So unfortunately I don't have a lot to say this week. This last week the weather has been absolutely AWFUL! Heavy rain and powerful winds all week long. So the work has been very unproductive. You would think that people would have compassion on some soaking wet missionaries :) but unfortunately that is not the case here. The rain here in Portugal makes it so that you get wet whether you have an umbrella or not. haha. So it's quite the adventure. But yeah it's been a very long week! We're hoping that the weather turns out to be a lot better this week so that the work is more productive...but we have heard from a few sources that the storms will continue. Ugh.
We do have some bad news on our end. So we called Madjer at the end of Pday last week...and he told us that he is not prepared to do the "church thing" at this moment. So we had to drop him. It was very hard for both of us and a huge downer on our pday. He was so ready and he witnessed first hand the miracles that the gospel brings into our lives. It was sad. We are gonna give him a little time and then we are planning on going back to see if he has changed at all. Maybe after a few weeks being outside of the gospel again he will realize just how much he truly needs the gospel in his life. So we're hoping!
Just a small story and reality of life that we experienced a few days ago. Here on the mission you hear so many people that are rebelling against God because of specific trials that they have passed or are currently passing. There was a man that we met the other day that was affected by polio. He does not have the full strength in his legs anymore. He has to use crutches to walk and is on some heavy treatments. He said that he is Agnostic. He's not Atheiest...he doesn't deny the existence of a God. But he doesn't necessary believe that He is our loving Heavenly Father. He said that he is revolted against Him because of the things that he was passing through. The dude talked a TON so it was really hard to get our message in. Throughout the lesson we were having with him he gave us a 40 minute long history lesson. Then at the end we decided that his heart wasn't in the right place. So we left him with a Book of Mormon, a church invitation, and a pamphlet of the plan of salvation. He said that he would read it and try to figure out the purpose of all of this suffering. Our number is in the book, and we are hoping that maybe after reading, God can touch his heart and he will be prepared to receive the gospel. The reality is that so many people blame God for the trials that they pass through. There is a certain saying that I've heard that says "God gives trials to those whom He loves." On the mission I have learned the truthfulness and reality of this saying. First it's necessary that we think why we are passing through a certain trial. It is no doubt that during the actual trial it can be hard to turn our thoughts heavenward....but once we do, we can realize the divine purposes for the specific trial that we pass through. We learn from the prophets that our trials are PERSONALIZED. Meaning that God wants us to pass through the things that we go through because it is through those experiences that WE become like HIM. That is the purpose of this life, isn't it? It is only through God's will that this is possible. Without it...we are walking in the dark. But I am grateful for the trials that I have been asked to pass through on my mission. I have learned a lot, and I feel like I've grown closer to Him. This last general conference there were many talks that dealt with the subject of trials. I invite anybody that may be passing through something difficult to read these talks. They help us to understand God's divine purposes for the sufferings that we must go through.
Unfortunately that is all I have for this week. Like I said, this last week was not the most productive week. We are all praying for good weather! :) Anyways. I will get my address for you for next week. To be honest, if you wanted to send it to the mission office I am now in Lisbon and super close to the mission office. It won't come directly to me...but it is close. :) But regardless, I will get you my address next week when I figure it out. I wasn't planning on moving from Lagos...so I forgot that I have a new address. :) Anyways. Thanks for everything that you do! I enjoy hearing the stories that happen during your week! I hope that you have a great week! I love you! Until next week!
Love, Elder Colton Wayne Richins