I have a really hard time believing that it’s already almost the middle of June. It’s amazing how fast the time passes. Here we work in 6 week transfer cycles. In the beginning, it felt like the time was crawling past. Now it feels like it’s slipping through my fingers like water. I think that the difference is that now I’m not thinking about the time anymore. I’m totally consumed by what I’m doing so I don’t have time to think about anything else.
Last week, we started teaching a woman named Regina. We met her in the street and set up an appointment to stop by and talk to her at her house. A couple of days later when we were looking for her house we kind of had some difficulty finding where it was. When we finally found it, we were in the middle of one of the worst favelas in our area. She lives there with two granddaughters and her son. The first time we went to teach her, we hadn’t formally planned anything that we were going to say. Shortly after we said a prayer to start the lesson, it was my turn to talk. I had no clue what I was going to say, so I asked Heavenly Father for guidance. Over the next few minutes, I began to talk about a whole bunch of different things – who we are, why we were there in her house, what our message had to offer, etc. Then, I started talking about how we were going to help her to stop smoking and help her have an eternal family. It was kind of a brush over of everything we ever teach anyone. When I finished one sentence, I had no clue what the next words that were going to come out of my mouth would be. But, then they would just come. I felt the Spirit very strongly during that lesson. I knew that what was coming out of my mouth had nothing to do with me, but everything to do with Heavenly Father’s will in that particular moment. The Spirit guided me to say things that helped us learn a lot more about her and her family. By the time we finished the lesson, we could tell that she was really contemplating what we had taught her and that she wanted to hear more. So I guess we’ll see where it goes!
This week was pretty exciting. These past two days, we had one of the Area Seventies come in to do a Mission Tour. Over the two days he talked to all of the missionaries in the mission in two separate meetings that we had. The first part of the week I spent planning the meeting and the second part of the week at the actual meetings. At the end of the second day, I was totally spent. I didn’t have any energy left. Besides listening to the teachings and counsels of Elder Fortunato, I had to make sure all of the other activities went smoothly too. I guess it’s all part of the experience!
Elder Fortunato taught us a lot. I’m grateful for the opportunity that we had to listen to his teachings. He talked a lot about obedience and working with all of our “heart, might, mind and strength”. He talked a lot about not giving up these two years for nothing, but working hard so that we could receive all the blessings that are promised to us for our work.
After the second day’s conference, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by him. He talked to me about where I was from, how long I’d been on my mission, and how I felt about being a missionary. We conversed a little and he gave me some advice on what I could do to be better. He promised me some blessings as a result of my obedience and service. I left feeling very spiritually edified. I’m very grateful to have had that opportunity!
My testimony is being strengthened day by day. The scriptures say, “I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (2N 28:30). I feel like Heavenly Father is giving to me the knowledge that I need exactly when I need it so that I can strengthen my testimony “here a little and there a little”. I feel myself being changed into a completely different person than I was before I became a missionary. I feel like I’m being changed into a person that will be better prepared to serve in the future. I’ll be better prepared to start a life of my own, to study, and to work. On a mission we’re required to totally give up our will and do what it is the Lord would have us do during this time. To be completely honest, that’s really a lot to ask. But the reward is much greater than what is required.
I know that the Gospel is true. I know that the things that Heavenly Father asks us to do are for our own good, even though we don’t always see it as being that way. I know that the Book of Mormon was written by inspired prophets just as the Bible was. I know that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that our families can be eternal because of the ordinances that we take part of in the temple. I’m grateful to have been born and raised in the one and only completely true Church of Jesus Christ. Although I haven’t lived a perfect life, I know that through Christ I can become clean and be worthy to enter into the presence of the Father at the end of this life. I strive to do better each and every day. I still have a long way to go to be prepared, but I know that one day I can become like Christ and live forever in a glorified state with my eternal family.
Being a missionary is a privilege. I’m honored to be able to take my place in the Lord’s Army. I may not be the best soldier, but I’m working hard to help win the war.
Amo vocês com todo meu coração,
Elder Chapman Tew