Things are going good here in the Conjunto Ceará 3 Ward. It´s a small ward, but a good ward. Yesterday everyone began to know me as "Élder Feliz" which is Portuguese for "Élder Happy". We had lunch yesterday with a member and the food and everything was so good. I told her "Sister, this food is amazing, the drinks are awesome, I´m loving this ward..." and things of that nature. As it turned out, this sister was also one of the speakers in church that afternoon and she talked about gratitude. She talked about how I was so happy and grateful for everything and called me "Élder Feliz" while she was speaking because she still hasn´t learned my name. So now everyone knows me as "Élder Feliz".
That wasn´t the experience of the week, but I thought it was cool. But, this week we´ve had some super cool experiences already. Our area is super small (more or less the size of our ward back home, if not maybe a little bigger) but we´re seeing some amazing things happen. One of the things was a young woman we met named Sheisla. She lives in the interior of Ceará, about 8 hours from Fortaleza, but she´s in Fortaleza to do a surgery, so she´ll be staying with her aunt for a little bit. We talked with her one day on the street and we marked an appointment to return Sunday morning before lunch. We headed out to teach her and I was excited. Appointments before lunch are generally a little sketchy because people tend to be super busy making lunch (it´s a super big deal here) but we showed up and there she was. Even better, she was excited to hear what we would explain. We began explaining about the church and what it means to us and what it could mean to her. She had some amazing comments about Jesus Christ and what He did for each of us. I was amazed to see the absolute love and admiration she has for our Lord and Savior. She understood everything and the Spirit was super strong. At the end of the lesson we invited her to pray about what she had heard and she said, "You know, there are some things you can just feel. The whole time that you two have been speaking I´ve just felt the Spirit like a hammer saying 'It´s true, it´s true'" Wow. She agreed to pray and then we invited her to come to church with us that afternoon. She wasn´t sure if she could, but said she would try. We passed by later that afternoon to see if she would come and she said "Yes. I already went and talked with Brother Lisboa (who she has never met) and he´ll give me a ride with his family. Can my cousin come too?" She came to church and loved it! I´m super pumped to see her progress in the gospel. But as we were walking we began to think about that. We met here on Thursday night and made an appointment for Sunday morning. Sunday morning two American strangers told her that our Father in Heaven has called a prophet once again on the earth and that she should visit the church with us. She went and talked with a member she has never met to get a ride to a church she has never seen in a neighborhood she doesn´t know. How amazing is that?!? Élder Espinal and I were amazed by her faith. It was a true testimony builder to me to see how powerful the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ really is. It´s amazing to see how the Spirit is able to mold and shape people´s hearts so that they can see the importance of the message, even before they know it completely. I´m soo grateful for the opportunity I have to teach people this miraculous message.
But seriously, with all of this happening, what reason do I have to not be happy?
Amo vocês. Até o próximo.
Élder (Feliz) Evans
P.S. This Sunday is Brasil´s Independance Day. Who´s excited? I´m excited.