August 24 (Very late evening)
After being set apart as a full-time missionary, I returned home and was anxious to get started. But it was quite late. I logged onto facebook and realized that I needed to let all my friends know that I would be gone, and then it occurred to me that I had a chance to bear my testimony, so I did. I only sent this to my non-member friends, but I'll share it here, too. This is what I said:
"I will be logging out of facebook for two years and I just wanted to say a few things:
I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on the earth. I have prayed about it, and have been given a special witness to confirm that statement. I know it is a bold statement, but if I wasn't sure about it, then I wouldn't be giving up two of the most critical years of my life to go tell everyone I meet in Brazil that it is... if I wasn't sure, I would be pursuing a professional cycling career amongst other things. But since I am sure, giving up everything is a piece of cake. Why would I fly across the world to spend my precious time telling a lie. If you don't believe in spiritual confirmation, then another way to find out is to read the Book of Mormon. Just like the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, it is another Testament of Jesus Christ, a record of the early American people, translated by Joseph Smith through the power of God. Plain and simple, when you read it you will find out that it is not a hoax, that Joseph Smith didn't "write" it, and that it is true scripture, not craziness. But it takes reading it to find out. Pray about, with real intent to know if it's true, and I promise that you will be given an answer. Some people have a hard time with understanding that answer. Most come in the form of feelings that you get: if it's wrong you will feel negative/darkness, if it's true you will feel calm, peaceful, at ease, with a sense of happiness and enlightenment. These are the feelings I have received. And if that doesn't work, just by reading it, you will find out that a modern man with 5th grade education could not have written it.That is a sliver of what I will be doing down there. Finally, thank you for your kindness and friendship, and I look forward to seeing you all in two years!