Well, insanely enough it was basically an entire year ago when I opened my mission call!! I still remember watching my buddies graduate, taking pics and giving hugs afterwards, having everyone ask me why I wasn't home opening my call, and just being anxious beyond all reason for Dad to get home to open it. And then having Taylor, Stina, Jenna, Hannah, and the family there at the house, the yelling that we all did when I read Brazil :D Amazing memory. And then watching thief and the cobbler afterwards hahaha. Man... it's so weird to think in years. Thinking at all the growing and preparation I've gone through in these last 8 months sure is amazing.
Anyways, I wanna share an amazing chain of miracles that happened this week in Itabira. So last week, we had an appointment at about 11 that fell, and the hour of 11 to noon is HORRIBLE for missionary work because everyone and their parrot is preparing lunch. So we just decided to do street contacts for an hour. One guy we talked to was a drunk fellow named Sebastião. He told us where he lived, and we set up a day to pass by the next day. So the next day we went by and, suprise, he wasn't there. Probably forgot. Anyways, we decided to just knock doors on that street. We didn't have much success, but then we got to a house where we could see an old lady in the yard washing clothes. We knocked and she told us to go away and that she wasn't interested. As we walked to the next house, we ran into a 15 year old named Sabrina who was leaving to go to school. We talked to her and since she was leaving we just invited her to go to chuch. She asked for our number and a pamphlet and said she'd call if she could go. The next saturday, she called us and said she'd invited 2 friends to come to church too! We got to the church and they weren't there so we were a little worried. Sabrina and her friend ended up coming a while late and when the went in, all the class doors were closed. They left and waited outside cuz they didn't know if it was the right time or place (remember it's a branch building) and Sabrina told her friend Patricia that they should leave. Right then, the branch president who was in a class, felt he should go outside, and just then he got a phonecall, so he stepped outside and saw the 2 of them. He invited them in, and they ended up loving church and even watched Sabrina and Alexandre get baptized. Over the next week, Sabrina invited another friend, Raiandra, to receive lessons. Those two already have received answers about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Sabrina is already super strong, said she cried a ton the night when she prayed for an answer. Then last night, we had an appointment marked at 8 o clock. It was supposed to be the 3 of them, but Patricia didn't show up cuz she "needed to wash clothes" or some silly excuse. Me and Elder Fávaro ran to her house to try and convince her otherwise, and succeeded in bringing her to the lesson. On the way over she said, "Boy, you guys are annoying." Elder Fávaro told her that she'd thank us some day for being so persistant :) Anyways, at the end of the lesson, Patricia was kinda frustrated cuz Sabrina and Raiandra already received answers, and she still hasn't. She explained that she's been reading and praying with faith, but still hadn't gotten an answer. So, Elder Fávaro invited her to give the closing prayer, and to simply ask directly to know if it was true, and promised in the name of Christ that she'd receive one. So we all knelt in a circle, and Patricia gave a very simple but very heartfelt prayer. After asking about the Book of Mormon, she closed the prayer. We were worried she had forgotten that she needed to wait, but luckily everyone stayed with eyes closed and heads bowed. After about 10 seconds of silence and me praying my heart out that the Lord would give her and answer, she literally jumped and said, "Nossa! Que estranho!" (Wow!! How weird!!) And started rubbing her neck and the top of her shirt, and it was truly because she felt a "burning in the bossom", and I don't think she'd ever felt anything like that before :) The Spirit was SO strong, and she put her hand on the Book of Mormon and said that she knew it was true now. Her voice was just full of relief and it was such a special moment... So amazing how the Lord works. When we don't doubt, the Lord will respond and give us what we ask for. Anyways, looking back on all this, it is incredible to me how much the Lord's hand was in this. If that appointment hadn't fallen that day, if we hadn't contacted that drunk guy, if we hadn't passed by his house, if that old lady had invited us to come in, if we hadn't invited Sabrina come to church, if President Bazilio hadn't gotten that phone call, if we hadn't gone to Patricia's house and been "annoying", NONE of this would have happened. Just as D&C always says, the work of God WILL go forward. Seriously, God know's exactly what he'd doing. We hardly ever see the bigger plan, but God is always always always working for the blessing of his children. My testimony is growing so much in this aspect. I'm realizing that truly nothing is coincidence, and truly God is guiding all of our paths.
Regardless of what might be going on in our lives, never forget that the Lord is in it. If we are trying to do our best, and clearly we'll have mistakes and will have our moments or weakness, the Lord will guide us to do what we need to do. The Lord truly does know and love each and every one of us. This week I was praying out loud and I had a huge testimony given to me that the Lord truly does me, and all of us. If anyone ever has any doubt in this, pray and truly speak with the Lord. Express the love you have for him, and He will express his love for you. This church is so true, every day I learn more and more why this gospel is so important and why we're here doing what we're doing. I'm so grateful for this life that I have, and for these past 8 months on the mission. I'm so excited for the next 2/3 of this amazing opportunity. I love you all, thank you for everything. I can't say thank you enough. The Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith truly saw God and Christ. This IS the true church on the earth!!! I have no doubt whatsoever about this. Hurrah for Israel!!!