So the ward here went to the temple this Saturday. All the youth planned to meet at the chapel in the morning so that everyone could get up and go together on the bus to get to the temple. Around 15 youth went to the temple that day. Of the young women, the majority were members with more time in the Church, but the young men didn´t have any experienced member with them, but seven of our recent-converts went! Our converts are LOVING the Church and I am extremely happy with the work that my companion and I are doing here. It´s really rough sometimes having to take care of so many things at the same time, but the Lord has really been blessing us with His elect children to teach and baptize! We have quite a few young men who have already made plans with the bishop to serve a mission next year! So I will be sending a lot of mail to Brazilian missionaries this time of year next year!
Just to show you all just how blessed this area has been, I will tell you that we broke a record in our mission today. Today, we baptized 11 people! The ward was SO surprised and happy to see so many people in white and excited to be baptized. There were youth and a mom who we had been able to help this week. I felt so happy seeing all of them taking such a big stride in following Christ. I just cannot explain just how much Brazil has been a blessing to me. I see so many humble people here who are looking and searching for an exit to this corrupt world they live in. SO many people have been accepting our message and it´s been such an overwhelming feeling to me. At times I get to thinking how the Lord prepared His children and then puts them in our path for us to find.
I´d like to share something very spiritual that happened to me this last week or so...
On my birthday in 2010, I had just gotten out of an interview with our mission president. He had asked me if I had set a goal for how many of God´s children I wanted to baptize on the mission. I told him that I hadn´t ever thought about setting a goal of baptisms yet. I looked at what I had done in the mission until that point. I went home and started studying the scripturs a lot about baptism and whatnot, and I decided that it was time for me to set a goal with Heavenly Father. I got down on my knees and asked Him how many people I should baptize from October 2010 until October 2011. I threw out a fairly low number to Him first, and I didn´t feel good about it. I threw out a number a little bit higher... still nothing. I threw out a number that I thought was absolutely ridiculous, but when I stopped and waited for an answer, I felt a burning in my heart that I had never felt before. I knew, better than ever before, that God had told me that that ridiculously high number needed to be my goal to reach until October 2011. Well, I wrote down the experience in my jornal and made some plans. I went to work and the very next month... we didn´t baptize anyone. Then next month... about the same thing. Then the next month... one person. Can you feel the discouragement coming in? I started to feel like that answer from God that I had received really wasn´t God talking to me but just my own head messing with me. I started to really doubt that God really could answer my prayers and I got really discouraged on the mission. You can all read my letters in about January and February and you can see how I really wasn´t happy. I even remember telling Dad how I didn´t have a single spiritual experience to tell about my mission with almost one year out. I read letters from my friends in other missions and it seemed like they were all having great chances to baptize families and whatnot, and I was the only one not doing anything. I decided to change my attitude a little bit. My new companion and I started to work better and we baptized a little more. Then I was called as a leader in the mission. I saw how my spiritual experiences were happening more often as I continued to work harder and harder. When I was looking at the list of all my recent-converts last month just after my birthday, I started to count. When I was counting, my hands started to sweat and my finger started to tremble as I passed it along the page. When I came to the end of the list, that ridiculous number that Heavenly Father had confirmed to me... had been reached. That exact number that Heavenly Father showed me was the number of people that were on my list. I felt the Spirit fill my heart and show me just how much Heavenly Father loves His children. When I was unbelieving, He still answered. What I learned from this experience was that when Heavenly Father gives us an answer to a question we have, His answer is ALWAYS true, and He WILL fulfill what He tells us.
I love the mission and I love the experiences that I am having! I love you all!