Dear Family and Friends,
This week was a great one! The Baptism of Lucia was a success. It was a very special day for me. And she chose me to be the one to baptize her, so that was really neat. I told Dad that teaching Lucia was my favorite thing on the mission thus far, and I’ll tell you why: Lúcia is the epitome of why missionaries do what they do. She was living life, doing her own thing, until we happened upon her house one day. She decided to let us teach her. She soon learned through her own study, and completing her compromissos (forgot English…commitments) that what we had to tell her was true. But she had some obstacles to overcome. So through much prayer and reliance on the grace given through the atonement of Christ, she overcame those obstacles and entered in the path to eternal life. It’s the perfect conversion story. I LOVE watching peoples’ lives change. That’s the greatest miracle I could ask to see. So the baptism wasn’t too well attended, but it was warm and happy anyways. Fortunately, her sister Carmen came, so that was a little familial support.
Here are pictures of Lúcias baptism, including a picture of me and Lucia in the baptismal font. Her baptism was a very special time for me. It signified a true change of lifestyle, and a thirst for the truth.
Speaking of watching peoples’ lives change, Marcia was there at church again, for the 3rd straight week, without smoking or drinking. (Marcia is less active, remember) She is just way happier. Her very countenance is... brighter. I can be one to exaggerate stories, but I’m not kidding on this one. It is a night and day difference. So she and her family are going back to church again, and her husband is more receptive than he used to be. AND, one of her daughters friends (who’s been coming to church and mutual) wants to be baptized, so we've got that planned on Saturday.
Speaking of Saturday, I’m sure at least my family has been counting the "7 baptisms" over the next two weeks. 1 down, plus one, we're back at 7 for Saturday? Not quite, unfortunately. It’s always that last week where the adversary kicks in his last effort. But Andre and Evelyn (the friend) SHOULD be for sure on Saturday. Dione slept in through church. Thayna was excited, was interviewed by the ZLs, but slept through her interview with the bishop. Larissa had... some excuse for church. Neli... she slept through church, too. Alcivio's travels went way longer than expected. All these are still good investigators with great baptismal potential, just, not for Saturday :( That’s sad, because I think Elder Molina will miss all of their baptisms.
We're quite sure Elder Molina will be leaving us. The members are pretty sad about that. I will admit he’s a great leader, loves the people, works hard, and taught me a lot. There were also good moments in our friendship, too.
Including one day, we were walking on the street, when Edivã (Popó) stopped us and said he wanted to talk to us. We went to his house and he hung his head. He said he really messed up. He said (translated in English) "Alissom and I were at a friend’s house, and, the friend offered us a bala (a... candy drop?) so we had one, and then I realized it was COFFEE flavored! I asked the bishop if coffee flavored candies had caffeine in them and he said that they sometimes did! I didn’t know. Am I worthy to pass the sacrament?" Through the absolute purity that this gurí has, Elder Molina and I tried very hard to suppress the smiles. Instead of saying "bro, forget it, you’re fine," we took the opportunity to teach more about the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the process of repentance. Then we took Popó on our next visit, lol.
Random - The flood water went back down, and everyone has a home again. We did a lot of service this week. A lot of people ride around on horse-drawn chariots, and it’s really cool.
One of our investigators, Tiago, had a cousin murdered this last week. He was very depressed about this. We had a strong impression to visit the family of his cousin. We met the mom, her name is Luciani. She was... very depressed. It was a very sad encounter. Nevertheless, we had the opportunity to bear testimony about the plan of salvation and where her son was. She took interest. When we returned, she said she was feeling much better, and that she prayed and believed in what we were teaching. Thus we see that the Gospel blesses lives. It brings peace to people’s hearts through the power of the Holy Ghost.
I want to give an update on how happy I am. I am just too happy. I get to watch people come closer to their Savior, and in turn, their families. It’s a beautiful thing. In Jacob 5, it talks about how the "Lord of the Vineyard worked with (his servants). I see that. I SEE that. Literally miracles are happening on my right and my left. The gospel is TRUE. We have a God. He is literally our father. He loves us all so much. So much, that he gave His Son as a sacrifice for us. I SEE the effects of that sacrifice every hour of every day. Both God the Father and Jesus want desperately for us to return to them. That’s why the work is hard. Because this work is God's work. And God wants each of His children desperately. Nothing lackadaisical about it.
Useless Word of the Week - Lança-Chama - Flamethrower.