What an interesting week and wonderful one as well! Last week seemed to be just jam packed! It was good getting to know Elder Nascimento better, it was strange getting to know a new comp already, but he is a great elder! He has a twin brother who is serving in Rio right now so that is fun, ad he is pretty goofy, I am enjoying working with him.
We worked really hard this last week, we had a lot of good things happen! We have found that this area is a little harder for finding new investigators than my last area, haha in my last area it seemed like I just had to go to the favela and I could find 15 new investigators in one day, here we are trying so hard to talk to people but they are a little more closed here, but hat´s ok!! Last tuesday we went to a contact´s house, Gilberto, and we were there with a RC whose name is Batata (Potato, it´s a nickname), well the investigator wasn´t home, just his wife and daugher, we marked for another day and then went to other appointments. An hour later Batata called us, telling us that Gilberto´s wife had passed by his house while taking their daughter to school and that her husband had gotten home, found out that we had passed by, and told his wife "I really need to talk to those elders as fast as possible!!" so she found batata´s house, told him, and asked him to ask us to pass by there that same day if possible. So we did!! It was great, we got there and he welcomed us in and we were able to teach him and his wife about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were really receptive. They already have a different church, and so when we talked about baptism and them being baptized they were pretty surprised, but they accepted our invitation to read and pray adn find out for themselves. So woo hoo!
We also had Alison get interviewed, as well as Roberto (the son, his dad´s name is Roberto as well but needsd to get married.) They both passed and were super psyched to get baptized! On Thursday we went to Roberto´s house wife the Primary President and her son who is the deacon´s quorum President as well. It was great, well, until Roberto told us that he thought he wasn´t prepared for baptism. We just listened and then we asked him a couple questions, but it was great because Sylvia, the Primary President started talkign with him about baptism and explaning to him it´s purpose. The Spirit was really strong. Well then we asked him again, and he said that he had been a little unsure but now was certain that he really wanted to and was ready to be baptized on Saturday!! We were all really excited and then Sylvia did something else heaven-sent, she turned to his siblings who we had also been teaching and whom had gone to church as well, adn said "Do you want to get baptized together with your brother? It would be wonderful for you all to be baptized together and it would be such a special day." We had been planning on inviting them but it was so wonderful to hear the member excited and asking them. We were super happy when they all said yes!!! There mom, Andrea, started crying and said that if she were them she would have said yes to baptism a long long time ago!!! So woo hoo!! The next day our zone leaders came to our area and interviewed Raiane, Andresa, and Kenerson, and all of them passed! On Saturday we went to get them adn everyone was ready and dressed and excited for the bpatism! So we ended up having 5 baptisms on Saturday after the first conference session! We were so happy and the entire ward was really excited, it was fun to see all of the members there including them and happy to see them at church. On Sunday they came and enjoyed the sessions. Andrea said to us and to a member that she wants to be the next baptism in teh ward!! Haha we are going to work with them this week and help them get married so that the parents can follow their kid´s examples. If you could pray for the kids to continue and to be confirmed this sunday and also for the parents to get married then I would be ery grateful!!
On Saturday morning we had an expo for the church at a plaza here in the middle of the city! We were there along with two other set of elders from our zone and a ton of members! WTher was popcorn, cotton candy, a bunch of banners and tables explaining the different organizations of the church and it was great! We talked to tons of people, gave away a TON of pass along cards, Easter cards, and copies of the Book of Mormon and other church materials like Liahonas, My Family History Booklets, and it was just great! We ended up receiving tons of referrals (more than 40) and several people insisted that we pass by their house quickly because of the Spirit that they felt while being taught right then and there. It was really cool to see the members opening their mouths and the energy and spirit fel there was great! Afterwards we had lunch at teh church with everyone right before the session!
Conference was incredible as always, it was truly a great experience!! I loved taking notes and reflecting on the talks and how they apply to my life! I am so excited to be able to look back on my notes and read the talks when they come! It was truly spiritual, I am so grateful to be able to sustain the Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I know that on Easter I had the priveledge of hearing Christ´s representative on the earth. There was truly no better way to celebrate Easter adn the wonderful and miraculous event that was the Atonement adn the Ressurrection of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to have been able to serve another Easter as a full time representative of Christ and to hear His chosen servants. It was wonderful.
Well, Happy Birthday Grandpa Burnham, I hope that it was a wonderful day!
Open your mouths everyone!1
April 13- Referencias!
