Alrighty here I am! Sorry for the wait! So this week has been insane. It has been an Brother Gouveia week. This last week I got a very frightening text message from him. This is what he sent me... ''Elder Richins. I only feel true peace when I am with you guys. I came home feeling calm but depressed. I cried a ton without anybody seeing me when I remembered your words 'that it is an honor..' No elder, it is a curse. I know that you suffer for me because you have the love of Christ. I suffer knowing that you have suffered and suffer for me. But I don't have the faith and testimony that you have. Yesterday thoughts of suicide passed through my head. I am not kidding. I am scared. I am depressed. Elder I love you a lot but we cannot meet anymore. Elder I will die, I swear, or I will go crazy. Elder forgive me for all the suffering that I have caused you. We will not be meeting anymore. I love you, brother, but I cannot resist anymore. I can not stand this any longer. I hope you will forgive me, Elder Richins. I will never forget you. Please accept my decision. Goodbye, my friend. I will miss you. Tonight when you finish visiting with my wife, I will appear to say goodbye.'' After receiving this message, I sat, freaked out a little bit...then me and Elder Failes decided that we needed to go to the chapel and begin pleading the Lord for help. After what seemed like forever, we feel like we received revelation of what to do. We found the scripture in Ephesians that talks about putting on the WHOLE armor of God. We decided that the only way to rid him of Satan was for him to put on the whole armor of God. We also planned on showing him the talk of Jefferey R. Holland on faith. That night when we met with his wife (with our branch president and his wife) he never showed up to say goodbye to us. So we knew that we had to call him after the visit. So...I dialed him up. He was in tears...I have never ever heard him in such a terrifying condition. His voice shook as he cried and told me how scared he was...mom...it was as if a little child was lost in a big crowd, frightened and pleading for help to find his way. I will never forget that phonecall. The words ''Elder...I am scared....I am scared...'' will echo in my ears for the rest of my life. He told me that he had NEVER had thoughts of suicide before. He said that the devil is literally trying to kill him. It was scary. Satan truly has great power over him right now. I have said it before and I will say it again, in my 4 months of working with this man I have seen the power of the Devil, and I have seen the power of the Lord. all in all, however, it completely depends on the free agency of that person. (2nd Nephi 2:27) I told him that me and Elder Failes knew the solution to his problem, but that it wouldn't be easy. We marked an appointment with him for that Sunday (2 days later). I told him that if he did not read or pray then he would not be able to find refuge from these feelings. I committed him to reading and praying before he went to bad that night. At 1:30 a.m that next morning we received a text message from him saying, ''I read. I prayed. Now I will rest in peace..'' So then Sunday came. Me and Elder Failes were pretty nervous because we knew that this would be a ''make it or break it'' lesson. When the lesson began, he told us that before we had got there, he had felt impressed to go off and say a prayer. He said that normally when he is with us, he feels like an iniquitous person in front of the just. But at that moment, he felt completely calm. This strengthened my testimony on revelation. I know that he received that impression so that he would be more open to accept the revelation that we received from the Lord. So we talked to him about putting on the whole armor of God. That he would need to make the decision spoken of in 2 Nephi, to either choose liberty through the Messiah, or captivity through the devil. He asked us...''Elders. Will I ever have the vision of eternal life again? Because I don't have that anymore'' We promised him that if he would make the decision to put on the whole armor of God, deciding right then to keep all of the commandments, he would have protection from the Devil, and through this he shall regain his vision of eternal life. We then watched Elder Holland's talk, and then I gave him the quote from Elder Henry B. Eyring, ''I am a Disciple of Jesus Christ.'' Elder Failes then drew a picture of a knight and we labeled all of the corresponding parts of armor with the contents found in Ephesians 6. He then signed the paper saying that as of the 14th of April 2013, he put on the whole armor of God. And me and Elder Failes signed underneath as testimonies. It was a very powerful lesson, and a very good experience. I know that if he keeps his promise and tries with all his might to go through with this decision, the Lord will bring him back home. I know it. Last night we called him, and he said that it was harder than he thought. And that he was struggling. We told him that we will be his crutches for the first couple of weeks, but that we confided in him, and so did the Lord. So the battle continues on. I really hope he makes this happen. But that was basically the big story of the week.
Yesterday we had a zone conference. After the conference, all the leaders in the zone had to meet with president. President has a goal set for finding 5000 new investigators this transfer...and that we as leaders have a very high responsibility for making this possible. Which means that each companionship in the mission needs to be finding an average of 9 people a week this transfer. And we need to help our districts and zones acheive these standard. Hence why last night I told you that I was a wee bit stressed out. Also president chastized me because Jose, a week after receiving the Holy Ghost, returned to smoking. He told me that I may be in this area until he stops smoking....it felt like kinda a threat. But whatever. I am doing my best. That was another reason why I was a little stressed out yesterday. The church is very small on Madeira and we need more priesthood holders to keep it going. And Jose needs to receive the priesthood but is currently unworthy...and so President told me that I need to take care of that problem.
Anyways, that is about all I have for you from my end.
Well I hope everything is well with you guys! I will try to send a picture...but remember mom, technology here is no where near as advanced as it is in the U.S. So everyone is VERY behind on that area. But I am on the chapel computer and I think I will be able to send a couple! I will try! I love you so much mom! Thanks for everything you do for me! Until next week!
Elder Colton Wayne Richins