Who remembers Douglas? He was one of our miracle baptisms in Vila União that showed up to church and a week later asked to be baptized before we could even make the invite. He was baptized on January 6th, 2013, one day after Elder Alcantara and I had finished a fast to help see someone join the church. I was thinking about him towards the beginning of the week and had heard rumors through the city that he'd be getting married soon. So I called him Wednesday and.......he said he'd be getting married Friday and SEALED on Saturday!!! I got President's permission to be there and Elder Chagas and I went and had one of the best afternoons of our lives. Douglas married Barbara, the "friend"who talked to him about the Church for the first time a little over a year ago. They weren't even dating at the time and he didn't even know eternal families were a possibility, and now he has one. It was beyond a miracle to see him. We got to the Campinas temple at 1ish on Saturday and were able to sit in on the sealing ordinance at 2:30. Both he and Barbara had already received their endowments, so the sealing itself was short and simple, but really, really, really meaningful for me. Elder Chagas described the feeling in the room as if the air conditioning had suddenly stopped working everything was so warm and radiant. I'll never forget the sight of him walking in in his temple robes and just beaming from ear to ear. The promises made in a sealing are amazing, particularly so because Saturday was the first time I ever witnessed one. You just get the feeling that that moment is what the gospel is all about. Everything points to it, and afterwards the only thing left is enduring to the end. After the ceremony I gave Douglas a huge hug and whispered to him with a grin, "you're one step ahead of me now mister." He laughed and looked me in the eye and thanked me for what I'd done. Which wasn't much. Barbara had him convinced from day 1 I think :) It's the first time I've seen the whole process firsthand: non-member to investigator to recent convert to engaged recent convert to sealed for time and all eternity, active, covenant-keeping member. I wrote so much about it in my journal. How grateful I am for the way God's blessing me on my mission. It really is surreal. The timing of it too--the fact that I felt I needed to call him this week to see when he was planning on getting married and all. The Spirit is a wonderful thing. Pictures are soon to come!
One more little tidbit really quick...Igor and Daniela and their 2 kids accepted baptism for March 1st!!!!! We're going to the cartório (marriage place thingy that I never remember the name in English....) on Saturday to mark their wedding. It's been 3 years since they've met the missionaries for the first time, and after a message and role-play that President showed everyone during the multi-zone we felt like we just needed to be really direct with them and ask really inspired questions. Igor helped Daniela realize she's already received a testimony and Elder Chagas asked Daniela why she thought we as missionaries were so focused on baptism. She said she didn't know, so he opened up to 3 Nephi 27:16 and we talked about the promises God makes to us when we're baptized. She went ahead and read 17 without being asked and finished and said "right then, I'm willing to be baptized." So we marked a month down the road leaving time to get the wedding marked. We walked out of their house super grateful, high-fiving our way home. This IS the true Church, and there are millions of people waiting to know and accept it. We just need to invite them. How I love being a missionary!
Oh, and Elizabeth is golden for being baptized on the 2nd. We went to the temple with her and some recent converts (Adrianna and Kevin among them) on Friday and the Temple President did a fantastic job talking about what temples are for. She loved it.
I love you all super muito much, hope you know that. Love,