It has been an amazing week! I forgot my journal so I am sure I will leave out some awesome things, but I will try my best to share what I remember.
Update on Wagner- he went from 15-20 cigarettes to 7, and when we went with him to church yesterday, he hadn´t smoked any, so at least up until(church gets out at 12) he was cigarette-free! We went to pick him up for church for the first time yesterday (it is a 20-30 minute walk there and back) and he was ready and waiting with a nice polo and new jeans he bought for church. He had expressed concern about not owning any nice clothes and we told him that the reason we dress up is to give our best to the Lord and show respect, so he could wear the best clothes that he owned and know he was showing the Lord respect and love. He was all cleaned up, with combed hair and cologne and it was really touching to see his wiillingness to change and sacrifice. He has problems with hand coordination so he told us he was having trouble with his belt, so he had to walk all the way to the church until we could get the bishop to help him. It was amazing to see his faith and sacrifice. He shared during gospel doctrine that he believed in Joseph Smith and in the Book of Mormon. He comes from a different religion so whenever people pray he says his hallelujahs, truth, and amens, which makes me smile. I am not sure he realizes that when we pray the congregation just listens and participates in their hearts, so we will mention that with him, but its nice to know he wants to participate.
We helped Irmã Gisela and Irmão João Arthur (wheelchair and health problems) clean their house, and Irmão João Arthur made bread for us while sitting down at the table with Gisela´s help getting the things together. The people here are so giving and so willing to make people feel welcome and wanted.
There was one day this week that we had an awesome lunch with roast, fried potatoes, purple cabbage mayonnaise apple salad, rice and beans. After that, we went and visited a less active member, Nilsa, who is struggling to overcome hurt feelings from something a member said (side note-please never take offense and always remember that Christ´s church is perfect but the people are not, just as no one perfectly healthy goes to the doctor to get cured, no one perfectly spiritually healthy goes to church to be healed.) and she gave us cake and corn muffins. She is so giving and kind and has a wonderful heart. Then we went to visit a member who is struggling with depression and she gave us lemon cake and chocolate milk. I could barefly walk due to everyones loving generosity.
Another investigator, Claudio (husband of Shélem, a member who recently returned to church), bought new shoes and a white shirt and is coming to church every week! They live a 30 minute bus ride away and both work a ton, so it is hard to coordinate teaching appointments, but these next few weeks we are hoping to prepare him for baptism. He accepted to be baptized, we just have to help him along the way.
I made banana bread today without a recipe! No one here uses recipes so I decided to just go for it. It was, in my humble opinion, delicious.
The Lord truly looks out for the needs of His children. This week we were blessed to be able to help meet the needs of one of our investigators. Nycieli is 11 years old and comes to church every week. She has been going for the last 6 years, but is waiting until she turns 12 to get baptized, we are not sure why yet. But anyway, we cleaned out our house and there were a bunch of clothes that missionaries left. We took them to Nycieli and her family and they were very gratful. That week, she had expressed that she felt kind of bad that she went to church and everyone was wearing skirts and she didn´t have one. When I saw her in the primary program wearing one of the skirts we brought, it made me so happy.
Oh, and the primary program was so lovely and adorable. I played the piano/organ and the kids were so sweet and touched many hearts when they sang and bore testimony. Aside from Amon falling out of his chair and a bunch of the kids crying during the practices because they weren´t chosen to say the closing prayer and they all wanted to, the program went without difficulty and was a wonderful experience.
This week, I could definitely see the tender mercies of the Lord in the lives of all our investigators. "E eis, porém, que eu, Néfi, vos mostrarei que as ternas misericórdias do Senhor estão sobre todos aqueles que ele escolheu por causa de sua fé, para torná-los fortes com o poder de libertação." 1 NE
Heavenly Father really is looking out for each of us. Like some emails I received this week said, if we look for it, we will definitely find the hand of the Lord in the details of our lives. I know that God loves us. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that through the atonement we can overcome any challenge or difficulty.
Love you all!