|Best Colega Ever!|
Monday, February 10, 2014
´Deus responde em Seu tempo e em Sua maneira Joseph, mas responde sempre
Fogo pá! PROBABLY THE BEST WEEK OF MY MISSION SO FAR. (Do I say that every week? Still true people, still true) Seriously. Where do I begin?! Let´s start with the beginning.
We had a chill P-day, in our apartment mostly. It has started raining like CRAZY here and doesn´t stop. It´s actually quite amusing because the more it rains, the less you can use your umbrella because the wind is so strong that they all break. We´ve already tossed about 3 or 4 out, and the ones we have left are actually kind of broken too but still function. It´s like a science- the umbrellas that are wood are great because they´re more sturdy and don´t flip out, but eventually even they start falling apart. The sturdy metal ones last longer but they flip inside out more often. So basically we go back and forth between the types we buy and it has become a game of who can go the longest without the umbrella flipping because it´s also tricky to block the wind. Sometimes I think it comes from about every angle, especially up! So anyway, we hung out in the apartment and watched the Restoration film on repeat. It´s the only church film where the translation has a Portuguese accent and not a Brasilian one and so we´ve been trying to imitate it, and have just about all of it memorized, hence the title of this email. Translated it would be ´God responds in His time and in His way, but He always responds.´ Something like that.
That night we had a cool lesson with a lady, Maria do Carmo, and her daughter Inês. They´ve been through a lot and so we taught them the Plan of Salvation and it went really well! In the end, we had kneeling prayer and Maria do Carmo offered it. As she finished, both her and Inês got up and were crying because the Spirit was just so strong! I´m excited to see what happens with this awesome little family. Ah the mission, so many happy tears! :)
Throughout the week we worked harder than ever to try and reach the standards of excellence that President Fluckiger set for our mission. That would include 1 baptism... We prayed and fasted and worked like crazy even in the rain. We´ve been working with André, the oldest son of a recent convert, Ana Bela. The only thing that was holding him back was that he couldn´t go to church because of work. He started coming to church recently however, because because he had back surgery and can´t work. This week we got the news that he can´t go back to work for another month. We joked with him that Heavenly Father had to break his back to get him to church and get him baptized, but I actually do believe that that´s true! Now the only thing that was holding him back was smoking. We taught about the Word of Wisdom and Heavenly Father really guided the lesson. He lead me to some great stories I´d studied earlier in the mission about faith and we shared those with him. André was hesitant to commit to really quit this week, even though he doesn´t smoke very much, but again, by the end of a kneeling prayer, he was determined! After several more prayers and a couple days....ANDRÉ WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!! Surprise! It was a great service. The members showed a ton of support and Bishop baptized him and it was FANTASTIC. Heavenly Father really does ALWAYS answer our prayers. True, it´s in His time and His way and it never really seems to line up with what we were expecting, but in the end it´s always BETTER.
As for the standards of excellence...we reached them! After many miracles. Obviously, André was a principle miracle but along the way we saw lots. For example, we found new investigators in the most random of places and ways. We found a really cool Catholic guy (I say Catholic as if that´s a rare thing here...haha, nope) and we ended up being able to teach him and his whole family of wife and three kids this week! I have to say, I was actually nervous to teach for some reason! They had a nice comfy house, they all gathered around the table to talk to us, they asked all sorts of great questions and they all happily agreed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon in the end. IT WAS A MISSIONARY´S DREAM.
Angela, our miracle, continues firm as ever. She even bore her testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday! Expect more baptism picture here next week for sure. She keeps calling us her angels, but I know she has no idea how much of an angel she really is to me and Sister Brundage. She is that investigator we all hear about, that miracle person that just asks to be baptized, but we never actually see coming in our own missions until they just drop into our lives, straight from heaven it seems. So many people planted seeds for her to get here and I just have to thank Heavenly Father for that.
Random fun fact unrelated to anything- here in Portugal there is ALWAYS dessert. Always. After every lunch and dinner everyone always eats dessert. What a happy, unhealthy habit I´ve gotten into. Better yet, what a great culture!
Just a great week people. Heavenly Father really does answer our prayers! Our area is BOOMING, the ward is growing and more united, we work harder than ever and see more miracles and blessings than ever before. Even when we don´t see the fruits of our labors, we can remember all the millions of seeds we planted along the way. So go plant some seeds people! I pray for you always. I hope you know, REALLY know, how much I love you and how much I love this work, this mission, these people! Have glorious week :)