I am serving a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Brazil, Porto Alegre North Mission. I post on this blog every week, so check it out to hear about my life as a missionary!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 69

Early this week we were talking with a lady that owns the lanhouse (internet cafe) that we use every Monday to use our email. The last week she'd appeared very down and so we shared with her a Christmas pass-along-card. She told us how her dad had been taken to the hospital due to some serious health problems and she was lamenting his declining health and the possibility of celebrating Christmas without him at home. She asked us to pray for him to get better and thanked us profusely for the card. Then this week when we returned she told us how her dad had improved and come home for the holidays. She thanked us again and then surprised us by saying that she'd looked up the site natal.mormon.org and had returned everyday to watch a new Christmas video that the church had put on the site. She loved it and she hadn't traveled out of town she would have gone to church.

This week was one of the best weeks in Lagoa Vermelha especially because of Christmas! One evening we walked down the main street taking pictures of a few of the city's decorations:

Unfortunately I was sick early in the week so we weren't able to work for a day. Wednesday and Thursday was full of visits to our investigators, recent converts, and members. With the spirit of Christmas everywhere we felt it appropriate to focus the messages we shared with everyone on the birth and Atonement of Christ. Every visit we made we shared a scripture related to Christmas and sang a Christmas Hymn. The Spirit we felt and that everyone felt was so strong.

Thursday night we were able to spend Christmas Eve with the bishop and a few of the members. The bishop prepared a feast for us!

Bishop Melo
 The highlight of the week was Christmas day. In the morning we had the opportunity to give a small present in return to the Lord in the form of a baptism. Rejane, one of the other daughters of Waldomiro & Zilda decided to be baptized and we prepared a really special program for her. We showed a few of the Christmas videos that the Church had made and Élder Reis and I sang two Christmas songs from the Primary songbook.

 During the evening we were also able to talk with our families over Skype. It was a wonderful experience to talk with them for the third time on my mission. The best part was that I was here sweating while they were showing me the front yard full of snow! At night we could look out our window and see a pretty cool full moon:

Feliz Natal e Ano Novo para todos vocês!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 68

On Tuesday before leaving Lagoa Vermelha we held a baptismal service for Bruno and his friend Adriel. Even though we had to wait a bit for the font to fill up it was great.

Bruno and Adriel
After the baptisms we took a bus to Passo Fundo (2 hours away) and spent the night with the Zone. Then at 3:30 in the morning we grabbed another bus and traveled to Porto Alegre (4 hours). When we reached the headquarters of the mission we were met by half of the other zones in the mission. On Wednesday was the mission's Christmas devotional. It was pretty chill and I was able to see many of my past companions and friends.

Élder W. Silva
President Campos
Élder Andrade and Élder Berlim
The mission's Christmas tree decorations
Élder Diamond
Élder Burgos
Élder Lopes
When we got back to Lagoa Vermelha on Thursday we visited Boa Vista and to our surprise Lenai, Eduarda, Paloma, and two others had left the Lar da Menina (orphanage) and returned to their home and parents, Maria & Elisandro. Everyone was happy and we shared our message of the Restoration. After my companion taught about the First Vision I felt impressed that we should sing. It'd been ages since I'd sang during a lesson but I took out my mini hymn book and turned to the first hymn that came to mind: Que Manhã Maravilhosa (Joseph Smith's First Prayer). I know we didn't sing well, and it was nothing compared to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but the Spirit was there in the room and that's what mattered. As we ended singing acapella another thought came into my mind, "invite them to be baptized now." So I did just that and Maria who was smiling and sitting anxiously on the very edge of the couch practically jumped up when she said yes. The Spirit was strong and I was thankful we'd followed the guidance of the Spirit during our visit.

