Tuesday, November 26, 2013

There's So Much To Be Grateful For!

Sadly there are no photos this week.  There was a problem with the computer.  Love her letters, but love seeing her face even more!  Hopefully next week!

On Tuesday, Sister Custódio and I had our first lesson, finally, with Clarice, a woman who miraculously showed up to church the other Sunday and is incredibly prepared for baptism. Our lesson was incredible. She talked so much that it lasted two and a half hours, but the Spirit remained strong through it all and, even though I couldn´t understand every word, I understood her stories and how she was feeling. This woman is such an elect, such a special daughter of God! When the time came for me to invite her to baptism, we all got teary-eyed and she accepted our invitation with a joyful ´sim!´ I´m so excited for her baptism this Saturday. It´s going to be wonderful.

The next day we were on our way to teach another woman and Sister Custódio felt prompted to stop by a home a couple doors down--the home of one of her old investigators that wasn´t progressing. She wasn´t there but her mother was and when we asked how she was doing, she said that she had passed away only 11 days ago from cancer. Sister Custódio was devastated. Heartbroken. As we walked away, she just began to cry and I cried for her. I can´t imagine the pain she felt! But the Lord blessed us in the same day with many little miracles. We ran into so many people we´re teaching who we never run into normally without going to their homes. With each person, Sister Custódio became happier and happier and by the end of the day, she was at peace with herself and the work she had done. Sidenote: one person we ran into we had never met, but he knew the elders before in this area. And he was the exact Brasilian version of Pops! It made me miss Pops and Nana lots!

This week, we also had a division. Sister Custódio stayed in our area on Thursday with Sister Baldomir while I spent the day in Eduardo Gomes com Sister Barra, one of our sister trainers. I learned so much more about relying on the Spirit. Before we split, I was a bit nervous about what would happen because I´m still learning (and always will be), but during personal study, I read a scripture that changed everything. D&C 6:32 ". . . where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them--even so am I in the midst of you." When I read this, I was overcome with the Spirit and so much comfort, My fear was replaced with so much faith and we had great success. A lot of appointments fell through, but the few lessons we taught were wonderful. During the first one, Sister Barra and I taught about how God is our loving Heavenly Father, Christ´s baptism and ministry, and Joseph Smith and the First Vision. At the end of the lesson, I invited the lady to baptism and she accepted gladly. Sister Barra invited such a strong Spirit and I know that the lady we taught felt that. Afterwards, we were trying to find new people to teach, but nobody was around. We found one lady, but she began to try to Bible bash with us, so we had to walk away. Feeling a bit disheartened and hopeless, we turned the corner and offered a prayer, asking Heavenly Father to place someone in our path. Afterwards, we both felt that we should walk down a certain road so we did. Every house was closed. No body was in the street. But then at the end of the road, there was one house that was open. We clapped and a little three-year-old boy came to the gate. He saw us, ran back inside, and returned with his father. His father greeted us and immediately opened the gate for us to sit in the entry area. We introduced ourselves and he received us with such warmth. His personality reminded me so much of Bishop Tenbrink. He let us stay to teach the first lesson, so we did and the spirit was incredible. He was so receptive and very interested in what we had to share. I could tell that he took religion very seriously and had a strong desire to follow the example of the Lord. So at the end of the lesson, we invited him to be baptized after he prayed about what we shared and felt that it was true and. . .  he accepted! We told him how we knew with certainty that Heavenly Father answers prayers because he realmente was an answer to our prayer. I could tell that he felt so good about everything that had happened and I can´t wait to hear about how he´s doing the next time I see Sister Barra.
So our division was really neat. But I was so so happy to be reunited with Sister Custódio after 24 hours. We missed each other! The next day we talked about what we had learned and she told me that Sister Baldomir was very impressed with us. There´s always, always room for improvement, but it was good to hear that our trainers are happy with the work we´re doing!

Lastly, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Of course, we don´t have Thanksgiving here, but I will definitely be thinking of you all on Thursday--of everyone back home and all our family gathered at Nana and Pops for the biggest feast of the year. There´s no doubt I´ll especially miss everyone, but I´m also grateful for the opportunity I have to be here doing the Lord´s work. I´m grateful for all of your support and love and especially for the support and love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. This work would be absolutely impossible without Them, but with Them, miracles happen. Every day. Words cannot express my joy and gratitude in this work! It truly is incredible! I wish I could send each one of you an e-mail, thanking you for your friendship and for how much of a blessing you´ve been to me, but time won´t allow. Just know that I think of you more often than you know and pray for you every night. It´s the least I can do for the great blessing you´ve been in my life. Thank you for the happiness and joy you´ve brought to me. I love this gospel, I love my family, I love my friends and I love this work! Happy Thanksgiving, todo mundo!!! And hurrah for Israel!

Com amor,
Sister Ball
". . . live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you." --Alma 34:38

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