[More Than] 17 Miracles
Wow wow wow, I could spend all day writing this email and still not cover all of the incredible things that happened this week, but I'm gonna do my best to squeeze in as many of the miracles that we experienced this week as I can.
First off, I had my FIRST BAPTISM THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOO HOOOO!!!! Her name is Isabelle; she´s 15 and the daughter of a recent convert, Alice. Isabelle´s been coming to church all on her own for a month, but we just met her last Sunday. Almost every day this week we walked an hour to her house to teach her because she accepted to be baptized Saturday during our very first lesson with her! The Lord truly prepared her already because all we had to do was teach her and ask her to read and pray, and Heavenly Father did all the rest. Because of many complicated reasons, her baptism was at the stake in another town, so we set out and walked for nearly 2 hours (without getting lost) to arrive there, but it was all worth it. Isabelle was glowing when she came up out of the water, and the spirit was so strong and she hugged us and told us how happy she felt, and I was like "Me too!!!"
Secondly, I had one of the most special, incredible experiences of my whole life. Sister Bennallack and I have been teaching this sweet older woman, Marina, since almost the first week we arrived in Ribeirão Pires. Marina is really really kind and caring and has a grown daughter that was in a really bad accident and can´t speak or do many things for herself, and Marina takes care of her pretty much full-time. I always feel such a sweet spirit when we´re there. This week we made a surprise visit there, and Marina and her daughter met us at the door and invited us to teach in the part of the house where the daughter lives. We were teaching the restoration and everything was going normally until we started talking about Joseph Smith. The second Sister B. started testifying about the first vision, the spirit flooded the room. I took out a Book of Mormon, and with tears spilling down my cheeks, barely able to speak, I testified that it is the word of God, that it testifies of Christ and the Love he has for each one of us.
I was completely overcome, my heart full to overflowing, as I looked at Marina´s daughter, a beautiful special daughter of our Heavenly Father, in front of me--holding a bib to her mouth because she can´t control her salivation, unable to speak, but with eyes full of understanding. I testified to her that you don't need to be able to speak to pray, that God hears and answers every sincere prayer of our heart. Her eyes began to fill with tears and she nodded fervently. I continued to cry with her, holding her gaze, and testified that she is a very precious daughter of God and that He loves her so much and that we love her too. Sister B. told her that she didn't know why we have trials that are so hard and frustrating and that just seem unfair, but that Heavenly Father really does love her and would help her through hers.
As we were getting up to go she stood up too and and hugged me with everything that she had, and conveyed to me more sincerely and clearly than any words could say that we had said exactly what she had needed to hear, that she understood every word and was grateful. I can´t explain in words the sheer love I felt for her in that moment; I only know to say that it was greater than me or any feeling that I´m able to conjure up. I got to feel just a little piece of the pure love that the Lord has for each and every one of us, an infinite love. A love so powerful that our Heavenly Father gave up everything that was precious to Him, allowed his perfect Son to come here and be mocked, humiliated, suffer beyond what we can even begin to imagine, and be lifted up on the cross so that He could then lift us up. I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that He loves each and every one of us individually, that He knows our every pain and heartache, and that He is waiting for us to reach out to Him so that He can comfort us and help us bear our burdens. I love you all and hope that each one of you try to recognize the little miracles this week, the little signs of the Lord´s love for you, a precious son or daughter of the Most High God.
com muito amor,