I hope you all had a great 4th of July. Much like Christmas, it was very hard to imagine that the 4th was happening there in the states. The atmosphere is completely different here, and it's cooler than ever!
We had a great week! We had a conference to meet our new mission president, President Cabral from Forteleza! He's incredibly funny and very animated. He has brought an entirely new vision to the mission and has made some awesome changes in the teaching format here.
|An actual photo of Itaborai from Cooper.|
His whole theme is to not only focus on the baptism, but bringing the converts to the temple. He has made an emphasis on teaching ALL the lessons before the investigators are baptized, we have to bring the teaching records to every baptismal font to make sure everything was taught, (which will also help missionaries maintain the area books) and then we MUST teach them all the lessons again after baptism. These are all things that should be done but because our focus had been different many times, those important things fell through the cracks. I'm excited for more teaching before the baptism, more people truly prepared to make a sacred covenents and to live it, and not just to stop at the baptism but to continue on, helping them go to the temple! Exciting stuff!
We had two amazing highlights this week. One was with A. I dont think I've quite explained her story yet. Her husband J was baptized a little over a year ago, and since that time the missioanaries have been working with her. She has had a date for baptism before but they always fell through. When me and my comp came here together to open this area she was passed to us from the other Elders. I was a bit anxious at first, because the trade in a missionary can be difficult, you have to rebuild that trust, and in this case both were switching out. We had to start from scratch, but maybe that's just what she needed. We focused on building trust and getting to know her, showing her that we are here only to help, not pushing the word baptism too much and helping her be ready. She goes to church every Sunday, and after a year she's pretty much a member, just without baptism. She knows she wants to be baptized and that's why we didn't want to push it too much. Well this week we brought the heavy artillery. My comp testified about his family and how his father and mother both drank and smoked and how they overcame it. We let the Spirit work with her. I love silence, it's one of the best techniques in teaching. We let her think. After some time I asked how she was feeling. She said "normal", trying to hold back the tears. We let it sit for another few minutes. I then asked, "what are you thinking about?" She responded "a lot of things". She's a person that doesn't like to express how she is feeling, likes to keep it all inside, but it was clear that she was having a very strong spiritual moment. J was a but uncomfortable with the silence and kept making whistle sounds but not even that could break the intensity of the moment. He closed the message and invited her to pray. She hasnt prayed once with the missionaries and she did this time! PROGRESS. After the prayer she said, "It won't take long for my baptism" INTENSE.
We also taught a new family this week. We contacted J with her son B in the street a few weeks ago She started telling us about her son that past away a year ago and told he a bit about the Plan of Salvation. We had a great lesson with her and her husband J. We taught a bit of the Restoration, everything about the Plan of Salvation and also about the Gospel of Christ. They agreed to come to Church and on Sunday morning we went, picked them up and brought them to church. In Elders Quorum they disputed about watching television on Sundays and I was kinda afraid about what J would think. Gospel Principles [Sunday School class] went well and we talked about service. After the class, J wasn't feeling well, she doesn't sleep well anymore, hardly eats and is just suffering to put it best, because of her son. She wanted to leave but she managed to stay for the best part- Testimony meeting. She said she was immediately feeling better once the meeting got started. The testimonies went well. I think what struck them the most was a testimony from a 12 year old girl from the ward. She spoke about faith, better than I can, and talked about how she has faith that her father (a nonmember) will stop drinking and smoking, become a member of the church someday and she she will finally hear from him that he loves her. She was emotional and it was fantastic. What this girl goes through must have struck them deep. They are excited to come to church next week!
Fantastic Week. There were even more wonderful things that happened, but that's all I have time for for now. I thank you all for the prayers this week for our investigators, they truly were answered!
I love you all!