One more week has come and gone! We’ve continued working hard and are continually seeing more and more results from it. We’ve met several people this week that are interested in the message we have to share.
Paulo and Daniela are a young couple that went to church with one of the ward members two weeks ago. We’ve only taught them a couple of times due to Daniela’s work schedule, but the visits we’ve had have been wonderful. This past Thursday we taught about the Word of Wisdom. Of the two, Daniela was the only one with any issues. She’s been drinking coffee daily since her childhood, but committed to stop drinking it. We got word from Paulo on Saturday that she’s stopped, and is having some severe headaches from the lack of caffeine. However, she’s pushing through! I admire her desire to change and be obedient to the commandments, especially considering how recently she began to learn about the Gospel.
This past Saturday we spent the whole morning doing a service project at Paulo’s house, who is an AWESOME member of the ward who helps us out constantly. He’s the only member in his family, and we’ve just started teaching his nephew, Antônio. They have several shallow ponds that they were using to breed fish until they flooded and lost everything. Since then they’ve become really overgrown, so he invited us to help clean them out. We got a lot of work done, and were really able to bond with him and his family a little bit better. That was the first time my poor white legs and neck had seen the light of day in quite some time! I forgot to wear sunscreen (I know, Mom. I will next time) and suffered because of that for a couple days. I’ve now got a myriad of different shades of skin on my various appendages!
Last week I had an interesting experience while on the train going to a doctor’s appointment for my companion. I was reading the February issue of The Liahona while on the way to Vila Olímpia and suddenly was overcame with an intense feeling of the Holy Spirit. I felt His warm embrace, and a confirmation of the things that I was reading. I was reminded of the Youth Theme from a few years ago: “Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.” (D&C 87:8) I now have a testimony that we’re all capable of feeling the Spirit regardless of where we may be, even in a busy and packed public transportation train at rush hour.
This week I got caught up a little bit in thinking about my imperfections. I had been thinking about my life, the things I had done, and all the progress that I have made towards becoming better. Elder Macedo had asked me to explain a scripture in Ether to him, and after reading it a couple of times in Portuguese I decided to pick up my English scriptures to try and get a different perspective on the wording. When I opened up to the page, I was met by a scripture that I had marked up before that reads:
“Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.” (Ether 3:2)
The scripture was accompanied by a note that says: “The Brother of Jared, one of the greatest prophets of all time.” I thought about how he must’ve felt as he was asking the Lord for help. Even he, being an exemplary spiritual warrior, felt like he wasn’t good enough to be asking the Lord for things. I compared my own situation to his. While I am not now nor have ever previously been a saintly figure, I know that I’m worthy of calling upon my Father in Heaven so that I “may receive according to (my) desires” as long as I’ve done all that I can to repent and become better. I’m very grateful for my Savior and His Atonement. I testify of our ability to become clean through His grace. I know that He is waiting with open arms to receive all those who will receive Him. I invite all to take the necessary steps to become clean and worthy to “stand uprightly before God”. True repentance requires a broken heart and a contrite spirit, accompanied by the profound desire to change and become better. Forgiveness is available to all of us through Christ’s Grace. None of us are excluded from that offer. If we are, then it is because we have chosen to exclude ourselves. Our exaultation will not be handed to us on a silver platter, but will remain within our reach if we but search for it with all of our heart, might, mind and strength.
I testify of the truthfullness of these things, in the name of Jesus Christ, whom I represent, Amen.
Élder Chapman Tew