Today starts my last full week in the mission (our weeks go from Monday to Sunday in our daily planners) which means next Sunday will be my LAST Sunday in the misison. It still doesn´t feel real. It will be the last time I hear the sacrament blessed in Portuguese, the last time I hear the teachers speak in Portuguese, the last time I hear the hymns in sacrament meeting in Portuguese, and the last time I read the scriptures in Portuguese in church as a full-time missionary. I would be lying if I said I didn´t let a few tears fall during sacrament meeting yesterday when it hit me that June has started. I can officially say this month I will be home. Only those who have served missions will be able to fully comprehend the mixed emotions I am feeling. My poor companion has had to deal with me being excited, anxious, sad, stressed out, and slightly freaking out every time I think about the mission ending haha.
This past week we had SO many miracles happen. Remember a couple of weeks ago I said I would tell Gabriel´s story after it unfolded? Well, here it goes.
Gabriel met the elders in Cabeceiras over 5 years ago when there was still an official operating branch there. He didn´t really have too much interest, the church left, and that was that. Last year in Planaltina DF he met the elders again. He was 16 years old, had some interest, and took the lessons. Shortly after, he moved back to Cabeceiras where the church still hadn´t started up again. He "fell away" for a short period of time but then Silvio, one of the members in Cabeceiras, found out about Gabriel and started visiting him. The group in Cabeceiras started up a couple of months ago and Gabriel has been going ever since. Our first Friday in Cabeceiras we visited Gabriel and I thought to myself, "What´s keeping him from being baptized?" That Sunday, President Gaertner came to Formosa to do interviews because he is in charge of the district, and Gabriel came, too. He came up to us and told us he wanted to be baptized. We technically aren´t allowed to proselyte in Cabeceiras but we asked for persmission from President Gaertner and he said we could teach Gabriel.
This past Saturday Gabriel was baptized and yesterday he was confirmed :) He is super excited to go on a mission next year and is already preparing himself. Even in those months he wasn´t going to church, he continued studying and has a ton of knowledge about the church. It was so great to see the support he is receiving from the members in Cabeceiras. He is the first baptism there in over 5 years; his baptism is a milestone for the members of Cabeceiras. In a couple of months I think Cabeceiras will open as an area with missionaries full-time and in no time will be a branch.
|Picture of Gabriel with the members from Cabeceiras and his family.|
Life is good. I am freaking out about the fact that the mission is almost over. Lately the scripture Isaiah 55:8-9 has come up a lot in my studies and in my life. People have said it to me, other missionaries have quoted it to me, and it comes up in one way or another during my studies. I don´t quite understand what the Lord is trying to tell me, but in due time, I am sure it will all click.
I hope you are all happy & healthy! Thank you for your support these past 17 months. I can´t believe how quickly the time has passed.
Have a great week!