This week had its ups and downs. There were days that just didn't go well and there were days that we couldn't help but smile for the answers that God gave to our prayers in relation to finding and teaching people. There were many people that we met during this past week that were really receptive and accepted our invitation to be baptized. But by the end of the week these people lost all interest in learning more about the gospel, going to church, or even receive us in their homes, which can get really frustrating after a while. At times it seems like a group of Catholics, Adventists, Protestants and monks are followings us around and right when we leave a house after a spiritual lesson, they all come into the life of that one person and cause havoc - outside influences. But even with all the rejections, the hard work, and disappointments there is always a sliver of light or the diamond in the rough. That diamond is Maria.
Maria has told us about times that she doesn't want to be baptized and will stay in her own religion, but at the end of a lesson she wants to be baptized in our religion, haha, it's kind of funny. She said ever since the first time we came that she felt the Holy Ghost and knew that what we were teaching was true. She even has a sister who is a member in São Paulo (far away) and has always heard good things about the church, she just needs to make the decision and be strong with it. We are really excited to see her progress and we pray every day that she is protected from the influences of the world. This week we also got kicked out of a house. It's been a long time since I've been kicked out of a house so it was pretty special to me. It always helps to have a companion with a positive attitude so that these things don't get ya down. :)
One of the hardest challenges here in Brazil is helping everyone go to church because the church is rather far away from our area and people don't have cars, they have to walk in the hot sun!
This past Tuesday was our Christmas conference which was super fun, all the missionaries made videos thanking President and Sister Gonzaga for the work they have done for us. This is/was their last Christmas.... I'm gunna miss them. But they will go home at the same time as me so it'll all be good. Speaking of going home! The mission secretary called me and asked to which airport I will fly into so he could buy my plane ticket... I didn't know what to say when he asked me that... I wanted to say...."I don't wanna go home." "I don't wanna think about that kind of stuff." Or that "my airport was bombed" so I have to stay here in Brazil, but I couldn't lie....weird to think about that. At the Christmas conference I sang in a quartet with three other American Elders, "Far Far away on Judaea's Plains" in A Capella. It was super good and we didn't even practice! I sang base!
One thing that was kind of difficult for me this week was church. There was hardly any one there. And none of my recent converts came this Sunday. I felt so.... lame. I felt like I wasn't doing anything to help this little branch here in Lagarto and they really need all the help they can get. The sacrament really helped me that day, I really felt that I was becoming more and more like my Savior, feeling how He felt. I was able to understand just a hair more of how He felt. And I know that I have SO much more to improve till I can become like him. Later on Sunday I found out that a large part of our recent converts went to Aracaju, a nearby capital city where the church is really strong and there is a huge chapel there and they went to the sacrament meeting there! This relieved SO much stress. I am so thankful that I am on a mission, that God trusted me, and called me to represent his son Jesus Christ. I love this work and I don't want to be anywhere else. I know that this church is true, I don't have doubts of it. Thank you all for your love and support!