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, July 11, 2016

Week 97

This might have been the craziest and most busy week of my mission. Last Sunday (July 3rd) I called President Campos to ask permission to do something in celebration of Independence Day the following day. His response was no and then continued to tell me that I was being transferred the very next day and that I would need to report to the mission office at 3pm the next day. I was taken completely off guard and the first thing I thought of was the 7 investigators we'd brought to church that day. 4 of them were preparing to be baptized that following Sunday (July 10th). I sadly packed up my things after a short stay of 3 weeks in Ala do Vale, Gravataí. When I got to the mission office there were many other missionaries arriving as well. President Campos called 2 at a time into his office to interview them and give them their new assignment. As they came and went off to their new areas with their new companions one by one I was left alone with the last missionary, one of my good friends Élder De Lima from São Paulo.

Finally President Campos called us in with the other Assistants and told us what was going on. He said that due to a few things that had happened and the Spirit's promptings he needed to do an emergency transfer half-way through the normal transfer. He then designated us on the spot as his first travelling assistants! He explained to us how he'd noticed that the majority of the missionaries in the mission simply didn't know how to work effectively, with the Spirit, ect. and that we had been chosen due to our excellent history of work, diligence, obedience, loyalty, energy, and success. Our purpose would be to travel to 2 areas that President Campos would choose each week and stay there for 3 days in division with the companionship already there. We'd be there to get them excited again, show them how to reach the weekly standard (lessons, contacts, ect.), teach with the Book of Mormon and with the Spirit, obey the rules, be loyal to the President, baptize converts, among other things. When President Campos told us all of that and explained what we'd been called to do we were very surprised. I was very happy to be with my new companion, Élder De Lima, I'd always hoped that the President would put us together, even if it would only be for 3 weeks.

President Campos told us that our first 2 areas would be Carazinho and Novo Hamburgo. I was excited because in these two areas I began my mission (the very first 2 transfers), and now I would be able to work again on the same streets after 2 years. We were told that in Carazinho Élder A was having trouble accepting the changes the President had made in the mission and didn't want to adapt his work. Élder B had problems with obedience and know-how in the daily missionary work. So the very next day we packed up a suitcase full of everything we'd need for a week and grabbed the next bus to Carazinho.

After 5 hours of travel we arrived and began working with the elders there. I went with Élder B and we got right down to business. In the 3 days there we worked super hard, involving the members in teaching the investigators we found. Many of the members were happy to see me again and I was glad to be there to help the missionaries gain their trust. After the first day Élders A and B collapsed in their beds saying how they'd never spoken with so many people (an average of 50 contacts per day), taught so spiritually, used the Book of Mormon so much in their lessons, and so on. They told us how these 3 days had seemed like a whole transfer of learning. At the end of the division they bore their testimonies to us how much they'd learned and will put into practice. They'd learned how work is the secret to success and the companionship of the Spirit, how to ask more questions, how to invite everyone clearly and without fear, and how to plan well. Every day we left the house saying, "today we'll find someone to be baptized!" And everyday we did. Even Élder De Lima and I were surprised at how successful the division had been. It was only possible because of the Lord's help.

The Carazinho Élders, and my new companion Élder De Lima (far right)
Gair's family (Carazinho)
Márcia's family
From Carazinho we travelled directly to Novo Hamburgo. There we were met by Élder C and Élder D. Élder C has only 6 months on his mission and is training Élder D. He opened the area with his companion and was quite down because he didn't know how be successful and consequently wasn't able to find many people, teach them, bring them to church, and baptize them. When we got there we saw that they were lacking quite a bit in their planning and energy to work. They told us that they wanted to learn how to teach by the Spirit, find people with potential, and be more clear in their invitations. I went with Élder D and we destroyed the area. Every night we came back home and announced how many people we'd been able to teach, new investigators, baptismal dates, and contacts done. Saturday night I came home with Élder D after having marked 9 dates!

I was having more success in their area than I'd had in my own area. They became very excited with all the new people they'd met and begun to teach. We'd met a single mother named Márcia that had been super open and willing to make a change in her life. Both she and her son accepted dates to be baptized this coming week and to go to church the following day. Kris and João are married for over 20 years (they're in their mid 50's) and also accepted everything we invited them to do. We were surprised because usually older people are more obstinate and closed to new things and change. Kris expressed her deep desire to get to know this new church and follow Christ by being baptized. Pablo is a young man that had been taught by the sisters a few months ago but didn't want to be baptized. I interviewed him and after his dad gave him full support Pablo wanted to be baptized quite a bit.

Our division there was very successful as well, Élder C became very excited with his new-found knowledge of how to work hard and find new people. At church I saw many members that I'd served with in Ivoti and Feitoria.

Marla's family
Grasi's twin sister's family
After church we had lunch with a really cool family that showed us their view of the city from the window.

Novo Hamburgo

 We worked quite a bit in a place called the Ant's hill due to the narrow streets:

The Novo Hamburgo Élders
We came home Sunday night and crashed into our beds. We had no idea that it'd be so tiring to travel and work with an even higher level of dedication. We're excited to meet with the President to get our new assignments for this week!

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