I cannot really believe how amazing this last week was and I am so grateful to be here in Manaus.
First, the information you all want to know. I am being transferred to Ajuricaba! I will be a district leader there as well. This new area is very close to the temple and is on the west side of the city. I have now lived in the south, the east, the north, and soon the west of Manaus. It is really cool because I basically know the entire city. HAHA. The reason I have not served out side of the city is that my 1 yr visa renewal has not come through from Brasilia so technically I am illegal for these last 6 weeks. So I am not allowed to travel or go anywhere outside of Manaus. It is really weird that it is taking so long to renew my visa because the other people before and after me have already received their visas. My new companion will be a brand new guy, straight off the training floor again. This will be his 3rd transfer and he is Brazilian. I am really blessed to have so many native companions. I have a great time with these guys.
Alright so this week started off really well. It was a week of faith. Real faith. Faith that was tried, tested and pushed to some seriously stressful limits but in the end I have come out stronger with a firm foundation built upon my Savior.
We decided this week that we were going to invite and baptize 3 people this week. THAT is a huge goal but we honestly, truly, had faith that it was possible. We prayed out who and decided to invite Luiz, Lucimara, Francinete, and Fabiola. Then, we went to work. We met with these people everyday and we tried our hardest to help them develop the faith and knowledge required to enter into the waters of baptism. Well as it turns out Francinete was baptized years ago but moved away to a city that did not have the church and has just returned. BOOM! Lucimara decided, after praying that she will be baptized, but that she needs to prepare more and we agreed. Luiz was all set and ready but after his interview to be baptized he and the president of the mission made a plan for him to be baptized in 2 weeks. Fabiola was baptized!
Fabiola was born in Tefé and while she lived there as a child she was taught by missionaries. She wanted to be a member of the church but every time that she planned to be baptized, tragedy struck, and the date never came. Eventually the missionaries left her city and she never was baptized. Yet now almost 10 years later we ended up knocking on her door and she told us, "look, I have wanted to be baptized for years, and the Lord gave me 2 chances to do so. This time, I will not pass it by." On Sunday, the day of her baptism we awoke and went to church only to find that she was not there! We called and called but she did not answer. We went to her house to find it closed. I was just freaking out that something had happened once again. I prayed a ton and told the Lord that I was here and ready, and that I was willing to do anything to show it. Well, then we decided to go to her house one more time before church ended. I went, praying the whole time. When I arrived the door was open and we discovered that Fabiola had been sleeping. Her son was sick all night and she had not slept at all. Yet she was so happy to see us that she took a quick shower and we caught the last hour of church. She was then baptized that afternoon. Boyah!!
This week I also went on a division in Guarany, with Elder França. He has been in that area for months and he is just sick of it, because the area has had so many problems. Well I went there to interview two people to be baptized and both interviews fell. Actually at about 7pm, the day had been really terrible, and Elder França was just steaming. I told him we were going to contact a reference from the temple. So we went and found a 13 year old kid, Leandro. This kid was one of the most special people I have ever taught on my mission. He was so prepared to receive this message when we gave him a book of mormon, he was just gitty to read it. It was truly a miracle. Then, out of no where we found on the the people that was supposed to be interviewed earlier in the week, Fayana. She had taken the wrong bus home, and she was really sorry. I interviewed her, and it took 2 house!!! She was so full of questions, and I tried my best to help her understand faith through doubt.
We also have been teaching a guy named Luiz. I think I have already spoken about him. He is incredible and I have never seen so many miracles happen to just one person. I just wanted to make an honorable mention of the guy because he is so cool and one of the best people I know here in Brazil.
What made this week so special was our missionary devotional that we held for our ward. Two weeks back we made a plan that would involve more the members of the ward in the work. So we made a powerpoint presentation and found some great videos that were super motivating. Then we presented all this work to the members on how they could help us. It was fantastic and full of the spirit. I gave a message on being called, qualified and chosen. My companion presented the plan and the Ward Mission Leader gave a talk on work. Rudson, the WML, gave the best talk I have ever heard in my life. He has about 4 months in the church as an active member and he blew me away. Something that really touched me is this statement he made, "Yesterday at 6:42 in the morning, a man came up to me at a bus stop and invited me to visit his church. He then gave me a paper invite. I do not know his motives for inviting me but I believe it was for honest desire to share what he found to be true. I reflected much about this invite he gave me and I have come to this thought: How many of US are up at 6:40 in the morning to preach the true gospel of Christ?" Wow! I was truly moved. We then shared a wonderful movie clip of a girl giving a Book of Mormon to friend who was then baptized and we then invited the whole ward to take a book of mormon and give it to a friend. All 40 books we had were passed out with the promise that they would be given to friends who would come to church with them. I felt so good and I know that these people will be extremely happy for there service just as I am so happy.
Faith is the key to miracles. Real faith. If you would like to know what faith is read the book "LECTURES ON FAITH". I promise you will not regret it.
ALSO: I SAW A JACARÉ this week in my area. I took sweet pictures and some video of us missing with it. Jacaré is a camen, or rather the brazilian version of an alligator! FOTOS COMING SOON!
Eu vos amo,
Elder Asa Laws