Talking to my family yesterday was wonderful beyond Português or English description, and reaffirmed to me that I have the most gorgeous, hilarious, tallented, clever, witty, wonderful family in the world. It's too bad that everyone can't have my family. What a lucky, lucky girl I am.
As I've said many times, the people here in Jequié are extremely friendly. The exceptions are few, but one of them lives on our street and we pass her every day. She's a dwarf who has a lot of friends always visiting with her, but who refuses to even acknowledge our existence when we pass her every morning and every night and say as cheerfully as we can manage, "Bom dia!" or "Boa noite!" I can't help but hear in my head the voice of Will Ferrell every time whispering, "She's an angry elf".
Last week we had the opportunity to teach a woman who invited us willingly into her house because she had some parts of the Bible she wanted help understanding. Of course we were only too happy to be of assistance! She said she'd already studied with the Jehovah's Witnesses and several missionaries from other churches, but that there were still parts of the Bible that didn't make sense to her. I was a little nervous that maybe the doctrine she didn't get would be over my head, but we just trusted in the Spirit and asked her what it was she didn't understand.
The woman, Dejanira, then proceeded to open her Bible to several seemingly-random scriptures, some Proverbs, some in the New Testament, and some in Nehumi (I think that's how you spell that one in English...?). As we read each scripture with her, the one thing they all had in common was reference to going "up to the mountains" or "up to the mount". Dejanira was very concerned that the scriptures so clearly wanted her to go up to the mountains, but that she didn't understand why or to which mountains. I explained to her that in the scriptures, "mountains" usually are symbolic of the temple of the Lord. Her eyes lit up and she said, "Yes, yes!" and pointed out that the following verses of these scriptures usually referred to the House of the Lord, and that she didn't understand what that meant either. So we got to explain to her about temples and that, because the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth in its fulness through a living prophet, we have temples on the earth again, just as in times of old. We read with her some more scriptures (the book of Hagai is awesome, by the way) and showed her pictures of the temple in Recifi (the one closest to Bahia). We also explained that through the blessings of the temple, it is possible to be sealed to our families for eternity. She was so excited that she grabbed fistfulls of her hair and cried, "The Lord sent you to me today! This was exactly what I needed to hear!" Her friend had died the day before and she'd been very troubled, reading the Bible and not understanding. She said she wanted someone to sit with her at all times to explain the scriptures to her and we said that we had something even better: The Book of Mormon. We showed her how she can use the Book of Mormon and the Bible together to better understand the doctrines taught and she nearly burst into tears, she was so excited. We sat with her for a while, just looking up specific topics, like Charity, and reading scriptures that talked about the same subject in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon. She LOVED it! And it made me even more grateful for the blessings of the restored gospel.We really have it so good!
I'm super excited to keep working with her. I can see her as a temple worker already. I think she'll really go to town with indexing and family history work someday.
The church is true. It is so, so true. I love being a part of this work! It's certainly challenging, but there's nothing in the world like seeing the light go on in someone's eyes when they finally get it.
I love you all, and I wish you an awesome week!