January 20, 2014 from Lauren
I need to find another way to start my emails because ever week is so dang great. It gets a little boring if I always start with "Another great week". But it seriously is true :)
Something that really stuck in my mind this week was a part I read in True to the Faith. There is a chapter in Preach my Gospel call "Christ like attributes". I´ve been trying to develop these attributes more in my life and one that I have been focusing on is hope. Well, I was reading in True to the Faith, under the topic of hope, and I really liked how they described hope. It said something along the lines of this:
In everyday life we tend to think of hope as a weak word and as something that isn´t likely to happen. For example, I hope that I find a million dollars. That´s not very likely to happen. But, in the language of the gospel, hope is a word with meaning and strength. Hope is pretty much inseparable with our faith. And when we build our hope and faith on Christ, it can´t be destroyed. A perfect description of faith is found in the scriptures, in Éter 12:6 "Faith is the thing hoped for, but not seen."
I have loved learning about hope and faith because it is central to missionary work. I definitely need to develop more hope because sometimes I come off a little pessimistic. But this week I made the goal to have hope and to be more optimistic. And I really need to be because... We are having a baptism!!!!
I can´t remember if I told you the whole story of Fabio, but I´m going to tell it again because it´s great!
(She did tell us about Fabio and Elena used her story in a talk yesterday in church. Here is an excerpt from her talk explaining what she told us and then Lauren's update follows.
When we talked to her over Christmas, she told us a story of her adventure in the favela. For those of you who don't know, a favela is a slum. Most of them are pretty much run by drug lords and the people live in tin shacks with dirt floors and a satellite dish hanging from the roof. It's kind of a scary place. Well one of the members asked her to come to family home evening and bring her violin. She has had to kinda retrain her brain and fingers to play the violin since she plays the viola, but anyway, they said yes and were on their way to the favela.
As they entered this run-down area, a man came up to them and asked what was in the violin case. He asked her if he could play her violin. She let him and said that he was just ok. But then he took out a cello from his house and they played Christmas music together completely spontaneously for about 20 minutes. Other people heard it and I imagine it was a fairly special moment there in the ghetto of Piracicaba 6000 miles away from home in 100 degree heat with 95% humidity at Christmas. When they finished he asked her why they were there and she told him because they were going to share a message about Christ with a family that lived there. He asked if he could come with them. They were so excited and then the next Sunday, he came to investigate more of the gospel message.)
Back to Lauren's letter:
We met Fabio in the Favela one day because I was carrying around a violin for FHE. We were talking with some other investigators outside and he walked up to me and asked if he could see the violin. I said sure and that was the beginning of our teaching experience with him. For a couple times after that, I would bring the violin to our lessons with him and we would play hymns for 30 mins. and then share a lesson with him. It was really fun.
Well, over the past few weeks we´ve gotten to know him better. He belonged to another church here and was really active in it. A few years ago he got married and since then has kind of fallen away from his faith. Even worse, his wife started cheating on him so he divorced her. Well, in his old church, divorce is a sin and because he is divorced, he couldn´t participate in any activities, like play the violin in church. He´s been super sad about this, but lucky for him, divorce is not a sin and he can play wherever he wants. Last week he played the violin in an FHE (btw, we were not there because we were at another FHE. He went by himself! So great!) and then bore his testimony about the church! He is so amazing! I credit our entire experience with Fabio to my mom. If she had not put all of us in viola lessons, I wouldn´t know how to play, and as a result I never would have met Fabio. Thanks Mom!!! You´re a great missionary!!!
So this week, keep Fabio in your prayers. We still have to teach him a few things and he still has questions, so your prayers would really help.
I love you all. Thank you so much for the support! The church is so dang true!
P.S. Practice when your mom tells you to :)
Ghetto costco. We bought 50 hot dog for $5.
Street Youths! Sister JenniferScott and Sister Lauren Whitney
More street youths: Sister Lopes and Sister Whitney
Thanks for the cookie mix Aunt Bec! Haven't seen Grams package yet...
Cookies are different here but still yummy. I shared some of these with David for his birthday.