Monday, February 25, 2013

Many struggles in Abrantes

Oi minha família e meu amigos!

Eu amo vocês! This week was good. I had better health this week and my leg is still healing. Thank you for all the prayers. Today was a good pday. We went with President Hart, our LZ (ZL) and LD (DL) and another elder (believe it or not, I just typed several words in portugues and had to delete; obviously the language is coming along) to ride bikes on a really nice trail in the middle of Salvador. It was beautiful, almost like you weren't in the city. Reminded me of Golden Gate Park too.

So we worked a lot this week. Especially to get people to go to church because we haven't had investigators at church in a few weeks. It's really hard to get people to keep their committments here. This week we had four. It was really nice. Sister Kalamafoni and I also spoke in Sacrament. At least this time we had a few weeks notice. The stake here also did a fast for the missionary work here. I spoke on service. It was nice and I think people understood me a lot better than the time I had to give a talk my first sunday in the field.

Well, I have a story to tell you. So, we had lunch with one family who has several kids in a neighborhood a bit far from us. Sis K usually calls to confirm our lunches but this time we didnt have any more credit on our phone to call people outside our zone and President and Sister Hart. So we showed up at their house and it was obvious that they did not remember. We quickly decided to just share a message with them and ask for a reference. But then we met the brother of the dad that had just moved in with them that morning. We ended up teaching him the third lesson about the gospel of Jesus Christ with the family there. It was really nice. We learned a little of his past and have since learned a lot more. He has been clean from drugs and alcohol for a year and some months and is leaving Sao Paulo and his wealth there to leave an area where he had a life of gangs and drug trafficking. He was lucky that he was able to get out, they actually let him pay quite a bit of money to leave that network. Well, he easily accepted a baptism date. He was at church with the family and wants to be baptized this next Sunday! We are praying and working hard to help this actually happen. Next week will be stake conference in Camaçari so we will get to use the font there. What is amazing to me is that in our planning at the beginning of the week we didnt even know him so he wasnt on our list of people to focus on, but by the end of the week, he one of our big focuses. He really has had the hand of God in His life to bring him to this point. The Lord sent the missionaries to him just a few hours after he arrived here in Abrantes. Amazing. We left the house full of the Spirit and just amazed at how God had used us that day to bless this family. During the lesson we learned that the family had been praying to have a missionary experience. And they also had been praying to help their brother/brother in law/uncle. When the mother told us this she spoke of what a miracle it was that the Lord sent the missionaries. By sunday the family had realized that they had forgot our lunch. They felt really bad. We tried to tell them not to feel bad. I also told them that they had given us something better, that our past few weeks had been really difficult and they had given us food for our spirits. I hope they feel better about everything. We've taught a few other lessons to him so far. And I am excited. I hope next week I can write that he got baptized. 

We are also teaching another man who has also stopped drinking coffee. He is still searching for his confirmation about this way, but I think it is going well. What is amazing to me is that he set his mind to stop drinking coffee and he basically did everything on his own (well, with the Lord). He lessened what he drank over time and we taught him here and there while we were focused on some others. But he's also been a big focus of ours lately. It just amazes me when I see the difference of someone who actually does what they say they will without the missionaries trying millions of ways to help them stop, and then someone who is getting all the help in the world and just wont stop. Interesting. 

Well, we met someone last week that I talked about from Paraiba. We taught the Word of Wisdom and learned that he smokes 100 times a day. WOW! How do you have time to do anything else? Well I learned from another elder in our district who was teaching someone with this problem that he broke the cigarette and put the tobacco in a cup of water and had him drink it. He said his investigator didnt end up drinking it. Well, we did the same thing with this investigator. And guess what? Yeah, he was definitely a little sick that night, but now he is down to an average of 3 times a day. Wow. He's got some things to work on, but atleast this helped a bit and hopefully we can continue to help him. 

They did get done with Carnaval this last week. Luckily Abrantes didnt have much of any of it here. There was only a super mini "parade" here where some of the people walked down the street in crazy outfits -- as in the men were dressed in womens clothes. But not too far away is Salvador. Carnaval is crazy. The elders in that area had to stay inside all week, because thats how long this thing lasts. 

English class this week was good. We had 6 people this week and learned ABCs. Hopefully we will get more people this next week. 

Still reading Jesus The Christ. It's still awesome and I'm still loving it. 

This transfer is already winding down. This one is only 5 weeks.  Can't believe I will be done with training and starting my third transfer. Time is flying.  

I love you all and miss you. I hope things are going well. Keep doing good things and remember that every choice counts. Yes, God has a plan for each individual, but the Plan of Salvation is for everyone and we need to make sure we are doing the things that will get us to where we want to go.

Love you and am always praying for you.

Até mais.

Com amor,

Sister Lauren Olivia Villaroman

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