first things first, i just want you to know how much i stinkin love each + every one of you. i don´t think you guys realize how much you mean to me. NOTE - ITS A LOT. (: promise!! i pray for you all on the daily + hope you are all well + making good choices like you know you should (;
oh. and sorry for the email delay! brazillians take a FERIADÃO (aka HUGE HOLIDAY) for the week of easter. aka since thursday/friday of last week until today, EVERYTHING WAS CLOSED. aka no lan haus opened yesterday. BOO. but its okay because i´m emailing now, right!? (:
okay! so this week. sorry i have a limited time to type but i´ll try to be speedy!
basically my heart felt probably the HIGHEST highs and LOWEST lows, all within just a small amount of time. long story short = marcel and gabi both weren´t baptized ): both baptisms fell. and one day when i can gather you all around me and reminisce in detail with no time constraint about my mission....i will tell you all about this week and how crazy insane it was, but also how crazy awesome it was all wrapped up into one (don´t worry, its all recorded in my journal so i won´t forget :).
but...........!! here´s the happy part. THEY BOTH ARE GETTING BAPTIZED THIS WEEK FOR SURE!!!!!!!!!!! (: (: (: so we´re gonna choose to focus on the positives this week, okay? they both need some serious prayers (especially marcel) because we don´t want the same thing to happen this week...
basically with gabi, it´s a no-brainer. for reasons i can´t explain to the general public via email, she couldn´t be baptized this past week but she will pretty much for sure be baptized this coming week. she´s totally okay. keeping the commandments. even was at youth conference (!!!) all this past weekend and loved it apparently. she just was sick so we had to push back her baptism til she got back. no worries (:
but you can still pray for her that everything works out for this week, deal? (;
and as for marcel........
..............HOLY CANNOLI. i don´t even know where to begin and i know i so do not have time to tell this whole story. but basically monday things were okay. he seemed a bit off. fell onto tuesday....and its a little like this. you know how you can tell how someones doing usually, once you see them or just say hi to them? how you can ask ´´how are you?´´ but really usually...you don´t really need to even ask, you already know? well, this is what happened with marcel. the moment i saw him tuesday and shook his hand....i knew. something happened. and he wasn´t going to be baptized this week. not easily, at least. we come to find out at the end of our little lesson with him that he bought a pack of cigarrettes today...and smoked a few...and wasn´t so sure about baptism anymore.
...........ULTIMATE. HEART.BREAK. i dont think anyone who hasn´t served a mission really understands this fully. but just try to imagine someone you love, someone you have so much faith in. they´re doing all the right things....and then with something so smalll, so tiny...ah. they fall ): its literally heartbreaking.
BUT. dont worry! this story has a happy ending (: ahhhhhhhh. i so wish i could you tell you the whole story because it was such a neat spiritual experience. but basically he walked out on us that night. and fast forward a whole lotta tears, prayers, and BUCKETLOADS of faith later...in the morning his mama (irmã leda) called us and told us she had talked with marcel that morning and he felt so so bad. and he wanted to talk to us later that night.
well...didn´t work out that night (schedule troubles). but we finally met up on thursday night. and long story short is that prayers + faith + fasting = POWER. literally, SO much spiritual power. from all angles. and marcel filled out + signed his baptismal forms on Thursday, rededicated 100% to being baptized this coming saturday, april 26th!!!!!!!! (:
ah. its crazy. its wild. its...missionary life in a nutshell. you help people out along the path but you ultimately can´t make decisions for them. you just have to do your part and hope and pray that they´ll make up the difference that they need to to gain a testimony for themselves.
i wrote in the front of my scriptures something mama sent me in a letter way back when i was still in michigan (i think it was october 1st when i got the letter) and i´ve rememberred it every day, ever since: ´´remember, its YOUR responsiblity to plant the seeds and share your testimony. its THEIR responisiblity to get baptized and stay active in the church.´´ so so true. amen + amen. love you mama!! (:
e aí. this week in a nutshell. mixed with having lunch with Elder Granja (area presidency of Brasil/quorum of the 70) because he lives in our ward....and that hilarious moment when the entire lunch he´s talking and talking about all these gospel principles and going into detail about things and you just about think your brain will explode because of all the insight + knowledge you´re gaining from an apostle of the Lord. and then an hour + a half passes by and he just looks at his watch, looks at us and simply says ´´ah, sisters. i gave the message this time. you guys can give it next time. deal?´´ LOL. sure thing, Elder Granja! anytime (:
one last thing i´ve gotta mention before heading out. the scripture that literally describes the experiences i had this week with marcel is found in Doctrine + Covenants 100: 5-6. anyone that knows me here on the mission (and how its been the rest of my life, too) knows that i am pretty good at remembering scriptures....but i am horrible at remembering where they are (the references) exactly in the bible/Book of Mormon themselves. i think this is what made this such an incredible experience.
on monday night when we were teaching marcel i knew something was up, that something wasn´t quite right with him. i was praying to know what to say to him as we were teaching him as he was sitting here telling us the commandments were knid of hard to follow and that he wasn´t sure he was ready to be baptized and all this because it´s difficult....and the most clear impression of probably my life happened. i literally either saw in my mind or heard the spirit whisper to me ´´alma 7:10-17´´ and i just opened my book of mormon to the right page, turned it over to marcel and said ´´read this. out loud.´´ and he did. nice and slow. and oh my gracious the spirit filled the room so quick. marcel paused and looked at the scriptures when he finished and i just said ´´marcel...this wasn´t me. this is what Jesus Christ wants you to know right now. these are His words to you.´´
marcel just looked at me. paused. and then smiled. and nodded his head.
it was such a sweet, sweet moment. i so wish you could have been there. the sad part is that the very next day was when he had his walk-out on us, handing us back his baptismal form. the day every one else in that room thought he was a lost cause.
but the fact is family, no one´s a lost cause. God loves all of us. Christ knows us each individually. and perfectly. even if it means leaving the 99 sheep to go after the 1 lost, lonely, sheep....He´ll do it. every. single. time. because He LOVES us!
never give up faith. never give up hope. the miracle we saw in marcel just the following day i know wasn´t just happenstance or luck or anything like that. its the power of prayer, the power of faith, and the clear love that Heavenly Father + Jesus Christ have for Marcel. they know he´ll fall at times. that he´ll be tempted. they know this about every single one of us. but the fact is the same in every case - they will NEVER give up on us. case closed. (:
ah. gotta run. more to come next week! hope you all had an INCREDIBLE easter weekend and ate lots of chocolate + more than anything remembered the incredible sacrifice of our Lord + Savior Jesus Christ (: ´´This is the testimony, last of all, that we give of Him: that He lives!´´ (:
xoxoxoxoxox til next week!
sister sarah banara carrera kron (: