Monday, December 15, 2014

Samuel the Lamanite

"Feliz Natal" Merry Christmas with the tree that's in the chapel


Well here comes the news *drum roll*... I will be transferred to São Pedro do Sul (a small city about 40 mins from Santa Maria) this Tuesday. My new companion will be Elder Alvarenga (I haven't seen it spelled but I think its like that) another Brasilian who appears to have been in São Pedro for a good time now so that's a relief that we won't be totally lost. But actually I've already been to São Pedro once before. The missionaries there were (and still are) in the same district as the missionaries in the ward where I first served. One day I went on a division to the area so I've already seen the apartment, the place where the branch (oh yea and it's a branch there) meets, and met some people (not that I remember how to get anywhere though haha). And because I'll be in the same district as where I was back in Urlândia we will have District meetings back in my old chapel there. And certainly that means I will eat lunch with and see some of the good old friends of the ward which will be cool. 

In my studies I recently read the story of Samuel the Lamanite in Helaman 13-15. Being here on the mission as I read, I saw the story in a different light. So Samuel was transferred to his new area in Zarahemla where he was received awfully by the now wicked Nephites. Samuel did exactly what God commanded him to do, preach repentance unto the people and the coming of Christ. But it could have appeared to him that he had little to no visible success or fruits of his efforts. We can tell that Samuel was a good missionary and well prepared, listening to the spirit and courageously returning to the city and was even protected from the arrows by the Lord. But sadly, the majority of the people still rejected him and he had to flee from the city. I wonder what Samuel was thinking as he walked back to his home land. "Wow that was a huge waste of time! Why didn't they change?, Did I do everything that I could have?" Samuel had a special purpose (as with all of us) where we are called to serve. Samuel certainly wasn't held back from blessings or miracles and in Helaman 16 we learn that there were few who believed in the words of Samuel who sought out Nephi and were baptized. Samuel left his area better than when he arrived even though he never baptized anyone personally, even though he could have thought it should have worked out differently, he did his part and the Lord surely accepted his work and sacrifice. As Elder Araújo and I were teaching a lesson to one of our investigators and I saw the change in his face and the desire in his eyes as he asked "what do I need to do to prepare to be baptized?" I felt the spirit confirm to me that I have left my area here in Cruz Alta better than when I arrived. And that's when I remembered Samuel and wanted to share that with y'all. We even had surprise interviews with President Parrela this past week and I asked him if the difficulties and the work that I have done here were the will of the Lord. And he said "Elder Pierce, if you are obedient and diligent in the work it is the Lord's will. You are an excellent missionary and I confide in you. Never let numbers or competitiveness distract you from seeing what really matters." 
The chapel in Cruz Alta

So I leave here in Cruz Alta with many new friends and many experiences. A bit sad that my time wasn't a little longer and having to say goodbye to all the wonderful people here. But it wont do to get choked up when I have to sing as my last message for all the investigators and members and in Sacrament meeting haha. And I'm headed to São Pedro with great hope and I can't wait to see what the Lord has it store next.

Loves to everybody! and best wishes with all the holiday preparations and concerts and all that good stuff! Just a bit more until Christmas and skype!!!

Elder Pierce
nós comendo sorvete
This was our district with 12 elders so we are" the District of the Twelve" haha like quorum of the 12 and we all stood in our order of mission time, haha. I was in the place of Holland.
This is a family of investigators that I told you about- they were the hardest to say good bye to
(the mom still says that shes "gonna get" Pres Parrela).
 They made us a mini churrasco as a farewell dinner for me.
                            Funny, here in Cruz Alta there are lots of VW bugs, including these...

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