Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Becoming Brasilian

Wow, it was so good to talk to you all yesterday. I was talking with my companion yesterday after we hung up and mentioned how its always motivating as a missionary after talking with your family because you know they´re praying for you. Thanks for the support, the prayers, and the fun time yesterday. Our Branch President´s family really enjoyed watching theconversation. They later hammered me with questions about the American culture and about our family - haha it was fun.

This week we went all out. Sun´s out, gun´s out - in a modest missionary way. As I went to bed the other night I was thinking about all of the things we had done. This past week was crazy.

As I mentioned last week with my companion and his greenie fire, we set a goal this week to baptize four people. I hate not reaching goals, and I especially don't like it when it´s evident when someone has more faith than me (my companion). It was a good push though, not competitive, but inviting. I agreed to the goal later making plan A's, plan B's and plan C's to reach it.
Trying to push away all doubt and fear, we set out to work with cram-packed plans. We had members lined up to go on divisions with us almost every night, to take us to the far away cities (Lindoia, Pinalhzinho, and Salto), over 30 minutes away by car. We focused on less active families who have family members who aren't members, but have already been to church multiple times. We found Rodrigo and Manoel, both husbands of less active members, Cris, the grandma of two recent converts, and José Lucas, the son of a less active single mom.
The miracle of the week came on Friday when we showed up the house of Cris. We confirmed, because of the tender mercies of the Lord, three of the four on Thursday night, but Cris was still missing. We went in to our lunch appointment fasting that the Lord would touch her heart. She had already had spiritual experiences at church before, but she didn't understand why she needed to be baptized again. With studies focused on the apostasy, we went in super focused.  Because she lives so far away, we had a member come look for us. He was running behind for a different appointment and came rushing in to the appointment really behind schedule. ´´Sorry Elderes, I don't mean to come rushing in like this but Ive got to go now. I have an appointment at 3:00.´´
Knowing it was the will of the Lord for Cida to be baptized on Saturday, I stood up with all the guts I had and reached my hand out while she was talking.

´´Irmã Cida, you have explained about your desire to serve the Lord until the end. Because of this, we have a great opportunity for you to be able to reach this... (long pause). we planned your baptism tomorrow night at 6:30. (Even longer pause- haha she was shocked!). Do you accept?´´

Time seriously froze. No one talked.

With my hand reached out to congratulate her, pushing away all doubts of her saying no, she humbly grabbed my hand and said, ´´I accept.´´

We shook hands and then ran to the members car - haha he was so rushed for time.
When we reached the car my companion and I screamed, jumped around like little girls and then said a prayer of gratitude. The Lord heard our prayers, accepted our fast, and blessed us with the desire of our hearts.

As I reflect back on the experience of the families that returned back to church yesterday because of the baptisms and confirmations that took place, it´s hard to fight back the tears. Families really can be together forever.

The Branch President, the first counselor, our ward mission leader, and a couple of other members gave us hugs yesterday as they have never seen so much excitement in this tiny little town.

I'm grateful for the greenie fire my companion has. The invitation he humbly gives me to elevate my faith, to understand that I really do represent the Savior,  and that I'm here not just to better myself, but to better the lives of all of the people that are around me - it´s interesting how that's the way the Lord decided Preach My Gospel should begin. With a scenario of people surrounding you everyday. Every person in my path is a referral directly from Heavenly Father.

I love you all. I'm striving to become more and more like the Savior everyday. Brasilians inherited the trait He had of happiness - and like the apostle Paul, I´m trying to become more like the people I'm teaching. Why? To win the people for the gospel (1Corinthians 9:20-23). I hope you could feel yesterday how happy I am as a missionary.

I'm livin´the dream!
Elder Welch

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