I´m not sure if I made it very clear last week, but yes, I was indeed transferred. I am now serving in Santa Tereza Ward. My companion is Elder Farias. I definitely did not think I was going to be transferred, especially since Elder Padilla only had three weeks in São Luiz before I was transferred out. But, that is missionary life. Santa Tereza ward is fantastic. I believe this ward has the best Bishop in the mission. This man is incredible. He called us in Sunday after church to have a “counsel” with us. To see how we are, what our challenges are, what we are doing, and what we can improve. We made a goal to have a frequency in the ward of 200 by the end of the year (we have 135 right now) and us missionaries will fast together with the bishopric so we can baptize and retain more people in this ward. Thank you for transferring me here. I love Elder Farias. I love the Bishop. I love the ward. He also showed us a list of all of the recent converts of the past two years, and marked which had gone inactive or with baptized without preparation and which are continuing strong. It is awesome because of all the baptisms of the past year, NO ONE has gone inactive. And it isn´t just one or two people. More like 30 or 40. He definitely has the right vision, and I am grateful that I will have the opportunity to work with him.
This week, Elder Farias and I were really busy. It seemed like we were just running from lesson to lesson. We are teaching this couple right now named Vitor and Luana. Vitor and Luana were a contact the week before I got here. They are about 25. They are great. They already know the Book of Mormon and Restoration are true and when we taught them about the law of chastity and told them we could help them be married for free they told us that this was the answer to their prayers. In Brasil, it is really expensive to get married (more or less 400 brasilian dollars), and they didn´t have the money to get married. They had already gathered all the information they needed to get married and had tried many times to get married, but they were never able to because of the legal demands. But now they will. And they are already excited for their baptism (and wedding, of course).
We also gave a lady and her daughter a blessing this week. This lady is the sister of a member, but previously had no interest in the church. Her dad has been slowly dying, and from the stress of helping him she hasn´t been able to sleep, has lost 25 pounds, and hasn´t been able to eat. Her daughter also caught a deathly illness and was given 5 days to live. So, we went and gave both of them blessings. It was a really sacred experience. The next day, we past the two in the street. We didn´t recognize her, but she called out, “ELDERS!!!!!” We turned around and she said “IT WAS A MIRACLE!” She went to bed the night before and slept through her alarm. She didn´t even wake up to take her daughter to what they thought would be her last doctor´s appointment before she passed away. When she woke up (around 11:00 AM) she made herself a huge breakfast. Her daughter was completely better and had no sign of the sickness that was literally killing her the day before. I think I learned this week a LOT about faith and the power of the priesthood. The blessings given literally saved this family´s life.
I´m so grateful for the opportunity I have right now to serve as a full time missionary. Sometimes people talk about things they did before the mission and I realize I don´t even remember what it is like to not be a missionary. My life before the mission seems like a foggy dream. All the matters now is my mission and my family.
I´m also grateful to have such inspiring parents that are working miracles in the lives of the people they around surrounded with. I´m excited to here about Angel, and the baptism of Mary, and all of the other great things that are happening because of the incredible example of my parents (Thanks Mom and Dad!). That example inspires me every week to keep working harder and harder.
As for my return date, it is still a mystery. I will try to find out as fast as possible.
Thank you for the pictures, Mom. I really appreciate them.
I love everyone!