Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday, April 29, 2013

Hey Mom,
  My companion is very good and wants to work a lot. It's his last transfer and he still hasn't met his goal for baptisms on his mission, so we are going after that goal. We got closer this week, cuz we got a baptism!!!!!!! Her name is Maria Eduarda. She is the girlfriend to the bishop’s son in a ward that doesn't have missionaries. She is already going to church for 4 months now. I went and interviewed her and I said has anyone asked you about baptism? And she said no, but that she was thinking about it and she really wanted to. The rest was easy. The bishop’s son got really happy and he was the one who baptized her. Her parents went to watch the baptism and they said that they would go to church next Sunday to see how the church was. If they like it, we may be going back here in a few weeks to baptize them too!!

   This week in terms of the work wasn't too great in our area. We did a lot of divisions in the new area that opened up,. Leopoldina. They exploded, and had a baptism as well in their area. First week there!! So we were very happy.
   Wow that's really cool, I never thought about that about the iron rod and the river. Rachel talked to me about Lehi's dream as well, and I told her about something that I studied recently in the dream. Ask her about what I told her.

   The sisters did not start off with the same bang as the other area, but we are trying to help them get their stuff together and get working. We are confident though that they will do really well in May. They are good sisters.

   Not much to report this week. Just lots of divisions and no one in our area progressing. That family is regressing, the woman that received the testimony. It always seems to happen this way. Satan just seems to attack with even more force when they have a testimony so strong.

   Well, I love you Mom and Dad and hope that this next week goes well, and the babies start learning how to sleep at night. Send them my love ;) I love you all!! And can't wait to talk to you Mom in two weeks :)
Elder Baldwin

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad,
   So... transfers!! My companion was transferred and is now an assistant!! He is being trained to be assistant for the new mission. Pretty cool, cuz now two of my companions were assistants. I took over as the senior zone leader now, and my companion is an elder named elder Ramos. He has already been my district leader before, so I know him. He is pretty cool, and a great worker. Only problem is... this is his last transfer!! uh oh.

   Also, two areas in my zone were white washed and now have sisters!!  But a couple of other areas opened up and now the zone is bigger. This is good. Let’s see how I do these next few weeks with these new challenges. Alright. This week we spent the whole week with the assistants, a surprise visit to get the other house ready for the sisters and to open another house in the zone for Elders. So not too much work. We had a baptism firm in a different area that's closed but the bishop started doing a bunch of stuff to keep us from baptizing him. The guy has been going to church for a month and the bishop doesn’t think he is ready!! We interviewed him and he was perfect. He really wanted to be baptized too. Dumb bishops. He did an extra interview after we left and asked a bunch of stuff that confused him and he didn't know how to respond, and the bishop said "see? you aren't ready" freak!? Where did he get the authority to interview non members? His keys are for members, ours are for the non members! He scared they guy and he didn't even go to church. So now if he is not baptized his blood is on the bishop’s hands. As you can tell I wasn't too happy about this. But we have hopes to try and baptized him this next week. Let's see how it goes.

   Our family basically stopped progressing, the woman who had a strong spiritual impression. It's sad seeing someone regress after they have progressed so much. But we will continue working with them and seeing what their problems are.

   The zone baptized.... one. It's better than none though. And it was an area that hasn't baptized in awhile. The new elder there is a beast and is getting over 20 lessons a week. He has been doing really well. Well, not much more to report. I love you guys and hope that all is well with you. I'm super excited for the bathroom and can't wait to see it!! until next week.
Lots of Love,
Elder Baldwin

