Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 3, 2013 Cold Baptism, Warm Spirit

Dear everyone,
It has been an absolutely crazy week so it is a good thing I have more time today than last week to write about it all! I´ll start with yesterday at about 3:00--Gabriela (23, Gildete´s daughter who was baptized 2 weeks ago) got baptized!! In ridiculously cold water, but baptized all the same :) It was a miracle the way things worked out. The plan was to have her baptized with her mom 2 weeks ago but after the interview it was clear she needed to work out a few things before she could be. To keep things simple, she basically needed to break things off with her boyfriend even though they´d already been together 5 years. I´ll confess Elder Miller and I were less than optimistic because she´d told us a couple of times she didn´t see that happening. When we called her Wednesday morning to follow up, her mom, GIldete, asked for us to come over and give her a blessing. We got there and Gabriela asked for one too. She told us the day before she had ended things with her boyfriend and was needing some help. But she also told us the fact that the relationship ended as quickly as it did was a clear sign to her that God wanted her to get baptized, and to get baptized this week. We gave her the blessing and marked another interview for her for Thursday. Elder Miller and I walked out of that house pumping fists and high-fiving and saying a lot of thank you prayers. She passed the interview with flying colors and agreed for Sunday at 3:00. We filled up the font right after church but the water heater had stopped working. This past week has been ridiculously rainy and in the low 50´s, so the water was freezing when we stuck our fingers in it. We ran home to get a huge cooking pot and started boiling water to toss in the font to try and warm things up, but it didn´t do much. We tried though. Gabriela was just fine about it and came out of the water shivering but smiling. Bunches. Elder Cox (one of our roommates), Elder Miller and I sang "Procuro arco-íris" ("I Like to Look for Rainbows") for her with Elder Cox on guitar. I think that was the first time I´ve ever sang in such a small group in front of so many people. But it was a really cool experience and there were a good amount of tears among the members there :) So that was our miracle of the week. I was so happy Elder Miller was able to spend his last Sunday baptizing. He deserves it.
Thursday afternoon we had our ward activity. Finally! (the first in 7 months here). It´s kind of like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire but with trivia questions about the Church. Some of which are pretty hard. For example, "What are the names of Noah´s three sons in order from oldest to youngest?" We had Bishop leading one team and Ricardo, Young Men´s counselor, leading the other. It got pretty competitive in all the best of ways. I was on the piano making sound effects (the Jeopardy song among them) and enjoying myself way too much. Then that night Irmão Maurício from the CTM stopped by to say hello again! We went on splits with him to a couple lessons, one of which with Gabriela when she told us for sure she´d be getting baptized on Sunday. It was good to see him again. Really good.
Thurday for lunch an investigator from Elder Cox´s ward invited the 4 of us out to a churrascaria downtown. It was the second time in the week for me eating at one and I don´t think I´ve ever eaten so much meat in so little time. They bring endless amounts of it out on sticks and cut it for you on the spot. I fell in love with "picanha", a type of meat that I think is part of the cow´s thigh but I´m not totally sure. I tried chicken heart as well and just about puked. The taste was okay but it was super rubbery and my mouth didn´t like that too much.
Pretty much every night of the week aside from the ward activity and our lessons with Gabriela the members invited us over for a goodbye dinner for Elder Miller. He was finishing up his 5th transfer in the area and the members love him. Some of the conversations they had were beyond trunky but I have thick skin when it comes to that. Eduardo, always a friend to the missionaries and one of the counselors in the bishopric, told Elder Miller the worst part about going home is when your Stake President asks you to take off your tag. He said you physically feel angels leave you to go take care of another missionary just starting. Hearing that made me super grateful I still have so much longer to be an official, full-time representative of the Lord. I think I take their presence for granted at times and Eduardo´s comment helped me appreciate the constant difference I feel because of my calling. Aside from the baptism, Sunday was pretty somber for Elder Cox, Miller, and I. We´ve become super good friends and have so many memories from this transfer and the previous ones together in the zone. Elder Miller, who insists he never cries, bore his testimony and choked up. Which of course means that I did too. It´s really cool when you get a companion that is a genuine friend. I´m going to miss him. He´s headed home tonight after lunch with President. But, I am super happy because I found out I´ll be staying in Ouro Verde for at least another transfer. I´ll find out who my companion will be Tuesday morning at the bus station downtown. Elder Cox is staying in his area as well so we´ll still be roommates and I´m pumped about that. It´s basically only us 2 that stayed in the zone. Out of 22 missionaries 16 are headed home or to a different area. Again, I´m really glad I stayed. The mission´s set to divide in the middle of this month so it´s pretty likely, almost locked up that I´ll be staying here with President Perrotti. I really do love that man.
Well, I´m not managing to think of anything else at the moment as far as my week goes. Other than the fact that the computer is still not letting me send pictures...grrr.

Before I go though, best of luck to Sister Kirsten Shell!!! You´re about to learn one of the best languages there is spoken by one of the best countries and cultures. And you´re about to formally enlist in God´s army. Sucesso em tudo que fará e felicidade trabalhando na vinha do Senhor, alguns quilómetros ao meu lado. Parabéns! :)
Love you all,

Elder Sears

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