The Plan of Salvation

Our last district in Casa Forte before transfers

This week has been super rainy.  Sometimes they are tiny raindrops, but sometimes it rains so hard that in about a minute it looks like you jumped in a swimming pool!  Everyone who can manage it stays inside.  But we are enjoying the rain on the street!  It´s cool, because it’s rainy and not as hot.  The downside is that everything gets wet and stays wet, but we have to have opposition in all things.

The perks of living in the city — I found peanut butter! Without salt, etc,. but I added some and it was not the same, but still good.

Arthur is still struggling with the last cigarette.  But he managed to do a 12-hour fast last week and we are hoping that this week a brother from our ward will show him around the temple grounds.  I love living in the area of the temple.  We don’t pass it super often, but when we do  walk past we are always excited.  Living near the temple is a blessing!  

Caroline and Luan went to start their marriage documents this past week but unfortunately they were missing one, and then the rain kept things from progressing.  Also, they did not go to church again this week, which was sad.  We talked to them Saturday night, but then on Sunday morning we called and called.  We shouted outside their house for a while — we could hear the cellphone ringing on the inside but no one ever answered!  But the cool part was that we marked both of their daughters for baptism on the third.  One of them, Ana, had already been marked for baptism but then it fell through the day of.  The other, 
Beatriz, hadn’t been interested.  But she went to church once and liked it.  Then we taught her the Restoration, she remembered a lot of it from the sisters’ other visits and even had a Book of Mormon but had never read or prayed about it.  She said she would and she did!  She hasn’t gotten an answer yet but I believe she will.  We taught the Plan of Salvation to her family this week.  Beatriz thought it was so interesting she took a picture of our little visual representation of the plan. 

Lots of times we teach the plan of salvation and people don’t really pay attention. But when they do pay attention it reminds me of how special this is. Lots of people don’t have this wonderful knowledge.  Caroline’s family thought that the only options after death are heaven or hell, and that people who don’t hear the gospel will go straight to hell after death.  How wonderful to know that isn’t the case!  People who don’t have a real opportunity to hear the gospel will hear it in the life to come.  And the vast majority of people will live in a good place after this life, even those who didn’t fully follow God.  Families can be together forever!  Lots of people here think that in heaven we won’t be able to remember anything or recognize our family members.  I am so grateful for an eternal family.

We have another investigator, Cristina, who has many difficulties. Her daughter has cancer and is very, very sick.  Her husband shows signs of Alzheimer’s and can’t be left alone. A member introduced us to her without knowing this backstory.  When we met her she was crying and asking why God punishes people with things like this.  We taught her the Plan of Salvation and testified of God’s love and support in our lives, as well as the truth that she and her daughter would have eternities together after this life.  She asked us several times if it was really true.  Now she has prayed about it and believes!  Every time we see her she has a little more trust in God and seems a little happier, even though her situation hasn’t really improved.   I know Alma 7:12 tells the truth — Christ knows what we suffer because he has felt all of the things we go through.  He suffered all that in order to know how to succor us!

Sister Sousa eating the chocolate molten cake I made, topped with peanut butter

Love you all!

*Names are changed to protect privacy

The Way of Happiness

The way of happiness
The living Christ–Cristo Vivo

Last week we went to Cruzeiro to see the Cristo Vivo.  You can see it from the city.  Cool fact: there is a staircase that goes up to a big cross next to Christ.  It is called the Way (Path) of Happiness.  Cool that the the Way of Happiness leads to Christ, right?  **Deeper meaning**  Wickedness never was happiness!  

I forgot to tell about a miracle we had last week.  We had a district meeting and then the car that takes us home was super late.  We needed to visit Victor to teach him some things he had to know before getting baptized.  We had moved the appointment forward an hour but we ended up leaving lunch at the time we needed to be at his house . . . and he lives 40 minutes (walking distance) away!  Just as we were talking about how late we were, we saw a member of the church in the distance.  As we walked towards her her neighbor passed by and offered to pick her up.  She invited us too!  We arrived about eight minutes later and had enough time to teach the lessons we needed to. 

Sister Ribeiro and Sister Faulconer

One awesome experience we had is teaching our investigator “Maria Eduarda.” When we met her she started saying that she didn’t believe in God.  We listened and tried to read some scriptures with her, but she was pretty upset and kept cutting us off.  But it quickly became obvious that she did believe in God — she was just upset about the situation she was in.  She didn’t understand why God lets so many people suffer so much.  She felt he didn’t listen.  But we listened, testified of our belief in God’s love for us, invited her to pray, and marked a different day to go back.  When we went back, she hadn’t prayed.  We taught her, invited her to pray again, and left. The next time we went she had prayed!  She said she felt so much better, and she knew that our visit was an answer from God.  She felt like he didn’t listen, but our presence was a sign that he cared about her.  She is reading the Book of Mormon too!  She did not go to church because of a headache but we have high hopes for next week.  This is a huge example of someone changing their life through the gospel for me.  She feels better and she is praying and reading the scriptures for the first time in a long time!

Acaraje: These brown things are fried bean balls.  Like falafel but not quite as amazing.