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Aug 16, 2010

“Emotional Aftershocks”

Excerpts of João's homecoming talk in Sandy, Utah:

I was called to New York City. I was sent there with a purpose, to invite others to come to Christ. In preparation, I remember well reading the commandment and promise to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations, tongues, kindred and people. I quickly found that in New York City this promise is fulfilled. It was all nations, tongues, kindred and people that make NYC their home. I do not recall talking to a single New Yorker my first day.

In Brooklyn, I taught people of Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbados, Haiti to name but a few of the Caribbean islands. On the 12th of January an earthquake hit our highly populated area. The actual event occurred in Haiti, where the earth shook and buildings fell, but the emotional aftershocks were periodically felt by the Haitian community. I remember well taking time from our day to kneel in our chapel to pray for the families in our ward, the people we taught and were yet to teach. We also prayed for those in Haiti, to cope well with the brutal adversity of destruction and death. We were sensitive to the Spirit and changed our approach to the teachings of the Plan of Salvation. We soon began to be messengers of hope. Michelle Fequierre was one of the many in search of hope. She had moved like many after the earthquake to New York to escape the destruction found in their homeland. Michelle brought her two daughters to join family and find consolation.

It is interesting to me the stark contrast between destructions and miracles. During this difficult time, people’s hearts were softened, and their soul was open to embrace truth. There were many other Haitians that came and entered into the waters of Baptism and allowed adversity bring them to faith.

At the conclusion of my missionary service, I had the chance to visit the Sacred Grove and other church historical sites surrounding Palmyra. This gave me the opportunity to think and meditate over the work of Restoration and the coming forth of The Book of Mormon. I found in the written account Oliver Cowdery’s words and feelings toward the divine translation of the Book of Mormon and receiving of the Priesthood parallel my service in the New York South Mission. “ What joy! what wonder! what amazement! While the world was racked and distracted—while millions were groping as the blind for the wall, and while all men were resting upon uncertainty, as a general mass, our eyes beheld, our ears heard, as in the ‘blaze of day’…I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language…Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind…These were days never to be forgotten” The streets of New York will always touch my heart in a special way, for I have walked them differently than the world.

I learned Christ in the last two years because it was Him whom I chose to serve. I know He Lives. We will also feel emotional aftershocks in our lives, may we turn our adversity to faith, and stand firm as the earth shakes beneath us and buildings fall.

Related Links: The Returned Missionary - João: Slide Show

Aug 11, 2010

Back in Utah

The first day after his mission, João admires the significance of historic Palmyra. Walked in the the "Sacred Grove" and reflected upon the two years of service in the New York South Mission.

From a copy of the 1st edition of the Book of Mormon to the replicas of several of the homes of the time of the restoration and a visit to the Hill Cumorah.we enjoyed as a family listening to him and his mission stories.

Truly an experience to be retained in our memories and in our journals. Now João completed his mission and this Blog comes to an end.

João is back in Utah and soon will re-enter the University

His email is:

Aug 2, 2010

Last email

Excerpts from the last email João sent before we pick him up this Thursday in New York

Dear Family,

I have been through a whirlwind of emotions these last couple of days. I might look calm, but my heart beats faster and faster. I have a constant sense of urgency to cry out our message. This last Sunday, I fasted that I would be extended peace from the Savior. And as I partook of the sacrament, it came and I was able to feel Him beside me. It was a touching experience for me. Whisperings of love and comfort were given and the assurance that “I’ve been with you all along” was quietly spoken to my heart.

I spoke with Brother Kerr after church, and he gave me some good advice. He told me to write 3 letters to myself before I leave. The first one should be open in 1 year, and the second in 5 years. The third letter I should write should be addressed to my future wife he said. Brother Kerr works at the ER and reminds me of Miguel. We went out a couple of times on splits, and we would always have the best time visiting and teaching people. We had some great conversations. He said that there are a hundred different important things, but that he asked that I work on remaining in contact with those people from my mission. He said it would be time wasted if I put that much love and dedication into relationships and then leave them in New York. I think he’s right. My service here in New York might be soon over but the relationships cultivated can be maintained, even for the eternities. So, I’m going to purchase a small notebook, and will gather all the addresses and phone numbers I have kept scattered along the way. 

This last week I also had the privilege of eating “Bacalhau a Bras!” Brother Bryant and Sister Bryant were kind enough to take me out to eat at an authentic Portuguese restaurant here in the neighborhood. They loved it. And so did I! Brother Bryant is our ward mission Leader. He is a project manager. They are great people and so easy to love. They gave me some great advice I was looking for. We also spoke about missionary work. He gets fired up like you Dad. And I think I do too.

I gave my departing testimony to the zone this last Friday. It felt good to be among fellow missionaries and share some of my thoughts feelings of my last two years spent in New York. The assistants and the zone leaders were present and together we had lunch at a great cheap Mexican restaurant nearby.

These next couple of days, we are filled with appointments and work to do, and I don’t think I’ll have time to pack. But then again a lot of the clothes I have I’m not packing but throwing them away. Come to think about it I won’t have that much to pack at all. 

Well, I am excited to see you and be with you again. We have 2 years to catch up on. Thank you for always being there for me.


Elder Teixeira