Monday, May 19, 2014

Nobody Said It Was Easy

Dear family,

I´ll be straight up. This week was pretty rough. Not an easy week, that´s for sure. But you have to have some difficult weeks to be able to enjoy the rest of your time serving a mission, right? I don´t think there are lilacs here in Brasil, mom. I honestly don´t see many flowers here, but every now and then, there are people who have flower pots and grow them. I like to take my chance and smell them whenever possible.

Unfortunately, what we never would have expected, Jessica´s baptism fell through this past week. Elder Porfirio and I were so excited for her, especially her ability to recognize the spirit grow with every lesson we taught her and her family. But on Wednesday, she said she wasn´t sure she could get baptized anymore because she wasn´t sure she could keep every commandment. We promised her blessings, invited her to pray and read the Book of Mormon, but she still wasn´t feeling like it was the right thing for her. She didn´t return to church on sunday and we´ve had trouble reaching her by phone. Satan knows what will strengthen us, and for that reason, he has a powerful ability to tempt us right at our strongest moments. 

On the bright side, we were knocking doors close to our house last week and that family I told you about, Julia and Tiago, is an AWESOME family. They read the book of mormon and understood it! (That´s actually a really big miracle here) They even accepted baptism, but they weren´t able to come to church this past sunday because of a family emergency. They´re really interested and are truly seeking to understand our messages and applying the doctrine of Christ in their own lifes. 

I have a question for everyone at home. Anyone is invited to help me out, whether it be mom, dad, siblings, cousins, etc. We´ve been having difficulties involving members in our teaching and integrating of investigators in the church. There aren´t many members here in Maricá, and none of them have cars, and very few live close to the church, where we´ve been encouraged to work. Every time this week we invited a member to visit someone with us, knock doors with us, they weren´t available and they said they´d talk to us when they would be. When we call back, they usually say the same thing. We haven´t had much luck with investigators wanting to visit again because frankly, they don´t like it. The members don´t talk to them, instead of a beautiful chapel, it´s an old, rented party house, and they don´t feel like it´s the restored Church of Jesus Christ we´ve been teaching them about. If anyone has helpful advice, I would be sooo grateful. I love this area so much, but there needs to be some changes here if it´ll ever progress enough to become a ward.

Please don´t forget to pray for me. At times I just don´t know what more I can do to help these wonderful people feel the same love for this restored gospel that I have. Please pray for my companion as well. He´s having difficulties and could really use some help understanding his purpose as a missionary and the sacred significance of his calling. I know that my Redeemer lives, and that through his atonement, we can receive relief and comfort from our trials and infirmities. It was never easy for him, so we have no reason to think that our life or trials we pass will be easy for us. I love you all and wish you the best!

Elder Braun 

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