I am going to be transferred to Goiana, the area that Sister Nogueira just left, and Sister Nogueira is also going to be transferred! We are not sure what will happen with the area yet, but hopefully everything works out. It is always hard to leave investigators, and even more so if your companion will be transferred as well, but I’m sure the next missionaries will be great.
Yesterday we had a miracle of several new investigators who went to church!! One was a young woman we met giving out cake at the Christmas activity we did. Her name is Nayara* and she is really interested in helping indigenous peoples and making art. She wasn’t sure if she believed in God. After we gave her a Book of Mormon she read 3 Nephi 11 and felt doubtful about whether what it had said really happened. Then she had a spiritual experience at some kind of religious ceremony with indigenous people and decided that everything the Book of Mormon says is true! Not something you hear every day. She also accepted a baptismal goal!
Also Vitoria and her two siblings Mary & Guilherme went to church. She had seemed very uninterested, but the other day when we were trying to teach her a lesson she suddenly asked if she could bless her baby at our church! Then she accepted a baptismal date, so that was exciting!
We also met the mom, Barbara, of a future missionary, Clara. Barbara isn’t a member but said she would pray and would be baptized if she received an answer–that’s all we ask of people! Her daughter was really excited. It was great to hear Clara’s testimony of the difference the gospel has made in her life. Bernardo’s wife also shared her testimony of the Book of Mormon. I was praying for it to touch his heart! Last we heard, he hasn’t yet prayed again to know if the Book of Mormon is true. But we have been fasting for him and hope he recognizes the answers God is sending him. Unfortunately it will probably take a while to find out because of transfers but here’s hoping! Juliana and Joao Pedro found out that they will have to pay for new certificates so Joao Pedro said he would go to the marriage office today! They are making lots of progress. Their daughter, Aléxia, a Young Woman [the Young Women are the group of female youth ages 12-18], had just gotten her temple recommend so we ended up teaching about temples again. It was a great lesson–they really want to be sealed together! I am really excited to hear about their marriage in the not-distant future!
We are teaching a man named Ibrahim, who is from Iraq. He is Muslim and very interesting. It is great to learn more about his culture and religion–I am a little sad I don’t live closer to him–I would like to be his friend after returning home! He is very knowledgeable about many, many subjects but had never heard of the Church. The first time we taught him we took a Book of Mormon in English (easier for him to read than Portuguese) but weren’t able to discover the Book of Mormon in Arabic on his phone. When we went back the second time we were all set to show him how to find it, but he had already downloaded it and started reading! He is very committed to friendly, helpful relations with people of other faiths, but believes that religion is something that doesn’t change (“We believe almost the same thing. We are like two parallel trains. They are close but never come together!” –Ibrahim). I respect him a lot. While he does not believe that it makes sense to ask God questions (“You can ask, but He will not answer!”), he does believe we can ask God for wisdom or to be shown the truth. So we invited him to ask God to show him if the Book of Mormon is true. He promised to ask God and to read the whole book (He said several times “But you have to give me time. This book is very long! I will not read it in one day!” Well, we are happy to give him all the time he wants. Anyone who is committed to reading the Book of Mormon makes us happy.
Next week, coming not-live to you from Goiana in Pernambuco, the next installment of letters from a missionary.