A selfie for mom!

A selfie for mom!

Monday, September 29, 2014

I'm just so glad to be here and to be in this work!

What a week! So many things happened! First off, I have to let you know about what´s going on with my health, because i´ve been spending a lot of money lately... So my stomach problems got really worse this last week. I went to the hospital on Tuesday. Then I went to a gastrologist (?) on Thursday, and a laboratory on Saturday to do some tests. Then, on Saturday night, after a baptism (I´ll explain below about the baptism), we were walking home and the pain got worse than it had ever been. We went home, and, after an hour, we were driven to Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital, the best hospital in São Paulo (I think). There, they gave me some pain medicine, and conducted some more tests, including an ultrasound and some kind of x-ray that looked like a CAT scan. They found nothing, but we will return to the laboratory tomorrow to do more tests. All of the doctors said that I´ve probably got an inflamed intestine. But President Dalton knows about all of this (he stayed up all night, waiting to take us home from the hospital Sunday morning at 5.) and he´s already giving me a blessing. I didn´t want to tell you this, because I don´t want any of you to freak out, but you need to know why I´ve been using my personal card so much! Well, it´s because I need to buy medicine (it´s not expensive enough for me to get reembursed), and I have to buy food for a special diet. And I´ve already used all of my mission money (and almost all of my emergency fund) getting to and from the doctor´s. I´m really sorry about it! I´m trying the best I can, but I can´t really do anything! :( We stayed home (President´s orders) on Sunday, and the Sisters brought us our lunch, and the Elders from Vila Natal came and administered the sacrament to us. We didn´t have bread, so we used chocolate crackers (all we had!). But I´m anything but discouraged! I´m actually really excited, despite having to miss so much work. I´m just so glad to be here and to be in this work! Saturday, after we got back from the laboratory, we went to city hall for Juvenal and Magda´s wedding! It was so great! They were married legally, until death! And later that afternoon, they were baptized! Now, for a long time, Juvenal had not spoken so much as a word to his brother because they had had a falling out. This conflict brought Juvenal and Madga very close to separating. But just as he was leaving his house to go to the baptism, Juvenal felt, in his heart, that he needed to talk to his brother. So he went there and made up with his brother and his family. They didn´t even know about the wedding. Juvenal and Madga showed up late to their baptism, but they brought with them a lot of family members, including their daughter, Laura. The baptism was so great. They were baptized by a brother who was bishop in the ward where they first went to church. It was such an amazing feeling! Now there is an entire family open to the Gospel. Madga´s baby girl will now be born and raised in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are so many reasons to rejoice! So, there´s something I learned in last Wednesday´s Multizone Conference. It´s President Dalton´s keys to making and accomplishing goals. They are as follows: Deadline Realistic Etched in Stone Always Reviewing Measurable Supreme Being Using these six keys, we can make and accomplish great goals, from key-indicators in the mission field, to preparing for an exam in college, or improving performance in a career. But I would like for us, as a family, to make a goal using this six steps. The goal is as follows: To bring two families to Christ, one being a less-active or inactive family and the other being a nonmember family, before October 2nd, 2015. As I come to the halfway mark in my mission, I was thinking a lot about what I can do to thank and also to support my family. This is what the Spirit told to me I should do. Because I can´t think of any gift greater than this, to help my family experience the thrill of bringing people to Christ. To accomplish the goal about the less-active family, you will need to do some visits, maybe bring people to church. This half of the goal will only be accomplished when every member of the less-active family has returned to church, and (if eligable) the temple. To accomplish the goal about the non-member family, you will need to help find and teach a family. You will need to help the missionaries follow up with them, help them feel welcome in the ward, and help them be baptized and confirmed and progress toward the temple. This half of the goal will only be accomplished when every member of the family is baptized and confirmed and firm in the church. In order to find and teach these two families, you have three great resources: The Missionaries - The missionaries will help you with the teaching. They also have an Area Book full of possible families, and they have their current investigators. They know lots of ways to find and teach people. Through Family Home Evenings and other meetings, they can teach you how to use Preach My Gospel and how you can help them! The Bishop - As you already know, the bishop will help you with integration. He can help you not only with the teaching and finding, but with helping the two families feel at home. He also knows, by way of revelation, which family is ready to be brought back to the fold of Christ. The Holy Ghost - Of course, in order to find these two families, you will need to, as a family, pray for inspiration from Heavenly Father. He knows all of His children, and will guide you two those who are prepared to hear your message. Through the Holy Ghost, you will know exactly what to say and when to say it. As an ordained servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, I promise to you that this goal is very much possible. Please, do not wait! Use the six keys from President Dalton! The deadline is October 2nd. The goal is very realistic. Write the goal down in many places where you can see it and be thinking of ways to accomplish it. And do not change it! Every day, look and your goal and think about what you have done so far, and what you could do to get closer! Always study the scriptures and pray for inspiration! You can measure it by reporting to me about experiences, lessons, people going to church, and keeping commitments! I´ll ask about it every week from here on out! And don´t forget to have faith in the Supreme Being, that He will help you! God and Jesus Christ will be at your side as you embark on this great endeavor! Just have faith that you can do it and that these families are waiting for you. I want you to know that I know that you can do it. I know that you already have work, previous callings, etc., but nothing compares to sharing the temple blessing with two families who really need it! Just think of the joy we have as an eternally sealed family. Don´t you want to share that with the world? This is your opportunity. As a missionary, I´ve learned that, under the direction of the Spirit, I can make certain promises. I promise that working hard to meet this goal will strengthen our family and make our lives better, as well as benefit the entire Joplin Second Ward, even the whole world! Imagine if every year, we brought two families to Christ, bringing one back, and bringing another for the first time. This work will change the world. I testify that the Lord is calling you to embark in His service. I testify that the adversary is working harder than ever to destroy us and our mission, as individuals, and as a whole. Just look at what he is trying to do to me! But I testify that we will win, that nothing can stop in the way of this work. We are the rock cut from the mountain without hands, as spoken in Daniel 2. We, as a people, under the direction of our prophets and apostles and our King, Jesus Christ, will bring this world the truth of the Gospel and the temple blessings. I testify that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives. I testify that God is our Heavenly Father. I testify that this world is His world and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His only true and living church. I say these things in the name of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen. I love you all and have a great week! -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Palmares Estaca Casa Grande Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

