So this week was a great improvement from last week. I can't remember everything in sequence but will try to put it all together.
Tuesday was a good day. We went to district meeting and studied for 4 hours after that. It doesn't leave much time for proselyting but we did the best we could. We visited a lot of people who weren't home and then we decided to visit Angelica. She's Valeria's sister, the chick we baptized last week. We knew going into the lesson that she really wanted to be baptized, but had to get married first. While we were studying in the first part of the day we decided to teach her about "The Family. The proclamation to the World". We just kind of read it with her and taught her about all the things that didn't make sense. It was a super spiritual lesson and everyone cried, something about eternal families just touches that weak spot in people. It's amazing how true it is. She has a little boy with 5 years, and really wants to get her husband baptized and married to her. We'll go back there this week and see what we can do.
The next day I remembered one of my baptisms from a long time ago, Cristiane who brought a friend to church and said she wanted to get baptized. Sometimes with little kids you don't really take things seriously like that but we decided to go check it out. So we went to Christiane's house for her to lead us to her friend's house. It was funny, two fully grown men following a tiny Brasilian girl through the street for about a mile. It just felt a little strange. But we went to this girl's house and found out she lives with her mom and 5 more sisters. Just a little shack house filled with little girls and tons of puppies. So their mom was there and we began talking to her about how her little girls wanted to be baptized and kind of just eased into the first lesson. And the mom ended up wanting to get baptized too! perfect right? Then we started asking about the family and how many girls were over the age of 8, and had been to church and 4 are about the age of 8 and 3 have gone to church already. So we got the mom's signature to baptize these 3 little girls on Sunday. Me and Elder Amaral just looked at each other in disbelief. We struck a gold mine of baptisms. 5! Everyone over the age of eight wanted to be baptized. It truly was a Christmas miracle.
The same day we went to visit another girl, Maria Paula, who supposedly wanted to be baptized. She came to church for the ward conference a few weeks back and the Bishop told us that she wanted to get baptized. We got her address and went looking for her. Let me tell you the addresses are super random here. We received this address 67b Rua da Amizade. We found 2 houses with the number 67 but neither of them were it. So we gave up for a few days. Then we talked to her friend Diego, who is a member and he lead us to her house. It was house number 67 still. # house #67??? Gosh dangit Aguas Compridas. So we talked to her, gave the first lesson, challenged her to be baptized and she said no. What?? You don't just say no. So we asked why and helped her to understand why she needs baptism. She understood everything and when I asked her if she wanted blessings from the Lord she said, "yes." Then I asked her what she needs to do to receive the blessings. She said that she needed to be baptized. Then I challenged her again to be baptized. She said no... it was so frustrating! It's so frustrating when people know the truth but don't go through with it. She didn't even have a reason. She just didn't want to. I walked away from that lesson super frustrated, but I did all I could do so that's all that matters.
The same day we taught Sandro, our bible bashing buddy who we thought we could baptize. It didn't quite work out and we booted him from our teaching group. He just liked to argue and wouldn't let us say anything. It's as if he was preaching to us instead of us preaching to him. He didn't like the word authority. He yelled, "forget authority!"... We used all the scriptures we could find to try to convince him that the Church of Jesus Christ always had authority and always will have authority to baptize/perform all the ordinances. Never again will we go in that house.
We had really pointless incident this week to. So we got this reference from Elder Bondade(the other elders in our house), and we went searching for it. We went to the top of the alto where we thought it would be but it wasn't there and we started asking people on the street and they just kept leading us further and further from our regular area of prosiletismo(don't know in English). We ended up going all the way to the other side of the mountain/hill into uncharted territory. Seriously. It looked like these people had never left their street. Kids saw my companion and a tall white guy and literally hid themselves. I thought it was funny. There were other kids that just laughed and I laughed a fake laugh with them. We ended up not finding the reference and it started raining super hard. It's that kind of rain that an umbrella doesn't really do anything against. ---That was a weird sentence in English.. maybe its right.
