Dear Family and Friends,
I have quite a bit to tell you this week, and I’m really excited to tell you about how many times better this week was than the last one. In relation to the Marrone-Diessica situation, we decided to just support them in their date for the 22nd of August. They’re only 20 years old, and this means a lot to them. They continue to be strong and firm in the church, and they love it! I included their wedding announcement in the pictures I sent.
I REALLY hope I can be there for their marriage and baptism. As we decided to leave the Marriage date as it is, we went ahead and marked their baptismal date for the 29th of August. Adriano, who passed us the Referral, is just on cloud 9. With the success that Marrone and Diessica showed, he has opened up and passed us a whole lot more referrals.
At church, Marrone, Diessica, Tainã's mom and sister (his sister finally came!), and Luiz's Mother-in-law (first time - we had been working with her for a few weeks) came.
So now to the part where I talk about how awesome the Spirit is. As a missionary, I was surprised to see how much being in the field was like my training. Most of the real-life situations really are very much like the trainings and practices. Because the gospel is like a math... Read the book of Mormon, Pray, show faith through the completion of commitments, and presto… Testimony. But, as you can expect, at times, as missionaries, life throws you a couple of curveballs. And when those curveballs come, you have to be sensitive to the spirit, or you’ll "strikeout." So on this past Sunday, we took Irmão Jaír to visit a less-active member, Thaís. When we showed up, she was not there, but her house-mate answered the door. As missionaries, we made the contact, and began teaching her instead. Her name is Daiane (not sure if I already told you guys), and she must have about 20 years. So we talked to her about the Restoration, and she showed interest, we challenged her to be baptized when she received an answer, she agreed, and so on, and everything was cool and what not. We marked to return on Wednesday.
Wednesday came, we returned with Adriano to Daiane’s, she gladly let us in, and she started off with a curveball. She said "Hey I have a friend who wanted you guys to bless this crucifix, can yall do that?" I paused. Didn’t exactly know what to do in that situation. I could have just said "no, we don’t do that," but I had this impression, that I know wasn’t a thought of my own. That thought said "Look, this girl trusts you guys as men sent of God (whom you are), use this as a teaching opportunity." So, as is the mentality of a missionary, we asked "Is your friend here?" "As a matter of fact, she is, she’s just a little shy." "Could you grab her for us?" She obliged. She returned with her friend, Andrea. At this point, I still didn’t know 100% what I was to tell her, but I had the impression just to open my mouth and speak what came to mind. And so I did. I asked her "what would be the purpose of this blessing? What do you want us to bless this FOR?" "Uhm, IDK, just so that I can have something holy close to my heart, and a symbol of God to pray to." I commended her for her desire. Then I went on to tell her that Jesus had prepared a way; left us with a way that we can feel close to God, and have this good feeling with us always. I went on to testify about the Spirit, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I told her that we can always have this gift with us, and this gift is given to those who are baptized in the Church of Christ. I then testified that we have the privilege to pray directly to God, and that he wants us to do so because He loves us.
It was just awesome. I felt so great, because I always heard of people saying "I felt like it was just the Holy Ghost filling my mouth with things to say", and I hadn’t, until this point, felt like I had an experience 100% like that. But now I had. And it just filled the room with the spirit, and it made for an awesome lesson. We marked for Friday.
Friday came, and we invited two young women in our ward to go visit them with us, to make them feel more welcome and such. But curveball #2 happened. Thais, whom was not present in our lessons until this point, met us at her door. She told us: "Look, I really don’t think you all have much purpose in coming here. I’m not really wanting to come back to church right now, Andrea is already catholic, and I don’t think she’s at all interested in what you have to tell her, and Daiane is travelling outside the city, and I don’t think she’s interested either." She dismissed us. Me, Elder Sena, and especially the two young women with us were a little stunned. It happens, but we had felt so good about those two.
But Sunday came around, and we felt impressed to return to that house. We weren’t going to take no for an answer, especially from a second source. To our surprise, Andrea greeted us warmly, and happily let us in. She said that she had been planning to go to church that morning, but her mom got really sick, and she stayed home to take care of her. She also let us know (without us asking) that she had not read the chapter from the Book of Mormon, because Daiane had been reading, and took the book with her when she went traveling. Rarely is there an excuse that us missionaries like, but that was one of those rare exceptions. So we left one for her, too, and she happily took it and thanked us. She said she had been reading the Restoration pamphlet, however. She then went on to tell us that she had wanted us to bless the crucifix on Wednesday because she had recently had a desire to re-kindle her relationship with God. We told her that that was exactly what we were sent from God to help her with. She started crying. She told us that the way we (the Spirit) explained why we didn’t bless the necklace "just made sense" to her, and that she wanted to learn how to pray and talk to God. So we did. We had a fantastic lesson with Andrea, and she said her very first (un-memorized) prayer to close it off. She told us she was happy that we had been sent there, and that we were welcome at her house.
I’m not sure if Thaís was lying, or just plain wrong, but I am glad that we listened this week to the spirit.
I know my Redeemer lives. I know the church is true. I love you all.
Some pictures of our Mission Conference and Scripture Mastery passoffs in Portuguese. :)