Monday, November 17, 2014

week 17

Today I only am going to focus on one story because its a dang good one.

the conversion of NELMA and ESTHEFANY:

My first full day in Guyane Elder Smith told me we were going to go to a womens house named nelma who was planning on getting baptized the next day.  When we arrived she came downstairs and told us not only that she could not talk to us, but also that she was not getting baptized the next day. (What?!) The next week we set out to find what had stopped her.  Long story short, we taught probably 6 lessons over the span of the next 2 weeks with no progress...and in some cases maybe even a step back.  On an exchange one night Elder Lever and I went over and had a very simple lesson with her.  We decided to slam on the breaks on our trying to get her to be baptized, and instead we focused our lesson on the Book of Mormon.  At the end of the lesson she decided she was going to re start reading the Book of Mormon and really search for an answer as to whether or not it was true.  

The next couple weeks Elder Smith and I began to see a night and day change.  Nelma was loving the book of mormon and had started to read 10-15 pages in between appointments.  There was a physcial change in her; she was a happier person, her prayers were an open dialogue between her and her Heavenly Father.  Everytime she prayed it was rare for her to finish the prayer with dry eyes.  She loved the Book of Mormon and she loved the gospel of Christ.  We set a new baptismal date for the 18th of October and it was all smiles and rainbows until October 16th.  We went over the baptismal interview questions with Nelma and as we were, we found she had a problem in the past that needed to be discussed with one of our leaders in Guadelope before she would be able to be baptized.  After scrambling for a couple hours we got him on the phone and they had an interview.  Afterwards Nelma handed us the phone and to our utter disappointment, the leader told us the following:

Nelma was worthy and ready for baptism.  The problem was Nelma, being a single mom with no money or job was staying at a recent converts house who just so happened to be an old ex boyfriend.  He had remodled his house to the specifications of the Branch President so that Nelma could stay there and they could still be considered living separate. (They were no longer together as a couple, the member was simply just helping her out.)  The leader in Guadelope decided she needed to move out before she could be baptized.  I remember getting home that night and just passing out on my bed.  It was very discouraging for us and Nelma.  

Not willinging to accept defeat, our search was on to find Nelma a new place to live, as well as a job.  We searched and searched with Nelma as she looked for jobs and places to live.  Having confidence in the Lord we set a baptismal date for the 15th of November.  November 1st rolled around and Nelma told us she was going to get baptized in two weeks with or without a job.  That attitude quickly shifted.

At the start of this week me and Elder Smith decided that Nelma could and was going to get baptized this saturday.  We went over tuesday and she told us she could move out (!) ... by December 20th.  We both decided that the day was too far away. So we then decided to fast Wednesday to Thursday (24 hours) so she could find a place to live and a job.  Wednesday morning as we were planning the lesson for Nelma, we realized we wanted confirmation that this promise that she could be baptized the 15th was from Up TOP and not just us saying it.  We said a prayer and than it was silent for probably 30 minutes.  Both I and Elder Smith were searching through the scriptures having personal prayers or just thinking before we finally looked at each other and agreed she could do it.

We rode our bikes over to her home, and decided we were going to go in full of faith, showing no signs of doubt that Nelma could indeed be baptized on Saturday.  We believed it was going to happen and we needed her to as well.  We walked in and it was clear something great was just out of reach: when teaching a lesson, it is important that it is quiet so that the Spirit may be felt, and the investigator may fully concentrate on the lesson. When we walked in however, this was not what we found. There were kids cry-screaming, brazilian tv at full volume, and everything just felt like chaos. It was not the environment ideal for teaching faith in. Feeling the opposition, we realized without a doubt that a miracle was bound to occur.  

Sister D'Abreu, a member of the branch was there with us as well. She had been with us for most of our lessons teaching Nelma and she was going to fast with us.  We went outside in the back and had Nelma pray to start the fast.  After the prayer, we went back inside completely confident all would go well. We told Nelma that we knew if she moved out even with no job, all would go well.  Right away Nelma began shaking her head and saying "no no no no" even Souer D'Abreu looked at us and asked how on earth we could demand such things knowing Nelma had no money.  Looking back at the situation now,  it would have been very easy to cower away and doubt the confirmation we had had that morning. 

Instead of doing so however, we pressed forward knowing and trusting the anwser was there. After the lesson, Souer D'Abreu stopped us and asked us if she could talk to us outside.  We walked out with her as she began to give us the miracle "hey uhm is it allowed if she moves in with us?"  It was like a lightning bolt from above.  The anwser to everything was sitting right next to us!  We had talked countless times about her moving and Souer D'Abreu had never shown any real sign that she could help.  Elder Smith looked at me and then back to the sweet sister and restated her question again "....yes, can she?"  and than Souer D'Abreu started jumping up and down exclaiming "Nelma is going to get baptized!!!"

It's very easy in life when the walls are coming down to think what am I doing?  Why am I here?  Where is God?  Often times when the storm is raging and everything looks dark, we forget that if there was no opposition, there would be no good.  I dont think it was chance that Nelma's house was so crazy that day.  Everything looked so dark and hopeless as we began the fast, and it would have been very easy to ask where is god? or what are we doing?  Its important to remember instead that as opposition arrises it means there is something great just beyond it. You have to just trust that God is there and push through.

Love, Elder Logan Robert Sackley

baptism! Nelma is next to me, and her daughter Eshefany is the little one

one of the downsides of not having a car is we cant pick up members and drive them to appointments.... or can we?
yak yak yak gosh i hate spiders tried killing him turns us there pretty fast

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