Monday, May 26, 2014

Elder Cetraro's last email home on his Mission:

oh Minha Nossa!! Chegou!

I thought this day would never come.... ha actually, I knew this day would come, and because of that I always have lost myself in my full time service while I can. I remember reading the story you just sent me of the return missionary my last week of training with my Zone Leader Elder Heath in Juazeiro. I remember I cried that day, I didn’t want that day to come, I dreaded the thought of it... in a good way.

I love serving the Lord, and as many youth are saying now-a-days... you only live once, YOLO, I knew that as well, you only serve once. But hey, that is life. God gives us many opportunities in our lives to live. I can honestly say that I LIVED my mission. I gave myself to the Lord. Because I have lost myself, I have also received the promised blessing that I shall find myself as well. Not only have I met, and come to know many great missionaries, members, leaders, the beautiful Brazilian people, but I have really come to know myself, and who I am. It’s incredible, and I know that this will help myself now come back and start my adult life.

I also, have come to know Someone even more important during my time here as a missionary. As Dad said in his email, I can truly look back at my mission and see the Lord’s hand in every week, everyday, and in every hour. Many people have accompanied me in these last two years. My family, my leaders, my friends that I have made here, and even the 24/7 companions. But only One has walked with me the whole way. I know, for I truly carried His name over my heart. There honestly isn’t anything in this world that I could pay to experience the constant closeness I had with my Savior. The Gospel, God’s plan and His commandments, and especially the Restoration of everything has really become a reality to me, and I am super grateful for this testimony that nobody can take away from me. Nobody could of given it to me either except a perfect Savior that knows me perfectly. And He did.

Words honestly can’t describe the feelings that I have for my mission. It really is sacred to me. Like my favorite picture which my Mom inspiredly put in my bedroom... of Moroni burying the plates, I finish my emails to my family and bear my testimony of the Lord’s Work today. I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father that knows us and loves us beyond measure. He made a plan for us. He sent us here to Earth, to live and love. One of His greatest gifts He could give us was the opportunity to serve for Him in these last days. He knew that we were valiant, so He chose us to come and He prepared a way for us to steady our feet, grasp hands, encourage minds, inspire hearts, and save souls. It is what our perfect Father enjoys most, and so He made it possible to feel this great joy. To do that He called His Son, Jesus Christ and through Him all things were made possible. He lived for us, and He died for us, and in these last days, He calls us. I know He came down with His Father that wonderous spring morning in 1820. I know He restored His True Church through His servant Joseph Smith. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet.... you don’t know how long I have waited to be able to say that for myself. I know that he translated the Book of Mormon and that this Divine Word has changed my life in countless ways. I love the Book of Mormon with all my heart. Also, God the Eternal Father and His Son restored the Holy Priesthood here on Earth once again. I know that I hold this Priesthood, and finally I know what an honor this is. I know God called me to serve here in Fortaleza Brazil, He called my President, Francisco de Assis Souza, and He created a perfect Mission for me. I know that families can be eternal, and that endless joy and happiness awaits us and our families as we live and love this Gospel He has given us. I know the Church is True, I love my Mom and Dad, and I close this last email, in the name of Jesus Christ.


Cya in a week! =)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Heeeyy there!!
100!!Wow that’s a mile mark. Now we know that 100 weeks is a looong time.
Wooow, I am getting a bit antsy writing this letter. I only have one more email after this. CRAZYY!! It was great to talk to you all. I thought it was one of our best conversations we have had out of our 4 in my mission. I guess you can say that I am officially excited to go home. (it’s a new feeling for me) Ha, but I am still here the mission is still my priority.

Today was great with Elder Neil L Anderson. Apostles really carry a great spirit with them. Thing is, I know they really are just normal people as well. Just humble servants of the Lord. He said 3 things that really confirmed things I have developed here on the mission. The first thing is getting familiar with Scripture References. I am working on writing my very own Book of Mormon Glossary. For the last year I have worked to memorize the chapters of the Book of Mormon. As he was explaining about the Atonement he put up a scripture and asked who knew what chapter this scripture was found in. My hand shot up and  I answered in an instant. He always asked who is the person teaching in the these doctrine chapters, and not many people knew... but I knew. It has been a blessing to have this God-given gift and it has really helped me listen and follow the spirit in my lessons (D&C84:85)

The second thing was a subject me and my companion have been debating for the last few weeks. About Justice vs. Mercy. My companion is a very extremist and strict in his opinions about what is right and wrong, I told him studying more about mercy will help him fight this dominating justice sense that he has. He then asks me, "if all our blessings come from obedience, why should I look more into mercy which will make me be more careless" I couldn’t really answer. But the focus of Elder Anderson’s talk was on a scripture I believe that is in 2 Nephi 2, or pg. 2 in Preach My Gospel that talks about the Merits, Mercy, and Grace. He told us to really ponder these 3 words over to get a better insight into the Atonement. 

Yeah! Ha, last thing is here on the mission I have developed a great love for General Conference, he invited us to study these things out, and I am excited to do such! (ha, if the Liahona gets here on time) Alright that was pretty sweet today. alrighty well I need to write President, até próxima semana!
Elder Cetraro

Monday, May 5, 2014

Heeellllooo there!
This is one of my  last emails! Next week is Skype.... then the next Monday after will be when I talk with Elder Anderson.... then one more and that’s it! WOOOOOOW!!!! Why am I doing this?!?! 

Ha, actually for the first time in my mission I think I had a bit of a problem sleeping because my mind kept thinking about home... I never have time to think about it any other time. Ha, especially now that I know that I will have a nice CAR when I get home, yaaaayy!!

Okay, as for my week. This was the first week of the transfer! We still are working a bunch with the family of Junior. We have been training them to do FHE every Monday night, and now their young daughter will be married and baptized this week. We also have been preparing their cousins who live close by to be baptized as well. 

This week there were two cool experiences that I liked. One was with the Leadership Council... my last. But I couldn’t have asked for a better one. As I have been approaching our last months here, I have done a bit of self reflection of what do I really have to show as one of the older missionaries. One of these I would say is how I can manage to listen to my investigators and adapt my teaching to apply it best to their life, so that every lesson I teach is different. “Teach People, Not Lessons”, as we say. Well, the Assistants chose this as the subject for this last training as well as work with the members, which is another point I like. Honestly, I know it has been an answer to my prayers. The next day I did an exchange with Elder Cardozo, one of our District Leaders, and during the day he said how he was amazed how I teach people and not lessons (without him even knowing what will be the training) It also has been amazing since I have almost memorized the whole Book of Mormon, in just about every visit I can use a different scripture story to apply to their lives. I hope I will be able to use these skills when I come home in some way.
Alrighty, well I got to go... 

SEE you next week!

-Elder Cetraro