We have a baptism to report :) Elizabeth was interviewed on Saturday and baptized at 8:30 before church yesterday morning. She asked me to do it, and made me promise the water would be warm. It wasn´t, but it´s been getting up to 95 degrees down here so the chill was a welcome relief :) Her story is yet another example of a pure miracle, and the blessings of a missionary-oriented ward. Silvana (the member who talked to her waiting in line at the mall) was there in support. For me though, the bigger miracle has been with her family. Fábio, her son, considered himself an atheist when we met him 4 weeks ago. When we were going through the baptismal interview questions with Elizabeth he wasted no time in telling us that he didn´t believe/agree with the 1st, 2nd 5th and 6th questions. I told him we´d start small, and work with his belief in Christ as our Savior first. I marked 15 scriptures in The Book of Mormon testifying of that truth and committed him to read them (at least one per day) and pray after reading each one. Saturday, when Elizabeth showed up for the interview, I pulled him aside and we started talking. He said he hadn´t read, but he´d asked God on Monday and Tuesday if Christ really did die for our sins. He said he hadn´t received an answer, although he did mention he felt a little bit of a "heat" when he asked the question on Tuesday. We got to talking, and all of the sudden he cut me off and said, "I think I can say yes to the first baptismal question now." I looked at him a little confused and asked him to explain what made him jump to that conclusion. He said that while we were talking it he had goosebumps come over him for 5 seconds and a flood of thoughts confirming to him that Christ really is our Savior. It was so out of the blue that I laughed. Seriously--the miracles do NOT stop! Mall customers are getting baptized and atheists are confessing that Jesus is the Christ. How could this not be the true church?? What´s more, Fábio went on to say that he now believes in and agrees with all of the baptismal interview questions aside from the one about Joseph Smith. I promised him that if he´d read The Book of Mormon and ask God, multiple times if necessary, he´d have the same feeling he felt while we were talking about Christ as our Savior. He said he´d be baptized if he felt that way again. Seriously, God is a genius! He lives and He is the most effective missionary imaginable. What´s more, Elizabeth´s husband Hernesto, also atheist, came to support her during her baptism. She told us she NEVER imagined that would happen. We have an fhe marked for tonight with him and Fábio and are super optimistic about the whole thing. Yes! :D
Let´s see what else...we went to the cartório with Igor and Daniela and officially marked their marriage for March 1st!! I´ll send photos in a sec. They didn´t go to church though :/ It´s going to require a lot of prayer and fasting and following up but it´s going to happen.
Testimony meeting was pretty sweet. Igor, Ricardo and Sheila´s son, bore his testimony about the importance of the Holy Ghost as the comforter in our lives. He started crying when he said his family had to sell their dog, but that when he went to mutual that night he forgot all about it and was able to focus on the positive side of things. By the amount of water in people´s eyes I think the congregation was pretty touched. During Sunday School, Isabela (the 3 year-old daughter) pulled my pant leg and, pointing to the font, said, "Uncle Sears, when is it going to be my turn? I know how to plug my nose and everything." I just about died :)
On the fun side of things, this past week was Elder Lukas´ birthday (one of our mission´s financial secretaries). He´d gone to bed when I woke him up to tell him something was wrong downstairs with the finances and he needed to sort it out. I´m not sure he entirely understood what I said but he woke up and started heading down the stairs. In the meantime the rest of the crew (me, Elder Chagas, Elder Toebe, Elder Zacheu, Elder Doman and Elder Frutos) got ready a bunch of water balloons and absolutely drenched him when he rounded the corner. Hahahah :) He was a good sport about it and we all had a good laugh. Every once in a while you´ve just got to destress a bit.
Time for pictures now! Love you all,