The Miracle of Fasting

This week has been really fantastic! We experienced a number of small miracles. Since last week we found a whole bunch of new investigators, this week our goal was to mark baptisms with these people and find out who among these people is really prepared to accept baptism. In other words, this week we searched for those who are the “Lord´s elect.” D&C 29:7 says, “for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts.”

So last Sunday was Fast Sunday and here in Brazil they fast for dinner (the Saturday night before) and breakfast the following Sunday morning. They fast this way so that they do not miss out on lunch (which is the biggest meal of the day here). Before coming on the mission, I admit that I did not fast very well. I think I did the ‘lazy fast’ often times. The ‘lazy fast’ includes things such as chewing gum or eating mints during fasting, only fasting for breakfast, or not praying to start a fast (which basically just means you go hungry for a space of time). Well out here I learned how to REALLY fast.

So this past fast Sunday Sister L and I decided to fast so that we could find and be guided to the Lord´s elect. Our fast was answered the following Tuesday.

On Tuesday we decided to work in a residential block which has a bunch of houses lined up one next to the other. We had some appointments set up there, but evidently the people forgot about it because they were not at home. We decided to knock on doors instead. As we were walking around Sister L kept telling me a number: 235. I was a little confused until she guided us to door number 235. We knocked there and a woman named Claudia answered the door and the first thing she said was “Do you want to come in? You´re the Sisters right?” She was extremely receptive and we found out that Claudia had a sister that was a member and that she had known about the church for some time. I thought Sister L certainly felt guided to this door for a reason.

We then taught her about the Restoration. I have never felt the Spirit in the same way before the meeting we had with Claudia. I felt the Spirit helping me a lot during that lesson. I felt prompted to say certain things to her while teaching, and I felt prompted to invite her to follow Jesus Christ by being baptized rather out of the blue. She accepted the baptismal invite and her very next questions were “Where?” and “When?” She is definitely an elect of the Lord. She has been prepared to hear the restored gospel.

I know that the Lord is helping me in this work. He truly guides missionary work. I am so grateful for this experience and I am so grateful for the power of fasting. It is real. You really can receive personal revalation, and peace when you fast the right way. I invite all of you to start making fasting more meaningful.

-Sister Jessop

Bagé – Land of the Gaúcho

I am sitting next to a Gaúcho (who is watching Power Rangers) in an internet cafe as we speak. That´s a pretty good description of Bagé: Gaúcho. Gauchos have a very unique way of life. It´s like the cowboy of Rio Grande do Sul. They are frequently riding horses on the main roads with all the other cars (often with a cart-like thing being hauled in the rear). And they always seem to have chimarrão handy to share with all. They wear pants like Princess Jasmine tucked into boots along with the type of hat that Frenchmen wear. Needless to say- they´re rather unique. But they are also extremely charming when you get to know them.

Bagé is wonderful. I seriously love it here. This city is relatively small and remote. It is surrounded by greenerie. They call it mato here, which is actually a translation for jungle. The jungle smells really good, compared to the fishy smell in Rio Grande. There are rather a lot of hills (lombas or morros) here which is actually really cool. My new companion is Sister L. She is from São Paulo and she is just a doll. I can tell that we are going to get along really well here in Bagé.

We got a whole bunch of new investigators this week (like 37!) by using the ´prayer contact´. The ´prayer contact´ is a really easy way to get invited into someone´s house. Basically you just offer a prayer to bless the person´s family and then mark a specific day to return and teach the Restoration to them. We´ve had a lot of success with that last week. And this week we will teach them (all 37 new investigators) about the Restoration, invite them to pray about the Book of Mormon, and invite them to follow Jesus Christ´s example to be baptized. This transfer is gonna be the bomb-diggity. :) I know that if I keep my faith in God and work diligently we will baptize a family here to help this litte ward in Bagé.

So my district leader is an american (Elder P) and he is really into football, AND he is from Seattle. Needless to say, he’s a Seahawks fan. So last night he called in to get all of our numbers from this week and we had a funny conversation. He called around 9 o’clock, which was exactly the time that the football game was starting up in the US (3 o’clock your time). Haha. Poor guy- stuck on the mission when his team is playing in the big leagues.

I hope that all of you are doing fantastic. I love you all to pieces!

-Sister Jessop