Here I am again. More miracles happened this week. That always seems to happen. I went to Governador Valadares on splits (that word doesn't make sense to me) with a great district leader, Elder Luz. We invited people to baptism. They accepted. The work continues to move forward rapidly in Ipatinga, as we get closer to the organization of the stake next month.
1) The Bible- There has been a theme this week, and that has been the Bible. Or, more specifically, the fact that people here in Ipatinga worship the Bible. I would like to make perfectly clear that I love the Bible--it is full of important doctrine, uplifting messages, and the incomparable life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. But I do not worship the Bible.
We taught several people this week who knew the Bible incredibly well, able to quote it backwards and forwards, cross-reference until my eyes crossed, and prove their point seemingly irrefutably based on the scriptures they used. The thing is, we managed to do the same. With a different outlook. And then we taught other people from other religions who knew the Bible equally well and drew a different conclusion entirely.
And so I gained an even stronger testimony of the need for modern revelation, the Book of Mormon, and a true and living church which Christ himself leads. To me, that's the only thing that really makes sense.
2) Child's Prayer- Something touched me profoundly this Saturday. We were conducting baptismal interviews at a different branch's chapel, and as we were leaving a woman arrived with her 3-year-old daughter. I'd participated once in a family home evening at their home during a division with the other elders.
The woman said "Oh, it's Elder Burt!" motioning her child to shake my hand. "This is Elder Burt, who you pray for every night." She turned to me, "Every night, when she says her prayers, she never forgets your name. You are being prayed for." I thanked her and the daughter, telling them I could feel the difference.
I'd seen the child very few times, and the truth is that Brazilians have a hard time pronouncing or remembering my name. The fact that a child is praying for me means so much. I don't know who all is praying for me here or back home...but whoever is needs to know that it makes all the difference in the world. Thank you so much.
3) I'm Leaving in 3...2...1...- I saw a couple cool miracles this week, where Heavenly Father stepped in to make sure we were in the right place at the right time.
The first was a visit we decided to make to a less active named Alexandre, who is a potential elder and whose mother is an active member. We arrived at their apartment later in the evening...and they weren't at home. We waited a few minutes, and then decided to leave. But at that precise moment, a 70-year-old lady showed up and started to enter the apartment complex, dancing to "I Want to Be a Billionare" which was playing in the street. Which was kind of weird. She suddenly saw us, and asked us what we were doing. After a rather long contact (she was low-key crazy and didn't understand much), she entered and we prepared to leave again...and Alexandre showed up in his car. We entered, talked a bit, and he ended up coming to church on Sunday and was interviewed by the branch president in preparation for the Melchezidek priesthood.
The same thing happened the next day. We went to visit Altamir, who had disappeared off the map since two weeks ago, since he's been at his ranch in the middle of nowhere. We went to his house...and he still hadn't returned. We were preparing to leave, and spotted a young man who we'd contacted the day before. He didn't let us in to teach, but offered a glass of water. We entered quickly, then left...and at that precise moment saw Altamir walking into his house. He waved at us and told us to come over. He said he was only back for a few hours, would leave the same day...but wants to be baptized next week. We taught him the last lesson, and left, shaking our heads at how God's timing works. It feels good to know when you're in the right place at the right time.
This upcoming week is looking to be amazing. Every week seems to be that way. I'm not sick anymore, so that's a plus. I love this work. I love being a missionary in Brazil. There's nothing quite like it. I love you all. I believe in the power of prayer. Thank you so much for yours. Know that I pray for many of you. And if you need anything, all you have to do is ask. I can't do much so far away. But there is One who is always nearby. And He is able to do an awful lot.