This week was Sister Pereira's birthday. We had a family home evening at Leylay's (our recent convert's) house. Sister Pereira was kind of sad due to the fact that she always gets sad around her birthday as well as the fact that we had invited basically everyone in the ward and the Relief Society President had also invited everyone in the ward to attend her son's concert at the theatre downtown. When we arrived at the house, there were a surprisingly large amount of people there (including the Relief Society President), so I felt a little bit more relieved. However, after the opening prayer the Relief Society President as well as a few other people got up and left for the concert.
For Sister Perreira's birthday, we had an awesome message. We baked a cake, put plastic wrap on top and then covered it in frosting and sprinkles and then set in on the table with candles, as if it were her birthday cake (we made another larger cake for her birthday cake but hid it in the house).
I shared the message and started off by asking people how they liked the cake. Did it look good? would they want to try it? I then said that in my opinion, the cake was perfect (after all, Sister Pereira had made it). It was perfect like we were perfect when we were born. However, with time, things change, right? I then started asking people if they liked salt, pepper, chile, soy sauce (mmmm), vinegar, etc. and, to the people's horror, began to put these things directly on top of the cake, commenting that it was only a small amount. It wouldn't hurt the cake. I then said, that just like the cake had become contaminated or dirty, we ourselves became dirty when we chose to make wrong decisions or sin.
I shared the scripture 3 Néfi 27:20-22: “Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
Then I asked the people if they thought that this cake, through the Atonement of Christ, could become perfect again. Some said that maybe it could, while others blatantly disagreed. I then carefully, but cleverly removed the plastic wrap and uncovered a perfect unfrosted chocolate cake. I testified of the miracle of baptism, repentance, and the Atonement of Christ. Only through following the example of our Savior Jesus Christ (1. Faith 2. Repentance 3. Baptism 4. Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and 5. Enduring to the End), can we, like the cake, be made perfect again and return to live with our Heavenly Father.
This week, Sister Pereira and I were able to help one very special daughter of God enter the waters of baptism. J. was a referral from a member in our ward.
It was an awesome baptism and when the actual baptism was preformed, she pretty much baptized herself. Irmão Manuel said the baptismal prayer and when we opened our eyes, after he had finished, J. had disappeared. Everyone became confused and then, one second later, J. emerged from beneath the water. She had pretty much just kneeled down in the water until her whole body was emerged and then came right back out. Bispo (bishop) just laughed and said "Well, it was a little bit different than usual, but she went all the way under." And they called it a baptism. lol.
Afterwards, we had cake and saugadinhos (fried chips). Before the baptism I had put the food on top of a closet in a room in the church and when I went to retrieve the food, I found that a bunch of ants had raided the cake. Que horror! (The chips were still ok).
I told Sister Pereira that we couldn't let the people eat this cake. (it was literally filled with hundreds of ants), but she just said that no one would notice and it would be fine. WHAT?!?!?! I wouldn't let her and then finally Sister Pereira went to my old Ward Mission Leader in the Urick Graff ward, who was at the baptism visiting his girlfriend in our ward, and told him that I wouldn't let the members of the church eat our cake just because it had ants in it. He looked at me jokingly stunned and said, "Sister Dyer! Você nunca comeu um bolo com formigas? Precisa deixar eles comer!" ("Sister Dyer" You've never eaten a cake with ants? You have to let them eat it!") So I did. I let them eat it.
It was dark outside and no one noticed. As a matter of fact, everyone was commenting on how good the cake was and coming back for seconds. I didn't take one bite.
Yesterday, we told Sister N. about the cake. She is from São Paulo and had eaten a piece. When we told her, she told us that when she was little, she had taken ants on the floor and eaten them. She told us that ants were good for your eyes and that today, she was the only member of her family that didn't use glasses. WOW! And people here think that people in China eat funny.
Love y’all a bunch!
Sister Ashley Dyer in the fruit tree behind her house