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!