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Semana 25

By 2:08 PM

Oi família!!  I can´t wait to tell you all about this week :)

Last sunday I fasted for some miracles to happen in my life and my area, and yesterday they were all realized. I fasted for a few specific miracles - for baptisms who would stay firm in the church, that the ward would grow, that our teaching group would increase in size and quality, and that I could start losing weight (ha, ha). Wanna know what happened this week? Exactly what I fasted for. We had the baptism of Emanoel yesterday, who is another eleito that I talked about last week, we had a ward frequency of 100 PEOPLE (which is a huge jump from our normal frequency of like 75), we had 7 INVESTIGATORS at church (huge success too), we have an awesome teaching group with lots of potential, and to top it all off I got really sick this week and lost 10 pounds #success. 

Needless to say, this really was a week of miracles! I can see the hand of the Lord in all of these circumstances and in our daily work, and it gives me more and more motivation to keep going. Even though I´m in my 4th transfer in this area, I pass the same people, the same streets, do the same routine, every day I wake up with excitement to teach the restored gospel. I´m grateful that I haven´t burned out in this area, that´s a miracle in and of itself for me.

Sister Brown and Adriano, a recent convert

Another miracle from this week - we found a FAMILY to teach! The mom and two of her kids came to church on sunday and they all want to be baptized! Their uncle came up to us this week when we were visiting them and said to us, "hey, I know your church in Mirassol, and I want to be baptized in the waters there!" I was kinda shocked.. like no one has just ever come up to me the first time I´ve met them and told me point blank, "I want to be baptized" haha. Sister Coelho started laughing when she saw my face, but we were super excited and are going to work with their whole family! They have a 16 year old daughter who´s 7 months pregnant who unfortunately we can´t really baptize due to some circunstances.. but the rest of the family seems super excited and interested. Keep them in your prayers that we can baptize them and that they will let the gospel change their lives!

While this week was awesome, we still ran into some difficulties. It was a hard week in that it is so hard to see people making bad decisions, even when you are there trying to offer them the greatest blessing and source of happiness that exists. It stings when people just straight up reject you, but what hurts worse is when you´ve already given them what they need to fix their lives, but through their actions and decisions they show you, and God, that they are not willing to give up their will to the will of the Lord. We visited Daniel our less-active convert who returned to drinking and won´t go to church, and I finally just broke down crying in front of him as I told him, "I have spent months of my life praying for you and trying to help you, and doing everything that I can, but you won´t leave the things that are destroying your life. I want to help you so much and I am so, so sad. You were my friend and were happy when you made the right choices, but I can´t stand seeing you like this."  It was a really hard day. Every day we pass him on the street drunk or smoking, and it is just a dagger to the heart. It is so hard to see people make the wrong choices, I can´t begin to imagine how Heavenly Father must feel.

I wanted to talk a little bit about church yesterday - like I mentioned, we had 7 investigators at church! What a blessing. Emanoel brought his mom and his neighbor to watch his baptism, and all three of them came to church without a ride by bus, which is hugeeeee that we didn´t have to go pick them up ourselves. His mom and neighbor both cried as they watched Emanoel being baptized. This was a huge step in his life! When he came out of the baptismal font, he said to us, "I have been born again!" And he was so incredibly happy. Me and Sister Coelho cried too. He will never, ever leave the church as long as he remembers the conversion that he has already experienced. I love seeing the change in people, it´s like magic.

Emanoel and his mother

This week I studied in the New Testament some of the parables that Jesus Christ taught. In Matthew 13 He explains to His disciples why he teaches by way of parables:

 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
 12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
 13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Sometimes I feel like the Lord answers us in parables, and we have to learn how to listen. Learning to listen is a lesson that I am still learning how to do here on the mission. Learning to listen to my investigators, to companions, to leaders, to myself, and to the Spirit. In order to listen, we have to open our hearts and our minds, and direct ourselves towards the source of our answers. Just like the nephites in the americas didn´t recognize the voice of Christ coming from heaven when He appeared to them until the third time, when they turned themselves about to hear, we must do the same.
Serving a mission is more than just teaching other people and helping them come to the knowledge of the restored gospel - it is saving the missionary, too. If you do a mission right, you´ll come home knowing how CRUCIAL it is to keep the commandments of God, how we MUST live the gospel with exactness, and how this life is the time to PREPARE to meet God. It is a huge wake up call to me. I will be eternally grateful for the lessons that I am learning daily here. 

Thanks for always supporting me, I love you all so much! Until next week <3
Sister Brown

Beautiful Natal

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