This week has been crazy! We have spent 120 reais [about $29] going back and forth between Casa Forte and Madalena this week! The problem is that in theory it would be more effective to just pick a few days where we only work in Madalena and a few days where we only work in Casa Forte. But in practice you can’t just neatly plan out the investigators on the preferred days — they all have their individual schedules, etc. So we actually did a better job of following up with people in Casa Forte, going there almost every single day. Crazy, but way better than just leaving Casa Forte without missionaries for two weeks.
This week we had three baptisms in Madalena! It was eventful. Things were a bit stressful, but it all worked out!
I have an Alma-ish (probably misguided) wish to find people and teach them and then have them get baptized so that I can feel like someone got baptized just because of me, but that doesn’t happen very often. This week I suddenly thought of the New Testament scripture 1 Cor 3:6-7 that happens to be part of the Come Follow Me readings this week about how one person plants, another waters, but God gives the increase. You get the crown based on your work not the watering. Paul says he was not called to baptize but to preach (1 Cor 1:17). I was thinking about other investigators that weren’t my contacts who I wished I had been the one to initially make contact. Then afterwards I realized this was especially applicable for this week. I haven’t had a huge part in these three baptisms but it is a privilege to see them and have a little part in them.
One of the people baptized this week was Vitor.* He first met the sisters in 2015! He didn’t believe in God. But he has been learning and strengthening his testimony a little more each day. Before I got here, the sisters had used an excellent metaphor of a staircase. He said he started at 0 — not believing anything. This past week he was still having a few moments of doubt even though he had progressed a lot. He said he wasn’t sure if Christ really was the Savior, had done miracles, etc. But after our lesson he said he was half a stair step higher on the staircase — at 2.9 (instead of 0)! We could see his testimony growing more and more each day this week, and when he got baptized, he said he was at step infinity! We told him he can now start climbing staircase 2.0. He really looked like the sort of person who was starting a new life.
Unfortunately, one of the young men who was baptized on Saturday overslept and didn’t get confirmed on Sunday. I felt very bad about that. This prophetic quote was playing over and over again in my head:
You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost.”Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), p. 95
Fortunately, I think João Pedro* really will end up getting confirmed next week.
Funny thing that happened the other day it was raining as usual (winter in Recife) and we saw rain falling on the other side of the street — but we were dry. As we were watching, the rain got closer until we got wet, and then it went away down the street! This happened about four times– we saw the rain coming, it rained on us, and then we saw it going away down the street! It was so funny; I thought that only happened in movies. It reminded me of Harry Potter or Flubber 2 where there are magical (or science-induced) rain clouds for specific people. We joked that maybe someone was praying for rain and we were watching God send it to them!
Sad thing that happened– Iara* doesn’t want more visits. She is going through some personal struggles she didn’t feel comfortable enough to share and doesn’t feel she can focus on reading the scriptures and praying right now. But she said she wants to continue going to church, so I hope that her heart will be touched eventually. It was frustrating that we couldn’t go to church in Casa Forte so that we could see her (We were in the Madalena ward), but next week. It is sad when this sort of thing happens. We were so unsure afterwards if we should have been more insistent or persistent or said things other than what we said . . . But hopefully we can see her at church in Casa Forte next week.