Monday, February 4, 2013

The Plan of Salvation is something we need to Treasure

How was your week?
Very very very very very very hot!! Hottest week of the mission for sure. Just sweating. haha

Are people still coming to the military base because of the night club fire?
No, all of the bodies have been identified. Now we are asking people for references to these families to help them out and give messages of the Plan of Salvation. 
Kiss Nightclub Santa Maria Brazil Shrine for those who lost their lives.

How are you doing after all you dealt with last week?
It was a really humbling experience. It brings you down and you realize the importance of Amulek´s teachings in Alma 34. We don´t know when it can all end, so the time to prepare to meet God is NOW.

I'll be sending stuff this week, hopefully Monday to you, anything else you haven't asked for?
Maybe some Swedish fish or beef jerky.

Hi Family!
So did I mention that it is really hot here? We don´t stop sweating. Ever. But it´s good, and we always know if people are home or not cuz they leave windows open when they´re home. So there is no escaping the Mormon Missionaries during the summer. The week went really well though. We taught a lot of lessons, but not a lot of new investigators. A lot of our lessons were for people who´d lost loved ones in the fire. Then we´d just leave our number with them and give them time to ponder the message. It just didn´t feel like the right time to start convincing people on religion. You could definitely see the light in their eyes when they saw that there really was a next life, and there was a possibility to see their loved ones again. The Lord really did have me transferred for a reason. At least one person needed me here after that fire to touch someone´s heart. 

The plan of salvation is something that we need to treasure in our church. It´s unbelievable how fast it can all end, and if it all ends we can´t have regrets. That is Amulek´s invite. Don´t leave repentance ‘til tomorrow. Don´t begin praying and reading the scriptures tomorrow. It all needs to be taking place right now. Honestly the best preparation for Taylor (and other future missionaries) would be the Bible and Book of Mormon references to the common questions missionaries receive. Most of which are in chapter 3 of preach my gospel. Also, being really specific in prayers is something that I have learned a lot. Often times our prayers become really routine, and honestly have no sincerity. When we kneel down, and tell God exactly what we are sorry for, and exactly how we are going to do better, then it is a lot easier for us to qualify for the things we ask for. We don´t walk into work and ask for money... first we work, then comes the money. And the same concept applies here. As we work to better ourselves AND those around us, God equally rewards us. And we´re equally rewarded for the bad decisions as well. 

So those two things are key to become habit before the mission: 
 Daily scripture study, and making prayers a lot more sincere and specific. I´ve seen a lot of miracles since I have been here. Not necessarily a miracle as the world would see it, but the changes that the gospel brings into people´s lives is a miracle in and of itself. I feel like the Lord didn´t make this fire happen, but he let it happen to give people a sign of reality. That it can all end so fast, and we need to show our gratitude for the people in our lives at every moment. The work here in Brazil is amazing. The people are really a lot warmer and more receptive here than they are at home, so the work has the ability to grow at a rapid rate. Before the fire people were generally welcoming, but this week the warmth has just grown a ton. We are invited to come into almost every home. 90 percent of the lessons this week were just those of comfort, but I have a feeling and a lot of faith that a lot of the people are going to be calling us to come back this week. We didn´t have any investigators at church yesterday because a huge storm just wiped the area out with rain, and our church bus broke down. We went and visited our investigators though and they all will be at church this next week they´ve promised us. One of our investigators passed me a ton of pictures of the city on my SD card, so I´ll probably send the next card sooner rather than later.

I love you all very much! I hope you´re enjoying the cold weather, I´d do anything to trade you right now! Have a great week!

Elder Shepherd

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