November 18, 2019


Ala 1, Livramento, Brazil


Elder Matthew Odenwalder

Week 22: Fancy Food and Finding Old Friends

Brothers and Sisters,

This week we had a zone conference. The zone conference was on Thursday, but on Wednesday night we had a bit of a surprise. It was dark out and getting a little close to the hour we had to be home, we were pretty far from our house and we didn’t have any more plans for the night so we were on our way towards our house. We walked past a churrascaria (a fancy restaurant) and all of a sudden 2 missionaries I had never met ran out of the restaurant and stopped us. They asked if we had any appointments that we had to make, we said no and they invited us to dinner with the mission president. The 2 missionaries were the new assistants to the president and we had the luck to walk past the restaurant that President Becerra was eating at right as dinner was starting. It was the fanciest restaurant I've ever eaten at. It was an unlimited buffet, but they had waiters walking by with all kinds of fancy meats, they would ask if you wanted a certain type and they would cut it right off the spit for you. It was just the president, his wife, his assistants, and us. It was really cool to get to know them a little better because there are so many missionaries that only the assistants and the secretaries really get to know the president.

The next day was the zone conference, it was only my second zone conference. This time, it was our zone combined with the zone from Alegrete. We had a really good conference. They talked a lot about the new Preach my Gospel, Missionary handbook, and daily planners that we’re getting this month. All of the changes will help move the focus from the numbers to the people that we’re teaching. We also learned that at some point in the next few months the mission will get smartphones to help record information better. President Becerra also talked a lot about the things you have control over: he talked about how a lot of missionaries measure progress by how many baptisms they have, but in truth we don't have control over whether or not people will accept baptism. What we do have control over and what really determines our success as missionaries is whether or not we get out of bed on time, whether or not we leave our house and are on the street by 10, whether or not we are talking with the people we pass on the street, and other examples. He said that as we are being obedient with the little things we will be blessed and we will see plenty of people we teach be baptized but that isn't how we should determine whether or not we are good missionaries. After the conference it was already getting kind of late, all the missionaries from Alegrete and the other cities in our zone (Rosario and São Gabriel) had already left. President took the missionaries from Livramento out to pizza before he returned to Santa Maria.

This week started out pretty difficult, Felipe told us with no explanation that he didn't want to talk with us anymore and Angelita was avoiding us and not answering her door. We spent a lot of time trying to meet new people, which is always a bit difficult. Then after zone conference, everything turned around. We ran into Angelita in the street, we talked a little with her and that broke the ice, we started visiting her again this weekend and once again she wants to be baptized. We also met Lucero this week. Lucero has depression and is in search of peace in his life. He has a lot of faith and has been going to different churches searching for the truth. He came with us to church on Sunday and he liked it, he said that he felt good there and saw that everyone was happy. We went to visit him on Sunday night and he was out front talking with his neighbor about that questions he had from church. He still has doubts about our church, but he started reading the Book of Mormon and he is searching for answers so I know if he continues he will receive the answers and the peace that he's searching for.


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