Cascavel, Brasil

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Querida Família e amigos,

This week was pretty gritty. I got bit again by the devil bugs and had to stick it out 2 days with another elephant foot. But I am learning from my mistakes and refuse to be food for the bichos again. I also have some pretty wonderful and gritty news about our investigator Maria. Maria is sooooo prepared to be baptized….. It is just the cigarettes. those darn things. She is at church every Sunday and volunteering to clean the chapel with the other women, but those cigarettes!!!!! Her testimony is so strong and every time we visit she declares she will be baptized, but cigarettes are so hard for her. Last night she shared with us that she wishes that God would make her vomit every time she smoked she wished to stop that badly. My companion and I looked at each other and said, “Maria, do you really mean it?“ There is an ancient missionary technique called “chá de cigarros“ cigarette tea. You make a tea of the innards of a cigarette and give it to them to drink then wait 45 minutes…teach, invite the spirit, and wait. Then when they have the desire to smoke again. the smell will remind them of that one awful tea indecent… She and her son Murilo were all for it! It was not a pretty sight. We had to leave to make it home before it really settled in, but it truly was a testament to me how much Maria wants to follow the Savior. I learned something very interesting this week about sacrifice. Heavenly Father truly is the refiner; we need to pass through the fire sometimes to come out polished. Heavenly Father wants our sacrifices, and I´m learning that it is not a sacrifice if it can be easily offered up. He wants us to identify the one thing in our life that we can´t imagine changing, he wants us to sacrifice the hardest thing for us to let go. Sometimes it´s our pride, a bad habit, or even an attitude. He needs us to overcome our biggest obstacle and he will give us the strength if we search for it. Once we overcome our vice we feel an indescribable feeling of victory and relief. Then God will help us identify the next thing in our lives that holds us back and he will help us overcome that vice. God is refining us if we let Him. Turn everything over to Him and you will be astonished at the person you will become. A silver refiner places the metal in the midst of the flames and keeps it there until it is purified; he knows it is finished when He can see His reflection in the silver. WE ARE HIS SILVER!!! If we let ourselves be refined, we will start to reflect His image in our countenance. Be refined and become more like Christ! Life will be unbelievably happier.
Life is so good. I am so blessed to be an instrument in the hands of someone who sees the bigger picture 🙂 Just, one other small thing. Luan, my convert ALWAYS bears his testimony in church and I have a small sense of what it must be like to be a proud mother 🙂 We also had a Bolivian couple in church this week; they shared their testimonies and I was wayyyyy excited to find out that I understand Spanish now too (more or less) it´s a little strange to hear…like someone is trying to speak Portuguese, but they have a bad taste in their mouth. haha, here’s to learning Spanish when I return!

Com amor,
Sister Dean

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