Monday, January 26, 2015

Wonderful Week

Dear Family!

I do not have much time this week, but here it goes!

This week one of our 4 people was baptised.

Janaina was baptised before church on sunday because she had to work on saturday.  It always happens and is a testimony of it, but I can feel a diference in here now that she has the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Because the baptism was so early, there weren´t that many people there, actually, just us 4 missionaries, her, and her sister who is 12, but as she said it. Só mi ma esh ma Deus, or Just me, them (the missionaries) and God.  God was there, and she will be a strong adition to this branch.
Also, the other attached picture is of me and Américo.  For those who don´t remember, Américo was baptised a bit over a year ago my first week in santo antao.  He served as a recent convert as the ward mission leader, and institute teacher, and a lot of other stuff as he tried to figure out all the things he needed to do.  He is preparing to serve a mission.  He is one of my best friends here in cape verde, and this last week he moved to Sal, and I got to see him this morning.  It was so amazing.  I love being a missionary.

Also this last week in district meeting we learned about a great process that is required to use in teaching, that president Monson also taught as the process required to follow the spirit.  They say it a little differently, but the principles are the same.

Preaching the gospel the Lord’s way includes observing and listening and discerning as prerequisites to talking. The sequence of these four interrelated processes is significant. Please note that active observing and listening precede discerning and that observing, listening, and discerning come before speaking. Employing this pattern enables missionaries to identify and teach to the needs of investigators.

As we observe, listen, and discern, we can be given “in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man” (D&C 84:85)—the truths to emphasize and the answers to give that will meet the specific needs of a particular investigator. Only by observing, listening, and discerning can we be guided by the Spirit to say and do the things that will be most helpful to those whom we serve.

Mormon, the principal compiler of the Book of Mormon, is described as being “quick to observe” (Mormon 1:2). Recall that Ammaron counseled the youthful Mormon to both remember and record all of the things he had observed concerning his people (see Mormon 1:1–5). His ability to look, to notice, to respond, and to obey provides an impressive example for us to study and follow.

Being quick to observe is a vital preparation to receive the spiritual gift of discernment. Discernment is seeing with spiritual eyes and feeling with the heart—seeing and feeling the falsehood of an idea, the goodness in another person, or the next principle that is needed to aid an investigator. Discerning is hearing with spiritual ears and feeling with the heart—hearing and feeling the unspoken concern in a comment or question, the truthfulness of a testimony or doctrine, or the assurance and peace that come by the power of the Holy Ghost.

I frequently have heard President Boyd K. Packer counsel members and priesthood leaders: “If all you know is what you see with your natural eyes and hear with your natural ears, then you will not know very much.” His penetrating observation should help all of us to appropriately desire and seek for these spiritual gifts of observing, listening, and discerning.

President Monson said it like this about following the spirit

President Thomas S. Monson has counseled us to never postpone aprompting. “We watch. We wait. We listen for that still, small voice,” he said in general conference. “When it speaks, wise men and women obey.We do not postpone following promptings of the Spirit.”

I love you all, and hope that we can all conciously be quick to observe, listen, descern, and the follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

I know that he is waiting to guide us.


Elder Sampson

Monday, January 19, 2015

What a Week

Dear Everyone,

Many monumental things happened since last week.

1. I touched Grass.  For the first time in years.  Just with my hand.  I don´t think we are aloud to walk on that patch.  We went running (for the first time) into the 5 star hotel district which is super sweet. (because we were informed that we actually werent supposted to be working out that close to the beach. whoops)

2. I also learned how to cook shark this week.  It was pretty good.  And shrimp.

So this week we had a visit from President Mathews who did interviews with us on Saturday and came to church on Sunday.

It was awesome.  One of the things that he talked about is how in every dispensation there is a physical thing that everyone is invited to see as proof.

we have the book of mormon as proof that Joseph Smith was a prophet,
Christ invited everyone to feel the marks in his hands.
Moses had the tablets with 10 commandments (random comment, but there are lots of people here that believe that there are only 10 commandments)
Noah had the arc!
It was good to talk to him and get some problems resolved.

So this week there were less people in church but we still had tons of investigators.  We have a few people that have been investigating for a long time that last night made the decision to be baptised this week!  We might have 4 baptisms this week.  We are working with them to help with their step of faith!

Also, our branch president got back from Portugal yesterday.  He is awesome.  He is in a wheel chair, and doesn´t have tons of physical movement ability, but he has a strong testimony, and is helping us work better.  He goes back to portugal in 2 months or so to start the major part of his treatment.  Pray for him.

This weekend the district of Santiago North where I was from may until december is breaking off of the praia stake and becoming its own district!  I am super excited and is will be very good to have everything more localized, because they had to travel a lot for trainings and stuff, but now it will just be a 30 or less drive for everyone to get to meetings and trainings!

Trying better to follow my patriarical blessing a few weeks ago we started talking about starting a choir.  On sunday was the first choir practice.

