Samuel got baptized!!!

Thank you everyone for the prayers!
Samuel was Baptised and Confirmed this week and every part of the Baptism session went off perfectly. It really was a miracle because the day of his Baptism, we discovered that Samuel’s Mom had made coffee and he had drank some. Sister Prado and I were heart sick. It was just a few hours before the baptism. We called our district leader and he called the Zone leader and then we just sat on the curb in silence and waited as the dusk approached.

We re-explained to Samuel that the Word of Wisdom is really, really important. Sister Prado and I were both racking our brains to discover if maybe there was something we hadn’t taught well enough or if we had decided to Baptize him too soon. My first real lesson here in Manause where I had the chance to tell the first vision was with Samuel. We had taught him two lessons and then lost track of him and just started teaching him again this month. We try to help people be baptized as soon as possible because we know how hard Satan is working to keep them from it and we know that they need the strength of the Gift of the Holy Ghost to be able to keep the committments that we invite them to make.

Our district leader asked us to pass the phone to Samuel and they had a long chat. Samuel felt bad and he said he understood better. We brought him some Cevada and bore testimony of the power of substitution. When you are trying to replace a bad habit it is really important that you replace it with a good habit so that there is no empty space for the bad habit to return and fill. Since that day, he has tried the Cevada and said that it really is similar to coffee and he likes it.

The Baptism was beautiful. Our ward mission leader Brother Alex was able to get work off early and lots of people came to support Samuel even though it was General Conference last week and we hadn’t been able to announce the Baptism in Sacrament meeting. I ended up singing “Oh How Lovely Was the Morning” in English as a solo and acapella as the musical presentation. (I’m not sure how I got ropped into it, but when you are a missionary, you don’t think, you just do) And there were some teary eyes so it actually turned out really well. It’s wonderful to know that part of being a missionary is getting to have the Spirit back you up and testify to your listeners about all you are presenting. Samuel had this smile on his face when we were taking pictures (even though he was trying to be “cool” and keep a straight face like a typical thirteen year old) that made us think that probably for the first time, he really felt like he was a part of something special and important. Samuel has a long pony tail that he has been growing out for three years, but he randomly said he is thinking about cutting it. It’s neat to see how the Spirit works on people without us saying a thing. He is incredibly intelligent, and is in the same class as our other baptism Aline.

Speaking of Alinie… her Brother Johny will be baptised this next week. (He was the one who was in doubt about this church or the church of his other sister Dyanna.) General Conference made a huge difference. It was like turning a key and unlocking the door of his understanding. Getting him to Conference was like pulling teeth, but once he was there, he decided to stay for the whole thing and now he is like a fire ball, totally excited about the things he is learing in church. It is experiences like this that make it all worth it and help me forget all the lessons we teach to people who decide their church is better than this true church (We ended up having to drop the family of Sara and Solomon and Elias and Elielma). Johny was in church this Sunday with his best white polo shirt and it made me smile to see that he is already trying to make the change and doing his best to look the part. We told him he could choose anyone to baptise him and guess what… he asked the Stake President! It’s going to be an awesome baptism, but keep praying for us. Johny really likes coffee too, so pray that he can be strong.

It’s been so incredible to go from having lessons where we only were able to talk to Johny if he happened to be at home or wasn’t busy to see him sitting on his front porch with The Book of Mormon in hand, reading and waiting for us. The Book of Mormon is incredibly powerful. We invite people to read it almost before we do anything else or explain anything about the church because of it’s power to testify to the hearts of the people. If you are feeling a little lost, If you are tired or if you don’t know where to start, open The Book of Mormon, and read a little. You will be surprised how it will comfort your Spirit.

I love being a missionary. I am so nervous about the Transfer next week. Our first 12 weeks (2 tranfers) of the mission, we are with the same Companion because we are being trained. Sister Prado will be transfered next week because she has already been here 7 months. I am so nervous because of all the houses of members and such that I will need to remember to help out my new companion. I hope that my new companion can love our investigators the same way Sister Prado and I do…. but now that it’s all out in script, I’m not afraid because I know the love isn’t coming from me or Sister Prado, but from God through the Spirit. So I know it will be the same. I also have a great faith in my calling and setting apart. I know that everything will be better than I can imagine.

I made banana pancakes for Sister Prado today and made some little silver dollar pancakes explaining to her, just like Dad did when we were little, that they are the most special. :) It was kind of a celebration of our last real Preparation day together. We thoroughly enjoyed the goodies in the Birthday package, and I have been so excited this week to wear the new skirts and shirts! (Mom, the skirt you made for me is beautiful! I love it!) I almost felt at home eating those bugles and nibs. Also, thankyou Laura and Alex for the surprise Sour Patch Kids!!!! I couldn’t believe it They were very tasty. :)

I filled a little sack full of some American candy and we gave it to a member, Julianna for her birthday with a little card because she was turning 15 and her Mom didn’t have enough money to make a cake or party for her. Her family always practically makes a feast when we go to their house for lunch and I can’t imagine how much they must sacrifice for it. She had tears in her eyes when we gave it to her. She helped us so much in befriending Alinie when Alinie was a investigator. I don’t know what more I can say but that I feel very humbled.

I love you all! This Church is true!

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