Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 17 | Prayer, Baptisms and Easter

Elder Rodrigues’ last day

Hello! Another great week here in Jacareí,

Friday was Zone Conference in Jardim Paulista. President and Silster Silcox came, and they taught about the importance of prayer. But we started off with a message from the Stake Presidency actually which was cool. They came to coordinate how we can better integrate the Stake and missionary service, and had some great ideas that will be really helpful working together. We read the story of the prophet Enoch, how he was slow of speech and how he felt like all the people hated him, but God told him he just needed to focus on serving and testifying and he would be blessed with the words and abilities that he needed. Great!

Sister Silcox taught about the necessity and blessing of prayer in our lives to talk with Heavenly Father, and also how it is necessary to bring the gospel—Christ and His Atonement and Ressurrection—into our lives. She shared a bunch of examples of the need for prayer and examples when prayer was used, and examples and results when prayer was not used, from the scriptures. Really good. President shared a message with the same story about Enoch and of his own personal conversion, and talked about how when he was a college student he thought his life was excellent but one night he realized there was something more to life and dedicated himself to God´s service. Super powerful message.

Afterwards I had a baptismal interview for a woman named C. Her son is currently serving a mission in Ceará, Brasil, and she decided now that she was ready and prepared to be baptised. Though a series of very divinely coordinated events, President Silcox spoke with her son’s mission president—who was in Sao Paulo this weekend—about setting up a skype feed for him to watch his mother’s baptism. President also happened to be in the chapel in on Friday for the zone conference, which was C´s baptismal interview day, so she got to call her son and tell him she was going to be baptised! Wow! Very, very sweet experience.

Friday night was N´s baptismal interview which was wonderful. He did great, and was ready and was excited about asking Lucas Galhardi, the church member (recent returned missionary) who initially contacted him, to be the one to baptise him.

Sunday was great at church with a focus on Easter of course. N´s baptism was held after church meetings, and he was very happy. He was a little nervous before hand but when he was baptised I think he felt that Heavenly Father was really blessing him. Very wonderful baptism. That good man was very ready to receive God’s divine help.

This week I was thinking about Easter (of course) and about what Easter teaches us about God´s character and my personal progression on earth. Easter is Christ´s Atonement and Resurrection--what bring us back to His presence and allow us to progress continually. That teaches me that God actually loves me! And just as we learn in the scriptures, He does nothing that is not in our benefit. His happiness in our progress. The resurrection gives me the knowledge that my progress will continue eternally if I desire and thankfully I have eternity to progress. I am grateful God sees me and all of His children for potential to be like Him and not for who we've been. I’m very grateful to be here in His service this Easter Season.

Here in Brasil, Easter eggs are a thing too, only there’s this tradition where the kids will make a giant doll (kind of like a scarecrow) of Judas and drag him around in the streets and tie him up in trees. A little different than in the states. The Easter weekend observances start on Holy Friday, continue on Saturday (Passion of Christ), and culminate on Easter Sunday.  Easter in Portuguese is: Páscoa.

I hope you are all well and in good health. Have a great week this week.
Please keep praying for us!

Elder Hughes
District shirts

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