August 28, 2017 (week 98)

Last letter before returning home!

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This week was good! We had few time in our area, but what we had was good! Leo and Gabriel (josé’s brother) were baptized! This was pretty much my last week proselyting. Today is pday, tuesday we have to go to crateús to do some baptismal interviews and well get back late in the after noon on wednesday, thursday we are going to help president with some stuff, and then friday i leave.

Leo is incredible. We contacted him on the street 2 fridays ago and in this short time hes progressed till baptism! I remember well when we talked to him.. it was about 6:00 and the day wasnt going great, we were tired and exhausted and almost all of our comittments had fallen through. When I saw Leonardo (leo) I felt that I should talk to him. He was one of the most prepared people Ive ever taught. After his baptism we taught his family together. His dad was baptized in the church but has been inactive for 33 years. In the lesson his dad cried as he promissed he will ever drink again and that he wll come back to church because of the love he has for his son. Its hard for me to describe the feelings I had. I feel priviledged to have been part of that moment. After we walked out the bishop told us that he feels that Leos dad will be a temple worker in fortaleza when the temple is completed. I saw their whole family in the temple, I hope it happens 🙂 During the lesson I thought I little bit about my life. I was enjoying so much that moment but I couldnt help but think that it will be one of my lasts, at least as a missionary. It kind of hit me that I wont be doing this for much longer. It was a sad realization. Ive been here for a long time. honestly I cant really remember what normal life is like. It seems like a distant past, or another reality. It’s hard to describe myself and my feelings. When I thought about this moment (of ending my mission) at other times during the mission I didnt really think about the negative side. Im excited to come home and see and talk to you guys, but at the same time im sad to be learving here and the life ive been living. Either way, its time for me to start a new part of my life. I love being a missionary. I know the Christ lives and He is my saviour. I am so grateful for Him and all He has blessed me with im my life. Deciding to serve as a missionary was one of, if not the, best decision ive made in my life.

Love and miss you guys. Im excited to come home 🙂

Elder Lawrence

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August 21, 2017 (week 97)

This week was great! Its been a few weeks that we´ve been strugling a bit in our area to find people who are interesteed but this week we were able to find quite a few!

One was Kathellen. As we started to teach her she said that Wendel had already invited her to church and told her about it. haha I love Wendel. Weve taught 3 or so people that said “wendel already talked to me about the church and invited me!” were trying to get wendel to envolve us too because he talks to people about the church and even teaches the restauration, but then doesnt tell us about it so we dont know! but you gotta love Wendel hes an A+ recent convert.

Speaking of recent converts, we were teaching with mateus one day, and well walking in the street we were talking about some stuff going on in the city and what not. (without going into much detail Fortaleza is an extremely violent city) and he said “pra dar um jeito nessa cidade tem que soltar os vingadores” im not really very good at translated but its basically “to fix this city you have to let go the avengers” like set the avengers to fix it… i think its funnier in portuguese…. earlier when we were walking with mateus someone walked by while we were bating a door and when we turned around and walked the other way she said he knew the girl that walked by. We asked him if he wanted to go talk to her about Jesus and the Church and she said no no. But after talking to him a bit we decided to go. She liked a lot what we said and agreed for us to teach her another day. when we left he said “I felt that i had to talk to her about the gospel!” but explained how he was nervous etc, he felt super glad we went back and talked to her. I love mateus! oh and we taught her the day after, but it didnt work out.

The highlight of this week was a lesson with Lívia and Alan. We´ve taught alan a few times and talked to his sister livia one time, but never taught her. so we were about to teach alan and i saw his sister pass by in another room so we called her and started to teach the two. At the beginning she was reluctant and wasnt paying much attention. (her two little brothers running around making noise wasnt helping either) but as the lesson went on I could literally see the Spirit start to testify to her (well not literally with my eyes haha but i could see her demenor change) and when we got to the first vision we had all her focus. Its been a long time since ive had a lesson as special as that one. She accept the challenge to pray and be baptized. She prayed and received and answer and is excited to be baptized this week!

We had a few people at church this sunday and if everything goes well 4 people will be baptized this coming sunday! Which we are really excited about.

Less important note, I learned how to make break in 5 mintues on a frying pan this week, so our diet is now bread and chicken haha, we got sick of sweet potatoes.

Irene (recent convert who is 75ish years old) told us this week that because she is so old shes sick of food, like shes been eating food for so long that shes sick of it now hahah, its impossible to be with irene for more than 5 minutes without laughing.

well sorry this letter got kind of long, hope you guys are all doing well! Till next week!

