"So much in life depends on our attitude. They way we choose to see things and respond to others makes al the difference."
President Thomas S. Monson
Family and Friends,
For me, this last week was to go out with a bang, and ladies and gentlemen, Medina and I certainly did.
Nothing happened of note on p-day.
Elder Hunt's District, the highest baptizing district in the mission
Tuesday-We had our final Zone Conference before transfers, it was good, we did more practices and we took pictures and stuff. It was honestly a little sad because I quite like my zone, especially my district.
Elder Hunt with some of the 'guys'
This is my last week of training, and my last week with Elder Medina before we part ways. I will miss him a ton, we've had our ups and downs, but I love him like a brother, he’s been good to me, and it will be hard for us both because we’ve gotten so close.
Elder Gimenez, one of the Zone leaders, and Elder Hunt
We are shooting for 7 more baptisms before the transfer ends. If we do it, that will be 17 in one transfer, breaking the record of Elder Costa and Elder Borba, the legends of the mission, who had 15.
It’s been rainy and cloudy which is nice. We had good lessons with everyone we are trying to baptize this week. Elder Taylor and I also bought 5 kilos of açai tonight so that’s always a good time.
Brasilian Money - Reais
Mo Money- Mo Problemz
Wednesday-Happy Birthday Dad! No I didn't forget! I hope your birthday is great! Out of the 7 baptisms we are shooting for this week, Maria is the toughest. Maria is a 68 year old woman who is very strong in her Baptist church. But she believes the Book Of Mormon to be true, and if the Book Of Mormon is true, our whole religion is true. The Book Of Mormon truly is the keystone of our religion. If the Book Of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith truly was a prophet of God, and through him, the Church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth, along with the truths and authorities of God. This is why we focus on the Book Of Mormon.
Maria on her baptism day
Anyways, Maria believes, but her whole family is against her, but being the oldest, leading the family, it does help her, but the rest of her family wants nothing to do with us.
Right now is the silence before the storm, or the time period before you know a bomb will go off. Everything is going perfect with all 7 of our investigators, but when the Devil gets a hold of someone and causes them to fall, we know that a problem could develop and get in the way of them getting baptized this week.
Thursday-We made great progress and helped solidify every single person for baptism, but with Maria being the least firm.
Ana Marcia on her baptism day
One who will be baptized this week is the 9 year old Ana Marcia, she is so sweet, cute, and smart. He parents are less active, but are coming back, this is why we are able to baptize her. She goes to church and has a part in the Primary Program on Sunday and she will be talking about baptism. So to make it as special as possible for her, she will be baptized Sunday morning, one hour before the Primary Program will start. She can give a real testimony of what it is like to be baptized, and the importance of it. This family lives on the very cusp of our area, so it takes forever to get there.
Today as we were leaving, we decided to take a very small side path that we thought would help us get to where we needed to go faster. It was just a very small turnoff, and we were certain we would end up in the same spot that our other path takes us. We followed it for about 20 minutes and everything still seemed right, until we stumbled upon a road and area we did not recognize. We asked around and to our surprise, we had stumbled into a different zone! It took us 2 hours to find our way back to where we needed to go.
The best donuts so far
But on our way I did find a bakery with powdered donuts with fillings of: Strawberry, Cream, Chocolate, Maracujá, Goiaba, Condensed milk, Doce de leite, and more, so I bought some, and they were the best donuts I’ve had on my mission.
But this whole story reminded me of a Conference talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf that talked about a plane being so very slightly off course, and ending up crashing. This is what I will relate to my story of getting lost, and this same lesson we can apply to our lives. We thought this other road would be slightly quicker, prettier, just to change things up, forgetting about our other normal path that we knew for a fact the other road would take us to where we needed to go.
We know that the way of Christ is the way or truth and light, we know that commandments are direct revelation from God protecting us, not holding us back, but in the ways of the world we are enticed to choose differently, we are lead astray, just to see where will go or what will happen.
