June 16, 2014
I think last week was the first time in a while that I didn't finish all that I wanted to say! Some of the stories already ended though...but there's one that's continuing on beautifully!
This is a story about Laila. :) Laila is a coworker of Jhessyca. Jhessyca's awesome! She came home from her mission about 6 months ago, and...words can't describe her. But she's great. So she chatted up Laila all about the gospel (Laila's a good 15+ years older than her) and hauled her to church. That's where we came in!
Laila and her husband, Manuel, are from Minas Gerais. They have a five year old daughter named Ketlin. Laila had a difficult childhood....life....and now, as a result, has a hard time opening up to people. She also has a hard time understanding things, but at the same time is very profound. I can't really explain Laila, but she's really special. In this time that we've gotten to know her, we've discovered that she's never really learned anything about God. King Lamoni lesson, super simple. ("Do you believe in the Great Spirit? That is God.") When we started teaching her she said she believed He had to exist, or how would everything be here. But she didn't feel any attachment, didn't believe He loved her, and didn't trust in Him. But how can you trust in someone you don't know? To trust in the Lord we really do have to do our part to get to know him. So we started there. We talked about how God is our loving Heavenly Father, and that to help us return to live with Him, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ. Well, she had at least the foundation for God the Father, but when we started with our Savior, we had to clear the ground, pour the foundation, and then start building. I've never had an experience quite like this. But we taught her about our Savior. We taught her why we need a Savior, how we can know for a surety of His love and power, and the blessings of following Him. Laila started reading the Book of Mormon every day, and something incredible happened. She started believing!
These are baby steps that we're taking with Laila, but each and every one is miraculous. It's a really humbling experience.
This week she had a dream. I don't know what it is with Brazilians and dreams, but it seems to be a theme recently! In the dream, her family was being chased and attacked. When it looked like hope was lost, she said the earth started to shake and she saw a man come down from the sky.
"And you know that video we watched on Sunday? Remember the man in the last picture? It was him!" (We had watched a slideshow put to music of the photos from Reflections of Christ)
This man spoke to her, and told her she needed to follow Him. He told her that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was His church, and the Book of Mormon was true. In the dream she cried out, "I know it is! I know it!"....and then she woke up.
INCREDIBLE, but she got a little stuck on the first part that really was a nightmare. "If this was my answer, why did it have that part in it?" Honestly, I believe it could have been an answer. But I also believe that the Spirit brings peace, and the God loves her. She'll get another answer if she needs it!
Vania...I hope you're all praying for her! Her baptismal date was postponed a bit, but she came to church and still loves it. In sacrament meeting, she got really emotional, and when I talked to her afterwards, she told me that she really felt that Heavenly Father was showing her that this was the place He wanted her to be. But she's so full of doubts and worries! We want her to make the decision to be baptized being fully determined to serve Him until the end. She's heading along in that direction, but still indecisive. She has a hard time understanding why this has to be the only true Church. But she's incredible, and we love her!
I have to go now. But I love you all, so so much. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you!