Last Sunday the branch First Counselor randomly asked me if I would give 7-minute talk after one of the speakers didn't show up. I finally agreed after a bit of persuasion and ended up talking about the importance of keeping the commandments, in particular keeping the Sabbath Day holy. During this talk, I shared a story that one of my first companions, Sister Adriane, shared with me:
There once was a very rich man who lived alone in a large mansion. Although rich, the man was humble and very loving, and one day he decided that he wanted to share what he had with those who were not as blessed as he was, so he divided his riches into seven bags and decided that each day of the upcoming week he would find someone less fortunate than he was and give a bag of riches to him or her.
The first day he went out with the first bag and was walking down the street, when a man walked up to him and asked him for money. This man was not very poor, yet the rich man could not deny his request. He gave the first back to the man and thought to himself that the next day he would find someone less fortunate to give a bag to.
The next day, the rich man woke up and went out with the second bag of riches. As he walked down the street the same man to whom he had given the first bag came up and asked for more money. The rich man was a bit disappointed, but finally agreed and gave the man the second bag thinking that the next day he would find someone better to give the third bag to, but the third day, the same thing happened. The same man came up asking for money. The fourth day was the same. As was the fifth as well as the sixth.
Finally on the seventh day as the man was walking down the road, the same man, who had now received six bags of riches, went up to the rich man asking for his last bag. The rich man, who was now not so rich, told the man with six bags that he had decided that he would keep the seventh bag so that he would still have some money to care for himself and went home. The poor man, who was now quite rich turned mad. He wanted the last bag of riches. That night as the rich man was sleeping, the other man broke into his house and stole the last bag of riches.
What do you think about this man? Is he a robber/criminal? Is he selfish? Is he arrogant? Is he rude?
Now think about yourselves? Our Heavenly Father created seven days every week. He gives each and every one of us six days to use for ourselves and only asks for one in return. How many of us truly let him keep his last sack of riches? And how many of us are like the robber who already has six sacks and has the nerve to steal the last?
The fourth commandment of the ten commandments revealed to the prophet Moses is that we keep the Sabbath day holy. The Sabbath day (Sunday) is the day during which we should go to church; should refrain from working, spending money, and participating in recreational activities; and should find ways to serve each other. I truly know that when we keep the Sabbath Day holy, our Heavenly Father blesses us with much more than sacks of riches. For what he has in store for us is eternal. We must lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven and forget those on earth where moth and dust will corrupt.
Yesterday at church, one of the counselors in our stake who is a part of our ward came up to me after church and told me that after my talk last Sunday he sent the story I told to four less active members in the stake. Yesterday, all of them were at church. Maybe I wasn't prepared and didn't understand why I needed to give a talk last Sunday, but it appears that it made a difference in some people's lives. :)
This week A. was confirmed and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I have to say that he is one of my firmest recent converts. Maybe everyone was doubting him a week ago, but now everyone has changed their views. He is reading The Book of Mormon daily, going to Family Home Evening at the Bishop's house every Monday and is preparing to help some investigators who have drinking problems overcome this speedbump.
He went to his niece's house yesterday (his niece is an active member of the church) and her cousin was there. When they first saw him coming into the house, his niece's cousin said, "There's a man coming in!" His niece than smiled and said, "È titio!" ("It's uncle!"). His own family can't even recognize him.
Funny contact: Every day we have to make 20 contacts - talk with 20 people about the Church and gospel. One day this week, Sister Lopes was making a contact and said, "Queremos convidar vocês fazer uma igreja!" ("We want to invite all of you to make a church!" lol.) I think she was going for, "We want to invite all of you to make a visit to the church!" but got a bit distracted.
After a baptism with Sister Lopes, new member, and Sister Dyer
New member and Bishop
Sister Lopes, new member, Bishop, and Sister Dyer
Sister Dyer and Sister Lopez in their matching glasses