This last week passed by really quickly, it went really well and we were just going to work to contact all of the more than 40 referrals that we had received the Satruday before at the ward Expo that we did here. It went really well and we are slowly being able to contact these people. Unfortunately sometimes they aren´t home when we pass by there and some people live in pretty far parts of the city or neighboring cities... haha so we are just trying our best to contact everyone.
One of these experiences was really good, we were able to contact a man who is really humble, whose name is Paulo. Paulo is pretty old already and has cataracts in one eye and doesn´t hear very well. So we were teaching him and my comp was at his side. Well we deduced very quickly that he only could hear if we almost yelled in his ear. Haha so when my comp was teaching and stopped so that I could teach I told him quietly to just teach the whole lesson! I was farther away and with my american accent I was pretty sure he wouldn´t understand a thing! Haha so the lesson consisted of my comp yelling the Restoration of the Gospel of Christ and this old man occasionally telling him to speak louder. BUT, he liked it a lot and accepted to be baptized. So that was fun! As we have visited him it seems that he gets really discouraged because of his hearing and sight problems, but we are doing our best to help him.
We also went on another split, I asked for a split so that my companion could stay in the area and have an experience leading and being alone in our area! And it went really well, I was really happy for him! I was in Cerrado with Elder Linford again, it went really well and they are in the process of teaching several Haitian families, it was cool trying to communicate with them. Most of them only speak French, Criol, and Spanish, so it can be interesting teaching them, but it went really really well. Elder Linford reminds me a lot of me at the start of my mission, it was fun teaching with him.
A couple of weeks ago I was pretty sick with stomach problems, etc, and fortunately I got better after that week and didn´t have anymore problems!! Unfortunately now I am sick with either allergies or a head cold! Haha I just haven´t gotten sick very much on my mission and so now it is not very fun! But I have been taking some good allergy medicine and it has been going well!
Yesterday Alisson, Roberto, Raiane, Andressa, and Kennerson were all confirmed, the ward was excited and several different ward members were able to do the confirmations, giving them experience! It was great, the family of Roberto is excited. The father asked us to teach them hymns so that they can follow along better at church, so now we sing a hymn at the start of every visit and we gave them hymn books.
Andreia and Roberto want to get married, it seems like Roberto is a little hesitant and doesn´t want to go to quickly, haha so I took sticky notes and wrote "Marriage is a Blessing" and put them in several places in their house, like on their fridge and TV. They kept them there and we challenged the mom and all of the kids to pray daily so that the parents could be married as quickly as possible! We are teaching like 4-5 different couples right now who aren´t married, it is just crazy, but we are praying a lot of be able to help them get married as quickly as possible!
Other than that it was a really good week, we are trying to always get better and to work better! All prayers are welcome for marriages and baptisms to happen in Salto de Pirapora!
Have a great week and happy birthday Bradley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
April 20- Workin Hard!
Well this was yet another week just full of hard work here in Salto de Pirapora. We are truly working hard, haha I find myself really really tired every night and morning, but during the day I am totally good to go and even though my comp is new I think I can still beat him with energy! :)
We are doign well here, I am feeling a little better, I had some allergy medicine from the states that I hadn´t used in 2 years and so that started to help and I am feelign good now.
Last week after sending email we went to a contact´s house and met his younger brother, Felipe. Well we also met his mom, his grandpa, and his uncle. It turns out that his grandpa has 16 children, 25 grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren, and pretty much all of them live here in the city! Haha they really liked our visit and on Wednesday we were able to teach them about the Restoration and afterward Felipe and his uncle (who is only 1 year older than him, they have liike 17 and 18 years) went and played soccer at the church with the youth. Unfortunately they were unable to go to church this week because of work but they are praying and doing the things that we invited them to do!
We also have been excited with a youung man who is 14 named Paulo Gabriel. He is really courteous but just lives playing with his friends on the street, haha he actually reminds me a lot of Bradley. Well his mom works nights but is supportive of him coming to church and he has a bptismal date for this Sunday! Prayers please! He came to church and really enjoyed it! We also worked with a less active young man and asked him to do visits with us, he really liked it, there is no better way to teach someone about the gospel than to have them help you teach! Haha it went well adn he is more excited now.
We also were able to mark for wednesday to go to the government office with Andreia and Roberto so that htey can get married! PRAYERS please! Haha we went there last week and Andreia said that she doesn´t know if Roberto wants to get baptized or not, but that she already decided that she wants to and that she wants to serve in the church and not just sit there on the chairs all day! Haha so she is determined to get married so ythat she can be baptized, and Roberto finally accepted a day for us to go and do his wedding there. Woo Hoo!! Also Inara and Alisson, the two recent convert siblings, have been praying every day for their parents to get married and baptized, and their parents are reading hte Book of Mormon every day with the helpful reminders of their kids. haha these youth and super strong, it is wonderful to see!!