I know that this work is the work of God.

So, I can´t really hide the fact that I got sick this week. Really sick. I missed so much work this week! I had to buy gatorade (to keep hydrated) and some meds (I called the mission doctor first). So, sorry for spending so much! I can´t say that I´m all better, but it´s not as bad as it was. It started last weekend, and continued all through the week. But now, it´s better. Whatever happens, it won´t stop me from working this week! Wow, you have no idea the kind of opposition we had last week! Someone threatened to kill an investigator of the other elders, and someone tried to burn down the stake center! Everyone is getting sick! It´s crazy! Luckily, it looks as though things are calming down. It´s funny. I finished reading the Acts of the Apostles. From what I can see, our hardships are absolutely nothing compared to that of the early Apostles in their missions. They were not just mocked, persecuted, and cast out, but they were beaten, stoned, condemned, exiled, crucified, beheaded, burned, etc.! Yikes! I´m feeling pretty good! Between that and what Christ went through during His Atonement, I don´t think I can complain! So there´s some updates on the work: Fred went to church with his family the Sunday before last. It was great! They missed last Sunday, but I did see Fred doing Home Teaching visits! We´ll visit them this week! Juvenal and Magda are so ready to be baptized! Their wedding is this Saturday, 11h30 and the baptism will be 17h, followed by a barbecue! I´m super excited! We haven´t talked to Leonardo since last Monday, but we will keep fighting! We will get them married and he will be baptized! I´m not giving up on them! We took Lucineide and Romeo to the city hall, but she needs to get a more legible copy of her birth certificate. The city hall in her hometown burned down, so... it´s complicated. But we aren´t giving up! They love the church and they love the gospel! Remember Junior? His uncle works in the city hall in Santo Amaro (close to the mission office) and is willing to help! We are also helpingthe family of Antonia, the Relief Society President, to join the church. She´s the only member in her family. We are starting with her sister, Cristiane. She investigated the church in the past, and went to church this week. It´s just hard because it´s almost impossible to find her and her husband during the week. But nothing is impossible for God, nor His children! I´m so happy to be a missionary! It´s such a great calling! General Conference is coming up! Woo! I´m so stoked! It´s going to be even better than last time! And I´m so glad that Boyd K Packer made it to another one! I just hope I don´t almost get a concussion this time! I´m in chapter 35 of the New Testament Student Manual (I´m reading the NT in chronological order, so i´m in 1 Corinthians.) I´m loving it! Not much more to report from this front! I´m still here, and still fighting! I won´t give up until these people with whom I am working are well on their way to being with me and my family in the Celestial Kingdom. I´ll keep doing this work here and I plan on continuing in this cause even after I return to Missouri. I know that this work is the work of God. I know that I am a chosen servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. I testify that He is our Savior, our Capitan and our King. There is nobody on this Earth more powerful than He! I testify of Him in His name, even Jesus Christ, Amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Palmares Estaca Casa Grande Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

