Querido família e amigos,
Yesterday was such an unbelievably wonderful and slightly emotional day on the mission! Our friend Jack decided to be baptized after one week of lessons. Jack speaks fluent Creole, French, broken English and hardly any Portuguese. We ended up teaching him almost completely in English and it truly was a testimony to me of the power of the spirit to conversion regardless of the language barriers. I remember a day or two before his baptism he had a little fit about his earrings (he thinks he´s pretty jazzy with his diamond studs). He asked if he had to take them out and I said that would probably be best and he was pretty firmly set that Jesus didn´t care if he had earrings or not and that he had not taken them out for 20 years. We calmed him down and told him it was his decision and that he should pray about it and we wouldn´t address it any more. The next day (The day of his baptism) he showed up to church without his studs 🙂 I was so impressed. It is so difficult for us to humble ourselves enough to leave behind our ´little bag of Babylon´but Jack is a witness that an eager heart and a willing mind is powerful enough to conquer any Babylonian bad habit.
Sister Vargas and I were met with another neat little surprise. Our friend Panel came to church with us for the first time today… Panel speaks ONLY Creole and less Portuguese than me when I entered the MTC, but he was smiling the whole time and stayed with us to watch the baptism. During the baptism he turned to me and said “Eu batismo hoje“ aka: I baptize today….. I was a little shocked. Pleasantly shocked to say the least. We were able to agree in broken Portuguese that he´d wait till the next Sunday so that we could teach him a little but wow oh wow. Elect. After church I ran to grab our recent converts Osner and Robens (both Haitians who speak Portuguese very well) and dragged them to Panel´s house to translate the third lesson: The Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was truly a wonderful moment to ses my friends, recently baptized translate with a lot of vigor the message of salvation. It was a very special moment for me. I am truly here to serve and am astounded day by day by the power our Father has to piece together his grand plan. I love my calling and I am so happy to watch my friends enter into the covenant of baptism and the promise of life eternal.
I am soooooo happy to be here with Sister Vargas too. She is unbelievably wonderful and I know we´ll do great things here in together. She is from Nasca Peru and speaks Spanish!!! I will return home ti-lingual! — maybe. I´ve already memorized all of the words to that one song ´la cucaracha´ 🙂 Also I received another pleasant little surprise! I found out the day she arrived in Arapongas that I´d be training her! I admittedly was super nervous to train, but it has been nothing but blessings and spiritual since day 1 together.
Eu sei que O Senhor está nos abençoando! Eu amo vocês!!!!
Bom Dia com muito alegria!
There is undeniably true power in prayer. As a missionary I pray for my friends here in Arapongas, that they receive the courage they need to follow the spirit. I Pray every day that my companion and I find the courage we need to open our mouths and share the truth. I pray that the coventated members here and at home will have to courage to invite those they love to come to know the restored gospel. Without a doubt, the miracles I have been witnessing on my mission have been responses to prayers. This weekend our friend Robens was an answer to a prayer. Robens is a young man from Haiti who´s mother died when he was very young. With the littlemoney he and his brother could muster, they bought one ticket to Brasil. His older Brother was determined that Robens take the ticket. Robens arrived here a little while later, alone, without food, without a roof and without knowing Portuguese; but he persevered! Three years later, We bumped into him. He told us his story: how he has a house, a job, (he´s saving for a motorcycle) and he Speaks Portuguese better than me! But still, he was lonely; without a family. Church was an answer to his prayers. He has always been searching for baptism, but he never completely understood the importance or the gravity of baptism.After meeting the missionaries, he understood the importance of the saving ordinance but was a little frightened to take the next step (thankfully I don´t take no for an answer!) After a lot of prayer, Robens decided to take a leap of faith! His baptism was a testimony to me that the “field truly is white and ready to harvest“ We have the promise of the God who will never lie that there are souls around us who are ready to follow Him. Trust in the almighty God and open your mouth! Invite those you love to come to know the gospel and you WILL find those whom the Lord has prepared.
The end of this transfer is coming up. Next monday I will know my fate! I am so excited to give my all to the Lord be it here in good old Arapongas or a new stomping ground! Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. This week Daiane really needs your prayers. Daiane is a young woman (21) who went to church with us yesterday. She truly is wonderful and a light to me and she has accepted a baptismal date this next Sunday… She is so close to greatness and joy without end, but I know the enemy works his hardest when we are so close tosuccess. PRAY FOR DAIANE!!!
com grande amor,
Sister Whitney Dean
Querido família e amigos,
I’ve been reflecting a lot this week on the person I was before the mission and how I have changed. My 9 months (half way!) is coming up in 2 days and I can´t help but take on a wave of excitement and apprehension. It is such a bitter-sweet moment. I keep questioning myself if I´ve become 1/2 the missionary I set out to be. I think I’ve exceeded my expectations in some areas and I am still seriously lagging in others. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to always reflect on my progression and get down on my knees to ask for help from my Pai Celestial to meet my imperfections.
Sister Anderson and I are working hard in the heat and talking with as many people as we can find! Street contacting was definitely a struggle for me at the beginning of my mission; I was so scared to stop someone in the street. Now I feel guilt if I let them pass by. The news we have to share is so good! I remember my first day in the field in California; we did 3 hours of street contacting and I was sooo timidly shy at first. 9 months later and street contacting has turned into one of my stronger skills. With divine help, we find the courage to turn our weaknesses into strengths.
There has been a lot of excitement in the Branch as we’ve started implementing new ideas and plans to involve the members to the max! activities, Family home evenings and visits 3 times a week! I am truly blessed to be working with dedicated men and women. The end of the transfer is coming up soon and I am anxious to know what will happen. I truly can´t predict anything. I know the Senhor is in charge and what will come will be another chapter in my absolutely wonderful mission.
Sister Whitney Dean