Elder Lawrence

August 14, 2017 (week 96)

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This week was good! and super busy. We hardly had time in our area and this week will be pretty much the same. I honestly dont have a whole lot to say. My companion has a electric grill so weve been making good use haha.

Germene came to church this week! Its a suppppppppppper long story, but ever since she was baptized (6-7 months ago) she hasnt came to church. She was baptized with her 85 year old mom, her kept active in the church but moved and so is now in another ward. we tried hard to help germene come to church but for a lot of reasons she lost her desire. this week (multiple times) i felt that we should go to her house to see how she was doing, but i didnt. I guess i felt that it was a feeling coming from me, and it didnt really make much sense. but i was extremely humbled when i saw her at church. Obviously i feel bad for not having listened to the Spirit but I am extremely grateful that my desobidence didnt stop her from coming to church. Its hard to describe the feeling i had when i saw her walk in. Im hoping she came back for good!

Mateus (who was baptized a month ago) is doing really well!! he does visits a lot with us and the other missionaries and is going to institute as well to prepare him to be a missionary in a year! we were with him yesterday and we had to stop but our apartment to get a paper we needed and so he waited outside and i had to call someone which ended up taking a while, so elder tem stuck his head out the window to tell mateus that we would be a minute or two more, and mateus was talking to someone on the street about the gospel and church!! he talked to two people while he waited for us 🙂 isnt he incredible!?

well i think thats ill, im doing well and i hope you guys are too! till next week!

Elder Lawrence

August 7, 2017 (week 95)

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This week was good! Although I dont think I have a ton to say.

Vilani is close to getting married but theres having some complications.. we hoping that we can work it all out this week so they can mark their wedding date. Shes super excited to get baptized, but the wedding is just taking a long time.

Honestly we dont really have many other investigators that are doing well, we spent a lot of time trying to find people this week, and were able to find a few people who we were excited about, but they didnt come to church, so we’ll see what happens.

So this past week I bought two bananas but they were kind of weird. I found out, when I tried to eat one, that I hadent paid much atention when I bought them and they were bananas da terra (earth bananas) (here they have like 5 kinds of banans) and you cant just eat it plain, it has to be cooked or fried, so I saved the other and fried it, and it was actually pretty good. Now, I dont really know why Im telling you guys this.

In other interesting news, I saw a guy walking with jeans and a winter jacket the other day (remember that there isnt cold here… winter doesnt exist and it never gets below about 80). it was about 85 degrees and he was walking around with a winter jacket……. i regret not asking him why.

Ohhh I remembered something funny this week. Gutenburg, a member, was teaching a lesson with us. Hes 20 and wants to go on a mission next year. And the lesson was going really well, we were teaching the girlfriend of a less active member who came to church. And she accepted everthing pretty well and when we invited her to be baptized she said yes. Then Gutenburg said “yes!!” in a loud voice of excitment. then when she accepted a baptismal date after gutenburg says “you killed it!” in the middle of the lesson hahahah gotta love Gutenburg. Its impossible not to laugh when youre with him.

Well I dont really have much else to say.. hope everything is going well there!

I didnt take a picture of us for you guys to see elder tem, but ill take one now and send it!

Till next week!

Elder Lawrence

July 31, 2017 (week 94)

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This week was good. We had transfers and…….. im not being transferred. But I have a new companion! Elder Tem from Guatamala! Hes a missionary that I know pretty well already and im definitely excited to work with him! Im not going to lie, I was looking forward to being transferred but oh well, Im definitely excited to be with elder tem, hes kind of crazy and I can already tell this transfer will be fun! On to the 7th transfer in the area haha

Charles was baptized!! He is unbelievable.. honestly usually when something is going perfect with an investigator something is wrong or something happens, but with him nope. He was able to leave old habits without difficulties, learned everything super fast and extremely well, received an answer to his prayer in a remarkable way and even with his family (super catholic) questioning him, he never doubted that he should be baptized. Charles is the man! Its really incredible how the Lord is blessing us in our area right now.

So we honestly dont have many investigators but Elder Tem and I are excited to find some! Although honestly I dont think we’ll have much time in the area this transfer.

We taught a lesson with Mateus (who was baptized two weeks ago) which was a highlight of the week for sure! He wanted really bad to come teaching with us and the lesson with him was very special. The person we taught didnt end up being that interested but it was great to hear mateus’s testemony, so so pure! He struggled to describe the feelings hes had over this weeks but you can just see it that he knows its all true and he knows how much he is being blessed.

