Well, until this point in my mission, I have served in 3-5 different bairros in Curitiba and just outside it on the east side, Pinhais. And now, that changed. This morning I got up early and got transferred to Ponta Grossa, a city about 2 hours from Curitiba! It is famous for baptizing TONS of people because the people are nicer/more open, and I can already say it´s true. My new companion is Elder Melo and he is the man - we´ll work like rabid, organized dogs (do those exist?) and enjoy every minute.
The main highlight this week was Sunday. For those who have been reading the emails these past months, they will know that we are teaching a woman called Débora. Her sons were baptized and she almost was too, but then thought that she needed more time to prepare, wasn´t ready, etc. So anyway, she stopped receiving our visits for a time and it was a little sad because she has a lot of potential to be a great leader in the church, but we tried to be patient and help her prepare, even if it was for a long time in the future. They went on vacation right after New Year´s to Rio Grande do Sul, where they´re from, and stayed there for over a month. The day before she left, we were able to go by her house and leave a message. She talked about the same doubts, problems, etc., and we were pretty direct with her. We invited her to prepare to be baptized when she came back from the trip, and...she accepted!!! Then, the trip. It was really hard to stay in contact with her all that time, but we know that the Lord was preparing a way. Then, the big day arrived - she had just returned home and we talked about the interview, etc., and she said ok. Then, Satan pulled a fast one and she tried to tell us later that she hadn´t marked a specific date, and that she wasn´t quite ready yet. But we invited her to be interviewed at church, right before sacrament meeting (which is at 10:45). She seemed a little surprised when she came to church and we introduced her to our District Leader, but she was interviewed and...passed! She wanted to be baptized that afternoon! Our District Leader said "enche a pia! (fill up the font!". So the baptism was announced in sacrament meeting and everything was going great. After the meeting we turned on the water and went home (5 minutes away) to put away our suit jackets, pois estava quente. When we got back, the baptismal font had barely filled up at all. Turns out that the local water company - Sanepar - had turned off the water for repairs. So we went to EVERY single faucet in the church (even the one for filling up the sacrament cups) and filled buckets with water. That only raised the water up a few inches, but in the end, that was all we needed. People showed up and we had a warm and wonderful baptismal service. Endrigo, Débora´s son, performed his first baptism! She knelt in the font and was baptized and just BARELY (less than an inch) went under. We showed our faith by filling the font with EVERYTHING we had, and he blessed us. Then we ate cake and everything rocked.
So that was awesome. I could stop writing now. But I won´t.
One thing that anyone who has ever served a mission knows is that feeling you get before each transfer, right before you leave the area. Did I do my best? Was that all that I had? Is the ward stronger now? Did my service affect anyone? I know that the Lord accepted my sacrifice in Vila Oficinas. Maybe we didn´t baptize every week, but we baptized. Maybe we didn´t teach a million lessons a day, but we taught a lot. I loved working there, and now in Jardim Florença, Ponta Grossa, we will baptize EVERY WEEK!
This is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. He loves us. He wants to bless us. We just need to let him! Be obedient (100%!) to His commandments and He, will, bless, you. It is written, and cannot be taken back. The law is fixed and the consequences in the balance. HE WANTS US TO BE HAPPY! That might not mean that we won´t have hard times - maybe we´ll have lots of hard times - but He will help us (1 Nephi 3:7, 1 Corinthians 10:13, the people of Limhi, etc.) and bless us (4 Nephi). If we become prideful, He will quickly and justly show us who is boss! (4 Nephi 1! THE best chapter about the Pride Cycle.). But if we repent, He will bless us.
Love you All. See you on the other side, as a 21 year old. Let´s not buy beer - let´s teach people about Jesus.
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