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, February 22, 2016

Week 77

This was my first week in the new area, even though I'd already been serving in Canela, I am now working on the other side of the city. We spent some time visiting the people that had been baptized last week and through them we got to know many of their friends and family. Gabriel was baptized last week by the others and this week we got to know his older sister Carol. She hadn't been paying a lot of attention before, but this week she was different. We invited her to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it as usual and the next day when we returned she said, "last night I was reading the Book of Mormon with my brother and all of a sudden I looked up and told him, 'Gabriel, I want to be baptized.'" We were very excited for her experience and determination to change her life to be in line with the gospel.

Right after that Gabriel took us to his friend's house, a young man named Henrique that had already been to 2 of our integration activities. As we taught him he told us how he liked the church because he felt at home. He said, "I feel like I'm part of a great big family. Everyone is respectful, has fun together, and has good values. I felt something different inside." We helped him to recognize the Spirit and invited him to read the Book of Mormon as well.

Iraçí, who was baptized last transfer and who is like our grandma here in Canela took us to her oldest daughter's house. Andréia has an interesting story, 2 months ago an older married couple serving as missionaries entered her shop. They ended up having a 3 hour conversation and at the end the couple gave a Book of Mormon to her. When we visited her she had already read until Alma 19 and we marveled at how she held the book close to her and protected it at all costs. I was struck by how the Lord works in sharing the gospel with everyone in different ways. This married couple isn´t serving in our mission and we have no idea who it was, but it was a miracle.

On Thursday as usual, we held the weekly integration activity. One of the activities we did was called the cat and the mouse. Everyone sat in a circle and two participants on opposite sides were given ties. Then the 'cat' tie had to be tied once and passed to the right, and the 'mouse' tie had to be tied twice before being passed to the right. When the cat tie caught up with the mouse tie, the person caught had to step out of the circle. As always, it was a success and everybody had a lot of fun.

Iraçí has been very busy making food for us and giving out refferals left and right. Last Sunday she'd taken her little grandkid Gabrieli to church and this week we taught her, preparing her for her baptism. One day when we showed up she sat down and told us, "Man, I'm super anxious for my baptism!" She is so innocent and pure we knew she was meant to be baptized so that she could grow up in the church. She loved learning about Joseph Smith especially and remembered everything we told her about the prophet of the restoration. Iraçí then told us how she was already talking with another of her grandkids, Felipe, to take him to church too. She's on fire!

Eduardo was another young man we prepared to be baptize this Sunday. He was so excited that he went around telling everying he met that he was going to be baptized and that they were invited to be there. What surprised us is that when we got to church, there was a woman in the front that told us that she is Eduardo's teacher and had been invited! Even though the baptism was going to be after church, she decided to stay for all three hours and enjoyed it thoroughly. In total we had 13 investigators at church, all the friends and family that Eduardo and Gabrieli had invited to watch.

Gabrieli and Eduardo
Even though I haven't been able visit Lucas anymore, I've been following up with his progress at the activities and church. I am impressed more and more each time, he's made accounts on the church site and the FamilySearch site. His dad helped him in getting the names of his grandparents and greatgrandparents. He's excited to take these names to the temple soon. He has begun saying the closing prayer at all of the baptisms. He always shows up early to everything and even went to an Elders Quorum activity on Saturday that I hadn't even heard of. He's a very excited and involved convert.

Sunday afternoon we had a very spiritual experience with Eduardo's aunt who had been to church with him yestderday. Her name is Suana and we had been teaching her for a week. At first she hadn't been very interested but when we returned after church she opened up a lot. She had begun to love the Book of Mormon and was calling it "My Book". She listened atently to us and we felt inspired to share 3 Nephi 27:19-20 with her. Élder Clark read verse 19 with a short explanation, and I was moved to do the same with verse 20. As I began to explain afterwards I felt words being put into my mouth. The Spirit spoke through me about the importance of Christ's Atonement and how we must all use it, being baptized and repenting daily, to live with Him again. I can't even remember everything I said but I remember having everyone's attention and feeling the Spirit very strong, one of the times on my mission that I have felt Him the strongest. After testifying Élder Clark then spoke, inviting her to be baptized. Without hesitation she responded,"I want to be baptized this next Sunday." The Spirit had touched her and everyone there, and we saw the difference it had made in her.

We then said a prayer and left their house letting them wonder at the Spirit they´d felt. We discussed how it had been and we marveled at how much the Spirit had used us as instruments. We reflected at how we each said exactly what the other was thinking and said what they needed to hear. I will never forget that experience.

Iraçí's kitten loves me

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