Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 15, 2013 Saying Goodbye to a Group of Great Investigators

Dear everyone,

Found out last night I´ll be transferred tomorrow...still don´t know where to but there are definitely a lot of mixed feelings. I´ve only been in Ouro Verde 3 months but the area has been way good to me. I managed to say goodbye to Gabriela and Gildete last night and gave them one of the CD´s I made. They seemed to like that. But yeah, I´m excited for the next area and companion on the list! Even though Elder Hill has been my favorite companion so far. I don´t think I´ve ever laughed so much in 6 weeks :)

This email is going to be a people email because we´ve gotten to know a lot of really cool people since last Wednesday when I emailed. I´ll start off with Raquel and Sérgio. So, last week Elder Hill and I were headed to a commitment when a man in a car pulled over and stopped to talk to us. His name was Ronaldo, and he was moving with his family into the ward from 9 hours away in Goais. He´s been a member for a year and asked if we could help him get things situated with the move and all. So we did and managed to put together his wardrobe after an hour and a half of 3 clueless people putting nails in random places :) Afterwards we introduced ourselves to his neighbors (Sérgio and Raquel), explained about family home evenings and asked if they´d be interested to have one. They agreed. We came back the following week and the FHE didn´t work out with Ronaldo, but Sérgio and Raquel seemed really curious still so we sat down and started teaching the first lesson after getting to know them a little bit better. Before we could even sit down Raquel said something along the lines of, "can you show me in the Bible where it talks about the Book of Mormon?" And "how can I know Joseph Smith is not just another false prophet?" We stuck strictly to the Bible the whole lesson and both her and her husband accepted the invite to read The Book of Mormon and pray to know if it was true. We came back the next day to follow up--Raquel had gone on the internet and had LOADS of doubts and questions ranging from "I read you believe God wasn´t always God--is that true?" to "I was taught by the Jehovah´s Witnesses the only thing we do between death and the resurrection is sleep--how can you believe people will have a chance to hear the gospel during that time?" Literally, 10-15 deep questions like that. I was super glad we´d studied like we had; for every question a bible scripture came to mind. But she had so many questions that we got to the point that we realized we needed to stop answering and let God do the work. Both Elder Hill had come across the same scripture during personal study that day (Jeremiah 29:11-13) and we felt impressed to leave that scripture with her as a way to answer her doubts way faster and more effectively (it talks really simply about prayer). She said she´d pray again to know about the Book of Mormon and the Church. We came back the next day and she´d read bunches. But she´d also looked some more on the Internet. I explained to her that looking for an answer from God is like making a phone call. We call, but when we´re waiting for the answer we pick up another phone and go looking among other sources (like the internet). I told her it´s very possible God´s on the line giving His answer and she´s not hearing it because she´s on the other line. It was an example that kinda just came to me and seemed to help her understand. She said she´d stop looking on the internet and that she and Sérgio would be at church on Sunday. The two of them came (along with 12 other investigators!) and LOVED it. The talks were perfect and so many members came up to introduce themselves and mark family nights during the week without being asked. This ward is SO good--I am truly going to miss it. Afterwards Elder cox and I played a little piano for them since Sérgio loves music. They left super excited and asked us to pass by the next day (tonight, in about 30 minutes actually). I´m leaving out tons of details with their story (like the fact that Raquel told us she´s attended bunches of churches but always felt something missing and feels like we could be an answer to her search, or that Ronaldo is now going to switch houses and wards--I´m convinced he came here just so that we could meet Raquel and Sérgio), but they´re an awesome couple. And married too which is nice from a baptism standpoint. Haha :) I´m really going to miss them. Lots. They´re the most sincere investigators I´ve met so far--literally with a hunger for knowing more--and it´s been really nice to have intelligent conversations and lessons with them.

We also met Felipe (17) knocking doors. Long story short, he accepted baptism, his parents are on board, and when Elder Hill showed him the font at church on Sunday he asked if he could move his baptism up from this coming Sunday to Wednesday. Bummer I won´t be there to see it :/ but I´m really happy for him.

Maria da Carmen, a member´s friend, also was at church on Sunday. She moved to the area 2 weeks ago and was taught everything by other missionaries where she was living. Her member friend here told us about her and asked her to visit her Sunday night. We did, and felt impressed to invite her to be baptized this Sunday. We had to help her get over her fears a bit but she accepted! Yet another photo Elder Hill will have to send me because I won´t be here to see it :( It´s rough when you get transferred right as things are looking up, but I´m happy I was able to at least meet and hopefully help these people in some small way.

Oh, we finally got in contact with Jeffrey again Saturday night! He came to church and his parents are loosening up a bit. His mom told us he´s been going to other churches recently but in the time he stopped going to the church we go to she´s noticed a (negative) difference. The power of the true church in action right?

I´ve gotta run...I´ll let you know my new area and companion next Monday. Love you!

Elder Sears

Some thank you´s as well...to Mom and the rest of the missionary moms from Lost Mtn for the letter you all wrote me; Alyssa for your letter, Aunt Jenny and Uncle Josh for the package and cards and board game; Grandma and Grandma Sears and the Reshetar´s for the birthday cards, and every prayer you all say asking God to bless me. I can feel the difference. Muito, muito obrigado mesmo :)

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