Our week was rather dull until Saturday. We were sitting at a bus stop waiting for a bus when this hard-core dude walked up and started waiting for the bus. He was there with whom I assumed was his girlfriend. He smiled at us and said hello. He asked us if we were representing a church or something and we said yes, and then he told us that he had a lot of respect for people like us, and that the work we were doing was a good one. At this point I was feeling a little weirded out by him because he had a very strange accent and his personality seemed a bit too friendly. Turns out that he was getting on the same bus as we were taking.
After we got on the bus, he sat down next to me and continued our conversation. I was curious about his accent so I asked him where he was from. He said he was from Finland. That explained the weird accent. He asked me where I was from, so I told him the United States. He then started talking in English with me. I was so shocked that I was stumbling over my words. I also felt completely out of place because I have been speaking Portuguese. It was very difficult to talk to him in English just because I wasn’t used to it.
Anyway, he asked me if I had some sort of book with me to hand out. We had already given away the Books of Mormon that we had that day, so I said that we could give him one if we could stop by his house. He said he already had our book and that he had read it—he said that he thought he remembered that it was called the Book of Mormon.
He was talking to me in English so I was understanding everything. He told me that he got the Book of Mormon in Portuguese, and he was reading it and understanding a little, but not all, but that he loaned it to a friend and they never gave it back and so he didn’t have it anymore. He asked me if I had one in English. As it just so happened, right before I left the states, I had gotten a typical, missionary-handout Book of Mormon to just read and mark up, but I hadn’t used it yet. I told him that he was extremely lucky (although luck had nothing to do with it) that I had one copy in English and that if we could visit him, I would bring it for him. He said thank you.
Our stop came then, so we got off the bus. It was only then that I remembered to get his contact information so we could visit him. Crap. Rookie mistake. We had given him our number but nothing else.
The next day was Sunday. When we were about to leave to go to church, I got the feeling that I should bring the English Book of Mormon. (Just to make it clear, an English copy of the Book of Mormon is extremely rare here because it is useless.) So I brought the book with me. All the meetings passed as usual at church, and the last was sacrament meeting. The last 20 minutes of the meeting, I looked at the door to see the Finnish dude standing there. Holy cow. I couldn’t believe it. I rushed out of the meeting to talk to him and he had brought his girlfriend with him. We sat down with them for the rest of the testimony meeting, and then they stayed afterwards and watched our baptisms. I gave him the English Book of Mormon I had brought with me and we gave his girlfriend a Portuguese copy (she is Brasilian). We have an appointment to talk to them about getting married and baptized today after P-day ends. What a miracle.
Oh, I also forgot to mention that he is slightly famous. His name is Jani. He is a professional skater (skate boards, that is—Google him) and lived in California for ten years, so he was super excited when I told him that I was from Oregon.
So, if I stay here in Cachoerinha, maybe I will get to marry those two and baptize them both. What a privilege. I hope I stay here for one more transfer.
We also had three more baptisms this week. Gabriel, the brother of Anderson (I told you about them in past weeks), along with Maria and her grandson, Carlos. Gabriel was baptized Saturday, and Maria and Carlos were baptized Sunday.
We are working miracles here, people! Love you all and I hope you all had a good week!
Elder David Brenton Burt