Well it seems that every week has an interesting story, and this week has a Few!
First of all the work is going great, we are teaching and our investigators are progressing AND its p-day so we are even more happy!
My new year’s was pretty low key. We had a lot of trouble teaching people because no one wanted to stop and talk to us and everyone who was home was having a party, but elder Jordan and I ate Subway (the first time I had American food in my mission!) and it was super good! I miss old fashion fast food, but I’m not going to complain because the food here is amazing!
So This week we have been working a lot with Marcos and his family trying to help them get to Church because they are SUPER amazing! And every week there has been some emergency in the Family with health so they haven’t been able to come to church (and I will spoil it right now, they finally came to church this week ALL 7 of them!).
This week we called Marcos to confirm our lesson with his family and he told us that his mom who was in the hospital for over a month had returned home released from the Hospital, but after an hour and a half at home, she suffered a heart attack and Died. The whole family (and us missionaries) was shocked! We decided to visit the family and give them our support in this difficulty. We caught a ride with a member up the hill to get to Marcos’s house and when we got there we learned that he was at the viewing of the body in a church neighboring his house. So we walked to the church and when we got In I was pretty sure it was a Catholic Church because it had what looked to be pictures of Saints and a shrine with The Virgin Mary. Everyone in the church was wailing, weeping, crying, and hugging each other and the body (that AND I was the only white guy there, so I felt just a tad out of place in there with my missionary wear and everything). We found Marcos comforting his younger brother, but Marcos himself was doing great. It seemed that he was the anchor of the family. We talked with him and bore testimony of how our family relationships are eternal and that through the Gospel, we can be with our loved family members forever. He asked us when church was and promised to go there because he needed the spiritual lift.
Well when we left the Church, Elder Jordan explained to me that it wasn’t a catholic church but rather a Macumba Center. Here in Brazil, Macumba is really strong. For those who don’t know, Macumba is a religion of African demonic ritual mixed with Christianity (if you don’t know how that works, neither do I). I don’t want to get to into the practices but sufficient to say, they practice possessions of demons and a whole bunch of other… interesting things you can probably find in Google. But Apparently the Rest of Marcos’s extended families are followers of this faith of Macumba. There were some Macumba parades this week too that we passed I wish I took photos, its interesting stuff!
Anyway this Sunday was AMAZING our meeting changed to 3 in the afternoon and that is kind of weird but Marcos and His family came, as well as 4 other Investigators so we had 10 investigators visiting. That AND it was probably the best fast and testimony meeting that I have ever been in. The Spirit was super strong as so many members of the ward bore strong testimony of the Restoration. Elder Jordan and I also had the opportunity to bear our testimonies. The spirit was tangible in the Chapel and without a doubt Marcos and the others received answers to their prayers. After the testimony meeting all of the members started to interact with Marcos’s family and I am feeling really great about them being baptized really soon. ALSO after the meeting a man who had been visiting the church for over 4 months came up to us and said that now he wants to be Baptized! It was a day of Miracles. Elder Jordan and I went into the social hall and offered a prayer of thanksgiving that the Lord was answering our prayers and fasts.
I want to testify that the Lord Savior Jesus Christ Lives. He has called Prophets yet again to lead His Church. The Book of Mormon is the Word of God. Read it! God answers all of the prayers of His Children because He loves us!
I am so happy to be a Missionary, and to work with the Lord in His Vineyard! I love you all and Pray for you!
A fé é Tudo!
Elder Topper Yost