Thursday, January 17, 2013

August 27th Letter

So, let’s get it rolling.
This wee k I would describe as possibly the craziest week yet.
We had our zone conference Wednesday, and so this whole week our focus was Wilber. Calling him, visiting him 5 min at the bus stop, and encouraging him to read and pray and get ready for baptism...well someone talked some lies to him about the church and he got uneasy and decided he didn’t want to be baptized this week...so we were like uggh, super down, and also a bunch of other people we had started to fall as well...
So then in the end we didn’t get much done this week, and Wilber is going O.K. but we need to find the problem asap and fix it.
No one went to church, no one. Wilber didn’t go either.
So my companion like was super depressed. Sunday at church he just looked ticked off cause we worked hard this week and NOTHING happened.
But we had one thing that went super well which is our ray of hope.
Last Sunday we met Claudio, Diego and Sandro. 3 brothers, Claudio is married (legally!) and has a 2 year old daughter, Deigo is 17 and Sandro is 15. None of them are baptized but their parents are. Their dad lives in a Sitio - close by. But their mom died 2 years ago. She stopped going to church when it was in Juquia, because it was hard for them to go and return, and right before she died it came back to Miracatu so she started but they didn’t go.
Anyway, we talked to them, and Claudio (he’s the one who kind of talks the most ya know, and if he says it, he like says it for everyone ya know), about the importance of baptism and all, and about the plan of salvation. Claudio said, well I know it’s important, so if I get an answer that now is the time to go back to church, I will and be baptized and to do all this I will have to quit smoking, 4 years of smoking and I never can seem to stop but if God says so I will. The other 2 agreed.  So, sweet we thought!
When we went to visit them this week, Claudio and Diego weren’t there, but Sandro said to come back Saturday when they would be there. When we came Saturday it was Claudio and Diego at home. Elder Oliveira went to use the bathroom and Claudio said to me, Elder, I got my answer. I was like really?!?! He was like yeah... and he said
"so I was thinking a lot Sunday after you guys left about all this, and then I thought how on earth will God respond to my prayers, how would he talk to me? I had no idea, I know it’s like feelings and good things that happen but it’s different for everyone and I didn’t know."
So I was already thinking – wow, yes, he’s thinking about it seriously! So I was super excited already.
He continues…
"and you know, Monday I got up and went to the store down the road to buy my pack of cigs and I got there, stood in front of the store for a second and realized, I don’t have the desire to smoke, and I went back home, and to this minute I haven’t smoked again. So I’m like 100% sure this is only the work of God, and this would be his answer to me."
You can only imagine the look on my face, it was one of the moments where you want to scream for joy but you can’t. What a miracle.
So they didn’t go to church because they had planned to visit family and something, and it was amazing how sad Claudio was that he wasn’t able to go to church. When he did the final prayer he spent most of the time asking forgiveness for not being able to go this week, when in fact it’s been like 8 years since he has gone. He already knows the church is true.
So now it’s just helping them come, and working with the wife of Claudio and getting her involved. I am super pumped. It’s moments like this that make the mission worth it, and even better when you see them enter the waters of baptism, so we will be giving it our all to help them.
Then that leads to other note...this week was transfers...and we figured that nothing would happen to us because we are opening an area. Then Sunday night, at approx 8:23 pm. the phone rang, and I answered and they asked to speak to my companion and I was like NO! As I gave the phone to him, my comp asks who is it? and I said "the office" he grabs the phone and screams "I DONT WANT TO LEAVE!!"  So yeah, it was kinda rough for him, and I was ready to spend one more transfer with him to keep helping him but the Lord has other plans.
Then at approx 10:20, right before bed the phone rang again with another unknown number. "oi elder blackford ta ai?"
I was like, uhh yeah, I’m here and he was like you know who this is? And since I was tired I was like, uhh no, and he says Elder Hardy, and I said HI ELDER HARDY! (he was the second companion of Elder Longley, he served in Grajau as well and he is from Vancouver East stake, and is currently called as assistant to the president).
He said that I am being called as a trainer, and wanted to know if I accepted. So I accepted and I’m going to be training.
So I’m excited, but a little nervous at the same time but it will be good.  It’s weird to think that president already trusts me enough to train, because you really have to be obedient to be a trainer. It’s a lot of responsibility, and no, I don’t know if it will be a Brazilian, American, Chilean, Venezuelan and all, so I’ll tell you next week!
Good luck Erin at BYU!
Love and miss you all!
Elder Blackford 
We are cleaning and packing up elders stuff today, going to a little party at Christian’s house with Pamela. So yeah... next week will have all the fun updates.

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