Thank you to all for your prayers after last week because this one has been a really, really good one. I´ll explain why:
Tuesday, our zone got to go to the temple! It was a really good opportunity to feel so at home there and feel God communicating with me in a very personal way (I´d asked Him what He expected of me during these last 3 months of my mission). That night we got to teach two theologians after English class. They´re from the Presbyterian church (I wanted to open up to Joseph Smith--History with them and read the part where Joseph tells his mom "I´ve discovered for myself that Presbyterianism is not true" but I decided against it :) ...). It actually was a really good conversation and they walked out understanding the basis of and need for The Book of Mormon. Can I just say it´s a really good feeling to have confidence in God and His Church to the point that you can talk to two learned, religious professionals without sweating too much? In spite of how little I know, this Church IS true and its work will go forward. We also found a man named César who speaks flawless English and is really curious about the concept of a modern prophet. He asks all the right questions ("but how do I know that he really is the guy?" and "well if you have a prophet you have modern-day scripture--let me see it") and it´s been a joy preparing to teach and actually teaching him. He´s still a little hesitant on the baptismal invite we extended to him but he´ll get there. I love teaching people that just get it.
Wednesday I got to go on exchanges with Elder Frutos, my long-time secretary friend! It was a really good, refreshing, and busy day. We ate lunch in his ward at one of the Martins relatives (the 8th richest family in Brasil) and they happened to have a baby grand piano and happened to invite me to play...?!!! Pretty sweet :) As we finished the exchange we got to talking about the principle of "the one" in the scriptures. It´s interesting to compare 3 Nephi 11 with the brother of Jared´s experience with the 16 stones--each group was touched "one by one" as they came to be molded by the Savior´s hands. So it is with us and our personal experience with the atonement. The symbolism goes on and on. I find it pretty cool that each of those molded, illuminated stones were placed 2 by 2 in the barges--sound anything like missionary work?!
Oh yeah, Roselí! She´s the referral we got from the family that passed by us last week on the street. We were able to teach her twice this week, so she actually became an investigator! And she said she´d think about baptism. It was interesting because she herself told us that if we´d knocked 2 weeks ago, she wouldn´t have let us in. Only her 32 year-old son came down with some serious health difficulties 15 days ago and that softened her up to receive the missionaries. It really is incredible to see how God does His work--combining her situation with a member family that took an unusual route to the supermarket and on the way was asked by an exasperated missionary if they had any referrals and happened to know someone on that very street. Cool cool.
This morning Elder Nelson and I ended personal study a little early to see Ademir and Wanda get married!! (pictures coming in another email). It´s such a simple ceremony but it´s the difference between 20 years of sin and a clean, guilt-free rest of eternity. It was really quite special. I´ve been blessed to see 5 couples go through that process on the mission. God really is so good. Tomorrow will be their baptism and there´ll be a lot of people dressed in white :) Douglas is going to baptize his mom, Marcos (the member that gave us the referral) Ademir, and Elder Nelson Viviane. Heaven on earth :) There really is nothing better than missionary work.
One last thing...tomorrow I´ll be accompanying one of the sisters on the piano in some sort of stake meeting. We´re doing Lord, I Would Follow Thee. Should be fun!
Love you all,
8769: Elder Gomes´ (far left) birthday party. He has to head home to do a knee surgery and we wanted to cheer him up a bit