Thursday, April 21, 2016

Week 60 Mossoró, Brazil

Crazy Week

Things are well here in Mossoró. Before I get into updates about our investigators, a few random things: 

We 4 sisters organized and held a ward activity on Wednesday night in an attempt to encourage the members to help out more in missionary work. We shared the message of the Restoration, did some role plays about how to invite friends to church, and the members wrote down the names of people that they wanted to invite. It was a great activity and our ward mission leader loved it. His name is Goldenberg and he´s a little...strange. Plus he wasn´t very excited about his calling before, but after the activity, he got a lot more excited and we´re hoping he´s going to help out more. 

Our neighbor owns a rooster. The most annoying rooster on the face of the planet. Every morning, he wakes us up and interrupts our personal study with his crowing. It´s seriously irritating. 

One of the members of our ward, Chicon, lives in our apartment building. He is incredible and is willing to help us out with anything we ask. We´re also pretty sure he´s one of the 3 nephites, because we´ve never even seen him eat and he´s rather mysterious... :) 

Brad took us out to eat rodízio pizza, which is like Rodízio grill, but the waiters go around with pizza instead of meat. Chocolate pizza is the best <3 

So, investigators...

Remember that I talked about Micael last week, who went to church and loved it? We visited him on Tuesday and taught about the Restoration. He´s a super intelligent young man. When we invited him to get baptized, he said he wasn´t sure and that he wanted to get baptized, but only a few years from now. So on Wednesday, we fasted for him (and a couple of other people that I´ll mention in a minute). When we went back on Thursday, we read Alma 32:16-18 with him and he said he wanted to get baptized, so we filled out his "ficha" (totally don´t know that word in English) and taught him the commandments. On Friday, Elder Harris interviewed him. On Saturday, we read the Book of Mormon with him. Then, when we went on Sunday to pick him up for church, he said he didn´t want to get baptized anymore, because he didn´t want to keep the law of chastity. We were heartbroken :( But we´re not going to give up on him. He´s an amazing young man and he knows that he needs to be baptized. I think he just got scared that it was so fast and made up an excuse. 

Paula: Paula is the mom of a young man who was baptized before I got here, Daniel. On Tuesday, we invited her to get baptized on Sunday along with Micael, and she accepted and got way excited. We visited her every day this week, yet on Sunday, when we got there, she said she was feeling sick and didn´t want to go to church.

Lucas: Lucas is an 11-year-old boy that is friends with Jorge, a 10-year-old boy who was baptized a few months ago. We had already invited Lucas a few weeks ago to get baptized and he accepted, so this week, we finished teaching him the lessons and organized everything. We met his aunt, who´s responsible for him, and she is sooo happy that we´re helping Lucas. She´s Catholic, but she told us that we can take Lucas to church whenever we want. She´s already excited for Lucas to serve a mission, haha. One day, we asked Lucas to say the closing prayer. He was nervous in front of his aunt, so Sister Stadler offered to speak and let Lucas repeat after her. When it came to the part of giving thanks, his aunt cut in and took over and made Lucas repeat after her. She went on for about 5 minutes, making Lucas thank God for being a "child of God, a young man of God, a MAN OF GOD (she was almost yelling at the part)." It was a really intense prayer. I was literally shaking with silent laughter during the prayer because it was hilarious to hear Lucas repeating every single word she said. But anyway, Lucas was baptized on Sunday and it was awesome :) He´s super adorable! 

Ricardo: Ricardo is Luana´s dad and is extremely intelligent. He´s already been to church with Luana 3 times and loves it, but he was a little hesitant about baptism because he´s been member of a Shalom Catholic church for 30 years. But when we went to see him on Friday, he accepted a baptismal date for this Saturday! He´s already reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning and he said he´s going to read the whole thing. He´s amazing! 

Alice, the young woman we baptized on my first Sunday here, went out with us and loved it. She said she wants to serve a mission. :)

It was an amazing week, followed by the most emotional Sunday ever. We were super sad about Micael and Paula´s baptisms not having worked out, and to make things worse, Goldenberg taught Gospel Principles and said a whole bunch of stuff that did not need to be said. (Like that he wants to learn how to stop the wind just like Jesus Christ, and how the government just robs our money. And the lesson was supposed to be about Priesthood...). We´re going to ask the bishop to let us teach the class from now on. Plus, Normando, a man who got baptized before I got here, told us he doesn´t want to come to church anymore because he fell back into alcohol and drugs. He is such a lovable person and it was so heartbreaking to hear him say that that we cried. Everyone was worried about us before our eyes were super red. Luckily, it didn´t show in the pictures of Lucas´ baptism.

Last night, we had a pajama party at the other sisters´ house (Sister Thomson, Sister Miller, Sister Hernandez, Sister Rodrigues, and Sister G. Nunes) and we ate lots of açaí :) 

Sorry this email is huge, but it was a pretty crazy week. Yesterday, I felt really let down. I even felt let down by God, and I questioned why things can´t be easier.  I questioned why God let Paula and Micael not get baptized. But then we watched a video called "Missionary Work and the Atonement" in which Elder Holland says that when we ask why missionary work can´t be easier, we need to remember that someone a lot greater already asked the same question. Missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. I am a representative of Jesus Christ, and to really come to know my Savior, I need to feel a tiny part of what He went through. How can I expect it to be easy for me when it wasn´t easy for Him? I really do feel closer to Him when I go through hard things as a missionary, and I feel the power of His Atonement lift me up and comfort me. I know that He knows everything we go through and that He can strengthen us to bear up all things. And I love being a missionary <3

Sister Amy Weatherford

Lucas´ baptism
This picture is horrible, but it´s of me and Sister Thomson eating açaí :)

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