Lets begin with the miracles:
On Thursday we went to Santos for a mission conference. This conference was held to celebrate the Brazil Santos mission's first birthday. One year ago the Brazil Santos mission was established and one year ago I received my call to serve in in this wonderful mission. It was a conference full of inspiration for our investigators and our wards. As always the food was delicious and the birthday cake was even better. What is better than birthday cake you may ask? Almost nothing... But I have something! We recieved the news that our mission will recieve an apostle to speak to us in August! We have fourty days to prepare to meet an apostle of the Lord. This is like meeting Matthew, John, or Luke. What an honor. He will greet each of us one by one. And I could not be more excited.
To prepare for the conference with an apostle the entire mission is reading the Book of Mormon in fourty days. That is 17 pages a day. In Pourtuguese. You think it is hard to understand in English? Try a language you have only spoken for two months! But I am determined to finish in 40 days! And I invite all of you to do the same. We have recieved a promise that when we read the Book of Mormon we will be endowed with power from on high. I could think of nothing that my family needs more. POWER. Power to peservere. Power to endure. Power to CONQUER. Just test it out, and if you don't notice something different this time arround, get back up and try again!
Saturday I almost lost all my marbles. But luckily I have some sanity still intact. First thing in the morning we married two of our investigators. I am looking forward to seeing this family baptized the next week. If you thought a wedding was stressful, I had to fill up the baptismal font again.... I am positive that this baptismal font wants to kill me... or at least get me kicked out of Brazil. (Please, do not trust the only Blonde in the entire Brazil Santos mission to fill the font.) Once again I tried to baptize all of Itanhaém in one fell swoop... and just ended up really, really wet. Once again the font overflowed... but much much more than the time before. I was wading in an inch of water... on tile... with bare feet... I fell. And I got back up. And I fell again. But I noticed the longer it took me to stand up, the wetter I got.
This is a lot like life. We might fall, and that is okay. What matters is that we get back up. It doesn't matter how many times you fall, what matters is how many times you get back up. But I noticed another aspect of repentance as I sat soaking wet in the mess I had created. The longer I stayed down, the longer I didn't ask for help, the worse the situation became. The feelings of guilt, embarrassmant, and shame only grew as I sat in this mess. It is the same with repentance. This is how we stand back up in life. We turn to the Lord and ask for forgiveness and His help to overcome. The longer we wait to do this, the harder it becomes to be dry again.
So here is my second invite for the week: together lets begin 40 days of sanctification. (And no, I do not mean try to baptize your entire church building.) Along with our fourty days of reading the Book of Mormon we are going to begin with a fast. During this fast we are going to prayerfully ask the Lord what we need to improve in our lives. And everyday afterwards when we awake we will ask the Lord for strength to improve and change. And every night we will ask the Lord for forgiveness for our weaknesses and strength the next day to do better.
I am positive that your Father in Heaven will help you. And I know that when we strive to be sanctified by the Lord, we will recieve miracles. More miracles than we can count. We will have the constant companionship of the Spirit.
I am excited to grow our testimonies together. Lets bring some miracles into our lives!! I love you all.
I am glad that Riley is home from the hospital. Keep fighting! I know that these next fourty days will be incredible!!
I love you!
Love, Sister Culley