Monday, March 7, 2011

18 Month Anniversary Letter to the Ward

P-day activity: bowling!

The district with new elders. Just don't ask who is who, since Elder Titus did not label the photo. I don't even know which one is his new companion! (sorry!)

Dear Ward,

It’s weird to think that it is already time to write my semi-annual letter again and that the next time I will be preparing something to share with you guys it will be in person over the pulpit. Time has flown by. But, that’s what everyone said would happen. However I´ve learned from personal experience that the slower you want your mission to go, the faster it goes and the faster you want it to go, the slower it goes. Young men, I prohibit you from crossing off days on the calendar, too many missionaries do that here.

Anyway, so I’m in a city called Arapongas, the furniture capital of Brazil. It’s only my fourth area. When I left my last area of Assis, I stopped in Londrina to pick up my greenie, Elder de Jesus, and we re-opened Arapongas. It was weird arriving in a city completely blind, but we got along. Arapongas is a branch of 80 to 90 active members, established 13 years ago after being closed for 33 years after some people from another religion tried to stone the missionaries in front of the cathedral. Needless to say, things have improved since then.

I stayed with Elder de Jesus for 3 transfers and then last week I picked up another greenie named Elder Siqueira. They are both worthy and willing missionaries, excited to do the work of the Lord. Brazil has really answered the call to send more missionaries; doubling the amount of Brazilians in the MTC in Sao Paulo since I was there 18 months ago.

In other news, we were in Londrina last week for a conference with an Area Seventy, which was really cool. However, the best part was afterwards when I was told that a guy named Jefferson was waiting to talk to me outside. Jefferson is a young man I baptized over a year ago, along with his family in my first area, Ibiporã. In fact, he was my first baptism. He is currently the Young Men’s president, and the rest of his family is strong too, but the best part was when he told me that he has been preparing to serve a mission and next week he will be turning in his mission papers. We embraced and I almost got emotional, but didn’t cause I’m a man. Unfortunately we both had to quickly leave. I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day. I testify that there is no better feeling in the world than seeing your converts firm and immovable in the gospel.

Well, I don’t want to take up too much time, but I will leave you with my testimony that there is no other work more important than missionary work. I have grown to love being a missionary and I take great pride in representing the one and only true church on the earth. There is no reason to be embarrassed, and I echo the words of Paul when he said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” I have had countless spiritual experiences that when cemented together form the foundation for the rest of my life that I will be able to securely build upon. And if there is just one thing I learned from cycling, it is how important the end of the race is. Full speed ahead, see ya in a few months.

With love,
Elder Titus

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