I'm not sure if everyone is aware, but the church is true. Also, miracles are real. Also, life as a missionary is awesome. Also, that is all.
1) Visions- I was astounded this week at the sheer amount of people who have had dreams or visions related to the church. Or whose prayers were directly answered by our presence. It was uncanny.
We taught one man the first lesson, and when we talked about Joseph Smith, he explained that he too had asked the same question: Which church is true? After a fervent prayer, he slept and had a dream. He dreamt that he was next to a river, looking at a house where Christ dwelt. He looked away, and then looked back and the house had disappeared. Confused, he heard a voice: "the true church is that which has the keys of Peter." Amazed, we explained how the church of Christ had been taken from the earth, but was restored with the priesthood keys held anciently by the twelve apostles, including Peter.
Another man said he was praying to know what church to follow, and within an hour the missionaries contacted him Saturday night, inviting him to church. Without any other contact, he showed up at church and said he planned on continuing in the church and being baptized.
2) Marriage- The whole time I've been in Ipatinga, I've been working with a part-member, recent convert family. The son and his wife (Dymrson and Sandra), were living together but not married. Sandra began to attend church with her in-laws, and felt powerfully that this was the truth. She expressed her desire to be baptized, and began to look into marriage. With our help, we managed to work our way throught the complicated marital process they have here in Brazil, and after months of beuracracy and waiting, she was married on Thursday. The baptism was Friday. I honestly didn't expect to still be here to see it, but the Lord left me here in Ipatinga and I had the honor to baptize Sandra.
3) Stake Prep- So this week Ipatinga becomes a stake. Probably another reason the Lord left me here so long. The final preparations are being made, and I am unable to express how excited I am to see this happen, after many months of work in the zone and many years of work by the members and local leaders. You can be sure I'll have lots more to say next week. The hand of the Lord is over Ipatinga. The enemy is fighting back, but the miracles and blessings far outnumber the setbacks and disappointments.
This is God's work. He is eternally and unfailingly at its head. Those that be with us are more than be with them. How can we fail in so great a cause? Missionary work is not easy, it is not relaxed, and it requires everything I have, but it is worth every second. I am on the Lord's errand. And, for at least a little bit more, I am doing a great work, and I can not come down.
I love you all. Stay firm, never say die, and make me proud.