On Sunday we had a good amount of investigators despite the holidays and everyone traveling out of town. They all have potential to be baptized this coming week.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 67

Something that made me super happy this week is that as we visited the neighborhood Boa Vista to teach a few of our investigators and recent converts, we passed by a house and found a couple waiting to get to know us. More than 3 months ago I had baptized a young girl named Lenai. Her parents had been falsely accused of some crime and had been put in prison to wait trial a bit earlier and I didn´t get to know them.Then the day after Lenai was baptized, she was taken with her older sister and other siblings by the orphanage, so she never was able to be confirmed as a member. I had lamented quite a bit because after 3 months of not being confirmed, she'd have to be baptized again. We'd grown pretty attached to her and her siblings while teaching them and missed them quite a bit.

Then this week we got to know their parents, Maria & Elisandro, as they'd been set free due to lack of incriminating evidence. I was very impressed with them and their love for their family. We talked a bit and as we got to know each other and after we'd taught them about the church, they expressed their desire to get to know the church. On Saturday we were able to help them pick up some furniture and bring it to their house and they were very thankful. They were surprised that we, with some members of the church, offered this as a service, and not as an opportunity to earn money. When they had told us how they'd tried to get help from others and that they'd all offered to do it for $30, we expressed our surprise. I told them, "in the true Church of our Saviour the members seek for opportunities to serve one another just as Christ taught in the first commandment He gave us, to love our neighbor and to serve him." They were touched and accepted our offer to help them.

Yesterday they came to church and enjoyed it quite a bit. I was thankful because the classes were focused on the family, and then during Sacrament Meeting the Primary (with Primary President Cristina Machado, my recent convert!) had their end-of-year program to present what they'd learned and done. Maria and Elisandro informed us that if everything goes right, Lenai and her siblings will be able to come home this coming week.

During the week we also prepared our long-time investigator Suelí to be baptized. She'd had a baptismal date marked with her many times but fell short because of her addiction to smoking. Finally this week with much prayer and fasting she stopped smoking and was baptized last Saturday morning. On Sunday she was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints along with Waldomiro, Zilda, Gisele, Regina, Yuri, Felomena, and Morgana.

Sunday night we visited a woman named Sheila. She'd had to work that day so she wasn't able to make it to church unfortunately. However, when we got to her house (she'd arrived from work around 7p) she told us that she wanted to be baptized right then. So we called up the Bishop and the 1st counselor and took her to the church and she was baptized right then and there! Her story is very interesting, when she was 11, the missionaries contacted her and after a few weeks of attending church she was baptized on a Saturday. As she was going home from the baptism she sprang her ankle and wasn't able to go to church the next day to be confirmed. Then more than 15 years later we found her and she was baptized! We joked with her afterwards that we'd give her a ride home just to make sure that she wouldn't spring her ankle again.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 66

We worked a lot with Waldomiro´s family this week. They are relatives of Almeri & Elisandro and so we often visited the family with them. A few of them had problems with smoking and drinking but with the Lord´s help they stopped very quickly. Waldomiro is the father and is married to Zilda, and they have four children: Rejane, Giseli, Regina, and Anderson. Rejane lives with Alex and together they have two children: Yuri and Iasmine. Rejane and Alex want to get married and so we´re helping them with the process. This weekend we baptized Giseli, Regina, Yuri, Zilda, Waldomiro, and another woman named Felomena.

One time as we visited Waldomiro´s family we were teaching about the Book of Mormon and seeing how much they´d read so far. We were helping them understand what they were reading when Alex came in to join with us. Then he told us how he´d read the first 4 chapters and he blew us away with his understanding of what had happened in these chapters. In my whole mission I´d never seen someone understand so much of it like he did. He told us how there was a prophet that took his family out of Jerusalem and then sent his sons back to grab the plates from the king so they could preserve their record. He was really touched how the last thing Nephi wanted to do was to kill someone as he had to the wicked king. But following the whisperings of the Spirit he slew the king and put on his clothing as to deceive the guards. Rejane told us how Alex was at home one night and began reading the Book of Mormon. He didn´t put it down which surprised Rejane because Alex doesn´t like to read. Then their cute little daughter Iasmine came up to him and asked him if he´d read "about God" to her before putting her to bed.

