Keep the big picture in mind…

Dear Family,

1 Nephi 20:10 “For behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” I read this verse a few days ago and felt like sharing it. Remember that whatever you are going through, it is there to help you grow. Learn to focus less on the results and more on the process; to measure success by personal growth and not the end result.
I really like something Marissa said in her last letter. “If you are acting, you can know that you are making progress.”

I also have been reading the Conference Ensign and want to share a few quotes from Elder Uchtdorf’s “forget me not” talk in the Women’s General Conference. “The ‘what’ and ‘how’ of obedience mark the way and keep us on the right path. The ‘why’ of obedicence sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small actis of obedience into holy acts of consecration.” “While understanding the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the ‘why’.

My challenge for each of you this week is stop for a moment to remember the “whys” behind everything you are doing. I have found this helps me to keep the big picture in mind and not get too caught up in the small successes or failures.

This was an interesting week. Brazil is such a unique mission. Our Bishop and Mission President really expect us to have Baptisms every week and start to get worried if we don’t. We are still teaching the family of Renilda and Andelson. Their littlest boy, Vitor, almost drove the Primary teacher crazy. We invited her to come with us on our next visit. I’m starting to realize that everyone on this planet has specific and serious troubles and challenges that nobody else can fix. It makes me very grateful for prayer, the guidance of the Holy Ghost and the knowledge that we are not alone here. I really, really, really, want to help baptize a family. It is so beautiful when you can teach a whole family together because you can see all the aspects of the church working together to help bless their lives and help them be more united.

We brought the Bishop with us to visit Renilda and Andelson and talked about marriage and baptism again. We gave them a goal that they have until February 24 to decide what they want. Renilda is putting on the breaks a little because she wants a big wedding with all of their friends there and such. I asked them if they had prayed about it yet together. They said no. I swallowed my fear and asked everyone to kneel and Andelson to offer the prayer asking the Lord about marriage and baptism. So we did. He told the Lord that if it was the Lord’s will, he is willing. It brought a great feeling into the room. He was embarassed afterward, but I was touched because I will never forget how the first visit, he just said the recited prayer “our father who is in Heaven” and didn’t know how to pray out loud. I invited them to pray about it again together before they went to sleep at night and this time to let there be a little silence afterward to pay attention to how they feel. I was so glad that I acted. Sister Do Amaral said that she was too afraid to be so bold.

I still have a great big regret in my heart about the other family we taught and how they decided not to get married because they felt rushed. I wished I hadn’t been so pushy and feel like I should have helped them set a long term goal instead of trying to convince them to get married that transfer. However, I am using everything I learned from that experience to help me be wise with Andelson and Renilda and then praying that the Spirit can help me be bold in the right moments.

One of our investigators told us that she knows the Book of Mormon is true because she prayed for the Lord to let Sunday be a nice day and not rain if it was really His will that she go to church. Sure enough, it was a beautiful day. I think everything that is happening around us is an answer to our prayers, even if it is in opposition to what we had hoped. Everything that happens, happens to help us grow and we just have to have faith in it and open our eyes to see the Lord’s hand in our life.

I love you all!

Sister Thompson

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