Firstly, I would like to start this email off by saying WHAT AN AWESOME WEEK THIS HAS BEEN! Does that express my feelings suficiently? We ended up baptizing THREE people yesterday! There were two boys and one girl. The cool story behind the two boys goes like this... We baptized their cousin last week and they were there at the baptism. They liked it so much that they dedicated themselves to prepare to be baptized this week. We went to their house every night this past week talking with them and following up with what that had been reading in the Book of Mormon. They both are under the age of 12 so we have to be SUPER sure that this is what they want to do; you can´t go on and baptized little kids like that. Turns out that during our visits in their house, their mom really started to like our messages and the way my companion and I acted as two young men. She told us that we were extremely different from all of the other churched that she used to go to. The day before the baptism, she was sitting on the couch with her husband and oldest son. We finished teaching them about the law of Chastity and confirmed everything for the next day. This woman was so excited and happy because of the way her two boys were preparing themselves to be baptized that she asked us something really special. "So... after boys are baptized, can I be baptized, too?" I looked at my companion and we said, "Not only CAN you be baptized, but you SHOULD be baptized next week!" She cried at her sons´ baptism and she and her oldest son will be baptized as well this next Sunday. What an awesome family!
Thus far, my companion and I have baptized for the fifth week in a row. I have never seen so many blessings fall from the sky in my entire life! We work really hard everyday knocking on doors and inviting everyone to be baptized to try to find the elect children of God, and He has been putting them in our path. I have learned something very helpful here on the mission. Heavenly Father has prepared many people to accept the Gospel. Many, many people are just waiting to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost, but if they aren´t invited to be baptized, they may never realize this saving ordenance. We need to invite EVERY single person to enter the waters of baptism because this is the way Christ showed us to return to live with God. Ever since I have learned this, I have found much more people to teach and baptize... and I am having A LOT more fun!
One day this week, we were walking down the road when, out of nowhere, some 21 year-old guy stopped us and told us to come into his house. Turns out he was a really inactive member who was wanting to come back to the Church. I am hesitant to tell you all what happened this week because Mom will grab the next flight to São Paulo, but it will help the story. Someone was shot and killed in the area that we are working everyday and this person was a good friend of this member. He didn´t want to end up like him with the drugs and stuff like that. He told us that he was just about to leave his house to do something really stupid, he didn´t specify what exactly, but he saw us first and called us into his house instead. He came back to Church this week and is going to talk to the bishop about serving a mission! He said that we had a light around us amidst the nonsense that was going on in the street. Imagine what would have happened if we hadn´t have been there... The Church is true.
This Saturday we finally started building a house for our converted pastor of our ward here. He bought a piece of land and now we are going to town on it to build it for this member. We worked for about five hours straight and now we are ready to fill in the foundation of the house. Brazilians build their houses way differently than us because they don´t have to worry about earthquakes, so their foundations aren´t nearly as deep as ours, but if I ever wanted to build my own house here, I now know what it takes! This member said something to me that was really impressive. He told me that he was going to put a big giant rock underneath the foundation. I looked at him all confused. He noticed my look and rephrased his sentence, "The Gospel Rapaz!" The wise man built his house upon the rock, the foolish man built his house upon the sand. It was a life lesson that I was able to learn that day; my life is like my house. Today, I am choosing to build my house upon the rock of my Redeemer. For the rest of my life, I will be putting up the walls and decorating my house, but it will be firm and steadfast because of my foundation. I hope that my whole family puts this little message into practice. We may face a lot of problems in our lives, that is one thing that is for sure in everything, but with Christ as our foundation, NOTHING can knock us completely down. Some of us have already laid the foundation and just need a little bit of remodeling in the house, and others need to remove everything and start over, but one thing is for sure; Christ will be right by our side as we are working hard to do things that He asks (1 Nephi 3:7). I know that this Gospel is true. I know that the plan of God is true because through it I can live with my family forever in mansions above. Heaven wouldn´t be heaven if I didn´t have my WHOLE family with me.
Have a great week everyone! Know that I am doing great and I am at a good and healthy weight ;). I love you all and am overly grateful for the help that you all give me. Thanks so much Grandma and Grandpa; know that the money will go to a great cause... and I won´t come home looking like a pole :) I love you all! Tchau! Beijinho!
Elder Steven Brent Clark