This week was great! There were a lot of highs and a lot of lows this week, quite crazy. But in the end, that's all part of the experience so it was good. Two highlights of the week: 1. The Teixeira Conference was so great. I was sitting waiting for it to start and suddenly someone came up behind me and gave me a huge hug and it was Filomena! Both she and Elder Teixeira did such a great job. The funniest part was when Sister Teixeira was giving her part, and she was talking about how we need to eat well and she said, "look at president Poznanski, he has gained about 8 kilos since he's been president, he doesnt look the same as when I first met him. You dont want to gain 8 kilos." Yeah, everyone was kind of awkwardly laughing, probably some damage control from Soeur Poznanski after that one. haha
Elder Teixeira talked a lot about the importance of being a missionary in every aspect of the word and breaking cultural barriers; He talked about when he went to Sao Paolo to be mission pres, he saw the mission average for lessons taught was 6 or 7 and in his first zone conference he told the missionaries he was changing the standard of excellence to 21 lessons a week. About three weeks went by and Elder Sullivan mailed him and got 21 lessons and apparently never had a week after that on his mission he didnt teach 21 lessons. Ultimately this elder was district leader and his whole district started teaching 21 a week, then when he was zone leader his whole zone started teaching 21, etc. It was a crazy cool story. He talked a little bit about breaking cultural barriers as well, how we need to identify if people are being held back because they dont understand the doctrine or if it is because of cultural things holding them back. That's something Soeur Dawson and I have been trying to work on, is how to break down cultural walls. Anyways, it was such a great conference, zone conferences are definitely one of my favorite things. It was so much fun too seeing the Teixeira family, they were so nice. And one of my favorite parts, an elder and sister sang "The Prayer" you know by Andrei Bodicelli and I got to accompany them, and it was so good. They have the most amazing voices, they both want to sing professionally after mission. They sang for the special musical number and then were asked to do an encore and sing it again at the end. It was beautiful.
This week we also had a rendez-vous with Jehovah Witnesses, first and last. It was so exhausting spiritually and mentally. At the end we left it well, told them how great it is to see other people living their faith and sharing it with other people. Im grateful for the Book of Mormon so that everything isnt just based on different interpretations of the Bible.
The other awesome thing this week was our lesson with Alejandra. We invited her to the church to have a picnic slash a lesson. This was going to be really our first real lesson with her, last time it was really just listening to her and figuring out where she was at and explaining a little who we were as missionaries. So, we got all the stuff ready for dinner, Soeur Dawson made special chicken for the sandwiches, etc. etc. we tried to dress so that we looked as normal as possible, (not black skirts to the floor) and we went to meet her at the church. She had eight exams that week and for some reason still made time to take a train and a bus so she could have a rendez-vous with us. We were honestly wondering how she had so much motivation to make time out of her busy schedule to meet with us before she really even knows anything. So to start off the lesson we just asked her what she knew about our church, she said "really nothing honestly."
So, we had planned to share the Joseph Smith story and just focus on his experience. At the end she said, "I wish I was like Joseph Smith and could receive answers from God." She said for so long in her life she has always heard about people saying God speaks to them and she was always frustrated because she never had any experience when she felt like God has spoken to her. One night she was watching something on TV and it was about children in Africa and all the tragedies there. She was so frustrated because that's her whole desire to help people in Africa but she just feels stuck and doesnt know how to help or how to move forward in her life. She said that night she went into her room so frustrated and then she saw her Bible. She opened it up to a random page and read the scripture that says "for everything there is a time and a season." she said she felt something really strongly and she said, "it was really weird because I even started to cry because fo the feeling." she called her dad because she was so excited and said, "God just spoke to me!" She said she wants more direction in her life and to learn how God spekas to her. We told her that she could, we told her about the Book of Mormon and she said she wanted to start that night reading. It was a really good lesson, keep praying for her!
I love you all!
Soeur Alyssa Chard