July 20, 2015 Funchal, Madeira
Your motor mount fix sounds like quite the project. I can see myself buying some cheap beater car when I get home that’s gonna need a fair amount of work. So the projects won’t ever end, haha! Fill me in on your further projects!!!
I actually gave a talk yesterday as well, but mine wasn’t in Sacrament meeting, but in our baptismal service!!! Finally we got L_ baptized!!! It was so hard!!! He was super excited during the whole week and he kept telling us, “This Sunday, I’m going to get baptized.” On Sunday our church starts at 9:30 and at 8:15 he called us and told us he was waiting at the church. We rushed over there and had to entertain him a little until church started. Before church ended, he tried to leave 2 different times because he was so nervous but we were able to console him and coax him back into the church. I know it sounds like he didn’t want to get baptized but he really did!!! In the past he was Jehovah’s Witness and so he understands the Bible very well and the covenant of baptism. He, unlike many who are baptized I think, truly understood that baptism is very sacred ordinance, and should be taken seriously. Finally, he got changed and we started the baptismal service. A fair amount of members stayed to support him, which was great. I talked about baptism and how baptism not only takes away sins but also shows God that we are humble and willing to keep his commandments (2 Nephi 31). Also, in 3 Nephi 11, Christ explains very directly and clearly that baptism is a big part of his doctrine, and those who sincerely repent and are baptized and endure to the end will inherit the kingdom of God. I felt like it went well, but the best part was to see L_ sitting down there in white looking up to me so intently. After the baptism he was just so happy. He knew he had done God’s will and he was free from sin. Truly the church of Jesus Christ brings joy. Every single doctrine, if followed with exactness, brings us happiness–baptism, honesty, love, hope, tithing, families, priesthood, sacrament, Sunday meetings, home teaching, family night, family prayer and scripture study, self-sufficiency, service, and others. It was so difficult to quell L_’s fears, but afterwards the cake that the other Elders made seemed so much sweeter. Thanks for all your prayers for L_!
So, obviously nothing is as interesting as a baptism, but here are a couple other funny things from the week:
On Saturday we had an awesome branch activity. There was a spiritual part, but after that it was just really, really, really good food! The best thing was actually tuna! But, it wasn’t like tuna like we’re used to in the states. I came into the kitchen and looked in this big pan and there was a massive fish as big as my thigh boiling in it! After it was boiled they took it out and separated it by hand into smaller chunks and put it in 2 bowls with some of the boiling water, tons of vinegar, raw onions, parsley, and maybe something else. They just left it in there for people to pick out and put on sandwiches! It sounds really lame but it was actually sooooo good! It wasn’t fishy in the slightest; it could have been chicken or something better! There was also potatoes, steak, salad, chips, juice and other stuff there. I ate soooooo much!!!
The beginning of this week was difficult for me. It was hard to find some motivation and love for the work. Among other things, this passage really helped me when I needed it most: Alma 26:27-31
“27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
28 And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.
29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.
30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.
31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.”
So, I got your other little email about BYUI from last week this week. So, I’m still feeling pretty good about BYUI. I’ll have to reapply, but I figure I should just be able to use mostly the same stuff from last time.
Thank you all sooooo much! I love you all!
Love, Elder Zwahlen