Thursday, June 19, 2014

To the Chief Musician, a Psalm of David

My jewels,
I happened upon this treasure during personal study this week.  Psalm 40:
 waited patiently for the Lordand he inclined unto me, andheard my cry.
 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miryclay, and set my feet upon rockand established my goings.
 And he hath put new song in my mouth, even praise unto ourGod: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
 Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, andrespecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
 Many, Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thouhast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot bereckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak ofthem, they are more than can be numbered.
 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desiremine ears hast thouopened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
 Then said I, Lo, come: in the volume of the book it is written ofme,
 delight to do thy willmy God: yea, thy law is within myheart.
 have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, Ihave not refrained my lips, Lordthou knowest.
 10 have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; havedeclared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: have not concealedthy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.
 11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, Lordlet thylovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.
 12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mineiniquities have taken hold upon me, so that am not able to lookup; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heartfaileth me.
 13 Be pleased, Lordto deliver me: Lordmake haste to helpme.
 14 Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek aftermy soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put toshame that wish me evil.
 15 Let them be desolate for reward of their shame that say untome, Aha, aha.
 16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let suchas love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified.
 17 But am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thouart my help and my deliverer; make no tarryingmy God.
Isn't that just lovely? Oh, family, how I wish you could have lived this week with me!  It was so beautiful.  So many miracles, with investigators and within my own heart.  

Our mission is doing a 40-day-fast thing.  One of the things I committed to do was to actually keep the rule about only speaking Portuguese when we are in the street or in public.  This was previously a mission rule that I have kept only 90%, and I felt that I needed to make that last little sacrifice and consecrate the last 10%.  It has felt really good to know that I am truly living this precept, and since I started doing this (3 weeks ago), I have had several people tell me, "wow, your Portuguese is good!".  The other week someone asked me, "Are you Portuguese?"  (YES!!!  I had only said like 2 words to him, and once I said more he was like, oh, yeah, you're not, but I will take what I can get!  I can say at least two words in a truly Portuguese accent!!)  Anyway, I feel like there is a correlation here.  I have been blessed as I have tried to be more consecrated.  The Lord is good.

I have been studying my personal theme of the transfer: "exact obedience, great faith, filled with love". I found a scripture that I LOVE that has to do with obedience. John 8:29: "And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him." We can only have the presence of our Father with us when we are doing the things that please Him. I desire to "do always the things that please Him". It gave new light and purpose to my 40-day fast. I am seeing myself grow and change.  It's grand.

I also read an inspiring talk, sent to me by Sister Giberson, called "The Fourth Missionary", given by a mission president named Lawrence E. Corbridge. It reminded me to not just do all the things we are supposed to do (and all the things on my 40 day fast list), but do them BECAUSE I WANT TO SERVE THE LORD. It was such a relief to remember that I am here not out of duty, but because I love the Lord, want to serve Him, and want to be changed by Him to become like Him. Since I realized that (during comp study on Thursday morning, when I had a nice little cathartic breakdown), everything has changed. The things I do, I suppose, are about the same, but HOW I FEEL is completely different. I am way way happier than I have been in the last few weeks. Inner complaining and self-pity have vanished and turned into gratitude. We have seen miracles. I am so so grateful.

Okay, investigators:

Irene. She had been marked for baptism for the 14th, but it didn't go through. This week we passed by and did service for her -- cleaned her house and sang hymns for her. Then, on Sunday, the Bishop visited her with a rapaz, Ricardo, from our ward. (Ricardo has been teaching her with us and she gets along great with him.) We couldn't visit with them, because our Sunday afternoon was booked with important compromissos. So they went alone, and it turns out the Lord has a specific purpose for that: they marked her for baptism this Saturday!! Talk about AMAZING ward leadership!! We had earlier that day had a correlation meeting in which the Bishop proposed a joint fast of all the ward missionaries and full time missionaries that we can baptize people in June. During the same meeting he gave us a LONG list of potential investigators who are family members of people in the ward. We are SO grateful and excited! This ward is INCREDIBLE.

Fabrice.  He has the most cool factor of pretty much any person in existence, becuase he totally doesn't try to.  He's 20, from Cameroon, speaks French (but it's african french, which means it is completely unpretentious and calming and beautiful.  every time he reads scriptures out loud from Le Livre de Mormon I just about die of how awesome it is.), plays soccer here for a team in Leca (the elder's area), and is simply, deeply good.  He has no desire to "do bad".  We invited him to be baptized on the 21 but he said that day won't work, when is the next day I could be baptized?  So we are planning for the 28th.  But we want to have a support system for him here (he doesn't speak Portuguese) so we're going to try to ...... baptize all his friends!  Will you pray for his friend, who is named Imma Mimba (!).  We still haven't met him.

Elisabete and her daughters ALMOST came to church yesterday.  Bummer.  

Lidia still hasn't come either. :(  But it was her husband, Sergio, who thinks maybe Jesus was an alien, Wayne.  He's a cool dude.  

Dalila (another radsauce name) and Cristina and Fernanda are women we contacted with Angela at the ward proselyting activity a couple weeks ago.  I thought they had 0 potential (where is my faith!??), so when we knocked on Dalila's door the next week for our return appointment I was not surprised when no one answered.  So we called her up and she was like, "I am almost there!  The others are coming too!", and before we know it we are sitting in her living room with the three of them and Dalila's daugher, having one of the best first lessons ever.  Did I already tell you this story?  Anyway, they didn't come to church :( but they had a good excuse.  We passed the house of Fernanda yesteday and met her husband, who, by chance, has already been reading the BOM.  Supes de cool!!  I think there are miracles to come in this thread of the tapestry. :)

I just got a GREAT email from Sister Rad talking about awesome miracles in Evora!  They baptized a rad guy who is best friends now with Antonio Jr.  Marina is going to EFY!  Sonia is giving them references.   Ana is loving the BOM and her testimony is strong.  Manuel (as far as I know) is still stoked about a mission.  Gahhhhh I am so proud of Evora.  Real growth!!!   Yay yay yay.

Will you pray for these people and that our ward can baptize at least 4 people in June?  I will be praying for Ben and Joe and y'all to be safe and happy during the trips!  Have a blast!

Thanks for hosting the Gibersons!  

In parting, 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.  I love you.  

 16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father,which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
Love, Annie

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