Monday, March 10, 2014

March Madness!

Man, life is good. This week was awesome. Missionary work was good, Ashley had her birthday, Dad´s is coming up this week, College bball is getting exciting (I think it´s this week, right?), and Carnaval ended! Man, Brasil´s holiday of Carnaval really killed us last weekend and the start of this week. Every single appointment fell through and we didnt find anyone new. Next year I´m going in to Carnaval fasting - especially if I´m in the city again - The Lord, my companion, and I will find a family next year!
A quick comment on some of your letters. That´s what I´m talking about! Mom wins it for best missionary in the family, especially with all of the work she´s doing on the other side of the veil right now. But you all are amazing! I sometimes think about what it would be like to serve in the Powell Ward not knowing the Welch family... How I would use you guys... Haha. It´s kind of funny to think about it though because most missionaries are intimidated by the Stake President, ESPECIALLY going over to their house. I always tell them that Stake President´s are soft... Haha anyway, you guys inspire me to be better.
Noah Adam Lewis... Man! He´s helping with the missionary work here in Jundiaí! Haha I brought him up in so many conversations this week. If you could in your next letter/package, please send me pictures of him with Britt, Adam, and Chase, as well as updated pictures of the rest of the family. Pictures are the best. Also, quick note about packages. Thank you! They seriously are the greatest thing as a missionary. Two things you look forward to the most as a missionary. Baptisms and packages.

I don´t think I explained last week´s title at all in the email but I was reading the scriptures and came across this dynamite verse in 2 Nephi 7:11 (mmm, slurpee!) about being an example and standing in Holy Places (Jd´s story!! Holy cow!)
´´Behold, all ye that kindle fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks, walk in the light of you fire and in the sparks which ye have kindled.´´
Every night before I go to bed, I open this window at the feet of my bed and look out at Brasil and think about investigators and how my mission is going. There´s this hotel that is in the distance with a red light on the top of it that stays on all night. I think it might be the North Star, but it seems to always be directly above the red light on the hotel. I often think about the old conference talk about ´´Lighthouses´´ and how they work. Because I´m a missionary and all I think about is being a missionary, I related to who I am (identity) as a missionary.
The conference talk speaks about how sailors use the ´´Lower Lights´´ of the light house to maneuver past the rocks and safely dock their boats. He relates the Light House to the Savior and the ´´Lower Lights´´ to members living virtuous lives. Every night before going to bed, I think about what type of ´´Lower Light.´´ How people view me on the streets. What type of teacher I am. What type of companion, member of the Jundiaí Ward, friend, etc. It´s important to me, and serves as a reminder every night, that I´m leading people safely past the dangerous rocks of temptation, heartbreak, and addiction to the important ´´Higher Light´´ - Jesus Christ. // Man, it´s awesome being a missionary!

