Every Day is a Good Day

It’s hard to have a better week than general conference week!  I can’t believe it´s October general conference already. I remember watching last October’s conference in the CTM, and then watching in April with Sister M. Ribeiro.  April doesn’t seem six months ago!  Conference was great. I am excited to study the talks again! 

I was extremely excited to find out about the change to the policy on witnesses.  A tender mercy to hear about the change from my Mom in my birthday call to her (not to mention the tender mercy of being able to use webcams and call with more frequency!!).  I always hope people will progress to baptism, because it is an essential saving ordinance.  Being able to possibly witness such a baptism only adds to that hope!

There were many wonderful talks.  I especially loved the talks about the importance of joy as well as missionary work.  As a long-time fan of The Hobbit, I was also a fan of President Uchtdorf’s talk. On the subject of joy, today I read part of the book about President Hinckley as a prophet. There was a quote about how every day in missionary work is a good day. Apparently he shook his companion´s hand and said “Today will be a good day” when they left and “Today was a good day” every day when they got home.  I guess that’s true in life too — every day is a good day.

President Nelson’s talk reminded me of how many blessings we have.  What a blessing not to go hungry — and a huge responsibility to help those who are!  I thought it was interesting that he didn’t invite us to do anything as part of the talk.  But I think there was an inherent invitation to act.  Those statistics about hunger are an invitation to act!

Although we had more people than normal who said they would go to conference, we did not have a lot of actual success.  But Ana Luiza went to church!  Ana Luiza is a 12-year-old who I met a while ago with Sister Sousa.  A different missionary later saw her in his area and contacted  her.  She told him she was already being taught!  Because I ended up working in two areas and she doesn’t spend much time at home, we didn’t manage to see her for a while.  But now we are teaching her again and she went to conference!  Also, she became ecstatic upon receiving a Book of Mormon after having read part of the pamphlet of excerpts on the Book of Mormon: “I’m not managing to believe you are giving me a Book of Mormon!”

Aline did turn out to be a great investigator.  She is interested and kept all of her invitations. She didn’t go to conference and we aren’t sure why, but hopefully everything goes well this week!

We are also teaching Ana Carolina and her family.  Ana Carolina became excited about the Book of Mormon in our contact with her.  She said it would be her birthday present because we promised to give her one on our visit the day after her birthday.  We are also teaching her brother and mother.  She almost went to conference but was sick the day of.  She had some questions about how Joseph Smith could have seen God.  There is  lot of confusion about this here–people think that no one could see God.  That kind of makes sense, except that the Bible also says that Moses spoke to God face to face and that John saw God and Christ in a vision, just like Joseph Smith did. That helped her with those concerns, although she still has doubts about prophets.  But she hadn’t read the Book of Mormon yet, so I think it will help a lot.  Also we invited her to watch conference online so I hope that works out!

This week we are going to do a service project and help Monique (the missionary’s mom) paint and clean her house.

This week it has been getting hotter every day.  It is not winter anymore; not even close!  People keep telling us it will just get hotter!  Next week is transfers — I will find out if I will be in Recife in January (i.e., hot hot hot hot hot) or somewhere else!  It is inspiring to hear President Houseman talk about how he receives revelation to transfer missionaries.  I´ll go where He wants me to go —- o´er hill or beach!

If the Way be Full of Trial, Weary Not!

One of my favorite hymns in the mission has been “Se a Vida e Penosa” (“If the Way Be Full of Trial, Worry Not”). When someone dumps us or doesn’t show up, I often sing this song because it’s funny, and also true — in Portuguese it says “Don’t get tired of fighting, God listens to our voice, He will send rest.´”  It’s true!  This week we had several opportunities to sing this hymn.

 “If the Way be Full of Trial, Weary Not”

If the way be full of trial, weary not;
If it’s one of sore denial, weary not;
If it now be one of weeping,
There will come a joyous greeting,
When the harvest we are reaping, weary not.

If the way be one of sorrow, weary not;
Happier will be the morrow, weary not.
Here we suffer tribulation;
Here we must endure temptation;
But there’ll come a great salvation. Weary not.

