This week I got to go to the temple! Journeying through Sao Paulo is always interesting to get there (Sister Kaegi got her wallet stolen on the way home), but the temple was soooo peaceful. I was grateful to be able to be there for awhile, and enjoy being away from the world for the morning. I am so grateful to have a temple so close to my area (it´s like 2 hours by bus). It has been a blessing to be able to go a few times since I´ve been here. President Dalton is really focusing the mission on helping everybody get to the temple.
On Friday, I got to hear him give training because I went to the new missionaries meeting with Sister Kaegi because her companion had to stay home (she had dental surgery the day before). President Dalton wants us to make sure that every recent convert has a picture of the temple with a date(their goal for when they want to get sealed as a family), and that they go to the temple to do baptisms for one of the ancestors 1-2 weeks after their baptism. This will be a challenge for us because we have to work a lot with the members to help them find the information necessary to do baptisms for the dead and then bring them to the temple. Only problem is that the temple is closed until september so hopefully until then they can at least walk around the garden of the temple and buy some things at the distribution center because all our recent converts always want scriptures, magazines, etc.
The day we went to the temple, Sister Soares da Silva and I taught a recent-convert named Vanya, who was baptized about a month ago. We talked about temples and eternal marriage with her. She was really interested because she has a strong testimony of the church, but one of her sons and her husband aren´t baptized yet. She had lots of questions, and it was cool to see someone excited about something that we are so excited about too. She bore her testimony on Sunday at church about how her life has changed beause of the gospel. The testimony of a recent convert is always so powerful. I´m always so proud of them for bearing their testimonies; it really edifies and strengthens the ward.
This week we tried really hard to find new investigators. We were constantly talking to people, and as a result, we found some really cool people. One is Claudia. We stopped her on the street a little bit before 9 as she was coming home from work. We stopped by her house yesterday and she talked and talked and talked.
Sometimes it frustrates me when people don´t let us teach them and they like teach us, but she said some really cool things about her beliefs. She commented on a lot of churches that she had been to before and said she doesn´t like to go to church and not be taught anything. We explained the 3 hours of church and their purposes. She also commented on why we have so much religious confusion and she concluded, ``somethings just don´t have answers.`` I was like ``but they do!`` We testified that she will find answers to these questions that she has. I remember thinking the same thing growing up. I remember reading Joseph Smith´s story about all the religious confusion that he saw. I always had and still do have many questions. Sometimes they are shallow, sometimes deep, but I have always found answers. My primary source of answers has been the Book of Mormon. I wish I could motivate everyone in the world to read that book, Granted, some people only read it to prove it wrong, but really reading it with a open heart and honestly searching for answers will change their lives. I like what Thomas Jefferson said about religion; he counseled his nephew Peter Carr to question with boldness/ask honest questions.
Working with people is funny, especially when it comes to religion. We get fake names and addresses at times, like Monday for example: We were out working with two members, Mayara(almost 18) and Luciana(25), and we were looking for a house of someone that we had contacted on the street. Something to note about Sao Paulo is that a majority of the churches here are in literal garages. Some are large, others smaller but they are usually part of a house--like in front of a house or something. Anyway, we were searching for the address and we heard singing so we figured that a church was nearby. When we got there, we discovered that our ``potential investigator`` gave us the address of a Pentacostal church. We were like ``that doesn´t happen usually`` to these members. But Mayara is really bold so she doesn´t mind. She helps us street contact alot. She really makes it clear our purpose especially when people give us like half answers. For example, one thing that a lot of people say when we invite them to church is ``Se Deus toca meu coração...`` which literally translates to ``If God touches my heart...`` That has become the most mole(non-commital) response that I´ve heard, but it helps us figure out who is really interested and who isn´t.
I love you all! Hope you all can have missionary experiences this week. Just do it and you will be so glad you did!
Sister Sadie Bledsoe