This week has been my last week here in Cidade Verde and I´ve got to say…. it has been the best week of all!!!!!!!!! I´m going to share the story completely so get ready for a long email! it´s worth it I promise!
I came into this area the 14th of December and in that first week we found a man named Daniel. To tell the truth we found a kid (who wasn´t at all interested in the church) who said he knew someone who used to go there… named Milcom… so we went to Milcom´s house and found that he was less active. But he directed us to apartment building of his friend Rafael who was almost baptized with him… We got to Rafael´s house and who did we find? Daniel! (brother of Rafael)
Rafeal and Daniel had been taught by the missionaries a few years back… about 3 years ago. But neither of them had been baptized. Daniel started to tell me and Sister Telford (my old companion from my first transfer here) about all the doubts and things he didn´t understand about the church. He didn´t understand a lot of ´rules´ we had… like why we don´t drink café, why he needed to get married and couldn´t just live with his girlfriend etc. He got to the point where he actually got a little angry and started to insult our religion a little bit.
I have to tell you all, regularly with people like that we don´t try to convince them… we will just testify of what we know to be true and leave. But I had an impression so strongly with him that he needed to understand. We pulled out the Book of Mormon and asked him if we had read it, he said a little bit, we asked him if he understood the importance of it… he said no…
I think I have never beared my testimony so strongly of the Book of Mormon than I did that day! We testified of it´s truthfullness, and importance, and how ANY doubts he had about the church could be resolved through the Book of Mormon.
We challenged him to read it for one week every day and pray every day to know if it was true…. He told us he needed one month.
During the next month we came to his house every week to teach him and accompany with him about how it was going.
The difference that happened with Daniel within that one month was incredible…. He changed. Not only did he start to understand the doctrine of the church, not only did his testimony start to build, be he changed as a person. He became SO much happier. With work… with his friends… and especially with his girlfriend, Priscilla.
He also started returning to church. He loved to learn and he would do anything to go to church… he never missed one Sunday!
Finally the time came to teach the commandments… we were nervous because he had had so many problems in the beginning… he just didn´t understand the ´why´. But this time he asked absolutely no questions. He understood, believed in and was willing to follow all of them. Because he knew they were true.
During this time he reactived his friend Milcom.. and started to take Priscilla (his girlfriend) to church with him. Priscilla is something we call here ´Espírita`…. It a pilosophy/religion that she had been studying for a few years. This is one of the most complicated religions to teach here on the mission. Their doctrine is very similar to ours but with just a few concepted distorted. She did not understand that Christ was her Savior and she believed in reincarnation… and many other things as well. However when she started coming to church regluarly she started to change as well. She said she felt something there that she had never felt before. She cried almost everytime she went to church because she felt so like the speaking spoke directly to her. But because of all she passed with the other religions she couldn´t let go of some of her old beliefs.
After about 3 months of teaching them Daniel finally decided he needed to get baptized. But first he had to get married… So this whole transfer we continued teaching them and this past Friday morning they were married in the church. The night before the wedding we went to Priscilla´s house to help her organized a few things with Daniel worked. We just sat there talking with her…. It was just a conversation but by the end she was crying. She said she couldn´t deny what she knew to be true any longer. She said she knew that the church was true and she had to be baptized as well.
THIS WAS THE BIGGEST MIRACLE OF MY MISSION. We had prayed and fasted for her for over a month and the night before her wedding the answer came.
The next day was the wedding and as a wedding present she surpised Daniel and told him that she would we baptized with him Sunday.
Sunday, after the church services, Daniel and Priscilla were baptized together. The spirit was unbelievably strong. It was impossible not to feel it. It was two of the most prepared people I have ever seen for baptism. The happiness and light just radiated from them both. At the end some members and I prepared a special hymn and sang it for them. They just sat together in the front embracing and crying because of how happy they were… because of how strongly the Spirit was testifying to them both. They are now starting to prepare so that they can go through the temple and be sealed for eternity.
This is nothing that I did, my companion did, or some member or bishop did. It was an individual conversion process. Daniel recieved his answer… directly through the power of the Holy Ghost. Priscilla did as well. I saw this happen… I had the privilege of seeing God working within them and testifying of his gospel.
Being a missionary of Christ´s true church really is quite easy… because it is the truth. If I was trying to decieve people then my job would be a lot more difficult. I don´t think I would be able to convince anyone. However what I have to offer, what all missionaries have to offer, isn´t just some gag or cool idea we are trying to sell…. is the true doctrine and church of Christ. And thankfully I don´t have to convince anyone of that, the Spirit takes care of that part for me. The Spirit does the complete conversion process.
All I have to do is live worthy of the Spirit and give all I can to the Lord. Search for the people who are humble and have receptive hearts, teach them the lessons, provide them with the right tools, and then let the spirit take care of the rest.
The answer comes to all who search and ask. I know that is true. I have seen it happen with others and it has happened personally with me.
I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It is the word of God and all those who read it and apply it´s doctrine, along with the Bible and other modern scripture will have the fullness of the gospel and a fullness of joy… not only in this life but in the eternities!