Monday, September 15, 2014

It's been a long, hard week.

So, I´m kinda at a loss for words this week. It´s been a long, hard week. We are truly at war. Something that i´ve seen a lot of this week is that opposition will always come. It will come harder and faster and fiercer. All of our batisms fell through. Almost all of our marriages fell through. We are battling so hard with the forces of Satan. We teach, he tempts. We invite, he drives away. It´s a great back-and-forth. Recently, one of the city halls, out of nowhere, decided not to help the Church marry people for free. So we had to switch for another city hall. This week, we planned to take two couples there to mark a marriage. We got there too late and they were not marking any more until the next week. This morning, we arrived in the home of one of the couples, at 7 in the morning to go with them to the city hall. They told us that they had a fight and that we would have to wait for a while. Despite all of this opposition, we will keep fighting. The Lord is approaching. We know it and Satan knows it, and he´s doing everything he can to stop it. But we are not here to merely baptize or marry. We are here to prepare São Paulo for the Second Coming of the Messiah to usher in His Kingdom and to judge the world. I will keep fighting until the end! I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He is at my side, supporting me in this work. I know that God is our Heavenly Father and that He is all powerful. I testify of these eternal truths in the name of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, Amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Palmares Estaca Casa Grande Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

I know that the day of miracles has not ceased!