Monday, April 15, 2013

The three boys baptized in the little pool

Hey Mom and Dad!!
   I'm glad you got my letter I was getting worried it would never get there! Friggin third world mail system here.... lol just kidding. But I'm glad you got it.
   Alright I'll let you know about the family. So Sonia has not denied her experience or the book of Mormon or anything like that. But, her husband thinks she should wait. She suffers from some things like depression and stuff like that, and he wants to see if it is something she really wants. We are working now to change his mind. If anything, she needs the blessings of baptism to help deal with these problems in her life. They were supposed to come to church yesterday so that everyone could be baptized together as a family this next Sunday, but they didn't come. They told us in advance, they had to travel because they have problems with their son who lives in a different city, and he just had a baby. I'm sure you guys understand that feeling. But we are working with the family. They should be getting baptized this week or next. Pray for the husband that he will feel like this is the right thing to do. He is having trouble giving up his Roman Catholic Obligations (like Our Father prayer and stuff like that).
   Haha, that sounds like a really funny show dad. It would be tough. What you were saying reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw here, that goes something like this. "When you came into this world you were naked, bald, ugly, short, and had no teeth. Anything that comes is a blessing!"
It uses a word in portuguese that is hard to translate into english and get the same meaning, but I think you guys understand.
   So this week we did a lot of divisions to help some missionaries in their areas. I went to one of our district leaders and helped him decide if he needed to cut some investigators. We cut almost all. They just stay with the same people who don't change and don't want to, and who just like the company of the Elders. Now though they have some good progressing investigators. Also, an area in our zone married and baptized a family!! It was the family that forever ago we were working on getting them married, but we got problems with the stake president. Remember? Anyways they went through the normal process, got married and baptized last Saturday! It was really cool. Apparently for the past three months they only missed like one Sunday, so they are pretty firm.

   Give Tanner a hug from me when you see him. And tell him to write me when he has free time!! Alright I love you Mom and Dad and can't wait to talk with you on the phone mom!!! 
Elder Baldwin

P.S. there is an elder in our zone going home next week that is making everyone trunky lol, including me a bit ;) I miss you all!!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

   I was so happy when they announced the temple for Rio de Janerio!!!! In Rio, the members shouted for so long that people could not hear anything more that the prophet said. They started hearing again when the choir started singing lol. Our mission president stood up and yelled as if his soccer team made a goal. It was awesome. Me and Elder Pimentel here in Juiz de Fora did not get the same reaction. It's about 3 hours away from Rio still. But everyone is happy because there will be a temple much closer to them now. Absolutely we are coming to watch it get dedicated! Depending on when that is and when I get married, I may want to seal in this temple as well lol. But I’m not decided yet. Probly not cuz my wife wont understand what they are saying. But yeah, I’m so happy right now. I have even seen come to pass a promise from my patriarchal blessing. In the paragraph about my mission it says, "you will even participate in miraculous works." I always hoped that meant the announcing of the temple.

   Alright, Muriaé has a few people but not enough for a branch. There are worthy members there but we are the closest missionaries. And they cannot be baptized until a missionary interviews them, so we had to go anyways. The way the keys of baptism of converts works is that members don't hold them, our mission president does and he only authorizes his missionaries to give baptismal interviews. I hope that clears it up a bit why we had to go. But yeah it was fun and I did write in my journal about this. oh, and another spiritual experience we had...

   So I don't remember if I told you we are teaching a family named Altair, Sonia, and Tiago their son. Sonia is firm in a different evangelical church, while her husband is not too interested in religion. They are referrals from Sonia’s sister, who is a member in the ward and has been for ten years. Last week we were teaching them and inviting to baptism when Sonia said she would not be baptized because she likes her church and doesn’t want to leave. We became sad but we decided to keep working with them maybe to baptize the husband and son. This week we went there and started teaching about authority to baptize and the restoration using 3 Nephi 11. While I was talking all of a sudden Sonia got dizzy and her husband ran to take her to her bedroom. She suffers from some health problems so we thought it was just that. Next thing we knew she asked us to go into her room with everyone. When we went she was crying and said she could read the page. She has horrible eye site and even with glasses can't read too good. While we were teaching she said she grabbed the book of Mormon and opened it to the testimony of Joseph smith. She said all of a sudden she could read and reads his experience. She said she felt the spirit so strong, and then all of a sudden while she was telling us this lying on her bed she passed out. Straight up passed out like King Limhi!!! When she woke up she told us everything again, she had not forgotten, and said she knew that Jesus was in every single page of the book of Mormon, and that it was true. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted for the 14th. We are now working with the rest of her family. We will go tonight and teach the commandments. I am so happy, we are so close to baptizing a full family! The ward will love it.

