Top of the morning to you all! This has been a really busy week, filled with disappointment, miracles, and the general good times that accompany a mission in Brazil. Sorry that you're all not so lucky :)
All right, so for the stories I´ll talk about two different days, one of which fulfilled the other.
1) Monday, Day of Rest: Yeah, right. So Monday is our P-day, which usually means much relaxation and rejuvenation, followed by just three hours of work from 6-9. This past Monday, those three hours were intense. First we went to an investigator who was moving towards baptism. He has no money, is on trial for a crime he didn't commit with eight years of prison on the line, jobless, health problems...the list goes on. And the health problems were keeping him from going to church, etc. After a short lesson, I offered to give him a blessing. As we left, we knew that when we returned on Thursday several things would be revealed: If he was in prison, and if he was healed. It was pretty stressful, because he wasn't very optimistic.
Then we went to our next lesson, and things got a bit worse. Our other progressing investigators, a girl and her mom, set an ultimatum. The mom said that they hadn't felt anything about the Book of Mormon, and if they didn't get an answer before our return on Thursday, they would stop investigating the church permanently. I laid down the law with the mom, testifying firmly about our church and it's authority. She was clearly shaken, but the deadline stood.
Several days of intense prayer followed.
2) Thursday, Day of Miracles: The first of the two we visited was the girl and her mom. The girl let us in, and based on her face I wasn't feeling very positive. The mom was nowhere to be seen. After a little small talk, she told us that she'd received an answer about the Book of Mormon. She said that after the prayer she'd felt a great sense of joy and peace like we'd explained. She knew it was true. It was hard to restrain the excitement, and it was a clear testimony to me of the power of prayer and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. It reminded me of the answers I've had in the past. She still has some doubts, but I have no doubt she'll be baptized in the near future.
Then we went to our other investigator, already feeling good. We found him there, not in prison, and he was extremely excited. Talking about this miracle in his life, etc. And he clearly didn't have any health problems, either. More testimony to me about the power of prayers and the priesthood.
But wait, the day gets better. We went to visit our recent convert, Emílio, and he out of the blue asked us how to prepare to serve a mission. That´s my dream, to have someone I´ve baptized serve a mission.
So that was cool stuff. Sadly, I don´t have any extremely entertaining stories to share with you, but personally I prefer stories like this on the mission.
A quick update on my past converts: All are firm and steadfast in the church. Delmir received the Melchezidek priesthood yesterday and was called as branch secretary. And with only two months in the church! Emílio, as I said, is getting ready to serve a mission next year and still excited. And Gustavo is always in church early, helping set up, excited as well. Makes me very happy to have helped these people find the gospel and this joy.
A few other tidbits: Happy birthday to two of my best friends, Jason Carter and Chris Crandall. One year older and hopefully a little wiser, they both need it! :) Also, congratulations to Franco Firpo and his mission call to Salt Lake. He's going to be a fantastic missionary, I don´t doubt it.
For a quick spiritual thought, read Ether 12:14. It explains that by the faith of Nephi and Lehi the hearts of the Lamanites were changed, showing that by our great faith we can bring about changes for good in others.
So that's that. Love you all, keep doing the good work, have faith, and all will go well. Until next week!
Elder Alex Burt