This week with Galileo was a grand ol time. He forgot everything we had already taught him about the restoration. At least he remembered that coffee and beer are bad. But we taught him everything again. We also taught his 17 year old sister too. She's all about the Assembly of God. She is stuck on the whole gift of tongues thing and that at her church the pastor speaks to god in a strange language. Doesn't quite work like that. We semi burned her with the bible and she was impressed and told us we are fire, or awesome I guess in English. But she said she would go to our church if we went to hers. We'll see what happens. We left them both with the Book of Mormon prayer challenge because Galileo hasn't prayed about it yet and she just needs to. They would be sweet members. I just wanna baptize them!
So there were 2 days during this week that had a Brasil soccer game on. Everyone stops when they're playing and there is literally no way to teach during these couple hours. So we went to cut Elder Amaral's hair cause he's been complaining about it like a girl for the past 2 weeks. There just so happened to be a super long line to wait and a TV in the shop so we ended up watching the game. Everyone in the shop was going nuts and when Brasil scored a goal everyone shot fireworks in the road. I love it! Everyone around you rooting for the same team. It's true team spirit. Never really happens in the US. The whole country literally going nuts for one game. It's just cool. Brasil beat Italy 4-2.
Sunday was the day of the baptism and wasn't as easy as we thought it would be. Baptisms are never just a walk in the park. There's always something that happens that almost makes the baptism not happen. Everything was all worked out the night before. We called the mom and set up the interviews for 830 in the morning in the church. She said she would be there. So Sunday we went there and met the Zone Leaders. The mom didn't show up with her three little girls that were going to be baptized that day. So I called her. She said she was with a headache and that she wasn't able to come. Then I asked if everyone in the house had a headache. Then she said she didn't want her girls to get baptized and hung up in my face. I called her again to ask her what was wrong and she said her girls are still young and don't know what they want. I talked about the whole age of 8 thing and how everyone needs to be baptized blah blah blah... and she hung up again. Everyone got really disappointed after the call and we kind of just gave up. It was probably one of the most disappointing moments of my mission. 5 baptisms down the tubes. 5 souls not saved. But half way through sacrament, Cristiane walks in with a huge bag of clothes and the girls following behind her. Could it be?? We kind of flipped out for a bit and then got our composure back and called the Zone Leaders and talked to the girls and the ward mission leader. The Girls said their mom said they could be baptized and we already had the signature. The ZLs came back and did the interviews and left. Then my companion got all nervous saying that we shouldn't baptize them. He had called the mom again to make sure and the grandma picked up and yelled that she hadn't authorized the baptisms. But she's the grandma and has nothing to do with the situation, except for turning the mom against us and the church. The grandma is from the assembly and filled the mom's head with some wrong things about the church. It was a really bad situation and something needed to be done. Everyone but Elder Amaral said we should baptize. But we did it. We baptized the girls and I didn't regret it. The whole ward supported it and everyone was happy. It was probably one of the best baptisms I've done. The smiles of the girls were priceless and the spirit was definitely felt. If the spirit was felt, it had to be the right thing to do. We will go to their house this week to talk to the mom and set everything straight. We're gonna bring Mainha with us to give some womanly guidance. We already told the mom that the church has always been persecuted by people who don't believe, because she had already told us about the things people have told her about the church. People make things up about the missionaries, about the things we practice, about the bishop.... everything. Just gotta set it right and baptize her. She already accepted the challenge to be baptized and live the word of wisdom. ahhhh Working with people gets complicated sometimes but the Lord helps us make things happen.
Later on Sunday we watched the missionary broadcast in another city so we had to catch the bus. The broadcast was amazing. Always good to hear the prophet's voice(through the voice of a Brazilian speaking Portuguese). But the Lord really is hastening his work and we're part of it. I'm proud to be a missionary and love the work. It's hard sometimes but it's well worth it. The good times ALWAYS outweigh the bad. We killed it this week as a companionship. Our numbers were high and so is our confidence. I wrote in the letter from last week that we would get a baptism and we got 3! boom.
Well I should close this off. It's getting huge. Love you all. Christ lives!
Elder Dallin Stephen Carroll