Elder Brown’s letter from July 13th…
We baptized again! Thomas was baptized and it was an amazing experience. He´s had a pretty interesting life thus far (he´s 17) - both of his parents were killed in an accident and his life´s been pretty rough. He said that before he met us he thought that God was just like a little kid running around in the boiling sun, frying ants (us) at will. Or, he didn´t believe in God. But he does now, after reading the BOM every day faithfully. He´s amazing. He was baptized on Saturday, confirmed and conferred to a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday. He did his first split with us on Monday and he bore a very simple but sincere and true testimony. THAT is why we serve missions - to have experiences like that and to help people to help themselves. Also, I know that I´ve talked about Eduardo - he´s the MAN. He´s already preparing to serve a mission and he was only baptized a month ago. Thomas is one of his best friends and Eduardo baptized him, after only one month in the church! It was so special and we saw the joy on his face after having helped his friend come unto Christ. Eduardo´s also helping us as Assistant to the Ward Mission Leader and is doing a great job helping us every day with splits, calling our investigators, etc.
I think I might´ve mentioned it already, but every week we have a special meeting with our Ward Missionaries and we train them from Preach My Gospel - it´s been really powerful so far. It´s basically District Meeting for the Ward Missionaries and they´ve already been able to learn about how to use the Progress Record (one of our biggest focuses) and how to teach the missionary lessons. We have one Missionary Couple (Weliton and Auri - Weliton is a recent convert, too) and 2 others - Nei and Marlon. They´ve been doing so great and it´s been fun to see them learn about how to be missionaries before they actually leave on their missions.
Going on a small tangent: we received a letter from Presidente Cordon and he showed his concern for the mission (he was really concerned about the lack of obedience and excitement that he saw a lot of Elders going through), and so for two days in Curitiba we had a big meeting in which we were trained to help each missionary (including ourselves) to magnify their callings and to talk with EVERYONE about the Restored Gospel. That really is our only message to the world, and that´s what we need to do to help the people here in Brasil and in all the world. We stayed the night in Curitiba and....we got to go to the Temple!!!! It was so special! It was literally like a interior cleansing and it felt so good to know that, even with my many imperfections, I can still go into His house and feel of His Spirit. We felt a lot better about the work that is being done here and that the things that we are doing are really helping people progress and come unto Christ, including us.
In this super-duper training we had in Curitiba, Presidente taught us (from Preach My Gospel, so we actually probably should´ve already been doing this) that not every single lesson needs to start with a prayer and end with one. That means that if someone is needing us to talk to them, right that moment, we can teach them and help them - not just mark another day to go by their house. It sounds obvious, but we really are trying to take that to heart and teach more people everywhere. So, on our way to the Bus Station, we taught a lady from Santa Catarina (the state below Paraná) and gave her the BOM. We also taught a guy who looked like he was having a really bad day/life and he lives in Ponta Grossa (so he´ll be baptized, for sure). We taught him in the middle of the Bus Station and we were still able to feel the Spirit and feel good about what we represent.
A lot of good experiences! Daniel, who´s getting baptized this Saturday, had a pretty rough experience in Curitiba and really needed someone to talk to on Monday. We were scheduled to have a Family Night at Bishop´s house but it fell through, so we went to his house and talked for a while. It´s so nice to see people that absolutely trust you and really want help, not just tell you they want it. We talked to him about hard times in our own lives and read 2 Nephi 4 - it was powerful. He´ll be baptized and help our ward SO much.
- On the note of teaching people in the street, after Thomas´ baptism, we talked to a guy who looked a little...well, drugged up. Elder Lott recognized him as one of the most famous of all the noias (druggies) in Paranaguá - Galli-Noia. Apparently, he had bought some crack, dropped it on the ground and a chicken ate it, so he promptly killed the chicken and performed an amateur lobotomy to remove said crack. Yeah. And we taught him and I gave him my crappy watch (no, not that watch that Dad gave me) to help him get to church. He didn´t go.
I love the mission - it is the best thing I´ve ever done. I encourage all to be a missionary and feel the Spirit that it brings. He lives.
Let´s do this to the end! Every day!
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