   Yes I get along really well with my companion. I am experimenting serving him. Making his bed, ironing his shirt, making breakfast, and it is working really well. We have an awesome companionship, and we are having lots of success. I don't have too much more time so I’ll go now, but I love you and thank you both for teaching me to be who I am today. It is through your examples and diligence in keeping the commandments that makes me who I am. I love you both.
Love your son,
Elder Baldwin

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad,
   This week was good... cuz we got baptisms! This week we went on a trip to literally the very last city in the whole mission. I'm pretty sure the route our bus took, took us out of the mission boundaries a few times. Way out there. It's a little town called Muriaé. We got a call from them saying there were a few people out there going to a group that was having meeting out there, and who wanted to be baptized. So we did something I never thought I would do on the mission... I bought a swimming pool!! Haha, just a kiddy sized one that we took there to baptize the people there. There were three young men who were going who we baptized. It was really funny because they had to be baptized sitting down and had to completely lay down in the water for it to cover them. I baptized all three and had to do it on my knees. Man that hurt getting up. There wasn't enough water in the pool and it wasn't covering them all the way so all of them went at least twice. One had to be baptized three times cuz his foot kept popping up. But it was fun. The bus ride was 4 hours to get there and 4 hours back. Horrible. But a good opportunity to catch up on some lost sleep.

   The zone also did really well. Almost every single area in the zone baptized bringing this month’s results up to 10! Just one short of the goal. We were so sad about this. But we are really happy cuz it has been years I think since this zone has baptized so many people. That was always a goal of mine, take a zone that was considered a hole and make it a successful zone. So Elder Pimentel and I are happy. Today we are off to Rio to have the Mission Council and talk about our results. I am interested to see how the rest of the mission went.

   Yesterday we had Easter Dinner at our Relief Society president’s house. She had invited so many people that she was really afraid it wouldn't be enough food, but we said a prayer that the food would multiply just like the bread in the bible ;) just kidding lol. But everyone ate until they were stuffed and there was still food to spare!! So it was a good Easter. We ate chicken and a lot of stuff that I don't know how to explain. There were rice and beans though, and fish. Then, for dessert she made this huge three type chocolate cake thingie. It was really good. She said there was even a piece of her hand in it, then she showed us where the grater got her when she was grating a 1 kilo chocolate bar. It was funny. My companion gave a talk yesterday and included an experience from Orson F. Whitney about a dream he had. Have you read this dad? It's really interesting. It's in a talk that Jefferey R. Holland gave. I think you would like it.

     Alright Well I hope you guys have a good conference we are eagerly awaiting the Rio de Janeiro temple to be announced lol. Yes mom we will go to the stake building to watch. I'm excited it's been too long, and this is my last one on the mish! Sad thought. Alright, I love you guys! Until next week!
Elder Baldwin

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad!
   Well that family we were talking about we cut. They stopped progressing, the dad refused to live the Word of Wisdom, they prohibited their daughter from being baptized, and said they wanted to go to a different church. We left some strong words with them (words of love and truth. Unfortunately these are pretty strong) and cut them. They simply won’t do what we ask them.

   But! We found another excellent family!! They are legally married and the mom already came to church this last Sunday. We marked a date for next week for the family but not everyone went to church and they will be traveling, so we have to move it forward. But it is a golden family, the sister of a member in the ward and her husband and son. We have faith they will be baptized.

We went to an area that doesn't have missionaries (our responsibility  and suddenly a guy stopped us on the street, said he and his wife were baptized but inactive, but he wanted to come back. We went and visited them and found out the mom wants to come back, and they have 3 kids not yet baptized!!! We have a family night with them tonight.

