It is hard to believe that another week has already passed. It is probably a consequence of how busy we have been here in Belo Horizonte. We are grateful to be laboring in a work inspired by the Spirit. Recently, we had a district meeting with the younger missionaries in our three wards. One of them raised the question of what discourages us as missionaries. I think that at times we are sad when we work with those who make decisions that do not lead to Christ. There are also times when we are disappointed when we work with those that are unable to raise their vision regarding the blessings available through the gospel. There are other times when we feel exhausted. However, I do not believe that discouragement is part of our repertoire of feelings and experiences. The reason is that we do receive inspiration in the Lord’s work. This past week we arrived at the church to spend the evening working with the ward mission leader. All of our plans for the evening had fallen through, so we prayed to be lead by the Spirit and took off in the mission leader’s car. The three of us were each inspired with the names of different people to visit. At each stop, we experienced the miracle of knowing that we were in the right place at the right time.
Monday, we had family home evening here in our apartment. Afterwards, as we were cleaning up, we received an unexpected ring from the interphone at the gate to our apartment. Another couple had arrived, delayed trying to find us. As a result, we started a second home evening. For us, it was a great night.
Tuesday, we spent the day in Riberão das Neves, and hour plus bus ride away, for a Zone Conference with all the missionaries from the Pampulha Stake. I have two observations to share. First, the mission president always comments on the fact that as senior missionaries, we do not have the same rules as the younger missionaries. We have access to various resources, such as the internet and having family home evenings with investigators and less-active members in our home. While a mission is a time for training of the younger missionaries, we are trusted to serve using all of our resources and experiences. Second, the composition of the missionaries here has changed dramatically since my first mission. When I returned 40 years ago, we had about 90 missionaries to cover the city and most of the state of São Paulo. We had one Brazilian Elder in the mission. Today, our stake alone has 26 missionaries. Including us, there are only 5 Americans. The rest are Brazilians from all over the country, as well as missionaries from Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Paraguay.
For our P-day, we visited the quiet neighborhood of Santa Tereza followed by a visit to the city center. We were also able to attend a performance at the Music Conservatory. Wednesday afternoons, they have a series of performances in an area adjacent to street, where pedestrians can stop for an afternoon concert. This week, it was a trio performing original Brazilian compositions.
Our best wishes to all of you.