This week was great! Remember, Isabela, the girl on the bicycle who wanted a Book of Mormon from from my previous post? Isabela’s family is awesome — we are teaching her family, her friend’s family, and her friends’ cousin and other friend, her other friend, her other friend and her aunt now. Isabela, as well as Guilherme*, and Ester (both friends of Isabela’s family) went to church. Isabela’s older sisters had to work because of the craziness that is Easter here in Gravatá but will go in two weeks with her mom. Their other friends Matheu (a young adult) and Maria Clara (a young woman) and Rafaela (little girl) went to church too! Their sister Marcela would have gone but she stepped on a nail the night before and had to go to the hospital. 😦 Crazy things happen Saturday night. Because of Isabela’s family and friends, the number of contacts we taught a first lesson to improved quite a lot this week. We often have trouble with not finding people at home but they have been great!
Isabela and her friend Guilherme are reading the Book of Mormon and said they prayed about it and felt really good. Isabela told us she wants to go to church next week! Her sister, Camilla, who had to work, prayed and has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Her aunt told us she said she wants to be baptized! Marcela read the Book of Mormon, prayed, and was describing to us how she felt. She felt the spirit really strongly –“chills all over!” and really joyful. She said she she has a testimony now! Matheus forgot to read several times, but on Saturday he remembered! He told us on Sunday that he had had a similar experience. He said he started praying and had a feeling that God was there, and that they were literally having a conversation. He asked about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and said he felt that God responded that they are true! He told us that he has visited several churches but never felt the spirit like that.
Their other sister, Maria Clara, didn’t recognize any response the first time she prayed but said she started to feel the spirit more as she continued reading and praying. That is certainly more typical of my experiences — many times we don´t get an answer the first time we pray but it will come with patience and continued effort.
Anyway, finding them was a miracle for sure. The day Isabela stopped us in the street we felt a bit frustrated because we had been searching for a contact’s address for a realllly long time and no one knew where it was. I am so glad we didn’t find it right away — we needed to meet Isabela!
We also had zone conference in Caruaru this week. It was good. We have guides for our lessons with different topics. We don´t have to stick to a specific script but often we present the topics in the same order — God loves us, so he sent us prophets to guide our families, the most important prophet was Christ, etc. etc. President Houseman talked about treating our lessons like wheels rather than linear lists of events. Present the topics in whatever order works best for the investigators! This was a lightbulb moment for me, but now nothing is linear anymore! It can be confusing.
Several members have made some for me at lunch and they all already know how to cook it. I have seen a few restaurants that have things like “Chicken with soy meat sauce.” People make soy meat sometimes just for diversity´s sake. I tried it out and it was super good! I also discovered soy milk recently (pro tip– ask people where things are instead of assuming you know where they keep the milk — I had forgotten that they sell milk in cartons rather than in the refrigerator section here)
Easter is very popular in Gravatá. At night there was bumper to bumper traffic on the roads. Gravatá is definitely a tourist-y city — this week the city was way way busier than usual. There were also signs for chocolate easter eggs on all of the street corners. People like to eat large (like ostrich-sized) eggs made of chocolate and boxes of assorted easter candies are also very popular. Sister Ribeiro wrote this on the wall in makeup — she is very creative.
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. When someone gets an answer to their prayer about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon it sometimes feels like a yes or no sort of thing — either they can say they believe or not. What is harder to measure, but also happens, is the repentance process. That’s the whole purpose of missionary work — we invite people to pray about the Book of Mormon and to follow its precepts — repent, be baptized (i.e., take the name of Christ upon you, promise to remember him and follow his commandments), get closer to Christ. We tell people that Christ is the center of our message — and it’s true. I have been reading this scripture with people all week:
But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.
The scriptures are so beautiful! I can’t say it better than that. I also love this Easter video: Because of Him
*Names are changed to respect investigators’ privacy.