I’m now in Casa Forte [near the temple in Recife]! It is really different here. I can see apartment buildings from all the parts of my area. We have parts of our area that are normal Brazilian houses but also a lot of areas that are apartment buildings. It was a serious pain to get here — two large suitcases and bumpy sidewalks, a metro and a bus. I am not a good example of a cool, collected traveler, but I did manage to get here eventually! I am in a trio again! I have a companion, Sister Sousa, who is waiting for a visa to go to the Canada Edmonton mission! That’s where my uncle lives. Hi Uncle Deryl! My other companion is Sister Damaceno, who arrived here in the same group with my trainee from the last transfer, Sister M. Ribeiro. Both of my companions are from São Paulo, Sister Damaceno is from the city and Sister Sousa is from a small town in the interior.
The day before the transfer Sister Ribeiro and I visited an investigator for the second time. His sister was in the same room, listening to really loud music. We started to read the scriptures and began to ask her questions as well and invite her to read. Eventually she turned off the music and became engaged in the conversation. Near the end of the lesson, she told us that her family had once been very active in their religion. But they began to have questions that no one answered, and decided that that religion had practices that were not in line with the scriptures and the Savior’s teachings. She said they needed a church to go to together and to have more religion at home. She said she believed we had been sent in that moment by God to help them better follow Christ and show them the way to a church they could go to together! That was a very special experience — I hope to receive a letter from Sister M. Ribeiro saying that they really have begun working to better follow Christ.
Crazy thing that happened this week — our second day here it rained, and rained, and rained and rained some more. The streets turned into lakes. I literally could have swum part of the way to our lunch appointment — we were knee high in water! We had to go slowly because the sidewalks and streets have big holes sometimes, and you can’t see through the water. It rained all day. Definitely an adventure and a cool experience, but it does make proselyting a little more difficult. The rain is so loud it is harder to hear people and no one wants to go outside! Also alllll the things get wet – clothes, our bags, everything.
We are talking to a lot of new people because there weren’t many investigators being taught here. We need to find more people with potential. I talked to one couple the other day in a chic-y (fancy) part of town that said they were agnostic and not interested in talking about religion. It was a weird experience — I wasn’t sure if I was in Brazil or the United States for a second! We talk to a lot of people on the street and someone that claims to be agnostic is very rare — I think this is the third time in my mission that I’ve talked to an agnostic. The other two were open to religion.
We have one investigator, Arthur*, who is awesome. He reads the Book of Mormon every day, hasn’t drunk alcohol in a month, goes to church, and is changing his life. The only difficulty is smoking–but he didn’t smoke a single cigarette yesterday. If he continues that streak he can be baptized this Saturday! Please pray for him.
Also, our ward here is awesome–large, and with members who want to be actively involved in missionary work.
Here is a cool quote from one of the twelve apostles, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
“If we give our heart to God, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do the best we can to live the gospel, then tomorrow—and every other day—is ultimately going to be magnificent, even if we don’t always recognize it as such. Why? Because our Heavenly Father wants it to be! He wants to bless us. A rewarding, abundant, and eternal life is the very object of His merciful plan for His children! It is a plan predicated on the truth “that all things work together for good to them that love God.”10 So keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.
“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard?” Isaiah cried.
“… They that wait upon [Him] shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. …
“[God] giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. …
“For … the Lord … God will hold [their] right hand, saying unto [them], Fear not; I will help thee.”11
Love you guys!
*To respect their privacy, the names of all investigators are changed.