If misfortunes overtake us, weary not;
Jesus never will forsake us, weary not.
He will leave us never, never;
From his love there’s naught can sever;
Glory to the Lamb forever, weary not.

*Chorus:*
Do not weary by the way,
Whatever be thy lot;
There awaits a brighter day,
To all, to all who weary not.

One of our amazing investigators told us on Monday that she no longer wanted to be baptized and had misinterpreted all of her past answers to prayer.  She thought that God had told her to be baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints but in fact she had been mistaken.  Unfortunately, when she went to a ward Relief Society activity she was shocked to hear “American” rather than strictly evangelical songs. She told us this is against the Bible’s teachings (she cited the scripture in John about not being of the world).

Later we called her to follow up.  She said that she had prayed about it.  But she felt she had received the answer that she should stay where she is. It was sad. When we were on our way to visit her, she cancelled on us. However, we ended up doing a contact instead and the contact turned out to be super great.  I have high hopes for the new contact!

Another sad things was a recent convert that we’ve spent lots of time with has decided to leave and be part of another church instead.  I worry that he hasn’t had the visits from ward members that he needs. We have been trying to use the tips from the mission newsletter about helping recent converts.  We are still hoping to be able to keep working with him.

My testimony in the restoration has been strengthened this week.  I had been thinking about why people who seem like sincere, earnest seekers of truth don’t get answers or get answers that led them away from the truth.  But this week I realized that sometimes I don’t need to worry about that too much.  It is illogical to believe in the Book of Mormon and totally ignore that because you dreamed that a different church is true. 

Sister Barros has a great talk called by Elder Tad R. Callister, “What is the Blueprint of Christ’s Church?” which talks about the elements of the primitive church and how our church has those same elements.  Obviously, you can’t have a testimony just based on Bible verses (I imagine different interpretations are possible), but the restoration is incredible!  

Two scriptures I like:

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Galatians 6:9

Also,

And behold, I, the Lord, declare unto you, and my words are sure and shall not fail, that they shall obtain it.

32 But all things must come to pass in their time.

33 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

D&C 64:31-33

Sometimes the results don’t come soon but they come in His time!

Sister Faulconer (left) and Sister Barros (right) at Zone Conference

Teaching that Christ Visited the Americas

Picture of Sister missionary, Sister Hannah Faulconer, videochatting with her parents

This week was great. We have a wonderful investigator that I told you about last week, Alexia.* She is an amazing example of someone who studies the gospel. She is reading all of the material we give her and asking for copies of the Pearl of Great Price and True to the Faith because she read about them in the pamphlets! She is being integrated well, which is really good. But it was a bit of a roller-coaster this week because on Sunday she didn’t go to church. She said she was sick. Alexia’s mother had said she would pray about the church. She said she prayed and received an answer that she should stay in her church.  But she also said she believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet.  So hopefully we can help her understand that if Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has to be Christ’s restored church. One of our other investigators, Willian, unfortunately, had to work a lot this week; we are still hoping he can be baptized.

We did not have a lot of success with teaching lessons this week, but the upside was that consequently we did a number of contacts and managed to meet a number of new investigators who seem to have a lot of potential!  We have really been trying hard to put President Nelson’s advice from his missionaries-only broadcast from Brasilia  to missionaries into practice.  He said that the most important part of the Book of Mormon is 3 Nephi 11, when Christ visits the Americas.  He said we should have people read the 3 Nephi 11 chapter heading because after reading that they wouldn’t want to put the book down!  Initially, I had been worried we weren’t doing it right because I wasn’t sure if people were understanding the chapter summary. But this week some people really seemed intrigued as they read the chapter summary.  Several people asked us how much it costs to buy a Book of Mormon before we had a chance to tell them that we would take it to their house for free

I believe Christ truly visited the Americas.  I am so grateful to know that our loving Heavenly Father wanted His children on both sides of the globe to hear His gospel.  The Book of Mormon is a blessing in my life. Did you know that the Church of Jesus Christ is publishing Book of Mormon videos?  I watched the first one today and it is cool!  Watch here.

