Dearest Loved Ones,
This week was pretty good. We didn't have a ton of success, but we worked hard and learned some good lessons. My companion is helping me learn a lot of simple life lessons that I can apply for the rest of my life, which makes me super happy. It's been pretty different living in a house with three Brazilians, but I've learned a lot and know that with six more months I still have a ton to learn.
I think my favorite part of being a missionary is applying the knowledge that I've learned from scripture study to bless the lives of other people. Something that I've really loved to do is memorize scriptures. When I memorized scriptures, it seems like those scriptures turn into powerful tools. When I teach or give a talk, it seems like the Spirit brings to mind those scriptures and I'm able to speak with them in regular conversation. When that happens I can feel the power of the scriptures and it's super awesome.
We are teaching one lady in particular that has been having a lot of struggles. Her name is Claudia and she is very intelligent when it comes to the gospel, but she has kind of a rough life. She has two children and no husband and has some problems with marijuana. But her knowledge of the Bible is incredible; there was a six-month period when she was attending church and it seems like she absorbed tons of knowledge. But even though she has a lot of knowledge, there is still a lot that she doesn't understand.
The other day we went to her house to talk a little bit more. We're not able to teach her inside because she doesn't have a man there, so we sat outside to talk for a little bit. She was super chill at first, telling us that she had been reading in the Gospel Principles book when she came across the principle of agency. As soon as she touched upon this topic, she began to cry.
She began to express to us a lot of inner hurt that she has because she doesn't understand why a loving God would let his children suffer. She doesn't understand why children in Africa suffer for things that aren't their fault. She said that she would rather have stayed in God's presence as a prisoner without agency than have come to the earth to be a prisoner of her own wrong choices. It's a pretty serious dilemma, but we showed her a ton of scriptures to help her understand. It's interesting, because I remember very vividly what she said, the difficulties that she was passing, but I can remember very little of the things we said to her. I guess it's just kind of that way when you speak by the Spirit; it's not you teaching, it's the Spirit, and it seems to just pass straight through you. It's edifying and humbling at the same time.
Love you all. Mom, let me know as soon as possible what USC says. Do everything you can to persuade them to let me go back in Fall 2015. The secretaries in the mission office are getting ready to by my flight, so let me know next week if you can.