Well, we had an interesting slew of experiences this week. We baptized an older couple that lives relatively distant from the center of our area, in farm country. They were a reference from their daughter, a recent convert who lives in Recife. With the guidance of Christ in their lives, the husband – who used to come home drunk and aggressive almost every night – has completely stopped drinking alcohol. The two threw out their coffee and haven’t looked back. The wife, after being baptized this Saturday night, said that there’s an overwhelming feeling of calm and peace in her house, now that the two have been baptized and given the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This last week, I received a call from our Ward Mission Leader, informing us that the mother of one our recent converts (Helen, a young girl of about 12 years of age) had fallen ill. The mother was feverish and, as it turns out, with encephalitis/swelling of the brain. We left a blessing and called the bishop who immediately sprung into action and drove to her house with the 1st counsellor of the bishopric. As I was leaving, I ran into the sister of the sick mother and the sick mother’s grandmother. The whole scene was rather frantic and everything happened so fast that I didn’t think much of meeting the family of a less-active member.
To my surprise, Helen, her healed mother, the mother’s sister, and the grandmother all showed up for church this sunday (along with another sister of the sick mother that I hadn’t met yet). The family came with the force and fire of testimony and my heart swelled to see them all so happy in the chapel. At night, I went to visit the sister of the sick mother (the one I met after giving the blessing). She explained that she had practically been to hell and back with an unfortunate marriage. Her previous husband essentially kept her a prisoner in the house, demanding that she ask permission to leave. Other heart-wrenching and miraculous stories followed, tracing her path to that very moment together in her house that night.
Perhaps the most miraculous story of all was a dream that she had. She’s a less-active member, meaning that she’s met with various other missionaries in the past. In her dream, she saw every one of the Elders that had passed by her house. The last two missionaries she saw, however, had faces that she couldn’t recognize and couldn’t quite discern. One of them held out his hand and said, “A hora de você voltar para a igreja chegou. Volta” / “The hour for you to return to church has come. Return”. As he was walking away, he said, “Tou lhe esperando, viu? Volte.” She had more or less forgotten about the dream, but she told us that when she saw us in the chapel Sunday morning she realized that the two unknown Elders in her dream were me and my companion. She’s excited to return to full and powerful activity in the church. We are working towards the baptism of the previously sick mother’s other sister and the grandmother of the family. They are all excited.
This weekend we’re planning to baptize an older gentleman. He has about 66 years and about 0 teeth. Needless to say, my Portuguese skills have been stretched to the maximum. But his vision of being baptized is not to be changed. He brings the topic almost more often than we do. He’s excited to bring his daughter to church as well.
The more miracles I recognize in this work, the more they occur.
We are blessed.
I love you all, God Lives, His Church is a Living Church, of Faith, and Acts, and Doing.