Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment

Maceio Brazil Mission Assignment
Serving in God's Army


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