Man the week flew by! We traveled to Porto Alegre and other cities nearby Santa Cruz. Overall, we spent just 3 days of our week in our area. Some of the highlights of the week included helping with 2 move ins of in-active members, a brownie/ice cream FHE, an amazing Friday night English class, a district attack (10 missionaries in our area) in a small city called Vera Cruz, and last but not least the baptism of Bira.
Let me tell you more about Ubirajara Freitos Soares. Bira is highly intellectual, successful in his work, and a born leader. People look to him and see power, authority, and success. He is also an amazing father and husband doing everything to benefit his family. He was born and raised Catholic and had been a practicing Catholic for more than 48 years of his life. About 20 years ago, Bira received a visit from the missionaries. After going to church and listening to all the messages, almost to the point to be baptized, Bira decided that he would stick in the Catholic church. 15 years after, his son Bruno began to investigate the church because of a close friend. After going to seminary everyday and Sunday church meetings, Bruno received/gained a testimony. When he decided to get baptized, his parents fully supported him and made him promise that he would stay active in the church. From then on and out, Bruno began to be a humble example for Bira and Helena. After 4 or 5 years of membership, Bruno began to fill out his papers for the mission. After his decision to serve a mish, his parents became more interested in the gospel. One week after getting to Santa Cruz, my companion and I could teach and mark a baptism date for Helena, Bruno’s mom. Her baptism was wonderful, and she is now a young women counselor. Bira, on the other hand, was quite a bit more complicated. After teaching for several months, bearing many testimonies, promising many blessings, resolving doubts, and imploring Bira to follow the feelings of the Holy Spirit, Bira decided to get baptized. The priest surprised him and told him to follow his heart and do what was best for his family. This family is easily my family away from home. They treat us missionaries like family and do anything for us. That is why on Saturday I felt so happy as Bruno baptized his father Bira. What a special moment that was to see a family filled with such great joy. Bira bore his testimony on Sunday that the joy was indescribable and that in one year his family would be sealed in the temple.
The gospel is so great because it makes families happy. Overall, the week was great. I was saddened to hear that our beloved prophet had passed away, but am thrilled to know that God will never stop calling prophets in these days. What a great blessing that is. One scripture that impacted me this week in thinking of how God, the prophet, and my leaders look to me was 1 Samuel 16:7. Here Samuel goes to the house of Jesse to choose the next king. After looking at and feeling nothing special with Jesse’s first 6 sons, Samuel asks if exists another. Jesse makes comment of his shepherd son David. I loved what the Lord says to Samuel, “Look not on his countenance or on the height of his stature because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” May we all learn to look and treat others as God would treat others. I love you all and I love this gospel. Dave
|Baptism of Bira|
|Elders of the District|
|The new band|