October 19, 2015, Leiria, Portugal
Hey Mom and Dad!
Thanks for your most-recent letter. It’s always so nice to hear what’s going on back home. Good news for all, especially Amy, I JUST GOT MY EASTER PACKAGE!!! So, they found it stuffed somewhere in the office Elders’ car. It was obviously put there to be transported, but never made it out. Thanks Amy for the sweet tie and cute pictures of Parker. I’m sure he’s already a lot bigger than he was when those pictures were taken 6 months ago 😉
Elder M turned 20 this week and we had an awesome birthday party with a recent convert from Cape Verde and some of her really cool friends, also from Cabe verde, as well as the Sisters. It was just a blast. She made ‘cachupa’ which is a traditional stew-like meal from Cape Verde. It was very good and quite heavy actually. We all could hardly move after!
I’m district leader now, of Leiria and Figueira da Foz. The Sisters are now in a tripla (group of 3), which means there are 7 missionaries in our district; one of the bigger districts for sure. It’s an adventure having the Zone Leaders always asking me for numbers and such again. It’s lots of fun, haha!
This week went well, we were able to get a couple of investigators to church. One of them is a nice enough guy and likes us but is super addicted to just about everything. He doesn’t currently have the desire to change, which is the most important thing to drop addictions and get converted. We’ll see what we, with the help of the Lord, can do with him.
During personal study this morning I was reading in Ether. In Chapter 6 there is a very simple principle that I’d like to share with you:
4 ….and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God.
5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.
7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.
8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.
9 And they did sing praises unto the Lord….
10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither whale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.
11 And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water.
12 And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them.
So, I noted this morning that it was the Lord that caused the great winds to blow the little boats of the people of Jared. This wind served two purposes. One, was obvious, to help them eventually reach the promised land, but the other one was to test and try them. I’m sure that at times some of the people in the tight little boats became fearful as they sat in their dish-like boats being thrashed to and fro by the waves caused by this wind. The same wind that would drive them forth and bury them in the deep and caused monstrous waves to rise against them, was the SAME wind the Lord used to help them arrive safely in the promised land.
We NEED to realize that God uses trials and difficulties to help us become better than we can become alone, and ultimately to direct us back to him. As we put our trust in him and keep his commandments he will mold us to be his people and his servants. He will guide us with his power and keep us safe from the buffetings of the adversary. I know this is true.
I hope you all have a wonderfully special week!