We had a great week! My new companion, Sister Ribeiro, is awesome — she doesn’t really need a trainer but we’re learning lots of things together.
I loved General Conference; it is such a good opportunity to feel the spirit and receive personal revelation. If you haven’t watched it yet, watch it now! Our investigator, let’s call her “Emanuelle,” went to conference Saturday night. We were super excited because she had had trouble going to church for many Sundays in a row, but she made it to conference! She brought questions to ponder during the meeting and said she liked it a lot.
During that session Elder Mathias Held told about his conversion story — he spent a lot of time looking at the church through rational eyes. He saw a lot of wonderful things — service, hard work, family-centered worship, etc. But he and his wife never felt totally ready to get baptized. But when they realized they needed to use their spiritual eyes as well as the cold-hard-facts-rational eyes, they recognized that they needed to progress towards baptism because it was the Lord’s will for them. He read a scripture (I think it was in this talk) that I love and have used with several investigators.
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
If we are ready to try to follow Christ’s example, helping those who are in need and being witnesses of God, baptism is the logical next step! Some times things in the church (patriarchal blessings, receiving a temple endowment) seem like huge commitments and we feel that we have to be practically perfect or super committed or have perfect certainty before committing. But if we are worthy to participate in these covenants, and we have received a testimony that doing so is God’s will for us, we shouldn’t let fear hold us back! God is just waiting to fulfill his side of the covenant, to pour out his spirit more abundantly upon us, to cleanse us from our sins, and help us progress towards eternal life. For those of us who have already made these covenants, we can apply the same principles to repentance and following the counsel we find in the scriptures and general conference. As President Nelson said, time is running out! We have to prepare for the second coming today. Now is the time and the day of our salvation, we need to act now so that God can immediately bless us with the Atonement (Alma 34).
I felt that sense of urgency this week because I turned twenty! I can’t believe it. I also have 7.5 months in the mission field. It’s pretty crazy. On my birthday we went to Caruaru for our weekly district meeting and interviews with President Houseman. We got back so late we ate lunch for dinner, but it was good. We also taught a lesson to “Ramon,” the nephew of one of our members. He was invited to church the other week and loved it. We hope everything will go well!
I also experimented with making macaxeira [cassava] fries. Macaxeira is like a potato but not. Through much trial and error I learned that you need to boil them before frying them, that you need to cut large fries, that our kitchen knife is very dull, and that you need to boil them in salted water.
This week we are hoping to mark Emanuelle for baptism. We are also hoping that Ramon’s mother will get baptized, as well as Tiago! Tiago has had some bumps in the road on his way to baptism, including things other people said to him, but we told him to pray about it. It’s God’s opinion that counts! He said “Whoa, my heart is beating really fast!” It was special — he is very sensitive to the Spirit and wants to do God’s will.
Extra miracle: We thought at one point that we had lost our keys in the road. We almost called a locksmith, but I felt like we should check the chapel first. We wrote down the locksmith´s number, went to the chapel and . . . they were there on the bench. It was a blessing.