This past week was awesome! It was a little different than most, just like last week was!
On Tuesday, we had a P-Day with the entire mission. We all met up in the Botanical Gardens in São Paulo. The day was full of a bunch of field-day type events involving all the zones, a big lunch, and a talent show. It was fun to get together with everyone to be able to talk with some of the missionaries that I already knew, as well as get to know some of the others that I had yet to meet.
The day of the Mission P-Day, we left the park around 5:30 and went to a nearby hospital. I had an ingrown toenail and needed to get it cut out. It was hurting every time I bumped into something, as well as bleeding and secreting a bit of pus so I thought it was time to get it looked at! We went to the hospital by the Mission Office and they weren’t able to resolve anything. We got out late, and ended up sleeping at the secretaries’ house rather than travel home late. It was cool to get to spend some time with them a bit, and try out the new pizza place they found! We woke up early the next morning to get home and back to our routine.
On Thursday morning, we went to a hospital in our area for me to see a doctor that I had heard was good with ingrown toenails. He ended up cutting out a nice slice of my nail that same day (after applying a local anesthetic). As we left there just after lunch my toe started throbbing. He told me that the first day would be rough and that after that I would be fine. We went home and I took some pain meds and rested for a few hours before we went back out to work that night.
This week we had a cool lesson with the man named Guimarães that we’re teaching. He had a problem with smoking, so we made “chá de fumo” for him. It’s essentially a tea made from the tobacco leaves from a few cigarettes. It’s absolutely revolting, but helps those who smoke to not have the desire to do so any more. Guimarães said the next day that just the thought of smoking make him nauseous! He’s progressing really well, and should be baptized in another week or two!
This week we baptized Ana Karoline (Carol) and Lívia. Carol is the sister of the girl we baptized last week, Grazieli. Her mom stood up during the baptismal meeting and declared that she would be baptized if we could get her 17 year-old son to go to church for two weeks. Needless to say, we’re planning on baptizing the two of them in a few short weeks! Lívia is the daughter of two members that went inactive for a time. We’re working together with her family to help get them back in shape!
Today is transfer day! I will remain in my current area (Yay!) and my companion, Elder Capello, will be transferred. He’s been designated as the new Assistant to the President. He’s an awesome Elder and will do a wonderful job! My new companion will be Elder Foote, who, until today, was one of the district leaders in our zone. He’ll be my first American companion! I’m excited to see what these next few weeks will hold.
A few weeks ago a decision was made that my return date would be changed. I’ll now be returning home on July 3rd, to arrive in Florida on July 4th! I’ll be accompanied by Elder Watson who’s from South Carolina. I’m both excited and sad. I’m ready for the next stage of my life to begin, but at the same time I’m not quite yet ready to let go of this one. I love missionary work, and the changes that it has wrought on my life, and the lives of those whom I’ve been privileged to teach.
My mom asked me today, “what are the three biggest things that you’ve learned on your mission?” My response was:
Repentance is not something that is negative in any way, shape, or form, but rather something that is extremely positive and should be an important part of our lives. Before my mission I often imagined repentance as something humiliating, embarassing, or unimaginably hard. But it’s not! The Lord delights in our repentance. He loves us, and desires that we become more like Him. To do so, we must pass through the same situations that He Himself passed through at some point in His existence. We must be tried and tested so that we can become better and more experienced. Repentance is the only manner by which we can truly become Godly. I’ve learned that Christ’s Atonement is sufficient for all of us. There is no “point of no return”. He will always accept us if we present a broken heart and contrite spirit unto Him. As much as I’ve learned about the Atonement and Jesus Christ, I’ve also learned about the Enemy. After the Heavenly Counsel in which Lucifer presented his plan unto God and was rejected, he rebeled against God and took 1/3 of all the heavenly hosts with him. When they left the presence of God they didn’t pass through the Veil of Forgetfulness like we did. They came straight here. Since the very moment in which man stepped foot on planet earth Satan and his minions have been doing everything they can to ruin our progress and make us “miserable like unto [themselves]”. They know us since we were in our pre-mortal state, have been here with us since we were born, and have always been paying attention to our every move so that they can know better how to mess us up. The evil force that is against righteousness is very real, and very powerful. I think that we forget that at times, and forget how really important it is. We must recognize Satan and his power, and then do everything that we can to build up our shields and battle armor to be prepared when the moment comes to fight against him, be it something big or small. I’ve learned how to recognize the presence of the Spirit and how to seek for that presence constantly. I can tell the difference between the moments in which he is with me and those in which he is not. I’ve learned that keeping the commandments and searching to do my best at doing so brings the spiritual power necessary to do all that Heavenly Father has asked of me.
I’m so grateful for this Gospel, and for my Savior Jesus Christ. I’m proud to be His representative at this point in my life. This mission experience is changing my life completely, and I’ll be forever grateful for it. I love you all, and I thank you for all that you do to love and support me!
Élder Chapman Tew