This week has been interesting. I’ll describe the main parts: first of all, I’ve finished all the stuff I need to do to become a Senior companion! This is exciting because not only will I have more control of what goes down in the area, I will be able to learn more about the missionary experience from other points of view. The list is as follows: read Pregar Meu Evangelho (in Português, obviously) front to cover, memorize a Lição da Expiação (a lesson about the Atonement of Christ - used to determine if people really want to be baptized or not), be able to teach the 1st (restoration), 2nd (the plan of salvation), 3rd (gospel of Jesus Christ), 4th (commandments - all of them), and 5th (post-baptism; laws and ordinances)(I practiced all of these lessons during companionship study with Elder Duarte and it , to be honest, stank like poo. It was hard, because he acted as basically the worst and most Satanic investigator of all time. BUT, now teaching the other investigators is easier), read Cartas do Presidente (a book of the emails the President Araújo sent last year; good stuff), review 100 scriptures of power (about each lesson and about missionary work), and review os padrões (the standards; all about a missão Brasil Curitiba).
While this stuff took a little bit of time and was fairly difficult, it was very possible and I´m gaining confidence and vocabulary daily in teaching and on the street. When we walk (which is to say about 50% of the time), we talk and talk and talk about everything under the sun. I try my best to talk only in Portuguese, but I´m also trying to help Elder Duarte learn Inglês so we talk in English too. This, along with being obedient, studying, not to mention the promised Gift of Tongues, has led to an amazing learning rate and depth.
So, that was the first big thing. Second, we had a baptism (Edson Costa)!!! He’s Cirlane´s husband (who was baptized 2 weeks ago) and he was thrilled and very ready to be baptized. He’s a very shy person, and because of his shyness he delayed his baptism a little because he thought he wasn’t "ready" (he thought that he would have had to give talks and say prayers in all the meetings, but we brought the Bishop to his house and the Bishop answered all of his questions just right. Woo!) Really, we are on a roll here. Baptizing every week not only is possible, it’s very possible!! All you have to do is your best - no more, no less - and you will witness miracles happening daily. For example: I’m sure that I’ve already shared about Irmã Daysi - easily the best member missionary I’ve ever seen - and how many people we’ve baptized because of her. Just this week, we will baptize at least 2 people (David and Guilherme), and maybe 3 (Anderson). It really is contagious - the ward is in a frenzied state of baptizing! The last baptismal meeting we had looked like a sacrament meeting with all the people there. I can only hope (and work and work) that this will continue to happen and won´t stop after we leave. One thing I´ve learned: there are many, MANY types of missionaries.
I’d like to share one experience I had this week:
I was on a split with another LD from our zone to do some interviews (and for Elder Duarte in their area), and it started great. This Elder is American and has about a year in the mission. It started to feel strange, however, after a little while - he only wanted to talk in English, he was talking badly about my companion and other Elders, and it just didn’t seem like I was a missionary. I did not like that feeling at all, and though I feel that we worked and were being good, I didn’t like that feeling. I started to wonder why - we were working, walking, etc. Why should we feel so different? I then realized the answer: the ATTITUDE is the deciding factor here, and in any aspect of our lives in general. Every day, I get up at 6:30 and say to myself, "this will be an awesome day to invite people to be baptized". I say a prayer, make my bed, wash face, and do my exercises. After, I take a shower, eat something for breakfast (usually something very small like cookies and milk) and get ready. Usually this doesn’t take too terribly long, and I’m ready to go by the end. Obeying the missionary schedule is NOT hard, but there are many, MANY Elders who feel like they really don’t have to do everything perfectly right. Maybe just this one time. Just a few minutes over. Just for tonight - not any more. That’s not how the mission works, and that’s not how our life works! We have the privilege to be here in the mission field and serve the Lord with 100% of our time. It is almost baffling to me how many people don’t want to do their very best - why not? We’re here, aren’t we? We were called by a living prophet of God to be literally servants of Him, right? Why not do our very best?
It really isn’t hard to do our very best, just takes diligence and a constant reminder. Ask yourself - could I have done that any better? If the answer is no, then you´re doing your best. If the answer is yes, find out how you can develop the ability to make that your best. After your best is achieved, don´t stop there! In the mission there are TONS of Elders who just decide to learn the minimum Portuguese that they can and sneak through to the end, with heavy American accents and having not have fully been immersed in the culture. I plan on doing just that! Why be here and waste time? Why not baptize every week!?! LET`S DO IT!! I love you all so much - we have 3 or maybe 4 people who will be baptized for this week! This last week I baptized my 10th person here in Curitiba! Remember that the worth of souls is great in the sight of God (D&C 18:10,15-16. Read it!). We are working, baptizing, and having a right dandy time, y´hear?
Grood. Elder Brown PhD, Missão Brasil Curitiba, Santa Felicidade