On Saturday they were interviewed and as the Élder that interviewed them left the house he said, "Man, I hate saying goodbye to families, there´s always such a good feeling there." We also prepared another woman, Felomena, to be baptized with the family. She was a referral from a member. Elisandro baptized all 6, which was the first time that he was able to use the priesthood he´d recently received.

On Sunday after church the Bishop came up to us and said,"Why were there only 6 baptisms today, it's too little! The day that there are 10 baptisms, there's a barbeque at my house for you guys." He is one of the best bishops I´ve known on the mission.

Giseli, Regina, Yuri, Zilda, Felomena, and Waldomiro. Elisandro baptized all 6!
Daughter of the couple we´re helping get married drinking Chimarrão.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 65

We had 2 baptisms for this week but unfortunately they didn´t come to church. However, we had 14 of our other investigators that came to church and loved it. A majority of them have baptismal dates set for next week.

Last Sunday Almeri & Elisandro had taken us to a family member´s house and we´d had a really spiritual lesson with them. They all came to church yesterday and loved it all.

On Saturday we helped Almeri´s sister, Leomara, that was baptized the same day, with her new house. Élder Reis and I don´t know a lot about laying bricks but we did our best and with the help of a few professionals we got a lot done. I love being able to serve others on the mission and especially those whom I´ve baptized.

This is my attempt at making tacos. In Brazil there are few people that enjoy hot foods like they do in Mexico, so it was hard to find a few of the ingredients.

During the week we met a woman that had been baptized 14 years ago when she was 12. However, she hadn´t been confirmed for some reason and she came to us telling us that she wanted to be baptized again. Miracles happen when you work hard!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 64

What a great week, the hard work we´d done during the transfer paid off this last week. Last Saturday Almeri and Elisandro were married and baptized along with Almeri's sister Leomara and neice Thalia!

On Sunday, three more of our investigators were baptized, Simone, Andrei, and Ritieli. The bishop said to us during the week, "If you guys baptized more than 6 this week, I´m going to give you guys a barbeque!" He's 100% missionary work and that has helped us out a lot. Bishop Melo was very happy with the wedding ceremony and first 7 baptisms of the new Lagoa Vermelha Ward.

Andrei, Simone
 We witnessed many miracles during the week, with our investigators feeling the Spirit so strongly that they wanted to be baptized right then and there. Sunday afternoon Almeri and Elisandro called us up and told us how her friend had gone through a lot of suffering and had been hearing about all the good that had happened with the newly married couple. She told Almeri that she wanted the missionaries to visit her and wanted to be baptized, because she was tired of suffering and wanted to change her life. She is already married legally and her husband used to drink every single night, but recently he broke his leg, and hasn´t been drinking for 15 days straight. The Lord works in mysterious ways! We visited them and marked 5 baptisms for the 6th of December. I´m so glad for this opportunity Élder Reis and I have had to serve here and know that the Lord wanted us here for a reason. I love the opportunity to change that baptism gives to everyone.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 63

The best news of the week was that the Lagoa Vermelha Branch became the Lagoa Vermelha WARD yesterday!! Everybody was super happy and all the stake leadership from Passo Fundo came to make the ward. Lagoa Vermelha had been a branch for more than 30 years, once having 110 attending in the past. One year ago the branch had 8 people attending each Sunday, and then the Stake called President Melo to lead the branch. In one year President Melo brought the attendance from 8 to 75, and yesterday he was released as Branch President, only to be called as Bishop of the Ward!!

Friday night I received a call from him and he was practically shouting for joy, "Call everyone you know, investigators, members, recent converts, everyone to be at church on Sunday; we became a ward!!"