I also saw this article by Sister Eubank** on the church website today that I really liked. It has a really great explanation about the difference the Church can make — even in the lives of great people.  Evangelical people we meet always want to tell us to go talk to someone who isn’t Christian instead of wasting our time talking to them.  But the truth is that the restored gospel has a wonderful multiplying power.  If you start as a wonderful Christian you have the potential to become an even better Christian with exponentially more opportunities to serve and bless.

“But let’s say a good woman or man encounters the restored gospel. She makes a covenant at baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ that promises her she can receive priesthood power: God’s power. Is her life and power vastly different from before? Yes! I believe her good power is greatly magnified by her covenants . . .”

We also have zone conference this week.  One downside of living in the Central Zone is that our conference is on Tuesday.  It doesn’t help with my never-yet-achieved-goal of having the 2 five-minute talks we are asked to prepare prepared well in advance!  This week the topics are Personal Conversion and the Day of Judgement.   

On Friday I am going to go to the airport to renew my visa!  That’s weird.  I have a new card to show off my legal status as well.  Other people apparently can tell that I have lost a little weight since my passport photo on entering Brazil.  On Sunday Sister Barros will turn 21!  Also, I found out that I will be flying home March 31st, arriving at home just a few days before my 21st birthday.  Weird weird weird. 

Picture from District interviews, courtesy Sister Lori Houseman

*Investigators’ names are always changed to protect their privacy

**Sister Sharon Eubank is the first counselor in the general presidency of the Relief Society, the Church’s organization for its six million female members ages 18 and over.

Three heavens

We visited one contact, Alexia* who had read the entire Plan of Salvation pamphlet we had left with her and all of the scriptures from the Bible in the back. She even called the number on the contact card to ask for a Book of Mormon so she could read the rest of the scriptures! We are a bit perplexed because we haven’t received her referral yet, but hopefully it happens soon; I would like to trust the pass-along card system!

English language pass-along cards

When we went there she said she hadn’t known that there are three heavens (Doctrine & Covenants 76:30-113) but the Bible verse cited in the pamphlet [probably 2 Corinthians 12:2 and 1 Corinthians 15:40-42] is totally right! She also went to church this week; she said she hadn’t been baptized but was looking for a church to be baptized in! She said she´ll keep praying but thinks she will be baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! It was very exciting. We found her when we tried to visit her grandmother. Her grandmother was not the least bit interested. She didn’t even let us in, but we started talking to Alexia and she accepted a visit! I had been feeling kind of stupid for marking a visit with her grandmother — she didn’t seem like the sort of person with a lot of potential — but God works in mysterious ways.

One of our other investigators, Willian, went to church for the second time this week. We taught him for basically 2.5 months before he could go to church. It seemed like he had so much potential but I was starting to wonder if he was just making excuses. I guess not! He has a testimony, he just needs to feel a confirmation that he ought to get baptized this Saturday. We are thinking a lot about the mission newsletter said about people preparing for baptism. Hopefully it works out!

***

Fun fact: Brazilian shoe stores don’t believe in shoes larger than size nine. Guess which shoe size I need? . . . not nine.

Stock Image, Peakpx

I have been drinking a lot of tea and cool juices as usual. Recently I have drunk cidreira (what is that in English? — tasty!) hibiscus, chamomile, and peppermint tea. Also eggplant, kale and lime, beet and lime, carrot ginger, and the usual variety of tasty fruit juices –ginger cinnamon passion fruit mmmm. [Apparently the answer to Sis. Faulconer’s question about cidreira is that is is either Lemongrass or Lemon balm tea–apparently “cidreira” is applied to both plants and both are used for tea].

