Dear Family and Friends,
Sorry, this week I didn’t take any pictures. I brought my camera to the chapel this morning for our district volleyball game. But it fell through, unfortunately.
In respect to the work here in Vila Rica A, It’s been alright. Maria and Patrique ended in a shocking turn of events. Estefan, our Branch Mission Leader, did visits with us on Tuesday. When we showed up at Maria's house, she abruptly said "I was just going to church because of the boy (Patrique), but now that he's gone, I don’t want anything to do with the church. Bye." When we followed up with her on Saturday, she still remained indignant about the situation, and expulsed us from her front lawn. Net, net - I think Patrique’s parents re-gained custody of him, and I think this has Maria stressed out.
These things are tough on a young pup like Elder Sales. Speaking of Elder Sales, he changed his mission name to his preferred last name. He is now Elder Alves. So from now on, I may refer to one name or the other, but just know he's the same guy. Anyways, he does (rightfully) get frustrated with these things (I do too, but not as much as him). But he’s taking it really well. In fact, he's sort of funny about it. The other day, we saw a man without legs. He said "FINALLY. A man who's not gonna run away from us." haha
It was a sort of weird week, to be honest, because we wanted to do a "filter" of our too-large, too-weak teaching pool, but it turns out, almost no one was at home. So. We did a lot of door clapping, and we found some good new investigators, thus enlarging our teaching pool even more. So that’s good news, and bad news, I think, haha.
Yesterday was yet another day without any investigators in Sacrament Meeting. We had everything worked out perfectly, and we left our house at 7am to search, (wake up) and pick up everyone at their houses and walk with them to church. BUT. "Não deu" (It didn’t work out).
At the end of this somewhat sad letter, I will say that this week, I am much more optimistic. When we trip, (or in this case, when other people trip us,) we just have to get back on our feet and keep going. This’ll be a good learning experience for Elder Alves.
Big news - starting on this last Thursday, our whole focus shifted towards re-activation. Presidente Parrella, Presidente Maicá (our stake president) and I had a conference call (Talk about a nerve-racking conference call) about what to do with respect to turning this Branch into a ward, because the Sacrament Meeting attendance, and other key-indicators are ward-worthy. Our focus now is to re-activate the Melchizedek Priesthood holders. So we have started to work with a list of these prospect re-activate-ees. We called the Branch President for him to pray to find 6 names of men to pass to us and the Sisters. The Branch President came up with 7. And during the week, we were able to contact them all, and a lot of progress was made on most. Some of them, including Ricardo and Derlei, went to church on Sunday. It was pretty special.
Actually, Derlei wasn’t even on the list. We were clapping doors, when we saw Derlei, a 19-year old less-active, watching over Tiago Brolo's house. (Tiago Brolo went on the temple trip) We decided to pay him a visit. Turns out, we talked to him about him serving a mission. It was a good lesson. At the end, I flashed back to the beginning of the mission when Elder Molina showed "The atonement and Missionary work" for me in a sad time in my mission. So I did the same. At the end of the clip, Derlei and my comp were in tears. Derlei offered the closing prayer, and thanked God for his "Power to Answer Prayers." It felt good to be part in the answer to someone’s prayer. I know God guides us. He went to church on Sunday, had an interview with the Branch President, and is preparing to serve a mission now.
I love the Lord, and all He does for us. I have a strong testimony of His Power.
I love you all.