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This week was a good one, we saw a lot of miracles here in Potengi. We had a zone meeting on Tuesday and we talked a lot about what we need to change, what we can do better, about the examples that the missionaries in the Book of Mormon are to us. It hit Sister J. Silva and I hard, and we went back to our area with a lot of goals about our work here. It was a week where we really worked hard to have the spirit with us and do our very best.
One day this week we spent our companionship study (mom note: time set aside where companions study and discuss together) reading chapter 4 of Preach My Gospel about the Spirit. It made a huge difference in our day. We were searching for the house of a referral that a member had given us...Rosineide and Aleanderson. Rosineide is a less-active member and her husband Aleanderson is not a member. Recently his brother passed away and he is going through an extremely difficult moment right now. But we were having a really hard time finding their house. As we asked other people in the street about them we found wonderful new investigators who are receptive and willing to hear our message. And finally after talking to 5 or so people we finally found someone who knew where they lived.
When we clapped our hands at the door (mom note: they don't knock on doors there) an elderly woman walked out. And she didn't look too happy to see us. She said that Rosineide lived next door and walked over to call her. We explained that we were missionaries and she cut us off ASAP. She basically said that she already had her religion, thank you very much, and for us to let her be. Rosineide came out and greeted us with a huge smile and a hug and the sweetest two-month old baby in her arms. She said that she wanted to hear our message but that she wouldn't be able to in her house because her husband hadn't slept well the night before and was asleep in the living room. So she asked Almira, the elderly woman, if we could leave the message in her house. We went over there and we started talking to and getting to know these two women. We found out that Almira had also lost one of her daughters. We bore simple testimony of the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge we have that we can live with our families for eternity and said a prayer. We left a pamphlet of the Plan of Salvation and marked another day to come back and teach so that Aleanderson could listen as well. When we left Almira gave me a good strong hug and told us to come back to her house whenever we wanted to, that we would be welcome. She also is planning on going to church this next week with us! The spirit of God has a power that we do not, a power to change hearts. This is not our work, it is His.
We're working hard here to strengthen not only our investigators, but the members and the ward here. It has become so clear to me here on my mission that the most important things we can do to strengthen our testimony of Christ and His church are the simplest things too. Read our scriptures and pray daily (individually and as a family), have weekly family home evenings, fast at least once a month, do our visiting teaching and home teaching visits, etc. These are the basics of the gospel. God has more prepared for us, but we need to do what He has already asked.
I was reading in Helaman 3 this week and it was talking about the great success that the church was having. . .
24 And it came to pass that in this same year there was exceedingly great prosperity in the church, insomuch that there were thousands who did join themselves unto the church and were baptized unto repentance.
25 And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure.
26 And it came to pass that the work of the Lord did prosper unto the baptizing and uniting to the church of God, many souls, yea, even tens of thousands.
And I thought to myself how on earth were they having so much success? What were they doing that made so many people want to be baptized? With this in mind I continued reading and in verse 35 it says:
35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
They prayed, they fasted, they were humble, and they had faith in Christ. It doesn't get simpler than that. This gospel is 100% perfect. If we just live it in our day to day lives, in our homes and work and school, everyone else will want to live it too. I have seen members here who truly give themselves over to the work of the Lord, who are magnifying their callings and always willing to serve. I hope to be more like them.
+ Sister Dyer came to Brasil to visit this week!!!!! (mom note: Sister Dyer lived with Megan in her first area but has since finished her mission and returned home) It was so great to see her! I felt like I was a greenie again haha. (mom note: greenie is a term used for a new missionary) But she brought her aunt with her who speaks English and I was trying to help translate for her aunt...didn't go too well haha. My English is a mess. And when I finally got an English phrase out without a problem I was talking to my companion, not Sister Dyer's aunt haha.
+ Here there is a custom that instead of calling everyone "you" (você) you will call people "senhor," "senhora," "irmão," "irmã," etc. (mr. mrs. brother sister) For example: "how long has the sister lived here?" Talking to a sister from the ward. It's weird in English haha. But I'm super used to talking like this, and it's the language we use in prayer also because it's more respectful. But we always use "Senhor" which is the Lord. But yesterday when I was praying I went with habit and I accidentally used "irmão" (brother) during the prayer. I heard Sister J. Silva shaking laughing next to me haha. Oops.
Send my love to the Saylin's. I'll keep them in my prayers. (mom note: Our close family friends/Megan's freshman roommate lost their father/grandfather this week. We are grateful for our association with Keith Hilbig and send our love to his family along with Megan's.
Loved seeing the video of you guys! You are all so cute and funny and all babes. I love my family. And yes, the video was ok. You can send me family videos in the emails. The boys look so old, especially Nate. I can't believe he's a Junior. Weirdest thing ever.
Love, love, love, love, love the Harry Potter party prep pics. Mom only you would be genius enough to use a wine hutch to store wands. (mom note: I found a wine hutch for free on Craigslist and promptly grabbed it so we could use it for wand storage for an HP party 8 months away. Nerd.)
(Mom, I don't know why the spacing is so weird in this letter and I tried to fix it but I can't. It's driving me crazy, please fix it if you can. Love you!)
I love you all. I am so grateful to be here on the mission. To have this wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord and to learn more about this gospel and how to live it.
I hope you all have a wonderful week.
Beijos...Sister M. Baker