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Monday, September 1, 2014

Baptism, Restoration, and love!

(Pamela) Ok, So a word of explanation here: A few months back I became facebook friends with a missionary that served in Lauren's mission when he returned home in March. His name is Luca Albernaz Reggiani. Luca had a desire to come to America and study at BYU-I so I have been working with him to make it happen. Saturday we picked him up at the airport and brought him home with us to start his new adventure. Lets add one more element however. While he was serving in Piracicaba, he met a Sister missionary by the name of Hailee Richards. She is from Washington State and through skyping and texting, they have grown to know each other and look forward to perhaps spending it together. So this morning at my house in Alpine, Utah, the two of them reunited as friends instead of missionaries. As the two of them stood on my front porch for their first ever hug and kiss, Lauren was writing me from Brazil and this is what she had to say. 

Oh Mom!
I am so happy that you are so happy. Yay!!! And I think it is so cool that Luca is visiting with you guys. Who the heck would have thought? I always knew he was a good kid because he helped me out a ton the first day here in Brasil. I was like, "What the heck is going on?" And he told me. Also he bought me a snack at the Bus stop and helped carry mine and Sister N.Lopes´suitcases to our house in Piracicaba 8. Also, he was a great missionary. So, YAY!!!!!
I am glad that everyone is doing well and I love you so so so much! have a great week!
Sister Whitney

I feel like this week was one of the best weeks of my mission. I have have learned to trust in the Lord so much more and I have had my testimony strengthen like never before. It was an amazing week.
It started on Tuesday. We had a zone meeting and Presidente randomly showed up to evaluate our meetings. Luckily for us, our zone is pretty great and obedient. But Presidente still said somethings to keep us on the straight and narrow. He talked a lot about the rules of the mission and how we need to obey them with exactness. He also talked about how we need to keep working even when things get tough. Even when we are rejected or tired or whatever, we need to keep working. He talked about how Jesus Christ was rejected, how He was tired, and how He had to complete a huge task. But, He never gave in and He always kept working. I don´t know why but this really stuck with me. I think this week I finally understood what it means to be a missionary and to use the Lord´s time wisely.
Then, on Thursday, we had our Leadership Meeting. I was all excited to go and see everybody, especially Sister Sargent, but she wasn´t there. Her companion was going home and they decided it was better for Sister Sargent to stay in Poços. I seriously wanted to cry, but I got through it. Then, to top it off, Sister Cirino and I were chosen to teach the Restauração to Presidente and Sister Canuto in front of all the other leaders. I wanted to die I was so nervous, but I decided to be a big girl and be brave, hahaha. The beginning of our lesson was good, but Presidente was pretending to be someone that didn´t really care, so he wasn´t paying close attention. Right before the First Vision, I got kind of annoyed that he wasn´t paying attention, so I told them to listen up and pay close attention to the Prophet Joseph Smith´s words. I promised them that if they listened close they would feel the Spirit testify of the truth. I don´t know what happened, but in that moment it was like someone opened the windows and a huge gust of the Spirit blew in and filled the room. I have never felt the Siprit that strongly in my entire life. I choked back my emotions and recited the First Vision. With every word my testimony of the Restauração and the Prophet Joseph Smith was strengthened. After I finished, I felt prompted to pause a little bit and let the Spirit work. The room was dead silent and I knew that everyone in that room was feeling the Spirit. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this simple little practice. Because of this, my testimony was strengthened and now I can say, with conviction, that I know the Church of Jesus Christ was restored upon the earth through a living prophet. Wow. God is SO great!!!
Also this week we had.... A BAPTISM!!!!! WOO WHOO!!! A young man named Matheus decided to take that first step and be baptized. It was so awesome and special. He was a little nervous at first in respect to baptism, but he understood the importance of it and decided to be baptised. He is such a great kid and I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of his conversion process. I know that the Lord really does prepare those people looking for the gospel to be taught. Matheus was a miracle and I am so so so happy for him. YAY!!! 
I love you all and I hope that you have a great week!!! The Church is True and God really does Love YOU!!
Sister Whitney