Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Week 56 Cidade Verde Natal, Brazil

Great Week

A lot happened this week, so be prepared for a lengthy email. First of all, we´ve been eating a lot of McDonald´s lately. Sometimes instead of making lunch for us, the members give us money to buy lunch (usually when they don´t have time to cook and invite us over, but still want to provide lunch for us). And since there´s a McD´s nearby and we have a bunch of coupons that members gave us, we´ve been having fun. :) We did have a couple of funny lunches here though, because people here sometimes get offended if you don´t eat a lot. This week I got asked "You´re not going to eat more? You didn´t like the food, did you?" and "You´re not going to eat more? You´re mad at me, aren´t you?" So I put more food on my plate even though I was already full. Brazilians are hilarious :)

I had one of the coolest experiences ever on Tuesday night. It was 8 pm, and we didn´t have anywhere to go, so we decided to do contacts. But the problem with our area is that there is almost never anyone on the street. And Sister Gusmão´s feet were hurting like crazy. She told me, "Let´s go sit in front of the chapel and wait for people to come by so we can offer them a tour. God will send someone to us." We tried to talk to a couple of people who walked by, who were extremely rude, and then while we were sitting there, a car going by stopped and the woman driving said "Are you from this church? What day do you have meetings?" We immediately jumped up answered her question, and offered to visit her in her home another day, and she gave us her address, which is on the same street as the church!

On Wednesday, we went to her house. Her name is Jane, and she lives with a guy named Cássio. It´s a little weird because Jane is like 50 and Cássio is 25, and the age difference is more than visible, but they areamazing. Jane was attending some other church but she decided to leave because the pastor wanted to see her salary and accused her of not paying enough tithing. A lot of the churches here in Brazil are absolutely shameless about robbing people´s money in God´s name. Anyway, she left that church and said she had always been curious about our church but every time she went by, it was closed. We taught them the Restoration and it was awesome. Seriously, they are eleitos. Jane especially was definitely prepared by God to find us. And she´s super cute because she randomly says "Amen" after things we say while we´re teaching. :) Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication and they didn´t come to church yesterday because they thought it was at night, not in the morning. But they´re already excited for next Sunday and have already committed to baptism. We´re going to have to do another wedding here :)

This week, we invited a guy named Márcio who works in a grocery store we always go to. We were talking to him outside the door when a creepy guy who does drugs and always hits on us walked by, and said "It´s the church next to the colégio contemporâneo!" Randomly helped us out in the contact, giving a reference point :) Then the guy we were inviting said, "That guy needs more help than I do" and the creeper responded "I already have Jesus in my life!" as he was walking away. It was funny. And, the huge surprise was that on Sunday, Márcio went!! We had even forgotten that we invited him, since we invite everybody, and got really excited when we saw him there! 

This week we met a girl (the previous Sister Vilanueva) who served here about a year and a half ago and came back with her parents to visit. She´s from Peru, and stayed in Isabel´s house since she was the one who taught and baptized Isabel´s husband. It was fun to meet them and try to communicate in Portuguese and Spanish all mixed together with her parents. 

Nilda, a recent convert in our area, gets weaker every day. She´s been sick for months now, but she´s taking such strong medicine that she pretty much sleeps all day. She´s really thin and can barely open her eyes and talk, and it´s absolutely heartbreaking. She´s one of the most loving people I´ve ever met and it hurts me to see her suffer like that. This week, when we went to visit her, we sang the hymn "Come, Come Ye Saints" for her and she loved it. She has incredible faith in God.

We also asked the elders to install a tiny wire in our shower head so we could have hot water, so I got to take the first hot shower I´ve taken in almost a year! It´s been heavenly. Despite the heat, it´s still not fun to get into ice cold water and wash your hair, so we´re grateful. :)

As for Demildes and Melo (the 98 year old man), the elders visited Aldeneide, Demildes´ member daughter), called Demildes, and scheduled to visit them on Saturday morning. We called Aldeneide before we got on the bus and she said she was on her way to her mom´s house as well. When we got there, we rang the interphone on Demildes´ house. Their driver answered and said they had gone to the doctor. We waited for Aldeneide, who showed up about 5 minutes later, and said "Do you want to hear the truth, even if it hurts, or a lie?" She told us that Demildes actually was home, but didn´t want to let us in because she was sweaty and tired and she thought the elder who had called her was annoying and insistent. So we wasted an hour and a half going there and back (since they live out of our area) for nothing. For now, we´re going to give up on them. They still go to church almost every week with Aldeneide, but if they don´t want to receive our visits, they won´t be able to get baptized. 

And another big update: Rita. We went to her house on Saturday (since her whole week was busy) and we taught the Restoration again. This time, we watched the 20-minute video and explained everything as clearly and boldly as we could. She asked us lots of questions, and we bore powerful testimony of everything. It was one of the most spiritually exhausting lessons I´ve ever taught. When we told her about how the Book of Mormon is evidence because it´s either true and therefore Joseph was telling the truth, or it´s a book that he made up, she told us "There´s no one a man could have made up this book." She told us that on theSunday she went to church with us, she felt a peaceful feeling so beyond peace and felt that the people there truly live the things they teach. She said it was something she had never felt before in any other church, not even the church she was attending, the Assembly of God, and said that she always felt like the people there were just putting on a farce. She also told us that on the day she met us, she wasn´t even going to stop and drink coconut water, but when she saw us, she felt something that told her to go talk to us. She said she knows it´s not a coincidence that we met her in the timing that we did. It was amazing. Basically every phrase she said was saying "I know it´s true." She made us dinner and then we three knelt down and she offered the most sincere prayer I´ve ever heard, asking to know if the Book of Mormon is really true. We´re excited to keep seeing her progress.

So, that was our amamzing week, full of miracles and blessings. I love being a missionary, and I love having this chance to get to know so many of God´s children. It amazes me how each person is completely unique and has their own needs and worries, and it´s so rewarding to get to know those people and try to help them. 

Sister Amy Weatherford

Pictures: Our district
Me with graffiti
Us with Enoch and Braga, two cute old guys in our ward

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