NOSSA! ESTOU MUITO FELIZ!!! This week was GREAT! There were so many miracles! So many things happened! So, in Palmares B, Presidente placed Sisters! Sister Tucker (from Taylorsville, UT, with 1 yr 2 mnths) and Sister Evaristo (from Lima, Peru, with 8 mnths)! They are pretty cool, and the best part: they like to work! So, we did a little damage control (whitewashing areas are always really risky because you could lose investigators in the transition) and switched Palmares A and B. The sisters are now working where I worked the last four and a half months (so they will take over Cicera e familia, Juvenal and Magda, Rodrigo e familia, Jaqueline e familia, etc.). We are now in the area where Elder Florentino worked. So we had to let go of some elect investigators, but we also inherited some elects. As of yesterday, we are helping three couples (besides Juvenal and Magda) get married. Thier names are as follows: Lucineide and Romeo Elder J. Barker actually made the first contact with them. Lucineide´s a crazy Bahiana (but is really cool and sincere) and Romeo is a timid assembliano (he went to the Assembly of God). But they are both super open to our message and ask a lot of questions. They really want to get married, and go to the temple to be sealed. We will take them to city hall THIS SATURDAY. Last Saturday, we warned Lucineide that the adversary would be working really hard to stop her from progressing in the gospel. Later that night, she had an argument with Romeo, and her daughter got really sick. When she realized that it was the adversary, the argument and the sickness went away really quickly, but it was too late to go to church. Now, they are both determined to let nothing stop them from going to church. Kelly and Leonardo Kelly is a recent convert. When she was baptized, she was separated from Leonardo. After the baptism, they got back together. But Leonard has a desire to be baptized, and they both want to be sealed together in the temple. They just showed up to church and asked our help! What a miracle! Regilaine and Joseildo They are the parents of Vitor, a recent convert. He and a big part of the extended family were baptized at the beginning of the year. Regilaine and Joseildo have a few doubts, but really love the church and want to enter the temple. They just are afraid to get married before they finish paying off some debt. We are trying to explain to them that marriage and baptism will help their situation. If you have any suggestions on what to say, please let me know! There´s a few people we are helping to get baptized: Gabriel He´s 13 or 14 years old. His parents weren´t going to let him be baptized, but Elder Florentino convinced them to let him be baptized on the 14th (now this Sunday). He loves the church and wants to be baptized really badly! Now, his parents are also gaining and interest in the church and expressed desire to marry! Yes! But last week, Gabriel´s cousin got really and suddenly sick. He´s in the hospital, and the famliy visits him every day, so it´s gotten really hard to talk with them. We think this might have been what kept Gabriel from church this Sunday. Lurdes Givanildo´s wife. She went to church! She is a little rebellious and is a little harder to help. For example, she doesn´t want us to visit every day, nor does she want to make a definite goal to be baptized, but she did like the church, so maybe that softened her heart a little. She also is praying to know if she should be baptized this Saturday. She just needs to give up coffee. Guilharme He´s 16 or 17 years old. We met him in the church this Sunday. He had been coming to church for 9 years, but stopped recently. Now, he´s back and we are going to help him be baptized. Igor He showed up to church all by himself! He´s only 10 or 12 years old, and really like church. He´s a close friend of Vitor. He and his mother are ex-investigators. We´ll try to bring them back! This time, we´ll save them as a family! This week was just full of miracles! There´s so many reasons to rejoice! So, Elder Paiva went home last Tuesday. By the time we were at the mission office for the transfer, he was already on the plane to Recife. But he left me a letter, photo, and two ties (they are really cool), and we are emailing each other. So out of my 5 companions, two have already "died"! Yikes! In the New Testament, I´m in John 7. I´m slowing down a bit so that I can use the Institute manual, too. I love reading about the life of Jesus Christ. I´m learning so much from Him! I´m really excited to read during P-Day. Another miracle: A few months ago, Josefa, a recent convert, told us about a woman she worked with. So Josefa and this woman work cleaning a mall that is right next to the temple. The woman was curious and, knowing Josefa was a member, started asking questions. Josefa came to Elder Pinheiro and I for advice. I gave her a Book of Mormon to give to her friend, with an invitation to learn more. This woman lives close to the temple, which is outside of our mission boundaries. Naturally, I thought no more of the incident. This week, Josefa told us that this woman has gone to church and that she and her husband are receiving the missionaries. Just look at how the seeds we plant can bring forth fruits, even if we can´t see them! Another miracle: When I was in Mirna last December, Elder Almeida and I visited a recently baptized young man named Ricardo. I quickly befriended him, and we were excited to see him progress in the gospel, despite subtle opposition from his family. Then, about the time we received Sisters and had to divide the area (about New Years´). Ricardo disappeared. We heard that he had moved to somewhere in the Casa Grande Stake. Since then, I kinda forgot about him, occasionally remembering and wondering where he went to. This Sunday, before sacrament meeting, I saw a young man that looked really familiar. The thought entered my mind, but I dismissed it: it couldn´t be him. But when I saw him again, after church, I decided to ask one of the young women who it was. She said that his name is Ricardo and that he lives in the Casa Grande Ward, and that he is going to serve a mission next year. On the verge of tears, I went to him. He recognized me and we embraced. I was so afraid that he had gone inactive, or fallen away. But he stayed strong the in gospel! I remember how Elder Almeida and I talked to him about being a missionary someday. And now, he was preparing to serve a mission. My heart was full! One more miracle: So, four of the youth in our ward met a drunk in the street who wanted a message of Christ. Not being trained as missionaries, they showed up at the drunk´s house the next day, only to find that they had received the wrong address. They did, however, find an inactive member from the Casa Grande Ward. He had lost his job, his wife, and his children to a terrible addiction to alcohol. But the four youths shared a healing message of Jesus Christ with him. They made a covenant with him to stop drinking. They then threw away all of his alcohol. From that moment, he stopped drinking. The four youths returned later and helped him clean up his house. He returned to church and started talking with Bishop to go through the repentance process and also to recieve welfare aid. Now, he´s been coming to church every Sunday. I know that the day of miracles has not ceased. I know that Jesus is the Christ, that He is all powerful and that there is no one whom He cannot save. I testify of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His mission and His Atonement. I know that He loves us and that He has called all of us to assist in this work. These things I know in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. I love you all and have a great week! -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Palmares Estaca Casa Grande Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I love reading about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ!

