Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What a Great Week from Maranguape

Hey, all!

This week was incredible:) We had some awesome experiences with fasting and prayer.

So, we were teaching Luis Henrique, who wasn't totally interested in the messages and a little bit shy. We stopped focusing a lot on him because we had other progressing investigators. Then, out of no where, his mom and his sister showed up at church! His mom's name is Socorro, and she was really interested in learning more about the Church. So, we started talking to them and teaching her. She accepted the messages, and was really liking everything. However, she was still feeling nervous and uncertain about leaving the Catholic Church and going through all of these changes. A big part, I think, of what was holding her back was that if she was never really active in the Catholic Church, what's to say that she won't go inactive in the Church of Jesus Christ as well? So, she was hesitant, yet willing to learn and to act. She said that she wanted to be baptized and to follow all of these things in her life, but that she still had this doubt, and didn't know how to get rid of it.

So, we did something that was suggested to us in the Zone Training earlier that week: we challenged her to fast with us. She accepted, with a little bit of hesitation, not knowing if she would be able to stand it for the full 24 hours. We don't usually think about this sort of difficulty where we live in the U.S., but here, in a tropical climate, it can be extremely hard on the body to go without food or drink for 24 hours in this heat and humidity, and for some it can even be dangerous. But, she accepted nonetheless, and we fasted with her. Actually, a few of the members fasted with us as well to show their support, their desire for her to accept the gospel, and their faith in the power of the Spirit.

We started the fast at lunch the next day, and went over to her house that night. She said that she wasn't even feeling hungry, nor the desire to eat or drink, and that the fast was going well. When I asked her about how she was feeling, she also said that her doubts and fears and uncertainties simply weren't there anymore! She felt calm, and confident, and was no longer feeling doubtful about acting. We invited her to be baptized that Sunday, and she accepted wholeheartedly. I was so happy:) We also invited her daughter, Ana Luiza, to be baptized with her mom, and she also accepted. She is eight years old:)

After their interviews, I was told that they had both asked that I baptize them:) So, I had the privilege of doing so yesterday after church.

During the talk that was given on baptism and being born again, Socorro began to cry. I knew that she was feeling comforted by the Spirit that she was making the right choice. After the baptismal service was over, I asked her how she was feeling, and she said, with a firmness and a confidence in her voice, "Good." Everyone says that when you ask how they're feeling, but the way she said it conveyed a certainty and a deepness of feeling. She then said, "I feel like I have truly made the right choice." I told her, "Yes, absolutely, without a doubt, you have."

Her friend Antonia is now one of her visiting teachers. Antonia had actually invited her to church many times, and we didn't have any idea about that while we were teaching her son, Luiz Henrique. So, now, we will try to teach him, too.

Socorro also stopped drinking coffee very quickly, and showed her faith by acting upon an invitation by representatives of Jesus Christ. She is an excellent example of why we, as missionaries, need to invite people to act. She wasn't sure what to do, but she was willing to act upon inspired invitations to live the commandments and to seek after the blessings of heaven for her and for her family. As someone extremely new in the church, she already has a testimony of the power of fasting in her life. When I think about that, I feel so happy and excited and pleased for her.

What a great work this is! If we rely on Him, and do what He asks us to do, we will be guided by His omnipotent hand, and we will begin to see literal miracles in our lives, "day by day" (Alma 37:40). We just have to do the "small and simple things" (Alma 37:6-7), and He will guide and bless us.

I love you all so very, very much! Never forget who you are, or the potential that you have, as you seek to be obedient to His word and His commandments. And try not to forget that we don't have to be perfect to receive those blessings! That's why we have repentance, as well as the Sacrament, to renew all of our covenants each week. Something interesting that I already had an idea about, but saw a direct quite about it, is that when we partake of the Sacrament, we don't just renew our baptismal covenants, but"all covenants entered into with the Lord" (Ensign, "Understanding Our Covenants with God", July 2012). This means that we renew batpismal covenants, priesthood covenants, covenants we make with our callings, missionary covenants, and all of our temple covenants. So, if we make any mistake, we can repent, and renew that covenant with the Lord. So, seek after His voice and His hand, and He will guide you for good.

I love you all so very much! Have a wonderful week!

With all the love in my heart,

Elder Reid Powell E

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