Well, I'm here again! It was a week full of good experiences as well as trials. My time here in Itaboraí, dividing the missionary labor in a ward, spending every waking moment of the last four months with Elder S has been an incredible experience. We have both grown so much together, and have become better missionaries together. In what may be our final week together here in Itaborai we are looking to finally break this dry spell of baptisms since day one. In Rio Bonito beginning last Sunday we began teaching [X2 and Y2], who are neighbors of a referral from members. They have been going to church the past 3 weeks and have loved it. They don't comprehend all that we teach them , nor all that they learn at church, but most importantly they feel the spirit there each Sunday, and they always tell us how when it ends that say, "did it end already!?" They are on board to be baptized after the first session of General Conference in Alcântara where conference will be transmitted for the stake. It's going to be really special for everyone. Rio Bonito has already had the branch close twice in the past, and the stake is looking at the possibility to open it again. Two more baptisms and many more to come (waiting marriage) will help support the Branch big time. It's a huge sacrifice on our part to go there, 13 reais each trip which we don't receive reimbursement for, but it's worth it. I love seeing the work of the Lord march forward!
In other news we continued to teach [X] and overcome the many difficulties that come along with it. She has people talking to her daily about the Church, we fielded questions this week about animal sacrifices, brain washing and black people not being allowed to enter the church. We taught her almost every single day, and she is feeling the spirit stronger than any other investigator I have ever taught! She was set on this Saturday to be baptized and we planned it all out, the only thing that could prevent it was being absent at church this Sunday. Lo and behold she got really sick on Saturday (when we had planned to bring her to a baptism of the other elders) and Sunday. We've had tooo much of this kinda stuff happening with our investigators and it is really soul crushing. But we won't give up, she´ll get better here soon, we'll continue to help her feel the spirit, plan again for the upcoming week, and all will work out. Mighty prayers are always appreciated!
We also had zone conference this week, I learned a lot, I'm beginning to view my work a tad differently, in a good way! When I first walked into the chapel I came across a familiar face that shocked me. It was one of those weird moments where someone you know appears in a place you never thought! Elder S, who was in the other District at the MTC heading to Rio [back in July 2013], went to Gilbert with us [as a Visa waiter] and got his visa two weeks ago. He really struggled with the idea of switching missions [when missionaries hit the half way point of their mission and are still waiting for a VISA they are given the option to simply stay where they are currently on re-assignment] but went for it..... He's REALLY suffering with the switch, so elder N and I sat down and talked to him for a good while. It was REALLY hard leaving Gilbert after just 3 months there, imagine a year and 2 months! Really rough...
On the good side, I caught up with the most recent Madureira elders, J and T are doing fine, active and happy! Two elders from my district are being sent to Madureira together now. I sent them with a handwritten letter for J and T, and encouraged them to prepare them for the temple. A year is passing by quickly and in Feb/March they could be on their way! I get goosebumps just thinking about it!
Another lady, who is a friend of J's, lives pretty much next door to the church, whom I taught a bit with E. C and E. P back in December/Jan, is going to to be baptized.
Dad, I got a truck load of letter this week and enjoyed reading them throughout the week, thanks again!!!
Love you all so much and hope you have another good week, I know I will, I'll be back writing you guys here soon!
We're in the tie making business these days, finally putting to good use all the sewing equipment mom sent me with. First tie of the season, came out pretty well for my first time. [Those who know me well will imagine just how exciting this was for me! I sent him with a very small sewing repair kit- essentially a couple of needles and thread. I have many questions about where he is getting fabric and if he made a pattern etc. I have to assume he hand sewed the entire thing and I am highly impressed!]