*Investigators’ names are changed, as always

Woe is me if I preach not the gospel

I spent two days with Sister Figueira.  On Wednesday my new companion showed up — Sister Barros!  She is from a state in northern Brazil — not too far from here.  Talking to her has made me realize that some things I thought were Sister Delmiro’s personality and individual voice are actually the north/northeastern accent (Sister Delmiro is from Fortaleza–also the Northeast).  Sometimes when I get a new companion I think — whoa my companion has the same voice as  xxxx missionary!  Then I realize it’s not the personality, but that they are from the same place and therefore have some of the same mannerisms and accent.  It is cool to live with people from so many different places.  Sister Barros is great!

[Sister Barros is not in fact gaucha (from the South of Brazil) but this pic of Sister Barros and Sister Faulconer was featured on a Casa Forte area restaurant’s Instagram. They got the Americana part right.]

Fun fact — did you know that if you leave spices or popcorn kernels in closed containers for two weeks you might come back and find out they have mold or insects trapped inside the container when you get back?  I did not.  Fun facts about a humid climate!  I think maybe it is safer to just leave everything in the fridge.  

Other fun fact — I can understand a bit of Spanish.  It is very strange, because in my head Spanish is a language I don’t know — but because I know Portuguese I can sometimes understand some things people are saying on the street!  
Right now we are trying to get more good investigators— several of the good people we have moved or had other problems.  So we are working on finding more people this week.  A member helped out and it sounds like Caroline and Luiz have a proof of residence and they are planning to go to the marriage office today to start the marriage process!  

Awesome moment from the week — Wilian went to church!!!  I talked about him three weeks ago.  He is the only referral who has worked out for us until now.  He wants to get baptized, reads the Book of Mormon, keeps the commandments.  He just had to go church, but he had to help build an extra bathroom for many Sundays.  Then he said he could go several times but his wife and her mom pressed him into service at the last minute a couple of times and he ended up not going.  But yesterday he managed!  And he is marked for baptism on the 21st of this month!  Iara also went to church.  I am still sad she is going through some hard things and feels that now isn’t the time for her to have lessons but it was great that she went to church this Sunday!

Unfortunately, on Tuesday night we went to visit a recent convert and discovered that he won’t go to church for a month because he is working to buy a cellphone on the weekends.  Also, he is going to his mother’s church every week.  We knew that, but we did not know that he considers himself a member of both churches. We explained that he can visit other churches but that he needs to know which church is teaching Christ’s doctrine correctly — which church is the restored church of Christ.  He said he needed to make a choice; probably to stay with his family, united in his mother’s church. I felt really bad about that.  Last Monday the weekly mission newsletter was about how to better teach and follow up with recent converts. Although I had read the journal last week and thought a lot about it throughout the week and how I could better teach recent converts, we hadn’t visited him last week because there are a lot of recent converts in Madalena and Casa Forte and I did not prioritize visiting him. So that was frustrating–I had felt like I was doing a better job of recognizing the Spirit and his inspiration for my investigators in my studies, but apparently that did not carry over to recognizing a prompting to visit our friend. Anyway, hopefully members will visit him and he will pray and think more about this.  I think it will work out.  

Recently i have been thinking about a couple missionary-related quotes from Paul:

For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

1 Corinthians 9:16

  
We have to share what we know!

President Nelson’s visit

Yesterday at 10:00 p.m. we got a phone call.  Instead of spending the rest of the transfer in Madalena (until Wednesday) I ended up going back to Casa Forte today.  I am going to be here for the next two days with Sister Figueira, a STL whose companion went home already.  Then my new companion will get here on Wednesday.  I don’t trust Sunday nights anymore!  Last minute changes always happen.  

This week was another week of traveling between Casa Forte and Madalena.  The highlight was definitely hearing President Nelson speak on Friday to the missionaries and on Sunday to the church in Brazil.  I think my testimony of the leaders of the church has definitely been strengthened on the mission. In the CTM I felt the spirit so strongly during general conference, and I have felt some of that same spirit at the April conference and at the transmissions from President Nelson this week. I am working on remembering these moments — it is so easy to forget spiritual experiences!  In the missionary  broadcast, he emphasized the importance of talking about Christ’s visit to the Americas.  He said we shouldn’t let people start at 1 Nephi 1–that won’t capture their attention!  They have to start at 3 Nephi 11, when Christ visits the Americas.  It is important not to forget how monumental this is.  We have a book about Christ’s visit to the American continent! 

