I´ve been asked by several for my impressions from Conference, so I´m going to start (briefly) with that. I´m not sure if the fact of me being in the field makes me biased or anything (probably), but I don´t remember any other Conference in which missionary work was so heavily emphasized. What a Conference! And I was able to listen to 4 out of the 5 sessions in English, which makes a NOTABLE difference. Especially when it comes to Elder Holland speaking his soul. Of course, I loved Elder Ballard´s talk, as I´m sure all the other 80,333 missionaries serving right now did. Elder Chagas and I decided we´re going to put in a petition to have it added as Preach my Gosepl chapter 14. I found the promise that, if we pray and seek them, we´ll be blessed with missionary opportunities for "YEARS" to come very powerful. Also loved Elder Nielson´s talk about missionary work and exclamation points and the 3 keys for members to get involved. From all the reports I´ve been getting it sounds like Lost Mountain Ward has got them down. I´m thrilled with the success you´re having back home. Seriously. President Monson said everything in his opening remarks, that this work can only go forward with the both of us, member missionaries, and full-time missionaries. I think the line that most touched me came from Elder Holland: "if you feel like a broken vessel, remember you´re in the hands of a divine potter." I needed to hear that, and how true that is.
This conference for me was especially special because I saw its influence in lives other than my own. We´ve been teaching Rodrigo (16) for the past week and a half after we did a street contact with his step-mom. He came to seminary with the young men Tuesday and to the Saturday afternoon session. He´s not exactly the most open of people. We try to get him to talk but he´s the shyer type. I know how that goes. But a miracle happened after that conference session. Elder Chagas and I showed him around the chapel and made a special stop by the baptismal font. We opened it up for him and talked a little bit about what happens there. I asked him how he felt and he said "arrepiado" (goosebumps). Elder Chagas bore his testimony after that. I was looking at Elder Chagas but when I looked at Rodrigo I saw tears. For the next five minutes he cried. Sobbed actually. He turned to me and asked me what was happening. The Spirit was SO strong. There was a quiet, inexpressive and seemingly normal teenager sobbing in front of 2 twenty year-old´s. We called some of the members so they could see what happened and meet him. We invited him to be baptized on the spot and he accepted. I got to thinking...we were all staring at a simple, empty, slightly dirty font. That´s normally not the sort of thing that gets someone crying. Unless of course what is done there is done with God´s approval and will determine the salvation of one of His children. I´m a logical person, but logic doesn´t explain what happened during those 10 minutes. As Elder Hales said at the beginning, the hear and feel are so much more powerful than the words (and the logic). No sincere person can successfully doubt this work and keep doubting. His feelings won´t let him. And that´s what happened with Rodrigo.
So, summarizing, conference was a miracle for us here in Castelo. And a much needed breather from a hectic week. Ricardo and Shayla, Igor and Diego are well on pace for their wedding and baptism in under 3 weeks now! They asked me to play at their wedding reception :) We watched part of 17 Miracles with them on Friday and talked about the blessings that come when we sacrifice something good for something better (that´s from Charly I think...?). Gislane passed her baptismal interview but said she still wants to work some things out with her boyfriend. She brought him to the Sunday afternoon session but he kind of made a joke out of it. I´ll stop commenting there before I get worked up about it :) Adrianna is already walking after her surgery. Yet another miracle. She came back from the hospital yesterday and we´re going to visit her tomorrow. 2 sisters from the ward stayed with her the whole 5 days she was in the hospital. I´m really, really optimistic for this coming transfer and the people God´s given us to baptize. And EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM (aside from Rodrigo) is a referral from the members. You make an unbelievable difference.
I´m so grateful for you all. Grandma Sears, I got 2 letters from you! I´ll be writing back today. Dad, Grandpa Sears sent me an article that mentions you in a rather significant way. You´re awesome.
P.S. Several of you have asked about daylight savings...I think it´s coming up in 2 weeks, and it´ll be spring forward for us. I´ll check and let you know.
P.p.s. I got a notice from myldsmail that some people didn´t get the group email I sent last week. If you didn´t get it, please please tell me so I can forward it to you!