But the best part of the week was that Francileno, Josiane and Enzo (from my first area) went to the temple and were sealed for time and all eternity!!!!!!! The missionary that is serving in their area brought me a picture and a letter they wrote me. They are so so so special. I almost cried opening the picture seeing the three in front of the temple. Honestly if the only thing that I helped acomplish on my mission was finding and teaching that family, I would be more that happy. It makes me so happy just writing about them. Now they are an eternal family! Ill attatch the picture they sent me and that of their baptism.

Well I dont think theres much else, hope all is well at home!

Elder Lawrence

July 24, 2017 (week 93)

This week was pretty good. Although I dont think I have a ton to write.

So we went to go see a recent convert and her neighbor called us, we went to his door (here all the houses are together so it was literally 2 steps) and he said “do you want to know something?” we said sure, and then he said “Joseph Smith thought he saw Jesus but it was actually satan disguesed as an angel of light.” then he ran into a room in his house, got his bible, ran back and sat down and starting reading silently. hahahhah so we said “ok” then left. I honestly wish I could film our daily life here. So many weird things happen to us.

In better news, Wendel (who was baptized two months or so ago) gave a talk yesterday and it was great! I felt like a proud mom I think haha.

Charles is doing really well! He will be baptized on saturday! He started dating a young women in the ward a few weeks ago then asked her to set up an appointment with us! Usually when someone asks to meet with us its either someone who will be baptized or someone who wants to prove that the church is false, usually the latter. But Charles is the exception! He was so so so prepared. The Lord is blessing us a ton in our area!

Josué, Carol, and Bryan didnt come to church… I was hoping they were going to to be able to get baptized this week (probably my last week in the area) but itll have to be after. I hope they continue to progress even though I wont be here to see it.

The biggest news is that this week FANCILENO E JOSIANE E ENZO ARE GOING TO THE TEMPLE TO BE SEALED FOR TIME AND ALL ETERNITY!!!! I want so incredibly bad to go with them, but as the nearest temple isnt in our mission (its in recife, about 12 hours by bus) I obviously cant. But im so so so happy for them!! (they are the couple that was baptized in my first area.) Im hoping they send pictures next week. If they do ill forward one to you guys. They are incredible. I love them! Its hard to describe my feelings knowing that theyll be in the temple all this week. Its super special for me!

Well I think thats all. Im suuupppppper excited for this next week. Its almost sure that Ill be transferred, but you can never be 100% sure, so we’ll see! Ive been in the area and with my companion for a really long time, and a change would be nice! Im doing well and hope you guys are too.

Elder Lawrence

July 17, 2017 (week 92)

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This week was good!

The highlight was definitely Sunday when Irene, Mateus and Jamile were baptized!!! I wish i could describe the feeling in words. Or the look the Irene had when she left the water, and her face when she was describing it after.. it was incredible, pure joy! All three are super special! The Lord has helped us sooooo much in finding people that are just prepared. Its incredible. Mateus is even talking about serving a mission!! Although hes a ways away haha, but he will make a great missionary! I think I wrote about the three last week so I wont write a ton, but I feel extremely priviledged to have been able to help them find this path. I know its the right one! We play a small part as missionaries, we just try to find the people, show them the way, and then they do the rest.

A great experience I had was on Saturday. For a lot of reasons we werent able to pass by in Irenes house until 820. And actually I ended up going with another Elder thats not my companion. When we got there she was waiting at the door and her face lit up. She said “I was just praying for you guys to come!” She said she was worried because it was a day before her baptism and she thought if we didnt come by she wouldnt be able to be baptized. Shes so sweet 🙂 Old ladies are cool, oh another thing! When she left her baptismal interview she was crying, so my first thought was that something had gone wrong, but it hadnt! Our district leader said it was super spiritual and that she wanted to learn more about baptisms for the dead and the spirit world (shes widowed) which was something I felt we should teach her again and so we had taught he again earlier in the day, but breifly, its incredible how the Spirit works.

Well I dont think I really have much else to say.. In two weeks im going to be transferred (almost for sure) so Im trying to make the most of the time I have left here in this ward, which is great!

Love you guys, hope all is going well!

oh something else I remembered. Yesterday we were teaching someone from the first time, Charles (he has a baptismal date for 7/29!) and before we started he said let me guess, youre from wisconsin? he said it was because of my accent, I was impressed to say the least, wisconsin isnto MN but its pretty much the same accent and he said that he had fogotten the name of the state (minnesota) so he said wisconsin which is close. How he could tell from talking to me in portuguese I have no idea. Its even more impressive because i hardly even have an MN accent. I think maybe it was just a lucky guess haha

well thats all, till next week! Ill attatch some pictures from the baptism, the other elders had a baptism too!

Elder Lawrence