Monday, August 26, 2013

Onward and Upward

Remember that one time we had 9 baptismal dates? That apparently was so last week because everything that could possibly go wrong in a week, went wrong this week. Let me demonstrate:

The family of Louis and Tonya. Came to church and apparently had an awful experience. No one at church asked their names, no one welcomed them, she felt like trash in Relief Society, and she now refuses to return or allow her family to be baptized. She started smoking again and doesn't want to change. There are two things you can do when you hear news like this: you can either laugh or cry. The choice for me was easy, and I cried for a good long time in the dirt on the side of the road, and ate a giant carrot because that was the only food I had. I am so ultimately sad about the situation. She has a testimony of the gospel, I know she does. We did everything in our power to make it right. Started fasting immediately, prayed like never before, brought members to lessons, had a good talk with the relief society, met with the bishop, I EVEN MADE CHOCOLATE CAKE! But the chocolate cake here isn't that good, and she still wants nothing to do with it all. 
Milane. Baptism and marriage in two weeks. Her father figure randomly showed up two days ago drunk and beat her, apparently really bad. Her kids were screaming, the police came, and she had now moved to who knows where. Her dad showed up yesterday and started losing it with my companion and I---sobbing uncontrollably in the rain and begging us to help. I felt like I was in a movie and for once was very grateful that I didn't understand a word that was being said. What an ugly situation. 

Marcilina and Cheila. We went to mark the day of their wedding this week, and because he was born in a different country, they need all this paperwork before they can get married, and thus be baptized. 

Daneilla and Fernanda. Suddenly decided they didn't want to be baptized even though they know that the church is true.

Well, apparently discouragement is a thing. It was a pretty rough week to be honest and I'm still trying to think of something wise to say about it all. I really did learn a lot about faith. The Lord values our agency more than our salvation, and sometimes no matter how much faith you have in something or how much you pray about something, people are going to choose wrong and life is going to happen. It's hard to have a lot of faith in something that falls through, or a lot of faith in 9 things that fall through. But I decided this week that there are two kinds of people, the kind who have faith that things will go their way and the kind that have faith that sometimes ``failure`` is the Lord's way, and that He will work everything out in His way and timing. What a hard lesson, my goodness! I don't like seeing people I love reject what they need, and this week I saw it every single lesson I entered. 

I'M NEVER HAVING KIDS. I've heard watching your kids make bad decisions is the same type of feeling, and I'd rather avoid that for the rest of my life. Or just have perfect kids.

Crazy child pulling out my hair

On the bright side, I found 50 cents on the side of the road this week, which is equal to a quarter in America. This was especially exciting because the mission forgot to give me money for some reason, and so I had a grand total of 31 cents to my name. It was kinda like a fun game of trying not to spend any money, except if you lose the game, you don't eat. Haha I don't know why people always forget me, but I´m getting more and more comfortable being forgotten. So family, if one of these days you feel like just not writing me, I probably won't even notice. 

Another exciting thing that happened this week: I gave a training!!! In Portuguese! About the wonderful week of finding we had 2 weeks ago!! I speak Portuguese you know!! People are starting to be able to understand me more or less, EXCEPT for when I ask the question: ``What is your name?`` Ok, that was the FIRST phrase I learned, but NO ONE understands when I ask!! I practice every single morning when I wake up. What is your name? What is YOUR name? WHAT is your NAME? Still, no one knows what I'm asking. Why? 

We taught this lady this week who was just prepared. She had just been praying for an experience to come back to God the day before we showed up. We found her on the side of the road and taught with the Spirit, and I was feeling my Spirits lifting when suddenly, AFTER THE LESSON, she remembered that she WAS was a member of a church. Haha what? Sometimes things like that slip my mind too, don't worry. 

I prayed a lot this week because let's get real, who wouldn't feel like a failure of a person and missionary after a week of a series of unfortunate events? I was asked to say the closing prayer at Tonya's house for the final lesson this week, and I thanked the Lord for our Savior Jesus Christ and just started crying again, but this time it was more out of gratitude than sadness. The Lord sees our efforts even when they are weak, and I have so much faith that He makes our weaknesses strengths when we are humble. FAITH, FAITH, FAITH! Onward and upward:):) I have a testimony that the Lord knows more than we do and that He refines us in sometimes uncomfortable ways. I love the Lord and I love sharing His gospel, and even though it at times is hard, how grateful I am for the gift of choice. 

All my love plus a little more,

Sister Brooks

PS. Everyone pray they remember to feed me

Me and some random people who wanted
a picture with an American
and thought it was the coolest thing ever that
I was serving a mission in Brazil...
Interested to learn more:)

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