Guess what! I'm staying in Cerquilho! WOOHOO!
This week, Mara and Edson's family got baptized! Ok, so I've told you a little about their family...in summary, this was a miracle. We had met a woman on the street that seemed really interested, and so we had set up a time to visit her later that week. We were running a little late, so we gave a quick "Oi, todo bem?" to two women talking to eachother on the sidewalk but didn't stop to say more. When we got to the house of the original contact, no one was there. Sister Dutra and I both felt impressed to go back down the street in the direction we had come from, and talk to those two women. So we did, and did a basic street contact. These women were Tamires and Amanda, friends who lived next door to each other. We wrote down their adresses, and went off to our next appointment.
Tamires went inside that day, and told her mother-in-law, Mara, that she had spoken with us. Mara recognized that we were missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--the same church that she had joined almost 40 years ago. She had fallen away from the church because she moved to a city that hadn't had the church, and because her husband at the time wasn't supportive of her. As a result, she hadn't spoken to anyone from the church in 30 years. She hadn't even known the church was here in Cerquilho! But recognizing the opportunity that God was giving her, she gathered her little daughters and prayed that Sister Dutra and I would return.
The family is Mara and Edson, who have a son that's 20 years old (Junior, Tamires's husband), and four adopted children; Gabriela, Gean, Ana Beatryz, and Kamilly. (sorry I spell the names different every time...but this time it's correct!) Tamires and Junior have a little 3 month old baby, Anzel.
We returned, and like I already told you, were graciously welcomed. We started immediately to teach them, and they just soaked it all in! In some families, the kids will be playing the whole time, or making a bunch of noise. Here, when we teach every eye is on us. Everyone is partipating, and every one learns...including Sister Dutra and I. I LOVE teaching this family! They love the hymns. After their firstat Church I started teaching the girls primary songs, and they think it's the most wonderful thing in the world! Literally, I brought my song book with me to the next leson, and when I pulled it out of my bag the joy in their eyes was like I had just given them the world's best Christmas present. (Tidbit--their absolute favorite song to sing is "Follow the Prophet")
One of the greatest sources of joy in all of this is Edson. He was part of a church prior to this that is very, very strong here in Brazil, and very unaccepting of other religions. Usually, these people won't even talk to us. But Edson listened. He studied. He asks questions, he prays. He has unbelievable faith--enough to stop smoking and drinking coffee in these short 2 weeks, and to carry his family through this time that's difficult financially. If they don't find enough money before...today, they'll lose their house. And one night he told us, "I know I'm doing all I can--and on the 27th, I'll be making a covenant with God. He will bless us. Everything will work out." His faith astounds me. And he has gained a love for the Book of Mormon, and for this gospel! My nerdy side comes out when I talk to Edson, and somehow, despite the fact that my language is weak, we have the best theological discussions. He wants to know everything, and he's just more and more filled with light every time we meet with them. He's going to love General Conference this weekend!
The baptism was beautiful. Perfect! The kids sang, "I like to look for Rainbows" and it was sooo sweet. The spirit was just so strong the whole evening. And the closing song was "Families can be together Forever"....and their was not a dry eye to be seen.
I know that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the light we can recieve through the restored gospel is the only way to have "peace in this life, and eternal life in the world to come". I love being a missionary, and sharing this with others!
I love you all!