A selfie for mom!

A selfie for mom!

Monday, August 11, 2014

We had lots of miracles, big and small!

Wow! This week was really good! We had lots of miracles, big and small! We had a great Multi-Zone Conference with President Dalton! He´s doing such a good job! The number of baptisms already grew this week! We had THREE! There was lots of good stuff this week, including barbeque with a member of the bishopric! I don´t have much time, so I´ll go through the list of the people we are working with: Weverson He´s doing really good! He was baptized last Saturday! Now, we will focus on reactivating Vanessa and we´re going to try to mark his mom (who likes us again) for baptism! Jakeline and João Vitor and Ludimila and Camila She was baptized last minute on Sunday after church. Maria (see next couple) walked with her to church. Jakeline didn´t want to be baptized, but Maria challenged her to "be baptized and see if your life doesn´t change." So, Jakeline and her daughter Ludimila (9) were baptized. It was a really big surprise! So many miracles have been preparing her for this! Remember that she was my first real investigator in this area, four months ago! Now, we will help her son, João Vitor (12) be baptized this Sunday! Camila is too young to be baptized. Maria and Fred Maria is returning to church and bringing her young daughter (maybe 10). She is really happy that we are helping her come back, and that we helped Jakeline, her best friend, be baptized. She wants to give us lunch (next week) and have a family home evening. Fred, on the other hand, isn´t showing any interest in returning to church. Fred and Maria were sealed, and Maria is really frustrated that Fred doesn´t want to come back to church. We´ll find out what´s going on and we will help them. If necessary, we´ll hand them over to the bishop. Their son, Rarison (14), is very active in the church. Breno Thanks to help from his best friend, Mykail (an inactive member returning to activity), and Adilson, our favorite recent-convert, Breno will be baptized this Sunday. His mom already approved. He´s excited to be baptized, go to the temple, and serve a mission (he wants to go to Argentina). He´s thirteen years old and has two inactive brothers. His family doesn´t show interest in the church, yet. We´ll work on inviting them this week! This baptism will happen! Juvinal and Magda They are getting way better. We saw them holding hands going to church yesterday morning, and they say that their relationship is improving thanks to daily scripture reading and prayer as a couple. The lesson in the 3rd hour yesterday was Eternal Marriage! What a blessing! They stayed for all three meetings! We will try to take them to the city hall this Saturday and mark a date for them to get married and be baptized! Keep praying for them and us! We have a few more issues to resolve, but the situation is so much better! Gabriel and Guilharme They missed their ride to church. Gabriel is still super excited about the church, but Guilharme (who is just 8) is struggling to keep excited. We have a less-active sister, Selma (returning to activity), who is their ride. They won´t miss it next Sunday! Gabriel will turn 12 soon, and he will recieve the Priesthood. Their parents show little interest in the church, but maybe they will go to church to see Gabriel receive the priesthood. Others There are a lot of people returning to church because of the new chapel being opened in our area! We had a ward activity last Saturday, and, now, everyone is excited about bringing their friends to church. This week, we will be contacting all of the referrals we recieved! Wish us luck! I´m so happy to be a missionary! I love this work so much! Thanks for all of your support and prayers! I know that Christ lives! Elder Richins

We went to the temple on Tuesday!

This week was really good! We went to the temple on Tuesday! It´s been little more than six months since I´ve been there, so it was needed! The session was so good! Elder Pinheiro (my last companion) was there! It´s been so long, it felt like the first time all over again (and it was in Portuguese, which didn´t help! I actually felt really nervous). But it was so good! I felt so close to the Savior! I was able to sit in the celestial room and just breath, and meditate a little about God´s love for us and His great plan of happiness. Going to the temple is literally taking a little time out of our busy schedules to visit our Father in Heaven, to sit with Him and just be in His presence. It was very refreshing! I just want to go back! After the temple session, we went to the Loja do Templo (Temple Shop, or Distribution Center). It´s in the same building as the Church Headquarters in Brasil. It was cool knowing that President Monson and the apostles could well have been in the same building! So, I bought some DVDs to aid in our teaching, and a white tie for baptism (mine disappeared), a Temple magazine to show investigators, and a couple other things I needed. I also bought the Old Testament Seminary DVD. It´s not only really helpful for teaching, but it´s also really helping my study. And it reminds me of Seminary with Mom! In my spare-time Bible study, I´m in Isaiah. My companion has an interview with the President today, so I´ll have lots of time to read. I think I´ll finish it. I love Isaiah so much! There´s so much about the Atonement, life of Christ, Great Apostasy, Restoration, Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, missionary work, temples, and the last days! I´m hooked! I´m also really enjoying Preach My Gospel and the Book of Mormon. The more I study these materials, the more I grow as a missionary and as a servant of the Lord! There´s so much to learn! I made a new friend! Our new zone leader, Elder Brelaz! He´s from Manaus, Amazonas. He´s really cool! We are going to hang out in Utah after our missions! I´m meeting so many people, here in the mission! Having good friends truly is part of God´s plan of happiness! So, I put Juvinal´s and Magda´s names in the temple and the very next day, when we went there, they said that they were getting better! Since then, we´ve been seeing progress! I think we might just save their marriage! Jaqueline and her kids weren´t baptized yesterday because Jaqueline´s boss switched her day off. Next week, she will definitely be baptized! Her friend, Maria, who is less active, and gave us the referral that led us to teach Jaqueline the first time, is really excited for her, and we will try to help her return to church so that she and Jaqueline can support one another. Kelly needs a lot of help. I can´t explain much, but her situation is really bad. But every time we talk to her about the Gospel, she feels better. We find her on her breaking point and leave her calmer and glowing. There is still hope for her! There´s a young man named Breno that we are working with. His two brothers were baptized but don´t affiliate with the Church. His friend, Mykail, was also baptized, but has the desire to return to the church. So, we are helping Breno to prepare to be baptized on the 17th. We went there with Adilson, a 17-year-old recent convert, who´s also a good friend of mine. We taught about the Gospel and Temple Work. I asked Breno if he has a loved one who passed away. He told us that his older brother died recently. As we explained about temple work and about the spirit world, Breno begun to cry. Adilson explained to him that he could see his brother again and that death is not the end. Adilson also had a death in his family within the past few months, and, although he hides it, I think it was hard on him. So this experience really touched Adilson. He didn´t want to make the visit with us. He was really busy that day, but we conviced him to do just this one visit. On the way back to his house, I told him that he would baptize Breno. Yesterday, Adilson bore his testimony about the experience and about what I said. When I said it, I didn´t even think much of it. But now, I can see that even the little things that we do or say can really affect people! In the case of both Breno and Adilson, just an inspired question, or an uplifting thought, put the Gospel in the first priority. I´ll always remember to watch what I do, because it´s just as easy to hurt people as it is to help them. There´s also Weverson. He´s Vanessa´s brother. He´s really excited to be baptized! He wants it so badly! The only thing that is stopping him is his mom. Because of an anti-Mormon in our area, she went from loving the missionaries, to banning us (and any member of the Church) from visiting her or Vanessa. The anti-Mormon left, so there is hope. We gave Weverson the permission slip, so he´ll be getting the signature today. Please keep him in your prayers! I know that his baptism will not only reactivate his sister, but also excite all the youth in the ward to do more missionary work! Well, I have to go! We need to head to Santo Amaro for the interview! But I want you to know that this Work is true. I have no doubts about it! God exists! He is not dead, nor does He sleep! He loves us and wants the best for us! He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, a God Himself, to suffer and die so that we may overcome spiritual death. And Christ lives. Because of him, we will live again, too. I bear witness of this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. I love you all and have a great week! Elder Richins