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Semana 27

By 5:44 PM

Oi família!

Sorry that I´m emailing a little late, boy did we have an adventure today!  We woke up super early and made our way to Cidade Verde to meet up with some members who took us on an adventure along the Natal coast - first we drove to the cajueiro (the biggest cashew tree in the world), my second time there but some activities are worth repeating! 

There we did a little market shopping and tried to avoid the tourist crowds.. then we drove the Pirangi coastline to Pirangi do Sul beach to a lookout where we watched dolphins in the ocean! Minha nossa, Natal is the most BEAUTIFUL place in the world, I am more and more convinced every day. I had chills the whole morning, just driving through the tropics and looking at the dunes and the ocean. Man, it´s indescribable.

I did some better researching this week, and the good news is that you guys can come pick me up from the mission next summer! Start planning... I have so many things to show you all!

Now for about this week:

We had some huge battles this week with Neuma and her family. After their baptisms fell through last week we doubled our efforts yet again and tried everything to help them. We went on an afternoon split and I visited Neuma with Sister Pinheiro, the sister the Sister Baker is training. When we got there, Neuma said "I can´t be baptized into your church anymore, I´m Catholic." We sort of freaked out (on the inside) and I asked if we could converse about what was going on. As we talked with her we discovered some of her problems and concerns, and after sharing some scriptures and answering her doubts I felt like I should ask her to kneel and say a prayer if being baptized this sunday really was the right pathway for her. So we all kneeled down and she prayed, "Dear Lord, I can´t be baptized. But I want to know if I should be baptized." As soon as she said amen, she said, "I will!" and gave me a big hug. That was an awesome experience and a huge relief.  So we continued preparing them to be baptized that sunday (yesterday). When we went to pick them up sunday morning, no one was home except for one of her sons, that said she had left to help her mom with something all the way in Zona Norte.... we were left emptyhanded, yet again. I couldn´t believe that a second week in a row this had happened! I´m sort of having a mental conflict over her, whether to cut her or keep investing a huge portion of our time and efforts trying to baptize her and then she just dissapears after that, or I don´t know. It´s an internal struggle that only the Lord knows what is best, so I´m just going to rely on faith and His work.

This week Adriano (man, isn´t he awesome?) gave us some more references. We´re teaching 4 teenage boys, all good friends. Gratefully yesterday we managed to bring them all to church and they had a good experience. However at the beginning, they were apparently all scoffing during the sacrament meeting, like they didn´t want to sing the hymns and take the sacrament - but Sister Baker said to them, "if you think taking part of the body and blood of Christ is a joke then go ahead." And they shut up after that and paid real close attention haha. But one of them in particular, Artur, liked church so much that when we went back to the church building for ward counsel meeting he was there in the bishop´s office, and Adriano was reading 2 Nephi 31 with him and teaching him the missionary lessons! So we jumped in and taught him the Restoration - Artur was super involved and loved the lesson. He accepted baptism and him and all his friends will be baptized either this sunday or next! AFterwards, Artur prayed for the first time. He said in his prayer that he wanted to be like the Sisters and Adriano someday. I know I´ve said this before, but I feel so privileged to be a part of these peoples´ lives, as they are introduced to the church, and to listen and participate in their prayers - they are always the most humble, sincere, and simple. They inspire me to say better prayers myself, and to thank my Heavenly Father a little more.

This week I studied about happiness - as I evaluate my life and compare it to my life before the mission, and the lives of the people I am serving here. I want to share what I wrote in my journal about the subject:

"It´s interesting how my perspective of happiness has changed on the mission. Before, I thought happiness was other things: succeeding in school, work, spending time with friends, dating, social media, other forms of entertainment, and lots of other things. And those things DO bring happiness, just temporal. But what brings true happiness is living the gospel - serving others, studying the scriptures, sharing what you learn, praying and fasting, building Zion, sharing the message of the restored gospel to families, seeing the change in their lives, listening to someone´s first and humble prayer. It´s exhausting, but so fulfilling. Keeping the commandments of God brings so much happiness, just like Mosiah 2:41 says. I can see a huge difference in my life between when I didn´t always do the right things and was disobedient and my life now. Obedience brings us that blessed assurance that the Lord is with us. I am grateful for the lessons I am learning on the mission, for it is saving my soul eternally."

What missionaries do to entertain themselves…one can only imagine what they were doing...

That´s about it for this week, that I can remember at least. Thanks for all of the updates from home, the love, the prayers, and the support. Another week down, another collection of experiences, and another opportunity to try a little harder to be a little better! 

Até próxima,

Sister Brown

This little old lady was tatting…it is a dying art form that Sister Brown's great grandma (who she is named after) did beautifully.  Emily was surprised to see someone tatting in Brazil!

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