This week was full of miracles! I simply can't believe how good the Lord is. Joaquim was baptized this past ! (yesterday) Oh it was a beautiful sight! Seeing someone who completely changed their life around. Someone who was sad. And after the Lord brought him to the knowledge of the gospel, has a new light in his eyes! It is amazing! And the fact that he was invited by an investigator we have been working with is incredible!!! It is funny cause Joaquim got baptized first. But he progressed so fast! If I have seen real intent and desire in someone who wanted to align their lives to God, it is him. He is going to be an amazing leader in the church! And he speaks portuguese and english. :) Better english though. Ha. But as we were teaching one of his last lessons before baptism, he turned to us and said "you know, there is something that I haven't told you two. Before I met you, I was praying to God for him to send me someone, or something. To send me an angel. Cause I was in a sad place. And I needed a change. Two weeks later. God sends me two angels. And now I am happier than I have been in a very long time." It was so precious!!! And so sincere. I wish you could have heard the story from him. He is one of the most humble men I have ever met. So willing to learn, understand, and make changes. In his baptism, we asked him to bare his testimony at the end. (Which we never do) But Irmã felt prompted for us to ask him that. He was nervous but accepted. And it was so precious! He told the members the angel story. And that God sent him two angels. The spirit was so strong. And the members, because of his testimony, were able to see that he was truly converted and has a strong testimony! We had our ward meeting a few days later, and at the meeting, one of our members wasn't happy because not a lot of members came to his baptism, and the member (Irmão Bento) told of his testimony he gave, and said it is things like that, that members need to go to and hear. That at the baptisms of our new members, is where we can grow to love our new members and reach out to them and give them our support. And it is so true! So I encourage all of you to go to any and all the baptisms that we have. So that they can feel loved and included in our big family. :) So our other investigator that is marked on the 9th. (Antonio) We took his cigarette pack from him!!! Ha. ) He thought it was funny. But he doesn't smoke very many. Only 1 or 2, sometimes 3 each day. But he said he accepted our invitation to not smoke any more! Though as the week went on. He has smoked. But he is so close! Our new investigator,Carlos, is someone that doesn't believe in God. We found him on the street as we were hiding under a store out-reaching porch thing. (I don't remember what we call those? The covering things?) But we talked with him. In the end I gave the last prayer. After I said amen, he looked up at me and said "that was the most beautiful and sincere prayer I ever heard" (he speaks english. I mean, the prayer was hard cause I had to say it in english and I kept wanting to revert to Portuguese. But it meant a lot hearing that he was touched by the prayer. (Though it wasn't me, it was the spirit!) So we made another appointment, which was yesterday. After the first prayer and a little bit of talking, he turns to me and asks "remember what I said?" -I wasn't quite sure as to what he was referring to- " Your text, or prayer you said, was the most sincere and touching I have ever heard.... that is why I am here" Oh that was like fireworks inside, and a huge responsibility-type feeling rushed over me. I just couldn't mess up, him deciding to believe in God rested on us - me and sister Stewart. At the end of our lesson. He said " you are chipping 5 inches off of the door of God" (He is poetic ha) But he then said "you are convincing me to believe in God" He left with more faith than he has ever had! That is the most amazing thing about the gospel and the Holy Spirit! It touches people in a way that they have never felt before at times, and in a ways where they can't deny that is is coming from something or someone higher than us. Not something natural or human. But spiritual. From God. I love being able to see these miracles! Seeing someone discover that seed of faith that each one of us has. And learning how to make it grow (And even realizing that it is possible for it to grow) I love this gospel! We are even more blessed! We have a family! Already prepared. Mariana (mom) two sons Nuno (12) and Sérgio (6). They are marked to be baptized this ! (We will confirm it again tonight, cause we first had said the ) But she has gone to church many times with a friend where she used to live and loved it! But they moved and she didn't know where the church was. The Elderes miraculously talked to her son Nuno. Passed the reference to us. And Wah lah! We have a family! And Mariana and her son Nuno will be baptized! And Nuno is amazing! He answered all of our questions perfectly. He is so smart! Everything made perfect sense to him. He made the connection on why Joseph Smith had to receive the priesthood from Peter James and John (we used that picture cause its in the pamphlet- so we didn't mention john the baptist yet- two priesthoods. a little too confusing right now.) But he was interested the whole time! And the fact that he answered our questions perfectly! We are just sooooo ridiculously blessed it is amazing! But we have so much faith and the Lord is preparing the north to open a new stake! That has been the goal we have been told, and we are seeing that is is the the Lord's will! Anything is possibly if you will just believe! And we believe that we can find and baptize all those willing to humble themselves and make and keep sacred covenants with Heavenly Father. Thank you for all you do. I love you all so very much. Have a great week!
Sister Amanda Stokes :)