So this week we discovered all the challenges this area has, but I really feel the Lord guiding us and I know He will show us what to do. Our area is ENORMOUS and none of the members have cars. There are three bairros in our area, Funcionários, Grotão and Colinas do Sul. The first two are pretty normal, each one we have to climb a super big hill to get to the next. We always have a super pretty view. It´s a whole lot more rural with lots of farms and forests and is pretty much more what you would picture Brasil being like. The weird gigantic part of our area is Colinas do Sul, which takes almost an hour of walking up a really steep hill to get to. You get there, and what it is is a huge neighborhood built by the government with free homes. It´s all the same house, there are no trees, and goes on FOREVER like something out of the twilight zone. Here no one wants to go to church just because it´s so far away so we really need some super elect pioneers.
This whole experience with this neighborhood has made me think a lot about the pioneers, all they sacrificed, how long they walked, how much faith they had to go to Salt Lake in order to follow this same church. I´ve been praying to know how that actually happened. But really, the Lord just calls His people and the elect will follow. If you guys have ideas or want to send me pioneer stories, I´d love it. I want to help build Zion in Colinas! I know tons of super humble families live here.
So far, it´s been really apparent that working close with the members has been the way to go here. The Elders before us were super discouraged and our ward doesn´t have great church attendance. A few members are really super golden. Marcos is the one who just got off the mission and he´s been introducing us to his family.
I am so glad that I know my purpose here on earth. We aren´t here just to waste time and do nothing. We came here to have joy and to prepare to return to God´s presence, using all He has blessed us with and our faith to get there. It really is so simple, but this plan really isn´t for people who aren´t willing to try. God has expectations because He knows our potential. It is so frustrating to me how people don´t understand this, but then I think how much more frustrated Heavenly Father is. He provided a way, He sent His son, He promises to help us, and still we keep forgetting who we our and what our purpose really is here.
I have such a strong testimony of the importance of family now that I have seen what the other option does. How can God´s plan work if we aren´t respecting our sacred power of having children and then raising them with correct principles? The fact that our church focuses on family isn´t just a cute little suggestion, it´s God´s plan for us. It´s how we learn to understand that God is our FATHER. We are a family. We can have all that our Father has and we can´t gain that without an eternal family. My mission has been preparing me so much for this, and I´m so grateful for the family I was raised in. I will always associate the happiest times in my life with my family and for that I am soo lucky and blessed. I am praying so hard to be able to bring that to someone else here in Brasil.
You guys, the church is true. Not only is it true but it´s unbelievably amazing. Do we even realize what it is we have? I love you guys so much! Have an awesome week!