We started learning There is a Green Hill Far Away.
It is a stuggle because there is pretty much no musical experience but we are getting there.
The choir is based off of the theme (D&C 38:27)  I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.

The Purpose of our choir is to
Aprender princípios do Evangelho, da união, da música, e de cantar para que:
1. Nós, os músicos
2. Os que ouvirem o nosso canto
possamos, atravez da música, ser tocado pelo Santo Espírito.

 "Learn principles of the gospel, of oneness, of music, and of singing so that 1. Us the musicians, and

 2. Those who hear our singing can, throught the music, be touched by the Holy Spirit. (that was roughly translated from portuguese)

We learned
Gospel- About the atonement (the words of the hymn)
Oneness- Singing with one voice brings power
Music- A bit of rythm (what a difficult word) and balance
Singing- Posture and Breathing

I know that this is the only way to return to our Heavenly Father!

Elder Sampson

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Power of the Words of God

Dear Everyone,
I hope that before reading my letter you can be edified feasting a little bit on the talk my sister gave in sacrament meeting on the 11th:
As a 17-year-old, I’ve been going to school almost my whole life. 13 years of school means 13 years of tests, 13 years of assignments, and 13 years of homework. It took me until around my sophomore year, though, to realize the point of homework. Homework is designed to reinforce things learned in the classroom. So that by the time I come back to class the next time, I have either mastered the previous lesson’s skill, or have specific questions I can ask my teacher. Now, I’m not saying all homework is like this because I’ve had plenty of homework assigned that I felt was a waste of my time. But the general intent is there- learn the basics in class, go home and practice them, then come back and we’ll move on. Last year I had an AP Calculus class that had homework almost every night. We would go through a section during class, then have homework with problems specific to the material we had learned in the class before. So the wise kids would go home after school, do their math homework, and not worry about it again until the next class period. I’m not that wise. I’d often be in the library during lunch two days later rushing to finish my homework before it was due the next period. Then something wonderful happened. Our teacher adopted a new grading system, so we were no longer graded on homework. He will still give us problems to work on and encouraged us to do it, but there was no longer any accountability for whether or not we had spent the time studying that we needed to. It was great. I thought, “This is perfect. When I don’t understand something, I’ll do the homework, but if I get it, I won’t have to!” I’d like to say I’ve learned a lot about myself since then. For about the first few weeks I kept doing my homework. But then I got busy... and had homework for other classes... and basically stopped doing my math homework altogether. Consequently, I failed quizzes, then did poorly on the unit tests. It goes without saying that I got worse grades in that class than in any other ever.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “[the sacrament] should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage spiritual feelings and impressions... This is the real purpose of the meeting.” So if the sacrament is the key portion of our meetings, what are we doing to prepare to get the most out of it? Are we actively seeking to gain spiritual light and understanding from the few minutes we are here, or do we simply show up to Calculus class, mostly pay attention, take a few notes, then leave and not think about it again until our schedules place it in our laps? I learned a lot from AP Calculus. But I could have gained so much more knowledge (and gotten better grades) if I had done my homework.
So spiritually speaking, what is our homework? What can we do during the week to prepare for the sacrament so we are not only worthy for, but open to the revelation, peace, and light we can gain from taking the sacrament? May I offer just a few suggestions that you may recognize as the primary answers.

Reading your scriptures is excellent. But opening my math textbook and glancing through the problems is also excellent. They say no matter how slow you run, you’re always lapping the people on the couch. So if you’re at the point where you’re just reading a few verses a night, that’s great. Keep doing that. But once you’ve mastered that, start studying! Write in your journal, mark things, and pray as you read to understand and internalize the truths of the scriptures. As you search the scriptures, you will find answers to questions, insight to problems, and an increase of the spirit in your life throughout the entire week.

In a New Era article entitled “An Hour to Watch With Him”, a young man tells of reading the story of atonement and taking it to heart to benefit his sacrament meeting worship. He says, “I realized that the way I could “watch with Him one hour” was in the way I approached sacrament meeting each Sunday. Since then, I have learned that this is an hour in which we can pray to our Heavenly Father in a more meaningful way.” 2 Nephi 32:9 reads, “ 9 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.”

The third ‘primary answer’ is “Go to church.” But ‘going’ to church and ‘being’ at church can be very different things. Some days I showed up to my Calculus class and texted, daydreamed about the weekend, or was too tired to pay attention. By the end of the lesson, I didn’t even know the homework problems I wasn’t going to do.

“Upon instituting the sacrament during His visit to the Nephites, Jesus stated, “He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled.”11 They had been promised that if they hungered and thirsted after righteousness, they would be filled with the Holy Ghost. The sacramental prayer also promises that if we live up to our covenants, we will always have His Spirit to be with us.12“ (Elder Marvin J. Clark,“Blessings of the Sacrament) Being prepared with enough sleep on Saturday and truly hungering and thirsting after righteousness during the meeting can give us one of the greatest gifts of all- the Holy Spirit to be with us.

