I had a weird and scary thought. I´m six or so weeks from being halfway done with the mission. Wait…. what? I´ve barely gotten started though. Last week´s email confirmed the fact that the family is more trunky than the missionary is. That´s alright, I´d be worried if Mom wasn´t making these kind of comments.
I´ve got to mention the President Martins miracle from yesterday. He was in a meeting with all the ward mission leaders and ward missionaries from our stake yesterday. He let out a loud call to repentance with all the muster of his soul. At the end of the meeting, one man (not a member) demanded that he be baptized last night. So, with some improvisation (they used the fire-hose to fill the font), they had a baptism right there and then. They´ll worry about the interview later.
Yesterday was a blessing to us. When I got here, there was a family whose mom was SOOO ready for baptism, but some of the Elders wouldn´t baptize her without the husband. The husband was ready too, but because of work, hadn´t been to church. While Elder B. Santos and Bishop were talking about it, I suggested to them a counsel I had from President: “We only need him to come to church once. Why don´t we plan for a Sunday after sacrament meeting?” When we brought the idea to the husband, he loved it! So, instead for waiting until the 30th, we baptized the husband and wife yesterday after church, and the whole ward loved them. Yours truly entered the waters again to baptize Joelma Soares dos Santos. Man, those waters were cold! Now, their 11 and 8 year old kids are read the Book of Mormon and begging to be baptized. Hoorah for Israel! We are also teaching a huge family of a faithful brother, with 5 reading and going to church. Unfortantely, we can only meet with them so often and after the 31st, the next regular sacrament meeting will be the 20th or so (General and then Stake conference), so the gift section will just have to wait.
Many here in Brazil wander looking for security. Thus, we get hit up a lot to “deliver the word of God” to people. Unfortunately, with their Catholic or Evangelical background, they turn the other way when we mention the word “more” and “Scripture/Bible”. (Scripture and Bible are the same thing to them) So, while we do have many people willing to listen to us, it´s only until we move into slightly new territory do they remain friendly. Sure, there is always wheat to be collected, but you must go through a field of tares to find them. And some that were tares become wheat later.
We were working with a family that really doesn´t seem too interested to hear “new” stuff when we decided to talk about the Book of Mormon. While talking about it, I heard a line in my mind that didn´t leave me: “The Bible gives me a testimony I can believe; the Book of Mormon gives me a witness that I can´t doubt.”
It´s wonderful the little bits of archealogical gold that is in the Book of Mormon (eye on the prize, things are they really are, the word that cures the wounded soul, watch yourselves….) along with the giant nuggets of truth (2 Nephi 2, Alma 32, Alam 42, 3 Nephi 11, Ether 12, etc.). The scriptures are to me, as my wonderful Mommy and Daddy once wrote to me, one of my greatest treasures, and I´m coming to know the truth in Nephi´s delight in the scriptures.
The Old Testament is a strong witness of the power of the Priesthood, above all else. (at least, I think so.) The New Testament shows us that there is hope in the darkness. The Book of Mormon exhorts all to drink deeply of the font of everlasting life. Doctrine and Covenants proves that this is the prophetic last days and that we are living in the times that phophets foretold and kings sung of. The Pearl of Great Price shows that the ways of the Father never change.
These records were preserved for us. The people involved with these stories went until their deaths in order to give us this words. They are the words of the Lord. They are the testimony of the Spirit. They are living proofs of the Father´s eternal love for us. And as for me, they remind me of the promises that were made to our Fathers that their children would finally prevail against the dark. Don´t worry about the “numbers of the church will be few”. Remember, every knee is to bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is the Christ. In the words of a favorite hymn of mine: “Lift up your hearts, Lift up your voice. Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!”
Eu amo vocês!