Well it looks like my time here in Santa Cruz has come to an end. Between Canela and Santa Cruz, I’m not sure which area I love more. Let me tell you why I love Santa Cruz. First off, the city is surrounded by nature. Waterfalls, forests, monkeys, and so much more. Second that the church is small, but it is growing quickly. The members here are amazing. They feed us banquets on the daily, pick up our investigators, go teaching with us, support our crazy ideas (noite Americana), and treat us like representatives of Jesus Christ. Thirdly, it was the area where I saw the most people enter into the waters of baptism. The Lord blessed us to find prepared children of God. Fourthly, I became super close to so many missionaries including my German/Argentinian running buddy Elder Abretch, Guitar slaying Elder Southwick, 2 of my fave comps Elder Rocha Neto e Queiroz, e American bud Elder Tate. Overall, the last months have passed so fast because I have lost myself in serving the Lord. I can’t wait for the day to return to this city and visit and remember some eternal memories.
This week was once again amazing! We saw various miracles and saw much success in the zone. We started the week off with an awesome dynamic. We did an Easter egg hunt but with hand out church cards. The cards represented baptisms the Lord has been preparing for each companionship. It was awesome to see the excitement and desire to find these “baptisms.” I know that the Lord is constantly preparing his children to hear the message of the restored gospel.
One other highlight was the baptism of Tadeu. Tadeu was an incredible investigator. He started going to church because of our English class. Every Friday before the class I was able to teach and see the progression of this awesome young man. He read the Book of Mormon, arrived at church 30 minutes early, testified that he knew the church was the only true church on this earth, and marked his baptism date. He has lots of potential to be a future leader.
One of my favorite fams in Santa Cruz is Paulo e Linara. Paulo is active, served a mish in Manaus in 92, and trying to get his whole fam to be members of the church. 2 of his 3 step children have been baptized and none of his own children have been. Linara also has been waiting for 6 months for a divorce and the marriage to Paulo to get baptized. As I knew my time was coming to an end in SC, I was saddened by the fact that the family I most visited I wasn’t able to see be baptized. Everything changed when Paulo’s youngest daughter, Rayssa, and Linara’s youngest son, Guilhermo, came to live with them. They are both 12 and have an amazing enthusiasm for the gospel. Honestly, they were some of the smartest and most curious kids I have ever taught. After many challenging questions and a good talk with the parents, both Rayssa and Gi were ready to be baptized on Sunday. I have never seen 2 kids so excited to be baptized. Paulo life long member was thrilled to have his step son and daughter be baptized. The family is more united than ever, studying the scriptures and participating in family prayer. Their happiness brought me much joy. Unfortunately, a last minute family emergency resulted in the remarking of Rayssa e Gi’s baptisms. At first, I was saddened that I would be unable to participate in the baptism, but then accepted and acknowledged that what had happened was the will of the Lord. I love that family deeply and can’t wait to see the baptism photos next week.
Thanks for all the love, prayers and support. Sorry for the super long post, but I love Santa Cruz.
PS I wil got to Caxias, the land of the Italians and hills.
|FHE with Paulo Linara Guilherme e Rayssa|
|Finishing a 2000 piece puzzle|