I am reliving my past mission experience—again—as I am training one more new missionary, Elder Knudson. He is from Marysville, California. Both of his brothers have served here in Brazil.
What is really interesting to me is to see my new companion experiencing Brazil for the first time. Every day, I see myself a year ago in this kid. It is very interesting to see that he does all the things that I did when I arrived here. For example, he carries a quad (the Bible and other scriptures all in one book) in English with him in the street—very heavy and unnecessary weight for him . . . and other little things of the American culture that he yet holds.
Also, it is very interesting to watch him learn Portuguese. My experience was complete immersion. Elder Borba never spoke English with me. And so logically, I have to do the same. I haven’t spoken one English word yet since he arrived. I remember that it was so overwhelming and stressful when I arrived here on the mission; I had thought that nobody understood my situation as I struggled to learn Portuguese. I had a hard time relaxing and laughing and I was often very serious.
Now I am seeing all of this from another point of view. I am seeing that I never needed to be so stressed out all the time, that my “father” was always there (“father” being my trainer like we call them here in Brazil), and of course my father in heaven. I am always here to help Elder Knudson. I am here to teach him, guide him, and love him, which I didn’t always understand when I was being trained. But I am very excited to be helping him and training him to start his mission.
The baptisms this week were two people: Sabrina and Kawanny. Sabrina is the cousin of Vitória, who was baptized with her sister last week. Sabrina was baptized this past Sunday. Kawanny was a girl who showed up at church, having come several times before, and she told us that she wanted to be baptized. So she was interviewed and baptized that day with everyone else—the miracle that ties into the following story:
We decided it would be better to work with the leadership of the ward to get the ward more excited and involved in missionary work. We managed to mark a family night with the Young Women President and her family. While we were there, we joked, studied, washed her dishes, and left a message of the gospel. We managed to build a strong friendship with her and her family. Afterwards, we gave the opportunity for them to give us references. She gave us a reference from her heart: a person very special to her, and some others.
We started contacting all of the references we were given. From those references, all four of us missionaries in the ward were able to find people who accepted our message. Even more interesting were the blessings of the work, a testimony of the faith and work we demonstrated. We found many girls who have a desire to be baptized. In the end, because of our work with the Young women leadership, we were able to find more efficient ways to find people to teach. Because of the president’s participation and references, the Young Women organization was well blessed with people who could be baptized.
This week, because of these events that occurred, two girls were baptized, and several are preparing to be baptized with a little more time. To other missionaries: Always work with the leadership of the ward. When the ward is gathered and animated in the work of God and feel the need to help, the ward is blessed and the work continues with strength.
I think that’s all. Love you guys!!!