Letter #61

Dear Family and Friends,

This week I welcomed back the ´´you don´t stop sweating´´ weather. It doesn´t matter if you are walking, running, sitting, or looking at a fan- you´re dripping. I´ve upped my water intake; it´s got to be running at about 2 gallons per day, so I´m feeling good. Elder Cordeiro´s dad works offshore in the gas industry, so he sent some high quality water resistant powerful sunscreen. And a lot of it. I still have a lot of mine, but for now we´re both using this. We might look like ghosts, but you don´t mess with the sun.

And now to explain something I call the `´barata phenomenon.´´ Barata means cockroach. I remember, I think my second week here in Brasil, sitting on the floor eating lunch with a family. And a bunch of cockroaches went scurrying by, startling me, to the point of spilling my drink on the floor. It was hard to eat thinking about these armored pests.And now, I feed them by hand.

Okay, overstatement. Yet, I have become accustomed to their presence. Only the ones the size of tanks make me weary. That too will pass. As the new becomes the norm, our reactions change. The cockroach didn´t change and become cuter, I changed. I think it´s an important lesson about sin. Sin stays the same, but as we stay around it, we change. We hate it, then accept it, and then love it. The challenge, is to always hate it. Not to yield. I´ve heard that you are the average of the five people closest to you. That might be a simplification, but contains a lot of truth. We have to constantly surround ourselves with people who can help us improve, and not decline.

Yesterday, at about 8 pm as we were working in the center of town, the lights went out on Broadway here. It was very strange seeing the city go from living to almost dead. The only thing moving were cars. The city had become a ghost town. And I thought how important it is that we are getting light from the right source. Maybe it seems like our work, or sports, or money is providing light. Nevertheless, the power will be cut. This light doesn’t last. The honeymoon doesn’t last forever. As Christ taught, He is the light and the life. As we build our foundation upon him, we will never be in darkness. We will be tried and tested but the King of kings will forever be our lighthouse steering us clear of the deadly shoals, until we make it to the safe harbor of Everlasting Life.

This week I talked about diligence in both sacrament meeting and our weekly district meeting. I really like this scripture from Moroni 9:6

´´And now my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.´´

We all have a labor to perform. A work waiting for us. I am thankful for these opportunity to be a missionary, and work in the field of salvation. As any farmer worth his weight in beans knows, you have to be diligent in planting, cultivating, and in harvesting if you want a good payoff. And, of course, to trust in the Grand Master above, and in his timing with rain and everything else. And we´re trying to do that here, and I hope that you too are being diligent in your life´s work.

Love,

Elder Schenewark

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