We thought that our teaching pool was filling up really fast. And it filled up with couples who are all legally wedded! #miracles
But yesterday we had ALL of our marked visits fall through. Which stinks when you are with a member who was super excited to help you out (the high priests get really excited to go out with the missionaries!) and at the end of the day he says "well boys, we did all we could do... which was absolutely nothing" and chuckles to himself. Yup that kinda stinks. But compared with the sucess we were having, I think the Lord felt we needed a dose of humility.
I went on an exchange in Jardim Ipê (second area) and I was very happy to see some of the people who we taught, baptized, reactivated, etc. But the primary purpose was to help that area become productive again. President called Elder Ritchie during the exchange to ask why Ipe was going so poorly, and poor Elder Ritchie got an earful... and forgot to mention that we were in the very same hour, in exchanges to help them! :) It is a great ward that I hope I can help out again.
Afonso Pena is a great ward. Everyweek on the mission, I understand better the need for the members to bring their friends to church, and fellowship the people who are visiting. Manytimes we teach people who have a special experience with the Book of Mormon, but when they go to church, the sisters in the ward look down on the wife because she didn´t have time to brush her hair while she was preparing the children, or the husband never used a tie in his life and it was a bit messy on his neck... etc. It needs to be a place where they´ll get a hug, and someone with take the children off to primary, and someone will ask their names, and someone will sit down beside them and explain how to read a himnal, and the bishop will tell them that they are welcome to return next week. Afonso Pena has enourmous potential for the Lord to bless them with converts because the bishop is fantastic at making everyone feel welcome, and he personally asks them to come back next week.
I love this ward. I love the Lord.