Ah glad Noelle made it there safely and it looks like she´s already doing well! Is that her with Chanelle and their roommates? Looks like a fun group! I can´t believe it´s already in the 20s... holy smokes, that´s ridiculous! I´m excited for you and your fun run too... or fun walk haha. I know you can handle it and of course I´ll be praying for you! Tell Grand Dad to eat an extra apple dumpling for me. Hope he makes it up there safely. Transfers are next week, but I think the only one leaving here is Sister Martin... who´s going home :(. But I´m pretty sure I´ll be in this area for awhile. Presidente is wanting to leave missionaries in their areas for more time, but who knows! We´ll have to see next week! And yes, I can´t believe that this week, I´ll be completing a year in the mission. Where did all the time go? It´s hard to believe that I´ve known some of the people I met in the CTM and in my first area for almost a year now. I just don´t believe it! And as excited as I am to be home sooner than later, I also get a little sad each time I think that I´ll have to say goodbye to Brasil and the mission soon. Of course, six months is still a long time, but I know it´s going to fly by like crazy. But what can I do about? I´ll just have to live each moment to its fullest and continue to work my hardest!
So this week was wonderful. First, A was baptized!!!!!! She´s been such a great person to work with and I´ve come to love her so much. She´s a less-active member´s mom. We had been trying to catch the member at home but she was never there, so we decided to sit down with A and start teaching her. She already visited the church a lot awhile back, so it wasn´t her first time for everything. But a few years ago just wasn´t the right time for her. So we helped her learn everything she needed to know and develop a testimony of the gospel and Heavenly Father´s Plan of Salvation, and she decided to be baptized this last weekend! She´s proof to me that the Lord really does have His own timing and we need to trust in Him.
Yesterday was also Ward Conference, which I love here. The members get all dressed up and it´s a huge deal! The Spirit was so strong yesterday during church. I know that our investigators felt the sweet Spirit there. And I also got to see Marinalva and Elizamar which was absolutely wonderful! Ah, I love those ladies! It was so so so good to see them. Oh and Sister Barros and I got to sing in the ward choir. I miss singing in choir so much! So it was good to get to participate in that. A little boy in our ward sang a solo that was so sweet. I think everyone had tears in their eyes.
Words really can´t describe how great this week was. I don´t think I´m doing a very good job at explaining everything because it was just that great. And as each week goes by, I fall in love with my mission and with this gospel more and more. I can´t imagine my life without these great blessings! Know that I love you guys heaps and am praying for you! I hope all is well back home and in all the other places that you guys might be. Noelle, enjoy college and make the best of it! Hurrah for Israel!!!
P.S. Jacqualine, Karsten and Jaynie, thank you so much for the birthday letters!!!! Loved them! A big thank you is on its way!
Hello my dear family! I love so much hearing from you guys and reading about your experiences back home. Dad, I absolutely loved this e-mail. It´s so good to hear that the deacons are 100% active. That´s incredible! And Bryan and Liss had another baby? When did that happen?! haha Boy or girl? And I can only imagine the joy you must feel, seeing how far the races you´ve helped organize/created have grown. I´m excited to see how much they´ve grown next year when I´m home! Mom, congrats on finishing your 3-day walk. So happy you finished strong and had a good experience. Cam... I´m gettin´ to ya ;)
This week was incredibly bittersweet. It was the last week of lots of sister missionaries here in the mission, including Sister Martin, who I was living with for the past two transfers. I learned so much from her and already am missing her but I know she´s moving on to greater things! I´m grateful for all the other people I had the opportunity to meet and learn from that go home this week too--Sister Smith, Sister Rodriguez... but okay, I´ll stop being trunky now. It was also great to see one of Sister Martin´s and Sister Bento´s pesquisadoras get baptized, A! They´ve been teaching her for a bit now and, even though I wasn´t really involved in her progress, it was still so good to see her make such a sacred and important covenant with God. Everyone was so happy for her! I can´t tell you guys how incredible this ward is. I feel so great here. The members treat us like family and are always willing to help, asking when they can go out and help us teach, giving us referrals and treating us how they would treat their own children if they were missionaries. It really is incredible when a ward is so involved in the work and has such a great love for it. It makes me want to be a better member missionary once I´m home so badly.
I honestly don´t know what else to say. Our recent converts are doing great. The other night after visiting V, he told us how he´s a different man now--how the gospel has blessed his life so greatly. Sometimes I worry about him because he´s so shy, but it makes me incredibly happy to know that he´s staying strong and desires so much to be a better person. A is coming to every single activity possible, studies the Book of Mormon like a mad man and is constantly asking when she can go out with us to make visits. I love these people. I love this gospel. I love our Savior and our Heavenly Father! What He has prepared for us is so so good! I hope everyone is well back home. Know that I love each of you beyond what words can say.
Oh!!! And thank you so much to Grand Dad, Heidi, Brett, Jayden, Spencer, Bella and their soon-to-be-daughter for the cards! And Chuck and Cindy, I can´t tell you how happy that box you sent made me. Thank you so so much! Have a great week, everyone! Hurrah for Israel!