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Semana 53

By 5:55 PM

BOM DIA todo mundo!

First of all - HOLLY AND SAM ARE ENGAGED!!!! WHAT!!! I was SO freaking happy to see the pictures she sent me in my inbox today - one side effect of the mission is that I am super, SUPER, anxious to find my eternal companion and start my own family! I am so happy for her, along with all my other cute friends from home that are getting married. #oneday

Speaking of eternal companions... this week it POURED on us. Hard core. I haven´t felt rain like this since last year when I was in Natal. Like we say on the mission, the more rain, the hotter your future spouse… 

RAIN!!!! Sunday it rained more than ever and there were rivers flowing in all of the roads... also anywhere in my pictures recently that you see green grasses and trees, didn´t exist about 3 weeks ago. water helps so much and Sousa is actually beautiful!

I finally got the O´Brien´s package!!!!! That was soooo sweet of them.. and I loved the cristmas card and letters. You guys are awesome, and definitely the chiquiest (coolest/classiest) family that I know. Thanks for being such awesome neighbors! Tell Trev that I loved his card and miss him lots.

Also got the Esplin´s christmas card - Max and Elise are SO big and grown up - Elise is SO beautiful! 

Okay. As for mission updates for this week...

Wednesday we had a worldwide missionary training from the Church Mission Department that was really inspirational. The title of the training was, "Teaching Repentance and Baptizing Converts". The two words that really stuck out to me were "repentance" and "converts". In my mission, we don´t have a problem with "teaching" or "baptisms". But one huge problem we do have is with CONVERTING the people we baptize to not fall away from the church. True conversion comes from true repentance. That is an eternal truth that Alma taught well in the Book of Mormon. In Alma 5 and 7 he asked us if we had experienced a change of heart through the Atonement of Jesus Christ - ALL of us, whether a recent church convert or a long time member, need to experience a change of heart through the Atonement, because we receive a TESTIMONY of repentance. That it WORKS. That truly we can be relieved of all our sorrows, hurts, our burdens, and the guilt of sin. When people experiment this path, they become converted to the gospel. I have become converted to the gospel on my mission this way. Like Christ taught, there is no other path or name given whereby we can be saved. My goal for the last 4 transfers of my mission is to help CONVERT people better to the gospel through repentance.

This week we followed up with Gabriela and her daughter Gleyce, neighbor friends of Damiana and Geice (who were baptized last week). Gabriela has come to church with us and we prepared her to be baptized this week together with her daughter! As we worked with them, we were also visiting Maria and Joseilton, the married couple who came to church all by themselves last week. Everything seemed to work out perfectly as we followed up with them. They LOVED church and had some incredible spiritual experiences. Friday, we taught the Restoration. They had  been reading the Book of Mormon this whole week. Saturday, we marked their baptisms and had their interviews. Sunday morning, everything was going well. We couldn´t believe that everything was working out - until we called them and they backed out. We think that a neighbor talked badly about the church and they didn´t come to church. I was SO sad but we will work super hard with them this week and try and baptize them this sunday. Sometimes we try and do things in a way that isn´t the Lord´s way. And then He has to remind us that this is HIS work, and not ours. 

BUT - Gabriela and her daughter Gleyce were baptized! They were so happy, and Damiana and her daughter were confirmed and just love church. Sister V. Lopes and I feel so blessed to have finally seen some measurable successes here after a huge battle this transfer. What a great week to end the transfer! I don´t think that I´ll be transferred this week, as we are both new in the area. But I really love my companion and she has helped me in a million ways that I will eternally owe her for. 

This week I have been rereading and restudying the conference talks from October´s conference. They are SO good the second and third time around! I wanted to share a quote from Elder Uchtdorf´s talk, "It Works Wonderfully!" -

"This beautiful gospel is so simple a child can grasp it, yet so profound and complex that it will take a lifetime—even an eternity—of study and discovery to fully understand it."

I have been studying my entire mission to understand these simple principles. Faith. Repentance. Baptism and remission of sins. The power of the Holy Ghost. and Enduring to the end.

Other news for this week -
I´ve decided to expand my culinary skills beyond tapioca and frying eggs, and I made guacamole with salsa! Dad, you would be so proud. 

our morning walk to the church with our baptism cake (bolo do batismo)!! part of the city center (only took a picture because it was 6 am and no one was on the street)

i also tried to make chocolate chip cookies for the first time on the mission. didn´t work out too well

zone picture. in order of who goes home first. please note that i am on the first bank and now the OLDEST SISTER IN THE ZONE WOHOO!!!!

Well those are my updates for this week. Nothing too exciting but some weeks are better than others. Love you guys and talk to you next!

Sister Brown

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