Hello there, my Family!
I am doing well here! We had Zone Conference in Recife this last week. So, we traveled two hours on the bus to get there. It was a great Conference, about true conversion, our own conversion as missionaries. I love the subject of conversion. I realized yesterday that is the most important thing to have on your mission, your testimony. Being in Brazil and speaking Portuguese, just talking in lessons was kind of just a thing like, “Whew! Okay, I said something!” or like, "Okay, I should probably bear testimony now." But I realized that testimony is much more important than I ever realized. It is because that is really when the Spirit can testify. And the Spirit will testify if you bear sincere testimony, in whatever language. A sincere testimony does not have to be masked with fancy words or an intelligent vocabulary, it just needs to be things you know in your heart, and not in your head. All this I learned from the Conference, and then I experienced it yesterday.
We were teaching a less active who was a returned missionary from only a couple years ago. It was actually two of the ward missionaries and me, and my companion was somewhere else. But the ward missionary was asking, what can we do to help you get to Church? And he kept saying, I don’t know, I just need the desire. So, I was able to bear my testimony about how the Spirit can give you the desire, like He gave me last week. It wasn’t anything fancy, but I felt the Spirit there. I was trying to figure out what was different, and why I felt so much better, and why I felt I made a difference, and it was because I bore testimony of something I had experienced, and I knew it was true, and it was something I really wanted him to know. But really something I realized that brought me a lot of comfort, is you can be a smooth-talker and have a super flowing lesson with beautiful words, and be super smart with all the gospel knowledge in the world, but it won’t matter if you don’t have a testimony, and have the Spirit confirm it. So, I don’t have to learn fancy Portuguese to be a missionary. So, that was something that made me pretty happy! Everyday here gets better and better. My understanding gets more and more...I learned something today that I didn’t know yesterday.
Something that is making me happy is that our converts are super active. Joyce, Mariana, and Edla, and one other girl are the Young Women of our ward. Yesterday they sang, Stand in Holy Places, for our Missionary Fireside combined with both Branches, Goiana 1 and Goiana 2. And they are always going to Seminary. Also, our family that we are working with is progressing still. We are working on getting them married, but it will take some time with the paperwork. Also, the oldest son is working towards being baptized as well. So, eventually they will all be sealed in the Temple. That is the vision here! We are also teaching the parents of a Sister Missionary who just got back pretty recently. So, things are going well. I love my mission more and more each day.
Mom, I really liked your comparison to the Tree of Life, how we partake of the fruit each day. Last transfer, I had the Tree of Life picture as the cover of my planner, I really like it. But you’re right, we can partake of the fruit daily, and we need to! And bring others to partake of it with us! President Holmes in Michigan taught us really well about the Tree of life.
Something funny that I have to share is that I wore my glasses to Church yesterday and even the people in Brazil think I look like Clark Kent!!!!! HAHAHAHA. I came all the way here, and it is still consistent! It’s great! I had a good laugh to myself about that.
Well, it was great to hear from you all this week. It is always the best! I think about you guys all the time. I love you all so much. Have a swell week!
Elder Nathan Hoyt