Heading into the homestretch of the CTM, things are getting exciting. On monday we will get to go out to some part of the city and do street contacts. On our preparation days, we have a little contact with people, but most of the people here in Casa Verde Sao Paulo know a bit about the missionaries, so the opportunity to go out a bit farther will be nice.
The address for my mission home in Curitiba is
Elder Conner Warrick House
Brazil Curitiba Mission
Praça Joseph Smith
80613-991 Curitiba - PR Brazil
I will in Curitiba not next tuesday, but the following one... so any mail sent from here on out should go to that address until I get the address of my first apartment.
Today we had Elder Costa, the Area President for Brazil and a memeber of the First Quorum of the 70 come and talk with us today. It was fantastic. He shared so many stories from the scriptures and experiences from his own life. He ended up going quite a bit over the allotted time, but nobody was interested in stopping him, because we were learning so much. One thing that I liked, was him talking about how missionary work is the process of taking the joy and happiness that we have to our friends and neighbors. And as such, it is the responsibility of the members to share the gospel with their friends. The missionaries are primarily to teach gospel truths, but the gospel should be spread by members. But, he said that we as missionaries should never criticize members or leaders who don't feel inclined to share with those around them... never criticize them. Instead we need to pray for ways that we can help them feel more comfortable sharing the gospel. Missionaries should, in large part, help others share the gospel. So if you feel like you need help, ask the missionaries... they can help you. (Now where have we heard that before? :) )
On Sunday, our Branch President told us to let our families know that we are safe. Apparently there have been some small civil uprisings in Sao Paulo, but they haven't really been in the Casa Verde area where the CTM is. He then gave an interesting lesson about the history of Brazil. Right now, this blessed country has more freedom for individuals than it has ever had... But people misunderstand the meaning of freedom. They think that it means, party and live life however you want to and no one is going to stop you. But in reality, that mindset leads to all sorts of bondage... spiritual bondage. The attractive lifestyle of living on the beach and partying every night might seem fun, but addiction to alcohol, sexual desires, and a whole host of other vices can takes over. Even if there seem to be no consequences at first, many people don't understand the peace and joy that the spirit can bring when we are ready to recieve this choice blessing from God. And how can we be ready to feel the spirit if we wake up at 2pm after a long night of "freedom?" That isn't the way God intended parents to be.
I am grateful for the blessing of having great parents. I am grateful for the commandments which help us to keep us free from sin. And I am especially grateful for the cleansing power of the Atonement which allows us to be freed from our sins and be clean once more. The gospel is simple. Have faith, repent, be baptized and take the sacrament to renew those covenants, and use the Holy Ghost to improve each week until we are called home to meet God again.
Elder Conner House