So who wants an update on the amazing Eduardo? I sure do... (lame)
Man, if you could watch on film how this week went with him… it was awesome!
Last Tuesday morning I woke up with a lot of anxiety I think - I just felt really uneasy about Eduardo. I talked with Elder Dorman about it and the best way to help him for his baptism this weekend. We shifted some plans around and saw him that night to confirm all was well for this weekend.
Well, what I woke up thinking was true. He didn't feel prepared to be baptized and wanted to wait until May - some important date of his I think.
The Spirit put thoughts in my head as we opened up to Mosiah 18 and talked about a ´´desire.´´ We then gave him specific examples and asked him inspired questions. As  the Spirit set the stage, we bore our testimonies of the Savior and His restored Gospel and then knelt down.
The mighty Elder Dorman stopped us before we prayed. He said, ´´Eduardo, as representatives of Jesus Christ, we promise you that you will receive a confirmation that you should be baptized this Sunday, if you pray and ask specifically right now. ´´
I remember thinking, ´´Whoa baby! I´ve gotta pick my faith up for this now.´´ Haha Elder Dorman is awesome. But knowing this was possible, I confirmed what my companion said. We then invited him to pray.
´´Boom!´´ The Spirit hit me hard in the middle of his prayer. Eduardo began to talk with Heavenly Father about his thoughts of joy when he heard someone clapping in front of his house. He said even though we didn't have anything scheduled, he knew it was us. He then began to express gratitude. It was an incredibly sincere prayer. He really put a lot of thought in to his words. It was such an awesome experience. We were united in purpose, full of gratitude, and asking Heavenly Father for a very specific answer - Is this Sunday the day?´´
Eduardo closed the prayer in the name of Jesus Christ and the thought came to me not to move - just to follow Elder Dorman, haha. I´ll always be grateful for this prompting.
After about 3 minutes had passed, Eduardo said, ´´Guys, I don´t know if you are still praying (our heads were still down and arms folded), but I didn´t receive an answer...´´
´´No!´´ I thought to myself. Without lifting our heads up, I know we both felt a pit in our stomach. We just promised him an answer! I shut my eyes even harder and began to pray with more fervor. ``Heavenly Father, I know this is possible - How? Because I feel it right now! Please let Eduardo to feel this.´´
Without saying anything, five more minutes passed as we were kneeling in a circle.
´´C´mon, c´mon, c´mon... Feel it Eduardo!´´ Haha it was so intense.
Another minute must´ve passed when he finally spoke again. ´´I have received my answer...´´
Both of our heads shut up.
He had his arms crossed with his right hand on his chin. With a slight grin on his face, I knew he finally felt the confirmation - I began to go crazy inside with excitement.
´´Guys... I need to get baptized this Sunday.´´
Two huge breaths of air left Elder Dorman´s mouth and mine. We jumped over to him on our knees and hugged him together. Tears were running down his face as he began to express gratitude again to Heavenly Father. We were in a really awkward, 3-man hug, but no one cared because we were so happy. Haha it was so awesome. As Elder Dorman and I stood up,Eduardo pointed both hands to Heaven and thanked Heavenly Father one last time. It was like he was in the majors and he hit a home run - in some cases, he did. It was incredible. We were all so happy.
As we left soon there after, Elder Dorman and I put our arms around each other as we walked home - classic Hollywood shot. We didn´t stop talking and thanking Heavenly Father for it until we fell asleep at 10:30.

Pretty awesome, right?
So, yesterday he was baptized. I was so happy he chose a member to baptize him because I think it hyped the ward up a little bit more. I was pleased to be a witness.
As I stood off to the side and saw his body completely submerged in the water, feelings you just can´t explain came over me. As we came up again out of the water, he turned around and looked at me for approval, haha. I nodded at him and shook my fist. The biggest smile grew on his face turned away from me and looked at all of the people there supporting him. It was awesome.
Last night we passed by his house to recap some of his feelings. After he talked for about 25 minutes straight, we invited him to record these feelings in a journal. We taught a short principal on the importance of remembering these type of experiences in our life. The Spirit didn´t leave, but filled the room.
My favorite part of what he described was this big man in another ward came up to him to congratulate him - they knew each other somehow in years past. Eduardo related like this.
´´He came up to me with a smile on his face and his arms opened. He reached out for me and gave me a big ABBRRAAAACCCCCOOOOOOOOO!!!!´´ He talked about his feelings and how loved he felt just from a simple hug... An apostle in October´s session of conference talked about this too. How powerful a hug can be to someone who needs some loving...

Well, those were some of the highlights this week.
A quick funny story - I didn't realize but my watch was about 2 minutes fast. On Saturday, Elder Dorman and I were trying to catch a bus. I was leading us, trying to get Elder Dorman to pick up the pace a little bit (the buses here are exact with timing). I got on safely but the doors began to shut with Elder Dorman on the outside. `´Noooo!!!´´ Haha we both reached out titanic style. Somehow, I don´t know how, he shimmered his body through these doors. Haha however, his shoulder bag was caught on the outside part of the bus! Hahah, we started moving and were like pulling each other in to the bus because his bag was hanging on the outside.
Long story short, he and his bag made it on safely. I went to sit by a man and strike up a conversation when it turned out, we got on the wrong bus... Oh man, haha I don't think Elder Dorman was too happy with me. The next bus arrives about two minutes after the bus we got on leaves (but, my watch was fast....) ooops! It took us really far away from our appointments and we ended up missing some unfortunately.
Haha but missionary life is awesome. I love it. I seriously am so happy. Heavenly Father blesses us so much. I really think the only thing that could make my life better right now is if you all lived here with me in Brasil.
The Savior lives! He lived and died for us. And through Him, we can make it back together as a family, and live with our eternal family in the Celestial Kingdom. Let´s do this! 
Elder Welch

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