This week was great! We had the baptism of Diogo! He~s the 31-year-old who~s almost a full-grown man! Anyway, we had some difficulties this last week with his parents, but in the end he told them that what he wanted to do was to be baptized. It was really cool to see how excited he became about baptism. He was interviewed on Friday and the zone leader said that he was completely elect. We were having a little difficulty getting the baptism planned for Saturday because practically all of the members (all 25 of them) live pretty far away. For example, the branch president lives two and a half hours away by car! Anyway, we were so grateful when one family from the ward showed up. They had to travel an hour on the dad~s only day when he doesn~t have to drive and arrived with cake and soda in hand! It was so wonderful to have that small but significant support from the members of the branch. I was asked to perform the ordinance, and we baptized Diogo in a small tiled tub behind the branch building. It was pretty awesome baptizing in the open area, especially since it was startingt o get a little rainy!
Anyway, lots of things are going great in this area. We are preparing Matheus to be baptized on Saturday. He went to church last week for the first time. He found out that one of his online friends from Manila is a member of the church and she has been giving him parts from the Book of Mormon to read. It has been pretty cool to see how he has become so completely converted to the restored doctrine and gospel of Christ. He is very excited for his baptism. On Sunday morning, one of the pipes in his house burst and starting leaking water into his house. He fixed the leak as quick as he could, and then did everything so that he could get to church. It really is amazing to see how he has been changed to have such a desire to receive the blessings of the gospel. Any normal person would use the burst pipe as an excuse to not go to church, but he was seeking something at church! I hope that I can use him as an example to to not sit back and relax and wait for God to bless me. We can not be casual about our salvation. We need to be proactive and seek that which is good.
I know that Heavenly Father loves us. I know that my Redeemer lives and that only through Christ we can return to the Father~s presence. I know that the Book of Mormon is a blessed tool to help us know Christ. I know that Joseph Smith knew Christ as His revelator, prophet, and seer. I know that Thomas S Monson still guides us closer to Christ, and thus, to the Father. I love you all! Stay well!
Love, Elder Ayer