Dear Family and Friends,
Last Monday, we visited an old monastery, built in 1558, above the towns of Vila Velha and Vitoria. We made the hike up the mountain, and were greeted by magnificent views and a morning mass. After that, it was off to the branch president´s house where we enjoyed a barbecue a la American style, complete with BBQ sauce.
Tuesday, we had a huge birthday spread, and at night there was a surprise party (pictures to follow later) at a member´s house. And Thursday, we had pasta and then 5 liters of ice cream we had to eat. Delicious! Yet, the best part happened on Tuesday when we were able to give a blessing to a very sick lady in the branch, and she came up to us on Sunday looking like a different person and told us that she had been completely cured. I have seen so many times the power of the priesthood! It is real, and it works miracles!
Wednesday we had zone conference with the Mazzagardi´s. It was wonderful to meet them, and I have been impressed so far. They are different than the Young´s yet have been called of God. Sis. Mazzagardi is a real trooper and inspiration. She lost her two daughters after they were born prematurely due to her cancer. And, with that cancer, she lost the ability to speak (being tongue cancer). She went two years with out speaking anything, and has spent the last eight years learning to talk again. They have stressed strict obedience and the fact that we are representatives of Christ.
Thursday, we had our leadership council with them, where we could again learn a lot, and know of their faith and courage. Wednesday night, we went to Guarapari to do a couple of baptismal interviews. I talked with Sarah, but she had a doubt, so we decided to put the Book of Mormon to the test to try and help her. After a prayer, she opened it up to a random page and pointed to the first verse she saw. I saw that she had opened to Alma 44, and honestly my faith wavered. The war chapters aren't the best when talking about baptism. But this time, I was the one who really learned a lesson, when the first sentence she read talked about making a covenant of peace. It answered her question, and yesterday was baptized.
For what has to be a new record, it again poured Sunday morning, making four Sundays straight, making it very hard to bring people to church. This time, we left the house at 7;30, and after having rained all night, I thought it would hold off. Alas, it was not to be, and 15 minutes later, the heavens were opened. And we didn't have any umbrella, which is not a terrible problem for us, but when we got to our lead investigator's house, she too did not have an umbrella, and wasn't willing to venture out without cover. So, we pleaded, ten minutes, and went looking for one. And miraculously, we got one, and everyone made it to church on time.