2 Nephi 29

Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.

And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.

10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.

11 For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.

I have been reading the Old Testament and have really enjoyed the end of Isaiah.  There are a lot of chapters of Isaiah that seem difficult to understand or apply to your life, but there are some wonderful chapters of Isaiah.  I had already heard the most beautiful verses in church talks before, but it is more moving when you read them altogether in Isaiah!   

Isaiah 54:

10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.

11 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. . . .

13 And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

God Gives the Increase

This week has been crazy!  We have spent 120 reais [about $29] going back and forth between Casa Forte and Madalena this week!  The problem is that in theory it would be more effective to just pick a few days where we only work in Madalena and a few days where we only work in Casa Forte.  But in practice you can’t just neatly plan out the investigators on the preferred days — they all have their individual schedules, etc.  So we actually did a better job of following up with people in Casa Forte, going there almost every single day. Crazy, but way better than just leaving Casa Forte without missionaries for two weeks.

This week we had three baptisms in Madalena!  It was eventful. Things were a bit stressful, but it all worked out!

Baptism of Thais*

I have an Alma-ish (probably misguided) wish to find people and teach them and then have them get baptized so that I can feel like someone got baptized just because of me, but that doesn’t happen very often. This week I suddenly thought of the New Testament scripture 1 Cor 3:6-7 that happens to be part of the Come Follow Me readings this week about how one person plants, another waters, but God gives the increase. You get the crown based on your work not the watering. Paul says he was not called to baptize but to preach (1 Cor 1:17). I was thinking about other investigators that weren’t my contacts who I wished I had been the one to initially make contact. Then afterwards I realized this was especially applicable for this week. I haven’t had a huge part in these three baptisms but it is a privilege to see them and have a little part in them.

One of the people baptized this week was Vitor.* He first met the sisters in 2015! He didn’t believe in God. But he has been learning and strengthening his testimony a little more each day. Before I got here, the sisters had used an excellent metaphor of a staircase. He said he started at 0 — not believing anything. This past week he was still having a few moments of doubt even though he had progressed a lot. He said he wasn’t sure if Christ really was the Savior, had done miracles, etc. But after our lesson he said he was half a stair step higher on the staircase — at 2.9 (instead of 0)! We could see his testimony growing more and more each day this week, and when he got baptized, he said he was at step infinity! We told him he can now start climbing staircase 2.0. He really looked like the sort of person who was starting a new life.

Baptism of Vitor*

Unfortunately, one of the young men who was baptized on Saturday overslept and didn’t get confirmed on Sunday. I felt very bad about that. This prophetic quote was playing over and over again in my head:

You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.”

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), p. 95

Fortunately, I think João Pedro* really will end up getting confirmed next week. 

Splitting their time between Casa Forte and Madalena–Sisters Faulconer, M. Ribeiro, and Delmiro

Funny thing that happened the other day it was raining as usual (winter in Recife) and we saw rain falling on the other side of the street — but we were dry. As we were watching, the rain got closer until we got wet, and then it went away down the street!  This happened about four times– we saw the rain coming, it rained on us, and then we saw it going away down the street!  It was so funny; I thought that only happened in movies. It reminded me of Harry Potter or Flubber 2 where there are magical (or science-induced) rain clouds for specific people.  We joked that maybe someone was praying for rain and we were watching God send it to them!

Sad thing that happened– Iara* doesn’t want more visits.  She is going through some personal struggles she didn’t feel comfortable enough to share and doesn’t feel she can focus on reading the scriptures and praying right now.  But she said she wants to continue going to church, so I hope that her heart will be touched eventually.  It was frustrating that we couldn’t go to church in Casa Forte so that we could see her (We were in the Madalena ward), but next week. It is sad when this sort of thing happens.  We were so unsure afterwards if we should have been more insistent or persistent or said things other than what we said . . . But hopefully we can see her at church in Casa Forte next week.

Recife to Provo to Edmonton!

