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Semana 14--Success!

By 8:07 PM

Olá família!!

Loved your emails and news from last week - Adam´s race schedule sounds CRAZY! I´m so proud of the success he´s having, but know that this is a super stressful time for him travelling everywhere and worrying about racing on top of finishing up senior year of high school. Also can´t believe that you guys got to visit the old house in California! Sounds like everything is going well.

Nothing exciting happened this week to report, except for yesterday...

I HAD MY FIRST BAPTISM!!!! 

Yahoo! We are finally seeing success here in Natal! We baptized a 14 year old boy that we´ve been preparing and teaching for the past few weeks. I didn´t mention anything about having his baptism marked because I didn´t want to jinx our luck.. you never know with baptisms, anything could fall through at the last second so I didn´t want to spoil our luck! Saturday night we baked a cake for the baptism (no, we didn´t go to bed on time) and figured out the usual plan for getting investigators/recent converts to church with one car. 



The baptism itself was actually really funny.. the boy we baptized has a few.. special needs. Bishop and the elders that interviewed him felt like he understood enough to be baptized however, and we trust that he understands too! It´s really sweet, we asked him about how he likes church and our lessons and what he learns and he says he LOVES church because they don´t yell and shout and stand up and listen to electric guitars and drums like in other churches here hahah (speaking of other churches, they have this church here called the Snowball church - literally started thinking that the world is a giant snowball and other crazy ideas) but we managed to bring his mom to watch the baptism! But when he went to enter into the baptismal font, the door was locked and none of our keys to open it worked.. so we waited awkwardly for like 20 minutes for something to show up with the right key. And then the funny part - he had to be baptized 3 times because he couldn´t figure out how to be completely submerged under the water.. every time his feet or his head would come up out of the water and they needed to baptize him again. That was a new experience for me to see haha BUT we successfully baptized Tiago and all was well!





The other experience I wanted to talk about happened on sunday night. Sister Carvalho and I had gone back to our apartment to fill out our weekly report to give to our ward mission leader, and as we were leaving we saw a young mom and her toddler walking towards us. We stopped her and started talking to her. We discovered that she had attended sacrament meeting twice when she was much younger. As we were trying to understand why she maybe stopped going or didn´t progress within the first few minutes, she said to us, "I am in the worst circumstances right now" and burst into tears as she explained what had been happening to her in her life. I won´t recount the personal details, but over the course of a few years her husband went to jail, she lost her job due to severe depression, and her family doesn´t support her. She told us she felt completely hopeless.

At that moment, both Sister Carvalho and I knew that we were put in her path to help her, and that she had been prepared through all of these challenges of her life to accept the gospel this time around. We asked her if she was willing to make sacrifices, to accept our help and do her part - she said she would do anything. We gave her a Book of Mormon and a return visit for this afternoon, and she grabbed onto the book like her life depended on it. It was one of those moments where I reflected on my own attitude towards the gospel and the scriptures - do I really value them like this young woman did? The source to save my life? I can´t really explain my thoughts well around this experience, but I have spent so much time between last night and today worrying about this young woman and hoping that I can do all I can to help her. This is the purpose of missionaries, of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, to bring the saving means to the lives of others through the restored gospel and the Book of Mormon. 

This week I started to read through the family history book that mom made for me, with all of the stories of my ancestors who joined the church. As I read of my valliant ancestors, who had the great priveledge of being converted to the church by the prophet John Taylor when he was a missionary in England, or another from the testimony of Wilford Woodruff as a missionary, or another who received a personal witness and testimony from Martin Harris about seeing the Book of Mormon - I couldn´t believe that I came from such an amazing legacy of people, that received witnesses and testimonies from the founders of our church. But more than this, I was overcome with the Spirit that my ancestors began their own legacy, that acting on a testimony of hearing the restored gospel and being baptized led me to where I am today - on a mission myself. One single decision cause cascade for generations, for the eternities, and how faithful and dilligent these pioneers of the gospel were for every one of their descendants! The greatest thing is that we can ALL be our own pioneers of the gospel - that we can make decisions with the Lord as our partner that will dictate the direction of generations to come.

I am so grateful that I made the decision to come on a mission. I am beginning to understand so many different aspects of the gospel and the world in a different light, that I would have never been able to without this experience. I have a new understanding of the scriptures, of church attendance, of prayer, of service, of the Atonement and repentance, of faith and dilligence, of Christlike attributes, and of Christ Himself. I only wish that everyone could go on a mission and experience this for themselves!

I love you all, I am loving the work more and more every day, and also increasingly hating the heat ;)

Amo vocês!


Sister Brown

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