Oh my goodness! I cannot believe that McKay is going to be gone a week from W! It doesn't even seem real to me! But I hope he knows that I am with him every step of the way in this first little bit. I don't know what challenges he may face for the first chunk of the mission (seeing as the challenges that were so difficult for me at the start only apply to my mission) But I want him to know that I will do everything I can to support him for the first phases of the mission! Although, I have no doubt that he is going to be an incredible missionary! He didn't write me today (which is understandable) But I was really looking forward to reading his talk. I have been studying about the Atonement lately...and I just wanted to see what parts he talked about. The Atonement is such an amazing subject, with so many different directions to take. I am sure he did a fantastic job! I am super grateful for the support that I received from the family for the first quarter of my mission. And with how amazing our family is, I have no doubt that McKay will receive the same!
Well this last week was absolutely insane! We ended the week with 2 baptisms! (I know...I forgot to mention last week. :) ) We have been working with the son of Domingos (our recent convert that was baptized about 2 months ago) And we went through a lot of stress to make it happen...it is a pretty complicated story...but I will do my best to sum it all up. Domingos, as you know, is divorced...roughly divorced at that...and Ruben lives with his mother but visits his dad frequently...actually if it was Ruben's choice, he would choose to live with his dad. He's been at his dad's house practically the whole summer now. Anyways, we marked Ruben for baptism a few weeks ago and we tried to get Domingos ready to baptize him. However, when the subject was brought up to his mom, she said absolutely not! So we were pretty down about that, but when we talked to Domingos he had told us that the court agreement was that both parents had equal rights in the decision process for their children. Then Domingos talked to the assistant to the president that is over our zone, and they talked about the situation...then the assistant told us that we could go ahead with the baptism. After leaving the house...we felt very uncertain about going through with it. So we prayed...and we felt very peaceful. So we decided to trust in those feelings and to go along with it. Later we started feeling doubts again...and decided to pray about it again...as soon as we started praying about it, the doubts were taken away and we again felt peace. After receiving the confirmation we decided to go through with it for sure. As we were visiting with Domingos and Ruben one last time before Ruben's baptismal interview, Domingos was talking to him about staying strong after baptism. He then said something super cool and very touching to me. He told his son to follow my example. To hear my recent convert tell his son to follow my example, and knowing that he remembers and knows my situation was very touching. It was just super cool. Our bishop had been meeting with Domingos recently to see if he was ready to perform the ordinance of baptism. Unfortunately, Domingos is still trying to work on a few things, so he was unable to do it. So Ruben said that he wanted me to baptize him, which was also very cool! So it was a very cool baptism. And Domingos is going to talk to the lawyer to try to get full custody of Ruben, because that is what Ruben wants. He's a very intelligent boy. He's 10 years old, but he is super intelligent!
The other baptism was the son of one of our less actives that recently returned to full activity in the church. His name is João Carlos. He was a pain to teach...he is a 12 year old boy, but he acts like he is 5....very big difference between the two boys that were baptized. Not much to tell on this story except for the fact that he was a pain in the butt to teach. :/ I'm not a big fan of teaching kids...unless they are in a family that is all getting baptized. :) (don't worry I'll attach pictures)
Other than that we also had another really cool miracle happen with Carlos and Jessica. I have told you about the struggle that we have had with them over the past few weeks. Well we went over thereand they said that they had noticed a difference when they were trying harder to get an answer to everything then when they had slacked off a ton. So they were ready to try harder. Jessica knows that everything is true. She is ready. However Carlos said that he was still unsure about everything. He really loves the doctrine of the temple and eternal families, but he wasn't sure if everything was right. We taught about revelation through prayer and through the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson we all kneeled and had Carlos say a prayer to ask about the Book of Bormon. We sat in silence for quite sometime after the prayer. Finally he got up and said..."I don't feel anything." Ugh. So we told him that the Lord answers in His own time and when we show him that we actually are willing to do what it takes to get the answer. So he said that he would keep praying and reading. Well...we came to find out that very shortly after we had all left (we were with a couple of our youth members their age) Jessica was watching TV, and Carlos was on the computer. At the end of a show that Jessica was watching there came on a song in the closing credits that was called "I've got friends that do" by Tim McGraw. And Carlos all of a sudden became very interested in the song, he closed the computer and took the remote to turn up the song. At the end of the song it talks about how hard it must have been for God to give the world His Son, to suffer and die for us. And during that part he got super emotional (as did Jessica) and they just cried and cried together during the song. When we talked to him he said that he took that for an answer to his prayer. It was his personal revelation! That was incredible! So he has finally received an answer and they are going to pray for a baptism date and we are going over there later tonight before we catch our bus to Lisbon to talk about it! So we are going to be going into full wedding and baptism mode pretty soon here!
Lastly there is Patricia. My heart just breaks for her. She's the girl I told you about last email that we have noticed has scars all up her wrist and arms from cutting herself. She revealed a little more to us about her story. She doesn't live with her mom anymore because her mom didn't treat her like a daughter. She has a brother whom her mom treats like a son...but she said that she was just always treated as a family friend...and that really hurt her. She is currently living with some random lady that took her in who treats her like a true daughter. She also said that last year her mom was diagnosed with cancer. And although she had passed rough times with her mom, she was still her mom and she loved her. And that was very hard for her. She said that sometimes it is hard to find the strength to live. It just kills us to hear. We met with hernight and afternoon. And between that short time, afternoon I noticed that she had fresh cuts on her left wrist...I just imagined her sitting in her room performing that awful task. She needs the Gospel...a lot. And we are hoping and praying that Heavenly Father will change her life very soon! She is a very sweet girl...but has lived a messed up life. She is marked for baptism for the . So we will do our best to prepare her for then. We just want her to embrace the peace and happiness that the Gospel brings. (she also told us about a new wolverine movie that supposedly came out. :O :O :O ..) Eh hem. Not important. ;) so that is the latest with her.
Last night...me, Elder Dunford, and the sisters in our district decided to have a huge street meeting! We took out a table with posters, pamphlets, books of mormon, passalong cards, and DVD's. We pitched it in the middle of this huge town square type deal. And we stood behind the table and just started singing hymns. When people passed by 2 missionaries would stop singing and contact. It got to the point where there would usually be at least 2 missionaries singing, and then the rest of us would spread out and contact people that would be in reachable distance of our table. Lots of people shrugged us off...but there were was a decent amount throughout the hour and a half that we did it that listened and took some material. We got some phone numbers, and gave out lots of pamphlets, Books of Mormon, and DVD's. It was a really cool experience! I never thought that I would have a "Soap Box" moment in my mission! It was cool.
Anyways, that was our week!is Jedi Council, so I am excited for that. And yeah...Kyle said right. President isn't the most warm and fuzzy guy out there...but he is a very powerful man. He knows what he is doing and that is all that matters. I would like it if I could be buddies with him...but he's just not that kinda guy. But he is an AWESOME president nonetheless.
I hope you have a great week! I love you so much. Good luck with everything and let me know if there is any small thing I can do from a billion miles away! :D I love you!
Elder Colton Wayne Richins