Farewell Sister Sousa! Best wishes learning English in Provo and teaching in Edmonton

Yesterday, just as Sister Sousa and I were finishing a weekly planning session and had put something important in every single hour of the week, we got a phone call.  It was our mission president, President Houseman. Sister Sousa got on a plane to Provo to the Missionary Training Center this morning!  After waiting such a long time, she will finally be able to study English and then finish her mission in Edmonton, Canada, where she was originally called.

I am now in my third trio of the mission . . . with Sister M. Ribeiro and Sister Delmiro! I trained Sister M. Ribeiro and am happy to be with her again! They are serving in the Madalena area of Recife, and have four people marked for baptism this week and one marked next week and think they all have potential to actually be baptized.  So that is crazy!  Sister Sousa and I also had a few good people who need to be followed-up with in the Casa Forte area. So, our new trio will work in both areas.  It will be an adventure.  I am excited to work hard and help all these people.  It will be hard to figure out where to go and what to do but it will work out! 

Sister M. Ribeiro and Sister Delmiro are the two sisters on the right–Sis. Faulconer is not pictured
Photo courtesy of Sister Lori Houseman

Iara* did not get baptized this Saturday but she is marked for two weeks from now.  Please pray for her!  She is great and went to church this week.  It can be scary and different to change and decide to get baptized but I believe it will work out for her! 

We have been teaching Willian for a while–He is 19 and wants to get baptized!  He is great but hasn’t been able to go to church yet.  It was another week in which he reallly wanted to go to church, we realllly wanted him to go to church . . . but his mother asked him to help with something at the last second and he couldn’t go.  I sure hope he can go next week.

Funny moments: the other week one of our investigators told us that some ladies that we taught once were talking badly about us.  We asked what they were saying and she said “they said that you guys are huge gossips!” That was hilarious, because you could accuse us of all sorts of things that are true or rooted in truth that could sound bad (“They think their church is the only true church” “really pushy´” “annoying”)  but we are definitely not guilty of being gossipers! We don´t know anything about those women to gossip about!

Here is a cool scripture — On the mission and in my life I want to be like Nephi:

2 And it came to pass that Nephi went his way towards his own house, pondering upon the things which the Lord had shown unto him.
3 And it came to pass as he was thus pondering—being much cast down because of the wickedness of the people of the Nephites, their secret works of darkness, and their murderings, and their plunderings, and all manner of iniquities—and it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a voice came unto him saying:
4 Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.
5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.
6 Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God.

Helaman 10:2-6

*Names of investigators are always changed

Teaching the Word of Wisdom, Making Language Mistakes, Eating Curry

August 2019 Zone Conference
Photo courtesy of Sister Lori Houseman

Iara is still marked for baptism this Saturday!  Yesterday we asked her how she was feeling about baptism, and she said she didn’t know if she wanted to change.  I asked her what she was afraid of changing and she said she wasn’t sure she wanted to give up drinking on the weekends.  We taught her the Word of Wisdom, and though she was initially unsure (why coffee?)  she accepted!  I love it when people start out the Word of Wisdom lesson totally taken aback (I love coffee!  I will never give it up!) but say at the end that they will start living the Word of Wisdom from then on.  She says she hasn’t received an answer yet about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith, but we are hopeful that she will be able to recognize God´s answers this week.  

Isabella decided to go to the beach instead of going to church, but she also accepted the Word of Wisdom despite being initially against it, and she hasn’t drunk coffee since, so that was a good sign.  The couple who are the parents of a missionary didn’t go to church last week, but we will visit them today. Hopefully we can figure out how to see them more frequently.

Sister Faulconer and Sister Sousa (far right) help clean up at zone conference
Photo courtesy of Sister Lori Houseman

Funny language mistake: in Portuguese you have to use intonation when asking questions because the sentence structure doesn’t change, so if you don’t change your voice people will think it is a declaration rather than a question.  Yesterday I was trying really hard to put this into practice and consequently wound up putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable — I asked a member if she had put pieces of poop in her cake!  I meant to say coconut but it didn’t quite come out right!

