We had an interesting lesson this week: We met with a woman, call her “Mllena,” who has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, but she didn’t want to leave her current church, so she said she wouldn’t get baptized. We invited her to pray about whether it was God’s will. Then I asked her if Christ were there and he invited her to get baptized if she would (I wanted to help her develop real intent — to decide that if God answered her prayer she would follow his will and get baptized). She said “No, I would say ‘Sorry God, I want to die in the Catholic church!'” That was a bit of a shock to me. Later she said she would do whatever God told her to do — I think she responded that way in the moment because she was feeling a lot of fear about change. We were unsure about how to help her after that, but we wanted to give it one more try. She is one of the precious souls who really want to be righteous and do the right things, so we really wanted to help her.
We decided to give a lesson about temples and how her family can be together forever (some of her family members are members already). This is such a special message! (I love the new church website that emphasizes how special this message is: temples.churchofjesuschrist.org.) She was touched. She has a son who died at 24-ish and definitely wants to live with him and her husband after this life. She and her husband were married only for this life, but she said she wants to be with him forever! I asked her if she would like to be sealed in the temple in the future and she said yes!
Sister Ribeiro asked her what she thought she needed to do to get ready for that and after a pause she said “Well, I need to get baptized.” She wanted to think more before actually committing to baptism but I know the spirit touched her heart! This is the spirit of Elijah and it is real. Russell M. Nelson, now our prophet, taught that the spirit of Elijah is “a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family.” Elijah, the Old Testament prophet, returned to earth, bringing keys of priesthood authority. Elder Nelson explained that “Elijah came . . . to enabl[e] families to be eternally linked beyond the bounds of mortality.” Today we are going to visit Mllena with the ward family history consultant to help her start her family history. I am praying that she will have the courage to be baptized! She needs the blessings waiting for her in the temple.
Tiago* got baptized this week! We were worried that something would happen to call it off or postpone it one or two days before his baptism like the other weeks, but he stayed firm until the end! David got confirmed with Tiago on Sunday, and Lucas, who got baptized two weeks before David, got a calling and received the Aaronic priesthood!
A couple people stopped us in the street this week, which is every missionary’s dream. We met some church members who haven’t been to church in a while, but want to return. One of them was drinking and smoking and said “I felt so happy in the church; I don’t know why I left.” I hope he can return. We also talked to a man who isn’t a member but wants a visit! That was very special.
Another special moment happened on Sunday. You know the little kid in The Incredibles who is riding a bike and staring at Mr. Incredible while he lifts up his car with super-strength? A little while ago we were doing a street contact when a little girl started driving around us in circles, staring at us just like the little kid in The Incredibles. When we started talking to her she said she wanted the book we gave to our contact (the Book of Mormon). Later some of her friends walked up with their dad, Renan, and started pleading for a Book of Mormon too! It was very cute.
When we returned to that neighborhood, we could not find her house, but then we saw her in the street! That was a miracle, because she lives in a tiny alleyway we never would have found. The little girl, “Isabela,” had already read the part we marked in the Book of Mormon (something many adults fail to do). We said we would visit her at five on Thursday, and she said “Ok, I’ll wait in the street starting at four! Do you promise to come?” We promised, but when we showed up she was not there, so we planned to visit her some day this week.
On Sunday we decided to visit another investigator we hadn’t been able to visit with over conference weekend when we had planned. Partway there I started feeling like going there was very stupid and a waste of time, because we didn’t have tons of information about exactly where he lived, his house number was twenty and we were seeing numbers in the 500s, and he lives far away so I figured we would just spend a lot of time wandering around but not doing anything. But at that point we were almost to Isabela’s alley anyway so we decided to see if maybe he had said his street name wrong and actually lived on the same street. We found his house, but he wasn’t at home, so we went to visit Isabela. She was there with her two sisters and three friends. All of them were excited to hear our message! Her sister “Camila” said she had been waiting to find the right church to get baptized. They all accepted our invitation to read the Book of Mormon and pray about whether it is true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. Then they accepted our invitation to get baptized if they receive an answer that it is! They said they would go to an activity we have at church this week and visit church on Sunday! We asked Camila to give the closing prayer and after some gentle prodding and encouragement she did, and started crying when she thanked God for our visit. It was a very special, spiritual lesson.
Love you all!
*Names are changed to ensure investigator and new members’ privacy is respected.