I'm very sorry that I wasn't able to get an email off to you yesterday! It was a portuguese holiday and EVERYWHERE was closed. So...no internet for the missionaries. :/ So I apologize for that. I had no idea the last week so I had no way of warning you. This last week was very crazy. Me and Elder Dunford had to do divisions with some of the District leaders. We live with our district leader so that division was easy. It was really good. Elder Dunford went with our district leader, Elder Checketts, and I went with the greenie :) Elder Eddington. It ran super well. Elder Eddington was having a bit of a rough day..I remember those days. At the end of our division we just talked about how he was doing with everything. It was a super cool experience. He had just seemed a little down at certain parts of the day...I tried to make the division as fun as possible. At the end I just bore my testimony and shared with him a few of my experiences as a greenie. One that I don't know if I have told you about...but I told him that in my first transfer there was one that I was especially down. I remember the my companion was doing branch president stuff and I was in charge of investigators and other members...I felt so overwhelmed. I couldn't talk to anyone...I couldn't understand anyone...looking at it now it really doesn't seem that big of a deal...but to a frightened greenie it was terrifying. I remember leaving midway through one of the classes and I went into the bathroom. I fell onto my knees and just started bawling. I told Heavenly Father I couldn't do it anymore. I told him I wanted to quit, I was ready to go home. I even prayed that he would allow me to be hit by a car so I could have a valid excuse to go home! I poured my heart out to him...I told him, if you can just imagine...a 19 year old man in an old bathroom, on his knees, crying...very humbling circumstances...but as I prayed I felt the spirit very strong and I felt the words, "Keep going...I will be with you to the very end..." and I felt this overwhelming feeling come about me. I told him that the trial didn't go away...but I left that experience with my testimony of prayer strengthened and a certainty that I was not by myself. I bore my testimony that the Lord will make him stronger through these trials. I told him to make the most out of being a greenie. I came to know my Savior during my greenie months. I would not trade those experiences for anything in the world. After, we said a prayer together and had a big ol' bear hug! It was a good experience. One thing I really enjoy about being a mission leader is being able to lift up those who are feeling down.
Later during the week me and Elder Dunford had to travel for our next division. A 1 hour bus trip to an area called Averio. The division was alright. We didn't have a ton of time to work becaue they had scheduled meetings that day with ward mission leaders and they had an English class...so we weren't able to help that much. This time I went with the District leader...we met with these 2 black dudes. The lesson was pretty complicated. They just complained about how were just preaching "man's" knowledge and that God doesn't exist. One believed in God...but that God is just peace and love and happiness and what not. The other didn't believe in God....long story short...we told them if they really wanted to know they had to read, pray, and go to church...they said they would read and pray but they wouldn't promise on going to church...so we said that we can't promise that they will get an answer because they won't exercise their faith. They said...well why do I need to go to church to receive an answer? It just amazed me how they want to know...but aren't willing to do what it takes to find the answer. Annoying. The rest of the division went well.
Other than, yesterday night we had a family home evening with our new recent converts. It was so good...it felt so nice to be there. It was us, the sisters, Domingos, his sister (and her daughter) and then two families in our ward. It was super nice and there was such a nice spirit. Both Domingos and Neusa (sister) bore their testimonies about how the gospel has changed their lives! Me and Elder Dunford kept looking at each other with huge smiles on our face. It was so great!
Oh! Andwe re-marked Bruno to be baptized on the !!! We were super stoked about that. We've been trying to remark him for about a week now...remember that Bruno is the guy that his family did not want him to be baptized...so he let them stand in the way. And we feel like he was a little weary of us bringing it up...because he is sooo prepared...and he knows that. He wants to be baptized...but he wanted his family to accept it. So yesterday we didn't really plan on bringing baptism up again...but the spirit directed us otherwise. We watched the talk of Jeffrey R. Holland from this last conference, "Lord, I Believe." After he was just like...Woah....That was super powerful. Then the discussion led to baptism and Bruno committed to being baptized! He said he prayed about it earlier this week and he said that he saw the number 24...so we marked him for the 24th! Which is the first day of next transfer. On a ! Super random...but we're super stoked! He said that his family will not get in the way. After watching that talk he had no doubts that he was going to be baptized whether his family accepts him or not!
So that it an update on everything! Things are still going good. Just keeping busy! I'm glad to hear that McKay's graduation went well! I hope that this week runs well also! Thanks for everything you do for me! I love you so much! Have a great week!
Elder Colton Wayne Richins