We also invited another recent convert whose name is Batata (nickname that means potatoe) to invite three people to come to church and he did! He actualyl had a family of 5 that had comitted to come but couldn´t at the last minute, but he brought two other investigators of ours to church that had never come before! We were really excited and in Gospel Principles class we had to bring in more chairs because there were so many RC´s and investigators! Blessings!
On Saturday morning we went to another city called Araçoiaba da Serra for a Stake Blitz. All the missionaries in the stake were there and we split up with members and visited less actives and did contacts with people and investigators. It was so awesome, I was with the Bishop and we just worked our tails off for 4 hours that morning and we had some really great experiences, were able to teach a family that had just moved there and also a young man that really felt the Spirit as we were teaching about the First Vision, afterwards all the members and missionaries ate lunch together, it was good.
Last week we also had a really good and clear lesson with Jadeilson, we were super clear and direct in our teaching because he is at the point that he is either going to be baptized or we will have to stop teaching him. Haha he is so ready but he doesn´t see that! But he came to church on Sunday and now he is dating a returned missionary who is super firm so hopefully that will help him see the light. :)
Well, I hope that you all are well and that you have a great week, remember to open your mouths!
Branch President Luiz Fernando & Elder Carney
April 27- Last Transfer!
Well here we go! It´s just crazy but this transfer has already ended and this week is the first week of the new transfer. I wasn´t surprised that I stayed here with my companion since we opened up the area with elders this last transfer, everyone in the ward was happy that I am going to "die" here as they say it. This last week was really full! We started it out with a good lesson with Jadeilson last monday night, he was excited to tell us that he had good news to tell us the next day; haha he wouldn´t tell us that night and so we had to wait. It turns out that on Tuesday he ate lunch at hte members house with us and told us that he had decided to be baptized!! Finally!! Haha we were really excited, obviously, and it was a serious answer to prayers since we had gotten to the point where he just had to have the desire, he believes everything, is ready, and already is fulfilling the other commandments, so we were just praying so hard. And once he decided that he wanted to be baptized it was like it was a different person. Desire truly changes us. He was baptized on Saturday night and confirmed yesterday during Sacrament. It was great to see and the ward was really supportive. So woo hoo"
Last sunday we were very happy to see Alisson and Roberto both receive the priesthood! Alisson is a deacon and Roberto is a teacher. So this Sunday it was awesome to see them both passing the sacrament! Our ward has very few young men and usually the adults have to help pass, but this time it was all young men. I even got teared up seeing them pass, it was truly wonderful to see them progressing in the gospel.
During the week we were working hard and trying to help these wonderful people progress. We are teaching a youung man named Gustavo, but his nickname is Favela and he accepted a baptismal date, so we are excited to see how he progresses. Another young woman named Barbara accepted our invitation to go to church and I think she liked it a lot! She is friends with a young man in our ward who is serving a mission right now, so it was great to see how his positive influence and friendship is helping us in our work!
Roberto and Andreia unfortunately were not married this last week, it turns out that hte day that we were going to go to the government office his mom broke her leg... darn it! then we found out that htey are really worried about their identification and birth certificates, because they are really old and kind of torn. They also can´t really afford to pay for new ones since it is really expensive here in Brasil. So we visited them with the Bishop and we were able to have a really good discussion with them and decided that we would go today with Andreia to see if the government will accept the documents or not. We went there with her and her son and we had been praying so hard for hte last couple days. Well we go there and the lady said the magic words, telling us that the documents were fine and would be accepted!!!!! Woo hoo!! The first thing that Andreia said when we got outside was "I am going to be baptized!!!!" Haha we are really happy for them and are working hard to help them. Tomorrow afternoon we will go with both of them and some of their family to sign the documents and here in 20 days they will receive the marriage certificate and then can be baptized! So we were really happy.
It´s very surreal with this transfer happening, the elders from this group that is leaving are some of my best friends on the mission. Elder Albuquerque. Elder R Cruz and Elder Gimenez are going home among others that have worked with me on the mission and have helped me learn a lot. So that is just strange, now my group is the oldest on the mission, kind of crazy.
This week on Friday we will have a devotional with Elder Clayson of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Aidukaitis who is a member of the Area Presidency. That will be fun, I am excited to go and learn and be edified!
Also Elder Noleto, my son, got called to be AP! I was really happy for him, he will grow and learn a lot, it is fun to see him growing!
Well, have a wonderful week everyone! Love you all and open your mouths!