Well, it's been an amazing week. I wrote just a little bit last week about someone who stopped us on the street, and then visited the church. We visited him after, and he has been prepared incredibly. Missionaries in another town taught him almost everything, and when we started teaching him, he showed an incredible desire to follow Christ.
When we were about to invite him to be baptized, he stated, "We´re holding a baptism Sunday," he interrupted and asked if he could be baptized. He did lots of studying everyday and it was just amazing. He´s one of the happiest people I've ever met in my life. He doesn't have things easy, but is still always smiling and so incredibly grateful for what he does have. He shared a couple stories from his life, and I´ll share two.
The first, as a 17 year old, he was working shining shoes in Vitoria, and became friends with one of his customers, who owns a chain of grocery stores, and is one of the very rich in Brazil. The guy asked him one day what he wanted to do more than anything else, and he said snowboard. So, he acted as the guy's son, flew with the family to Florida and then to Ohio to snowboard. And he loved it.
The second story was hilarious. We asked where he was born, and he says, "My card says Vitoria, but really I was born in a car on the way to the hospital. Here, look, my dad cut my cord and tied it." He then showed us his navel. Good times.
But in all seriousness, it's been special as he´s worked towards baptism. Sunday was stake conference, and the zone had planned to do a baptism with all the wards, but eventually, our ward was the only one who supported it. So, with some members of the ward, and Pres. and Sister Young, I baptized Magno, and he was just filled with happiness.
We visited one family this week, and they had some pictures on the wall, with the kids riding a zebra. It was funny, as it was 100% so obviously a painted horse, but hey, if you've never actually seen a zebra, but knew they have black and white stripes, I guess it passes.
Wednesday, we received mail, and a wonderful package from the Merritts arrived.
Elder Soares is district leader so we spent some time interviewing candidates for baptism of other missionaries in our district, and I was very surprised when a couple of days later, the sister missionaries here called. Caike, the 11 year old son of a less active asked that I baptize him. So I had the privilege to do that Saturday, as well as José, a 60 year old who has been looking for the right church for years. It was cool to attend the service and hear from José as he testified how finally he knows he´s on the right path.
And, like last week with Magno, we were walking in a neighborhood, when someone sitting outside her house, called us over, said she, Dayani, had been taught a little bit by missionaries when she lived in Rio de Janeiro, and said at this point in her life, she wants the gospel. We visited her later with a member, and they've since become great friends. Last night Dayani called us, and asked what she had to do to be baptized. She is reading the book of Mormon, felt the Spirit very strongly at Stake Conference and wants to be baptized.
And, finally, walking in the street last night, a middle-aged man, Ricardo stopped us and talked about how missionaries had visited his father 30 some years earlier, and had given him the Book of Mormon. His father wasn't interested, and as a teenager he wasn't either. But, now, after all these years, he stopped us, asked if we are Mormons, and wants to learn more. The Lord has truly been blessing us with people who are prepared and want the gospel.
Elder Zwick, of the Seventy, and his wife, will be doing a tour of the mission, and I'm excited. We'll be having a conference with him and three other zones this week.
On July 4th, if I remember right, in 1939, the great baseball player Lou Gehrig was honored at Lou Gehrig Day at Yankee Stadium. Not only could he play like few others could, but he also lived honorably like few others could. He had traits that are rare in the world, and perhaps even rarer in professional sports with its fame and fortune. On this day, mortally ill with ALS, he called himself the Luckiest Man in the world. At this time, he had been forced into an early retirement due to ALS, or as it's commonly known, Lou Gehrig´s disease, and less than two years later would die. He had every right to complain, and yet he only offered gratitude.
For me, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. And like him, I truly feel like the Luckiest Man in the World. I've been so blessed by the Lord in my life. There have been so many miracles here on the mission, and I am blessed to witness them. This week my testimony was strengthened that this truly is the Lord´s work. We are only his servants here. And I am so blessed to have family and friends that support me, and lift me up constantly. Love you all,
Discover something new.