   Well Dad it's good to know you got to see the babies. You are no longer a fake grandparent! lol.
   The singing went great it was a great ward conference. Lots of people brought friends and stuff, it was excellent. No I’m not the choir director or anything like that but the bishop had wanted to sing a solo and asked for help, but i don't think he will anymore. He got too shy lol. He thinks he sings bad.

   This week the companionship had a problem again. I think it's just cuz they have very different personalities, and none of them are trying to love the other one. Unfortunately one left the other alone on the street last night, and now it looks like tomorrow he will be transferred. It's sad but expected. You simply can't leave your companion. Ever.

   Transfers are not until the 22nd of April, so I still got a lot of time in this ward. I don't think I will be transferred cuz my comp is already here like 5 months now. So he will go first probably. Unfortunately while Cali is in a drought of water we are in a drought of baptisms. Everyone thinks they can mark "for next week." The thing is this happens every single week, remarking. It's sad but we are doing all we can to be an example for the zone and help lift and inspire.

   Haha that's true Dad, I had forgotten about your trust and love doctrine. It's cool because it's true. I will try and integrate that into our teaching and teach to be trusted. Sometimes it's tough to be on time though when we don't have any money for buses and no car lol. We have to run. But it's all good.

   Well Dad, the bathroom sounds like it is getting to be real nice looking. I'm excited to see it when I get back. If I were there I could help you with all the stuff that young guys should do ;P haha just kidding. But I would help you seriously on that part.   Alright Well I love you both. Oh, I wanted to talk about my package. Please send a package earlier than my birthday. Who knows when I will get it? Preferably with candy from Easter :) That would be great. I love you and hope you have another great week!
Elder Baldwin

Monday, March 18, 2013

 Hey Mom and Dad!
   Yes I heard that we can now write friends and stuff. That will be a huge help in communication. I have already written David and Paul and they responded to me lol. Thanks for letting me know.

   Wow I didn’t even realize it was St. Patrick’s day. They don’t have that here. I haven't gotten a ticket home yet. That's good cuz I don't want to get too trunky lol. I don't know when I’ll get mine but I’m thinking not until way later. I know they buy them way in advance but I don't think my mission president gives them to us so we can concentrate better. I thank him for that.

   Alright this week started off looking good and in the end turned into a nightmare. We had a girl all set up for baptism, the daughter of this family we are trying to marry, but she invited her grandparents to the baptism and they (are from an evangelical church) went crazy saying she can't be baptized she is only 10 and their church says they can't baptize until 15 and blah blah  blah and the parents started doubting and in the end completely hid from us. We will visit them this week to see if there is any hope but we don't want to waste time with them. They are not progressing very well either, and not living the word of wisdom.

   This week we also visited a city close by here in the region. They have a ward that we are responsible for. The only problem is there are people there that want to be baptized but the bishopric is telling them they can't be. It's annoying when members interfere with something that they don't have keys in.... but yeah. Those are my troubles.

   This week we had some Elders in the Zone almost fight each other. They got into an argument and ended with threats and stuff. I was able to talk to the senior comp and calmed him down. It turned ugly. His comp called president and president called us and told us if they fight they will probably be sent home and a bunch of stuff. But we talked with them and their district leader and all is good now.

   We aren't the top baptizing zone yet dad, but we are getting there. This week we suffered a set back but we are hoping and praying for better results next week.

