Well I found out last night that today will be my last in Vila União. I find out my new area tomorrow morning at the bus station. It´s a strange feeling knowing I´ve been here so long! And cliche or no, the only word to describe it is bittersweet. This past weekend though was nothing but sweet. After 4 weeks of waiting, we finally had a baptism. And a really, really special one. Luis Ricardo was baptized by his 16 year-old son Raul who was ordained a Priest just 3 months ago. I think the only hitch in the whole day and baptismal service was the fact that the room with the font in it wasn´t big enough to fit everyone there to watch! His family and extended family alone were a good 20, and just about every active member of the ward was there too. Us Elders stood by the door because there wasn´t anywhere to sit. That worked out perfectly because we were able to see bunches of tear-stained faces watching someone they´ve known for so long finally make the decision to get baptized. There really was an incredible feeling in that room. So many people came up to us afterwards thanking us and asking how we managed to help him make that decision. We just smiled and told them there´s no way in the world it was us, finger pointed towards the One we´re working for. And there really is no way it was us. It was a really special moment for me, knowing it´d be my last Sunday here in the ward. And watching his own son perform the ordinance was almost too much! Luis invited us over for dinner tonight so that I can properly say good-bye. The ward is super happy and I´m kind of bummed I have to be leaving them right as the harvest is reaching its peak! But I´m super excited for this coming transfer and I know Elder Barbosa will take care of everyone with a lot of "carinho" as the Brazilians say.
Time is way shorter than I´d like it to be because of all the packing and cleaning I´ll have to be doing, but I have to squeeze one more thing in before I go. Going into Conference, I had prayed to know if God really was accepting the offering I´ve been giving to Him as a missionary. I didn´t really get an answer to that question right away, or at least not that I recognized. Then yesterday, after the baptism, the first counselor in our ward leaned over to Elder Barbosa and I and said, "I forgot to tell you, but I saw your mission president in the temple 2 months back. I told him how much we are loving the work you´re doing in the ward and I asked him if he could let you stay for one more transfer." Then Luis Ricardo told me that there´s something about the way I teach and look into his eyes that makes him know there´s something different about me. That night when I went to say good-bye to Lena and Reobe she wrote me a note saying that she´s never met someone purer. This morning, when I went to open up my email, there was one in the inbox from Irmão Mauricio, my CTM instuctor. He wrote to tell me that when he went on splits with me 2 months back he felt the spirit extremely strong when I was teaching and bearing testimony. So in about 24 hours I got 4 separate answers to my question. Amazing how God works. I love you all! Can´t wait to email again from my new area!
Until then, Elder Sears