Just like my Calculus class, our Sacrament homework is not assigned. We are accountable to no one but God for the preparation we put in to get the most out of our Sabbath day. But I know that if we put in the effort, we will be rewarded with blessings and find Sacrament meeting becoming the best part of the week. I’m grateful we have the opportunity to take the Sacrament each week and hope that I can do my homework and find blessings and truth in our Sacrament meetings.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

So this week was Fantastical!
Firstly, Hery was baptised and confirmed this week.  He was super excited.  There are many good things happing these days. I attached pictures of the baptism.  Giovani also passed the sacrament for his first time which was awesome.  Church was super great.  We had 53 people which is a new reacord and 13 of them were our investigators.  We had young womans seperate from the relief society for the first time which was awesome too!  It will be very good for them, and the young womans president is awesome.  The male leadership is a little bit weaker.  We have 1 worthy melchesidic preisthood holder who was called 2 weeks ago as the secritary.  He is awesome and preparing for a mission.  We also have 1 teacher and 1 deacon as of yesterday.  One of the other Elders in our house is the acting branch president.  We need some more male leadership.  The Law of chastity is a big problem here though.  We are working on that. 
In my studies though today I read a great quote that impacted me.
President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Often we spend great effort in trying to increase the activity levels in our stakes. We work diligently to raise the percentages of those attending sacrament meetings. We labor to get a higher percentage of our young men on missions. We strive to improve the numbers of those marrying in the temple. All of these are commendable efforts and important to the growth of the kingdom. But when individual members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and consistently, these other areas of activity will automatically come. Testimonies will increase. Commitment will be strengthened. Families will be fortified. Personal revelation will flow” (“The Power of the Word,” Ensign, May 1986, 81).
The Great thing here is that we can recognize this an work for getting better.  Another quote I loved is:
President Spencer W. Kimball declared: “I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns. I find myself loving more intensely those whom I must love with all my heart and mind and strength, and loving them more, I find it easier to abide their counsel” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 67).

I urge every one of us to become less casual in righeous things.  I know that this will enrich our lives.

I also recieved my Christmas Presents this week along with some of my other stuff so Merry Christmas.
Also this week is my dear Grandma Deanna´s birthday, so Happy Birthday!  I love you!!!

I think this letter is long enough, and the words of others are better than mine.  I will try to make next week´s letter more edifying.

I love you all and hope that this week can be full of revelation.

Elder Sampson

Hery's baptism pictures

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Monday, January 5, 2015

The First Start to a new year

Before I forget, we have a mission blog now
(It will only be updated like once a month though)

Hey Everyone,

So this week was full of adventures and stuff.
Actually it was pretty normal.  (That means adventures and stuff though)

I already said this to a bunch of people, but, school is starting so don´t forget:
All Truth Comes From God
The Oportunity to Learn "Here a little and there a little" "line upon line and precept upon precept" come because of the Atonement of Christ (Without the Atonement, our learning processes would have to be completely perfect and without making mistakes).
When we do our best to learn truth, and not just go to school or do good on tests, God will help us.
The comandment to "examine the scriptures" can be applied to examine all truth.
Begging the Lord to help us learn His truth will result in calm and dedicated learning.

So this week we worked to resolve more differences between Elder Manga and myself so we can be more powerful.
We are used to doing things very differently, and I am definately learning to do what is pure doctrine instead of just habits and stuff.
We still have some way to go, but we will get there!  We are only together until the 1st of Febuary, so we have little time to become the most powerful possible!

This week we had a few rough spots with the new year.  People partying and stuff, but all of that is past now.
We have been working with a couple, Leila and Renny, who need to get married and stuff so they can get baptised.  As a result, I learned many truths this week while we were teaching.
One of these is more about the relationship between God and Jesus Christ, and how the gospel works to create that sort of relationship.  Marrage is an essential step to create that union.  (I am struggling to write a lot because this keyboard is terrible)  Last night we finally made some good steps with them as we read a paragraph from the proclamation.
Leila´s youngest brother who is 10 bore an awesome testimony yesterday in fast and testimony meeting.  He isnt a member yet, but he is the one in his family who is the most diligent to read and pray every day.  His sister who is 12 is the only member in his family.  He is a great example to me.

We also got news today that we finally got permission for Giovany´s cousin Harry to get baptised, so maybe this week, or maybe next week I will get baptised!

Also during fast and testimony meeting, The dog, ziggy, that belongs to Tia´s family (grandma of Harry and Giovany) loves the church, and found his way over and wanted to participate in the meeting.  I was playfully bit a few times in expulsing a dog from our meeting house, but it made me think if sometimes we want to be in church as much as the dog.

I love you all.

Until Next Week.

Elder Sampson
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