   Good luck with the singing dad! We have ward conference this week in Nova Era and I am singing with the choir. I am also helping the Bishop train and sing for a special music piece he wants to do on Easter. Cool stuff. My developing the singing ability has helped me out a lot on the mission so far. Never thought I would do this when I was ten years old and tone deaf huh? lol. I love you guys and hope you have another good week. I will try and give the baptismal challenge on the street this week. I'll let you know how it is :)
With Love,
Elder Baldwin

A picture from Elder Baldwin right before Christmas 2012. That is equal to 113 degrees Fahrenheit! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad!
   I'll try and get to all of your question lol. This week you had a lot. Alright, so just to let you know this week was transfers and there were no changes made in my area. In fact, there were hardly any changes made in the zone. Just one missionary was transferred. This is good because we finally got into a rhythm with results! This week every single area baptized except for one. That means we baptized as well! We have to be the example for the Zone lol. Her name is Aparecida de Lourdes. She waited over a year to be baptized. The service was really beautiful, with her cousin’s husband baptizing her. After the baptism she started crying and said "why did I wait so long to be baptized?" She felt the Spirit really strong testify to her that what she did was right. I am very happy that I was able to help her overcome what has kept her from being baptized for this past year and help her realize this desire so strong that she had.

   We also had a family in church! A couple weeks ago just the husband went to church and this Sunday the rest of the family went. They absolutely loved the church, each one saying they wanted to start frequenting this church. The daughter, who is ten years old, asked us how old you have to be to be baptized. When we told her she became very happy and said she wanted to be baptized next week!  So we are working with the family and planning her baptism for next week. The parents want to as well, but we need to marry them first. We found a small city here close that marries people in less than 30 days, much better than the 90 days here in Juiz de Fora. We are going to try and get their process started this week to baptize them this transfer still. Their names are André and Regina, and their daughters name is Maisa. So yes, lots of good stuff this week. We also found another family that is legally married already and this week we will start working with them to progress. They are an older couple but that are really receptive and nice. They are non-practicing Catholics, like almost everyone else in this country. I'll keep you updated on them. Their names are Jose and Angela.

   Yes there are spiritual ups and downs here on the mission, and I have experienced a lot. Right now we are on a spiritual high for sure. This zone, before I came, was one of the worst in the mission. Last month, in February, it was the third most baptizing zone. Our goal this month is to beat even that. We are going to be real busy these next couple of weeks. It will be tough, but really worth it. This last week the zone baptized four people, with six more projected for next week. We are hoping that at least four make it through. It would incredible if it works out like that. Like I said, lots of work to do. But yes, spiritual upswings. I don't know if I shared this with you already, but this last woman who baptized, Lourdes, has been going to church for a year without being baptized. The first time we went and taught her, we knew there was something keeping her from being baptized, but we didn't know what. In the lesson, I listened attentively to what she said, and suddenly the Spirit told me a question to ask her. I thought to myself, no this question is obvious and has nothing to do with anything right now. It was about a commandment and if she was living it. The Spirit said again, ask the question. I decided not to test the Spirit and asked the question. Turns out, it was exactly what was keeping her from being baptized. She told us her doubts about the commandment and we were able to explain it to her. After we committed her to live the commandment, she agreed to be baptized. I was so grateful at that moment for having listened to the Spirit. My companion said the same question went through his head as well, but he had ignored it, cuz it was something that we thought was obvious she was living.

   Lately, as I said before, the president has been focusing a lot in the doctrine of Christ. He had a training meeting for all the presidents of missions, and this is actually what the prophets are telling the mission presidents to focus on teaching now in all the lessons, so we are already ahead of the game. I have been studying a lot about how to teach this in the lessons, and I have noticed a huge difference in the comprehension of the investigators as they hear the new style of message. I would love to teach it to you dad, or show you how I teach. It's really clear and follows Preach My Gospel to the "t". I really feel blessed to have had President Lima as my mission president, because he really understands Preach My Gospel and how to teach it. In terms of which area I like the best, I really like this area cuz it's got so many families and so much potential. I feel like we will have lots of success here.

