Dad, thank you so much for your wonderful letter. :) You and mom were both inspired these last couple weeks. I'm so glad you're learning great things and that everybody's doing well.
Transfers were today! I have a new companion! Her name is Sister Swollon--another Pernambucana, from Recife, just like Sister M. Silva. She has the same time in the mission as I do. We're both finishing up in August, so y'all probably meet her personally in the temple. I also saw Sister Tittelfitz at transfers and her mom is coming to pick her up, if you want to recontact her parents--see if we can go out to dinner or something.
But on to more important things...
EDER GOT BAPTISED!!! WOO HOO!!
It was so great! He finally made up his mind. His mom and sister and neighbor all went to the baptism and we're teaching them now, too. We always mention the mission about 8 times per visit to get him excited. But he has to wait a year to be able to go... so he won't be joining Kevin... but could be going the same time as Ethan. He is such a great example. He is from a relatively poor family and dropped out of high school with a year and a half to go. He even has a lot of friends that are selling drugs and stuff. But he is completely different. He has always lived the commandments, without even knowing they were commandments. He wants to be good, choose the right. He went to institute last week and loved it. He loves to learn and is really smart. He said some things last week that were just incredible. During a lesson he said that he was excited to get baptised so that he could pay tithing! I've never heard anyone say anything like that before. But he understood the purpose of tithing and he wanted to contribute to the Lord's work. He's said other similar things about other commandments, like the Law of Chastity--before he didn't know about this commandment, but now he's made a vow to keep it. It's incredible. The elect exist!
And Arlete and Rocha. When I was on splits with an irmã in our ward, she saw Arlete with her family, said "I love families!" And went to talk to her. She accepted our visits. After our first visit, while reading the Book of Mormon and praying, she had a wonderful experience in which she remembered her baptism, 20 years ago, in the Church, and she knew, at that moment the Book of Mormon was true. We scheduled to pick her up for church last Sunday and her husband, Rocha, who is not usually interested in religion, came with her. They both had wonderful experiences at church. Arlete's response was cofirmed and Rocha met an old friend who is a member of our ward and was very impressed by the meetings and the classes. It was like everything that was said at church had been planned with them in mind. Rocha invited us to teach his family that very night (3 daughters with baptism age and the oldest daughter's mission-aged boyfriend). All of the children were very receptive. I had also been concerned about Arlete taking the sacrament--because she has been baptised and currently smokes and she is not legally married. I explained the sacred nature of the Sacrament but did not tell her when we shouldn't take it. However, Arlete told us in the lesson about how she had been impressed not to take the sacrament that day. She truly was taught by the Spirit. I was touched by her sensitivity and received, yet again, a confirmation that the Lord is personally involved in the very details of this sacred work.
And they all went to church again this week! Arlete and Rocha brought their two younger daughters, and Arlete's brother and sister-in-law also came. Her brother-in-law is a returned missionary (who baptised Arlete when he got home from his mission 20 years ago), but he's been less active for several years. It was very interesting to see him in Gospel Principles. Can you imagine how it would feel to come back to what you know is true after years? Arlete said that 6 months ago her sister-in-law had said she did not ever want to go to church (she'd never even visited), but after Arlete went and said she liked it, they all went together! And the little girls loved Primary. They learned about baptism and confirmation. And then they went home and read the Book of Mormon together. On the first try, they ended up fighting, but then Arlete sat down with them to help them understand. And they all read the Introduction and 3 Nephi 11 together. And Rocha is taking the Book of Mormon to work with him. And he went to church exhausted because he works nights... so he didn't even sleep before church. And had to work again Sunday night! Imagine the sacrifice. More elect. Arlete has said that things changed a lot in her home since they started learning together. I love to see families blessed by the gospel!