Conner and Logan: I hope you guys had a wonderful birthday :) Conner... chill out- sure being 16 is great, but don't go breaking too many hearts, mmmkay deary? Love you guys!!
Ok. Batismos! Wahooo we had 2. Story time: Eduardo, meu filho. ( Ok, he isn't actually my son, but that's just how I feel about my investigators. We are so completely invested in the people here- it almost feels like he could be. Except that he´s 40. But whatever, it's fine. )
E. ``found us`` on the 4th of July. He called after us one day walking down the street. He told us that Elders had taught him all of the lessons a year ago, but that he wasn´t able to be baptized then... he had a lot of changes he needed to make in his life, principalmente that he needed to get married! O gente! Então, he then told us that since then he got married and made other adjustments because he missed the message the elders had to share and he wanted it to be a part of his life again. WOW. But the part that nearly brought me to tears was our return appointment. He was waiting for us on the street corner, with the Plan of Salvation pamphlet in hand. He told us he reads it regularly. Yeah, we know. It's a captivating message. But as the weeks came and went, we became discouraged. He promised time and time again he would quit drinking, after we set his baptismal date- and he just couldn't stop. We were devastated, but continued to work with him and brought him to church. The second sunday, we passed by to bring him again, but no one was home. We were so confused, and infelizmente went to church without him. Lo and behold! Guess who got himself to church ALL on his own! Eduardo! I am amazed that he was willing to give up so much because of a simple desire to follow Christ. But we know it wasn't really giving anything up, was it? Even better, HE knows that. Sister Alvews promised him in a lesson that one day he would be blessed for all the changes he would have to make. He looked at her for a moment and said, ``No... I ALREADY AM being blessed for making these changes.`` Then, after prayers and fasting, he made it. He quit drinking and on his baptism day, we passed by his house to walk with him to the church. Naturally, he was waiting outside, new clothes, combed hair. I cannot believe all of the changes I have seen in him. Even the little changes, like cutting the beard, and saying goodbye to the mustache- one we thought he would never part with. The baptism was amazing. And perhaps above all, it was sweet to see tears flowing down his face during the talks just before his baptism.
However... Sunday there was a mix up. He was set to be confirmed in sacrament meeting. (Here, in this ward, sacrament is the last meeting) SO we brought him to church. He went to Priesthood and we went to Relief Society. During class changes, before sunday school, we were talking with another investigator when we saw E. walk out the door. We weren´t super concerned, because a member told us, ``Dont worry, he is on the phone``... but 5 minutes later, he is nowhere to be found! Naturally, we sent out a search and rescue squad. Two members for the Elders quorum drove to his house to see if he went home while Romualdo walked around the block. Nada. They all came back empty- handed and he wasn't in any of the classrooms in the building either. What went wrong? Was his drinking problem worse than we thought? Was it fear? So... guess where we didn't look. The chapel. Yep, there he was, sitting all by himself in the other ward´s sacrament meeting! Haha here we are thinking the worst, and he is just trying to be obedient. Hilarious. Bless his heart. Next to nearly being bombed with fireworks, that was the closest I´ve come to a heart attack.
Also.... baptism number 2. Guess who! RITA! Mas... I don't have any photos because I couldn't go to the baptism. But I heard it was beautiful, as I'm sure it was. Yep, I couldn't go because I had meetings all day yesterday. Why, you ask? You won't believe this one. No one saw this coming. I´m training!!! WHAT? Yeah, I didn't even finish MY training... and now... I'm a trainer. Awesome. Scared out of my mind. My companion is Sister Bassi, thank heavens she is Brazilian- from São Paulo- because now at least one of us speaks Portuguese. She is super sweet! I love her! But get this: in our apartment, Sister Alves and I were living alone, but 2 more sisters moved in today. Our area is going to be divided. Que Bênção porque nossa área é grande demais! So yep! Now I have to get the 4 of us around Prossind. Am I ready for this? Doubt it. Absolutely nuts. But it gets better. Just guess who the new sisters are. SISTER SCIAMMARELLA and her companion. Não acredito. Its like we were destined to be best friends or something because we keep ending up together! Hahaha basically companions for the whole mission. Hilarious.
Last night we had a dinner at President´s with all the trainers and trainees. It was great. The coolest part was the testimony meeting. It was so surreal to see all of the missionaries- fresh out of the MTC testifying boldly with so much fire and energy, with such a pure desire to serve... just to be here. It was amazing. It reminded me of the fire I left the MTC with, and why I am here today. I am so grateful. Really, serving a mission is the greatest blessing in the entire world. I don't know why God keeps blessing us with so many miracles here, but he does, and frankly, I can't complain. All I want to do is work harder and watch it all unfold. LOVE IT HERE.
Anyways, that's pretty long, eh? I love you guys so much. You mean everything to me. I hope this letter finds each of you in good health and happiness. Have a wonderful week. Tchau! Até mais. Beijos.
Com muito amor,