This week was an interesting one because I was sent to Portão - Curitiba to go through some exams to see if I have something wrong with my stomach. I got the exams done and everything's normal. I think it's just Brasilian food and getting everyone´s germs when I shake hands.
We lost a lot of time this week because of the various exams and tests but a miracle happened yesterday. I think I shared with everyone that we were bringing a lot of people to church but we hadn't been able to help our investigators understand the purpose of baptism nor set a baptismal date. It was difficult and kinda frustrating for the past weeks. To give us a spiritual boost we've been asking every member family we come across, whether it be during our lunch appointments or on the street, to accept a little piece of paper with our names and investigator's names written on it. We explain that the written names are children of our Heavenly Father and have high potential to start their trail towards exaltation through baptism. We've been challenging everyone to pray for these precious souls and we promise them that their prayers will help their lost brothers and sisters enter into heavenly rest in the celestial kingdom. The prayers have helped a ton. Yesterday, we were able to clear all the doubts of a great family we are teaching and help them understand why they need to be baptized in the true church of our Savior. They sure got it. It came to a point in the lesson were I got really excited and started raising my voice asking them, "Do you have faith, my friends?.....yes.....a little louder please.....YEESS.... Great! God is answering your prayers and you just need to act to give thanks for his divine intervention. Will you be baptized on this date?..Yes." I felt like Reverend Alonzo back from my Oak Lane robe choir Presbyterian days. The spirit testified of the message and they felt it for sure.
I love the spirit. I've learned to distinguish my random Ian thoughts from the promptings of the spirit these past months. I've been praying earnestly so that the Lord can help me with this. Because it's hard to know when the Lord is telling you to do something or when it is just my head doubting or inferring. It's tough. Also I wanted to share something. Ever since I was a little kid to now, my personal prayers have been weak and I have had trouble expressing my true thoughts to my Father in Heaven. Everyday now I feel like the Lord has been helping me spill out my heart to him. It was a tough battle. Sometimes I feel so tired at the end of the day or sometimes I just don't feel like I have anything worthwhile to say. Reading the scriptures before my nightly prayers has guided me to what I need to ask for and express gratitude for in my plea. I know I feel more comfortable when I converse with my Heavenly Father now. I know the Lord doesn't take us away from our weakness and drop us off in a paradise full of strengths. I know the Lord doesn't just remove our sins or challenges. He cleanses our sins and strengthens our abilities when we face challenges.
Brasilian culture that I've slowly but surely picked up:
- Hand signs. If I'm talking, I'm for sure talking with my hands.
- I'm more friendly. What do I mean by that? Anyone that passes by on the street I holler (holla) at them. It sounds like "wow" mixed with "a opa". Woooohpa tudo bom? Sometimes it's just "bom" which means good. BAAWWHM. You've got to hear it to understand why it's super strange but very normal here.
- I shake hands with everyone. I walk into a room and I have to shake everyone´s hand.
Pictures are coming tomorrow from Elder Nixon's camera. I will send them from the chapel where we have wifi.