So, this week was crazy-go-nuts. We worked our rear ends off, and...we baptized 2 people this week!! It was a TON of work, and we kinda had to lose all of our limitations in order to baptize, but in the end, everything worked out well. Here are the stories:
Raymundo: So, he went to church last week, but when we went back, he said that he didnt want to be baptized anymore. So, we kinda hada crazy lesson where we talked about authority until he understood. Finally, in his own kinda-crazy way, he understood what we were talking about, and then from that point on, he was firm for baptism. He was baptized Sunday, after Sacrament Meeting. The man was happy.
From left to right: Elder Da Silva, Raymundo (the older one), me.
Jeferson: My goodness, what a crazy Sunday. Jeferson had been going to church for over a year, and the only reason why he wasnt baptized was because his mom wasnt letting him get baptized (shes a family-tradition-but-inactive-
Catholic and hes 15.) We went there, and had a crazy-amount-of-pressure lesson to get her to let him be baptized (anyone thats underage has to have a parents signature to be baptized.) And as she finally said, "If he wants to be baptized and says so right now, Ill sign", his fear of his mother came in and he said, "I'll pray about it." So, we thought that that would be it. BUT, on Sunday, he came to church, super happy, with a signed baptismal form in hand. So, we planned the baptism for that night. Only problem: his member friend, Luiz, started trying to convince him out of it ("If you get baptized today, nobody from the ward will come. I wont even come. Itll just be you and the Elders. But, its your choice.") But, for every excuse that Luiz gave, we fixed the problem (talked to everybody and made them promise to come, got Jefersons family to come to the baptism, even made a cake for him so that it would be a special occasion and not a rush job.) Even when Luiz brought Jeferson TO OUR HOUSE to tell us that he wouldnt be baptized today, we finally got around it. It was a ton of crazy stuff that we did, but in the end, Jeferson was baptized, in an almost-perfect baptismal service (a lot of people, a beautiful musical number, water was warm. The only thing that we messed up is that we burned the cake a little.)
From left to right: Elder Da Silva, Jeferson (the younger one), me. Note that I look quite strong in this photo. :P
I got my miracle birthday cake. Because I moved to this area last week, I didnt know the members well enough to mooch off of anybody and get a birthday cake. But, at the end of the night, our last plans fell through, and so we decided to visit a recent convert that lived close by. We talked for a while, and then she said, "Do you guys want something to eat? We have some chocolate cake thats left. Here, eat some cake!" So, I ate my birthday cake. It was a good birthday. Im 21 now.
I walked in wet cement the other day. Itll dry with my footmark in it. Its official, I have forever left my mark in Brazil. Unless they fix that, in which case I wont.
In case you cant tell, the ones on the left are mine, and on the right are Elder Grovers. Its super deep.
Thanks for all the love and support from all of you! Im working like crazy here, but Im super excited to be home and see all of you again! 29 days! Love you all!!