Happy New Years everyone! I hope that you all had a great new years and that everything is going well for you all. This week was a little bittersweet because it was my first time not being with the family for new years but it was a great week! The language is beginning to get a little easier and I feel that I am finally being able to settle down and get my mission off on a good start here in Manaus! So New Years was pretty fun here and I would say different than the US but it was a great experience. Everyone is on the streets and fireworks go off everywhere. Usually just small ones but they are everywhere and it is so loud. A lot of people drink the whole week so that was pretty difficult this week to teach people. I can honestly say being here in Brazil that I have never felt so alone but then again I have never felt the Lord so close to me than at this point in my life. You know the mission defiantly is not easy, but it is because of our Savior that it is made possible. That is one feeling that I never want to go away is when I can feel him helping me and even carrying me throughout the day. This past week was fast Sunday and it was probably the hardest fast that I have ever attempted in my life haha. Going without food and water in this area is so difficult but during this fast I gained a strong testimony that he hears and answers our prayers. I know that when we sacrifice that he has sacrificed so much more. That is one thing that I always remind myself being out here on the mission. I always ask myself why is this so hard? Why do I worry about little things? If I am doing the right thing making good decisions than why is it hard? These questions run through my head ALL of the time. Every time I think about that I think about our Savior and reflect back on his life. You know, he was absolutely perfect, but his life was harder than I think all of ours put together. He didn´t do anything wrong, but yet he has felt everything that we have felt and that is because he loves us. He did that so he could help us, so that our lives would be bearable. Looking back on my life it seems that whenever I make the right decision it is always the hardest at first.... but after sticking with it and persevering it is the most beneficial for my life. I look back on all the decisions that I have made and I can see how when I make the easy decision that it really just makes it more difficult for me in the end and although it might appear to make me happy.... in the end it doesn´t make me as happy as I could be! Just this past week we had a family home evening with a part member family and we watched this DVD Juntos para sempre (Together Forever). In this film it showed people making hard decisions but the end results being true and everlasting happiness. I know that this is so true. This decision to leave my family for 2 years has been the hardest thing I have ever done, but I have already learned so many things that I wouldn´t change for the world. I have learned so much about our Savior and everything that he has done for me and I know that living this gospel is not east. I know that doing the right thing isn´t easy and it isn´t suppose to be. If it were easy than a lot more people would be doing it, but I can tell you one thing. That living this gospel is WORTH it! I have made mistakes growing up...we all make mistakes, but I can tell you that when I made a mistake I was happy at first. The difference is EVERLASTING happiness. You can go through life and go with the crowd, be the cool kid, do the cool things and be happy. But I can tell you one thing, you would be missing out on so much. You would be missing out on so many blessing and most importantly you would be missing out on having EVERLASTING happiness. This gospel is not an easy thing to live, but it is worth it in the end. The blessing that our Heavenly Father have in store for us is amazing. He has provided us with a way to return to live with him.... and not only just that but be with the one thing that I miss the most and makes me the happiest person in this world...My Family! I know without a doubt this gospel and church is true. I know that it isn´t easy. I know it isn´t easy to stand out growing up and I know that sometimes we make mistakes because I made my fair share of them. But none of us are perfect and that is why our Savior, Jesus Christ, came to this earth and atoned for our sins so we could repent and learn from our mistakes! I know that living the gospel is what will make you happier in the end and I leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
I love you all so much and if there is anything that you need just write me and I will do all I can to help you out! I pray for you guys every single day and can´t wait to be able to catch up more when I return! Be strong and make the right decision, even if it is the harder one! I love ya'll!
Love, Elder Brock