Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment

Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment
Serving in God's Army


31 March 2014 -- A Great Week


     Well this week was really good. Really rewarding. We taught Sara who is a lady who has been progressing ever since we started teaching her. She works on Sundays but can switch with a co-worker once a month. But in April she is on vacation So she can be baptized on the 12th of April. She has been coming along great. She has really passed through a lot of garbage in her life. But everything she passed through has helped her and prepared her to know that truth that the Church of Jesus Christ teaches. We have already taught her everything that the missionaries normally teach. Now when we visit her we teach about things really advanced haha like this last week we met with her and she asked about patriarchal blessings! It was cool. But because we had already taught and she understood everything, it was a really spiritual lesson and she got even more excited to be baptized and be part of the church. Now when people at her work say things against the church she just laughs because she knows with a strong certainty that these things are true. She sincerely thanked us this week for all that we were doing for her. It was a really great feeling. And I thought to myself. I don't wanna go home. I don't wanna stop helping people come to the truth.

Lucas and Cicero recent converts!
     This week Lucas was baptized and we got to know his niece, Raquel who is a little fireball. She is fourteen but is very smart and way cool. She wants to be baptized too. This Sunday she came to church and absolutely loved it. She said she didn't want to leave and wanted to stay for the choir practice but her dad called and said he didn't want her anywhere near this religion. UH WHY! So this week we're gunna get to know him a little bit. She said that nothing will stop her from coming to church but we still need to talk to her father to see how we can help him understand our church. The youth have a big activity coming up and Raquel, Lucas and Cicero, our recent converts are already getting super involved in the activity, it's actually kind of funny to see. They have more energy than the members are used to, haha. We teach with Lucas and Cicero almost every day. They are so full of energy and want to learn more and more about the church, the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. This week we walked to a little city that is super far away and when we got there we started teaching and a relative of the family came in and was super drunk. And we tried to go on but he destroyed the spirit and wanted to hear us preach. It was kind of funny.
     The work is coming along great! We are super excited! I love being a missionary!
Sorry the e-mail is short. This lady next to me keeps asking for help hahaha, but I love you so much! Have a great conference!

Elder Ralph


24 March 2014 -- Cicero! its a big one :)‏

   This week was all about Cicero. We started teaching Cicero a couple weeks ago. First we were teaching his mom but we met him and he started progressing a lot! Ever since the first lesson he said that he wanted to know if God really called Joseph Smith as a prophet because it would make a huge difference in his salvation. We gave him a Book of Mormon and we invited him to read and pray about it to know if it is true. But something was still holding him back to be baptized. It was really interesting to see his progress because when we first started teaching him he was very defensive about his religion and what he had learned. He said that he was already baptized, that he was cured by the preacher of his church and his dad was cured of cancer, and he wants to be a preacher... Complicated....
But we stayed strong with him and how he could know which church is true by reading the Book of Mormon. He read and read and read, and now he knows that that Book of Mormon is true, that God restored the Church of Jesus Christ. But something was still holding him back. He came to church last week and the stake president gave a wonderful talk on families and how children need to honor their parents and a few other topics. At the end of the sacrament meeting Cicero asked if he could talk to the stake president. So he and the stake president talked for about a half an hour and me and my companion just waited and prayed. When they finished talking, Cicero told us what they had talked about. Cicero told him that his mom and family are completely against him going to our church, being baptized, reading the Book of Mormon, that they didn't even want him to come to church that day, but he came anyway. He asked how he could honor his father and mother and still come to church, be baptized and so on. He said that he wanted to be baptized in the church, that he felt really good at the church and wanted to be part of it, when he said that I couldn't help but smile. He got his answer and wanted to be baptized. The president gave him some good counsel and now it was our turn to talk with his mom. We didn't even notice that the mom was against us, because she always was there to listen to our lessons and always asked questions. Cicero told us that when we first came to his house his mom called their preacher over to her house and he said a bunch of stuff about our church! That was one reason why Cicero was so stubborn at first, hahaha. But his heart was softened through the Book of Mormon and he saw for himself that the church really is the church of Jesus Christ. So we went to talk to his mom and helped her understand a little bit more about the church. It was amazing to see how the Holy Ghost guided us, in what to say, where to go. It was really amazing to see. Cicero was baptized this past Saturday. The baptism was super special and his smile was SO big. I really felt the spirit when he came out of the water. Baptism is SO powerful.  
   SO this Sunday I was asked to give a talk on how the members can help strengthen the recent converts. And to help with this I asked a young adult, returned missionary and member of the bishopric to confirm Cicero, thinking that he would give an amazing blessing. I even told him that he wanted to serve a mission! So the time came and Cicero went up front. And the guy didn't give him a blessing, just confirmed to him the Holy Ghost.... I couldn't believe it. I was so frustrated at that moment that I couldn't even think! Then this feeling turned into sadness. The first blessing that could have been given to Cicero from someone who holds the REAL priesthood of God wasn't given. A spiritual experience that strengthens new members didn't happen. I don't want Cicero be become less active. I want him to serve a mission. For the first time on my mission I thought to myself.... I don't want to be here in this area. I can't handle this. And that's when the sacrament was passed to me, and I couldn't help but cry... It was as if the Savior came and called me to repentance. I felt something very powerful at that moment. Last week we taught a family home evening about the atonement of Christ and it seemed as though everything that we taught came to my head. I am so thankful for the atonement of Jesus Christ. 
     So once I calmed down I went up to sit on the stand and listened to the first speaker and I started thinking about my talk and about my family, which was part of my talk. I was going to talk about how I felt at home, how my family treated me, how they always supported me, how they always forgave me, how much I love my family, and... I was going to relate that feeling to how all members of the church, a family, should feel the same way. So I started thinking about that and I already had a lump in my throat. When it was my turn to talk I was basically already crying and it just got worse. Yeah my family already knows that when I talk about my family, I cry. That hasn't changed. Love you guys! And I got my companion and one another missionary to cry too, Wahaha. But it set the tone for the rest of my talk. I talked about the prodigal son and Mosiah 18: 9-10 how we are to mourn with those that mourn, comfort those who are in need of comfort... It was good. Many people complimented me afterwards.

