Do I hear a seventh transfer in Castelo?! Yep, I´m staying. I´m actually pretty excited about that because we have 3 families set to be baptized in May. I´ll get to them right about now.
But first, Douglas´ baptism!! He was baptized on Easter morning :) Pretty cool symbolism when you think about what he chose to do compared to what Christ was able to do. Both lived again, just a little bit under 2000 years apart. The usual crowd of members was there in support and it was a fantastic baptismal service. He´s been a member for a while now--coming to seminary, stake dances, mutual, reading half of The Book of Mormon, and now it´s official. Bishop interviewed him yesterday so that he and Ana Claudia could go to the temple with the youth this Thursday. Ademir and Wanda and Viviane are solid for May 24th/25th (marriage and baptism) after a really miraculous experience Friday night. Marcos, the member who referred them to us, was with us during the lesson and we felt it´d be a good idea to have him give Ademir a blessing to help him get over the 2-3 cigarettes he´s been smoking for the last 2 months, after having brought it down from a pack a day. Marcos gave the blessing and said afterwards he´d never felt the spirit so strong in a blessing before. Ademir felt it too because he started crying after the 'amen.´He and Marcos shared a long hug and we left. Sunday, after priesthood, Ademir leaned over to me and told me that since Friday every desire he´d had to smoke left him after the blessing. He´s been clean for 48 hours already :) I felt so happy in that moment, because it´s been 2 months we´ve been working with him to get to that point. Marcos was with us and was beaming when Ademir told him. Really, really special. They finally went to the cartório this Wednesday and everything´s squared away. It´s been worth the wait!!
Placídio is coming along really well too. Saturday night we taught him with João Batista in a lesson that I won´t be forgetting anytime soon. We´d studied, prayed, practiced, and fasted in preparation for that lesson--something needed to happen to help him and his family agree to get married and be baptized. We taught him exactly as we´d planned and nothing. Questions, testimonies, member´s help, examples, scriptures, and still nothing. Quite a bit disappointed, we decided it was time to end with a prayer. Out of nowhere Jessica, his 8 year-old daughter, volunteered to say it. She hadn´t said anything during any of the 6-7 lessons we´d given to them over these past 3 weeks. But, she said one of those perfect, heartfelt, innocent 8 year-old prayers that are enough to melt anyone´s heart. And that´s what happened with Placídio. When we stood up to leave he was crying, and he said, "I´ve got something to say. This isn´t for me, but if it´ll help my daughters, I´ll get married." YEESSSS! Elder Nelson and I looked at each other, grinned, and skipped down the stairs and out the door. They accepted May 31st for their baptismal date. They came to church as a family yesterday and we have a lesson with them tonight to solidify their date and schedule when we´re going to the cartório. It´s a marriage party down here :)
Unfortunately Paulo and Adriana (mostly Paulo making the decision for Adriana) decided not to continue investigating the church and went back to their old ministry. That left us pretty sad BUT, Marcos Damico gave us another family as a referral that seems to be golden. José Milton is the dad, Maria the mom. José found out just 2 weeks ago that he has terminal cancer, and he instantly got serious about God. He stopped smoking and drinking on the spot, and was eager to find out more about the church and the possibility of living together with his family. The 2 of them came to church yesterday with Maria´s sister and loved it. My favorite part of it was when Maria told me, smiling, "I got the hang of your hymn book!" And guess what--they´re married! We´re going there on Wednesday to mark their baptism for later this month.
I am feeling sooooo happy right now. Not just because of all the miracles God is heaping down on us, but because I can honestly say I am giving everything I can and have lost myself in the work. It really is fantastic to be a missionary.
I love you all!
Love, Elder Sears