It is going to be really hard for me to write long emails now that Elder Dyer (my brother Jacob) is writing too. I spend so much time reading and fawning over his emails that I lose track of the time I have to write. lol.
This week was long, challenging, but wonderful. Sister Pereira and I had the opportunity to help one son of God enter the waters of baptism. Sister J. Silva and I found D. and his cousin, R., when we were doing street contacts three weeks ago. D. (20 years-old) and R. (28 years-old) work with gallinhas (chickens) and ovos (eggs) and always bring eggs to church for us.
Last week, D. had a baptismal interview but told Elder Sabin that he wanted to wait one more week to prepare for baptism. R. is a little bit more difficult and told us that he wanted to be "tocado no coração" (touched in the heart) before he was baptized. This week we read 2 Nephi 31 with D. at a member's house and both he and R. were interviewed. Yesterday we called R. and D. to make sure they made it to church and then went out to gather all of our other investigators to bring them to church.
When we arrived to church, well past sacrament (I have only partaken of the sacrament twice in the last 7 weeks because we always arrive late after searching for all of our investigators), D. and R. were not there. That got us worried because our investigators need to attend two sacrament meetings before they can be baptized. Sister Pereira and I headed right back out the door to bring them to church. After much persuasion, they finally agreed to come with us and made it in time for Gospel Principles.
R. was very indecisive about his baptism yesterday. Saturday night he told us he didn't want to be baptized, then during Elder's quorum he told our ward mission leader that he wanted to be baptized with D., and then after church he said that he didn't want to be baptized again. We told R. to bring a towel and underwear to D.’s baptism and he could decide if he wanted to be baptized there. D. and R.’s baptism was scheduled for 6 pm Sunday evening.
The whole day I was trying to call Presidente Soares to ask if for authorization to baptize R. and D., seeing that they had only attended one sacrament meeting before their baptism. Elder Sabin, our zone leader, called us and when I told him our situation he told me not to worry and that Presidente would definitely authorize it (Só Batiza). I finally resorted to calling Sister Soares, who told me that Presidente was on the phone but would call us back right afterwards. He called us at 5:45 (15 minutes before the scheduled baptizm) and authorized it.
Many people came to the church to attend the baptism, but 20 minutes after 6, D. and R. still hadn't arrived. Sister Pereira and I were a bit stressed out after a day of hard work (Sunday is the most stressful day of the week) but luckily our ward mission leader drove us to D. and R.’s house to bring them to church.
I was praying the whole car ride. Our mission leader started talking to Sister Pereira and I, but when he looked backward, he saw that both of our arms were folded and heads bowed. lol.
When we arrived at the house, R. and D. were actually getting ready (Our ward mission leader joked that they were already used to the Brazilian Mormon lifestyle of unpunctuality, if that is a word). We drove back to church and they followed us on their motorcycle.
D. was baptized yesterday (his hair almost didn't make it all the way under but Andre was able to push him down just a little bit farther on the first try). (During church one of the young single adult women in our ward went up to D. put her hand up to his hair to block the orange part and said, "Você seria mais bonito sem isso." - "You would be more handsome without this". He just laughed and brushed it off. Our ward mission leader was talking to us yesterday and promised us that we would live to see the day when the orange part would disappear. lol.)
The baptism was really spiritual. Sister Pereira, Sister Arzani, and Sister Lawrence and I sang a composition of "Vinde a Mim" and "Eu Sei que Vive Meu Senhor" ("Come Follow Me" "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"). I could tell that many hearts were touched, specifically R.’s. R. did not end up being baptized, but all of us, including our ward mission leader, could tell that he wanted to. Before the baptism, we spoke to him about the importance of baptism. I said a prayer with him asking the Lord to give him more desire and courage to follow the example of our Savior. In the end, yesterday didn't work out but his baptism is scheduled for this Saturday. He said that he wants his family to be there so we will work really hard this week to help his family, who lives 6 hours away, make it.
Today is my 11 month anniversary. It is really scary to think about. Time passes too quickly when you're on the Lord's errand. Every night I think to myself, "I never want my mission to end". I am so jealous of the Elders (2 years, eh?) but then again I guess Sisters can do what the Elders do in just 18 months. Work hard Elder Dyer!
Amamos vocês com todo meu coração!!!
P.S. There's a rumor that Brazilian missions are going to be closed to foreign missionaries due to the visa problem – just what I've heard.