Dear Family and Friends,
This week was awesome. It was also super hard. Actually, our teaching group was literally zero at the beginning of the week. A recent convert, Mikael was baptized the weekend before I got here, and he was pretty much all that the missionaries had in their teaching pool.
So. We got to work. Elder Silva is a young pup, only 19 years old. Sorry for not shooting yall photos, (forgot my adapter in our house) but there's a photo of Elder Silva that I’ve already sent. It’s him with a "selfie-helper" at our multi-zone conference 5 weeks ago. Anyways, he's awesome, and full of energy, like me. With our drive, we pulled off a personal record of 17 new investigators in a week. That got the ball rolling.
São Gabriel is great. Ramo Bom Fim is normal-sized. The branch president is awesome. Our area is pretty big. It looks like a normal area with a huge tail, reaching 40 minutes (as always, walking distance) outside the city. Inconveniently, most of our members live at the end of the tail, so we have to plan carefully from our lunch appointments to the brunt of our work. And no, I have no idea what "Building" you speak of. I’ll have to look for it.
Dad asked me a question. "What is your favorite moment in São Gabriel thus far?" This one was too easy to answer… Last night's lesson with Irmã Marta. She's the sister of Irmã Hilda, and she "showed up" at church last Sunday. We started to teach her on Wednesday, as a result of her appearance at church. She seemed like a good investigator. Unfortunately, on Sunday, when we went to take her to church (we were having district conference that day), she was having leg pains, and couldn't come. That afternoon, we went to visit her, and she was sleeping. Returning that night, she let us in, and Hilda was already there to teach her with us.
We sat down, and the spirit was already there. Strong. I won't quote everything, because that would take a while. But I won't ever forget. We started off. "Irmã. Im sorry to hear that your leg was aching. That happens sometimes. But that shows us something. You didn't read, did you?" "No." "You didn’t pray, did you?" "Also no." "We already knew that, because if you would have read and prayed, you would have come with us to the conference today. Why not, Irmã?" "Well, I'm not sure what I want yet." "Well, what WE want doesn't exactly matter, does it? We need to be thinking about what God wants." The whole room was calm, despite the tempest rain beating upon the roof and walls of the house. The whole lesson was one of the times where the spirit ran the whole lesson. After reading a little bit in Alma 5, my companion asked "Irmã, do you feel that what we're teaching you is true?" "I do." "Why, Irmã?" "Because I feel so peaceful. I slept so well the night you all came over." "Is that the same feeling you felt when the Sisters were teaching you a few years back?" "Yeah." "Irmã, where do you think those feelings come from?" "From God" "Why do you think that?" "Because..." At this point, the room went silent. No one said a word, no one interrupted. She thought, got choked up, and started to cry. We let her cry a little bit. We didn’t dare interrupt what the spirit was teaching her at that point. Finally, my companion asked "What are you feeling, Irmã?" "I can’t explain" "Is it good?" "Absolutely." Then Irmã Hilda said "Do you remember when the Sisters taught you about the Spirit? How it’s a good feeling you can’t describe?" We read and analyzed Mosiah 18. "Is this the desire of your heart, to follow Christ?" "It is." "Then you DO know what you want, Irmã. We're holding a baptism on the 14th of May. Will you be baptized on that date?" "Yes. I’m not quite sure I’m ready yet." We assured her that she'd be ready. The most spiritual part was the prayer. It would be her first prayer with us, as she is rather timid. She started off rusty, as most do. It’s a pretty thing to watch... like a child learning to walk. Then she said "Thank you, God, for sending the missionaries to my house. For my wonderful sister who is an example to me. For the opportunity that I have now to join your church. Thank you so much for..." And the silence started. And for about 10 minutes, we just sat there, the four of us, absorbing the Spirit. None of us said a word. It was as peaceful as the Celestial room. Marta started crying again. The rain was still pounding on the house, but that didn’t matter. It was as if the world itself was trembling, not by the tempest, but by the Spirit.
She didn’t even finish her prayer. We all, at the same time, looked up at a consensus, as if it were to say "amen." We briefly told her to never forget what she felt, and headed off, so as to leave her bathing alone in the Spirit of that moment. My companion and I turned the corner, and just started running. Jumping. Skipping. Singing. Drenching ourselves in the pouring rain. We arrived at our house and knelt down, thanking God for what Irma Hilda, Marta, and we had learned that night.
I still tear up, reminiscing on the wonderful spiritual experience from the night prior.
I love you all. Have a great week.