week 46 . love & forgiveness

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This week we had a MIRACLE in the Seridó Ward. A baptism!!!!!!!!!! I can hardly believe it. We have worked so incredibly hard to be able to have success in this area and it came around! Francisco was baptized!!!! And it was wonderful. He was a little bit nervous because he doesn't know how to swim haha, but we explained that he would be just fine and when he came out of the water he was beaming.

Afterwards we walked back with Francisco from the stake center (longggg walk to his house) [mom note: church building] and he wasn't loving it. In his defense, it's far away, it was hot hot hot, and he was feeling a little sick and a lot hungry. #minhavida But he was throwing a bit of a tantrum (got me pumped to be a mom haha). Elder Monteza looks at him and says, "Francisco you washed all of your sins away about ten minutes ago and now you're going to get all dirty again?" hahaha And then Elder Monteza picked him up and carried him in his arms, newlywed style, for about half of the walk. He's going to heaven for that I'm sure of it haha.

We were at the Stake Center because it was Stake Conference this weekend and it was wonderful. [mom note: a meeting where multiple wards (see link above) meet together] Elder Aidukaitis of the Quorum of the Seventy was there (we're rolling in 70 members here in Caicó haha) and he is amazing. He's this super tall gangly man and hilarious, but also so full of the spirit. He was cracking jokes the whole time about Nephi and leaders of the Stake and waving his crazy long arms around and laughing. Impossible not to just love him. But he also gave a wonderful and very clear talk. I felt especially touched by what he said about love and forgiveness. That Christ gave us a commandment to love and forgive everyone all the time. There's no excuses, no way to live this commandment halfway. Because if we don't forgive others, God will not forgive us our trespasses. And I have plenty to be forgiven.

There were other wonderful talks about the sacrament and the Sabbath, tithing and fast offerings, and the light and redemption that comes through the Atonement of Christ. There was a choir that sang beautifully and brought the spirit with such power. I was crying from the first hymn of the conference onward haha. But it was truly such an edifying and instructive and beautiful meeting.

The only bummer about Sunday was that Joaquim didn't go to church, and therefore wasn't baptized. We haven't been able to catch him at home since Sunday morning (he was apparently at his brother's house?) but we're hoping to get a hold of him and help him prepare to be baptized this last week of the transfer.

We found an amazing family this week. Well to be honest, they found us. A man named Jean (jay-ahn) Carlos stopped us in the street and asked what church we represent. We explained to him a little bit about the church and marked a return visit. He told us that he lives in the neighborhood Frei Damião. [mom note: the neighborhood is named after this man] This neighborhood is far far far away haha. During my three transfers here I had never been there and to be honest didn't even know where it was. But this week we made the trek out there and found this little neighborhood tucked between some rocks in basically the middle of nowhere. And there's a giant paper-maché type statue on a rock of a friar (frei) so that you know you made it haha.

[mom note: When Google-ing this statue it became apparent that there are many statues of this monk throughout the Northeast of Brazil but I think this is the one Megan talks about.]
We found Jean and also met his parents, Francisco and Marli, and started teaching them. Francisco is a super outgoing religious man who doesn't drink, smoke, or drink coffee! ? Yes! They are wonderful and Jean and Francisco have accepted baptism. And they even have transportation to get to church! woo hoo! The main problem is conflicts that they have with work on Sundays, but it's nothing we can't work with and I'm honestly so excited to help this family!

We went out to teach with a young woman from the ward, Sara, and she took us to her house to get to know her mom and brother who are less-active. Her brother wasn't home, but her mom was and we had a good long talk with her. Her mom is amazing! She is super sweet and easy to talk to and knows what she needs to do. Her main reasons for not going to church are personal and family problems that are understandable, but she has found a way to resolve the problem and was back at church for Stake Conference on Sunday! She served a mission in São Paulo Interlagos and she showed us a super well-done mission album/yearbook that her mission made. I think there was a Gentry relative who served in her mission (lives in Port Angeles and I know the Gentry's have family out there). And there was a hilarious part of the album with the words "eternal companions" and missionaries from the mission who after going home got married hahaha. I was dying. It was great to hear about her mission and the contact she has with companions and friends and investigators. (One of her companions was the daughter of the guy who wrote The Color Code. Geeked out a little bit haha). [mom note: one night on a road trip Megan and I stopped at a hotel to sleep but instead stayed up most of the night taking The Color Code personality test and laughing hysterically at our results] But it made me so excited to be here right now and made me want to take advantage of every moment, and also made me excited to see what happens with everyone from the mission 20 years from now.

I'm so grateful to be here on a mission. It is a wonderful experience full of fun moments, spiritual moments, and endless opportunities to grow. I know that this church is true and that the leaders within it are called of God.

I love you all so much.
Sister Baker

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