This week was really good I really learned a lot. I'm so happy to be on my mission, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! The mission is the best! :)

Thank you all for all your love and support.
Love Elder Ralph


10 March 2014 -- Uma Semana Ultima!‏

   This week was really good. Elder Martins said that it went by really fast. This week we found some great people. We found a seventeen year old boy who is a member of another church. After teaching him about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ I asked him how he was feeling or what were his thoughts about what we had taught (which isn't something I would normally say ). He responded saying that he wanted to know if the Joseph Smith really was called by God to be a Prophet or not, because through him and his teaching as a prophet of God, I can find my salvation.... I was impressed... I had never heard an answer like the answer that that boy gave. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and invited him to read it and pray about it so that he could know for himself if Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God. 

   He accepted our invitation for baptism. It was great teaching him and we were really excited to teach more. The next day we went back and he was ready on the defense. He said that he talked with his preacher...(why?!) and he had a lot of questions, scriptures, and doubts against the Book of Mormon, the Church of Christ and the baptism that we had offered to him. It was interesting.... Everything he asked or accused us of we had a scripture that supported us. Something that hit him really hard was when we explained how a person receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. Many religions believe that the spirit falls upon a person in the act of baptism. But the Bible teaches that we receive it by the laying on of hands. The boy was calmed and we discussed the scriptures that he had read. The restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is so amazing! I wanted to talk to this boy's preacher! haha. But he is sincerely reading the Book of Mormon and preparing himself for baptism. :)
   We had a chance to teach Sara this week and we went to help her with her doubt about the Holy Ghost. We talked about a scripture that talks about the laying on of hands and we were having a hard time understanding her confusion. Then my companion said something simply or explained about the context of the scripture and it seemed like all the light just turned on. It was like..... WOW! Just one little detail, resolved all our problems. The Spirit is GREAT! I gave my comp a hug after the lesson. :)
   Sara now understands the correct way to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It's kinda funny because she is mad at her other church for not teaching her the truth but she also said that she feels the desire to teach her family about these truths or show to them the fullness of the gospel. A scripture came into my mind. She had read last week Lehi's dream and we explained to her the significance of everything that was in the dream. So I opened up Lehi's dream and read how when he had eaten the fruit he only wanted that his family partake of the fruit too. I told her that she has found the fruit, more white than any other fruit. The only true fruit and she already wants her family to partake of the fruit. We invited her again to partake completely of the fruit and be baptized... It was good! It's hard to explain what happens in lessons because the spirit isn't the same when you try to type it out on a computer, haha. She is so excited to be baptized! She came to a baptism that we had this week and she said that she wanted to cry. She is so GOLDEN, it's driving me insane! I love being a missionary! Thank you all for Everything! Love Ya!
   Elder Ralph


3 March 2014 -- Carnival!

Hello Family friends!

   Well this week was rather interesting. We passed the whole week trying to avoid the Carnival parades that have been passing this whole week and this coming week. Because of the parties that have been taking place it's been really hard to find people at home. Almost everyone travels to others cities or goes to visit family. But it gave us an opportunity to meet new people. 

  This week I really saw a lot of growth in my son Elder Martins he is getting really comfortable talking to people and responding to the problems that they have. He said that at the beginning of his mission he always got sad when people rejected us or didn't take us seriously but now he just feels sad, and wants to do even more to try and help them. He's doing really good.
This week we found a lot of people who accepted baptism but need to get married, BUT! They have a desire to be married... It's interesting. They know that it's wrong but just don't correct their mistakes. But we will help them out :) I love weddings! haha sometimes I feel like a wedding counselor, haha.

   One of our golden investigators had a doubt this week and I found it really interesting what her doubt was. We have been working with Sara for quite some time now and she has been loving everything that we have been teaching her and she feels that everything is true and agrees with it. But this week we talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ and she had a doubt. She believes that when a person is baptized they automatically receive the Holy Ghost. And she has never seen the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Ghost. We showed her some scriptures and she was stunned. She lived her whole life believing something and then we show up and tell her that it's wrong... She was really taken back. It was a great opportunity to bear testimony about the fullness of the Gospel that was restored through Joseph Smith!  She said that she always felt that there was something missing inside her that she needed. And it was the Gift of the Holy Ghost! I love this gospel it is SO true and Full!