Transfers! Elder Florentino and Elder Mathews are being transferred (the area will be white-washed, probably closed, and combined with my area). But Elder J. Barker and I are staying together! We´ll be together for General Conference, Juvenal and Magda´s wedding and baptism, my one-year mark, and a bunch of other stuff. This transfer will be DOIDO (CRAZY!)! I´m talking with President Dalton to see if I can get an extension on my mission so that I can see Juvenal and Magda get sealed (They can go to the temple in late September 2015, and my mission will probably end in early September 2015). We´ll see what happens. In the Bible, I´m in John 5! I love reading about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ! I´m learning so much about how I should be as His representative. I love the scriptures! So, we had a huge miracle happen last night! We were walking home (a little discouraged) after a busy day of running around in the rain, when the bishop called. Here is more or less of the conversation that occurred: Bispo: "Oi, Elders, you know Givanildo?" Elder J. Barker: "Which one?" Bispo: "Givanildo from the Elder´s Quorum Presidency" Elder Richins: "The recent convert?" Bispo: "Yeah, that´s the one! I just got done visiting him and his family. You remember his wife, Lurdes?" Elder Richins (to Elder J. Barker): "I don´t think you´ve met her. She´s super flaky. We´ve already tried and tried to invite her but she doesn´t want anything." Elder J. Barker (to Bispo): "Sure?" Bispo: "She wants to be baptized. I´ve already approved everything. Her baptism will be this Saturday. Can you come and teach her this week?" Both Elders: "Sure!" (we ended the call) ".......... WHAT?!" And that´s how it happened. We don´t know what bishop did, or what he said, or how he did it, but Lurdes is going to be baptized! One of the most spiritually uplifting parts is that more than three months ago, I promised to Givanildo that if he stayed true to the Lord and magnified his calling, his family will accept the gospel. I read to him the following, from Doctrine and Covenants 31: "Behold, you have had many afflictions because of your family; nevertheless, I will bless you and your family, yea, your little ones;and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you in my church." I testify that the Lord qualifies His servants. If we are worthy and diligent and believe in His power, He will send the Holy Ghost to tell us what to say. I testify that in accordance to our faith and diligence in magnifying our callings, miracles will happen. They do not always happen when we want them, but they will happen when the Lord sees fit. Just to fill you in on the people we are working with: Breno... disappeared. again. So I don´t know what to do. We´ll try to find him again. But we will probably have to give up for now. Weverson... blessed the sacrament this week! It was great! Adilson helped him do it because he was really nervous, but did great! Vanessa and Cicera didn´t go to church. We will work with them at least one more week. Jaqueline... came with all three of her kids. We didn´t talk with João Vitor, but we will baptize him before the end of this transfer. She´s doing really good! Rodrigo... also came to church with his family (everyone except his dad and brother) He´s progressing towards baptism and has a testimony of the Restoration. Juvenal... went to church. His son is also returning to activity and even brought his girlfriend. Juvenal and Magda... are going great still! I love you all so much! Have a great week! -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Palmares Estaca Casa Grande Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

The Standard Works rock!

