Monday, August 29, 2011

Goodness me, it´s hard to believe that time is capable of passing so quickly. This week we were so so blessed by the Lord, and I feel that there are some great responsibilities that come with that. We´ve been discussing with members a lot, and I think we´re gradually starting to get it together.
Yesterday, the inevitable happened, and Sister Cornwall was asked to give a talk on the fly. We had a meeting in the morning with the liderança [leaders] and guess who got asked to fill in, as the wrap up speaker? Well, I´ll just give you a little rundown of the pure inspiration I received. On Wednesday our LZ gave us a little inspiration on grace. I started out my talk about my Study-Abroad in Paris. I was so so excited that I got accepted, that I was going, that I would be fulfilling my dream etc. My mother so wisely reminded me that I would have to work to have the funds to be able to go. And I did work. That summer I applied for probably hundreds of jobs, went to many interviews, considered giving plasma etc. I made plans and calculations . . . I did everything. Then when the end of the summer came, friends, I was a bit short. Fortunately, my darling parents recognized my efforts and mercifully filled in the rest. It was an incredible experience. When I told the congregation that I still hadn´t paid my darling parents, and that I´m pretty sure they forgot, why those Brazilians roared with laughter. Guys, I`m not joking, they laughed really hard at this silly American. We all are in a similar situation. In the Guide for the study of the scriptures, it discusses that grace is the enabling power we receive when we exercise faith, when we repent, and when we do EVERYTHING we´re capable of doing to keep the commandments. Well, what are we doing to earn that grace? Are we doing everything possible? Are we doing our home and visiting teaching, having family home evening, reading, praying, being quiet during sacrament meeting? (I really wanted to say that last one, as I was standing in front observing everyone . . . but I didn´t.) Then I read Doctrine and Covenants 93:11-14 that talks about how the Savior learned grace upon grace. He didn´t receive the fullness all at once, it was a very gradual process. Then I talked about learning Portuguese. I remember at the beginning when I just didn´t get some things, and now, they´re second nature. It´s the same with us and our eternal progression. (Afterwords everyone came up to me and assured me that my Portuguese was just fine.) But we need a Savior, friends. We need what he did everyday to make it through. If you´re feeling a lack in your life - guess what will fill it? The restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I promise you that.

We were able to enter so many more houses this week, and talk to the people. I am learning more and more to love Candeias. I also feel very grateful to still be myself. I am a living human being that needs this gospel as much as anybody, and I like being able to talk reasonably and realistically about the difficulties we have, and how we´re capable of overcoming them knowing we have a Savior who loves us incredibly, and has so much power to help us out. We sort of just have to let him help us. I thought a lot about doing the Lord´s will this week; we make lots of plans and pass by lots of houses, and it´s easy to get very systematic. But just take a moment to think not about what you need to do, but what the Lord needs done. It´s a much better way to go.

I´m incredibly grateful for the goodness that is here. I am grateful for the genuine friends that I have, and for their firmness in the gospel. It changes lives, and there are plenty of people scared stiff of that change - depriving them of comfort and tradition and complacency - but that´s our opportunity, and our challenge. All I want to do is work. It is great, even when it´s hard and annoying.

All I ever want to say is just stick with it, hang in there and keep progressing. There´s a plan and a great reward at the finish line for those that are willing to sacrifice. Well, that´s that.

Love, Love, Love,

Sister Cornwall

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