The work was slow all week as many of our investigators went out of town to be with family throughout the holidays and others were celebrating big time. Likewise, attendance was quite low at church this past Sunday because of people partying all night and what not. I know things will be better next week, and I have much faith that the work is going to pick back up.
New Year's was distressing here in São Filipe. People drunk EVERYWHERE and getting into fights and just all out iniquity. We went home earlier than the curfew and frankly, there was no spirit anywhere to teach.
I love these people so much, that it breaks my heart over and over to see that Satan can cause so much destruction in just one weekend. Elder Weiss and I are working for the Lord, so our hearts are full of compassion for the people we’re going to have to help now. Some of our members made mistakes throughout this weekend, and we hope to be there for them for whatever we can do in our power to help them.
Nevertheless, this Holiday Season was special because of moments such as this one. At the end of Saturday night, we stopped by Chuchuka and Luana, some converts from back in August, and we found out that they guessed we were coming, as they had prepared food on the table for when we arrived. This family doesn’t even have indoor plumbing or a bathroom in their home. The house is made of cement and clay and only has two working doors. Part of the roof is missing. Their kitchen sink consists of a bowl in which water has to be fetched to fill it up to wash dishes. Dinner consisted of a huge bowl of popcorn, a bowl of French fries, and some pound cake with lemonade. That was all they had, but they were so happy that we came. We went and sat down in their kitchen on the three chairs and a block of wood and stool and ate popcorn and shared the Christmas Spirit with them. Luana would look at us as we ate popcorn and drank lemonade, and she would just smile. I was almost in tears as I reflected on these two sisters and their little brother that will be baptized this weekend. They have nothing, but they have everything. They have the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and they know it. They know that they have the Holy Ghost with them as they smile and laugh and enjoy life with the conditions that they have. Indeed, it was a very special/joyous occasion for elder Weiss and I, and I’m grateful for that.
I have come to receive the greatest present I could ever receive in my life. That is that Heavenly Father has given me a true testimony of the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This was a gift that took some time to put together. This was something that did not come easy, and took patience and perseverance, hard work, and devotion. It’s something that at times you think may never come, but before you know it, it does. And when it does come, you are the king of the world. You know who you are. You know who your Father in Heaven and your big brother Jesus Christ are. You’re their family, and you’re working to bring yourself to be like them.
I know with no doubt in my heart that Jesus Christ took upon himself the pains, iniquities and sicknesses of this world, so that we could live above it. I know that his teachings are true and that they’ll serve and bless me for the rest of my life. I know that God is our loving and caring Heavenly Father and that he watches over us every minute. He chastens us, and he comforts us. He dries our tears of sorrow and reprimands our pride. He speaks to us softly and lovingly, determinedly and firmly, so that we may be tried and tested. We grow, and we learn what true love is. We appreciate it and are brought to our knees in gratitude and love for him, who humbled and comforted us, him that paid for us to have the chance. I love him, and I’ll serve and defend him forever.