I´ll get straight to it then. Ademir, Vanda, and Viviane were baptized Sunday morning!!! Here´s a snippet from my journal:
"I have a wedding, 3 baptisms and 3 confirmations to report!! Everything worked out swell with Andemir and his family and he, Vanda and Viviane were all baptized early Sunday morning in a font that Bishop woke up at 5:30 to turn on the gas heater. Marcos Damico, the member missionary king of the ward, baptized Ademir, Douglas used his newly received Aaonic Priesthood to baptize Vanda, and Elder Nelson Viviane. Lots of white :) It´s the second time on my mission and in this ward that God has let me see a whole family baptized. Sometimes I ask myself if I´m grateful enough. I´ve been a part of 5 weddings, 4 of which led to the couple getting baptized the same weekend. How God has blessed me! And yet it´s not the time for me to entirely look back yet. Faith is forward, and I need to do His will for another 3 months still in the mission field. LET´S GO."
I´ll include some pictures at the end of this email. We started giving them the new member lessons on Wednesday with Marcos and his wife, Isabel. Such a special family.
I´m going to miss Ala Castelo so much. It´s not set in stone that I´m leaving at the end of the transfer but I´m pretty convinced. 9 and a half months here! So many miracles and memories.
Sunday after church we had a pretty cool experience too. Saturday after P-day we had 2, solid appointments marked and maybe 8 plan b´s. We were on splits with a member too. EVERYTHING fell through. I´d never seen anything like it. We finished the chase around 8:00 p.m. and had no one else to visit. So we came back home to get some liahonas to deliver to a member family. We showed up and she (Irmã Francis) wasn´t there. But we left them with her 2 kids. Sunday after church Francis searched us out. She said shéd been praying that whole week to know how to be a better member missionary and when she got home there were 15 copies of the Liahona on her kitchen table to hand out. It was a clear answer to her prayers. God had other plans for us that night I think.
Unfortunately the "work" in our area has been a little slower this week. Lots of meetings, and for the first time on my whole mission I had to stay home yesterday with the flu. I woke up this morning lots better though--the headache and fever and body aches are gone now. Just the runny nose and sore throat that I have to get rid of now. We did, however, start teaching a new couple this week: Bill and Gisele. Bill is American! It´s a little different teaching somebody from my culture-he´s a little bit closed off (is that normal for Americans?) but we´re getting there with him. His grandpa was a pastor for the Presbyterian Church.
One more thing of note--recognizing my strong points never has been one of my strong points. But several small things/comments happened this week that helped me feel God patting me on the back and telling me I´ve done a good job so far. It brought such peace and was definitely a good feeling.
Oh, one more thing of utmost importance!! Especially for my family. I was studying the May Liahona this week and reread Elder Ballard´s latest conference talk about follow-up. He gives 2 really good suggestions to get involved in the work. To quote him directly,
1) "In the spirit of Peter’s example, may I suggest that we can all be more consistently involved in missionary work by replacing our fear with real faith, inviting someone at least once a quarter—or four times every year—to be taught by the full-time missionaries."
2) "There are practical ways for members to help and support our remarkable missionaries. For example, you can tell the missionaries that you are studying Preach My Gospel and ask them to show you what they are learning in their studies."
Just a friendly reminder to all to hasten the work! Something super cool would be to, every once a while, have family home evening messages based on chapters in Preach My Gospel.
I love you all. Thanks for the constant prayers and well-wishes; I feel them!
Love, Elder Sears