Hello everyone!! How was Easter? I really missed it! They don´t do much here for Easter. The parents give a chocolate egg filled with candies to their kids, which I think is a really cool idea, but that´s about it.
Whew, this week was exhausting, but wonderful. We are working hard to get things going here in Poa and things are really starting to happen. We did a fast and were able to find a map because of it :) We´re having a lot of success contacting less-actives and recem-conversos who fell away. The members here are so helpful and ready to serve. I know that this area has had baptisms in the past purely because of the faith of these members. And I know this ward will continue to grow and improve because of its members. They are golden. Everyone does their part. Exactly how the church should be run.
We saw an amazing miracle this week and I wanted to share it with you guys. Last week, a member remembered that the Elders had given a blessing to someone and never returned, so I called the Elders that were here before and asked for the address. I figured we´d just stop by if we were in that neighborhood. Fast-forward to this week. We had set up an appointment with a menos-ativo and his non-member wife with a member of the ward. On the way to pick us up, the member got completely lost and ended up showing up 20 minutes late. While waiting for her, I called our appointment to let them know that we were going to be late. The husband answered and said that his wife had left and didn´t want us to come anymore. When our member-present arrived, we explained the situation and asked her if she´d like to just try some people with us. I remembered that old referral that the Elders had, and we decided to try. When we arrived at the house, the man let us in and ended up telling us all about his life and his relationship with God. His dad had been very sick and he had prayed with everything he had that God would cure him. But his father died, and he decided that God must not exist. Or if He does exist, He doesn´t bother to help us. Years later, he decided to try again and prayed and prayed that God would give him some kind of sign that He exists and cares. But again, nothing happened. So he gave up. But he said that that day, he had been feeling something strange. Like something big was about to happen. So when we clapped at his door, he let us in, curious, but full of doubts. We promised him that God exists, that He knows him by name, and that He sent us to him to help him. During the lesson, I felt impressed to share a video with him. So he opened Youtube, and there was the Church´s Easter video. He stopped, surprised..."Is this a video from your church?" Yes! He just stopped, in silence, and then replied, "God´s finally speaking to me." We watched the vidoe and it was absolutley perfect. He accepted The Book of Mormon. When we marked a chapter, he asked, "Would it be alright if I just read the whole thing? And can I come to church too? I know this is God´s answer..." It was the most miraculous experience. And I don´t think I had to think about my Portuguese once during the lesson. After, as we were driving home, the member who went with us thanked us for the experience and said she would tell all of the irmas in the ward that if they need a spiritual uplift, they should go out with the Sisters.
I am so grateful to have had that experience. The Spirit was so strong, and I felt so much love for this individual. I know that God heard his prayers when his father was sick. I know that He was there when he prayed for a sign. And I know that He was there with us as we taught His son. God hears us and He responds. But He waits until we are ready to accept His answer.
In other news, I am so excited to go to the Temple!! I think one of the blessings of being on a mission is being able to feel the lack of the Temple in my life. (We don't get to go very often) It makes me want to prepare and receive whatever God has for me there. I read the book, "Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple" today, and I am so excited for the opportunity to visit the Campinas Temple this week. I hope that I am ready and prepared to not just enter the Temple, but let the Temple enter my heart.
Other than that, not a lot of new news. It´s hot, like normal, and we´re still living in Vila Virginia, but I think we´re going to move to Poa this week!! Woohoo!!
I love you guys so much and I hope you are finding all the happiness and beauty that God is placing in your path through life :)
All my love,