Thursday, December 15, 2011

Returned with Honor

And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen. (D&C 15:6)

Between the ordinary and the mundane of life, one finds the the small, simple notes that compose a masterpiece of personal joys.

Six years ago, I met a 14-year-old boy in Canela Brazil, who I have since lovingly nick-named, my little Joseph Smith. After teaching, a simple lesson in less-than-perfect-Portuguese, this boy looked at me with his big brown eyes and said: "I want to know everything about Joseph Smith." I knew then that he was a special son of God.

Soon thereafter, Lucas was baptized August 2, 2005, alone with no family support, but a vibrant testimony. I was transferred out of the area only a few weeks later.

Since that time Lucas and I have communicated via letters (while I was still serving) as well as email (after I came home). I was ecstatic when Lucas informed me two years ago, that he would be serving a full-time mission in the Brazil, Sao Paulo North mission.

Words cannot express the joy I have felt as I have wrote and received letter after letter. Such a simple act of love has brought more happiness than I can describe. I have cried and laughed as I have read each letter of this stalwart missionary. Mostly,  I've loved see the joy and light in his face as he sent me pictures like this:

Yet, today my tears of joy were different. For this very day my favorite little Joseph Smith honorably returned home to his family and friends in Canela, Brazil. He has completed a mission.

Welcome home Elder Lucas Schenatto, I can't wait to talk to you!