Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013 Eternal Families

Bom dia meus queridos!

Time´s super short because we have a barbecue scheduled with some other missionaries nearby so I´ll get right to it. Yesterday, in spite of not having a baptism, was the highlight of the week. It was absolutely pouring during the morning just before sacrament meeting so Elder Hill and I were pretty worried about our investigators getting to church. The attendance among the members was 50 lower than it usually is, but 9 investigators walked in as they had promised they would! Celson and his whole family were there for the first time. His wife, Maria Luiza, seemed to really like it. We visited them afterwards and it was all smiles with her. Being the 5th Sunday, the Priesthood and Relief Society were combined for the 3rd hour, and the Bishopric passed on some of the recent trainings by the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, and Seventy about the Priesthood in the home. We had two investigator families there and 2 less active families we´ve been working with the ward to bring back and it couldn´t have worked out more perfectly. Maria Luiza really liked the focus on family and I can tell she´s hoping a lot the Church will be able to help Celson make the changes he needs to so his family can be the family they want to be. From what we´ve been able to gather the past few years (as in 20) have been super rough. Which is why I´m amazed by the progress they´re making. Celson´s gone from one pack of cigarettes a day to 1 or two. Saturday he didn´t smoke at all. He´s made it to 1 Nephi 18 so far (and just to emphasize how huge of an accomplishment that is, even the really good investigators only make it to chapter 3 or 4 after reading 3 Nephi 11 and 2 Nephi 31 and some of the other ones we mark before getting baptized), and Maria Luiza is up to 1 Nephi 11. Julianna, the 15 year-old daughter who was super quiet the first few times we visited, read her part and came back from church saying she got along really well with some of the young women in the ward. I think it was Wednesday night that Elder Hill and I decided to talk about eternal families with them. We showed them pictures of our families and of the temple and in that context taught the law of chastity. They´re still thinking about getting married--Celson´s a little more reluctant--but I can tell it´s on their mind because they have the picture we gave them of the Campinas Temple on display in their living room. Julianna is getting on their tails for taking so long to decide. When we invited them to get married she piped up and said something along the lines of "told you it´s not just me that wants the two of you to do it!" The friendship we have with them is a huge thing I have to be grateful for. I´m really hoping they get married and baptized soon so I can be on the mission for their sealing a year from now.

Another family (one of the less actives) that went to church was Eric, Silvia, their two daughters and one of their daughter´s friends who isn´t a member. Our Elder´s Quorum President called us up and said he´d marked a visit with them for Monday night. So we went with him and invited them back to church. It was a really simple visit and a really simple invitation, but we promised lots of blessings. Silvia´s been praying for a better job since their financial situation´s pretty rough and that´s been on her mind a lot. She came to the conclusion she needed to go to church in order to qualify to receive that blessing. When the whole family came to church I went over to greet and congratulate her and she, all smiles, came up to me and told me that Tuesday night after our visit she got a job offer and is working already. Miracle! That made me super happy. Eric made me happy too...he works Saturday nights as a taxi driver and gets back at 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning. And yet he was still there for sacrament meeting. Some people amaze me here. 

Unfortunately we haven´t been able to get ahold of Jeffrey this week. We passed by three times, including with the young men´s presidency, but he wasn´t there. We´ll continue to stop by and I´m really hoping something good comes of it. 

Oh, other exciting news! Devenilson, another one of our investigators at church this Sunday, decided he´s going to get married! We brought a recently married and baptized couple with us to visit him and his wife during the week and they helped him so much to make that decision. He said he´s going to need us to help him pop the question. So hopefully I´ll have a really cool story to tell next Monday. Love you all! Abraço para todos!

Elder Sears

Oh, really quick...Mom, Gabriela said she´d sent a friend request on you think you could go on there for me and accept it (question mark..this keyboard doesn´t have one :( ) Thank you!!! (hug...this keyboard doesn´t have one of those either). Love you :)

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