So, this week was buckets of interesting. We had a good time and some pretty cool miracles happened. We had a legit tender mercy that happened. We had to go to Centro (which is like the downtown district here) to mark a marriage for a couple we´re teaching. As we were walking I hear someone call out "Élder!" The family in Parquelândia with whom we spent New Years was at the exact same intersection. I stopped and introduced them to my companion and we talked for a little bit. Basically, I was just pumped to see them. Major tender mercy to see how the Lord´s timing is truly perfect.
But as we returned home, we were super excited to teach. We had a bunch of referrals lined up and a bunch of awesome contatcs marked to visit that day. And every single one of our plans fell through. We were more than a little bumbed. Élder Bradley was a little discouraged and we talked as we were walking. He expressed his frustration that we hadn´t had the opportunity to teach much that day. As we were talking I remembered a scripture dad sent me a number of months ago as I was serving in Kansas in Doctrine and Covenants 64:33-34. It speaks of how we are "laying the foundation of a great work" and that the lord requires a cheerful heart to reap the good of Zion in the last days.
The next day we awoke, studied, taught our first english class and headed out for the day. Our first appointment fell through because his house doesn´t exist. Or we just couldn´t find it. The address is painted on the side of the villa, but for some reason, his house just wasn´t there and no one knew where it was. We were more than a little frustrated. We headed to our second appointment, a woman named Elizabeth. We had contacted her the day before when the referral we received for her neighbor fell through. When we arrived she already had the chairs set in their places and warmly invited us in. As we were beginning her son-in-law came in and sat down with us. We began talking with him and during the conversation he said "well, I heard you were coming over today and I wanted to sit in with you. I´m actually a member of the church but I haven´t been in over 10 years." The next thing I knew the words sprang from my mouth "Well, what are the two of you doing tomorrow morning?"
Elizabeth: "Nothing really"
Us: "Great! How about coming to church with us?"
Elizabeth: "That would be great!" I would love to go!"
Regis (son-in-law): "You know, I would really like to go too."
Bear in mind. We haven´t yet taught this woman a single thing yet, and she already accepted the invitation to go to church. The Spirit was already super strong and we hadn´t even prayed. We prayed and began the lesson and as we taught and testified of Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ the Spirit was burning up the room. Then another question sprang from my lips:
Us: "Elizabeth, how are you feeling right now?"
Elizabeth: "I´m feeling good"
Which is actually a typical response from the people here. But then she went on.
Elizabeth: "I´m feeling really good. In fact, I´m feeling a really strong peace. Yesterday when you were talking with me at the gate I felt the same peace and I´m feeling it again. It´s wonderful."
Us: "Elizabeth, that is the Holy Ghost. His purpose is to testify of truth. Knowing that this really is the church of Christ reestablished on earth, are you willing to follow this feeling?"
Elizabeth: "I am"
Us: "Are you willing to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?"
Elizabeth: "I am"
Us: "We will be holding a baptismal service on April 27th. Will you prepare yourself to be baptized on that date?"
Elizabeth: "I will"
Pause for a moment and think about what just happened. The Spirit was so strong she could not deny that these things were true. The next day she and her less-active son-in-law came to church and loved it. I was talking to Élder Bradley afterwards and said "You know, I don´t think she understood 100% of the doctrine, but she felt that what we were saying was true. That is true conversion." and then I followed that up by saying "Elder, you need to be sad more. When you get sad, miracles happen." Sure, it wasn´t his sadness. But remember, the Lord, at times, will give us trials, so that we may better appreciate the blessings.
The next day we taught another lesson where a previously uninterested investigator accepted a baptismal date. That night we made contact with a woman who wants to raise her children in the "Mormon Church" so they can be in the right way. One way or another, the Lord makes miracles happen. Sure, weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.
The Lord loves us. More than that, He restored the fulness of the gospel of His Son through a prophet. We have a living prophet today. I know it because the Spirit testified to me. He is testifying to you.
Até o próximo!