One of the things I love to talk with the missionaries about is their conversion story. Many of the missionaries who serve here come from South or Central America and were baptized in their teens. The other day we had a couple of sisters come into the office and while they were waiting for some documents (since they had been accosted and had their belongings stolen...) I asked about their conversions. One sister is 32 and from a humble background in another part of Brazil. She told me that she was baptized one year and nine months ago - and had been on her mission for nine months! I was so touched by how excited she was to be serving and how grateful she was to be a member of the church. She asked me how long I had been a member. I told her that most of my lines had ancestors who had crossed the plains with the pioneers. With a look of awe and sincerity she put out her hand and said, "Let me shake your hand." I felt so inadequate to be representing my amazing ancestors, and I was much more in awe of her than she was of me. Her level of commitment and sacrifice for the Gospel is inspiring. We're blessed to be surrounded by other missionaries like her.
I am always grateful for all the pioneers - those from 1847 and those today who are forging the way for their families - but especially this week I wanted to acknowledge them. I just hope I can live up to the sacrifices that have been made for me from my parents, grandparents, and those first converts that enabled me to grow up in the comfort and light of the Gospel. As discussed in last October's General Conference, it's remarkable to see the impact of parents on their children - those who stay firmly committed to the gospel as opposed to those who don't.
As for Missionary Connections... When we were in Boston we served with two incredible sister missionaries, Sister Melo and Sister Goncalves. Because I never posted a picture of Reginaldo's baptism, (see June 7 "Last Post from the USA") I'll use that picture to remind you who Sister Melo is - she's on the right.
|Baptism happened last month...|
Sister Melo's Grandmother is in our ward here in Fortaleza! What is the likelihood of that??? She is a very lovely woman who is so good to missionaries. She had us over last night and even made us chocolate chip cookies with chocolate chips she brought from the US on her last trip there! Sharing one's chocolate chips or peanut butter is a real act of selfless charity here in Brazil!
|I had already eaten two, but HAD to have a third since |
she wanted us to hold them up for the picture! :)
We are very busy every day in the office - more on that in a future post. Craig's Portuguese is getting better and faster and more comfortable. I can communicate on limited subjects with VERY patient Brazilians who have a good sense of humor! We are reminded daily that even though Fortaleza is a large city, we are indeed in a third-world country, but we are grateful for the opportunity to work with missionaries and serve the Lord here.
Enjoy Pioneer Day! Our love to all!