This will be my last email as a set apart missionary... and I feel I have so much to say. I just want to start out by explaining one of the biggest miracles of my mission that happened this week. We have been teaching Simão and his baptism was marked for this Sunday. Because of some complications it had to be moved to Saturday. We had talked about how he needed his mom to sign the baptismal ficha because he was under 18 and he assured us there would be no problems because he had already talked to his mom. We had an appointment with him on Friday to review the baptismal questions before his interview, so we went there with Tiago to teach him. When we got there he came down and let us in and said that there was a problem that his mom refused to sign the ficha. We all just stood in silence and then I said "well lets go talk to your mom." Simão and Tiago went up in the elevator and sister and I took the stairs and we said a prayer before we went up just praying to know what to say that his mom´s heart would be open. We got up there and his mom was inside the house and he was telling her that we would like to talk to her and we could hear her saying that she had already made her decision. I felt like we could´nt just stand there and do nothing and so I poked my head in the door and said "excuse me... we just want to explain." And she came to the door. She wasn't too happy because we were there kind of early and explained that she didn't want to sign something that her son could wait until he was 18 to choose for himself and how he wasn't prepared and needed more time. All the time my heart was beating so fast and I was just praying and praying that we would know what to say. We must have talked for over 20 minutes. Simão had´nt said much or actually told his mom why he wanted to be baptized. We asked him to tell her and he said "because I prayed about this... and this is my choice." I just told her "please, let your son truly make his own decision. I know that your family will be blessed and I know that the kind of person your son has the potential to be." She just said "excuse me" and walked into the kitchen to get a pen. Simão was crying as were all of us. Having just witnessed the spirit working with people. Before she signed it, Tiago asked if he could share an experience. Tiago was also baptized when he was 16... just like Simão and his dad said that he would never talk to him again if he decided to serve a mission. But he said... "that´s ok. Because I have my mom, and she will always stand by me just like you will for Simão." Now we were all really crying. Simão turned and hugged his mom... and as they took the elevator down and we took the stairs I just felt so gateful and the tears were flowing. Simão is so ready... and this will be an experience that will help him when things are tough. I felt so grateful that the spirit was able to touch the heart of his mom and that he was able to take the first step. We got down to the bottom of the stairs and he told us that his mom had asked him the baptismal questions that were on the back of the ficha to test him, and he said that he didn't tell her this, but he should have. His friend Alex invited him to church and even before this he could see how his friend was different and how his friend´s older brother had gotten home from his mission and he saw the person he had become and he said "THAT is the kind of person I want to be. That is the kind of testimony I want to have." Simao was baptized on Saturday and was baptized by the friend that showed him all of this. When he came up out of the water they stood there hugging each other thanking his friend for all that he did for him. He bore his testimony at the end of the baptism and shared a scripture from Ether that we had left for him that talked about choosing to believe... and then he said "I am choosing all of this." Man.... he will be an incredible member and a incredible missionary. He recieved the Holy Ghost yesterday in church. This is why I am here. This is why we as members need to be missionarys. We can not keep this treasure that we have to ourselves. I am so so gratrful for this time that I have had to serve. The Lord truly does work miracles everyday. I know that this is the true church. I love my mission and I am excited to continue this work! I love these people here. Truly "nothing can stop the work from progressing."
I love you all!
My Beloved Portugal
The best district in the world
Early morning exercises on the beach
Simão and Alexandre