I´m super sorry if any of you were glued to the computer Monday night wondering why my email wasn´t coming (I´m sure that´s exactly what all of you were doing, right?). Haha. As it turned out Presidente Perrotti called a training meeting on Monday that I was invited to go to rather last minute, so I wasn´t able to send off emails until today. But I´m alive and well, I promise. Unfortunately because of the switch my time is SUPER short this week. So I´ll stop blabbing and get right to it.
Alfredo, 10 years old and Vania´s son, got baptized this past Saturday and confirmed on Sunday!!!!! Chalk up another miracle here in Vila União. As things stood at the beginning of last week, he didn´t want to get baptized because he was pretty attached to the Catholic Church and thought that his baptism there was good enough. He´s a super smart kid which can make it difficult to reason with him when he already has his mind made up--he has a counterargument or question for everything. But we passed by to talk with him last Monday night and Elder Barbosa had the idea to have him write out what he thought of the Church on a piece of paper (he can be shy at times so we were hoping that writing would help him open up a bit). We came back an hour later to find one of the most profound, incredible testimonies I´ve ever heard or read written on that piece of paper. By a 10 year old no less! He had written that he knew the Church was true, that it´d been a really good thing for his mom, and that he loved the missionaries and the work they do (I particularly liked that part). My favorite line went something like this: "I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not A church, but THE church." After having read that and closed our mouths that had dropped wide open in shock and gratitude, we asked him if, based on what he knew, he´d like to be baptized. He got all shy on us, so we wrote out the invitation instead. And in response, he wrote a gigantic "SIM!!!" It was a really neat experience for the two of us, especially for Elder Barbosa because it was his first opportunity to baptize on the mission. There weren´t too many people at the baptismal service but watching him come out of the water brought with it for me a very simple but very real feeling that the work we do as missionaries for the only true Church of God is exactly what I need to be doing write now, and that Heavenly Father is pleased with it. It was a really good feeling for me to have, because beyond Alfredo our investigators have been having a lot of difficulties progressing.
Really quick, in other news...remember that training meeting I mentioned? I got to see Elder Alcântara at it! I don´t think I realized how much I missed him until I saw him again. I went in for a hug but instead he just about broke my ribs by picking me up off the ground. In short, I was super glad to get to see him. Oh, and last week I weighed myself for the first time in a couple of months. I was quite happy to see 156 pounds staring back at me. I left with 140 and I´ve been at that weight for a solid 2 years or so. So I´m getting fatter or my calf muscles from all the walking are getting bigger. Either way I´m happy. Haha. What else?... Elder Barbosa and I have been playing chess off and on lately just before we go to bed. It´s been fun for me to be able to play (so far I´m undefeated but we´ll see how long that lasts. haha!). Oh, and I´m teaching an English class to a good 30 non-members or so every week. It´s been a fun experience for me (unfortunately it´s not in our area--I´m one of just a handful of North American missionaries that can teach in our zone, so I have to travel to another area to teach in the place of another American that was transferred). But hey, I´m liking it.
Well, gotta go. I´m sorry this email was a shorter one--this week´s been pretty hectic with the meeting on P-day and everything. But I´ll do better next week! I love you all and thank you so much for who you are and what you mean to me. AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BEST MOM IN THE WORLD THIS WEEK!
Love, Elder Sears