Nathanael is disappointed this week because one of their strong investigators, Marcello, decided he wasn't willing to commit to living the word of wisdom. He had been coming to church and had a baptismal date set. I remember how disappointing it was when that would happen. But Marcello is better off than he was before because of the things he has learned about the gospel and Jesus Christ. Maybe there will be a day when he decides he wants to be more involved. We'll pray for that.
Here is Nathanael's letter. He worries that as he shares how hard his mission is for him that it will dissuade others from wanting to go. But I think that it makes the experience real and that when others are going through the same challenges they will be able to relate and feel that others understand what they are going through too. It's good to share these things. I'm proud of Nathanael and the growth I can see in him. He's brave for undertaking this challenge.
This has been quite a week for me. The work has been good, but hard. We had trouble finding new investigators this week to teach, and we didn't have anyone at church which was really disappointing for us. But we've been working hard as always and I know that things will be good this week. We've been praying a lot, haha. Elder Oliveira and I have been getting along well, which is good. Sometimes he gets a little impatient but I think it's just a mix of his personality and stress that he's feeling about the work. I'm trying to be patient with him. Overall things are good there though.
This week stress-wise has been so, so hard. Don't let me alarm you guys :) but I always want to be honest about stuff like that. Sometimes I worry that people will read these letters and think that a mission is so hard that it's not worth it, but make sure to tell them I don't feel that way, haha. I know I'm growing and I've been asking the Lord to help me understand what I can learn from my difficulties, and He is helping me. I woke up with the strong impression that a challenge was coming. That was true. This is embarassing but I literally broke down and sobbed in the bathroom 4 different times this week. I'm not even sure I can explain why completely, or why this week has been so hard. I asked Elder Oliveira to give me a blessing and that was very comforting to me, but I've still been struggling. In the blessing he told me a lot of stuff and I'll include some of it: that the Lord will lift all my burdens off my shoulders, that I will have the strength to continue working hard and that I will have an excellent mission, that I will have the opportunity to bring many people unto Christ's atonement, that my teaching and language will improve, that I'll find joy in the midst of my difficulties, and that Jesus Christ has gone before me in everything and that his angels are constantly surrounding me. That was hugely comforting to me. But still, I don't know what it's been about this week, but I've had such a hard time. But the mission is good, the people we teach are good -- it feels so good when a lesson goes well and the people make and keep their comittments -- and so on.
This is the last week of the transfer, and Elder Oliveira thinks he's leaving and I'm staying, so I've been trying to prepare myself to be the one who has friendships with the investigators and so on. I've been talking a lot more and trying to stretch myself in that way, and that's been good. I feel like I'm seeing my improvement.
Remember how we were teaching Marcello? Out of nowhere this week, he said he didn't want us to teach him anymore, and he didn't go to church. That's been really hard for me. I walked out of that lesson so disappointed -- it was night and raining, and I felt like Charlie Brown (do doo dooo, doo doo). That really was the worst. But we have faith that eventually we will find someone who will accept the gospel. There hasn't been a baptism here in almost 9 months but we have faith that it's possible.
I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. I don't know how I'm going to have or find the capacity to do this sometimes, but I know I'm where I'm supposed to be and, like we're always telling our investigators, the Lord will always provide a way for us to accomplish His commandments. The gospel has always been so real for me, but now it's more real than ever, I think. He has asked me to sacrifice a lot (I'm not saying I'm sacrificing everything, but the sacrifice is real!) and I'm having to really trust Him out here.
Love you guys.