Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dear John...hehe, not.

Oi gente, todo bam?

So this week was very interesting. First of all, I have new companion as of 9 oclock this morning: Elder LeBaron. Second of all, I´m still in Santa Felicidade. Thirdly, I´m excited! Vamos explicar sobre todo: So this last week was the end of my second transfer in the mission. Weird. We seem to be in a sort of time warp, and the time passes ricidulously fast (especially when You´re working and baptizing). We waited anxiously on Monday night to find out about transfers and found out that I would stay and he would go. While he´s already been here for three transfers and it was about time for him to go, it felt strange. In the mission, your trainer is called your 'dad' (pai), and it´s strange to get transferred again after getting so accustomed to one person and his actions, insights, teaching methods, etc. But such is the mission! Change, change, change.

Elder LeBaron is a stud. He´s from Utah (I think he´s the only missionary from that place...not sure) and he´s going to be the District Leader in our district, since Elder Duarte was the last one. He and I have a lot of stuff in common, and he was super excited to be coming into a place where the ward is super excited to have good missionaries and baptisms happening almost every week. It´ll be an awesome transfer with him.

Yesterday, I spent a good 4.5 hours cleaning our house to prepare for the transfer. Let me just say that Mommy would be proud - I cleaned the junk out of the bathroom (for about 2 hours..messy stuff. Missionaries can be such slobs), swept all the floors, cleaned the walls, organized the papers and stuff, organized the Area Book, wrote a list of things to do to start of the transfer well, put all of the member´s phone numbers in my daily planner...very busy, but very productive day.

It was weird: we were talking to our LMA (Ward Mission Leader - Lider da Missão da Ala), Rafaél, and he said that in all his time in the church and on his mission he´s never seen a ward more excited for the missionaries. This can only mean one thing: more baptisms!!! When we work by ourselves, we can do about 10 things. When the ward does work, they can also do about 10 things (theoretically and metaphorically speaking). Together, though, we can do about 35. It´s the magic of synergy!!! Let´s use it to baptize the heck out of Santa Felicidade! We should have 3 or 4 more baptisms this week.

One problem here in the mission is that people need to do a certain amount of things in order to be baptized.
• First, they need to hear all the missionary lessons (restoration, plan of salvation, gospel of Jesus Christ, and commandments before baptism. After, laws and ordinances).
• Also, they need to keep the Word of Wisdom, and have been keeping it for about a week (for drugs you have to wait a while longer, obviously).
• Also, keep the Law of Chastity, meaning getting married and/or not doing "that stuff" outside of marriage.
• Also, they need to read the BOM (Introduction, 3 Nephi 11, and Moroni 10:3-5), pray about these parts and ask if they´re true. See also D&C 20:37 for the specific commandments to be baptized.
• THe last thing they need to do is go to church at least twice before their baptism, meaning at least once before their baptismal date, then the day of.

This is reeeaally hard to do, because of one thing - Satan. He is always trying and poking the people that we teach and giving them little things to do that will impede their progress and prevent them from going to church. For example: we have an investigator who has been being taught for over 5 months. She had a baptismal date all ready, she was interviewed and keeping the commandments, and the next day all she needed was to be baptized. BUT, something happened and she didn´t go to church. The next week, the same thing happened. Another week, she was ready to go and was walking out the door to go to church, and who should drive up but her sister...there is always something. Because of this we need to be firm with our investigators to really do everything they can to get to church, and when they do, it´s a miracle.

The most we´ve had come to church until now has been 9; I would like to double that for this transfer. I want 18 people to see how sacrament meeting goes down! SO the work is continuing here. We are baptizing, working, and loving it. I´m excited to start working with Elder LeBaron and learn from him; it´ll be awesome.

Love you all, and thanks for everything. Remember, letters sure do hit the spot on a rainy day! :)
Elder Brown, Santa Felicidade, Special Correspondent to the Queen

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