Monday, September 15, 2014
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