This week was crazy! The week started off rough because our conference with Elder Nelson was supposed to have a conference with the mission on Wednesday. However on Tuesday President went to a seminar for mission presidents where Elder Nelson and Elder Andersen were present and Elder Nelson announced that the conference the next day would be canceled. Why? Because on Wednesday the police in São Paulo and 12 other states of Brazil went on strike. Because of the strike it would not be safe to have thousands of missionaries using public transportation traveling through the middle of the city. There was a lot of crime predicted for Wednesday so all of the missionaries in São Paulo were instructed to stay in their houses. So on Wednesday the whole mission stayed at home for the first half of the day and then around 3 o´clock the apostles said that we could leave the house and work. It turned out that hardly any crime or protests at all happened here in São Paulo!! However in other states there were some violent protests. But here in São Paulo it was normal for the most part. All the missionaries were devastated that the conference didn´t happen but it goes to show how seriously the Quorum of the Twelve take the misisonaries´safety. So then on Thursday we started working on the transfer a little bit. This transfer is going to change a lot of things on the mission! We have some new ideas that will be put in practice that will change the structure of the mission. On Friday my companion Elder Pinheiro finished his mission and went back to his home in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte (northeastern brazil). We took him to the airport on Friday morning and he was pretty nervous haha. Actually all week he was nervous. But from Friday until Sunday I didn´t have a companion so I hung around with the Secretaries and helped President with the transfers. Yesterday morning President called my new companion Elder Passos. He is also from northeastern Brazil and is AWESOME! He is super obedient and is exactly the kind of companion that I wanted to finish my mission with. I am really excited for this transfer with him. Yesterday after picking him up we worked on the transfers which will happen tomorrow. Usually the transfers happen on Tuesdays but this time it was changed to Wednesday. So today we will be working hard on the transfers again to be prepared for tomorrow. There really will be a lot of changes on the mission and I won´t go into detail right now but next week I will be able to explain a little better about what the President is doing.
So that´s what happened during the week. Another cool event that happened was that on Saturday night President and I were working on the transfers when the Belém elders (the elders that work in the area of the mission office) came into the office because they were going to have a baptism. However the elders had already tried to baptize this woman last week but the baptism didn´t go through because the woman is terrified of water and even though the missionaries tried for over an hour to baptize her, she wasn´t able to do it. So on Saturday night the woman was ready to give it another shot. She REALLY wanted to be baptized but could hardly enter into the water, let alone let someone immerse her. So she came prepared with snorkel mask and all! hahahahaha. She came with a pink snorkel mask and even though the baptism took about an hour again she was finally did it. The first technique that the elders used was for her to sit down in shallow water (about up to her chest while sitting down) and just lean backward a little bit to be completely immersed. But every time that she leaned back she panicked and would jerk her head out of the water. After about 30 minutes of trying and giving her pep talks, the elder tried another technique where she was on all fours in the water, as if she was crawling. Then (while breathing through the snorkel) lowered herself to be completely immersed. After a few tries this way, she finally got her whole body under the water at the same time!!! All of us including President Ferrin were refraining ourselves from jumping up and down and yelling with joy haha. When she stood up and took the goggles off her eyes were full of tears. I try to imagine the feelings that she must have had in that moment. I think one reason was probably because of the huge sense of accomplishment that she must have felt. Knowing that by overcoming her biggest fear she was able to receive the blessing of baptism that she wanted so bad. And I am also sure that she felt the difference between that one try and between the other 30 times that she tried. It is a testimony that only a baptism by COMPLETE immersion can bring the remission of sins that we search for. It was a funny experience but for me was a really spiritual and humbling experience as well. I will forward a picture of the baptism, it is really funny. Anyhow, that´s it for this week!
Love you all,