This week has been good! Giliard went to church again this week and brought two of his family members! We are excited; he is marked for baptism this week! Hopefully his parents sign his baptismal form today.
We might have a Christmas zone conference this week. It will be exciting! They don’t tell us until the last minute so it will be interesting to see what happens. We also have two splits (we will split up and work with two other sets of sisters for a day) marked for this week so we will see what actually happens. I am excited to go to the temple! At the Christmas Conference, our district of missionaries will sing part of “With Wondering Awe” and then switch to “Savior Redeemer of my Soul” (not the hymn melody).
Unfortunately, Jeniffer forgot that she had a wedding and didn’t end up going to church because of that. But hopefully this week she will! Also Maria’s family had a sudden health emergency and we haven’t been able to contact them. Hopefully they are interested in having lessons this week.
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.
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!
Feliz Natal! I am very excited for Christmas. This week we had our Christmas zone conference in Recife! There are six zones, and each has a different day over two weeks, so we weren’t sure when we would get a conference. Usually I would probably want a Christmas-y thing like this as close to Christmas as possible, but I was kind of hoping that it would be a bit earlier to break up the week. But then our District leader was giving out assignments for our district meeting, and my companion was convinced this meant we would’t have it this week, because we don’t have district meetings when we have zone conferences and she figured he would know if we would have a zone conference. But then we got a text message on Tuesday during lunch saying that our zone conference would be Thursday! It was exciting.
Zone conference was awesome. I got to go to the Recife temple for the first time and loved it. It’s very beautiful, and any chance to go to the temple is special. I got to meet lots of other missionaries, which was fun.
We live several hours from Recife, and the last bus for Palmares leaves Recife at 5:30 pm, so we stayed overnight with some sisters in Imbiribeira. It was fun to get to know them. This is Sister Lima’s first transfer so she is newer in the mission than I am!