  The other day I was walking on the street and the city I’m in is a really big university city like Provo, so there are lots of 19-25 year old girls. It makes being a missionary suck lol. But I was walking on the street and totally did a dad trip (you know, trip on nothing on the street lol) in front of a huge group of girls! I turned bright red lol.

 haha, no mom I did not burn a tie. Technically, I should burn some pants now, but I didn't. Honestly I passed my 18 month mark working and not even thinking about it. Alright my time is up but I love you guys and I will talk to you later! Sorry I'm ending so suddenly.
Elder Baldwin

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad!
   This week was a really good week for us. We reactivated two families in the ward and had a ward frequency of 108. That's the highest it's been since my companion got here 4 months ago. So we are really happy for that. We did not baptize again this week but we had a woman come to church who is firm to be baptized next week. She was actually going to a different ward for more than a year but did not get baptized cuz she wasn't married. We visited her cuz she moved to our area, and we were able to clear up some serious doubts and points of doctrine that she didn't know. We challenged her to live the commandments and be baptized on the 10th and she accepted! She was so excited that yesterday in church she was telling everyone already that she would be baptized this next Sunday. It was really cool.

   Tomorrow, we have the mission council for zone leaders so we are going to Rio to unite everyone and get trained by President. He has been teaching new ways to teach the Restoration, focusing a lot on the doctrine of Christ. It's really cool, I want to show you how we teach it when I come home. It's so clear. Its necessary here because everyone in Brazil believes that whatever church you go to will save you. We teach them about the gospel or doctrine of Christ and show how the prophets have always taught this gospel, and how this doctrine was changed by the false prophets. Its super clear and I have seen a huge difference in the way our investigators react when we teach it. Then it's just a simple matter to teach that Joseph Smith restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's interesting, because I always taught that he restored the True church of Christ, but if you look at the title of the lesson it says the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So I have begun studying a lot about Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End. It has been a really neat experience studying this and I have learned so much about these topics and also about how the Lord works with us, and what we have to do to be saved, and see exactly what it was that Joseph Restored. If you look at the doctrine of these other churches, they have distorted all the topics of these 5 simple doctrines. Anyways, my Bishop asked me to give a talk this next Sunday. I am the last to give a talk, so at least 15 minutes. I'm nervous. It's a topic about Testimony of Jesus Christ or something like that. I'm sure I'll do good, but it is still nerve racking.

   So we got an update from our mission president that for the time being we will not be using this new marriage thing to marry them quickly. I think the presidency of Brazil will research it more and see what the church decides about it. So for now the whole mission can't do it.

   Yeah Dad so the division last week, I stayed three days at their house while a new missionary stayed with my companion. I was able to work with each Elder in that District and help them better their teaching and stuff. But I think I will do it again because we mainly just focused on marrying that family and didn't have time to teach other people. Thankfully no one in the zone is breaking rules in a blatant or bad way. Just the normal late to studies or something that everyone does. I found some Elders would play card games at night, but I asked them to do it only on P-Day. When I correct I just try to be really loving and not like Iron-Fisted. So far it's worked. They all seem to like me and respect me. The only real problem we have is with a couple of elders that prefer to remark baptismal dates rather than try and help the investigator see the need to be baptized. Ugh. It's like they don't like to baptize. But we will talk with them and help them understand the doctrine of Christ, that in doing this they are showing that they do not love the investigator because they are taking away blessings that would otherwise have been theirs, and taking away their chance for salvation by not being baptized. But yeah so we will try and motivate them to teach better and desire baptisms. But in general the zone is really excited and a few missionaries have lots of faith. Oh! And there is even a missionary here from the Irvine Stake. Isn't that Bekka's stake? He is really cool, we quickly became friends.

   Anyways, that's cool about the new fruit tree. I hope it gives fruit by the time I get home. Oh, and you found my house. That apartment building with the pizzeria beneath? I live on the third floor of that building. That dvd shop? Yeah, it sucks passing by everyday seeing all the new movies. What's worse is that they play the movies inside the store, and the other day they were playing the new batman movie lol. That was hard to walk away from. I've also had to walk away from the Avengers movie playing in a store. So much suffering!!! So anyways our church is on the street directly in front of that apartment building.

