Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Confessions of a Joselito

Well after 8 weeks with my companion, we are finally really good friends. I am not saying that we weren't friends until now, but it is really only after about two months of living with someone that you finally understand them. We had a terrific week of work and sunday morning was a success- 10 investigators at church! We are working with some wonderful people who are finally ready for their baptisms.

Sanderly made some sacrifices this past sunday to go to church, and it looks like the time we went and helped them move two weeks ago made a difference in our relationship with her and her husband Williames. They trust us a lot more, and are making good progress. Tomorrow night we will have a Family Home Evening in their new home with two other young couples from the ward, and if everything continues (with lots of faith) Sanderly will be baptized on Friday.

Also on track is a young man named Anaelson who has made some serious changes in his life and is realizing in a very vivid way that when he obeys the commandments of God, he is blessed. He came here to live with his uncle (a recent convert) about two months ago, and started going to church, quit his old life of messing around and started to read the Book of Mormon every day. Within a week, he finally found a job and everything was going well. With the newfound success Anaelson forgot a little bit about who had helped him, and he didn't go to church for a couple of weeks, quit reading, and we were having a tough time teaching him and helping him make progress.

All of the sudden he lost his job and his friend was killed and he found himself in the same position as before - desperately needing the help of Heavenly Father. This time Anaelson is more determined, this past sunday he went to church and the the funeral of his freind, and is excited to be baptized and receive the help of God and the Holy Ghost. We are working with a few other families, but most of them fell of the boat this past sunday and we will have to see if we can get them excited about general conference this weekend.

For those of you reading this who are not members of the church, an apology for whipping around so many "mormon" terms without there explanations. General Conference this saturday and sunday will be our oppurtuity to hear the words of modern revelation, that God communicates to His prophet and apostles here and now. This weekend will be a sacred and defining moment. Heavenly Father will give us counsel, warnings, wisdom and love. Each of us will have the oppurtunity to listen and hear, feel and do. Unfortunately, many will listen, but few will hear. Many will feel but few will do. Each of us has to make a decision, prepare ourselves spiritually and then remember and realize the counsel we will be given. I am so grateful for the opportunity to hear living, wise prophets and apostles who will give us the Word of God as it has been revealed for us in our own day.

Some of you might be wondering who joselito and what his confessions have to do with anything. Joselito is me. Joselito is the name of a rather stupid idiot who made himself famous on brazilian tv by showing how stupid he was. Now that my compaion knows me well and observes my habits and personality, he enjoys calling me joselito when i do something stupid, and for those of you who really know me, you'll know its more often than my misleading organized, civilized image suggests. (well at least I like to think I have this image, but I think the reality is my joselitoness is more evident than I had previously imagined).

I am a joselito when I: leave the door open, the iron on, the sink dripping, say something stupid in a ward or district meeting, trip myself on the street, forget to call the Mission President when its my turn, mess up my desk, forget to put salt when I cook food and sugar when I make the juice.

I am glad my companion is helping my un-joselito-size myself. Our first project is to fix the way that I walk. I've been told that I walk like an elephant, a cowboy, those african women who have fifty metal rings on their necks and practically bounce down the street. I identified the problem as being my unnaturally sized steps. I believe I started taking large steps when i was 11 or 12 because I wanted to be more like my dad, who is taller than me and so naturally takes larger steps. Being that I never really grew as tall as I expected or wished, (well my arms did but my height never caught up), I got left with this large step that makes me bounce as i walk. Now that i have the custom to walk alot faster, i think the problem has been magnified. Its one thing to bounce a little as you walk in sandals from the parking lot into the school, but when you go fast and you walk 5-10 miles a day, its a lot uglier of a picture.

For those of you who have previously mentioned this problem to me, thank you for having courage to tell me about it, and sorry that i never listened or i denied it. Here people are a bit more blunt, and I have heard quite a bit about my goonish way of walking. (Particularly from Williames, Sanderly´s husband who likes to play around with everyone). So this week, for the first week of my life, I have tried to the maximum to walk like a normal human being. I try and match the steps of my companion who is a little bit shorter than me (but i figure its best to try and overfix the problem than to underfix). My confession is that it has been excruciatingly difficult, but I have made considerable progress.

So there you have it, the first confession of a Joselito. When you think about it, the whole notion that we can change who we are is one of the most important realities we have to understand. Our character is composed of thousands of daily choices we often make without realizing it. We have each been given a distinct personality, genetic identity and family and cultural temperament, but in the end, it will be our own decisions what will determine our future, our character and our eternal destiny. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of faith and repentance. Repentance is change. We have to change - its a fact. Whether its changing the way you walk, the way you talk or getting rid of those habits that have held you back for years, its worth it to give it a shot. Who knows, you just might take a little bit of the joselito out of yourself too!

Elder Monroe