We had a good week this week! People in Palmares are really open to hearing about the gospel. Of course lots of people don´t want to change churches, but they´re open to hearing our message in the street or listening to a scripture. People are definitely more religious and more open to talking about religion here than in most of the US. There are scriptures stamped on walls, cars, signs, shops, houses, etc. There are also cars with loud speakers that go around playing religious messages.
Our investigators so far have been very open to our message and willing to act on it. We had a baptism last week and another one this week. I´m so happy for them! It´s really great to see someone developing a testimony, learning about the gospel, and being blessed.
Something really sad happened with one of our teenage investigators who was planning on being baptized. She has a really strong testimony and her faith is inspiring. She was excited to be baptized and convinced that it was the right step. One of her parents had agreed to sign the baptismal form. Unfortunately someone told him that the Church was a cult/sect, etc. and her parents decided she wasn’t allowed to go to church or have any visits from the missionaries! We had been praying for her so much, hoping that her parents’ hearts would be softened, and on Sunday she showed up at church with an older sibling! It was amazing. We´re still not allowed to see her and don´t know what the future will hold, but that was a little miracle.
So far missionary work here has been pretty different than what I expected. We have a lot of recent converts and less-active members that need to be visited, but our branch [small local church congregation] is small, so we do the vast majority of visits. So one or two days we did more work with members than with investigators! Consequently it´s been pretty tough to do any street contacting at all, because we always have more people to visit than we have time for, and no time to teach more investigators! But we´re going to focus more on finding new investigators this week.
I’ve had serious trouble with being understood this week. It´s a little sad because I remember all the right words, use the right grammar, manage to express myself in Portuguese well, and then the person doesn’t understand me! Some people can’t seem to understand a single sentence I say — one person even said I was speaking English! That was a really bad sign! My American accent is just too thick, but I´m working on that.
Hope you all have a great week!