Book of Mormon, and the world is what the Spirit has to say about it all. How can you NOT at least check it out? Our claim is that Christ has given His children the gospel again, that there's one truth on the Earth and that this is it, that your family will be together forever if you just SEEK it in the right place, that you don't have to wait to find out what happens after this life!! Don't you see?!? Cut down the tree and look at the forest and use it to help you hear about the world!
Let's have another quick moment here. Everyone...you gotta read your scriptures. Every day. You really do. It's not advice, it's a commandment from God. And it is such because it sharpens the voice of the Spirit every single day so that you can hear it. And you have to be IN the scriptures every day. You know whether you're really doing it because the Spirit will tell you if you're not doing it right. Faith means prioritizing your life according to the way God wants it. And as we heard in General Conference, it's time to let our faith show!!
I'm so proud of all of you. I love you all and can't believe how much support you give me. Into the land southward I go. What a ride it will be. :)
Carry on and let's all have a great week. Cause, ya' know, we're on a team that's really great.