Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 7: Loro Quer Batismos!

April 28, 2014 

Oi mom, dad, and all of my fans! 

Another week has passed and WOW it’s my last week before transfers. We have a 5-week transfer so we will see if I stay in the safe-haven of Dourados or go up north to burn up with the other sisters... 

In any case, my week was full of work as always :) the Lord has been so good to me and Sister Pence!! She is a wonderful companion.  

Tuesday morning was challenging. I felt that I put a lot of weight on my shoulders. Dare I say that I felt slightly homesick... *gasp* yes I used the h-word. I get delayed reactions but I can say that my wave of homesickness left just as fast as it came because once I left the house, everything got much better :) we had lunch at a restaurant called Casarão and we got to go to the bank (since I needed cash) and the best part was we found a WONDERFUL new investigator full of potential! Her name is Lara and her dad just happens to be the owner of Casarão! Neat huh? Her dad isn’t a member but she was really willing to listen to our message. She has family members who are LDS and she had the lessons some 4-5 years ago but we refreshed her and she really seemed to enjoy it! She felt the spirit in our message and we followed up on Friday (where she asked lots of questions) and she even went to church yesterday! So her baptismal date is May 10 and so far, so good! Lara is super friendly and she also has two parrots! I got to hold one of them, took a few pics and she bit me :( didn’t hurt too bad and it’s better than being pooped on. Stains of any kind are nearly impossible to get rid of here... 

Also on Tuesday night, we were walking down the street and someone jumped us! Just kidding I wasn’t robbed, but I saw a lady walking to her car and even though I thought she seemed to be in a hurry, i stopped her anyways and we started talking. Her name is Erica and she was really impressed to see two young (and beautiful) ladies doing the work of the Lord. She called her son to come out and meet us and he is nice too. Unfortunately, Francelo (the son) suffers from a horrible drug addiction. He was open about it. Actually, they were both open about like their whole life to us. I guess when you are a sister missionary, people feel more than comfortable sharing their life stories and struggles. I don’t mind one bit because I know each and every one of them need the gospel in their life. If anything, I was excited to meet people with such afflictions because I know how I can help make their life better. Sister Pence gave The Plan of Salvation pamphlet to Francelo. On Friday, we had a follow up (and very good attempt) at the First Lesson, but they kept leaving and coming back and getting FAR off topic so all we could do is leave them another pamphlet, a Book of Mormon, and an invite to church of course! Francelo is very interested. Even though he struggles with drug addiction, you can tell that he wants to escape his afflictions. When we handed the Book of Mormon to him, he asked "how much?" and of course sister pence and I said "there is no cost, it is a gift" and he told us "well this is the best gift I have ever received, I can tell that this is a very holy and important book" which really surprised me! It is so cool that he knew the importance of the Book of Mormon right when we handed it to him! The other cool part was he flipped through it and was so eager to read everything! I hope he reads The Book of Mormon. He didn’t show up to church and neither did Erica, but tomorrow we are going to anchor them to the first lesson (no distractions this time) and hope that they will know that the gospel will help them! 

Let's see, Wednesday was another good day. We had a district meeting and before we got there, Sister Pence and I bought some tapioca from a feirinha. I really love tapioca, but she didn’t like the texture that much... Oh well! Since we had to go back and do our studies in the afternoon, it cut a lot of our day but you can NEVER judge a day until it’s over. You see, we had a super awesome member named Thais go with us to teach a recent convert/less active member's cousin Rayanne. I heard she didn’t have religion and wasn’t interested at all but we taught her the first lesson and we also invited her to be baptized May 10. It fell since she didn’t go to church but she really felt the spirit in our message. Thais helped a lot since they are the same age and she is a recent convert as well. 

Thursday was a challenge. My health was getting in the way of work. Even though I was already not feeling too hot since Tuesday, I thought I needed to take some action. We went to the nice supermarket next to the church to buy some fruits and bread in hopes that I can retain at least SOME form of vitamins in me... then we called Sister Reber and told her everything. She called a church doctor, who followed up with me Saturday and he is going to send me an email with some dietary guidelines... booo for diets! But what can I say, I need to be healthy!  

Saturday was also challenging because I wasn’t feeling well and it felt like I was digressing from the work. We taught the first lesson to some people on our street and it was hard... they were not listening OR interested. It seemed like teaching the wall would have been a better idea. The wall would have accepted the baptism invite!! But the entire day I felt weak but I didn’t want to rest. I didn’t want to stay at home or anything, so I told Sister Pence how I felt like I wasn’t progressing with my health and my day... and she told me not to be discouraged and I could rest if I needed. But we continued on and even though I was discouraged, we decided to try Anderson and Cecilia. They haven’t come to church and Cecilia wasn’t interested in our last lesson. But we reinvited them to baptism and the spirit was so strong. We taught them very well and they said they would go to church, but didn’t... :( but hopefully they can show up next time! 

So many baptism dates but no baptisms so far! It’s hard but I know I need to keep working. I need more faith in my investigators too. Sometimes they just seem like they’re not going to keep their promises but they won’t if I don’t trust them! So I am working on my faith in these people since I never really had much faith in people before my mission! Which is good and bad. I have much faith in my Lord but not the people I teach. I am going to change that, I want them to know that I do have faith in them! 

My week of work was very hard. There were many ups and downs, but I can tell you that I am indeed in the right place! Nothing can convince me that I should be somewhere else. I am so thankful that I can be an instrument in the Lord's hands! Every day I thank the Lord for allowing me to serve Him. I thank Him for my success and my struggles because I see the importance in BOTH. The best part is that I am working for Christ. That is better than working for anyone else. And not only that, but he was working right along with me! How cool right? I feel that I grow as each day passes, which is good. Not in height and I hope not in weight, but in spirituality, knowledge, patience, and charity. Please, help your local missionaries, they will be ever thankful for your assistance. Don’t forget to spay and neuter your pets as well. We got kittens and puppies running around in the streets and it’s not cool. 

Love you all so much!
Sister Mariana Espiritu

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