Thursday, June 1, 2017

Humbled To Be In Teresina

Hi Everyone!

There are so many things to talk about! I am here in Teresina, and when I left Parnaiba, the lady at the grocery was crying and the man at the local watch shop showed up at the bus station. I could hardly remember who he was, but it was so sweet and I was laughing so hard. So many of the people from my branch and investigators came to see me off, and I gave each one of them "the talk" and told them that they better keep reading the Book of Mormon, praying and going to church. I realized when I was leaving that all I wanted was for them to keep progressing. I thought I would be really sad, but I was really so excited … Teresina has been awesome!

This week my mission president scheduled an opportunity for me to talk to a college English class about our culture in the United States, and what I am doing here. It was embarrassing, because they all just think that we eat fast food, and are really closed off. Well, “you’re welcome everyone”, because I corrected their thinking. It went well because everyone was paying so much attention … they were so star struck to finally meet an American and hear a real accent. I felt uncomfortable, haha. It was also so embarrassing because they all spoke better English than me and I looked like a fake! I was speaking English and Portuguese and I left with the biggest headache. After, I couldn’t believe what came out of my mouth to my companion. I said, “I miss Portuguese", haha, and I was only there for 2 hours. It was cool when I was talking about my purpose as a missionary, as they asked me what was different about our church. I went kind of blank, because I didn’t even know where to start … EVERYTHING. I looked at my companion, but she doesn’t speak a word of English. I talked to them about our latter day prophet, about revelation and about the plan of salvation. It was awesome to have this opportunity and, afterward, we passed out pamphlets and picked up references, and I am excited about them! We met a man the other day who told us it has always been his dream to be baptized. The Lord is preparing people for us here! There are so many less actives here too, that we are working with them a ton. One man, Irmao Batista, has been an alcoholic, but we found one of his friends and started teaching in his house. It has been so powerful, as he has stopped drinking and was back at church this past Sunday with his friend (our investigator)!

This week we were teaching a family about temples, and I realized that I miss the temple so much and am so grateful for them. Also, we were teaching a young couple with 7 kids! When we went there the first time, the mom was almost hysterical because of the problems in her family. She had just given the last bit of rice to her kids, and her baby had been crying all day from hunger. As missionaries, we can’t give money or anything, and so we went and talked to the mission leader in our ward. Our wonderful ward rounded up groceries, and when we delivered the food, I can’t express the feelings that were felt from everyone. The kids were jumping up and down and screaming about the new food. The mother was moved to tears. We taught them and every single one of those 7 kids sat perfectly, paying more attention than the adults about the stories of Jesus Christ. It was truly such a special experience for me, and I love being able to help restore hope in people. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking here, to see such poverty or to watch 10-year-olds smoking or using drugs; but it also helps me realize how much good I can do, and how much work I still need to do.

I was reading in the New Testament this week, and I was reading about the Last Supper. Jesus turns to the disciples and says that one of them will betray Him. One by one, they ask "is it I?", and it was so powerful to me, because they didn’t look around thinking or gossiping that "it was probably Judas or Peter”. Instead, they each reflected inward. I want to apply this to my life, because I know that only through personal self-evaluation can we truly grow and become more than we are. Too many times, the thought comes to me in church that this talk or that lesson is perfect for my investigator or that my companion needs to hear this. But in reality, I need it … I need to change. I am looking to be more humble, which is not a weakness, but in reality a sign of spiritual strength. I want my Savior to work wonders in me and in my life, and in the lives of those I have been called to teach. As I am humble and teachable, the Savior and the Spirit are able to teach me as I am teaching the people of Brazil!

“And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care”. (Doctrine & Covenants 12:8) This is my scripture … and it is right in front of my face every day at my desk!

Love you all,

Sister Vance

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