As the stake leadership stated, now the ward must keep the attendance at 80 for three months, and then they will authorize a church building to be built on this property that was bought many years ago:

Property of the future church building
This week we concentrated on our baptisms for the next week, mainly Almeri & Elisandro that will be married this coming week. They continue to be excited for it all and keep asking if they can be baptized right now. We have to remind them that they have to be legally married first! They introduced us to Almeri's sister and neice, and we taught them during the week.

Their names are Leomara and Thalia, and they accepted to be baptized the same day as Almeri & Elisandro during the first visit. Leomara is going through some problems but we saw a difference in her after the very first visit. The Spirit brought a light into her life. As Élder Reis commented after we left, "That was one of the most spiritual lessons I´ve had!" On Saturday we helped Leomara build her new house, as her current house is falling apart.

The same day we helped Eliane move to another street, and then on Sunday she brought a friend to church, telling us that she'd already got to know her new neighbors and wants to introduce them to us already.

Sunday was a great day, as the 30+ year branch became a ward. There were 95 people at church, and many inactives came which was awesome. Afterwards we took a picture of everyone outside:

Sunday night we were with Almeri & Elisandro, Leomara and Thalia. We taught them how to do a Family Home Evening and read The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Afterwards we made pancakes which they enjoyed. This coming week will be filled with preparations for the wedding and baptisms.

Sunset in Lagoa Vermelha

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 62

This week was pretty awesome because it was my birthday on Tuesday! In the morning we had District Meeting and the sisters made some cake and sweet bread for me. The day before I ate at a really good pizzaria called Somare in Passo Fundo. I planned my own party by scheduling a baptism that night. We had an investigator that turned 8 last Saturday and so we celebrated our birthdays together and I baptized him on my birthday!

During the week we also continued in the planning of Elisandro & Almeri's wedding for the 21st of November. They´re super excited and told us how when Elisandro comes home from work they visit a different friend of theirs each day to see how they´re doing, invite them to the wedding, and talk about the church. I love how they´re doing so much missionary work even before their baptism. Just like Vanderlei and Cristina, everyone in the city knows Elisandro and Almeri, so word about the church will get around quickly. It just shows to me how much the Lord wants a ward and in the future a stake here in Lagoa Vermelha.

This week we also found a new neighborhood to work in called Nossa Senhora Aparecida. We met many people with potential and interest. One woman in particular stood out to me. Her name is Suzamar and she has one son. She went to church yesterday and loved it. Every time I looked at her she was concentrated on the speakers, striving to sing the hymns right, and thoroughly enjoying everything about the Church. I know she felt the Spirit strongly. To our dismay, after church she asked us if this church existed in a city 2 hours away. When we told her that it did indeed, she told us that she already had plans to move to that city in the next 2 weeks.

On Sunday Almeri and her daughter Paula who already is a member for 4 months brought Paula´s cousin to church. She loved it as well and we will be teaching her this coming week so that she can be baptized together with Almeri & Elisandro!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 61

I don´t think I´ve ever felt so tired as I did this week. We had to walk to each corner of the city so many times during the week that each time we arrived home we slept as quickly as possible. Lagoa Vermelha sure could use a bus system. In the middle of the week on our way back to the center of the town we came across this awesome scene:

Sunset in Lagoa Vermelha
 We had planned to have 2 baptisms this Saturday but after they passed their interviews they informed us that they´d travel for the weekend and wouldn´t be here when we´d planned the baptism. So we added them to another baptismal service planned for Tuesday, my birthday!

During an FHE with Almeri and Elisandro (our next couple we´re getting married) we taught them about the Holy Ghost and Elisandro, who was an atheist, shed a few tears during the lesson. He is very sensitive to the Spirit and I always enjoy teaching them because they pay a ton of attention just like Cristina and Vanderlei did.

 I felt pretty proud of the young men I´d baptized this Sunday when I saw them all dressed up with white shirts and ties passing the sacrament. They did it perfectly and the branch felt the Spirit strongly as they did it reverently and exactly how they´d practiced beforehand.

