August 20, 2012
I really do enjoy your letters, thanks a bunch for sending them. I like the themes to them and how you get straight to the point. I shall attempt to do the same.
Outer Darkness/Great Apostasy
Brasil, about 30 or 40 years ago, was basically entirely Catholic, but in recent years, Evangelical and Pentecostal churches have been taking over. I’m not sure, but I think since I’ve arrived here, the demographic for Catholics have sunk below 50% of the population. The result is a huge number of different, unorganized churches. They are completely apostate, teaching the philosophies of man, mingled with scriptures (principally scriptures referring to tithing) 2 Nephi 26 – 30 are accurate and descriptive of how things are here. It’s a bit uncanny. I’m pretty sure when Nephi had this vision, he saw Brazil. Especially accurate are 2 Nephi 26: 20 – 21; 28:1-15; 29: 3-10. Even worse, next to our house three is an Evangelical church, and every other night they have worship service, where everyone gets together and starts shouting and screaming.
Here in Brazil, I’m picking up some good skills. I’m slowly, but steadily, learning how to cook. I now am a master of pancakes, brownies, omelets, and Ham and Cheese sandwiches. Also, I’m getting pretty good at Jimmy-riggin things. Thus far, I have successfully (somewhat) repaired our washing machine and “water heater” (It’s not even close to being the same thing in the US. It’s connected directly to the shower heard). Along with these things, I’ve also gained a few skills offering service to ward members, including using a weed whacker, changing a doorknob and painting. Yes, I’m becoming a more well-rounded person.
Another thing that I’m doing better at is the language. I’m starting to like Portuguese better then English. A lot of things just make sense in Portuguese. I’ve been working hard to expand my vocabulary, and to eliminate my accent. As of now, the people think I’m Brazilian until I open my mouth and start speaking. I want them to think I’m Brazilian even while I’m speaking.
I’m starting to appreciate more all of the things you and mom taught me, and the patience you had with me. I meet a lot of people, and a lot of families. There are LOT of families with serious problems that I never had to deal with. Firstly, this makes me extremely grateful for you. Thanks!! Secondly, it gives me ideas of how I can one day be a good parent. It’s a fine thing….. (oops, I started writing in Portuguese)
I walk out of my house here every day, and I already see lots of people on the street. They go to and from, trying to make their way through life. Many of them are suffering, are hungry, are lost. All of them are my brothers and sisters. All of them need the gospel, so that they can return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. Who are the people that our Heavenly Father has entrusted to bring them safely home? ME and Elder Woodruff. It’s a great responsibility -- one of the greatest in the world. I’m so humbled to be a part of this work. We talk to people, we preach, teach, invite, call to repentance, all in the name of Jesus Christ. The Lord gives us power and Authority through the Spirit to do all these things.
One of the most exhilarating parts of missionary work is to see how the Spirit works in myself and in others. I feel the promise of the Lord in D&C 100: 5-8, all the time.
D&C 100: 5 Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; aspeak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be bconfounded before men;
6 For it shall be agiven you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.
7 But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye adeclare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.
8 And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the aHoly Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say.
A week ago Elder Woodruff and I visited a less active member and her two sons, Mateus and Lucas, who aren’t members. It’s been a while since we’re been teaching them. We’ve been working hard to get the mom to quit smoking, but she hasn’t. We’ve been working to get Mateus and Lucas to read and pray. We’ve been working hard to bring this broken family together through the Gospel, but it hadn’t work. During this visit, the mom was still smoking, and complaining to us about how her sons were delinquents, and her sons were yelling and swearing at her. I didn’t know what to do at all. I was about ready to leave that place, and let future missionaries try to help them. There came a silence in the fighting and swearing, and Elder Woodruff looked at me, waiting to see how I would proceed. I had nothing… until a few moments passed and the thought came to me. The Book of Mormon! I quickly took control of the situation, and told everyone to get their Book of Mormons and open to 1 Nephi 1. And we read together. I helped Mateus and Lucas understand by putting their names in the place of Nephi and Lehi. In the place of Jerusalem, I put Guaraituba. We read the whole first chapter and when we finished, I saw and beheld the powerful effect of the Book of Mormon. The spirit was there. None of us had the desire to fight or swear, but to learn about Christ. Elder Woodruff and I bore testimony and invited them to read together as a family from the Book of Mormon. Then we left.
The next time we passed by, they had all calmed down a bit and had already read to 1 Nephi 4. Even better, yesterday Mateus and Lucas came to church.
I know that this is the work of the Lord. I know through obedience and diligence, I will have the holy Ghost with me. I know that with the Holy Ghost, we can work miracles in the name of Christ, in the lives of others. I know the Lord has sent me here because he has a wise purpose in mind.
I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, the most correct book on the planet, and that man will get closer to God reading and following the precepts of the Book of Mormon than from those of any other book.
The Church is the true and only Church of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is my master and Redeemer.
Love Elder Twitchell