Tuesday, April 8, 2014

March 22, 2014 Staying in Castelo and continuing Creative Teaching

Dear family and friends,

Transfers are Tuesday and Elder Sears will be staying another one in Castelo!!! I´ll continue with Elder Nelson, but our ward is also going to get 4 sisters...it´s fun to see the work accelerating up close.

I´ll get right to it then...Eva and Marcilene still haven´t been baptized yet. (grr). BUT, they both have dates remarked for the 30th. We found out that Eva had been taught very little by the missionaries in São Paulo, even though she´d been going to church there for a year. So we just have 2 more lessons to teach and she´s set. Marcilene has been having a tough time with coffee. Her husband has been putting it into her head that it´s not a commandment and that there are billions of scientific reports that show that coffee is healthy, not harmful. Last night when he told us that I looked at them and asked, "how many scientific reports have you seen proving that we can live with God again after we die? None, right? Why then, do you believe in it?" That got their attention and we talked about how everything missionaries teach is spiritual truth, and can only be researched/learned/confirmed through spiritual channels. We invited Marcilene to ask God if the word of wisdom really is His commandment, and she agreed to being baptized on the 30th if she received an answer. So, we´re hopeful.

I had some pretty cool experiences this week that I wrote down in my journal. Here´s what I wrote yesterday:

"I hit a year and 6 months two days ago and forgot to mention it. Yeah...! The challenges continue to be a constant (yesterday we found out Wanda and Ana Claudia from Ademir´s family don´t seem to be interested anymore), but in trying to look on the bright side I have 2 pretty cool experiences to report. Tuesday was exchanges with Elder Batista in Jundiaí. We taught an umbanda lady (a religion that prays to Satan, doing "good through evil") and a really special family--Everaldo, Eliete, Gabriel, and Carol. They have to get married first, but they accepted baptism. It was one of those lessons you dream about as a missionary where the Spirit is so strong that you see the truth sinking into the hearts of your investigators. What´s more, we taught with pasta. Yep. I built a 2-d house with spaghetti and explained it represented Christ´s church. Every component fit in its proper place exactly the way Christ arranged it. When He was crucified and the apostles rejected and killed, the people distorted the truths and perfect organization. So I messed up my pasta house. Than I asked Gabriel (11) to rebuild it. He did a really good job but left a few pieces out of order. I explained that many truth-seekers with good intentions tried to establish churches of their own, but none of them were exactly like the way Christ had shown. When we moved on to Joseph Smith I completed/restored the house and taught them the restoration. Everaldo told us he´d received a bunch of pastors in his house but never felt they were telling the truth. He told us that our message was different, that it clicked. He felt impressed he needed to tell his brother about us too. Pretty cool, I´ve gotta say."

The other experience was with Fabio. We had a lesson with him Wednesday in the chapel and before we could say anything he sat down and said "I have something to tell you but you can´t tell my mom. I´m 98 percent sure I´m going to get baptized. Somewhere between in a week and a month." WOW. I sat there laughing to myself, again, at how good of a missionary God is. We did NOTHING, just invited him to pray about President Monson. Those words, 98 percent sure I want to be baptized, are coming from a 20 year-old who didn´t believe in or acknowledge God a month and a half ago. What a huge change, and how awesome it´s been to be a testimony of it. Fabio, however, continues being Fabio and likes to be difficult. When we reviewed the baptismal interview questions he complained a little bit about the law of chastity and the word of wisdom that he´d already been taught. He said he believe there ought to be certain exceptions, like drinking a glass of wine at his brother´s college graduation ceremony. We talked about the importance of exact obedience but it didn´t sink in, so I took a 5-cent coin and a 20 "reais" bill out of my pocket and put them on the chair. "Fabio, if you saw $20.05 fall out of a man´s pocket in front of you, how much would you return to him." "All of it, obviously." "Even the 5 cents?" "Yeah." "Why? It´s only 5 cents..." "Because it´s the right thing to do." Then Elder Nelson and I had fun playing devil´s advocate :) Fabio, you can fit 5 cents into $20 400 times. There´s no problem in returning the 20 and sticking with the coin. Fabio, you´re doing more than most would. You´re returning 20 more than the vast majority. What´s the problems. And on and on. Then we turned it on him and asked him why he was willing to obey the commandment of not robbing in all circumstances and wasn´t willing to live the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. I think the light turned on and he said he´d be obedient to them both in all situations. Victory :)

Oh, one more thing I haven´t had time to fit in my journal yet...on the way to Jundiaí I started getting pretty sick the moment the bus left the terminal. I went to use the bathroom and it was locked because it was out of order. I got pretty worried because it´s an hour trip and I had no way of making that trip without exploding. I said a silent, pleading prayer and the moment I did my upset stomach went away. I got off the bus and as soon as I did, the nausea came back. But I was able to get to a bathroom and take care of everything downtown and work completely normal the rest of the day/week. God hears and answers prayers, even and especially in the little things.

Well, it´s about that time....until next Saturday!

I´m including a picture of Elder Nelson and me and our matching pants/ties. we´re dorks, I know.

Love, Elder Sears

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