This week was really good! I finished the Old Testament! Now I´m in Matthew 22! I love the Bible! It testifies SO MUCH of the Restoration, Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the Priesthood, and, most importantly of all, the life and Atonement of Jesus Christ. I´m really loving it! No wonder it´s had such an impact on so many people! The Standard Works rock! I bought new shoes: they are boots made for construction working. All the missionaries here have them because they are cheap (R$44 or about US$20), durable, and... cheap. They are also pretty ugly. But now I have two pairs of shoes, so I can keep one nice and polished, just for meetings. There´s not really much more to say... I´ll just skip to talking about the investigators: Breno So, everything seemed like it was going great when we talked with him on Saturday. But on Sunday, when we went to get him, he was nowhere to be found. So we will give him one more week. We just can dedicate all of our time to someone who won´t progress. But he´s so great during the week! We´ll pray for him! Adriana and Beatriz and Stefanie A family that we haven´t taught too much. We just taught Adriana (the mom) and Stefanie (the 13-year-old) about the Plan of Salvation. It´s very different from what they had learned in the Catholic Church, but they really liked it. We will return and talk with them today. All three are marked for baptism on the 7th. Cisera and Weverson and Vanessa Weverson and Vanessa went to church! Vanessa is coming back and she wants to go to seminary! Weverson was sustained to receive the Aaronic Priesthood in the office of a priest! Next Sunday, he says, he´ll bless the sacrament. And Cisera was too busy to go to church, but she promised to go next Sunday. We´ll talk with her more tonight. Juvenal and Magda THEY ARE GETTING MARRIED!!!! We went to the city hall right when it opened last Saturday and we scheduled their wedding! It´s going to be on the 27th of September! They will be baptized on that same day and confirmed with the Holy Ghost on the 28th! So they will go to the temple on the 28th of September of 2015! Woo-Hoo! Jaqueline and João Vitor and Ludimila and Camila Jaqueline didn´t go to church because Camila was sick. She´s doing really good! She´s super excited to be a missionary! Ludimila and Camila love Primary! It´s just João Vitor who is having a really rough time. I don´t know what happened, but he just lost interest and is now hiding from us. We can only fast and pray at this point. Gabriel and Guilharme Gabriel received the Aaronic Priesthood! He´s doing great! He´ll pass the sacrament next Sunday (we´re going to teach him!) But Guilharme doesn´t want to go to church (he was going for a year and a half! He just lost interest after he received the Holy Ghost!) We´ll keep trying to bring him back! Juvenal He´s returning to activity, and brought two of his kids to church, one of which isn´t baptized yet. He´s already doing his home teaching visits again! Awesome! Maria and Fred The only reason they didn´t go to church was because they were making our lunch (oh the irony). But it was a really good lunch! They started making it 8 in the morning! It was Brasilian barbeque! So good! But they will both come back! They want to go to the temple! That´s about it! I´m out of time! I love you all and I know that Christ lives and I know that this is His Church! -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Palmares Estaca Casa Grande Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

We are helping so many people return to church! It feels so good.