The newest Deacon's quorum: Mateus, Igor, and Henry
As this Sunday was Fast and Testimony Meeting we had the opportunity to listen to the testimonies of many members. I was especially touched when Vanderlei, Cristina, and Cauan got up to bear their testimonies after a hard week they´d had spiritually. Cristina was brought to tears and the Spirit was strong as they bore their testimonies. I love the testimonies of recent converts.

Because there were so many people that bore their testimonies, my companion and I didn´t get a chance to join in. I´d like to share part of my testimony here. I know that this is Christ´s church. He speaks to all of us through the Holy Ghost and through His living prophet Thomas S. Monson. The Atonement is real, through it lives can be changed and sins can be washed clean. Jesus Christ is our Saviour. He brought forth the Book of Mormon to guide us through this tumultuous life. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet. Most of all, I know that Jesus Christ lives!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 60

We were really blessed this week to baptize two more people! Morgana is a 37 year old woman that had marital problems in the past and began living with Poliana, her cousin and our baptism 2 months ago. We´d been teaching her for about a month and after she began living the Word of Wisdom she really saw a difference in her life and decided that she needed to be baptized. I loved hearing Poliana´s testimony every time we visited them because she could only be thankful for the blessings she received after baptism. Morgana was difficult in the beginning but it all paid off because she was baptized with a strong testimony and desire to do good.

Larissa is a young woman that we met through her friend, Mateus, who was baptized a few weeks ago. He was ordained a deacon recently and began to introduce us to all his friends. Larissa wanted to be baptized right from the beginning. Her step-dad was opposed as he was attending another church. Larissa's mom gave her permission and so she joined Mateus as a member yesterday!

Also during the week there was another Helping Hands initiative in the Stake and so we were able to help out and we gathered over one ton of food, cleaning products, and clothes for the people suffering in other cities where the rain had caused a lot of flooding.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 59

This week was great! On Monday I received a call from President Campos and he told me that I would train for the next two transfers. I was super excited and I took a bus to Porto Alegre that night. The next day the new missionaries arrived from the São Paulo CTM and we got to know our new companions. My companion is Élder Reis, from Brasília. I always tell everyone he´s Dilma´s cousin. As he is brazilian, I don´t have to worry about teaching him Portuguese!

For the next few days we stayed in Porto Alegre as the Assistants, Secretaries, and President gave a few trainings. Finally on Thursday I was able to head back to Passo Fundo for the District Meeting, and afterwards we headed to Lagoa Vermelha. I only had 3 days to work in my own area this week but we concentrated on two investigators that I´d brought to church last Sunday. One was Mateus' friend Aldoir, and the other, Henry's mom Eliane.

Eliane had a few problems with depression as she'd just arrived in the city after years of abuse from her ex-husband. Her children, especially Henry, helped her out a lot this week and encouraged her to be baptized this Sunday. She received lots of help from the members of the church and was excited after she passed the interview.

In these few days we ran all over the city getting the marriage papers in order for Almeri and Elisandro. The process takes 30 days so we hurried so that they could be married and baptized this transfer. They became excited about the whole deal and Vanderlei and Cristina helped out a lot. I´m excited to add another married couple to the branch.

When I talked with a few stake leaders in Passo Fundo they informed me that Lagoa Vermelha already has the tithe payers and priesthood holders that it needs, and that they´ve already begun the papers to make Lagoa Vermelha a ward. It's been clear to me that the Lord wants a ward here because of all the people He's placed in our path to be baptized.

On Sunday my companion had his first 2 baptisms on the mission! Eliane and Aldoir were baptized and the Spirit was strong during the whole meeting. We got a white shirt and tie for Igor and he passed the sacrament for the first time.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 58

This week was pretty busy and I didn´t have much time to work in my own area unfortunately. When I was in my area it was always raining too so we didn´t have as much success. However, due to the help of a recent convert, we were able to begin teaching a family that had recently moved here to the city. The mother had suffered for years under the hard reign of her husband and had finally had enough of it. She took her 3 kids and moved far away, and ended up here in Lagoa Vermelha, where one of her good friend liveds (the recent convert).

