This week was full of hard work and a bit of extra personal responsibility on my end. Had some ups, some downs, but overall was a solid week.
1) Running the Show: On Wednesday night, my companion got a call from our district leader, informing him that we would have divisions the following day. I would stay in Pedro Leopoldo with the district leader´s companion while Elder Wilson went to Sete Lagoas for the day. This meant that not only was I senior companion for the day, but it was with a Brazilian that only had one month on the mission. Meaning I was also a trainer. So it was definitely a test of everything I´ve learned up to this point on the mission, especially my ability to run appointments and a great test of my Portuguese. I´m happy to say it went magnificently. Together we taught a large number of lessons, several of which were very successful. We managed to mark a date and set goals for an eternal investigator of ours, answer the prayers of a worried mom whose son had just had a serious talk with her about committing suicide, and perform an exorcism. OK, I´ll explain that last one later. Please keep reading and don´t assume I´m a heretic. Overall I worked very hard to ensure we kept working, taught lessons, and helped people. And at the end of the day I felt like a much more successful and able missionary.
2) The Exorcist: So while I was senior companion we visited a young mom who had been taught by the missionaries and attended church six years ago. When we arrived she didn´t really want anything to do with us, due to some bad memories about the church members, but we were persistent and eventually she opened up. We talked about the church, but somehow she got to talking about a demon that she was convinced used to visit her at night. She said she´d never seen it, but that she could feel it´s presence. It was tall, wore a red robe and had a shadow in place of it´s face. But again, she´d never seen it. Oh the imagination. But she invited us in, and asked us to say a prayer. I offered it, and said nothing about demons or casting them out, just praying for peace for this girl. We then talked more about the church, and in the end she was quite happy, even saying that she´d definitely consider coming back to church. We´ll follow up this week. See if the demon came back. Good stuff like that. Maybe I´ll have to bring in my special flask of holy water.
3) A Sunday Miracle: So throughout the week we worked hard to help our investigators come to church. We have a goal of five baptisms this month and need to get people excited and coming to church. We visited all of our progressing investigators on Saturday and they all promised sincerely to come on Sunday. We gave them bus hours, taught about the Sabbath day, and did everything possible. Saturday night I was feeling pretty confident. Then came Sunday, and only one of our investigators came. Fortunately she loved church, but we really need more people! But the Lord truly blessed us for our efforts in another way. On our way to church, we came across a man in the road. He asked us if we were from the Church of Christ, and we said yes. Half joking, my companion said "Let´s go there together!" To our surprise, he accepted and attended church with us. He liked it, and I have every intention of baptizing him this month. The only difficulty is that he has problems with smoking that we´ll need to address first.
I hope you all enjoy the pictures that are being sent as well (if my dad puts them on the blog, of course). I want to reiterate what I said a couple weeks ago, what a blessing it was to see my first convert baptize his little brother. They´re both still very excited and firm in the church.
A request! If someone could send Madeleine Homer´s address to my family to e-mail to me, that´d be awesome. She sent me a letter that I´d love to respond to, but the only information I have is that she´s in Spain. And I don´t know what the postal service will do with a letter marked "Madeleine Homer. Spain."
I´d like to end this letter with a request to everyone reading. Please pray for me and my companion this next few weeks, that we´ll baptize five people this month. I have 100% certainty that this goal was inspired by the Lord and not just a number created by us, which means that there are five people out there ready and willing to hear our message and have their sins washed away. But we need all the prayers we can get. I love you all, am trying my hardest here, and know that I´m doing the work of the Lord. Do good, follow your hearts, and keep to the course.
Elder Alex Burt