Monday, November 24, 2014

Two in a Row

         So we had another baptism!  This one is to complete the wedding that we had two weeks ago. I guess the wedding really wasn't ours but it’s a manner of speaking.  If you think about it, the baptism isn't "ours" either.  I just get to watch and take pictures with everyone! But Hudo was baptized! We have been waiting quite a while for him to take the plunge.  I think he might know more about the gospel than a lot of people who have been in the church for quite a while because he is pretty smart.  But it was really nice, the baptism that is.
          In other news, we began teaching a Muslim this week.  There is a mosque in Barretos so there are a good number of Muslims here.  But he is a convert to that religion; before that, he was atheist.  Needless to say, he is very interesting.  We are planning a visit to the mosque next P-day because I have always wanted to go to one and there is no rule against missionaries going to mosques to visit.  So that will be exciting.
          That was basically the highlights for my week!  It had some very good moments!  I love you all!  
Elder Russell

P.S. I will send a picture of the baptism next week. The computer doesn't want to send it right now.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Look at the Faith of a Child

       In the Barretos Ward lives a child named Brandon.  His family lives in another city and his dad works nights but they are practically always at church even though his Dad goes sometimes without sleeping.  Brandon recently turned 8 which means it is time for him to be baptized. He had always very happily said, "I am going to be baptized and my father is going to baptize me."  This would be a normal statement for a child who grew up in the church except for the fact that Brandon's father, Carlos Eduardo, wasn't a member and really had no desire to become one.  But Brandon never doubted that he would be baptized by his dad.  We talked with his dad two weeks ago and basically he said that he didn't want to be baptized and never thought he would be baptized.  The next Sunday he went to church and basically, completely randomly, told the Bishop that he wanted to be baptized. Brandon never doubted and next Sunday he will be baptized by his father.

          Carlos Eduardo was baptized in the stake center in Rio Preto since it was stake conference, which was pretty cool since I had never had a baptism on my mission in an actual chapel built by the church.    Stake Conference was quite awesome as well since the stake was divided.  I am now serving in the Rio Preto South stake. President Claudio Costa, the area president, was here and spoke very well. Overall it was a good weekend.
          I hope you all have a good week. I sure did! I love you all!

Elder Russell

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Wedding and A Miracle

            So as the title suggests, this was a good week! We had the long awaited wedding of Mariana and Hudo which was quite nice. It ran a bit late so we didn't get to eat since we were already late to get home when the ceremony ended.  However they let us take some food home which was quite good.  Mariana is a member who for more then five years wanted absolutely nothing to do with the Church even though her entire family is active. She had begun living with her boyfriend, Hudo. Then, through a series of miracles, she realized that she needed the Church and Hudo also gained a testimony of it. Then they marked a date to get married, and sold their motorcycle to pay for the wedding. Hudo will be baptized in two weeks. It is nice to know that you make a difference in people's lives. The whole wedding, I was just blown away by the fact that all of this was happening because two people really wanted to have a better life together and were willing to sacrifice a lot for that.
            And about the Miracle (well the bigger one).  We had been working with the husband of another member who had been going to church for more than a year but didn't want to be baptized.  We had talked with him many times and he really seemed to be against the idea but then this Sunday, he changed his mind is going to be baptized this next Sunday after Stake Conference which will also make this my first baptism in an actual Chapel since I have only had baptism in portable swimming pools until now (which are very annoying to clean). It is really nice to know that no effort is wasted. Many missionaries have talked with and taught this man, and I am sure they would be happy to know that their effort wasn't wasted because I am happy to know that mine wasn't. No effort made for God is wasted.
Honestly, so many good things happened this week that I don't even have time to write about them all. So I guess I will just leave you with these two.  But I hope you all have a good week!  I love you all!
Elder Russell

Description of the picture: We asked one of the young men in the ward to take this photo and I don't think he understands centering but at least we got the picture.


Monday, November 3, 2014

The Rains Are Coming

I think it rained more this week than in any other in my time in Brazil. That is good though because a couple of weeks back it hit 45 degrees Celsius (which is 114 F, I believe) so the fresher weather was very welcome. 
          We have been finding tons of families lately that we are teaching in Barretos.  They are always fun to teach (but practically none of them are legally married so that is kind of rough).
          But this week we also found an old lady in her seventies who was quite interesting. Piecing together her life, it seems that she was quite a successful gospel singer that was married to a Lucha-libre wrestler. She had quite a story to tell and is very interested in what we are teaching because even though she has sung in more churches than you can count, she never felt like any of them was the right place.  Most of the time I feel like a full life is the most interesting story that there is.  I wish I could read the autobiography of a lot of people but sadly they haven't written them and probably never will.  How many stories are lost because there was never anyone to hear.  So I would advise everyone to go to a retirement home and listen to a few old people tell their story. You will be surprised what you learn. They are more interesting that the best movies.
          I hope you all have a good week! I love you all!

Elder Russell