THIS WEEK WAS A WEEK OF MIRACLES!!!!
FIRST OF ALL!!! SISTER BOTT IS STAYING IN BAURU CENTRO FOR HER FOURTH TRANSFER! WE WILL STAY TOGETHER! SHE IS GOING TO BE MY CO-SENIOR COMPANION! I AM SO HAPPY! WE ALREADY HAVE SO MANY NEW PEOPLE TO TEACH!!
WE BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!!!!!
Long story.... when I wrote to you guys last week, I was feeling really nervous about not baptizing here with Sister Bott. This is considered one of the hardest, if not the hardest areas in the whole mission to find people- let alone to baptize- and this transfer we had so many goals in the mission and in our zone to baptize.
We have worked endlessly this transfer to use the Spirit to help us find people to teach. When I arrived in Bauru and had knocked doors for a few days, it was clear to me that regular proselyting would not be very effective here in Bauru Centro- because there are many apartment building and nicer homes and less houses to try. We prayed and fasted to know how the Lord would have us approach this area.
We were inspired to ask the Bishop for a list of incomplete families-families with menos ativos or active members who had family members living with them that werent members. I believe we received that list in the end of our 2nd week here.
We were able to have some really cool experiences with our visits. We werent finding anyone that could be a true possibility for baptism, but we did find the F. family.
J., A., N., and I. We felt strongly to keep going to their house and on this past Wednesday- Sister Bott said to me, "Do you think we should try something else? Do you think we should go back to that house- they are never there...but I dont want to give up just yet.." I thought really hard about it... I prayed about it, and then felt very strongly that we needed to go back just one more time the next morning.
We went back to their house on Thursday morning (July 27) and J. was there!!! He told us that we could come back that night at 6pm and that we could find his wife and daughters at home!!! (We had already talked to his wife and daughters one other time when we had gone by- but this was the first time that we had been in contact with them for a few weeks). TENDER MERCY!!!!
Later that night, we went back to their house and only N. (16) and I. (9) were in the house. We were obviously wanting to find them with their mom- but asked if we could go in. We talked to them for two hours, just making small talk, talking about the United States, and talking about cute girly stuff--- gaining trust and friendship... then their mom got home. (both parents work non-stop-- their mom is a nurse and works many hours).
A. (the mom) talked to us and we explained to her that we could not find records of her and N. on the church records-- meaning that we knew she had said that she was a member of the church- they had both been baptized but that maybe the paper work hadnt been filled out correctly. (I remembered that even the Bishop gave us their family because he was under the impression that only J. was a member of the church)--- I explained to her that we would try to find the records again, but if not, she and N. would need to be re-baptized and confirmed again. She was remarkably calm about it and we explained that if that would need to happen, she could be baptized with both of her daughters on the same day----- long story short----- we told her we would look harder for her records and let her know asap!
Anyways.... we explained to A. and her two daughters that night that we loved them already and knew that Heavenly Father loves them and so He sent us- His representatives- to invite them to experience the peace and joy of a family united in the Gospel. A. cried as she explained that she hasn't been able to come to church for a long time because of her work schedule. She said that us coming was an answer to her prayers--a cry for help that she thought wouldnt be heard. She cried and said, "I have been so far away from Heavenly Father these last few years, but I have always tried to say my prayers and ask him to help my family make it back to church--- I want the Gospel in my home, but I need help--- I know that Heavenly Father hasnt forgotten me because He sent you to me and my daughters. You guys never stopped coming by these last few weeks--- GOD IS MERCIFUL- HE ALWAYS COMES BACK."
MY HEART WAS SO TOUCHED! This sweet mom just needed help!!! She signed the papers that hour to have her daughter baptized-- I. (9) and we told her that we could do it on Saturday (two days later). She explained that she wouldnt be done working until at least 8:30 at night and we told her that we would baptized her at 9pm if we had to! We let her know that we would call the bishop to confirm whether or not A. and her other daughter were members or not and then plan the details of the baptism(s). She agreed and we left.
I could she the hope in A.'s eyes. We werent just there to baptize her youngest daughter... we were there to remind A., that HEAVENLY FATHER ALWAYS GIVES SECOND CHANCES... or in this case, 20 chances (we literally went back to that house soooo many times- almost gave up, and then went back one more time!!!!)
THAT NIGHT OUR HEARTS WERE ON FIRE!! I CALLED THE BISHOP IMMEDIATELY AND HAD HIM SEARCHING FOR BAPTISMAL FICHAS/RECORDS. He got right on it and luckily found that A. and N.'s records had just got put into the wrong folder with another family's records. So that is why we didn't know if they were members or not.
I explained everything to bishop and told him that we would probably be having a baptism two days later at 9pm in the evening! He laughed and told me that he would be happy to come and help us baptize regardless of the hour. He is so great- older man- already was a stake president and is just amazing!!! He said something that made my heart so happy, "Sister Tyson, I want you to know that I trust you and Sister Bott. I know you work so hard and I know that the Lord trusts you to do everything in line with His will. So, if you want to baptize a little girl at 9pm on a Saturday night- I will be there and will bring the whole ward with me! We are here to support you and we are so grateful for you!"
