Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Letter #95

Dear Family, 

I'm excited too! It's a good feeling to sprint to the end, even if I probably couldn't sprint but we're talking figuratively here : ) What's the big news? Well, president is in Sao Paulo with members of the Quorum of the Twelve and the area presidency for the bi-annual seminar for mission presidents. He said he recorded a part of Elder Nelson's talk in English just for me to listen to when he gets back tomorrow. In the meantime we have taken account of all health problems etc. for the time being which has kept the cell phone ringing with a passion from 6:30 till 10:30. 

Last month we reached the number eight spot in convert baptisms in Brasil. Cooler? Last week we confirmed fourteen men in the mission, which are huge numbers, like 600% of the normal average of last year per week. We're already closing in on last years total of men baptized and it's not even June yet : )

Elder Cruz, the local area authority from Rio had a meeting with all the stake presidents and President Genaro this weekend. I think I had mentioned this but we prepared a fifty something page report on last year's numbers going into this year. Based on our conclusions and the data, President made a goal with each stake president to have thirty convert baptisms within the next forty five days, which is about five a week in each stake or district. This would give us a total of about 230 baptisms in the next month of June. I'm very excited to see what action the local leaders will take to meet this initiative. 

This weekend we also were able to bring twelve people to church for the first time, several families and young adults. The zone of Tiradentes is excited for the stake conference this weekend and today, to help out, we are going to do splits with the companionship of Elders Peterson and Vicente in Cambé. It's a privilege and lots of fun to get to work with other elders, like these, help mold their work as missionaries and learn lots with them as well.

Last week we taught an ambulance driver who told us of his concern that he was alright with death, comfortable with it. We had a nice lesson learning about how going to church lets us remember the death and sacrifice and life of Him who gave life to all. The family was very nice and we'll see this week if they're going to progress as well.

I got to divide with Elder F. Santos on Sunday in order to meet the large number of appointments that we had. During one lesson we taught, we considered with the young man and his aunt how the prophecy that in the last days that men's hearts would fail them could be in part related to the Lord's warning to not drink coffee, something known widely to cause heart failure. (These are just some thoughts I thought to share : )

Monday our mission launched a new website, which is beautiful and together with the tools I created to get numbers, makes our mission the most accurate and efficient I know. Unlike most missions here in Brasil we can extend our proselyting time into Sunday night because we don't have to stop at seven to get all the numbers of the mission.

Yesterday Elder Rosa, who is quickly becoming a friend (the new zone leader here in Tiradentes) showed that he meant business here and gave a great training on following, Ballard style. It'll be okay this week if we are to meet our goal of baptizing twelve this conference weekend.

And yesterday. Yesterday we just couldn't find anyone at home, but at night we passed one more time in the house of a family who went to the wedding I wrote about the last few weeks. We were well received but we were even happier to hear that after going to the wedding the spouse had shared this with his brother who had promptly begun to research the church. He liked the little what he saw, and sought out the church where he lived in Londrina, close by where I had served one year ago. Meanwhile, in that ward the missionaries were having a hard time and had just been "cut" by two of the families they were teaching. The senior companion, newly called but not a little bit discouraged, rallied his companion and told him that surely the Lord would provide someone to visit the church the next day if they continued working. Who appeared but our friend? Both the testimony of the missionaries and of this man were strengthened, each knowing with almost certainty that our Lord watches over each of us personally. He will be baptized this weekend, and the couple we taught will also be at church for conference.

Well, that's all the news that's fit to print. I know it's not much, but I hope you can feel a little of the inexpressible spirit of what it's like to share day in and day out the gospel. It's lightening. It's joyful. It makes you sleep well knowing that you're doing a small part in restoring the truth to the knowledge of all God's children. I testify that He lives, and that He loves us. He wants to bring us back to Him and desires that we will seek Him. By so doing, I testify He will send His Holy Spirit to testify to our hearts that we are on the right track, and to guide us day by day. That you are so feeling His love and care,




Wholly Duncan said...

LOVE reading his letters, LOVE the inspirational stories, LOVE hearing about life in the Schenewark house. What are we gonna do when his mission is over and we have nothing to look forward to? I guess you'll still have to have a weekly update of all the goings on!

MarieC said...

WOW!! I don't know what part of that letter is the most exciting. The work is truly rolling forth in the Brazil Londrina mission. I love that they are now 8th in baptisms. Prior to our missionaries' arrival, they were dead last!