Monday, February 16, 2015
Today is my last day in Aracati.:( Tomorrow is transfer day and there will be elders in our area now. The mission has fewer and fewer missionaries each transfer and president is having to close many areas/close areas for sisters. Sister Villagran and I are sad to leave Aracati but very grateful that we could be here for the time we had. For my last week in the mission, I will be working with another sister who is going home, we will live in an area that has to be closed down and we will go on splits with other sisters and `blitz` their areas. We will also have our last interviews with president and go to the temple with him and his wife. There are 17 missionaries going home with me--7 sisters and 10 elders. Tomorrow will be strange because some of my converts and some members that I worked with will go to the transfer meeting to say goodbyes. Next sunday I will visit some old areas and say goodbye to some more people. I´m pretty sure I will email again next monday.
However, this past week was a great blessing. I had a few very powerful spiritual experiences that were very bittersweet. I still don´t know if I really comprehend the significance of being a representative of Jesus Christ. Some times people call us missionaries ``angels.`` That happened this week with us; I thought a lot about what that meant. Being a missionary is incredible.
I´m humbly amazed at the things that have happened in the past few weeks. Vitoria and Rodrigo were baptized yesterday! Their older brother, Hercules(17), who has been a less active member of the church for the past 6 years or so, came to church with them and he is now talking about serving a mission. Their mom, Erika, is a less active member and said that a few weeks ago she was praying for help and asked God to send his angels here on earth. She found us at the bus station near her house and asked for us to pray for her. We then began teaching Hercules, who said he was atheist when we met him but is now reading the Book of Mormon and says prayers with us, and Vitoria and Rodrigo wanted to get baptized. Vitoria went to girls camp this week and decided that she should wait until she is 16 to date. The gospel changes so many things in our lives. Sometimes we don´t understand why we have to keep certain commandments or do certain things, but the Lord knows why and this life is a great test of our faith and trust in Him.
Have a great week! Love you all!
|Elder J. Silva, Rodrigo, Sister Villagran, Vitoria, Sister Bledsoe|
Monday, February 9, 2015
This week we tried really hard to work with members. On saturday, we had lessons with four different members helping us integrate our investigators and helping them get to church the next day. It was a fun day! It really strengthened my testimony that we need to do all that we can to have members present in our lessons--especially members that can really help our investigators. On sunday, we had many non-members at sacrament meeting and almost all of them were brought by members.
Jonathan was baptized yesterday! We had a Family Home Evening with him on wednesday night with an awesome family in the ward that already knew him from when he was taught in the past. Their oldest son, Vinicius, knew Jonathan from before and really integrated him well. Then the next night, Vinicius brought him to our weekly ward activity and even more members got to know Jonathan. Sunday morning, Vinicius picked him up for the baptism and everything went smoothly. It was a testimony to me that working with members makes the work so much easier and efficient.
Also Elson(25), who was the other investigator that came to church last week with a member, came to church again on his own. He will be baptized this saturday. He loved the church and even participated in our gospel principles class. We taught his family after church the Restoration and they were really interested in the church.
We also had another golden referral from the stake president who brought one of his neighbors, Jefferson(21), to church. Jefferson has been looking for a church for a long time and he was invited by our stake president. He plays soccer with the stake president´s son and after church we brought the son with us to teach him the Restoration. We taught about the Book of Mormon and he asked anxiously, ``How do I get one of those(a book of Mormon)?``It was cool to see how much he wanted to know for himself. It will be fun to teach him this week.
We also had Vitoria and her boyfriend come to church yesterday. Vitoria is 13 and the daughter of a less-active member who found us on the street one day and asked us to pray and ask for a blessing on her family/house. She wants to come back to church but has been busy with work lately. She really wants her kids to go though. She wants Vitoria to get involved with the young women´s programs and realize that she is too young to date. Anyways, Vitoria and Leonardo went to church and stayed to watch Jonathan´s baptism after. I asked Vitoria how she liked the church and she said that she will go next sunday and the next sunday and the sunday after that and so on. I think that´s a good sign. She is also being integrated into the young women´s organization and will go with them to girls camp this week.
I feel really blessed to be here in Aracati. I´m really thankful for wise and helpful leaders and the spirit that guides us.
This week we had a training and interviews with the president. In the training, he talked about how every appointment we make should be made to help us fulfill one of three purposes: BAPTIZE, RETAIN, or REACTIVATE and all three should help us find new investigators to baptize. I´ve seem the fruits of these three purposes just this week. We found Vitoria (and her siblings and boyfriend) because we found her mom and began helping that family. Elson and Jefferson were referrals from members that we have been working with/teaching with. I think that as we work with members in general, even teaching investigators we already have with them, we give them more motivation to help us find even more people to teach. Our retention activity on thursday was really fun and Mariana came and brought a friend to church on sunday. and Jonathan was just a miracle.
I´m grateful for all the miracles that I saw this week. I know that miracles happen according to our faith--and we know that faith without works is dead, so the miracles happen when we act on our faith and take a step out of our comfort zone and follow the counsel of our leaders in the church.
Thanks for all your help and encouragement!