Elder Hougaard and I are going on 4 TRANSFERS. We are both staying, which means I have the priviledge of being his final companion. I don't think I have spent as much time with anyone in my life. 1/4 of my mission is shared with Elder Hougaard. Craz-y. I get the priviledge of witnessing the baptism of Christian Yarleque, which will really rock my socks off!
Last week we recieved a Referall from Utah for a guy who really wanted to make us some burgers from his very own burger shack. His name is Dave Khan. We both decided that we like burgers and we enjoy teaching the gospel, so we went during lunchtime with our bellies empty. We found a small pakistanian man with a thick accent wearing a white chef's cloak. We about burst when we perused through his menus. He sells nearly every kind of exotic meat there is, see for yourself on the photo I attached.
My favorite part was his description of the Alligator Burger. Thinking I was getting a kangaroo between two buns, he brought us out by surprise a couple of burgers and hot dogs he made in a couple of minutes. Unfortunately I didn't eat anything exotic, but they were some delicious morsels of food. Dave Khan sat and chatted with us about the nature of God while we ate. He was telling us how angry he is with God for not giving his business success. He was very angry and seemed like someone who feels like God is a terrible person, and that he is the reason there is so much bad in the world. It was an uncomfortable and difficult conversation, since he backfired at everything we would say, but at the very end when we were about to leave he started laughing and said the whole thing was a joke. He is a member in the Schenectady Ward who wanted to play a dirty trick on us. I still don't believe he was joking, because if he was he is a pristine actor. It felt real.
Remember Cynthia Blackshear? She is a referral we picked up last week. She is YEARNING for more and more gospel knowledge. We were able to follow up with her and teach her the message of the restoration. She read everything up to 1 Nephi, and prayed about it and believes it is true. She was a little worried that we are trying to replace the Bible with the Book of Mormon, but that has been resolved. After this very spiritual lesson, she committed to be baptized! Her boyfriend is moving in this week from Texas and she wants us to teach him as well.
This week I spent a lot of time reflecting on my feelings of my mission and set new long term goals for myself. In some study time I thought a lot about my weaknesses that I want to work on, and I've thought about the trials I've had that have tested those weaknesses. I came to know more fully through the spirit that God is a God of love and mercy. He loves us so much that he gives us specific trials to strengthen where we are weak. Sometimes these weaknesses are prolonged when it takes us a while to find the remedy to overcoming our obstacles, which is of course the atonement of Jesus Christ. In Alma 7, It hit me strongly that Jesus Christ "know[s] according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." Jesus Christ has been through every trial that we've had and wants to lighten our load. He runs to assist us when we need him most. There is never a trial we cannot overcome. The atonement is infinite-only we can limit it. As we humble ourselves, endure with patience, rely on the strength of the lord, we can move mountains of grief and pain. I know that.
I love you all and wish you a grand week.
VISA UPDATE: The Brazil government has all of my documents now, but they just barely asked for two new passport photos since the last ones are expired and I don't look quite nearly as much as a baby as I did a year ago. This means that they have actually looked at my application! I am sending the new ones in today and then the process continues until the lord wants me in Brazil!
A live blood sucking vampire bat with an injured wing. I thought about giving it to Dave to make a burger out of it. "One! One batty bat!"