Thank you for all your emails. You really are the best family in the world. Seriously. I love Monday emails.... they make the week start out so nicely. :) It's been a rough transfer and nothing has gone the way I would have planned, but I'm learning quite a bit that Heavenly Father has a different plan than I have. His plan is a lot better than my plan and He knows what I need to learn. Sometimes we have to go through hard things to learn, but in the end I'm grateful for all the hard things because without them I would come home the same person that I was at the beginning of my mission.... and that would be just awful. :) Nobody wants that. I remember before my mission I would hear people talking about how much I would change, but I really didn't think that I would change that much. I'm sure glad I'm here on the mission learning and growing because the more I learn I realize that I have a lot more to learn. Funny how that works.
So this week our investigator João got baptized. I don't think I have ever prayed and worked so hard for any one person in my life. I also don't think I've ever been so frustrated with one person in my whole life either. We found João on May 7 and we contacted him in the street. We thought he was the typical young adult and wouldn't show up for our appointment the next day, but instead he showed up early! He accepted the invitation to be baptized in the first lesson but he wouldn't commit to a date. He lives with his sister so the next day we had a lesson at their apartment. His older sister Elisa is was visiting from France and she sat in for our lesson (we're gonna get her address and send it as a reference for the missionaries in France.... she is so cool). When we started talking about baptism again she wanted us to explain it to her. After we talked about baptism to her she asked João if this is what he wanted to do. He said yes but that he didn't want to pick a date. Then his sister Elisa told him, "If Jesus is calling you, then you need to answer and be baptized." It was so cool. Right there he picked Saturday, May 23 to be baptized. After that we tried to meet with him every day before his baptism to teach him the lessons and make sure he understood what it would mean to be baptized. As we taught him we realized that he his a hoodligan. (Last transfer Sister Mills and I would talk about the gangs and normally we called them "hooligans" or "hoodlums" but one day she accidentally combined the two and said "hoodligans".... and now we have my new favorite word) so we were a little bit concerned, but the Spirit was really strong in all of our lessons when he paid attention. Other times he didn't pay attention and Sister McCall would get really mad at him, but I just thought of when I taught fifth grade with Miss Smith my senior year of high school. Treating him like a nine year old worked pretty well... he seemed to pay a lot more attention when we were super, SUPER patient with him. :) As we taught the lessons I could see a change starting to happen in him, but I started to get really worried when he wouldn't fulfill his commitments or show up to our appointments. A couple of times we had to go to his house and find him because he didn't show up for our appointments. The whole process was so cool though because I learned a lot about how the Spirit can change people. For his baptism, Sister McCall and I went to get things ready Saturday morning. The font was super gross so I got in there and scrubbed it all clean, but then everything we had planned for the baptism started to fall apart. The bishop texted us an hour before to tell us that he couldn't be there, but then as we were getting ready to start the baptism no one from the bishopbric showed up.... so we had to wait for an hour for our District Leader to come from Costa to preside over the baptism. A recent convert Helder performed the baptism, but João was so tall that they had a hard time doing the baptism. After six attempts they finally got it and he was baptized!!! :D there was a huge change in João after his baptism. It was so cool. Saturday night we were out working and we discovered that João had spent almost two days talking to everyone and inviting everyone he knew to his baptism. Nobody showed up, but we had a lot of people come up to us Saturday night telling us that João had talked to them about us and his baptism. The sad part is that he was supposed to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday.... but he didn't show up. We ran to his house to get him, but his family told us that he wasn't home and they didn't know where he was, and that night we went back and they still didn't know where he was.... so we had a really great baptism.... but we lost our investigator and nobody knows where he is. I cried a ton when we got back to the church, but then I felt a lot of peace. Heavenly Father knows what He has planned for João and I'm pretty sure we'll find him again. He can't get away that easily. :)
That is a really long story. I didn't realize how long it was until I just looked at it. I don't know how much of it makes sense but I hope you enjoy it! :) Do you remember Ana from Viseu that I'm always talking about? I saw her again yesterday. There's this guy that we call Creepy Carlos (he says he was baptized when he was a kid... I'm not sure if I believe him) but anyway, Creepy Carlos likes to follow us around on his bike and we don't really like that. Yesterday he started to follow us and to avoid him we ran to the church to hide for just a few minutes. When we went into the church Ana was sitting there right inside the doors! She had been in our chapel for a meeting, but we had no idea that we were going to run into each other! I about died of happiness when I saw her. She made my whole day and week and life just so much happier!
I'm learning a lot about how Heavenly Father works. He really does make everything work out in the best way even if we don't always understand it. When we're in the middle of things we can't really see how things will work out, but then later on we're able to look back and see how it all worked out perfectly. This week we had interviews with President and Sister Fluckiger. I sure do love them. I'm going to be really sad when they leave. They really are special.
My brain is kind of just running in circles today.... I hope this email is coherent and understandable... if not, sorry. I tried my best. :) Thank you for all the help and all the prayers! I love you all!
P.S. The pictures are from João's baptism.... now we just need to find him again. :)