From November 19, 2013
So today is my 5 month mark away from home. Time flies by, yet a ton has happened. Miracles happen left and right if you just open your eyes to them. For example, I have to get knee surgery. Boo hoo. At first I was praying that I wouldn't have to get knee surgery, because typically when you're on a mission you get sent home for surgery, no q's asked. There's a missionary who left home yesterday because he has to get surgery on his wrist. He should've left in December but he has to go now. So this happens all the time. But after seeing a series of miracles, I'm more blessed than bummed.
First of all, it's a minor surgery, so I do NOT have to get sent home for it. Miracle in and of itself. Second of all, and perhaps more important, I'm not in Brazil yet. If everything would've gone "according to plan" I would be in Brazil right now, and definitely would've gotten sent home, because they wouldn't let me get surgery internationally. I hurt my knee by kicking a soccer ball. I've kicked thousands of soccer balls, and I've never had to get surgery because of it. But because of what the doctor said, this was going to happen eventually. I don't think it's coincidence that it happened while I was randomly kicking a ball in NY, as opposed to Brazil. Part of my reason for being here may be to get surgery, and be all healed before going to Brazil, and kicking thousands more soccer balls:) So I'm grateful that I am where I am, and it doesn't bother me that I'm not in Brazil yet.
So in our ward the sister missionaries started what's called the ward fast calendar. I hope I haven't mentioned this yet, because I can't remember. But anyway people in the congregation sign up for a day to fast on. They sacrifice two meals and consecrate that day to fasting and remembering and praying for certain people. The missionaries call these families the night before they are going to fast, and they tell the family which names the missionaries have asked them to fast for. The night after they fast, the missionaries call again and report all the miracles they witnessed that day, and thank the families for contributing to those miracles through their sacrifices. There's something about getting a whole network of people to sacrifice and pray for one cause, that produces miracles and blessings beyond what it would've been without the sacrifice. The miracles have been overwhelming, and part of that is due to the fact that we're simply opening our eyes. Always watch for miracles, because they're there.
One exciting thing that we were able to do this week is attend a Baptist Gospelfest, or gospel music concert. It was a hit, and more than 300 people showed up. A featured singer from Georgia sang, and she knocked the roof off the place. The choir that sang also blew us away, and gave us a free CD (despite the $10 required donation we paid:)). That was so much fun, and even though we were 2 white people out of about 8-10 there total, we felt fellowshipped and made a lot of friends.
Sorry the email is so long, there was just a lot that went on this week. I can't write nearly as much as I want to!
Have a great week-
Elder Jake Hirschi