May 9, 2016 Matosinhos
Hey Mom and Dad!
It was wonderful to Skype you guys yesterday! I hope Mom had a wonderful mother’s day and that all of the kids called in. Did you get some good chocolate from the ward or from dad? Time during the Skype call passed so fast!!!
This week was honestly just more of the same. Right after the Skype call, Elder P and I went on a mini division to teach a Brazilian guy named W_. Elder S had taught him, but we had never successfully marked any appointment with him since I’ve been here. So, since neither Elder P nor I had taught him before, we asked him a lot of questions about what he believed and what he had learned from the missionaries. He ended up teaching us pretty much all of the Plan of Salvation, most of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then told us the whole Joseph Smith story and ended by saying that he didn’t believe the Book of Mormon could be true. He already knows sooooo much! So, we spent the rest of lesson explaining and testifying about the Book of Mormon. We had a conversation about how we know something is true, like the Bible, for example. In the church, we focus a lot on having a testimony through the Spirit. That’s one part of it. The other, as we discussed with W_, is understanding the history, the evidence, the “how” to it all. He’s said that the Book of Mormon can’t be proved true, because we don’t have the original manuscripts, or plates. I asked him where the original manuscripts of the bible were; nobody really knows. The Bible was copied by hand through generations, paper to paper. Some old manuscripts do exist, but even those are just copies of copies. The thing is, I feel that to have a really strong testimony of the Book of Mormon, a person must understand some of the history and the background, but testimony comes from reading the book, pondering about it while really wanting to know if it’s true, and then praying and expecting with faith an answer from God. That is how one can gain a testimony.
Recently, I’ve been reading the Book of Mormon A LOT, because I want to finish it in Portuguese before the end of my mission and I’m slightly behind schedule, haha. I explained to W_ with more excitement and assurity than I think I ever have before, that the Book of Mormon is true. I told him the story of Lehi’s family, how they left, and how Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon, just as historical facts confirm. I told him how they lived in America, created great civilizations, were visited by the Savior, and were witnesses of his post-resurrection ministry. I felt that because I have been reading the Book of Mormon more, my desire to share its message has increased.
We marked for him 3 Nephi 8 and one more because he really likes to read. Hopefully, he’ll start reading again and will pray sincerely to gain a testimony. W_ is also a programmer, which is possibly something I might want to do, so we talked TONS about that too.