This week, I celebrated my one year mission anniversary. It´s crazy to think that a year ago, I was saying goodbye to everyone I love and entering the MTC in Provo. It almost feels like it was yesterday, yet it also feels so long ago. I´m so immensely grateful for this last year that I´ve spent as a missionary, which has been without a doubt the most amazing year of my life. I hope I´ve grown and changed a lot since then, and I think I have. :) I also had the great surprise on that day to receive a phone call from my "daughter," Sister G. Nunes! I love her! <3
, we were blessed even more. Not only did Rita and Julia go to church, Aldeneide took Demildes and Melo. And the biggest surprise: remember when I talked about Nilson and Eclesiaste, the two young men who went to the activity and who are super eleitos, but who then disappeared? We had seen Nilson this week, and he seemed embarrassed to see us and made up excuses for why he didn´t go. We reminded him of the meeting , and he said he would go with his friend, but we didn´t really believe it since they had already let us down so many times. But he went, and he took his friend, a girl named Gleiciane! I almost died of shock!
Anyway, this week was an adventure., I went to the mission office and then went with a few other missionaries to the police station to get our visas renewed. It was a weird flashback from my first day here in Brazil, but it was nice to be able to understand everything that was going on this time. :) We got invited to a family home evening that night with an incredible family in our ward who is just now getting active again. Their names are Alexandre, Jane, Lívia, Aninha and Vinícius. They made pesto pasta, which was delicious.
Overall, it was actually a really hard and discouraging week. We had several days in which we walked around all day looking for people to teach. We did contacts with everybody, but nobody seemed interested, and the people who did give us their address gave us the wrong address. Everything seemed to be going wrong. When we tried to do weekly planning, it was useless because we literally didn´t have investigators to plan for. We got exhausted and were extremely thirsty, because we didn´t manage to sit down in anyone´s house.
But one thing I´ve learned this week is that when we do our part, the Lord fills in the rest. His blessings are incredible. Despite our discouragement, we worked hard all week and only saw the resultsnight and . Let me explain...
There´s a place in our area where we always go to buy coconut water. What they do is grab a coconut (the whole thing, with the green shell around it and everything), jab a hole in it and stick in a straw, and you drink it. It is delicious, and apparently has a lot of great vitamins that are good for people who sweat a lot. Aka, us. Plus the couple who sells the coconuts is super nice and loves us, and they always ask us about the church. While we were there, we also met a woman named Rita. She´s a member of the Assembly of God, and asked us lots of questions. She has lots of doubts about her own church, and when we talked about the Book of Mormon, she said she wanted one. We gave it to her and wrote down her address.
She works during the week, so we went therenight. She lives in a beautiful house with her 8-year-old daughter, Julia. We taught the Restoration, and she asked lots of questions. She started crying and said "Do you want to know why I let you come to my house? Because I felt something so good when I was with you, and I saw something different in you. It´s like you were angels sent from God." Wow. After our lesson, Rita told us all about her life, the things she suffered in the past with her ex-husband, and her journey searching for truth in the Catholic church and the Assembly of God. She committed to go to church with us. She´s amazing and I feel so strongly that she was prepared by God.
We were amazed to see God´s blessings at the end of the week. Sometimes God blesses us even when we feel like we don´t deserve it, and it´s always a humble reminder of the deep love He has for each of us. I´m grateful that God heard my many prayers this week, pleading for help, but I´m also grateful for the hardships from this week.
Transfers are this week, so we´ll see what happens!
We finally got the wedding pictures from Renan. Enjoy!
Us with Nilson and Gleiciane
Us with Rita
Us with Jessi and Rebecca, who are some of our best friends in the ward (they´re Paraguassu and Yusha´s daughters)
All of the sisters from our zone
Us with Vitória, a recent convert
Us with Joshua (Paraguassu and Yusha´s son), aka the cutest thing ever
More wedding pictures -- Hugo´s smiling -- it´s a miracle