Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday, Dec 1, 2014

Oi, bom tarde!

Well this week has been really good! To start off I have to tell yall about an investigator that we started teaching this week that is so awesome! 
Her name is Cassia. We met Cassia about 4 weeks ago. We were just walking down the street and a younger lady stopped us after we passed by her and said, "hey wait! Are you mormons?" And we responded "Yeah, have you met with Elders before?" thinking it was a former investigator, but she responded saying no, but that a lot of members of her family are members of the church, and she just moved back up here from São Paulo. She promissed her brother that she would make a visit in the chapel her in Vilhena once she got settled down, but she couldnt find it. So obviously we explained that it was not far away at all. She was excited to know, and said she would make a visit in 2 weeks. FAST FORWARD 2 WEEKS.....She came to church! But because we have sacrament meeting last here, we didnt see her, because we were in Preisthood. She thought that church was only for 1 hour so she left after Relief Society before we could catch her! It was so depressing, But I called her later that day and asked if we could visit her and share with her a little more about the church. She graciously accepted and marked it for the next Saturday, as it was the only time she could meet with us. But come Saturday 30 minutes before our appointment we were trying to find her house. She didnt have a number of her house, just the road and the discription of where it was. But we could not find it. We tried calling like 100 times and she didnt answer her phone. We probably asked 15 people that live on that road if they knew a Cassia that live close by. No one knew her. After looking up and down this big street for almost an hour, we decided to call it quits.

 The next day she called us back...what had happened was she thought we were coming 7 oclock in the morning, and we thought at night! We felt so stupid but we marked it for Monday evening (One week ago) after our p-day. We told her we were having trouble finding her, she described it again to us but still had trouble finding her! But this time we invited a sister of the branch to join us that talked with her in Relief Society that day she came, and she is one of the Counselors in the presidency. Then without us knowing she invited the president of the relief society too. So with them we found Cassia's house and got to know her a little better. She is about 28 years old has a 7 year old daughter, and its just them that live together here. She is super sweet and again she explained to us about her family in São Paulo that are members.

Then we started to the lesson. It went so well, we were able to switch off teaching different principles and have both of these wonderful sisters testify and explain so clearly as they could speak the language and relate to her even better than we could. We got to the part about the Book of Mormon and challenged her to read it she accepted but really had a lot of questions of how she would receive her answer. Both my companion, and these 2 sisters gave thier stories of conversion and how they received their own answers. It was really powerful and it helped her realized that each one of us is different, and receive our answer different. She felt good about it and said she would read and pray, and this included praying about the date we set with her for Dec 7th. for baptism. She said if she receives her answer, she would be baptized. The spirit was really strong, and I know it was because we had members with us! What a powerful spirit they were able to bring to our lesson, and I don't think they even recognize that! But we had her give the closing prayer, she wasnt confortable with it, but because we followed the pattern of having a kneeling prayer, she did it. It wasnt perfect, but it was soooo good! It was sincere! 

But in this past week we have met with her 2 other times and she came to church yesterday for ALL 3 hours! Not just the first one! haha But she is doing so well. The second time we came over she said she had read, and that she had called her brother, who has 19 years, and asked how he recieved his answer about the book of Mormon and baptism. And then she asked him what she should do, and he replied, "Do what they asked, pray. But really, sincerely pray to know!" What a good brother right?!?! It was so cool she said she has been praying and that she feels good about everything, but that she wants to keep reading and praying. She did exactly that and read all of the introductions, testimonies, etc. by the next time we visited her. She said she had a hard day the day before we came. She also explained that she often feels really alone, and that its really hard for her sometimes. But she said that night she said a prayer asking for help and to know the right path, and she said she heard a little voice whisper to her saying, "My daughter, be calm. I am with you, and continue strong." (Thats the best translation I can give, its not exactly what she said) But she sarted to cry as she said it. Elder Neyra testified that Heavenly Father is reaching out to her and answering her prayers. That he is really there for each one of us, and testified that this is the right path that she is starting to walk. She then gave the closing prayer, kneeling again, and mentioned baptism for the first time in her prayer. She is really progressing well, and starting to know how the spirit can talk to her! 

Well I didnt know I was going to share that much about her, but you can just imagine how excited we are about her! We hope all will go well this week too to prepare her for baptism. Its not super firm for this week, but if not this week next week for sure! 

But in other news, President Casto came to Vilhena. It is a long trip down here and so it not very often that members here get visits from leaders of the church. Our 2 Branches here are not even part of a district. They are part of the Manaus Brazil Mission. So President Castro holds the keys to proside over our 2 branches here. So he came to train the leadership, preisthood brotheren, and hold a Branch Conference for both wards! It was really cool!

We also had interviews with President Castro. It was a lot faster than my interviews with President Stoker in my other mission. It was still good, but I still miss my very personal and spiritual interviews with President Stoker, starting with a kneeling prayer, and ending with a prayer by him pleading the Lord for success on my behalf, followed by one of the warmest, sincere hugs you could imagine! But even though we just ended with a handshake with President Castro I could still see the love and felt the sincere support and trust he has in me. It was really good! 

I wish I could explain more about what I learned with President here, but a lot of what he talked about will be applied to the missionary work here, and so I hope to talk about how things are will change in the right direction in my future letters! 

But I know that my Mission President is inspired by God, He as well as I put full trust in the Prophet and leadership of this church, Which really leads to trust in our savoir Jesus Christ! I know he lives and guides this church and especially this work, because it is HIS work! 

I love yall! 

-Elder Swalberg

PS Photos arent working this week again. I will try agian next week!

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