Hello Family and Friends!
General Conference was amazing! But I really missed seeing President Packer, Elder Scott, and Elder Perry sitting on the stand. These wonderful apostles have made an incredible impact on my life with their inspired words. Their messages of hope have helped me get past some difficult times in my life. I’m so grateful for everything they have done to move the work of the Lord forward on this earth. I will miss them dearly. But how wonderful it is that three new apostles have been called. Just by hearing their sweet testimonies on Sunday morning, I could feel they have been truly called by the Lord to fill the huge vacancies of the great leaders that proceded them. I look forward to getting to know them over the years and listening to their inspired words.
This last week we met some great people. Let me tell you about one man and his son. Elvis, who is 34 years old and a friend of Helena (who I taught and baptized), has become interested in the gospel. He is the father of Yuri, who we are also teaching. We recently taught Elvis for the first time this last week. He is divorced and feels a ton of regret that he is not the father that he should be to his son Yuri. Elvis expressed the desire to improve his life and be a great example to his son. He also expressed his doubts as to whether God really exists, but he has hope that he is really out there. But because of the bad experiences and horrible trials that he and his son have both had, he has lost much of his belief and faith. He knows that because of his lack of faith in God, he caused his son Yuri to also lose his faith in God. We taught a lesson of hope and faith to them and of the love that God has for each of them. Both of them promised to attend church on Sunday to watch General Conference and in the end both of them came! Elvis didn’t just watch one session of Conference, he even came back and watched another! He said that he loved watching Conference. I can see both of them regaining their faith in God as a result of what they felt while watching General Conference.
Impressions of Brazil:
- I have noticed that many of the pictures I see in homes have been edited to show fun or exotic backgrounds. For example, you’d see a really old family member in a picture with a background of Disneyland or the Tropics!
- People love to eat in really big bowls rather than use plates just so they can have enough space to put their food.
- Ice-cream is eaten year round. So for those of you who are ice-cream fanatics, you would love living in Brazil.
I loved the Conference talk given by Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer that spoke about not being afraid to proclaim the gospel to others in a clear and understandable way. He compared our testimonies to the sound of a trumpet: “If ever there was a time that the world needs disciples of Christ who can communicate the gospel message with clarity and from the heart, it is now. We need the clarion call of the trumpet.” When I was in middle school, I spent many hours practicing the trumpet. When the notes are played well, the sound is rich and loud. People listen to it. I remember countless stories of LDS friends who shared the gospel in their own way with their friends at school. One friend brought a Book of Mormon to school every day and read from it before class. This is such a simple way to show others who you are and what you believe. I had the great opportunity to proclaim the gospel in my own way in high school when I created the Mormon Club. I remember feeling really nervous about doing this, thinking that others would reject my friendship as a result, but I wanted to make a clear statement to the other youth that I am a Mormon and that I am proud of being one. I wanted to show the other youth at school that we are not perfect, but we follow Christ with all of our hearts and rely on his infinite mercy and strength to help us along the way back to our Heavenly Father. My challenge to all LDS youth is that they proclaim the gospel to everyone that they know, that they try their very best to be an example of a true disciple of Jesus Christ by keeping the commandments, and that they try every day to grow their testimonies. We are the light for others to follow. Don’t let the adversary pull you off the path of God. We need to share our testimonies so that others might have the blessings that we enjoy. Others are desperately needing what we have, even if they don’t realize they need it, deep down they are needing it. This work needs to move forward, and with your help, miracles can happen.
Amo vocês com todo o meu coração!