Friday, March 6, 2015

This Week.... CRAZY!

Bom dia querida família!
Well, this week has been pretty crazy. It has been a little bipolar: lots of blessings and lots of struggles. I really felt like Satan was really attacking my thoughts, trying to get me to be discouraged. It has been pretty exhausting, mentally. :) But it´s all good. In the end, Satan has no power over us unless we let him. But we are stronger than him, because we have a physical body, and we can also pray to the Lord for help and ask other people for help, too. Sometimes it´s hard to see people who are so incredible, who you love so dearly and who you see on the path to changing their lives to have eternal life, fall. To establish goals, feel the Spirit, and really and truly believe that you can achieve them, and to work as hard as you can... and then to see your goal fall through. And at that moment, Satan would put thoughts into my head, about how I hadn´t worked my hardest, or how I had just let all my leaders down and the Lord down, too, because my faith wasn´t strong enough for the miracle, etc. etc. Thank goodness for prayer, scripture study, hymns, the Spirit and Sister Johnson. We were both really feeling it, but we were able to help each other remember that we did our best. So those thoughts had to leave, because we both knew we were doing our best, and that these are just refining moments. And miracles happened! They always do, when you have faith and keep going with that faith. It may not be the miracle you were expecting, but miracles always come.
Carnaval was pretty crazy, but pretty harmless. Just a lot of noise, drunk people, parade floats down the main street (SO cool to see people build floats when they have basically nothing... the people here are so creative!) and weird costumes. It was all concentrated on the main road, and especially right by our house, but after 9 it basically died down, so it didn´t even affect our sleep! Just our lessons... no one wanted to mark with us, and if they marked with us, they weren´t at home when we passed by. But it was all good. We managed to talk to a few people. :)
The week was pretty crazy. Lots of lessons falling through, or people who seemed like they weren´t progressing. Romário had a date marked to be baptized this Saturday, and was feeling good about it, and then he COMPLETELY disappeared after we saw him Sunday night! I don´t know how many times we passed by his house and his usual hangout spots, but it was pretty crazy! Lessons would fall, and Sister Johnson and I would say to each other, "it must be so that we can find Romário, FINALLY". But we never found him during those times! We met a lot of other awesome people, but we never found Romário.
Sister Z sweeping water from the floor (getting a Cabo Verdean pedicure)
Then, on Thursday, we had some great, spirit-filled lessons. We were able to invite some people to be baptized and find two families! It was awesome. As we walked home, we were so happy. Then we saw that the area in front of the door to our building was all wet. There wasn´t a cloud in sight, nor was there any laundry on the roof... strange. Then it slowly occured to us that it might be coming from INSIDE the house! As we opened the door, sure enough, water was running down the stairs! I just KNEW it would be our apartment. As we bolted up the stairs, trying not to slip, of course it was coming from under our door! We opened the door as quickly as week could, and found an appliance in our bathroom (the only appliance that doesn´t have a drain under it... the sprayer you can use to clean yourself after going to the bathroom) was spraying, full blast. There was no way to turn it off! We were able to get the pressure down a little bit, but it was still running. So, we left it in the sink, where the water wouldn´t fill up our house. Then we got back to the more important problems: an inch (or more) of water on the floor! AND lots of wood doors and door frames and bookcases, chests, etc! 
Haha, luckily it was Sister Johnson and I. We took off our shoes, found an extra broom in the building, and called it an opportunity to get another workout, have a little fun on wet tile, and get a pedicure, all at the same time. :) Somehow we still got to bed on time, and by the morning, all the tile was dry. But it was pretty crazy for a little bit! Satan was really trying to get us in a bad mood, because finally, after a week of unanswered phone calls to Anna, she called back to tell us that she wouldn´t be back until sometime in the next month. Sister Johnson and I just took that to mean that there must be someone else we´re meant to find and help prepare for baptism until she gets back. Thank goodness for Sister Johnson. We´re able to keep each other optimistic even during times of trial. And even have fun while we´re at it! :) So it was pretty crazy.
The day after our house flooded and Anna told us she wouldn´t be back from Mindelo until some time next month, we found Elvis. I had taught him once before, and he had come to church once, but then he had basically disappeared, living with his aunt in Lomba (sp?) Figueira: a little town about 30 minutes from Porto Novo, on the mountains. We passed by his mom´s house to try to find two of his brothers, who are investigators as well, and he answered the door. Thankfully, we had a woman with us, so we could teach him at that moment, and wow, he is a different person from when I first met him in September! We taught him about the Restoration again, and he told us that the first time he was taught in September, he read the pamphlet we had left with him, and re-read and re-read it, and his favorite part was the part about Joseph Smith. Every time he read that page, he said, he felt something special. And after we taught him how to pray, he has been praying every day... wow! Every day since that one lesson in September. He told us that now he is a different person, more driven, more disciplined, with a more eternal perspective (he no longer does things that seem like they would be good for him in that moment, but in the end are harmful). INCREDIBLE! We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and invited him to be baptized, and he accepted both of them. He is so humble and sweet and just amazing. It will be hard to get him to church, since he is always with his aunt on the weekends, especially, but we learned that the church will help pay for him to come a few times every month! Miracles, miracles, miracles. They always come after the trials. :)
And then we found Romário! And he is changed! He is so excited to be baptized and he wants to change his life. I think this week showed him how much we love him, how much the Lord loves him, and helped him see that we aren´t there to convince him or baptize him. We´re there, inviting him to change his life so he can fulfill his potential to become like his Father: to become like God. He is just so awesome!
Also, we got to see Willy get baptized! It was such a privilege to teach him with Sister Yeater, and then again when he came to Tchenna´s house as we were teaching Josimara. He is very converted. Very incredible. And he will bless this ward so much!
Fretson. Fretson is a menos ativo who has been menos ativo for years. He has a serious problem with the word of wisdom, and he was at the FHE we had on Monday with Ronny. We taught the Plan of Salvation really quickly, and everyone decided they wanted to go to the Celestial Kingdom. Fretson didn´t think he would be able to get there. But one of the members that was there was so encouraging! And we talked to him one more time after that. We reminded him of his strength and courage and the power that he has inside of him. Satan has been telling him that he´s weak and helpless, and we let him see that it wasn´t true. It was so incredible to hear him decide that he CAN make it to the Celestial Kingdom! He WILL pray every day, and he will tell himself every day that he can make it to the Celestial Kingdom. Miracles! He needs a lot of prayers, but he´s going to overcome this addiction! He´s so incredible.
And in the end, we had five investigators at church, two menos ativos (one who is now active!), and two recent converts at church. So, lots of people, and it was a little crazy trying to mark with all of them, but it was such a tender mercy to see that even on crazy weeks, miracles happen. People change, hearts are touched, and we get to be the instruments that help the miracle occur. I just love being a missionary. :) Love you all so, so much!
Sister Zimbelman

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