I am now serving in the area of Moreira César, in the city of Caxias do Sul. This is the city that Br. Kent Williams opened up 50+ years ago. I am excited to learn about the people he wrote about in his letter to Elder Stevens and I. I have heard that the Bishop´s wife is one of the children of the original family baptized, but haven´t been able to confirm yet. I will hopefully find out this week. We will not have church this weekend due to the dedication of the temple in Manaus. The ward here has some very strong members. It is a completely different situation than that in Vera Cruz. However, there has only been one stake in this city since the Church arrived. Our area hasn´t had a baptism in quite some time, but there looks to be some changes to that coming soon.
My companion is Elder Richardson from Mesa, AZ. He has been on his mission since January. I don´t know how we are surviving other than the blessing of the Lord in regards to the gift of tongues. I marvel that in the span of the day of the transfer, upon arriving here, I have been able to understand just about everything that the people say now. My companion does not have strong language skills right now, so at times I feel like I talk way too much, but there is not much we can change about that right now. He has a tender heart and a genuine desire to help people. I hope to be used as an instrument in the Lord´s hands in many ways in this area. I will get the opportunity to do some work in other areas this transfer with divisions and helping other companionships. I am excited for the growth experiences which I feel coming my way.
One of the things I enjoyed reading in the scriptures again this week was in 2 Nephi 3:8. To be considered great in the eyes of the Lord, we simply need to do His work and nothing else. Of course this doesn´t mean we have to serve a full time mission to be great in His eyes. As we approach each day with an attitude of not only discovering His will for the day, but doing His will for that day, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, we will find ourselves feeling great in His eyes. This feeling can´t be purchased or received through convincing ourselves we have done our part, but rather through the confirmations and peace only available from the Holy Ghost. What an advantage it is as members of the Church of Jesus Christ that we have the gift of the Holy Ghost as our constant companion to help us recognize if we are truly being viewed as great in the eyes of God in every minute.
Winter has come in the area. I hear that they have promised snow sometime this week in the area. We will see... Our house is like a freezer. The sun never touches it, so that creates extra incentive to get out and work. I wish my mind and fingers would work faster together to update you on more details. Please know of my dedication to the Savior, the work I have committed to do, and of my gratitude to know that the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His authority to perform all saving ordinances really happened and that today, there is again a prophet on the earth. My heart burns and eyes fill as I testify of these truths day after day and reflect on the love our Heavenly Father has for each one of us.
With love and charity.