Monday, August 24, 2015

28th Week Out, 8th week in Juazeiro, Fortaleza

Dear family and friends;

This week was filled with miracles.  Sunday church started, Elder Hwang and I didn’t have any investigators at church.  Elder Hwang and I were not going to have 0 investigators at church so we went out and looked for people (Note that this was after church classes had already started.)  We went and knocked on a door, taught a woman and invited her to come... but nothing.  We didn’t stop there.   We passed by a couple other houses and everyone still said "No."   We were about to give up because it was 10:10 am by this point and we were at least 30 minutes from the church by foot.  We were going to have to run back in the heat of the day to make it to sacrament meeting by 10:30 am, but we stopped by one last house trying to get one of our investigators to come to church.  We knocked on the door and the dad came to the door.   We asked if he could wake up Emily (our investigator) and ask her if she wanted to come to church with us.  He tried and she said "No."  We asked him to try one more time!  she still said "No."  By this point we had 10 minutes and we weren’t going to make it on time but we noticed that the dad had a car, so we asked him if he could give us a ride to the church.  I thought he would say no because we had woke him up knocking on his door, but I figured we should ask anyway and he said "Yes!"  So on our way there we knew his sister who is a member and we called here and told her to meet us out front.  We were going to try and get him to stay at church with us as well.  We got to the church and he didn’t want to pull in but we got him to and when he did, his sister was there and she was like, "Hey!  Come join me.  It's about to start!"   We got him to come with us!  He sat through all sacrament and after it was over, he told us he was grateful we knocked on his door this morning.  I know he felt the spirit and I look forward to teaching him more!  

Not only that, but 2 weeks ago we were supposed to have a baptism for the girl by the name of "Betinha" who is 19 years of age.  The day of her baptism, she didn’t show up for church?  We called her and she didn’t return our calls?  We passed by her house every single day of the next week and called her every day but she never got back to us.  We were pretty convinced that it was over with her until... the next Sunday she walked to church all by herself which took 30 minutes!  She didn’t even know anyone in church but she came!  During this time she felt that what we were teaching her was the "truth" but she didn’t want to leave her church.  Her whole family is catholic, but Betinha felt the spirit.  It testified to us that is true! 

I recently read a talk by Gordon B. Hinckley who spoke of meeting a young naval officer from Asia.  

The officer had not been a Christian, but during training in the United States, he had learned about the church and was baptized.  He was now preparing to return to his native land.

President Hinckley asked the officer: “Your people are not Christians. What will happen when you return home a Christian, and, more particularly, a Mormon Christian?”

The officer’s face clouded, and he replied: “My family will be disappointed. … As for my future and my career, all opportunity may be foreclosed against me.”

President Hinckley asked, “Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?”

With his dark eyes moistened by tears, he answered with a question: “It’s true, isn’t it?”

President Hinckley responded, “Yes, it is true.”

To which the officer replied, “Then what else matters?” 1

Brothers and sisters Betinha felt this spirit.  She was baptized this last Sunday.  She now is attending Seminary every day and also attends a Mission Prep class along with Thiago, and Joao Neto.  All three of them are "planning on serving missions" now!

Brothers and Sisters, this church is true?  Why would so many people sacrifice the things they do for this church?  Why am I serving a mission if I didn’t know it was true? " It's true isn’t it?  Then what else matters?…" 

I love you all and thank you for all your love and support!

Impressions of Juazeiro
  1. Ketchup and mayonnaise goes on just about everything here in Brasil
  2. Many people sleep in hammocks and not actual beds!
  3. You know when your investigators starts to love you because they will start to give you lunches (snacks).

Rua Republica da Armenia 765
Agua Fria
60821-760 Fortaleza-CE

(Note mail in Brazil is regulated as you might have heard, packages and even letters have a high chance of being opened if you do not cover the letter or package in pictures of Jesus and Catholic Mary. Shipping takes about a month time sometimes longer.

"Betinha" who is 19 years of age felt the spirit as it testified of the truthfulness of the gospel and she was baptized.

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