Monday, January 5, 2015

Feliz Ano Novo!

Elder Falkner and I and a splendid view of the beautiful Maricá

Querida Família,

So, like I said last week, I´m back in MARICÁ! I´m so happy to be here, I´m sure Elder Falkner has gotten sick of how many times I said that this past week. I keep telling him sorry a lot too, because at luches and on sunday, all the members were really excited to seee me and talk to me and he felt like he didn´t have much of an opportunity to talk to them at all. But that should be back to normal this week

I had a chance to visit some dear families that I love so much, including Juliana and Marlon. While I was with Elder Inácio, we helped Juliana get reactivated and met Marlon, her husband, too. He was abaptized the week after I left there. Since I left, Marlon has already received the Melchizedec Preisthood, has a calling as the 1st counselor in the Elder´s Quorum, and already has plans, together with Juliana, to receive their patriarchal blessing. Juliana is now the branch´s Relief society president, and they have plans to be sealed in the Campinas temple in November this year. They´re both working as hard as ever to help the branch grow, and it filled my heart with so much joy to see and hear them bear their testimonies yesterday about the difference that the church has made in their lives these past 5 months since Elder Inácio and I started visiting them.

I was also able to visit Juliana´s parents, Ana (member) and João (investigator) who we also reactivated and started helping prepare for marriage. Ana has given up smoking, is firm and strong in the church, and they have already entered in the marriage process. I should still be here by the time the wedding occurs, and João has already accepted to prepare for baptism, all that stands in the way is for them to be married.

AND I was very happy to see Ana Karen, whose mom (Patricia) was reactivated, she got baptized, as well as Sonia, Patrícia´s mom, who also was baptized while I was there. They aren´t in my proselyting area, but to see them strong and active makes me super happy :)

Along with these wonderful people, I´ve visited many others who returned to church while I was serving here who are still active and having callings now in the branch. During my first transfer in MAricá, we averaged an attendance of about 20-25. Yesterday, there were 67 people at church, and a few weks ago when they had branch conference, 98 people attended the church meetings. President Saul, the branch president, says that there are plans for Maricá to become a ward next month.

I would just like to bear my strong testimony that the field in Maricá was, has been, and still is white ready for the harvest, and that when we strive to love those we serve, the Lord will bless us with a wonderful feeling of gratitude and joy. Following the example of Jesus Christ and seflessly loving those whom I serve has given me so much joy, and I can´t wait to continue working alongside this group of wonderful people in Maricá. I love you all and love the plethora of opportuinities I have to continue helping this oh-so-special branch become a ward in the very near future.

With much love and gratitude,
Elder Braun

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