"More miracles: we´ve been teaching Gabriele (13, dad´s a member) and with the help of her young woman´s president she´s ready for baptisms this Sunday. Elder Elswick has a pretty sweet object lesson planned for her today. Beyond that, last weekend some pretty noticeable tender mercies happened that I still haven´t had time to write about. Saturday night came along and we had nothing planned to do and nobody to visit before our next appointment in 45 minutes. So that left street contacts and tracting. yay! It was pretty "miss and miss", but I stopped for no apparent reason next to a house that looked pretty empty--no car in the garage, no voices, lights off. But I knocked. A man opened the door and let us in without letting us introduce ourselves. When I met his wife I recognized her as an investigator Chagas and I had taught 2 months back. Her husband Igor (who opened the door this time) was always running away from us and coming up with excuses. Then they moved, but I had no idea where. Until Saturday when we found them in that random, apparently vacant house. Then another friend of theirs, an active member in the ward, decided to stop by. I think Igor was so stunned by the "coincidence" of it all htat he started to open up a bit. They have 2 kids of baptismal age and the whole family committed to church this Sunday. After we left Nayara (the member friend) kept talking with Daniela (Igor´s wife) and she commented she wanted her kids to grow up in the Church and marry returned missionaries. Golden! We´re going to teach them the first lesson tomorrow and invite for baptism. I really do believe in miracles. They´re simply heaven-planned coincidences."
And then the other miracle: "Sunday at about 5:00 p.m. I realized I´d lost my missionary handbook with EVERYTHING inside--money, mission credit card, temple recommend, a copy of my Brazilian id, health insurance card, and my ministry certificate. I checked everywhere and made gazillions of phone calls but...nothing. So I resorted to prayer. I got the feeling everything would be alright as I always do but I was still pretty flustered and couldn´t get my mind to focus on anything else. Monday afternoon i got a phone call from a woman named Clara, whose daughter had seen it lying in the grass and brought it home. The only contact information in there was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So her mom researched and somehow got the missionaries´ number. Further, she didn´t even ask me to come get it. She BROUGHT it to me! Goes to show there really are still good and honest people out there. And that God takes care of His missionaries."
So there you have it! Just a quick update on Igor and Daniela and their family...Thursday Elder Elswick and I went there and used one of the better-known object lessons with paper cups being the foundation of Christ´s original Church (prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers, etc.). We got through not even half of the first lesson before Igor interrupted us and turned to his 10 year-old son and asked him if he´d ever heard about Joseph Smith. He then proceeded to teach the rest of the lesson by himself, including the first vision, and bear his testimony that if he ever had to join a church, it´d be "with the Mormons." I kinda just stared at him in awe and then felt impressed to ask him on the spot, "is there anything that would prevent you and your wife from getting married and then baptized?" He and Daniela looked at me and then at each other and said, "no, nothing." Score!! There´s a lot of planning left with custody of the kids and all that good stuff but I was thrilled to see how willing they were to follow Christ´s perfect example. They´re a really, really special family. I feel like Ricardo and Sheila are going to be perfect friends for them.
In another amazingly fantabulous news, everything went perfectly with Adrianna and Gabriele´s baptisms yesterday :) Gabriele´s dad from another ward came to support and once again the whole room was packed. Adrianna´s been coming to church for so long that everybody knows her and everybody was there to cheer her on. I actually got pretty nervous with how things would work out with Adrianna because of her back. She needed warm water and Saturday when we went to make sure the heater was working it wasn´t. And there wasn´t enough time to do anything about it. So Sunday morning before heading to the chapel we said a prayer and, AGAIN, the third time we tried to turn on the heater it worked. Elder Chagas and I both went into the font with her to help ease the strain on her back. She knelt down and the water came just to her chin. After the words of the ordinance she just leaned her neck back a little bit and it was over. The smoothest, calmest baptism I´d ever seen. It was such a relief to me and I think to her as well. The blessings God is giving us are carrying me over whatever difficulties arise. This Friday and Saturday I came down with some sort of the flu (I rested it out and I´m much better now, it´s alright :) ), but there´s no way in the world I can complain about anything. We are just so blessed!
Love you all,