Oi gente, eu espero que todo bem com vocês,
(Hi guys, I hope all is well with you,)
This last week has been amazing. Although we didn’t get to have a baptism on Sunday, we are making up for it with at least 2 this week. We have a goal to baptize every week and so far we’ve been doing well.
We have two investigators that we just met this week - Afránio and Eduardo - who are getting baptized. Afránio is 20 and has already been to church 4 times before receiving the missionaries. He is a freaking stud. He bore his testimony last Sunday and isn´t even a member of the church! (YET) We shared the first 2 lessons with him and he nearly cried for the strength of the Spirit. We also shared the Word of Wisdom, and he instantly took the earring out of his ear and it hasn’t been there since. He also instantly committed to quitting coffee, something that prevents many, MANY people from getting baptized. He is going to serve a mission and bring many to the Gospel.
Eduardo and his family are a little different. Eduardo is extremely excited to get baptized and already chose to have me baptize him. This is pretty awesome and we are thrilled. The only problem is that the rest of his family is not active but all baptized. We have two goals with this family: baptism and retention. It Will happen! We taught the Word of Wisdom to them as well and it was a little more difficult than with Afránio; the mom, Jociane, smokes and drinks coffee. The daughter, Luciane, also smokes, drinks, and drinks alcohol. We had a challenge, but challenges are very do-able, something I have learned here. We worked with them in their house about these things for almost an hour and, finally, they gave us their coffee and cigarettes and we threw them in the trash. It was pretty cool to watch their faith turn into action through the influence of the Spirit.
We also taught another family – Teresinha, Jackeline, Claudecir, and Diane – about the Word of Wisdom (Palavra de Sabedoria) and had a similar lesson with a similar Spirit. We just have to check on them and see how they did, because they weren’t home when we checked on them yesterday.
We have already taught 12 lessons this week (a Record for us) with 8 of those with a member. Woohoo!! This Will translate to a lot of Baptisms.
Another cool experience: to adhere to the Standards of Excellence (Padrões de Excelência) we need have at least 15 contacts in the street every Day with 5 addresses recorded. While this may seem easy, in reality it takes some time and effort, and sometimes becomes very easy to lose track of. This sometimes results in miracles having to happen on Sunday, the last Day of the week. This last week, we were short on contacts because of trainings and my companion got a little sick and we had to go home to rest. We had to do over 100 contacts with over 40 addresses on Sunday, a Day when very few people are on the street (sober, that is). We did 113 contacts with over 50 addresses! Obviously, it is much better to do 15 a Day, maybe 16 or 17, and call it good. But it is Nice to know that miracles Will and can happen IF we let them and IF we have faith in Heavenly Father.
As I think I’ve already Said, I get to sing several solos in the choir for the Mission Conference. This is both a little nerve-wracking and extremely exciting. I get to sing Acalma-te o Alma Afligida (Be Still my Soul) and O Noite Santa (O Holy Night). O Holy Night is a VERY hard song to sing, and especially sing well as it is so darn high (I get to sing a high G sharp full voice...whew), but I know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon through the Power of God and that the Savior walked on water during a storm, so I´ll be Just fine. The choir sounds really good and the conference Will be awesome.
List of investigators: Afránio, família do Eduardo (Mateus, Jociane, Luciane, and the old grumpy grandma),família da Jackeline (Teresinha, Claudecir, Diane), família do Denilson (Tatiana, Luna), família da Jéssica (Wéllington, Elizabeth), família do João (Janete, João Carlos), família do Edson (Sirlane, Denilo, Henrique, Sylvia), Clésio, Liliane and Edineia, Matilde, Inês e Jair, Marcos e Sonja. There might be more but I can’t remember.
I Love you all sôo much. I AM working my buns off here and it feels great on the back. I AM gaining a stronger testimony daily of this Gospel and of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and loves us more than we can possibly imagine. I know the Book of Mormon cannot possibly be false, no way. And I know I Love all of you, so much.