Monday, January 27, 2014

Strong gang of Young Men

John shared this story with Jordan:

I really liked hearing the story of Rodrigo. It's amazing what one person can do to influence so many others - both for good and for bad.
I remember we were teaching in the Bigorrilho ward in Curitiba.  We were tracting a newer working class neighborhood with dirt streets and no bigger than Century Oaks. We were introduced to a lady at church one Sunday, who lived in that neighborhood and had been invited by a friend. We asked if we could pass by her home that week to share a message with her and her family. She agreed but when we arrived at her door we could hear arguing within the apartment. We knocked and when the door opened we could see that the lady we had met at church had been crying. We asked if there might be a better time to come back but she insisted we come in. As we sat down the husband walked into the family room wearing military pants and boots without a shirt. He said, "My name is Magalhaes, I'm a military policeman, a tough guy, go ahead and try to teach me." We swallowed hard and began to teach.  The softening was almost immediate. He asked if we could return.  On the next visit, Mr. Magalhaes had read all that we had assigned, started obeying the word of wisdom and wanted to come to church. At church, people would ask him if he was visiting. His response, "I'm not visiting it's just my first time."  Magalhaes was known in the neighborhood as a ruffian who liked to frequent the corner bars, get in fights and generally cause a ruckus.  He, his wife and his sister were baptized. The change that was seen in him was immediate and contrasted greatly with his previously led lifestyle. Others in the neighborhood took notice and they wanted to know more about this gospel that had changed him so much. Because of Magalhaes' example, about 12 others in that neighborhood were baptized as well.
You never know the impact of one person, like Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah who changed their lives and became great vessels in the Lord's hands. Rodrigo made me think of that experience I had in Curitiba.

Jordan responded to John's letter:

That story is way cool.  I told my companion about it and he liked it a lot too.  Some people are so ready to hear the gospel and can influence others in the best way.  We've been really trying to focus on the young men in our ward.  There are about 10 that come every week.  Literally none of them have parents active in the church, but they have each other.  One of them is especially cool and so solid in the church.  His name is Lucas but we call him "Presidente" because he’s the teacher’s quorum president.  His whole family are members of  the church but no one else is active.  His mom lives with her boyfriend, his brother messes with a lot of sin, and his little brothers just look up to him.  He was the first young man in the ward to accept the assignment to give a talk in sacrament meeting this past week!  We went over there for an hour last week and helped him prepare the talk.  He totally killed it.
We are also teaching his cousin who has the same potential to be an  awesome example to his family.  His name is Ygor and he’s going to be  baptized this Saturday.  We were in a lesson last Monday night with Ygor’s family and we asked Lucas to bare testimony of the Book of  Mormon.  He said, "The Book of Mormon is true. Everything inside is the word of God. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."  It was just so simple and so powerful!  Ygor's mom was blown away.  She told us, “I already have my own church, but I want Ygor to be a part of yours." These young men are awesome. It’s not easy to make good decisions here but they know what’s  right and have no doubt that they’ll be better because of what they’re  doing.
Hey here’s something cool about Minas Gerais, Brazil.  Everyone here speaks at least two words of English: Why and train.  They say why all the time. Haha They spell it "uai."  Here’s a quick history lesson.  A long time ago the British came to Minas Gerais to visit the mountains and look for gold and other stuff.  The Brazilians here were doing stuff really different than how the British thought it should be done so they kept saying, "Why do they do this?" "Why is it this way?" "Why don’t they do that?" and the people here just picked it up. Uai doesn’t really have any meaning so they just throw it into sentences like,  "Uai! Just go to the store then."  "She’s my sister. uai!" "Uai! You didn’t read the scripture?" It’s pretty funny.  And train just means “thing" but only in this state of Brazil. They say "Can you get that train for me?" It doesn’t really make sense but everyone says it here.
I love you Dad,
Elder Marsh

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