We taught them almost daily and prepared her 12 year old son Henry to be baptized this Sunday. He was very hesitant in the beginning but each time we visited him he became more determined in his decision. I was happy because it would be the 5th young man I´ve baptized here. When he came out of the interview he gave his mom a hug, and with a smile on his face said, "I´m going to be baptized, be more obedient, and help you out around the house!" His mom was very touched and she too had a spark of interest in being baptized.

On Saturday I had the opportunity to visit Carazinho, my second area on my mission. There was an activity themed on Missionary Work and so all the elders in the zone were invited to sing and do a presentation. I was very happy to return and visit Carazinho because there were several people that I´d grown very close to there. Most of all I was happy to see Giovanne, a man that is the son of the 1st counselor to the bishop in that ward. He fell away from the church when he was 17 and had spent almost 20 years away fromt he church. When I was there we began visiting him and his family and finally on our last Sunday there he came to church.

This Saturday when I saw him he told me everything that had happened in these 10 months. Ever since that Sunday he never missed another, he married the woman he had been living with and she was baptized, he was ordained an Elder and became a counselor to the Young Men´s president, his wife is counselor in the Young Women, and they´ll be sealed this coming Abril! I was so shocked and happy when they told me everything. They were happy to see me as well and I saw how much their testimonies had grown.

Giovanne and Larissa
On Sunday was the baptism of Henry and I was very proud of Vanderlei because he passed the sacrament, participated in a confirmation, gave a prayer, was called as 2nd counselor in the Elders Quorum, and baptized Henry. Not only that but we were happy to see another couple that we´d been working with come to church and be involved with everything. They´ll be the next marriage and great addition to the branch.

Igor also was ordained as a Deacon and will pass the sacrament this coming Sunday. Three more young men that were baptized recently will also become Deacons soon. I was impressed with Igor because after Sacrament Meeting, without being asked, he began collecting all the hymn books and placing them on their shelf.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 57

This week we focused most of our efforts on a young woman named Suellen. She's the friend of a young woman in the branch and they go to the same school together. She had previously gone to Passo Fundo with her 2 sisters and this member to a huge Stake dance and had had a great time there. She went to church the following day, last Sunday, and we began teaching her this Tuesday. Every time we visited her to follow up and teach her more I was always impressed with her understanding and being in-tune with the Spirit. When we taught her the Word of Wisdom she had a big problem with coffee, but we challenged her to stop and the next day when we returned she told us that she knew the Word of Wisdom is true because she had prayed about it that night and received a witness that it was. Even though she usually drank around 4 cups each day she stopped immediately.

Suellen's little sister Emili also went to church with her last Sunday and had asked Cristina (who was teaching in the Primary as her new calling for the first time) what she had to do to be baptized. She also participated in the lessons we taught Suellen and after she was interviewed her mom was hesitant because she thought that Suellen was too young still. Then to our surprise Suellen spoke up and bore her testimony to her mom, also telling her how Emili would be part of the Primary where they take care of all the kids and that there are always activities to keep them involved. I was very impressed with her young testimony and I'll never forget how she had said simply after we asked her if she believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet, "I know he was, I felt it."

We also worked with a woman named Marlene, who is the mother of Mateus, who was baptized last week. She had had a few more questions and doubts but this week we were able to help her. Her son Mateus really helped out as well, already demonstrating the change in him after baptism.

Igor (baptized 2 weeks ago) left with us quite a bit during the week and introduced us to all his friends in the neighborhood. He as well changed a ton after his baptism. Even though we had given him a ride to only one session of conference, he came to the other 3 just because he loves church so much now. In between sessions of conference I took a picture with the 3 young men that were baptized in the last 2 weeks:
Igor, Mateus, & Endrius
After the first session of conference on Saturday we held the baptism service for Marlene, Suellen, and Emili. Vanderlei once again helped us out and used his Priesthood by baptizing all 3. He didn´t even mess up once! I was very happy because many of my other baptisms participated in the baptismal service.

