So this week we started doing something quite different in our mission. You know how missionaries walk around knocking on doors and contacting random people a lot? Well we've changed how we do that quite a bit. We have started offering blessings at people's houses to cure the sick and help out with whatever difficulty they are having. It's something that Jesus told his 70 disciples to do in Luke 10:5-9. So we have been doing that and have been having a lot of success with that lately. The last couple of weeks we've had real problems finding new people (and by that I mean last week we had 0 and the week before that we had 2...), but this week we had 11! That's a 550% improvement from two weeks ago and an infinite number times the ones that we had last week! Needless to say, it was a pretty good week.
Also, while we're in the business of blessing people, why not curse people at the same time, right? Well, that's not exactly what we were trying to do, but it just kind of happened. A couple of weeks ago we were working with Sônia and Benedito, and Benedito was really working a lot more than he should have been. So we told him that he needed to stop working so much, stop smoking, and start living the commandments or his life would be destroyed. We specifically mentioned his family, his work, and his salvation. Salvation's just a small part of that. Buuuut guess what he did! He went right back to work the next day as if we hadn't said anything. And the next couple of weeks went really downhill for him. He sells oranges out of his house, and normally Sônia sits and sells them all day. Usually they sell in the range of R$100 per day. Since two weeks ago when we told this to Benedito, they've sold maaaaybe R$50. In two weeks. And the papers for the marriage have gotten even more messed up than they were before. And they've been fighting a lot with their daughter, Julia.
We were really worried about Sônia, because she's doing everything that she needs to and following all the commandments, but she's kind of being hurt by all this that's happening. So on Friday we went over there and offered Benedito one more chance to fix everything. We told him that if he started living all the commandments and stopped working on Sundays and did everything right from that day on, the blessings that he was receiving would be restored. But if he didn't, that it would get a lot worse. The last time that we said this stuff, Elder Stewart said it, but this time I said everything. When I said that things would get a lot worse if he didn't stop, I felt this power that really kind of scared me. As if there was no doubt at all that he would be much worse of a little bit later. And Elder Stewart said that he felt it, too. The good news about all this? Benedito went back to work on Saturday. And didn't come to church on Sunday because he was working. We saw him pull into his house (he lives across the street from the church) at about 12:10 PM on Sunday. 10 minutes after church ended. I'm really kind of scared about what will happen to him. Sônia has been talking about leaving him so that she can finally get baptized, which, sadly, might be the best thing for her right now.
Hopefully we'll have a baptism here pretty soon! We've got a couple of men that we're working with as well. Manuel and Cleomar, who are trying really hard to get themselves ready to be baptized. They actually set their own baptism date for the 13th of this month. We'll see how that goes! And they said they'd come to General Conference!
Well, that's all I got today! I love you guys! Have a good week!
-Elder Hopper #1