Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Returned Missionary Looked at Me with Horror In Her Eyes

Família amada!
This week was so crazy and so many things happened, I´ll try to be quick about it.
Started off with a much needed inventory with the comp.  We ended up making a deal that I would stop bugging her about doing things if she would try her hardest to be more pro-active and think ahead.  Not a good idea.  I ended up very tired and very bitter at times.  But, I can still say that I love my companion.  That´s a lot of growth right there.
Sacrament meeting was pretty comical.  The president got up to announce the acivities hapening this week.  FINALLY he announced them with some enthusiasm in his voice, but then sac. meeting turned into a bar room.  The BR´s sister started yelling jokes to him across the room, and her husband got up in the middle of Sister Felix´s talk to give the president a hug up at the front and tell him that they were leaving.  Bruna, the recently returned missionary, looked over at me with horror in her eyes.  I just had to laugh.  Needless to say, we already have our spiritual message planned to give at lunch at their house this week.  During Relief Society, our gospel principle teacher´s son told us she wouldn´t be coming, so we got to teach that class, and then at the beginning of sacrament meeting, the branch secretary asked us if we could give a talk.  Right then. It all turned out really well though, surprisingly well.  The funniest part was during the sacrament.  I was sitting there, thinking about what I could do better this week, when the president gets up and starts announcing that Sister Felix and I would be giving talks that day.  His son runs up to the pulpit and whispers something in his ear.  The branch president turned beet red, said sorry, and then sat down.  At that moment, the deacon arrived at my side with the water, and I realized the President had gotten up to announce the schedule in the middle of the sacrament.  Oh Mosqueiro, you really are a special place.
The highlight of the week though, was our investigator Karina.  I have no time to write about it, so here´s a copy and pasted version-
´´We´ve been teaching this amazing girl Karina for a long time now, and she has a huge desire to be baptized, but because of parental permission and health issues, we´ve been having to put it off week after week. Finally, I decided that this week was it- we needed a miracle. We prayed, we fasted, we worked harder than we ever have before, and tried our hardest to be 100% obedient. When on Thursday, Karina said her dad still wouldn´t be home for the rest of the week, I´ll admit, I lost a little bit of faith. For this, I am so grateful for my leaders Elder Barros and Elder Rolando who kept the faith and helped me remember that God really can perform miracles. It finally got to the humbling point where I just had to cry to Heavenly Father and say that there was literally nothing more that I could do; it had to be Him. In that moment I remembered (this is probably really cheesy but true) Eliza from ´´The Legacy´´ where she´s kneeling beside her lamed ox and prays, ´´I´ve brought my family thousands of miles across the wilderness, I´ve walked through rain and mud, I´ve done everything I can do, but I can´t pull the handcart! You healed me, I know you can heal this ox!´´ So she gets up, pulls the ox, and they start walking again. After praying, I got up off my knees, we went to Karina´s house, and as I was teaching Karina from Alma 17, her dad shows up out of the blue! I was so taken aback I couldn´t even think straight for a few moments, but I gathered up my courage, and praying harder than ever, I started talking to him. Finally, we figured out that it wasn´t the fact that he wanted his daughter to look into other churches first, or even that by being baptized in out church, she was denying her Catholic baptism. It was that he thought that by following our religion, we and his daughter would be judging him for liking to drink. I testified to him of the blessings that would come to Karina and her family because of this baptism and some other things, and in the end... he signed the ficha, not very happily, but he signed!!!

Karina wasn´t baptized this week because her parents have to travel, but I´m protecting that signed ficha in plastic, and in two weeks, this girl who has become so special to me, who has tried my patience and faith more than anything else, will be baptized. When her father signed the ficha, I have never felt more love and gratitude for my Heavenly Father who really does love His children, answers our prayers, and sends miracles ´´after all we can do´´. My testimony of obedience and listening to the spirit has grown monumentally this week. God literally reached down and turned our pebbles to light, and I will never forget it.´´
Other miracle- rather than waiting until December, Neto and Zul prayed and decided to make June 27 their goal for marriage and her baptism!  I love them so much, but it´s also pretty cool beause it´s a re-activation, marriage, baptism, and member reference all in one- so ´´GH´´
I love Heavenly Father!  This week has been a huge trial and growing experience and the greatest blessing of my life!  I love this work!  I love my family!
Até a proxima,
Sister Barkdull
P.S.  Please forgive my sad lack of English grammar and vocabulary.  It hurts me too.

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