I have to be embarassingly honest with everyone: I kindof forgot that it´s my birthday this week :) But, luckily, to help me remember, I loved the many birthday emails that many of you sent to me this week! I would love to be able to write you all back, Holly, Valerie, Natalie, but I just don´t have enough time and my fingers can only type so fast. Just know that Elder Braun sends his gratitude. Also, I received the Easter/Birthday box from Mom last Thursday, and because I couldn´t wait, I opened it all! Haha I loved the package, loved it so much, mmhmm. Especially the tie that was in it. My comp, Elder Neuman has the exact same tie #twinners. And the easter candy was splendid as well. Easter traditions in Brazil aren´t a whole lot different from in the states. Unlike back at home, there´s no easter egg hunt for the kids here, but the easter bunny leaves a giant chocolate egg. Usually it´s like a kinder egg or something with a toy inside. It´s fun to hear what the kiddos here told us the easter bunny left them.
Hey, so I realized that I´m gonna be home in less than 2 months now (holy heck what?), and some things to remind you, Mom, that I´ll need to get taken care of is a trip to the DOL to get my license renewed as well as a visit with the eye doctor since I´m down to my last pairs of contacts.
So yeah, like the title of the email says, Rayane and Tiago were baptized! It was such a special baptismal meeting. I´m so grateful to my Father in Heaven for the inspiration we had to visit Tiagos parents, Manoel and Maria, and challenge them to return back into full activity in the church. We´re so happy to see them at church every week, and for being able to help their son Tiago become a member of this great church.
Also, Rayane and her Grandma, Rose, have been such wonderful miracles for us ever since we found them in our Area book shortly after I arrived here. I must be honest, leaving Maricá after only 2 and a half weeks back there to come to this area made me super dissapointed and discouraged, but This family were some of the first people we taught that started to progress, and to see them all as wonderfully progressing members makes me super grateful for the success that my Father in Heaven has blessed me with here. Rayane said she wants to be a missionary like us when she turns 19 in 2 and a half years, and she´s set a goal with Rose to read the entire Book of Mormon before the end of the year. They´ve been giving us many references of people to teach who have been showing interest in the church, and who they have brought to church by themselves.
Elder Neuman and I had an incredibly special experience with another family who we´ve recently started working with. Lucimar is a member of the church who recently married a man named Paulo, who has been devoutly Catholic his whole life. Ever since their wedding 4 weeks ago, he´s been with her at church every week, but hasn´t showed much desire to leave the Catholic church and be baptized. Last Monday, Elder Neuman and I were heading to visit an investigators house, and we happened to pass in front of Paulo and Lucimar´s house. I didn´t know why, but I felt the impression to briefly visit them, even though we hadn´t planned to do so. When we walked in, we asked to say a prayer, and afterwards, Lucimar started to cry and told us about how she has been having many leg pains and been needing a health blessing for a few days. We offered her a blessing and let her know that the spirit sent us to help her at that time of need, and in Gospel Principles yesterday, we learned about the Priesthood and how great it is to have a worthy priesthood holder in our families to be able to bless us when we need it. She shared with the class this experience we had, and Paulo showed a great desire to receive the preisthood that way he can exercise it when his family needs. This week, we´re hoping to bring him closer towards following Christ´s example through baptism.
I´m really grateful for all of your prayers from back at home. I can feel them motivating me to be more diligent and more obedient that way I can truly finish my mission shining and with honor. I love you all so much, and can´t wait to see you all soon!