June 17, 2013

       This week was great, I caught a cold like the rest of the world here, and of course missionaries get colds after shaking hands with everyone and anyone in the world! Ha-ha, but it has been terrific and the Lord has blessed us with the energy needed to keep working hard and to be successful.
       We had been focusing on a couple baptisms that we have marked for later on this month, and I decided that we needed to check on these investigators every single day. I have been recognizing more how to work smart and hard instead of just working hard. We have a phrase here on the mission about checking in on investigators. "If you do don't check on your investigators, satan will." And so this week have visited almost every single investigator every single day.
       Elder Batista decided that we would talk with as many people as possible during a short window of a couple hours that we didn't have any appointments marked. So we walked on the super bumpy dirt roads of the ghetto and started talking with every living creature, even the hordes of vagabond dogs! We passed by the school and I saw a kid sleeping on the cement wall they have surrounding the school, he had his school uniform on, and I woke him up and asked him if he was interested about hearing our message, I expected to hear no, but he was super interested! We got his address and went to his little shack house after school was out. He is fifteen years old and cant read, but is very willing and hilarious. We have a really good friendship going.
       We kept going back to his house and when we went back his thirteen-year-old brother was there and wanted to hear the messages also. So we started teaching him, he is very intelligent and has really helped his brother a lot! We talked with him about serving a mission and the priesthood and he is so curious and their baptism is marked for this Sunday!!! We left him a big part of the book of Mormon to read and he read like crazy! This time we marked the book of Alma to read and he said he should have it finished by the time we get back to his house tonight. I am so excited.
       We passed by their house at 8 am to walk with them to church and brought cookies and milk to eat with them for breakfast on the way there. They have a brand of Spongebob cookies here that are pretty good, not Oreo status, but decent.  When they went to church yesterday, the older brother João was really timid and shy; Jonothan the younger brother was really into it and loved it all. Sacrament passed, Sunday school passed, and finished out with young mens. The young men are all super good friends with them now and one of the young men preparing to serve will baptize them this Sunday!
       It has been wonderful to see this wonderful ward and to serve in such a humble neighborhood. I love working in the ghetto shacks and such. The people are so receptive and loving compared to the people in the decent houses. I thought a lot about Alma the elder when he taught the poor people who were kicked out of the synagogues.
       Ha-ha it has been just happiness and miracles this week. I have never been running around so much like I am now on the mission but I am loving every second of it. Then our other ward at night, had three people who walked in to see how the church was, and we are going to teach them all Wednesday night! I am so very excited for all of it! The Lord has been preparing so many people, he has guided our work, I am nothing and we would have accomplished nothing here if it weren’t for the helping hands of the Lord and miracles we have seen this week.
       I am so happy to be a Latter Day Saint and to be a servant of the Lord, to have to opportunity to scream to all these people that the truth is here again, that happiness is here, that the Lord loves everyone and that we have the book of Mormon and a modern day prophet! We are all so blessed! Blessed be the name of our God! I love you all! Sorry didn’t go into details. The email time has been cut a little and I don’t have time to explain all of the wonderful miracles that I have seen! But they are real! Jesus Christ lives! I love him with all my heart! Have a wonderful week!

Elder Paynter

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