   My companion is actually newer than me on the mission. It's weird cuz he is newer and has fewer baptisms, but he is a really great Elder and has lots of Focus. We have a great relationship. And he never treats me like a junior. He just passed one year on the mission last week. We still haven't done anything because we were on a division and I wasn't with him, but we will. Alright I love you guys and hope you have another good week.
Elder Baldwin

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hey Mom and Dad!
   It's so good to hear that Bekka is doing good, and the boys are doing good as well. Bekka sent me the email with their pictures and names. I thought their names were cool. Are they gonna call them both by their middle names? I guess they liked that about Tanner. lol. Anyways, this week was much better than the last. Not in terms of lessons or news or anything like that, but we baptized!! I think I told you last week of a family that came to church, a family to complete where the wife was not member. She was baptized yesterday!! It was so cool. Her name is Thamires, and her Husband is Fagner. They are probably around 20-22 years old. It's cool because they are all super excited about the temple and going there to be sealed. They are really well integrated with people in the church as well. After years I think of trying to get her to be baptized, me and Elder Pimentel finally baptized her. Also, the zone had two other baptisms, with one other area completing another family. It was a successful week. But this week I spent almost all my time in other areas helping interview and firm up their baptisms.
    Specifically there was an area that had a family that wanted to be baptized, but weren't married. These last few weeks me and Elder Pimentel did some research about how to marry a family faster than normal Brazil time. We found out how to do it. We showed this kind of marriage to President Lima and he was all for it. He said we were good to go and the family would be able to get married and baptized this week. We were so happy. If it worked for this family it would open the gates for lots of other families in the zone to get married and baptized, including one in our area. The only problem is the Stake President here likes to think that he has to give permission for things like this to happen. It's annoying because he has absolutely no keys in this respect, its president Lima who holds the keys for baptism. But he did not agree with this kind of marriage and prohibited all bishops in the stake from performing this marriage. This sucks because the Bishop is the one who needs to do the marriage. So now he sent an email to the seventy president of Brazil asking if President Lima is allowed to do this. That pissed me off, going over President Lima's head like that. Our Mission President called him and explained everything to him and that he had approved it, and he still prohibited the bishops from doing this and sent an email to the area president!! Talk about not supporting your leaders. Anyways, I'm fine now. Sorry about the rant. So I'm happy cuz we got 6 baptisms in the zone this month, but we could have had 9. Next month though, we will get lots more.
   We have a meeting this week, just our zone with President Lima. I think it's about the new mission. Did you guys hear? The zone I'm in is being turned into a new mission. The Rio mission is dividing cuz it's doing so good. So no longer will be zone Juiz De Fora, but it is being turned into Mission Juiz de Fora! We are happy. I still don't know if I will stay here in this mission or if I will stay in the Rio mission. I won't know for a few months. But it's so close to the end that it doesn't even matter to me too much. Not sure what more to tell you guys. Everything is going good here. The weather isn't too bad. I'm just praying lots for you guys back home, and especially for Bekka and the boys. I love you guys.  I'm praying for you.
Elder Baldwin

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hey Dad,
   That’s good to hear that Bekka has been doing better. I’ve been worried about her all week. But I was able to focus and work this week as well.
   We didn't baptize this week, a fact that I didn't like. No one in the zone has baptized for two weeks now. But we worked hard and every single area had people in church. Now this week I planned to do divisions in every area of the zone to firm up these baptisms. It's gonna be a hectic week coming up. In our area we had a family where not everyone was members come to church. A young man who married outside of the church. But she is really interested and appears like she wants to be baptized. Tonight we will have a Family Night with them and we will make American Pancakes lol. And we will invite her to baptism for the 24th. We are pretty sure she will accept :) But pray for us anyways. Our other family, andré and regina, didn't come to church because their son had an episode. We are pretty sure it's mental now and not spiritual, because we gave him a blessing, and while he got better a bit he still had this episode. So they might intern him in a hospital to run some tests and see if it is this. That's about it. I'm really short on time, sorry I spent it all writing everyone else. But I love you and thank you for all your prayers :) And I pray for you guys every day.
Elder Baldwin