Monday, June 9, 2014

Stories of the Week

Jenny and Mattheus' baptism
This week has been pretty good. I´ll share with you something that has changed my testimony of the holy priesthood. For all of those who are not members of the Church and are getting to know it through this blog, I recommend a better source. Often I recognize that the way I write isn't easy to grasp for those who want a solid foundation on what the church believes. So, here is the Church's official visitor website ---  For everyone else, skip to the stories below.


What does having divine authority really mean? The authority to act in the name of God is called the priesthood. Some mistakenly think it gives one the power to tell other people what to do. What it actually means is that a person can act in God’s name in behalf of His church—like when we give someone power of attorney so they can act in our behalf.
Prior to the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith received priesthood authority at the hands of John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John who received that same "power and authority" from Jesus Christ Himself (Luke 9:1). These men appeared as angels and bestowed the priesthood upon Joseph Smith. The prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, is the authorized successor to Joseph Smith. He and the Church’s other Apostles trace their priesthood authority back to Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations.
 There you go. 

The first blessing

This week consisted of two blessings of the sick. I had the privilege to lay my hands upon a man that was without feeling in his legs. We had been searching for a less active woman that hasn't come to church for a couple of months. We tried and tried and tried, talking to everyone that might know her. From neighbors to kids playing soccer in the ghetto. No one knew her name. I went for a last attempt clapping my hands outside of the last house on the skinny shanty road. I saw a woman through a little slit between the cement wall which separated her house from her friends, and the steel gate. I called for her attention...she didn't respond and kept peeling her orange. I called her again telling her that her salvation depended on our message. She then got off the lawn chair and opened up the steel gate for us to enter. She quickly told us that her husband had a suffered a great fall from the bus and hasn't been able to walk or feel since January. We walked in the cement home, his son wheeled him into the small main room and we met this struggling older man. His name is Arlindo. We asked him if he had faith in the Lord and started to read to him this story.

He said he believed that this could happened to him as well and asked us if we could give him a similar blessing. We did. We went to his bathroom, washed our hands and came back. Elder Gale anointed him and I gave him the blessing that he desired. The spirit tested my faith and this man's faith. I felt that I needed to order him to stand. When I gave him the order during the blessing he started to move underneath my hands. When we ended the blessing, we asked him to stand, grabbed his hand and he took three steps. He couldn't believe what was happening. He stood by himself and then asked us if he could sit down. I was sad to see him exercise such faith and then have doubts. He sat down. 

The second blessing 

We were looking at our lunch calender that the Relief Society president makes for the elders and we noticed a sister whose name we didn't recognize. We called her to confirm the Saturday lunch appointment a couple of days before hand. A little girl's voice answered and I asked for her mother. Her mother came to the phone but with a raspy and tired voice. She sounded as if she had a run a marathon that she wasn't prepared for. She asked  "who I am speaking with?" we responded "the Elders." "I need a blessing, Elder. Can you please come by today and give me a priesthood blessing? I don't feel very good. I don't know if I'll be able to get all my house chores done because of the huge pain that is in my back." We felt that it was extremely urgent so we ran over to the chapel to see if any priesthood holder was there. Mutual was taking place and Hamilton, the young men´s president, saw us, walked over to us, and asked what he needed to do to help us. We explained the sister´s situation and he told us to get in the car. We arrived at her house and she came out with a slouched back and dreary eyes. When we asked what had happened, she explained that she suffers from a chronic illness that affects her nerves. Generally it spreads to her back then to her hands, making it hard to breath and walk around. She told us that she had been in bed all day. When I laid my hand upon her head the words "stand up, go do the work that needs to be done and you will be healed" was ringing in my mind. I told her that the Lord was calling her to be healed, but it would require much faith.  "Stand, and you will be healed so that you can accomplish all your daily tasks, and as you exercise your faith by following these statements the Lord with heal you from your grave illness." After I closed the blessing in the name of Christ, she stood up and grabbed my hand. She was crying. She told me that the Savior appeared in her mind during the blessing and as I said the words she saw the Savior saying the same words. She was laughing and crying tears of joy. She said she felt better and could walk without pain. It was true because on Sunday she got herself to church all by herself. She was smiling and when I saw her singing the hymns she was one of the loudest singers :) 

It's cold when we study. Elder Gale is sporting a rocky balboa sweatshirt.  

One more story
Batismo! Jhenny and Matheus. They are Irmão Osmar´s niece and nephew. One day when we were getting ready to head back home from his house after a small snack, Osmar stopped us from leaving and told us to sit down again. I looked at Elder A. Santos with an urgent hey-we-have-got-to-get-home face because it was almost 9:30. But we made our way over to the couch and he told us that his nephew and niece wanted to get to know the church and  be baptized. They had attended church the week before and loved the primary. We were having a tough week and this news was music to our ears. We began teaching them that same week and the lessons just started to flow. They are extremely intelligent and willing to follow the Lord.

Jhenny is pretty spiritual for a 9 year old and truly understood the purpose of baptism. One time I showed them my laminated picture of Jesus´s baptism, and she started to really stare. I mean seriously stare at it. When I was in the middle of explaining she cut me off and exclaimed, "I had no idea Jesus got baptised!" "since when?!" Elder Gale and I started to laugh because of her frankness. She then went on to explain her true worry -- "wait, why did Jesus get baptised if he didn't have any sins?" "He was perfect" she declared. We opened up to 2nd Nephi 31, read and told a little bit about  Jesus´s baptismal story. She told us at the end, "Now I get why I need to be baptised. It all makes sense now. I need to be like Jesus in everything that I do." Jhenny and Matheus are the reason I wrote a little about the principle of innocence last week. They have helped me see that I should always be striving to reach a higher level of humility.   

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