Happy St. Patrick´s Day! Obviously they don´t have this holiday here, but I am in a ward with two other American missionaries so we remembered what today is. Today is also the three year anniversary from when I got the call saying I was accepted into grad school at UCSB :) I can´t believe it has already been so long. Life is passing too quickly!
This week will be an exciting one because on Wednesday I will complete 1 year & 3 months in the mission and Thursday we will have zone conference with President & Sister Gaertner here in Palmas with us. I am looking forward to the zone conference!
Last week turned out much better than we thought it would. We were worried because the first couple of days during the week weren´t super productive and then we traveled to Gurupi on Wednesday to go on exchanges with the sisters there. Gurupi is 3 & a half hours away by bus and for some reason I got pretty sick on the way there. Once we got off the bus I got better, but man, I feel like the 12 hour busride to Brasília passes faster than the few hours on the bus. I must admit, though, that the view was amazing. I have never seen so much open land and greenery!! I thought the busride to Miracema was gorgeous, but the one to Gurupi has it beat by a longshot. I am pretty sure within that three hour busride I saw enough land to fit millions and millions of people. It was so vast and open! I took pictures but they don´t even capture one one-hundredth of what I was seeing.
Some cool stories from this past week, on Friday night the sisters in Miracema had a baptism for a young man named Mateus. How they found Mateus started with a simple contact Sister P. Gonçalves and I made when I was on exchanges there in the beginning of February. It was 7:30pm and all of the appointments she planned had fallen through. We didn´t have anyone else to visit so we prayed to know which street to walk down and said we would talk with everybody we saw in the street. We decided on the next street up and right as we turned down it we saw a woman out front of her house. She was leaving to go to school but we stayed in the front and talked with her three kids, the oldest one being 14 and the youngest 7. Sister P. Gonçalves marked to go back the next week and when she did, their friend Mateus was visiting. They met Mateus, invited him to church, and the rest is history :) It is amazing how a simple contact led them to one of the Lord´s elects. No effort is wasted!
Sister Timario and I also found how true this statement is. Friday night we received a referral from our neighbor. Her friend who lives in São Paulo called to say her cousin, Karol, lives in our area. They passed her address to us and Saturday we went to find Karol. We got to the apartment complex and went to the address we had. Well, Karol didn´t live there. We felt so strongly we needed to find her so we thought we would try the other buildings at that complex. Her apartment number was 203 so we knocked every apartment 203, luckily there were only 8 buildings. The whole time I just kept thinking, "Heavenly Father, we are doing our best. We dont have a phone number to call her or any other address." In my heart I felt like we would be blessed for the effort we were making. We finished knocking all the doors and still didn´t meet Karol. We figured we would have to ask our neighbor to call her friend and verify the address.
Sunday morning came and as I was getting ready for church I decided to watch some Mormon Messages I have in Portuguese on a DVD. One message caught my attention called "Domingo Virá" which means Sunday Will Come. The message talked about the Friday when Christ was crucified and how the circumstances seemed so bleak. Our Friday this past week was honestly terrible...I dont know what went wrong but Friday was horrible, Saturday was a little better and there I was, Sunday morning. Most of our investigators Saturday night had said they wouldn´t be able to make it to church so the prospects at church weren´t making me too excited. Saturday night I had written in my planner that one of my goals for Sunday was to have more faith. I tried to start but it was hard. Like I said last week, Sundays make or break the week.
I know this email is ridiculously long so I will sum up how great Sunday was. We walked by the young women´s room 10 minutes before church started and saw a young woman sitting alone. We went to introduce ourselves and guess who it was...Karol!! She came to church on her own because she had seen the church and knew where it was. We also had two other investigators there for the first time, ones we thought wouldn´t come this week! I was so happy my heart wanted to burst with joy! The rest of the day was marvelous as well.
Just remember, regardless of what happens on Friday, Sunday will come. This was a message I learned this week. Here are some quotes from the talk and the link to the message.