About this group photo at the São Paulo Temple: I was told it was the first time in the history of the church that a mission planned a trip to the temple for so many brand new converts (of a month or two) to do baptisms and bring their own family names. We set a goal date, rented a bus, and helped the new members do family history to bring their own family names. Our zone brought 57 recent converts to the temple. Now other missions in Brazil are going to do the same thing, and hopefully around the world. Our mission president is so inspired.
First I will explain the temple idea in more detail.
Since the beginning of September, the mission president formed an idea and planned to test it with two zones in our mission. Normally on the first visit to the someone’s house, we set a baptism date with them to see if they have the faith they will need to progress, and if the person has already been spiritually prepared. The president’s idea was to mark this date and to also mark a date afterwards that by the 7 of November, they would prepare to go to the temple and would bring names of their own family members to the temple. The first presidency loved the idea. And so, during all of September and October, our zone was marking these two dates and not just one on our first visits. This helps the person whom we are teaching realize what he or she is working toward. So we were in a mad rush, helping people prepare and trying to organize this new thing because no mission has done this before, and so it wasn’t always clear how to help people find their family names. This was where my experience with family history helped a lot.
The finale was that our zone brought 57 recently baptized members (baptized within the 3 past months) to the temple. It was amazing. Everyone loved the temple, and all the people who went are more strong in the church now. President Farnes went to south Brazil in a meeting with many other mission presidents and shared this idea. Everyone loved it, and now various missions are testing it as well.
It was also very moving to see the people that I personally helped to prepare to enter the temple, and to see the joy in their eyes when they went. I was smiling the whole day.
After the event of the temple, things worked very ordinarily in the mission life; things got kinda slow, and then, there was the transfer last week and president caught me by complete surprise. I was training Elder Knudson as a new missionary in the field. He was brand new. I figured that I would be transferred to another place or continue being the district leader and training. Nope. For the first time the mission president did something with me that hasn’t happened here on the mission before. I am now the zone leader, but not with another zone leader—I am still training Elder Knudson. The other zone leader, Elder Leite, is training a new missionary as well. So it is interesting that we are zone leaders together, but we are also training new missionaries. I didn’t know that this arrangement existed.
This week was crazy trying to follow up with everyone. I never knew I would make so many phone calls in my life. I guess I am getting the taste of the life of a manager.
Last week was the baptism of Julia, the sister of Monica who was baptized and went to the temple. Seeing this family happy brings me so much joy I can’t even explain.
We have been helping two girls get baptized, Kimberly and Emily. These two girls were references from Vitoria and Agatha, the two girls that we had baptized in the past. The two showed interest and we started to teach them. Kimberly wanted to be baptized a lot, but Emily, not too much. We brought Emily to watch the Kimberly’s baptism, and after Kimberly was all dressed up in white, Emily said that she wanted to be baptized as well. Thank heavens! This is what we call the power of the white jump suit. People see or wear it and they already want to be baptized. So we got another missionary to interview her, and she was baptized together with Kimberly.
The power of friends can change a situation in the blink of an eye. Choose carefully the people that you stay around or the things you do because it can motivate you or another to better yourself or do something that can also be bad for you. In this case, it will help the life of Emily forever, and she will be forever grateful for the Kimberly, who did what she knew was right and showed her great example.
I don’t have much else to share. 🙂
Love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!