Photo: Maria's Baptism
Dear Awesome Family,
This week went by very fast and man were we busy! I had a little cold throughout the week, but this work is more important than me having a little cold. This, in its self was a miracle. I would wake up feeling like dirt, but after telling myself “If you will get up and work your hardest the Lord will support you through this day,” this happened everyday this week and the Lord blessed me everyday with energy and health to do the work. What a blessing! It is getting pretty cold here and is raining all the time. Really helps me appreciate the sun! Ha-ha. I guess reporters have been saying the river Uraguai will be almost 17 meters higher this year. This means our apartments will be under water. Ha-ha, we will see what happens. Many of the Itaquniense (ha-ha) are talking and worrying about it. Oh, and we had a BAPTISM!!!! I will explain how it all came through in the email. But, wow this week was rough work!
This whole week we had lessons with Maria. She was doing very good all week, reading the BOM and praying. We taught her everything and she is keeping all the commandments. Towards the end of the week, closer to her baptism, she was getting very nervous and confused. Friday we went there with a member and resolved some concerns and everything was ready to go for the baptism. Saturday, the day of the baptism, she called us and had a bunch of excuses, like how her son was sick and what not. She wanted to know if we could move the baptism to another week. We rushed to her home to talk with her. She was very scared and confused. We tried to remind her of all the answers God has given her and talked about how she is ready for baptism, passing the interview and everything, but she was still confused! We told her boldly, with faith and love, “Maria, you already know that this is your day to enter the waters of baptism; you are only lacking a bit of courage. Can you pray and ask Heavenly Father to give you the courage to be baptized today?” We entered the kitchen where it was more quite and away from the T.V. that had the World Cup game (Brazil vs. Chile?). We kneeled down and she started to pray silently. Elder Cotrim and I started to pray silently like crazy that she would receive the courage and some sort of answer that she needs to be baptized today! We stayed there kneeling for about 10 minutes on the Moutaines’ dirt floor. As our knees were aching, we stayed there waiting for her answer to come. When she stood-up she was a different person. She said, “I don’t know which one of you will baptism me, but I had a vision of us 3 in white at the church. Both of you were facing the other way, but I saw a light there and felt the spirit very strong.” She tried to say the vision was telling her to be baptized next week, but we cleared up that doubt real fast and helped her realize today is the day! Maria decided on me to baptize her and the whole baptism went very, very well! We had a good turn out with members and everything! What if we wouldn´t have rushed to her house hours before baptism and asked her to pray? I have no doubt that if we hadn´t been obedient to those promptings she wouldn´t have been baptized.
Now the sad story that happened...So we were walking to Ari´s house to teach the whole family, but when we arrived Ari and Natanael were waiting for us in the front yard. Ari told us that many problems have arisen there in the home and that they need to be done meeting with us. We tried to explain that we could help, but Ari indirectly said that because of his wife, Silvia, we are not welcome there anymore. This was very sad to hear, but we can’t force them to receive us. We invited them to read the BOM and pray everyday and that they are welcome in our church always. Ari almost started to cry when he told us goodbye and rushed in the home. The kids all gave us hugs as they were crying. I was a little confused and sad, but this was the first real rejection Elder Cotrim had to face and it was very hard for him. As we walked away from the home he began to weep. I put my arm around him as we walked and tried my best to explain that these things happen, but we can´t do anything about it. I told him, “We can’t force righteousness. We did our best and we can’t keep feeling down because the Lord has more work for us to do.” This was a very humbling experience for me...Elder Cotrim has a lot of love for these people.
This week was hard work, but I know that the Lord is blessing us every step of the way! I am so grateful for these challenges, it wouldn´t be a Mission without them!
Mom, it sounds like it was an awesome week there in the US! I am excited for Dresden to leave on the mission! He will do great things! Mom, I am very impressed with your desire to be better in all aspects of life! God will bless you with these righteous desires! I love the picture of Emme! She is so cute! :)
Dad, the World Cup is slowing down some of the work, but not nearly as much as I thought it would. We are still finding a lot of success! Awesome to hear about Chris getting his call and all the other missionaries leaving! Dresden is looking like a stud in the photo!
I love all of you so very much! :) Have a great week!