Dear family and friends,
I´m terribly sorry I forgot to tell you that P-day would be Tuesday this week! We had a meeting yesterday and a multi-zone conference tomorrow, so today it is. I´m alive and well though.
We´re continuing to be blessed in teaching lots during the week. We had a few days where we got in 4-5 lessons. And some of these people are actually (finally) keeping some commitments so that we can actually help them and see some progress. Aldirene and her kids are progressing the fastest. We had a lesson with them on Thursday that I´d put among some of the most spiritual of my mission. Ivan and Aldirene have been having lots of marriage problems recently and
we´ve been trying to work with them to save their marriage. During the lesson Thursday we tried to help them see how the gospel could resolve even the biggest grudges and grievances but it wasn´t having the effect we wanted it to. So we stopped and thought in silence for a little bit while we searched for what to say and how to say it. The only thing that came to my mind was "read The Book of Mormon as a family" so that´s the route we wound up taking things. I remembered all the many nights my dad would conference call in on our family scripture study and how good it was to be gathered together, even if it was by phone. We promised them that if they read 1 chapter of The Book of Mormon a day for one week, they´d see noticeable differences. That´s when André, one of the priests in the ward, asked if he could say something. He was noticeably touched by the invite we´d extended, because a few years ago his parentes were going through the same crisis and the missionaries came over and what did they invite them to do? Read The Book of Mormon as a family, one chapter a day, for one week. They did it, and he said it saved their marriage. André teared up while saying that (as did I) and the Spirit was burning in all of us as it testified to Ivan and Aldirene that it was indeed possible to make amends and save their family. When we returned for a follow-up visit we asked if they´d read. Unfortunately Aldirene and her daughter Amanda were the only ones that had. We asked her if she´d received and answer, and she said she´d felt a burning in her chest and she was ready to follow the Church whole-heartedly. She accepted baptism with ease, but we still need to work on setting a marriage date so that she can follow her desire. I was so grateful and relieved to hear her say she´d received a clear answer. It´d been a while since one of our investigators actually read and prayed with real intent, and longer still since one of them was able to recognize an answer. We walked out of the front gate in leaps and bounds. She came to church on Sunday with Bia, another one of her daughters, and we have another appointment tonight. She´s one of the few people on my mission I feel like I recognize from somewhere.
Another mini-success story: we found Erica and her 2 boys 2 weeks ago working with the ward list. She´s less active and hasn´t set foot inside the church for 4 years. Her two boys, Gabriel (12) and Gustavo (11) went to primary but were never baptized. Gabriel and Erica were at church on Sunday :) I was thrilled, more for Erica than for anything else.
Yesterday night was pretty good as far as teaching goes too. We went to visit an ex-investigator from a few months ago named Geraldo. He´s 30 or so and extremely set on the Catholic church. The type of investigator that asks hard questions to try to stump you, but that´s actually looking for the truth deep down. We reviewed the first lesson with him and he asked us, "where´s your proof then that authority ceased and didn´t continue with the Catholic pope?" We calmly explained that a pretty good indicator of authority is the ability to reveal new scripture, and seeing that the Bible stops after the apostles is proof in and of itself that prophetic authority was lost. He kept quiet for a little bit and then retorted, "but then your Church lost authority too!" I just smiled and said, "Yes, it did. That´s what we´re trying to help you understand! That´s why it was necessary that God and Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820."
His response--"but then your church isn´t the primitive church."
"Because anciently it was Peter as prophet and 11 apostles alongside. You claim to have a prophet and twelve apostles. It´s not the same pattern."
"Good observation. Actually, Christ served as God´s mouthpiece when He was physically here for His ministry, and there were 12 apostles alongside Him. Now it´s Thomas S. Monson and 12 others. It´s the same pattern."
Geraldo´s wife nodded in agreement, we testified, and left him thinking. I´m not sure how much potential he actually has but it was a good feeling to feel the Spirit working with us during the lesson to not be "confounded before men."
So, that´s about it for the week! Aside from the fact that we sang The Star-Spangled Banner super loud on the 4th for companionship study. And that Phase 10 has become a P-day tradition among us 4 in the house. I won this morning, haHA! :)
Love you all,