Sunday, February 8, 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015 - Mission Council Training and Application

Well hey yall!

So this week was pretty good. The first part of the week was obviously spent there in Manaus. P-day was pretty fun! I have made some pretty good friends going to MLC. There was group of 6 American Elders that stuck together during the whole time. Elder Robinson and Hammer, (the Elders in the zone just north of us), and then Elder Bateman and Stark, and with me and Elder Pothier.  I will attach some of the pictures I took. They are some pretty cool guys! Definately we will hang out after the mission! But we ended up planning basketball that day together, and then went out for Rodizo pizza again. It was a ot of fun!

Then we had the meeting on Tuesday. It was soooooo much longer this time! We started at like 8:30 and it went until like 6 at night! we had an hour and half for lunch but it was still so long. This training has so much to it. I felt like it was a little much. I think everyone left feeling a little confused at what the main focus was of the training, other than, our numbers are lower than they should be...But I still got a lot of it even though it was a little all over the place. These are some of the subjects that were talked about:

-review of our yearly goal, and our progress...we are behind on our goal already...came up with solutions.

-Doing contacts. President Castro played a video about the atonement (the bible video with part of a talk from Elder Holland) and then told us to all leave the chapel and by bringing the spirit that we felt during that video go and contact people in the street for 30 minutes. It was so cool we had almost 25 companionships leave that chapel say a prayer for help to find the people that are prepared, and we contacted a lot of people. It was so cool to just see everyone in the street talking to missionaries or had a BOM or pamphlet in their hand already! haha But Me and my companion came back with finding 3 families that said we could stop by and share the Restoration with them and their family. And together we all found 58 families (not just people, but a mother or father that has a family and is willing to have us back)  in 30 minutes! The point was to show how easy it can be to find 2 prepared families every day. This is the vision of President Castro, to find at least 2 families every day, so 15 families every week, and we will be able to baptize every week, and be baptizing families! That was my favorite part of training. And the Assistants sure got a lot of refferals in that 30 minutes for their area too. ahaha

-Family History: The area presidency of Brazil has a goal to help all the members get at least 4 generations of their petegree chart filled out in the year of 2015. Especially to help the recent converts and less actives (btw thanks Grandma and Grandpa Swally for that experience of Family history work with doing missionary work that you sent me a week or so ago. It is the same work!)...

- And also talked about obedience, and being examples to our zones.

Those are just some of the things that were talked about that were my focus, and what I will focus on with my companion for our training tomorrow to our zone. Our Elders from our zone are getting here today,...Cocoal got to our house last night, and then Vilhena Elders will get here tonight. But yeah, it should be good.

But a little bit about our work here our own area. Its been rough to start a new area, and then leave our area on a sunday because almost no one went to church. But this last half our week let us get back on our feet and start to really be able to follow up with our investigators, find more investigators, and this Sunday we got a women to come to church this week that has a date for next sunday. I am not totally sure if the date will hold. But I am praying for her. Its just so hard here....we have people here that believe that the Book of Mormon is true, and know what we teach, the commandments are true,...and are so grateful for it, and then they just dont act! Dont go to church or commit to be baptized, or trade churches. Its actually really frustrating! haha

But we have also been trying to do what President has asked us to do and find 2 families every day. And with  the exception of one day because of bad planning, we found 2 families every day! Some have turned out to be really cool, and others we have already dropped, but others we just knew we were an answer to someones prayer. I will end with telling this one story that happened t us the day after we got back from Manaus, Thursday:

     So we ended visiting some great families with a member but we had like 20 minutes left until 9 o'clock and we told the member to just drop us off in a neighborhood near our house, knowing we still lacked one more family to find. So we were totally tired and passed by a lot of places, people, and houses, and did feel anything...but I knew the Lord had someone prepared for us to talk to because we still hadnt found 2 families... So we just kept walking and tried to talk with some people but it didnt work out to well until we saw this lady (she looked like she was in her mid 20's but turns out just was 19 yrs old) sitting down on this cement curb and when I was ready to do a contact with her, I noticed that she looked like she had been I asked her if everything was okay. And she responded "No.." and started to cry again. we approached her and asked what was wrong. I had to pay really close attention to her because she was not just speaking Portuguese but it was just harder to understand as she was crying. But she explained to us her whole situation and how she was really scared because he husband beat her for the second time now. And now has threatened to kill her....because he is always druck and always smoking. We explained that we are representatives of Jesus Christ and that we were sent to tell her that she isnt alone, and that her Heavenly Father loves her so much. She then cried some more and said that she had been sitting there for an hour praying that God would send her a someone of Christ to help her. We then offered to say a pray to calm her down and explained that as we asked for guidence for what she should do that she would be able to receive a answer through the Holy Ghost. She really did calm down after the prayer that I got to offer, and then we proceeded to help her clear her thoughts and help her know where she thought she should at least stay the night. She said she didn't know what to do at first but then she said she felt comfortable staying with her sister in law. But she lived on the other side of the river so we called a brother that lived close by and asked him to help us out. She said it wasnt nessecary but we felt a lot better bringing her back to a safe home. We gave her a book o Mormon with our number if she needed our help. We wanted to come back and have a chance to teach her but her situation is really complicated and her husband would think something very different when 2 young men showed up to visit her. She knows our purpose, but her husband is pretty messed up and so we felt that it was probably good we didnt try to visit her. But wow, I will never forget this experience. I know Im not teaching her, and she was baptized or anything (yet....) but I do know that I did the Lords will, and I got to be an answer to someones prayer, as an instrument in God's hands! My companion explained this experience pretty well when he said, "Dude, we totally just kicked Satan's butt right there!" Aint dat da truth! haha

But yeah, I know I haven't baptized these last 2 weeks, but I really am trying to meet and talk with the people God wants me to. I know I need to keep up these contacts and I will find his elect people! There have to be so many more here. We only have 80 people coming to church but have more than 115,000 people living in this city of Ji-ParanĂ¡! There should be so many members here! There is so much potential here! I can't wait to return here when there is a stake or stakes here!

I know this work in not my work, but the Lord's and I am ever reminded of this grand truth each day! What an honor it is to be his servent, his representitive even with my weaknesses.

I sure love yall!

-Elder Swalberg