I´m going to break up my computer time today since in a little bit we´re headed to Parque Taquaral (the Central Park of Campinas basically) to play frisbee and basketball and all that good stuff. This past week was really, really tiring but really rewarding. First off, I got to talk to Andreya from Ponte on the phone this morning! She got a calling last week as visiting teaching coordenator. And her year-old daughter Ana Luisa was blessed in sacrament meeting last week. Those updates made me super, super happy. I tried to call Selma this morning but nobody answered, so I´ll be trying again later.
Let me see what´s happened since Wednesday...we had a pretty sweet lesson with Gislane on the law of chastity. She´s 42 and has a boyfriend so...yeah. But it was a really neat lesson because we were able to be completely open and sincere with her. We talked about what she wanted in life and in a husband. I know, odd for 2 20 year-old´s to be doing, but hey we´re missionaries. We talked about eternal marriage and asked her if the guy she´s dating is the type of guy she wants to be Leo´s dad for eternity. She said no. So we committed her to talk to her boyfriend about at least changing the nature of their relationship and she said she would. She didn´t come to church yesterday because she was out of town celebrating her birthday. Elder Chagas and I called her and sang to her (in English and Portuguese). She seemed to like that. Ricardo and Shayla are coming along really well. We took them to the temple Friday night and walked around and got permission to talk with them in the waiting room. Ricardo said the moment he drove in the gate he felt something really strong. I´m amazed by the faith of that man. The temple has a perfect view of downtown Campinas, and we had a good chat about temples and eternity and families. They had to remark their marriage for October 11 because of some problems in the cartório but they´re still excited, as are we (but maybe a little bit impatient too :) ). Saturday night when we got home we were both exhausted. We finished our planning and were ready to go to bed but I just had the feeling we needed to call Shayla nad make sure everything was set for her to come to church the next day. I asked Elder Chagas what he thought and he said "go for it." Then the thoughts of "no, but I saw her yesterday, she´s going to get annoyed if we´re contacting her every day" and "it´s already 10:00, she´s probably asleep" kept going through my head. But I decided to call anyway. She told us she´d been feeling super stressed and overwhelmed that day with some family problems and that when Diego asked her if she´d be going to church on Sunday she said "I honestly don´t know. I´m about ready to give up on the whole thing." We talked with her for a solid 20 minutes and listened to what she had to say and helped calm her down a little bit. When we finished the call she promised she´d be at church and that she was anxious for her baptism. I was really glad I decided to call. It was a simple feeling I had but it goes to show how important it is that we follow feelings like that. The whole family came to church and, as always, loved it.
Saturday here was Brazil´s independence day. Which meant lots of chaos and lots of drunk people. The plan was to take a bus to do a division with another area, but when we got to the bus station downtown all the tickets were taken. So we went back to Castelo and got to work. We stopped by a street contact named Miguelina we´d done the last week and started teaching her. As it turns out, her 10 year-old son Rafael went to church a few times 3 or 4 years ago and has been asking her to let him be baptized since then. When we talked with her in the street she put two and two together and is completely on board with Rafael´s baptism that we marked for the 22nd!! And she accepted baptism too! She came to church yesterday along with 11 others. God is being really good to us. If we´d done the division we wouldn´t have taught her and who knows what would have happened.
Half of our investigators at church were kids from an orphanage that we found right next to the chapel. There are about 15 of them living there from 7 to 16 years old. And they´re adorable. One of them, Vinícios, asked me after church, "are you going to help me find a family?" My heart just about melted. None of them are allowed to have any kind of contact with their parents because of things that happened in the past. We´re working with each of them and Maria das Graças (the woman that takes care of the orphanage) to help them have a Christian background that hardly any have at the moment. I sincerely feel a huge love for them. It´s no wonder to me that Christ asks each of us to become like little children. The primary teachers fell in love with them too and are planning to visit the kids during the week to sing to them and do everything that a mom would normally do.
So that was the week! I think I got everything in there. I love you all, and GO COUGARS!!!
Love, Elder Sears
P.S. if you want to respond today I may be able to get a response in after we get back from the park. tchau!!