I just read the great news about Campo football! How exciting. Congratulations Vince and everyone involved. That is so awesome to get to play in the Oakland Coliseum. I will be waiting with anticipation to hear the results next Monday. Awesome about getting co-MVP for the defense. You are great Vince! Keep working hard and always keep your eyes and head up.
We had a good week here in Tennessee. We made some good contacts with various individuals and will be returning this week to hopefully begin the teaching process. Last night we watched the Christmas devotional from the First Presidency. The comments were great and brought the true focus of Christmas into my heart. The video they showed from lds.org was also very powerful and I wish I could spend more time on the computer to watch those types of things. But seeing that depiction of the Savior's birth was very powerful. Sierra was able to watch that with us at the Carrolls house after they invited her at church. She has been doing really good lately and we are scheduled to have dinner with her and her mom next Sunday which will be great because her mom has not been too excited about her learning from us. Hopefully this will help. Jill, the other one we had consistently been teaching, is struggling with the pressures from her parents, and could certainly use your prayers. We have been trying to help the bishop out lately by going to the addresses of people who haven't been seen in a while and seeing if they are around. This has produced some of the good contacts I mentioned earlier. We have also continued our service efforts and can still feel the power of doing so.
I had the thought this morning of how my understanding of time is changing a bit. At times, when we are not busy and having to really think about what the best thing to do next would be, the minutes go by slow. But, when he have plans to teach, or visit people, or even better, serve others, the time goes quickly. This will certainly help the rest of life. Many times we comment on how ugly this life is, or how sad it can be. True. But when we forget ourselves in the service of others, we forget about that aspect of time to a large degree. And if we were able to perfect this, we would not be weighed down so much by the sadness of having time in front of us, but rather look forward to the Spirit we can invite to the lives of others by serving them and sharing the Spirit of Christ with them.
I got a great package from the Harries almost two weeks ago now and have a letter written to them, but the box got thrown away without having copied their address down. Could you please send that to me either in a letter or email so I can finally send that letter next week?
Last Monday we played a bunch of dodgeball and a little basketball with the other missionaries in our zone. It was fun. We had a big lunch together too. It's too bad we can't do that more often, but the areas we serve in are far enough apart to make it a bit of a pain to gather like that.
My mind was drawn to a verse in Philippians earlier this week that Bishop Sorenson shared with me about a year ago. Philippians 4:11. I can feel the attribute developing in me to find joy and contentment in whatever state I am in. This is most useful to me when I cannot control the situation, but am still able to find happiness in an undesirable setting. When we get a door slammed, or told where we are going for eternity (not heaven), I am still able to smile and trust in the Lord. Alma 38:5 has helped as well: "as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day". I do try to put in as much trust as possible, seeing as we have that great promise.
As far as getting to Brasil - I do not have any idea how long that will take. It could be another week or it could be a few more months. I approach everyday with a fire to accomplish as much as possible for the good and feel this is the right way to approach the situation. I do not want to miss any learning opportunities during this fine time I have to serve in Tennessee.
Thank you so much for the prayers and love that I can feel daily. The support I feel is a huge bonus to how I approach the days as well.
With love and charity,