Monday, November 5, 2012

Elder Bangerter and I both stayed in Vila Galvão!

Dear Family,
Thank you all for your emails and letters! This week has been a good one. This past week was really awesome because we baptized a really great kid named Fabio and also received packages! We got the news on Monday night that Elder Bangerter and I would both be staying in Vila Galvão so we were both really excited about that. So we´ve got at least 6 more weeks together in this area. One Tuesday we went to the mission office with the Zone Leaders and picked up our packages and more Book of Mormons and pamphlets. I got the package and photos from Mom, and the package from Ariel. I can honestly say that out of all the days of my mission, the day I got those packages was in the top 5. It was so good to get some American candy/snacks!!! I didn´t realize how much I missed that stuff but man it was awesome to receive. Elder Bangerter got a lot os candy too so we´ve been giving out starburst and jolly ranchers to a lot of our investigators. They all think Starburst are the best! so the pst week we´ve basically been living off of those packages. This past week we worked a lot and were blessed with some really good investigators. We are teaching a lot of men right now which is good. President Ferrin thinks its really important to try and baptize men who are 18 or older. Also tomorrow is Elder Bangerter´s birthday! I think one of our investigators has something planned for him but unfortunately I won´t be there for it because I am giong to Gopouva tonight on an exchange with the Brazilian zone leader.  Other than that and Fabio´s baptism there´s not too much news this week. I hope everyone is well and thanks again for your emails and letters! Here is the story of Fabio´s baptism.
This week was very rewarding and was another confirmation that Vila Galvão is the area that I am supposed to be in. Yesterday we baptized a 16 year old boy named Fabio. Fabio has been attending church, seminary, and mutual for a year and a half but has never wanted to be baptized. He said he mostly just goes to seminary and church because he has friends that are members, however he never wanted to be a member himself. Just about every missionary that has passed through this area in the last year and a half has tried to baptize Fabio but he never felt like it was right for him. When I first got here to this area Elder Bangerter and I tried to teach him 3 or 4 times, and our lessons were always about the importance of baptism. However every time we started talking about baptism he would close up. He would start giving us one-word answers and would always insist that he needed to KNOW the church was true before joining it. He said he had prayed many times about the church and the Book of Mormon but had never received a response. I was convinced that the reason he wasn´t receiving a response was because he didn´t really want one, and I was just about ready to give up trying to baptize him. However one day he came to the church for seminary and we decided to teach him one more time. This lesson was different, started out just talking to him about normal stuff and asking him about his life. All of a sudden he came out and told us about his situation with his family at home. He talked about how his family is divided between different religions and how his parents fight about the subject a lot. He said he had tried other religions but felt that they were all trying to deceive him. He told us that he really liked our church and felt that it was different but never wanted to join because he was afraid of being deceived again. We started reading him the story of Joseph Smith and how Joseph Smith was in almost the exact same situation. Afterwards we started applying it to his situation and before long he was in tears. The Spirit was very strong and he said he would come to church on Sunday, take the sacrament (something he had never done before), and make his decision about baptism at church. We promised him that he would feel the same Spirit on Sunday at church. That Sunday he told us that he felt the Spirit very strongly and decided to be baptized. His baptism was awesome and afterwards he said that he felt a different feeling that he had never felt before. I am sure that the reason our early attempts (and the attempts of all the other missionaries) didn´t work because all we ever did was talk about the importance of baptism instead of actually addressing the investigators real problem. It was a very significant baptism for us and showed me that when we look at our investigators as people, instead of numbers, we are going to have the help of the Spirit and will have a lot more success.

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