Cascavel, Brasil July 28, 2014
Família e amigos,
This week was pretty normal: lots of talking, lots of walking. Our investigator (now recent convert!) Ademir was confirmed and is on his way to some incredible things. We also have had a crazy turn of events. A few months ago we were teaching a woman named Maria and her children; they were so promising but they fell off the face of the Earth for a time. It turns out Leoni (our recent convert de poder!) is Maria´s best friend and has gotten her to start attending church again! Maria wants to be baptized so badly, but those darn cigarettes. I have never despised smoking this much before the mission. These little vices that destroy families and health hold a person back from receiving so much happiness! We´re working diligently with her and are praying for a miracle…
Cascavel continues to have crazy weather! super cold – super hot, it´s so unpredictable! I hear that I have to make it through Agosto and then the steady heat comes. I´m looking forward to it and at the same time I feel like I don´t know what I´m in for lol.
I love you all! Thank you so much for the letters and the support!
com amor, Sister Dean
Querido família e amigos,
Time is so warped on the mission. The days and the weeks blur together and it´s difficult to measure the time. I´ve just about hit my 6 month mark and there was quite a big celebration 🙂 Our investigator Ademir was baptized! Ademir was a very special baptism for me; I had to work and pray and work some more, but it has all paid off. His life was controlled by his cigarettes and every time we visited he would recite the same line “é um vicio que é muito difícil, vocês não podem entender, eu não posso parar” EVERY lesson he would say this over and over, and my companion truly wanted to drop him. We prayed and prayed and got a miracle 🙂 As a missionary, it is so easy to leave behind the investigators that are difficult to search for the “elect” but I have such a strong testimony that love, shown through persistence can change hearts. Christ taught that he came to heal, he sat with the sinners because they needed Him the most. Christ also questioned who shall love Him more: he who has little forgiven, or he who has much to be forgiven. Ademir was spiritually sick and the gospel of Christ changed and healed his heart and he is a living testament to me of the power Christ has to change a life for the better! I am so blessed to be here serving. The more worthy I become, the more He is able to use my influence to do the work of Christ; to cure.
We also had a festa at the church! My first Brazilian holiday! Festa Juninha is basically dress up like a hic and square dance, but the food is fantastic. We had lots of investigators there and hopefully they´ll turn into progressing investigators 🙂 enjoy the pictures!
com grande amor,
Família e amigos,
I have had a week full of miracles! I´d like to share a very special story with you all. Our Heavenly Father is great and he has a plan that we can´t understand at times; this week was a testament to that. My first transfer here in Cascavel, I was teaching a woman named Leoni. Leoni´s daughter Vitória is a member and her ex husband Tarço is a member. Leoni began going to church shortly after Vitória was baptized and Leoni is just about the greatest woman ever! She was never quite sold on baptism though. She knew the Book of Mormon was the word of God, but she had major reservations with being baptized. For months we´d visit her and try our best to discover what it was that she needed to get rid of her hesitations. Finally, it was the testimony of her daughter that did her in 🙂 Vitória has one of the strongest testimonies I´ve ever heard! That night was a very special night, but of course it wasn´t that easy.
Tarço and Leoni, although divorced, had a good friendship and he would travel from Rio Grande do Sul every saturday, stay the night on the couch and go to church with them Sunday here in Cascavel. She was ready to be baptized, but there were concerns about appearances and it broke my heart to learn that we´d have to postpone her baptism. Tarço was always such a huge advocate for her baptism and his testimony of the truthfulness of the church was giant. We were stuck in limbo for a while. Bishop suggested that they marry again, but they really didn´t want to do that, they only had friendship at the moment; the only alternative was that we needed to tell them that Tarço couldn´t stay at their house when he came to visit, and although it is a small thing to ask in return for someone´s eternal happiness, it was sooo hard to address with them. We planned and planned and tried and tried, bishop talked to them several times, but things were soo difficult. Everyone wanted Leoni to be baptized but things were at a bit of a stand still. I remember praying SO hard for her and our zone fasted. I remember one Saturday night we planned to go in there and come out with everything and were ready to knock doors to find a place for Tarço to stay the night if it came down to it, but I remember feeling the spirit so strong that night. It was just us and Leoni there and I kept feeling ´´Just tell her how much you love her. Tell her over and over how much you care about her and it will all be alright´´.
Our plan was to be abrasive and face brute it out until we came to a solution but the spirit was so strong in prompting us to just love her and we didn´t even mention baptism. The next day we were out with a member who told us that later that night Tarço passed away from a heart attack…… I was so shocked. Leoni and Vitória are so dear to my heart and this experience has strengthened my resolve as a missionary so much. When we first heard the news I began to pray for them so hard! I knew without a doubt that Leoni now more than ever needed baptisim in her life; she needed the gift of the holy spirit to console and mend her heart. The Lord has a plan, and I know Leoni would have not been baptized otherwise. Their family is so strong now. SO strong. We went to visit them shortly after Tarço´s death and we had to resolve to only talk about baptism if prompted, we didn´t want to seem insensitive, but we truly knew baptism is what she needed the most now. Thank goodness Heavenly Father allowed Vitória to be there for that lesson. We were weak and preparing to leave without setting a date for Leoni and dear Vitória chimmed in right before we left ´´Sisters, stop. She can be baptized now right?´´ BAHHH serving Heavenly Father is such a blessing. I don´t even have words to describe how grand He is and it is an honor to be an instrument. Leoni was baptized surrounded by her family (many of them are members) and it was just how a baptism should be; full of the spirit and hugging 🙂 (water too) I love you all so much and I know that I am a part of a great and marvelous work.
Also I survived another transfer and am staying put in Casvavel another transfer (I think Heavenly Father is gracious enough to let me see Leoni receive the gift of the holy ghost). Sister Corrêa and my beloved Sister De Jesus are moving on 😦 I´ll send more pictures shortly! Looks like I´ll kill Sister Hartvigsen (it´s a mission expression mom) and continue the work here! Love you all, thank you for your love, letters and support!
Last exciting note! I confiscated my first Word of Wisdom contraband this week! Power rush!
Família e amigos!
The work continues to grow here in Brasil! This past month of June we broke a mission record and opened the way for 192 of God´s children to enter into the waters of baptism! Can you believe it? I´ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the spread of the work here on the earth. It truly is humbling to be a part of such a divine work. This week we also had a Zone conference in the coveted city of Foz do Iguaçu (google foz do iguaçu! beautiful neh?) Our zone and 2 others gathered for trainings with President Genaro and it´s difficult to explain how full of the spirit these precious meetings with President are. I feel my desire and commitment to be a better servant of the Lord renewed every time he speaks! The zone conference was also on the 4th of July and President asked all of the Americans to come to the front to sing the national anthem; it was me, my companion and about 20 other elders! I tried to sing loud. We also got letters at zone conference, it was the 4th of July and Christmas!
The end of the transfer is next week and I have no idea what will happen, if me and/or my companion will stay or go. I know better than to voice what I want, it´s all what the Lord wants! I´ll let you all know this next week what happens, if I leave Cascavel or not!
I hope you all are enjoying your summer! make it last!