Monday, March 28, 2016

The Power of Easter!

By the way, HAPPY EASTER!!!!!!!! I totally forgot to say that last week...Time just flies!! Last year at this time I was in my first area...weird!!! We still don’t know about transfers. We find out tomorrow!! I’m pretty sure we will stay for another transfer together :) But this week was incredible!!!
The Lord answers prayers!! Last P-day, we had dinner with Odilia and I wrote in my journal that night that I prayed she’d tell us she wanted to be baptized and that’s just what happened, but more on that story later! 
So we went on a Fatima search...again. So on Tuesday we went to find her because she had a baptismal date for Sunday. We went to her house and she was there. We knocked and she opened spoke mad-fast Portuguese in her really angry voice and slammed the door in our face. We waited there and left the book of Mormon in her mailbox. We talked to her through the door and finally just left. We got down the road 5 minutes when we heard `Meninas! ` She was walking fast behind us. Her face had a gruesome look on. All I could think was `Father, please soften her heart so she can see that we are here to help her. ` She got there and just apologized for everything. She started crying. Answer to prayers. Her heart was softened and now she’s progressing!! It was an incredible blessing that we saw her change so fast. She’s going through a really hard time and really needs the church. She loves the church a ton!! 
Wednesday we taught our recent convert Graciete and her mom Odilia for the first time after baptism and it went great! They are the most incredible women. They are super excited to see you guys! We’ll be skyping at there houses for Mother’s day! They just want to talk to you all!
We’ve been teaching this lady named Augusta and we got to her house and taught the 2nd lesson with a focus on getting married. She already knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the church is true. Now it’s getting her married. At the end of the lesson she said the prayer and just cried. The spirit was super strong and she came to church. She’s progressing really well. Please pray for her. She doesn’t know if she should marry the guy she’s with or leave him. She doesn’t really like his daughter and has lost the love she once felt for him. It’s a complicated story, please pray for her.
We also taught a young man Raphael and his friend Celso who is a less active and it was awesome! We started out with only one member there but as the time got closer to choir practice, we had 6-7 members in the lesson. He is marked for baptism and he was super excited after the lesson we had. He was integrating with the members and was super excited about baptism! 
This area is so elect. The ward is incredible and so willing to help with whatever the situation. We had correlation on Thursday and we talked about all of the investigators and all they wanted to talk about was who could teach with us and what they needed. It was stellar! I love this area and ward!! I hope to stay!!
On Friday we had our planning session but what really stood out was our lesson about faith at Odilia´s house. We talked about Alma 32 about faith not being a perfect knowledge and at first I didn’t think she understood but apparently she did! I’ll get to her story soon! Also Paulo Feitas from the Madeira called and said he would be in Gaia on Sunday!!! I was SOOO happy!!!
Saturday we went to Odilia´s and Graciete shared a little more of her testimony with us. She told us how much she feels different than before and how much happier she feels. She now feels like her life has a purpose and how she loves learning more and more. She called us her Irmãs and not just the Sisters. I just started crying. That’s why I’m here, to help these people feel the Love of Christ and change. It was such a tender moment. The elder’s here had a baptism of Fatima and guess what song was requested You Raise Me Up. She was at the baptism of Graciete and requested that song to be sung at her baptism. Fatima is actually the fiancée of one of our members. Her story is crazy strange. She’s living in Irmão José Neves house (fiancée) while he is living in her house with her ex-companion. It’s all strange, and the ex-comp. Still eats with them and is like best friends with the couple. But she was baptized!! Before the baptism though, Odilia came and we had a quick lesson with her and Fernanda. She testified of her story being 40 years catholic and finding the truth. It was super powerful. After the baptism we practice our sacrament meeting for Pascoa! The missionaries put on the program so we had a script and lots of music. 
Sunday was incredible. We got up that morning ready to sing our hearts out. We had 4 songs that we (sisters) were going to sing. So we sat on the stand instead of with our investigators and one by one we saw our investigators come in. we ended up having 5!! The program was awesome! We sang `The Lord is my Sheppard` my favorites hymn to sing the alto line and it was awesome! By the end we sang `Battle Hymn of the Republic` all of it was just so well done. We had a goal of 4 people marked for baptism and at the beginning of the day we had 1 and by the end we had 4. During church one of the Irmãs pulled us aside and said we needed to mark her friend for baptism. So we pulled Maria Jose and Fatima (the one we went searching for) and our Irmã into a room after church and marked them both and they accepted! We have a family night with them in the church tonight! Then we left and started talking to Odilia and Paulo while Bishop was talking to Graciete. Odilia turns to us and says `Sisters, I’m going to be baptized on the 8 of May! ` ANSWER TO MY PRAYERS!!!!!! I couldn’t have been happier!!!!! I was bouncing up and down and she just started saying everything she wanted during the baptism and who and what songs. It was incredible. She had been talking to Paulo and then he started to give his support that he would call on her baptismal day. So we left the church with 4 marks for baptism. It was an answer to our prayers. 
I love this work. I was so grateful for celebrate the resurrection of Christ on Sunday. It made me really think of my purpose to show others that He made it all possible, that only through Him was this life and this plan made possible. I love my calling to be His representative, and to show to these people that He lives. I love the work. I love my Savior, who’s name I wear everyday. I couldn’t have a better name to represent. I love you all so much! May a make a small change to our phrase to match the tone of this past week: Remember who you are, who you represent, and what you stand for.
Love you all!

Sister Hillam

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