We had a super great week! Wednesday we had zone conference which was awesome. The stake center is downtown Belo Horizonte, I am still getting used to the crazy bustle of the city after being in small town cities for so long! But I love it! We talked about planning, the assistant went through and got everybodys planners and while they were giving a training President went through and analyzed the planners and wrote notes. I sure have learned lots about goals and planning on the mission. Our zone leader shared the part of Alice in Wonderland about it doesnt matter what road you take if you dont know where you are going. Sister Fortunato talked about the power of the word, about the impact that everything we say has on us and on others, especially as missionaries. God created the earth speaking, and President entered in and commented that God planned the creation of the earth perfectly. I love zone conferences with President, he is super powerful in his testimony and promises, and tells the best stories and loves to interrupt the assistants when they miss a point or dont explain their part of the training correctly. We had a delightful lunch in the church, practiced teaching the Book of Mormon and applying it into peoples lives. President always puts a huge emphasis on asking questions, testifying and applying the gospel into peoples lives. You cant just throw doctrine in peoples faces, they need a reason to accept.
The concept of questions is something I have worked really hard to develop. It was a weakness of mine initially, but now I love it. President always has us do exercises of explaining the Book of Mormon only with questions. President Bednar gave a great talk a few years ago about learning by faith. As missionaries, or teachers or whatever role we have to help the student learn by faith, primarily by teaching by the spirit but by using questions that aid the student learn by faith, work to learn so that the knowledge is retained. I love the example of Adam where after he ate the fruit and hid, God asks, Where are you? Clearly God knew where Adam was, but through the use of questions the learning and pondering was left to Adam to analyze where he was and why. I could talk about how much I love teaching with questions all day long! But dont worry I will move on.
After zone conference we met up with Sister Fairbanks and Sister Pinheiro to go on splits. I brought Sister Fairbanks back to our area and we spent Wednesday night and Thursday together. She is awesome! She spent 11 months serving in Arizona and initially had a rough time adjusting to our mission here. Things are quite different, we dont have all the same technological resources, okay like no technological resources,(mormon messages, text messages, unlimited minutes on the phone, members with cars, bringing investigators to the temple) if you want something here you walk there and get it. She said things are more rigid and strict here in Belo Horizonte(which I love-obedience brings blessings) but is really enjoying how much we teach here! Its so fun to see all the differences between missions. But the message is the same!
And Saturday Caroline was baptized!! We met her our first day here in Alvorada, we were there to visit her friend Cesar who had just been baptized and she ran to the other room to avoid us(to look like she was sleeping) but Sister Amado called her out(I laughed like crazy) and since that day we have become great friends and she has gained a powerful testimony of the restoration and was baptized Saturday! She is 18 and is living here with her brother Wesley. She is awesome. We love her.
We bought a cake for Jesus's birthday Saturday and he came to Carol's baptism. We had lots of fun joking that Caroline can tell people that Jesus went to her baptism.
Silvana came to the baptism! She really enjoyed it. Her 13 year old son Michael is a super young man, and we sang Oh How Lovely was the Morning to the tune of Come Thou Fount with him. We sang, and he played guitar. After the third verse he continued playing, Sister Amado told the first vision and then I came in singing "Joseph this is my beloved". It was the perfect way to invite the spirit.
We had tons of people at church Sunday and Edina is getting baptized this Saturday! She quit smoking and drinking! She is friends with Silvana and is a real example for her.
AND, this week we are going to Itauna to go on divisions with the sisters there! I am super excited to see everybody again! President told me that the branch there had 137 people last sunday, compared to the 70-80 when I left. We are leaving Tuesday night and coming back Friday morning so we are going to pray tons for the Lord to watch over our area while we are gone. But after this week I certainly saw that we are the ones who are blessed when we serve others.
THE WORK IS ACCELERATING thats all I am going to say.
Counting down until General Conference!
Okay my emails are getting really long, hope you endured to the end!