With Sister Chagas, Courtney & Sister Helm
The title of this email is true, it is definitely beginning. Carnival, or the big sin fest as I like to call it, is starting up. It feels like Halloween here because everyone uses costumes and masks and wigs and all that crazy stuff. So far there is no Brazilian who can actually explain to me why they celebrate carnival, just that they do and everyone drinks or goes to the beach and it lasts about a week, so that will be a great week of proselitismo on the street for the missionaries.
So transfers. Turns out transfers are hard and very sad if you suddenly get your best friend/companion ripped away from you. Sister Helm is transferred to São Miguel in Alagoas to finish her mission. My other companion Sister Chagas will stay here with the other American sister here, and my new companion will be the wonderful Sister Barbosa once again. I feel like I should be a lot more happy to have Sister Barbosa, but for now I am just sad that Sister Helm will be leaving. It’s hard when you don’t prepare yourself emotionally and just expect things to be the same. It really feels like I’m having to say goodbye to one of my sisters again, but she says she’ll be waiting for me at the airport in December haha. So looks like I’ll get to head up the work here in Estancia for a little while longer. I was kinda secretly hoping for a change because branches can feel like a lot of work sometimes, but now I know I have more work to do here now.
Basically the greatest thing that has happened this whole transfer was this Saturday, we had the baptism of Irma Helena!! She is one of our pearls. She is amazing. After a lot of prayer and studying we received a miracle with her. She was nervous to get baptized so soon, even after explaining that she was far beyond prepared, that God had been preparing her life for years and years. We brought a woman in the ward that lives near her, we taught about the importance of baptism in John 3, we testified of the spirit that was there with us, told her to trust in the answers she had received from her studying and prayers, and for some strange reason she just agreed to be baptized!!! It was amazing. I can’t even describe how amazing it was to see her grow in the gospel, to see everything in her mind just click when we taught her. She has become so much more sure of herself and her knowledge. She wants to participate in lessons and in church, when we started she would barely say one word! I can’t help imagine how amazing it will be when she gets to go to the temple. She raves about how amazing the spirit is at church and how she feels so wonderful there, I just think ´´just wait til the temple!!´´. When you go on a mission, you think that everyone you teach and baptize will be like Irma Helena. But I’m learning that most people aren’t that spiritually in tune or faithful, (she literally prays 24/7) when we meet them, and they have a lot of growing to do. Irma Helena was a perfect package already made just waiting for us. Now I know that she was the reason I came to Estancia, that we needed to find her and bring her to Christ. We have some hard days here where no one wants to talk to us, but I had the confirmation that she is the reason I’m here, and that makes all the other stuff worth it.
My inspirational thought for the week is something I read in a talk by Pres Uchtdorf. He said ´´tell a man that there’s trillions of stars in the universe and he´ll believe you. But tell him that the paint on the wall is still wet and he´ll touch it just to make sure.´´ I like this quote a lot because it represents our faith and level of conversion. The gospel is so simple and inviting that sometimes we want to question it-but we don’t need to! It’s not twisted and complicated, all you need to do is evaluate your actions, and ask ´´am I being a representative of my savior right now?´´ and there’s your answer.
I hope you guys have a great week; I’ll talk to you soon! Love you so much!