It's time for my companion and I to fly to Belém for our monthly zone meeting--we fly out later today, have the meeting on Wednesday, and then fly back on Thursday. It makes for a very crazy week! We changed our P-day this week because of this meeting to see if it would make the week go smoother.
Our numbers didn't turn out very well this month...but they could have been a lot worse! We ended up with 11 baptisms in the month of January, which isn't even close to the 35 we had in December. But January is actually the month that the mission usually baptizes the least number of people. Compared to the other zones we actually did well :D
We had a very cool experience about this...on the 3rd week of January, we had only 5 baptisms in the zone...which is really embarrassing. The assistants were in our face about it and we really were searching for miracles.
of that last week we had a phone conference with the zone with prayer, spiritual thought, everything. We left a challenge with the zone to write out all of the investigators that they had that had gone to church at least 1 time, even if they were eternigators :D Every companionship in the zone would challenge these investigators to be baptized on that same week.
We started the week with 1 person to baptize and ended up baptizing 6! These weren't just numbers or baptizing kids or anything, we saw a lot of great people with strong testimonies actually be baptized that week.
It was a testimony to me of the importance of goals and numbers in our work. Something that I always say to our zone is that our mission can be all about numbers or it could be all about goals. The difference is if we sanctify our numbers. If we just put our numbers on a sheet, they remain numbers. But if we sanctify our weekly key-indicators and strive to achieve them, they become goals.
One of the women baptized this last week was named D. I'll explain more about her next week!
I told you last week that I would relate K's story, right? I didn't actually get around to making a voice recording, so here it is.
We were walking to an appointment and saying "Good Afternoon" to the people in the street. One lady was waiting to take an omnibus but also looking intently at us as we were passing the road. When we said our usual Good Afternoon to her, she called us to speak with her. She looked honestly a little bit frightened and desperate. Her name is E and she told us her story:
She is from another state of Brasil and is living a short time here in Macapá with her husband and her daughter, K. She mentioned a series of events that led her to believe there was a bad spirit in her house. She said her daughter K complained about a feeling of pressure and weight on her shoulders and a sadness that she couldn't seem to control. E asked that we pass in her house as soon as possible to help them in some way.
We didn't really know what to think about her story... sometimes there are crazy people on the streets and generally these people don't have real interest in the gospel. But we both felt like this would be important and so we turned the other way and went to visit K that same hour.
The house was built on the river with a mini-bridge crossing to the entrance (which is quite common here). We clapped our hands at the entrance and K came to the front step. K is 27 and I don't think I have ever seen someone so stressed, worried, and exhausted. She let us in quickly but didn't speak much, and we entered cautiously in the house. The house was simple, with several rooms and a table in the middle. K was alone in the house. There was a feeling of sadness as we crossed the doorway.
We explained how we had met E on the road and that we came to do a spiritual work in her house. We asked her how she felt her family was doing at the moment.
K explained the same thing as E...that she felt a weight on her life and that she felt like there was a bad influence on the house, which we were feeling as well.
We told her we would like to leave a spiritual blessing with her, she accepted.
We first read with her in the Bible about the miracles that Christ did in the New Testament. We explained about the Authority of the Priesthood and that we had that same authority that Christ had. Then we gave two blessings and prayers.
The first was a blessing for K that she would feel peace and that any unhealthy influence would not be allowed in her presence. The second was a blessing on her home. We all knelt down and we gave a blessing on all the inhabitants of the home and on the house itself, and some other spiritual blessings. We invited her to church the following day and then we left.
She didn't come to church. We were busy and almost forgot about that experience. The next week on a we passed by her house and spoke with her for about 5 minutes. I've never seen such a difference in a person or in a place as what I saw that day.
The first difference, K greeted us smiling! From the anxious and worried expression that she had born I didn't think such a smile was possible. Her whole countenance had changed. Her expression and bodily movements were relaxed and confident. She invited us in and we sat down in a house that seemed so peaceful and calm compared to the last time we had visited.
K explained to us the drastic difference that had happened from that same day of the blessing until the other week. Every nervous or anxious feeling had left her mind, and that feeling of weight on her shoulders seemed to have dis-appeared. There were other personal miracles that happened as well. Her son was sick and she wasn't able to go church the past week, but she was dying to go the entire week.
We had an appointment but she gave 100% guarantee that she would be there so we left.
That we got there and she was already in the Relief Society class. One of the women of the ward helped her through the whole meeting and it seemed like she really enjoyed it. We had to leave a bit early so we weren't able to mark a day of the week with her.
, we had just barely finished that zone telephone conference to challenge the investigators to be baptized...and 5 minutes later K called us. She had gotten our number through our Ward Mission Leader who lives close to her and she called us to say she wanted to be baptized that same week.
We hadn't explained about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the Restoration, The Plan of Salvation, Temples, or anything else. But K already had a testimony. She knew the church was true. She accepted everything we explained in the lessons that week and she was baptized that .
The Church is true! The Priesthood Power is real! We NEED to live worthily to be able to use it!
I love you guys! Elder Gale