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Sep 8, 2009

I will never forget Mineola

Excerpts from João E-mail of Aug 31, 2009

This last week was my Portuguese week of the mission. Let me tell you why... One of my companions left to another area. So it is me and Elder Pucheta from Argentina. His English is very limited, and the country and culture is all very new to him. He is a good teacher and a good companion. He is a believer in missionary work. I will send a picture with him next week hopefully.

The beginning of the week was not as I wished; we would go from one door to another, one former investigator to another without any success. I prayed fervently for inspiration, for direct revelation in what to do. I believe it was Thursday evening that I got the impression to visit an old investigator who has not been progressing. He is a nice man with a good family. Good Christian background. As we knocked on his door we heard his voice from behind us. He had just come home from work. He said he was very busy at the time, but would like to meet with us the following week. He insisted on us coming. We went on to talk a little bit about God and how he admired his works in his life. He is a good man. As he talked I got the revelation I was looking for. It was as clear as if it was written in front of me "ask this man if there are any Portuguese people who live in the neighborhood." It came time after time, and would not leave me. For a moment I almost thought about ignoring it, and then it even came with more power, that I just blurted it out, interrupting Jim Mchugh. He was not bothered and immediately answered "sure, sure they're all over the place, go down the street and knock on door 72, young Portuguese family, let them know I sent you."

Let me explain why I asked this man what I did. I knew previously that there was a community of Portuguese people here, but never really thought about exploring the idea so much. God knew different.

We knocked on door 72 without success. We continued on to knock the rest of the street. A few rejections followed door 72, until we get to end of the street. As I ring the bell, rain begins to pour! It's getting close to the hurricane season. A man shorter than I welcomed us in out of the rain. 

I introduced myself with emphasis on my name of course. He had a son running around him. We told them that families could be together forever. I asked him if we could come in and teach him. He was hesitant, and said maybe another day. As we were leaving with him our number he asks me if I'm Portuguese. The rest is history.
We get talking and he tells his son to call his wife is downstairs. His wife is Brazilian. Both have lived here all of their lives. She immediately recognized who we were and welcomed us in to their home. I could not believe that this was actually happening. The mother had previously met missionaries in Brazil when she was very young.
We taught the restoration lesson. And as I shared the 1st vision with them, both had tears in their eyes. The spirit was so strong. So powerful. This was the ideal lesson, and it only got better when she said, "I have all I really need in my life, but we have never been really satisfied, never really happy." I wish I could write all of what happened, and I guess I will only be able to share it better when I am with you again. The rest of the week we found three other families with Portuguese or Brazilian roots. All of them complete families, all of them ready to be baptized and come to church. I have never met such prepared people. I'm guessing that our attendance in gospel principles class will be same as our branch!

I love this work, and no e-mail can really allow me to express what it means to me, what these people mean to me. I will never forget New York. I will never forget Mineola.


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