For FHE last Monday we had a lesson by a Brazilian couple, Elder and Sister Schoiser. They are really awesome and just extended their mission another year. They head up Public Relations for the Brazil Area, and they are very good at it. Well, he told us a couple neat stories in his lesson that I thought I would pass along before I forget.
There was a city in Brazil (he didn't identify it), where all the pastors of the other churches got together and formed a pact against the church - committing to speak against the church and not support anything done by the church, and ensure that they warned their members against hearing the missionaries, etc. This made missionary work in that city just about come to a standstill, and even the members were having a hard time. After praying about it and considering the circumstances, the mission president announced to his assistants that he had decided to put a brand new pair of Elders in the city (he even used the term Greenies). There was quite a bit of discussion as the assistants thought the area was hard enough already, without having new missionaries there. But, the President was convinced and put a new pair of missionaries in the city. When they arrived there, they knelt and prayed then went out to work - feeling that they should go to the local radio station and see if they could get an interview to smooth out relations - not knowing, of course, about the pact of the pastors. Well, it turns out (not coincidence, of course) that all the pastors were having a meeting with the radio announcer that very afternoon, which was just finishing up when the young missionaries arrived. The secretary thought that they were part of the group so she ushered them into the room. The pastors, I'm sure a little embarrassed, closed the meeting, having achieved their objective - committing the radio announcer to speak against the church. When they left, the missionaries were there in the back room with the radio announcer by themselves. The announcer looked at them, and noticed one of the name badges and asked, "Elder Amoral, are you from ... ?" and named a city up in the North of Brazil by Teresina. The Elder responded, "Yes." and the announcer said, "And your mother is Maria Gabriela Amoral?" A bit astonished, the Elder said, "Yes! But how did you know that?" The announcer then said, "I know it because I am her brother."
The radio announcer, his family and several others were baptized within a two week period, he began to announce in favor of the church and church activities, and the church started growing like crazy in that city - the fastest growing in the whole mission.
The second story is similar, in one of the activities - like "helping hands", some of the young people brought a friend that ended up getting baptized. His father was a pastor for the Assembly of God church, which is really big in Brazil and speaks against the church regularly. But when his son decided to go on a mission, the father would proudly tell people, "My son is Mormon Missionary, serving the Lord." When his son came home from his mission, he baptized his father into the church. His father is super active and one of the local leaders and has helped teach the gospel to many of his former congregation.
Just a couple stories to show how much the Lord is involved in the missionary work - here in Brazil and throughout the world. I am more and more convinced that there are very few (if any) coincidences when it comes to the Lord's work - His plan is awesome... and as God's children, we're all awesome!
Love you all,
Dad and Mom