Another transfer gone and out. And the big news is that I will stay one more transfer in the Santa! It will be my 3rd transfer here, and I’m pretty stoked because we have some awesome investigators who will be big leaders in the church. This past week was crazy as normally weeks are on the mish. There are always so many highs and lows. But as we learn in 2 Nephi 2:22-25, it is impossible to know happiness without knowing sadness. So we must continue on and search out living this gospel.
Let’s start off with a low. Man the low of the week was when my memory card reformatted, and I lost hundreds of photos and videos. Luckily there were only photos/video from the Am and Santa Cruz. Also, the majority of these photos I have already passed onto the cloud, but my videos no. If you know me, you know that I like to make videos. Man the videos I lost crushed me. There were many special moments saved on that card. But, it’s all good, just gotta keep on shootin video. Let’s forget about the lows and move on to the highs.
Man the high this week was a high of highs, 100% miracle. Let me tell you about Michelle da Luz Santos. About 6 weeks ago, we arrived at the church building and found a woman who was extremely stressed out. She then explained her story. She had arrived in the Santa Cruz that day with her 4 children. She explained how she had run away from her house and ex-husband in Canoas. In Canoas, her ex-husband had been put in jail for drug trafficking. As Michelle lived in Canoas peacefully, slowly things got rough. She met a few church members, and she started to get to know and go to church. When her life seemed fixed out, her ex-husband sent his drug trafficking friends with the mission to find her and take her life. After several attempts and several near deaths, the church helped her take refuge and bought bus rides for Santa Cruz where her oldest daughter lives. The first thing she did upon arriving in Santa Cruz was seek out the church. We were able to calm her down, get her address, and mark a visit. When we got to her house, she was in tears. Michelle, her 4 children and 3 other family members were living in a house with 1 bathroom, 1 room, and kitchen. After a prayer to calm the family down, because the owner of the house threatened to kick them out, we taught the message of the restored gospel, read scriptures of comfort, and testified of eternal families. The spirit was so palpable, the spirit of peace circulated in that small wooden house entering the heart of every family member. In that moment, I felt as though every word that left my mouth wasn’t said by me but the spirit. We challenged them to read the Book of Mormon, ask God of the truthfulness of our message and to follow Christ being baptized in his church. Michelle and her two older daughters, Natalie and Raisa, accepted the challenge. They went to church, we taught them 2 more times, and then they disappeared. We learned that she returned to Canoas because her son-in-law kicked her out of the house. Well, in the moment, I was sad, but I knew that they would continue to search out the church. Almost a month after, this Saturday, I received a call from the assistants. I answered, and they passed me to a conference call. I began to speak with a sister who is in a city called Bento Goncalves. The first thing she said was, “Your investigator is getting baptized…” “Huh? I never worked in Bento.” “Remember Michelle???” In that moment, I dropped to the floor and let out a shout of rejoice. She then passed the phone for Michelle who was 15 minutes away from entering the waters of baptism. She explained to me what had happened, how she was threatened by her ex-husband again, and how she had to move to Bento where she lives one street away from the church. She thanked me for my testimony I shared with her on that first day and how her life has never been the same since. I congratulated her on her decision and learned that one of her daughters would also be baptized. These are the moments that show me the importance of being a missionary. These are the moments my testimony strengthens. These are the moments of joy. When the time comes, we need to raise our voices and testify of this ever-lasting gospel. I love you all and wish you the best! Take advantage of the holiday season to share this gospel.Love, Dave
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