It is still raining here.  It is going to be a shock when summer comes.  The temperature now is awesome.  

Thai curry–Made by Sister Faulconer in Brazil

I made Thai curry last week and it was awesome.  Not as good as Thai Drift, but it still filled a curry-shaped hole in my heart! 

I would like to send photos but now my sd adapter doesn’t want to work. 😦 


Love you all!

Arthur got baptized!

Sister Sousa, Arthur, Sister Faulconer
Photo Credit: Elder Richard and Sister Sandy Tidwell

Arthur* got baptized!!!  We had been visiting him basically every day for more than a transfer, so we have been praying and hoping for this baptism for a very long time! It seems like he decided to change his life all of a sudden, and that’s made all the difference! One day we went to visit him and found out that he had gone to a friend’s house after leaving church early.  This was a bad sign, so we showed up to his work thinking about ultimatums.  E.g., you need to do x thing —we like you, but we can’t continue to visit people who don’t try to change, but then we found out that he hadn’t smoked in two days! We taught him about Christ and the rich young man. I was going to explain the parable but he started explaining it! He said that for him, smoking was like the young man’s riches! It was very special. Two weeks later he still hasn’t smoked!  We are so excited for him.

Caroline still really wants to get baptized.  She bore a great testimony yesterday!  Unfortunately she and Luan are having serious troubles with their proof of residence, without which you cannot get married.  Her niece, Ana (from last week’s post), did not get baptized this week, which was too bad. But we are in hopes of helping the young women integrate her a bit more — I think befriending other young women will help a lot. 

Two people stopped us in the street this week to ask to be visited.  Isabella told us she wanted to get baptized but her parents hadn’t let her.  She was taught two years ago and went to church five times  Later we met her father, who said he has also been to church and loves the Book of Mormon! It was a miracle. Unfortunately they and a lot of our other investigators who were all set to go to church had a variety of disasters Sunday morning. The power in their whole house burned out and they couldn’t go! That was too bad, but hopefully next week works out better. Although a lot of investigators did not go to church, a few investigators did manage to go, which was great.  Caroline and Ana went, as well as two awesome new investigators who are member references and a couple that are the parents of a missionary from Casa Forte!

The missionary’s mother has started reading the Book of Mormon every day and praying about it! We hadn’t seen them for a few days, and when we showed up they said they were really wanting to go to church! She said she wants to go to the Church of Jesus Christ every week now! A miracle — her husband had been taught for a while without any progress but apparently she hadn’t really been to church or been taught before. She says she hasn’t received an answer yet, but I think she must be feeling the spirit!

Iara was one of the member references. We have been trying hard to invite all the members to pray about references. Then we follow up to see if they have prayed and thought of anyone.  It worked! Sister Andressa took her friend to church on Sunday and then we taught her a lesson afterwards! It was overall a great lesson.  Andressa bore her testimony and I think everyone felt the spirit.  

It has been raining every day for the last two weeks!  It’s funny; I read my Grandpa Trent’s missionary letters the other day.  HE said the same thing! Tomorrow we are going to get Sister Sousa’s passport and then go to interviews at the mission office. Fun fact — we are reimbursed for the travel we do to district meetings, splits, interviews, etc.  Our reimbursement here is less than a tenth of our reimbursement in Gravatá!

Sister Faulconer, Sister Sousa, Sister Houseman, and the Houseman’s daughter
Courtesy of Lori Houseman

Last week we traveled for visa things for the third week in a row, so today our plans include staying at home.  I am going to make Thai curry!  Brazil has many wonderful foods (this week I ate at a vegan shop that had the most heavenly Brazilian vegan food) but it is seriously curry-deprived!
Love you all!  

The Come, Follow Me manual is great.  I am inspired by Paul’s missionary efforts and his faithful attitude.  It seems like every verse of the New Testament is packed with meaning.  

This verse from Romans 1 is a classic

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16

Thanks for your prayers! Like Paul, I am praying for all of you!

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers . . .

Romans 1:9

*As always, names of investigators are changed to protect their privacy.