Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Prestação de Contas (8/4/2014)

First things first, happy birthday to Elder McNamara. The big 2-1 this week! Man, its crazy to think that he only has a few more months AND that Elder Persinger is coming home THIS MONTH! I can´t believe it.
Well, this week was CRAZY! The craziest week on the mission happened to me this week on Friday night. But before I get in to this madness, let´s start with something a little bit lighter.
Socorro has a lot of farms. There's only 35,000 people in the city and I always joke that I think there´s more cows and chickens than humans. I also told my mission president that if he keeps me here until the end of the mission, I´ll baptize the 34,900 that aren´t members... Haha man this area has so much potential. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago we got a phone call from the Elders Quorum President with a referral. It was a family that he works nearby in a farm. We visited them one night and really got along well. The family is incredibly shy, but at the same time, incredibly awesome. We sat in their humble home, away from all human and growth civilization, with cows, chickens, birds, pigs, dogs, cats, and just about every other type of animal. At the end of the lesson, I explained that I always had a desire to catch a chicken by the leg and milk a cow... Well, last pday we got invited.
Haha it was so much fun, and yes, I succeeded. It was so weird at first, and I was completely clueless as to what I was doing, but it was a lot of fun. They were laughing at us the entire time too because they could see the confusion on our faces. Anyway, here's some pictures. (I didn't catch a pig (they're SO FAST) but one of the members of the family caught one and let me hold it. Everything else however, I managed to do. I felt like a true farmer's boy. (with an incredible farmer's tan)).

So we started off the week thinking 5 people were going to be baptized on Saturday. Slowly but surely, Satan had his (fake) hand in the mix of everything and only one person stood standing by the end of Friday night.
Januária is the mom of a family of 5. She received an answer to her prayer about the church and desired to be baptized. She made us bread, bbq´d for us, and bought us a cake. She LOVED us!
Friday night we brought Elderes from a different city to do the interview, and then you wouldn't believe what happened.
She was SO PUMPED! But while she was being interviewed, THE PASTOR OF HER OLD CHURCH SHOWED UP!
This church has "Elders" that are like the bishops and the pastors are like the Stake Presidents. Imagine, the stake president of this church showing up at the door while she was being interviewed.
Januária passed the interview and left the room with a huge smile. "Elder Welch! Elder Welch!"
She was caught by surprise...
To make a long story short, and an incredibly spiritual experience sacred, the power of the Priesthood is real. He not only "dissed" us for 45 minutes, but straight up blasphemed before God. The Spirit gave us the approval and after a command to close his mouth and leave, he immediately obeyed. The Spirit testified of the reality of the Restoration of Christ´s authority. We felt like Nephi when he shocked his brothers when they murmured about building a ship and Joseph Smith in the chamber when everyone was speaking in fowl language.

We left the house a little bit later with the baptismal record in hand, everyone amazed and quiet. We returned Saturday morning just to tell her congrats and the details when she wasn´t in the house.
I´m still not sure exactly what happened, but I think some sort of deal was made. Something like, "We won´t bother you anymore, and will sustain your decision to be baptized, if you make just one more visit at our church."
Well, she went to that church (one of the biggest in Socorro) where the "Stake President" of a Pastor preached for two hours. I still don't know what he said at that podium, but I have a certainty that he shredded us in front of the hundreds of people in the congregation.
Januáira returned home and called us "Angels of light sent from the devil." She told us to never return, that we are wasting our lives away in Brasil, and to stop bringing other souls to an everlasting burning. It was incredibly sad. The immediate reaction I had was anger at that Pastor. I turned my thoughts to the Savior, repented for my feelings, and shook off the week with 5 precious souls falling through the week of their baptism.

I thought a lot about this experience and the type of report one day we will give to our Savior, Jesus Christ. I´ve been praying ever since that the Pastor one day will search for repentance, and that the Lord will freely give the forgiveness he desperately needs.
I love the Savior and know He lives. Like Dad wrote me a couple of months ago, "Surely the work of the Lord is hastening, but we can´t underestimate the hastening of the work of the enemy." I testify that this is true. That those who aren't among the Saints, "will kick against the pricks" and will one day stand accountable before God.

I love you all. Stand firm in the faith you have and the testimony you have received. It´s true. It's so true. And one day we will be rewarded for the blessings of enduring to the end.

Elder Welch

I finally got the package from Adam and Brittany - WHOOOO!!!! Thank you!! The shirt was awesome - I love it!  But the best thing, as always, is the pictures of the family!  I showed a bunch of people the pictures!

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