Thanks for your letter. I'm glad things back home are going well. That's funny you said you had a long week, the week here was kind of long as well, that's just because it was a crazy, and difficult, but really good week. I'll tell you about it in a minute. I'm happy to hear your talks went well. Congratulations! I was thinking about you guys yesterday since it was Sunday and I knew you would be speaking
I can't believe next week is general conference again, for you guys at least. For members here, the conference will probably get here 2-3 weeks after. It's going to be Easter too! I saw the new video that the church released, "Because He Lives". I liked it a lot. We'll download it in Portuguese and show it to the members here. That's crazy that you had not much of a winter there. Here I thought it was supposed to start cooling down a bit, or at least not be as hot as it was in December and January, but it continues super-hot. And I imagine we'll have a pretty hot summer in Utah in just a couple months as well. It'll be a while before I get to experience cold weather again haha.
Now about our week...We had delayed the wedding and baptism of the couple that had been working for weeks to get ready, as you know, so it was marked for this Saturday. We spent most of the week focusing on them and on the other 5 people to be baptized this week. It was all going pretty normally until Tuesday. That night we found out that one of them, who had previously had problems with drinking, had fallen into temptation and got drunk that night. There were other details about what happened, but I don't think it's necessary to share here. We were shocked, to say the least. So close to the baptism too, we were caught off guard. The next day a member couple who are close friends, went to visit them and talk about what happened and how they could help. Later that afternoon we went over there to talk to them. The man said he felt bad about what had happened and wanted to repent and be forgiven by the Lord, and by his wife. We were worried that given the circumstances they wouldn't be in a good situation to get married and be baptized. After much prayer with them and for them and feeling inspired, we decided that he wouldn't be able to be baptized on Saturday, but if they wanted they could still get married. This was on Wednesday and it wasn't looking like things would work out for the wedding, so we called the members to tell them the wedding would be postponed. Then the next day on Thursday we visited again and talked some more and they understood that they couldn't get baptized on Saturday but they still wanted to go through with the wedding. So we had to call up all the members again and talk with the ones that were helping to organize it and tell them the wedding was back on. So we spent a lot of the day on Friday helping the members organize the wedding and baptism and little party that would happen afterwards.
We also had to visit the ones that would be getting baptized and have them interviewed and approved. It was a crazy day. Saturday we spent the whole day at the church. The wedding was at 15:00 and the baptism at 16h, the festinha (little party) was right after.
A bunch of members came over to help clean up the chapel and decorate it for the wedding. A bunch of women came over to start cooking the food.
At the same time we had to fill up the baptismal font, but there was no water coming out of the faucets. It's something that happens a lot, but it happened at the worst possible time. So we gathered together a few members to help us and we filled up the font with buckets of water from a well next door. It took a while.
The wedding went really well. There were probably about 50-60 people there and the baptism afterwards was really good as well. We baptized a total of five people. The next day I did the confirmations of two of them, Luisa and Venepa. The party afterwards was good. There was a ton of food and a big mess left behind afterwards. It all ended at 20:00 (8pm) and the next hour was spent cleaning up. Others came over early the next morning before church to finish cleaning the kitchen and sacrament meeting room.
Church was good, the attendance was over 70 and we had 12 investigators come. We received a lot of referrals this week from some people who were invited to the wedding and baptism. As far as the month of April is concerned, we're hoping to marry and baptize 1 or 2 more families. Considering the setbacks and challenges that we experienced, everything turned out really well this week. We were super tired on Saturday night and all day yesterday.
Baptizing families is not easy. But I'm enjoying the work. I feel tired as I go to bed and get up every single day, but considering this will be for 5 more weeks it should not be a problem.
Things in the branch are going well too. We've been working a lot with the home teaching program. This program has not been working here, but now all the companionships are organized and we're hoping that the branch can have their visits done during April. I keep learning a lot every week about the organization of the church and the importance of all the church programs. These are things I took for granted before the mission. In Utah, there aren't many problems getting all the organizations positions filled and for the most part, everything runs smoothly the way it should. Here it's not like that at all. The branch is still relatively new (since 2011) still small but growing and everyone is learning how things need to be organized and run. It's a great learning opportunity.
I'm glad you're all well and things are going well. I hope it continues that way during this next week. I wish you have a good Easter!
I love you!!