This all again reminds me of a Mormon Message from my Grandpa, called " The Voice of the Spirit." Go watch it right now if you can!
Mateus and Nata, on their baptism day. With their mother and Elder Hunt and Medina
That night we taught 13 year old Mateus and his brother Nata, we have been teaching them for about a month, but their mother will not let them get baptized. We have been praying and fasting and working so hard for a miracle with her. The kids want to get baptized but she just won’t let them! We started off the night great by doing a Family Home Evening and playing a game that involves using 2 spoons to unwrap mini chocolate bars with a dice and the number 6. It was a huge success!!! We got the whole family involved and then we went Pastor status on the mother (Brazilians quite enjoy that) and at the end we asked once more to let the kids get baptized and she said yes! What a miracle!
Friday-We did a huge division for all the baptismal interviews, but to get more experience, this time, I went with Elder Baron to all the locations for all the interviews. All the interviews went well and we were feeling good, but one phrase Medina and I live by here is "Nothing is certain until they are in the water."
Gabi on her baptism day with her family
Family of De Paulo Sueli, Lucas, and Gabi
Saturday-We pulled the trigger- secured all the baptisms for Sunday. We also had the baptism of Gabi! Medina baptized her older brother Lucas (11 years old) a few months back, and we've always been trying to help the parents, Paulo and Sueli get married, but they still haven’t.
The story behind this was great, Tuesday we visited them and Medina said "Paulo, I’ve known you and your family for 6 months, I’ve baptized your son and tried to help you for so long, but next Tuesday I will leave for a different area. I know if I asked you to buy me 3 pizzas to enjoy together because I will be leaving, you would, but I ask to baptize your daughter on Saturday, and enjoy pizza afterwards to celebrate" ...and Paulo said YES!!!
Elder Hunt with 2 puppies. He says these were cuter and much cleaner than last weeks
Sunday-We woke up extra early for the baptism of Ana Marcia, because this is Brasil and things aren’t quite as organized as the US. The bishopric let the father of Ana Marcia baptize her, even though he’s technically less active, but because Ana Marcia is 9 years old and we have been re-activating the family, it is our baptism and not a baptism of the ward.
During the closing prayer, Legia, the mother of Ana Marcia, started to weep because she said how thankful she is for Elder Medina and I for teaching their child and helping them come back.
After, we picked up Mateus, Nata, and Maria. After the 3-hour block, Medina baptized Nata and I baptized Mateus and Maria, who had some difficulties because the water was cold.
Maria, Mateus and Nata on their baptism day
Later, we got our transfer calls. Medina will be a zone leader in a nearby zone, Costa and Taylor will stay, but Elder Da Silva will leave :( And my new companion will be Elder Aguirres, a Brasilian of Rio de Janeiro. He has about 8 months on the mission.
That night Paulo bought us pizza even though it was Sunday and we told him no.
As of right now we have 15 baptisms, which ties the mission record, BUT, we have 2 tonight. I know I said nothing is sure until they are in the water, but the 2 that will be baptized are 2 twins who just turned 8 yesterday, but were at the beach so couldn’t make it yesterday, but will FOR SURE 100% tonight. They are in the family of the 7 little cute black kids in the favela who love me :) The mom is extremely supportive and they will be baptized tonight at 7pm. Their names are Elizabeth and Ezequiel, they are the cutest and funniest, I love them so much! :)
And then afterwards, we will celebrate the end of the transfer and breaking the mission record of 17 baptisms in a transfer with pizza! At the beginning of the transfer we set our goal to beat the mission record and baptize every single week, now we have done just that. We have accomplished what we set out to do, this week also celebrates or 10th consecutive week baptizing.
Transfers are tomorrow and it will be tough leaving him, but I feel I’ve learned all I can from him and that I will need to grow and learn more from my next companion. I bought my new comp frosted flakes, (a novelty here) a chocolate bar, and pasçoa to welcome him and try to get things off to a great start.
Carlos and Zilda
My new comp will need to know that we will baptize every week and we will love each other. This week will be a week of big changes, but I’m ready.