Monday, November 17, 2014

One of the best stories of my entire mission

Luciana Foi's baptism

Uma das melhores histórias de minha missão inteira. (One of the best stories of my entire mission):

Yesterday, around 7:50 we found a super kind Jehovah´s Witness and we had a healthy conversation about why we believe in temples and the Book of Mormon. He asked us why the Book of Mormon was attacked with great frequency and we let him know that it is the keystone of our religion. 

But the best part is the following: When we were leaving his house he offered us a ride home. Then our phone rang. It was another companionship from our district and they needed a lot of help. I heard the elders on the other line trying to tell me something really important but it was hard to understand because they were talking in a really subtle quiet voice, like a whisper scream, if you know what I mean. I had to distance myself from our new investigator's barking dogs and listen closer. They told me that they were being chased by two cars but they were able to run away and hide in the woods. It was super nuts because they told us that the cars had been following them for some time and when the elders decided to change direction the one car passed them then made a u-turn to follow the elders once again. So they split. I told Elder Schirmer and the JW what was going on. Our new friend looked at us and said, "Lets rescue some Mormons". I thought I was in a movie when he said that because he gave us a really serious stare. It was funny because he´s a really short guy - maybe 5 foot 3 - that has a lot of energy. We hopped into his hatch back, he hurried over to the other side of his car to take out the baby seat, got into the driver seat and hit the accelerator pedal. We were on the line with the elders the whole time and they gave us directions over the phone. We zoomed around a bunch of corners, and down dirt roads and cobblestone streets. The variable terrain gave it a more adventurous feel and the inter-denominational relations saved the Elders from the punks. It was sick to say the least. 

The missionary opportunities come when you want them to come. You have several more doors to open because you are looking for them. I´ve been learning a ton here in this ward. The Elders Quorum instructor is a philosophical/  spiritual guru who likes to make the lesson really dynamic.  I have a little "Renault" french car notebook that I write all my newly discovered physical and spiritual secrets in. The other day I learned that when we put our faith on paper and when the practice is put in gear, our faith, which is an unseen truth, becomes reality. Because of this newly found faith we have been able to set 4 baptismal dates for the 29th of this month. They are a family of four that are extremely prepared and ready for the restored gospel. Just to give you an idea, we left 3rd Nephi with them and on the 2nd follow up lesson, the mom shared with us how she thought it was so cool that the Savior appeared in the Americas to ordain Nephi to the priesthood, giving him the authority to baptize so that there would be no disputations among the people. 

This last Saturday we followed up a church invite to another family with our ward mission leader (the man is on fire) and we met the dad (I am concealing the names until the baptism). The dad told us he has been looking for the right path to find salvation and the mom gave us a huge head nod. Yesterday they stayed for all 3 hours of church and we set an appointment for that afternoon. We showed up right when they were finishing up the other marked chapter of the Book of Mormon we left for them. They sat in a row with eyes on us to hear our message. We read Alma 36 to help them understand that our purpose is to help others repent of their sins. They understood that the Lord was calling them to be a part of the church. As we asked them more and more questions they seemed to realize that the Lord had been answering their prayers this past week. One of the daughters had a smile on her face but she wasn´t looking at us. Her eyes were locked on the ground so we asked her what she was thinking of the church and all this. She told us that she had prayed the night before to receive an answer from God.  "God confirmed Moroni´s promise," she said.  They are a great family. They are charismatic and speak English. So, I've been teaching them slang and what Americans "really" say. I am super excited for this family. They are an answer to Elder Schirmer´s and Elder Forsyth´s prayers and fasting. Many more doors must be opened to receive us.


We´ve been working with the Foi family for 4 weeks exactly. Luciana used to be extremely evangelical, but fell away from Christianity because of marital and other common Brazilian problems. She is living proof that the Book of Mormon and sincere prayer with real intent can change the lives of those who have fallen away from the path. Instead of teaching lessons, we have basically given a "how to be a better friend and spouse" course to them and it resulted in baptism. I´m not married. So I don´t know how it was possible to help and guide a broken marriage. But I do know the spirit let Luciana find true spiritual conversion. 

We had a ton of Leadership meetings and adventures this week. It has been a blast. I will share my stories of people chasing after me when I get home so that no one gets worried.

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