This week was really good! We are seeing so much progress here! It´s like nothing I´ve ever seen! This ward has changed so much since I got here! Sacrament Meeting was absolutely packed! It was so great! We are helping so many people return to church! It feels so good to se them return! So, I´m going to go through the list: Breno. So, we lost contact with Breno for a few days. Mykail went on surprise vacation to the beach, so he couldn´t help us. Breno didn´t go to church, but we fasted for him yesterday, so I´m sure that we will find him today and he will be baptized this Sunday. Pablo. Pablo didn´t go to church, either, but we talked to him yesterday and discovered that it was only because he didn´t wake up in time. He said that he´s still excited for his baptism this Sunday (originally Saturday), and that he wants to continue in the church. João Vitor (member) and Beto (young men´s president) are helping him out a lot! João Vitor. His baptismal interview didn´t go so well. He passed everything, but said that he didn´t want to be baptized. We think this is because he was already angry and onery when we found him. He´s got some kind of ADHD, and we really need to complete this family. He went to church yesterday and liked it. Now it´s just a matter of helping him accept the baptism this Sunday. We fasted for him, too. Jaqueline e Ludimila. They are doing really good! They were confirmed yesterday. Jaqueline said that she felt a difference before and after the confirmation. She´s super excited to visit her friends with us and also to go to the temple next year! All is going so well with her and her family! The only problem is that she loves to give food to us, but she really can´t afford it, but she gets upset if we refuse! She´s so great! Rodrigo e Family. Elder J. Barker found this family last week on an exchange. Everyone is baptized, except Rodrigo (14). We visited them yesterday and taught about the Plan of Salvation. They all loved it and expressed desire and intend to return to church next Sunday and work towards being sealed in the temple. We will help Rodrigo work towards baptism on 6th of September. Juvenal e Magda. They are going really well! After a brief relapse, Juvenal quit drinking beer! And they are going to get married! Our fast worked! Both Juvenal and Magda are really excited for this Saturday, when we will go to City Hall to mark their wedding. It was really cool! We convinced them to finally commit to marriage. I challenged them to get married and let God bless them. It was a very powerful lesson. Now, they are on their way... finally! And Magda is pregnant! Cisera, Weverson, e Vanessa. Vanessa is on the verge of coming back, and Weverson is still going strong. We will visit all three of them today, and we will try to help Cisera come to church. We´re going to complete this family! And they all know how to make cake. And they love giving us cake! Gabriel e Guilharme. Gabriel went to church and will receive the Aaronic Priesthood this Sunday! He was sustained in church yesterday! It´s so great! He´ll be a deacon! Guilharme is another story... but we will get him to church! He´s so young, and these first months are so critical. But with the help of Gabriel, Selma (their family-friend and ride to church), and the Lord, he will stay active! Juvenal. So, this story is pretty interesting. I was trying to call Juvenal (the investigator), but I accidently called Juvenal (the inactive member). Juvenal said over the phone that he was wanting to return to church. The next day, we asked Bishop Getúlio who he wants us to reactive. Among the group was Juvenal. So we visited his house later in the week. Turns out he was really strong in the church, even the Ward Mission Leader, but he fell away. He expressed desire to return. Last Saturday, he gave a powerful testimony of the gospel to his nonmember wife, and on Sunday, he went to church! We will help him baptize his wife and daughter! Fred e Maria. I attached a photo with Maria and Fred to this email. They are from Pará, a state in the North of Brasil. They are really cool. Maria is helping out a lot with Jaqueline (recent convert). We are currently helping Fred come back. He flaked out yesterday, but sounded more firm for this Sunday. Turns out that his sister is Rodrigo´s mom (also called Jaqueline). We will use the two Jaquelines to reactivate Fred. I really want to help this family come back! We will have lunch in their house on Sunday! So, those are the "main characters" of this week. Please remember them in your prayers! There are so many miracles that we are seeing here! I´m writing them all down so that I can share them with you when I return! I started Daniel this week in my Bible study! I really want to send an email to Ashton. Do you have her address? I also want to know more about Dad´s and Kyle´s missions. I realized that I know very little about them! If you could, send me stories! Or even pictures! That´s about it for this week! I want to leave you with my testimony that God lives and that He loves all of His children. It´s our sacred responsability, as members of the only true and living Church of Jesus Christ, to help them to return to the Kingdom of God. I know that Jesus Christ died for us, and that He arose from the tomb as a perfect, glorified, resurrected Being. I know that, because of Him, we will overcome physical and spiritual death, and receive eternal exaltation, according to our own faithfulness and obedience. I love my Savior and I love this work! I leave you this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. I love you! Have a great week! Elder Richins