The next day- Friday- was a rush! We went and picked I. up at her house to take her to the chapel and show her the baptism font. I thought it would be a good idea for her to have a chance to see it and practice before the day of- especially in such a quick situation like this---- she was nervous but asked lots of cute questions- I even walked down into the dry font with her and explained everything to her. It WAS PRECIOUS! She hadn't been in the church for years so it was cute to see her face light up as memories were flooding back to her.
SATURDAY WAS EVEN CRAZIER!!! I HADN'T RECIEVED FULL CONFIRMATION THAT THE BAPTISM WAS GONNA HAPPEN UNTIL 6PM!!! I HAD BEEN CALLING MEMBERS ALL DAY TRYING TO ARRANGE EVERYTHING, SISTER BOTT AND I HAD OTHER COMMITMENTS TO FULFILL, AND THE BISHOP WAS WAITING FOR ME TO CALL HIM AND TELL HIM THAT WE WERE FOR SURE GOING TO HAVE A BAPTISM THAT NIGHT.
I had talked to A. that morning and she said that she didn't know if we would be able to baptize I. that night. SISTER BOTT AND I WERE PANICKING AND ON OUR KNEES AND FASTING ALL DAY LONG!
I DIDN'T HAVE CONFIRMATION FOR A., SO I HESITATED TO MAKE FORMAL PLANS WITH THE WARD-- BUT AT 6:30, I FINALLY CALLED OUT TO EVERYONE. I TOOK A LEAP OF FAITH---- Rosivani and Valci and Lisley went to the store and bought cake and drinks to bring, the elders were on standby with the jumpsuit and getting to our chapel, and bishop was getting to program ready. Before we had even had a firm go-ahead from A., Sister Bott and I had so much faith and went to fill up the font!!!!!
I was about to call A. again, when N. called me at 7:30 and said, "my mom happened to get off from work early and is going to change her clothes and drive us over to the chapel--- we are all ready to go- I. has her towel and is excited-- can we come over there right now?" I agreed to meet them at the chapel and then hung up and started screaming!!! I LITERALLY WAS BOUNCING OFF OF THE WALLS!! I WAS SOOOO NERVOUS THAT EVERYONE WOULD SHOW UP FOR THIS BAPTISM AND THAT IT WOULD BE CANCELLED!! SISTER BOTT AND I RAN AROUND OUR LITTLE APARTMENT SCREAMING AND THEN DROPPED TO OUR KNEES AND PRAYED-- JUST WITH GRATITUDE FOR THIS MIRACLE!!!!!!!!
Sister Bott finished I.'s KitKat cake and we ran to the church---- we had an incredible turn out from the ward!! 9pm at night we had 21 members there to support us! We had only told people that there would be a baptism only 2 hours before but everyone was there!! The whole primary presidency even came with a gift to welcome I.!!!! Some primary kids even did a musical number during the baptismal service!!! Full decorations, food table, desserts, and other snack food was brought by the members and set up for after the baptism!!!! The members even went and picked up my district leader and his companion so that they could arrive on time!!!! I CAN'T EVEN EXPLAIN HOW MANY TENDER MERCIES WE SAW THAT NIGHT!!! OUR WARD WAS INCREDIBLE!!!! We ate lots of great food after the baptism and I could tell that I. felt soooo special!! She was beaming!!!! She was sweet and helped me serve cake to everyone in the room! She told us later that she was so excited to have found her "new family"!!!
WE BAPTIZED CUTE I.! I. WAS CONFIRMED YESTERDAY. N.- HER SISTER IS ALREADY SIGNED UP TO GO TO GIRLS CAMP THIS YEAR!! WE ARE SOOOO THRILLED.
A. wept at the baptism and yesterday at church. She said that she had never felt so much Christ like love in her life-- and felt a peace come over her that we were there to help her family to be together forever and happy!!! MY HEART WAS ON FIRE--- IT STILL IS!!!!!
Bishop already has interviews marked with A. and J., and we will be doing lots of family nights over there at that house!!!
MY HEART IS SOOOO FULL! THIS IS WHY I AM HERE--- I MISS EACH OF YOU TERRIBLY-- BUT I AM HERE TO UNITE FAMILIES HERE IN BRAZIL!!!
I have truly seen the hand of the Lord this transfer and so much this week. I am sooooo grateful for a great companion who I am able to feel the Spirit with as we work. We worked sooooo hard this transfer and we fasted and prayed endlessly--- we went back to these houses soooo many times and after all of the effort we put in--- all I can say is that HEAVENLY FATHER LIVES. He made this happen. He is soooo merciful to all of us, and HE MADE THIS HAPPEN!!!