Tudo Bem :)
This past week was awesome!!! The highlight for sure was getting to skype!!!!! and we also had a baptism for Nilson yesterday!!!!!! It was so good getting to talk and see y’all. Not gonna lie, it was pretty rough afterwards :) I wanted to skype everyday after that ha. But now its getting back to normal. I miss y’all so much, Mother´s Day will come up faster than we think :)
Nilson´s baptism was yesterday!! It was awesome. The guy has so much desire to follow Jesus Christ and change his life around. We have been teaching him for about three weeks. He is 16 yrs old and his girlfriend brought him to church one Sunday. He told us later that he didn’t plan on ever wanting to get baptized or take the lessons from us missionaries but he decided to just listen to us once and then say it wasn’t for him. Well after the first lesson he had a complete change of heart. After we taught him about the Book of Mormon and faith and repentance he decided to act and do something. He prayed about what we were teaching him and about the Book of Mormon, he received an answer! Then he prayed and asked Heavenly Father to forgive him for all of his sins and mistakes. He ended up calling us after this experience and said he couldn’t explain how happy and at peace he felt. He told us he even started crying and then went and told his mom he was sorry for all the wrong things he had done to not respect her and treat her right. It was amazing!! Just seeing how the Spirit was able to work into Nilson´s heart and he became a whole new person. He has such a strong heart and great desire. It is seriously way cool, just seeing how much he has changed in these three weeks. I gave a talk at his baptism and as I was talking directly to him, he started to just full on cry. He told me how grateful he was for what I did to help him change his life and for the example I was to him. I was so humbled when he told me that. That’s why I love being a missionary. Just being able to be a representative of Jesus Christ and helping people change their lives and be happy!! To gain the knowledge that I have. Nilson is such a stud. His parents are really supportive of him and they think its awesome what he is doing. It is hard on Nilson because he has a 18 year old brother who has been having a lot of problems in life and hasn’t been there for Nilson when he needed him. Nilson would break down every time he talked about his brother in lessons, but Nilson is a tough kid and he has such a bright future.
Domingos and Aldesena have kinda given up and don’t really want anything more to do with us, its sad and hard after the experiences ive had with them. Same with Waldivino. He loves the church, believes the Book of Mormon is true, but his new girlfriend who he is gonna marry is like anti-mormon and goes to the church Universal. Its tough for Waldivino but he’s decided to go to church with her. We have been teaching this family that are loving what we teach them. They have their Grandma living with them who is 82 years old and one of the funniest people I know haha. She is hilarious. I love when we go over their and get to talk to her. She is so lively and says the funniest stuff. :)
I love serving here in Santo Antonio. Its gonna be hard leaving when Ill probably be transferred next week. I feel like I have put so much of myself here. I really hope that my next area is really poor like it is here. It is hard seeing people in really bad living conditions but I love working here and helping the people. Everyone we eat at for lunch always goes all out to feed us so awesome and make sure we are taken care of. But it is hard when some families, even when they do their best they just don’t have alot food because they don’t have a lot of money and they have a bunch of kids that need to eat too. I don’t mind not eating, but its hard when the mom, just being so humble and kind, tells me to put more on my plate and I’m like no no its ok. I’m not hungry. (even though im starving:), but that there is several kids that need to eat also) They sometimes get a little upset. Even though she means well and is just trying to make sure we are takin care of, I would rather have her a little upset at me for not eating a lot so her kids can eat! Its just sad and truly humbling to me to see how these people live and how they make sure a missionary who speaks white boy Portugues is taken care of. That’s one of the things I’ve learned the most here, being humble and being grateful for what I have instead of just thinking more more more. I have been blessed with so much in my life, truly have.
It was such a joy to me to see how excited kids got when I gave them the little gifts/finger puppets y’all sent me and the bracelets that Aunt Rebecca´s kids sent me. The kids would go crazy and were just so so excited. It was so awesome to see these kids run around, smiling and happy. Y’all made a lot of kids Christmas´s here much more happier and special.
Our Christmas was awesome. Woke up, opened gifts. I was so grateful to have stuff to open. Studied the scriptures about when Christ was born and the things that occurred before and after. Christmas truly had a whole new meaning to me this year. I’m grateful for that I was able to focus more on the spirit of it, and to remember the birth of our Savior. That talk you sent me "Christmas within us" by Elder Holland was awesome. It meant a lot.
When Im having difficulties here or missing home a lot, I think of some of the people we are teaching and what they are going through and their difficulties and it makes me stop thinkin about myself real quick. Heavenly Father truly has blessed me with so much and I feel so grateful that He got me here to Brasil to serve others and help make a difference.
Messias, another investigator, probably wont ever get baptized. He doesn’t really want anything to do with us anymore. But long story short, his girlfirend who is member is so grateful for what me and Elder D. Call did for her. She was having a lot of problems and new she needed to change to get back onto the straight and narrow road but she couldn’t do it alone. We helped give her that push. So the whole time, I thought we were teachin Messias (since my like second week here in Brasil) we were really teaching Marcia since she was there every lesson too. Guess you could say we "baptized" Marcia figuratively. That’s what this work is all about! Helping people endure to the end and getting them back onto the pathway that leads to returning to live with our Father in Heaven. Helping people gain Faith in Jesus Christ and know He is their for them!! We all need help in this life. This life isn’t easy, has a lot of trials and dificulties, but on the other hand it sure has a ton of happiness and love. Some people need more of a push or help then others, but everyone needs it. We all have friends who could use our help, with anything. When we reach out and help others, Heavenly Father will bless us in more ways than we can imagine and in turn we will be blessed for it. That’s the miracle of it. When you serve others you really are "just helping out your own situation" technically :) But I know that when we serve others, we are serving God is a true statement. For we are all His children. He loves each and every one of us. I have felt his love for me but more importantly for others so much on my mission. It is truly amazing to give someone a blessing or when teaching, and feel God´s love for them.
When we have hard times, sometimes we just need to have Faith that everything will be alright in the end. Pray to be given strength to change our situation, rather than just have God take it away. I love the story in Alma 14, when Alma cried unto the Lord for strength to get out of his situation. They had already gone through so much persecution and he asked Heavenly Father, give me strength ACCORDING to my faith which is in Christ. It isn’t always easy to have faith and when we have difficulties and problems, but if we continue to pray, read the scriptures and have that faith, God will bless us and everything will be ok.
I know this is true, it has helped me out so much on my mission, when I miss home, family, cant speak as good or other problems. Heavenly Father is there for us always, sometimes we just need to humble ourselves and get on our knees and ask him for help.
I love y’all so much!!!!! I hope y’all have a great New Year!!! Feliz Ano-Novo. So grateful that skype exists and that I could talk with y’all!!!!! :))
Até next year!! :) haha
|Christmas morning, looking sleepy|
|Taguatinga for P-day|
|Sitting in "Santa's" chair|