I know I have lots of questions to answer what with the new transfer and everything so I´m going to get cracking. I got transferred to Ala Castelo, which includes a pretty big part of downtown Campinas. My new companion is Elder Chagas. He´s from Pernambuco, Brasil and is an incredible missionary. Super, SUPER, super happy all the time and super experienced in teaching and every part of the work. I went on splits with him my second day in the field. We´re living with Elder Frutos and Elder D. Souza who take care of the other half of Campinas. I think it was Wednesday night last week Elder Frutos got a package with root beer extract in it so we made home-made root beer :) Our ward is out of this world. Wednesday night we had a missionary dinner designed for members to bring their friends. The members planned and prepared everything. We showed up with 2 of our investigators but the ward destroyed us in the competition of who could bring more. In compared to our two they brought more than THIRTY to the chapel. I was amazed. It has been beyond crazy trying to contact each of their referrals and start teaching. We were in charge of the message and decided to show the story of John Tanner. Only we didn´t have time to download it so we had to use a pretty shaky iPhone internet connection that one of the members set up. We tested it about 5 minutes before the activity started and it wasn´t working. But we both felt like it needed to be that movie so we said a prayer and hoped everything would work out when we pressed play. It´s a 19 minute movie and didn´t glitch once. Lots of people commented on how much they liked it, including several of the investigators there. So, another miracle on the mission!
The Sunday before I got here a family showed up to church because of Leo, a Teacher in the ward that had invited his friend Igor to come. Leo´s grandpa is named Carlos Martins, the owner of an English school called Wizard that´s extremely popular here in Brasil. They´re the 8th richest family in the country. And they are 150% perfect member missionaries. Igor came and brought his 10 year-old brother Diego, 2-year old sister Isabela, and his parents, Ricard and Shayla. They really liked church, especially Shayla. She bore her testimony in relief society and told the sisters she´d been praying for ages that her husband would be willing to choose a church to go to. We went to their house Thursday to teach the first lesson. When we got there there was a stack of papers they´d printed off on the internet with controversial stuff about the Church. I kept thinking in my head "here we go again." We said a prayer and started responding to each doubt one by one--polygamy, baptisms for the dead, our potential to one day be like God, etc. In talking with Elder Chagas afterwards about the lesson, we both were impressed by the fact that we did not feel in the least bit nervous. Ricardo even showed us a youtube video of a pastor bashing the Church, but the whole time I felt completely confident that if he really wanted to know the truth the Spirit would help us to help him know it. Different from Fábio last week, Ricardo and Shayla opened up completely and understood the way we explained each subject. It was already 9:00 by the time we´d gotten through everything, but Elder Chagas felt like we needed to teach them the first lesson and invite them to baptism, so we did. The whole family accepted and Ricardo was almost crying by the end of it. They told us they weren´t married so we got out A Proclamation to the World and read it with them. Ricardo asked us, "so I´ve gotta get married to get baptized then?" "Right." "Well then we´re going to get married." WOW. Sunday the 5 of them went to church and Ricardo got up to bear his testimony. He´s known the Church for one week and he´s bearing his testimony!! This morning we went to the cartório and marked September 27 for their marriage and September 29 for the baptism of the 4 of them. MILAGRE. A really really big one. Oh, and it wasn´t Ricardo and Shayla that paid this morning to mark their marriage. Bianca, Leo´s mom (who invited them to come to church), insisted that she be the one to pay the $340 reais.
So much has happened this past week that I do not have nearly enough time to tell. But Ricardo and Shayla are the highlight. By far. We´re also teaching Gislane and her 10 year-old son Leonardo and they both have a baptismal date set for the 15th. We had a family night Monday with Gislane and half of the ward it seems. The members organized everything and invited her without us having to say anything. This ward is seriously amazing. Members make a HUGE difference in missionary work. Thank you to each of you for the difference you´re making.
I love you all and miss you!
Love, Elder Sears
I´ll try and send photos in a sec...