My new companion is Sister Ribeiro II! [She is Sis. Ribeiro II here on the blog because Sister Faulconer was previously companions with Sister M. Ribeiro (the missionary who is a wonderful photographer)]. She is from Sao Paulo, just like Sister M. Ribeiro! Until now she was serving in the city Guaranhuns with Sister Nogueira — so she had to travel for about eight hours to get here!
This week is Carnaval. Carnaval is mostly celebrated on the other half of town that isn’t our area, so we have been mostly following normal hours here. We have seen a lot of burras [donkey costumes] and bois [oxen costumes?] in the street as well as some other costumes that are hard to remember the name of. Look up images for “burrinha carnaval Pernambuco” and you should get some good pictures. They walk around with a few people banging on drums and occasionally people with saxophones and marching band/battle standard-like banners. But three guys with drums sound like two entire marching bands–those drums are powerful!
We marked our investigator Rafaela* for baptism this week, which was great!. Last week we were excited because she went to church, read the Book of Mormon, and progressed after being molle [soft = not very interested, doesn’t keep invitations to read, go to church, etc., consistently] for a while. Unfortunately, at the last second she ended up going to the beach with her employer for a week and wasn’t able to go to church last week or next Sunday. So that was too bad; it’s amazing how these things always happen with marcados [people who have committed to be baptized]! But we re-marked her for two weeks later, so hopefully it will work out in the end. But it was too bad because although we had a number of people who said they would go to church, no one did–not even the very long-time investigator who always goes.
It was not the first time no one has come to church, but it is always too bad. That morning we invited some people in the street to go to church and accept visits. No one was very interested. There was one couple who was very against eternal families–they said what everyone here says: we will all be brothers and sisters after this life. There won’t be special marriage and family relationships. I shared that experience in the talk I gave in church that day. A brother who works at the temple with FamilySearch mentioned my talk and talked more about eternal families. It wasn’t until later we found out that a new family that had moved in had brought their son, who has been marked for baptism but not baptized, and the mom’s sister to the meeting. The mom’s sister had a Book of Mormon and described feeling a great desire to read more and more! She said that she had been deeply involved in the Catholic church — she taught crisma [confirmation] classes, etc. But she had always had a few questions about Catholic teachings–like why we won’t be able to recognize or remember our family members after this life. So all things worked together for good! Our negative experience that morning helped her feel the spirit and recognize the truth at church!
Here is a scripture I like. There are lots of sayings and quotes that talk about being in trouble, persecuted, etc., but not vanquished. What I like about this one is how Paul mentions feelings. Although the trials he went through caused negative feelings (he was perplexed) all was not lost (he was not in despair)!
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;2 Corinthians 4:8-9