Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

   We unfortunately did not have a baptism this Sunday. Everything was all set for the baptism, and we had the interview Saturday night.... and she didn't pass due to some difficulties that we weren't aware of. However, we are teaching her more in relation to these difficulties and we hope to baptize her on the 11th, but the mission president will decide on that. We also have other investigators who we are trying to baptize this Sunday but I don't wanna give a 100% affirmative that we will have one. Just continue praying for the success of missionaries and I'll receive a little of the blessing of that Prayer :)
   Transfers are already next week! I can't believe it, this transfer flew by. I'm hoping to stay for another transfer with Elder Baltazar so he can teach me more in relation to missionary work and as well with the group we are starting in our area it will help so much with reactivation and baptizing. I don't know if I explained already or if you know what a group is, but when you have a lot of people baptized and not in the area of the chapel you can start a group in a member’s house in the area. It's a little different from a branch, because a branch has a separate presidency and do not count with the ward. In the case with a group, the attendance with the group will be counted towards the ward attendance. If we can have a ward attendance of more than 100 people (because right now it is hovering around 70) for more than 6 months we can build our own chapel in our own area of the work, and it will be a huge blessing to the people in Galeão. So for the group you need at least 5 people there, and some of the leadership of the ward like a member of the bishopric and those kinds of things. It will start out just being a sacrament meeting, but if it is successful we will add on other meetings as well. Also, if the group gets big enough, it can become a branch and we can have 3 wards here in Ilha do Governador. Eventually, we want a Stake of Ilha do Governador :). So the work continues and your prayers are working, thank you so much for everything!
      I am able to express myself freely in the language at this point, and understand everyone. But I still have some troubles with certain words and certain phraseology of how you translate from English to Portuguese, but it's coming :) All of the Brazilians I work with tell me my Portuguese is very good for an American, and one Elder I live with says that he thinks I will be speaking without even a hint of an accent by my one year mark. Even the mission Presidents daughter complimented me on it!
   But in terms of my favorite lesson to teach, I would have to say... I can't decide lol. Honestly all of them are essential to tie in all concepts and help the investigator really understand the importance of everything we teach. But if I had to choose it would be the commandments, lesson four in Preach My Gospel. Many people have issues with the commandments and following them at first. I love teaching them in a way that they answer their doubts for themselves. I love asking, "Why do you think God has given us this commandment?" Because it really makes them have to think, why in the world would God say something like this? And it helps them realize the importance of keeping the commandment. Usually, when people realize the importance of something like reading the scriptures or praying daily, that is when they truly repent and try to do everything right. But honestly, every single lesson is essential in helping people come unto Christ, and I love teaching every single one, because in every single one you can help people realize the importance of our doctrine, and the importance of our message for the world.
   Ah geez.... honestly I can't believe it's already a quarter done. I feel like I haven't done anything! The other day I had the experience Nic told me I would have... The feeling like the mission is passing too fast. Yep, it happened. I realized that I was reading the Book of Mormon incredibly slowly, and not even studying Preach My gospel every day. So I re-committed myself to reading only the Book of Mormon for this first year (cuz Dad gave me that challenge) and to studying PMG every day. Because I realized with PMG, it's a manual for missionaries mostly. Many things written in it have a lot of value for members and leaders in whatever calling in the church, but I only have 2 years where 100% of everything in that book was written for me. Never again will I have the opportunity to really study and apply all of the principles that book teaches. So I set a goal for myself, that by the end of the mission I would not only have read PMG many times, but study every scripture it has in there in the study section, and also do all of the personal and companion activities it has within. I want to get out of that book everything I can while here on the mission.
   Thank you so much everyone for the emails. Know that it is Summer here and very hot, though Sunday morning the dry spell was finally broken and it rained a bit! All the Brasilians said the weather is really weird right now. Normally in March it doesn't stop raining, but Sunday morning was the first rain in like 3 weeks! Also, after yesterday the clouds disappeared again, so I don't know when the next rain will be. Ah well.
   My next transfer day is next week (Already!!!) but we don't get packages those days, we get them in interviews with the president and training for leaders. I don't know when the next one will be yet. But thankyou for everything and all your prayers.
Love you guys lots!
Elder Baldwin

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