On Sunday we were blessed to have a few of the members bring their friends to church. General Conference was awesome! Cristina and Vanderlei loved it especially and were absolutely enthralled with all the speakers and music.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 56

This week we had a lot of help from the members. They came with us to our appointments with our investigators and interacted with all of them really well. We began the week with 5 investigators with potential to be baptized and focused on them.

Mateus was really excited for his baptism and so were his parents. I was especially excited because he would be the 4th young man that I´d baptized here. In a few weeks 3 of them will be able to pass the sacrament on Sunday!

Poliana was called to be the Nursery teacher, and Christina to be a counselor in the Primary. It was a big week for Christina and Vanderlei because they were asked to give talks in 2 weeks and Vanderlei was ordained an Elder. We plan on including him in all the blessings we are asked to give and the confirmations as well to help him learn how he can use the priesthood.

Their whole family is very involved with the branch choir and I have to admit, it´s coming along very nicely.

We received a referal from an inactive member and we visited her early in the week. She told us right away that she wanted to be baptized in our church because she felt really good there. Her name is Terezinha.

On Thursday we did a division as usual and I worked in Passo Fundo for 2 days while our investigators were being interviewed. During the division we had the best pizza:

Then on Saturday we had a very busy day visiting all our investigators to invite them to church. At night there was an activity of the branch and there were many of our investigators there, including Souellen, a referal from a member.

The next day was very rainy as it had been all week. Vanderlei was ordained as an Elder, and afterwards baptized Mateus and Terezinha!

Later that day we had an FHE with Vanderlei´s family. As we were talking with Christina about her first Sunday´s experience in the Primary with her new calling she told us how she was surprised when Souellen´s little sister came up to her and asked her what she needed to do to be baptized like all the rest of us. Christina said that she was amazed at this kid´s desire to be baptized and also at how she was already considered a long time member.

We watched Meet the Mormons with them and Christina teared up at the end when she got a glimpse of how she will feel in 7 years when she will send Cauan off on a mission. They are very excited for their first General Conference.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 55

This week began again with Vanderlei´s family. We went to their house where they took us to Cristina´s sister´s house. There we were asked to give their son a blessing. One month ago they´d refused anything related to the church but after they´d seen the changes and blessings in Vanderlei´s family they opened up. After the blessing I was touched to hear the powerful testimony that both Vanderlei and Cristina bore about the gospel and the things they suggested that the family do to improve their relationship with one another, principally going to church.

During the week we concentrated specifically on the 3 people that had potential to be baptized on Sunday, namely: Carlos (The branch president's referal), Igor (13 year old young man), and Endrius (14 year old young man).

We were able to finally get a hold of Silvia but she acted very strangely and we came to the conclusion that her husband was opposing her desire to get to know the church better. Unfortunately we had to stop visiting her. She said she would continue going to church but for now didn´t want to think about baptism. I believe she will be baptized, but I don´t think I´ll be here to see it.

Poliana dove right into missionary work and when we visited her in her new house she introduced us to her cousin right away. She´s been through tough times but because of her decision to be baptized she has been very blessed. She already received a calling in the Nursery and is doing all she can to tell her friends about the church.

On Friday we visited Carlos and he gave up on his efforts and preparations to be baptized. The Branch President was super sad with his decision as they´d been friends ever since they were little.

Sunday it rained a ton, but even still we had 16 investigators at church. And the best part was that Igor and Endrius were baptized. Cooler still was that Vanderlei used the priesthood for the first time by baptizing them both.

Later that day we had lunch with Vanderlei and Cristina and they also celebrated Bruna´s 6th birthday. Instead of a cake she chose a torta de bolacha and Cristina made the best one I´d ever eaten.

That night we visited Endrius´ family and we watched the Joseph Smith film. They felt the Spirit strongly and we will work with them to bring them all into the church soon!