Fun fact! They don´t have pennies down here! Well, all of their coinage is called centavos, but they don´t have 1 centavo coins. They have 5s, 10s, 25s, 50s, and 1 real (pronounced hey-al) coins. But anyway, this actually has significance. I´ll explain later.
I hope the challenge went well this week. It´s been reminding me to be more charitable this whole week and has brought back many good, happy memories of grandma. Another thing that helped was the talk Sunday Will Come by Elder Wirthlin. It was given at the OCtober 2006 general conference. Elder Weaver showed it to me when I was in Kansas and since then I found the Ensign with it in my apartment. Tender mercy? Absolutely. I discovered that we have some amazing old conference Enisgns in the apartment (yeah, Ensigns, not Liahonas, so they´re actually in English) and they´ve been a major blessing and tender mercy.
Anyway, centavos from heaven. In the movie Elf (which Brazilians know nothing about, sadly) when Buddy first goes to New York there´s a great little jazz ditty playing in the background called ´Pennies from Heaven´ and it talks about how when it rains we can find our fortune falling all over town. Buddy proceeds to have a blast with all the new things he finds about New York. Revlolving doors, gum, free flyers, the world´s best coffee, etc. Well, I imagine he was quite aprehensive about first going, but he went there filled with faith that he would find his dad and everything would be hunky dory. Well, I had a similar experience. This week we did two exchanges. The second of the two was quite eventful. I was paired with Elder Rector. Elder Rector is a great guy who is from Arizona. He entered the CTM (in Brazil. Apparently a few Americans get their visas straight off. Not common, but it happens) in October and we came to Missão Brasil Fortaleza on the same day. LSS, (long story short) he has the same amount of field experience in Brazil that I do. Neither of us can communicate super well. But, I had faith that the Lord would help us out. Anyway, I picked up Elder Rector and we headed to lunch at a members house. After some advetures in finding the house, we went in and sat down. They began talking to us and miraculously, I could understand them. I was blown away. Then, the next thing I knew, I was able to respond! It was amazing. The rest of the day proceeded the same way. Suddenly, when I was challenged, I wasn´t afraid to open up and share with these people. When I did open my mouth, the Lord filled me with words, conjugations, and vocabulary. When I didn´t have the words, the natives helped me (Brazilians are so nice :)), and we made it through the day! At the end of the day, we went to make a visit to a family we´re teaching, Aluizo + Redilane. Redilane (hedge-ee-lan-ee) was baptized about 16 years ago when she was 9 with her family. She doesn´t have much of a testimony of the gospel and really knows nothing about the church. Aluizo is her husband who is not a member. Elder Rector and I went over and reviewed the Restoration with them. I asked Elder Rector to share the Joseph Smith story and he still struggled, but it was amazing. As he was speaking, especially with the story of the First Vision, the Spirit intensified gradually until the room felt like it was on fire. Seriously, I´ve had some pretty awesome experiences before, but I think that was one of the most powerful moments in my life. Elder Rector bore simple testimony at the end and we asked them ´So what do you think? Do you think that God would call another prophet?´ and they said ´Well of course. God has always worked through prophets, why would he not call another one in our day?´and on. At the end Redilane gave the closing prayer and it was so powerful. She asked for God to reveal the truthfulness of the message to her and her family if this really is the church of Jesus Christ on the earth once more. Wow. We left and Elder Rector said ´Wow, that was amazing. I´ve never had a lesson that good before. And now I know that the gift of tongues is real´ Yeah it is. So, that was our day. And the whole day I felt like I was recieving pennies from heaven. A prompting here. A word there. A conjugation here. A little more faith there.
I know that I have been called of God to share this message with the world. I know that I am a representative of Jesus Christ. I know, without a doubt, that the Book of Mormon is TRUE! I invite you, along with President Eyering, to ´drink deeply from it´s pages every single day´. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and restored the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. Thomas S. Monson is his rightful successor today and I know this message is true.
P.S. The computer said I´ve spelled everything wrong EXCEPT my testimony. Penny from heaven? You know it :)
More pictures! The first is Guilherme´s family. He was the only one baptized. His aunt can´t be baptized because she isn´t married. Yet... His dad doesn´t live in our area. First time we met
Second, us with Guilherme´s family
Third, Guilherme and Elder Lima (Zone Leader. Guilherme wanted him to baptize him)
Fourth, us and the chilluns