Monday, January 19, 2015

January 19, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

So here is week 19 or so and a lot of new transfers have commenced. Out here in Sobradinho life is interesting. I am still with my companion Elder Hernandez who is pretty chill and we got a new elder in the house who is leaving for home in 4 weeks for Miami because he is almost done. His name is Elder McEwan and he is a pretty chill elder!! So this week has not been really crazy and all is well. Waking up at 6:30 in the morning feels like I am getting up and going out to run with my team. But in a way time seems to be going by a little slow. I think it is because I am meeting so many elders that are going home in 4 to 5ish weeks. So this week also for us has been hard to teach. I feel so sad because all of our investigators are somewhat lazy and we are trying to find new ones and are trying to explore new ways to get investigators. Also this week I did a trade with my companion and I went over to Sobradinho 1 to go help a pair of elders over there that are opening the area again. These two elders don't know anyone there, they don't know where anything is and are in desperate need of investigators. So I went with one of the two and my comp went with the other and we tried to do as many contacts as possible. I encountered one person that it was so funny. He is Brazilian and when we found him we were using references from elders from 2008 and he told us that he didn´t want to trade religions and that he just wanted to know. He loved information. He was one of the nicest guys I have ever met and he gave us water and mango ice cream. It was such a cool encounter and I learned something so valuable from him . He is of one religion and he told us, yeah I don't want to change my religion but I am not going to build a barrier and not talk to you guys. I love talking and I want to know. I have respect for everyone and will not try and fight against another's opinion. He was one of the most humble people I have ever met that is of a different religion. We met a woman the other day, a crente, (envanglic) and she was so mad at us and acted like we were idiots. She said that we preach that Joseph Smith is greater than Jesus Christ. We tried to explain to her that is we did that the name of the church would be the Church of Joseph Smith BUT IT IS NOT!!!! She was so mad and she did not even want us to speak and kept telling us to read the Bible more. It is so hard when we are on the Lord's errand and people become so shut off to hear about the words in the Bible.

Many people think that we are here to force people to change their religions and that we don't accept any others. This is completely wrong. We are here to help people receive more faith in Jesus Christ and also to invite others to act on our invitations to ask God. I have learned one very powerful truth about this gospel: WE ARE MISSIONARIES BUT ALL OF US ARE HUMAN AND WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO LIE. THE IMPORTANT THING, IS THAT GOD IS ONE PERSON WE CAN ASK THAT WILL NEVER LIE TO US. That is why we always invite people to act and ask God with a sincere desire to know humility in their hearts to accept the answer they receive. And also that when we ask one time we may not receive an answer immediately but to have patience because the Lord has his own time line in which he does things. So when you ask be patient and do your part, search for the answer because a prayer is an invitation to God and a promise and an invite really that if we do our part to find the truth to follow him better that he will do his part. I testify of the power of this because in this life we have to do our part to follow Christ. He has given us the first step, the plan and also tools to help us follow but we have to do our part and act. I like the phrase that comes from the Bible and the Book of Mormon that says faith without works is dead, because when we do not act on our faith it is not faith at all.

So that is the week in a wrap and this week we have zone conference.

Elder Hoopes

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