So I'm going to continue my account of what happened last week, just so you don't miss the rest of the story. When we left off, Elder Hanley was really down and embarassed on the bus, and I started to notice that something was wrong.
"I gripped his shoulder a bit and when he turned I saw that he was crying. He explained to me that he has been frustrated in general about the language and everything, and it has been very discouraging. Because of the experiences that I had been having those past few days, I was able to have some real empathy and talk with him. I could tell that it made a big difference for him. For anyone that passes through a trial like that, the most important thing that you can do is trust in the Lord. Let Him be your crutches. Lay off your yoke and take His yoke upon you because He wants to push with you."
Sadly, Elder Hanley wasn't able to stay in the mission. I found out yesterday that he had to return home because of psychological problems. Hopefully he is able to return at some point.
"The day continued to imrove as we prepared for the three baptisms that evening. All six of us missionaries met up at the church in our area, and Ana Paula, Jessiane, and Kemily were all interviewed at the same time. I was a little bit anxious, because just as I explained to my companion, I have issues with relinquishing control. It's kind of a mixed up psychological issue that I have. I think perhaps it's a fear of failure. I'm basically like this: I almsost want to be pulled out of situations before the final test comes, because somehow that exempts me from any potential failure. But if I am still a part of the process when the final judgment comes, I hesitate to relinquish control for fear that I have not fulfilled my part. It's somewhat complex, and it's definitely something that I need to master.
"So that's how I was feeling. Gratefully the three of them passed their interviews and were cleared for baptism.
"The baptismal service was such a great experience. We had a mountain of people there, including a ton of investigators who had never seen a baptism. Jander baptized his wife, Ana Paula, Elder Cavalcante baptized Kemily, and I baptized Jessiane. It was sucn an amazing experience. The three of them have entered in the gate, and are not only procuring their own personal salvation, but are acting as shepherds, leading their friends and family towards the true Church. These were my first baptisms here in Brazil, and I am so grateful that Heavenly Father blessed me with the opportunity to work with them. They were truly elect women chosen by God."
Really good experiences, and even more great ones happened these past few days, but there's not enough time. We'll just have to talk after the mission.