There is no other way that I can start our this letter then saying
GLORIA A DEUS!!!! E ALTISSIMO NO MESMO!
These are about the only words that I can possibly express right now.... Gloria a Deus, who is the highest of all! Family, I am a literal living witness of the hand of God. I am a literal witness of his magnificant power and love for his sons and daughters. I am a witness of angels manifesting to our people, in our times. I am a literal witness of the awesome power of the one and only living God. The God in which I will glorify and love for the rest of my life and for eternity. There is not a person nor thing on this planet that could make change the feelings that I have for my Lord and Savior Jesus Cristo, who has saved me so many time and saved my brothers so many times. So one more time, I have to say from the deepest part of my heart,
GLORIA A DEUS!!!!!! O DEUS AMAROSO!!!!
I know I keep saying it over and over and over, but there is no way on this planet that I can have a better week then the week that I just had!!! There is no possible way, save it be by the hand of God. This will be kind of a longer letter for you all to recieve, so I hope when you read it you can sit down for a second and just see the miracles that you son, brother, uncle, and best friend is seeing over here in Portugal. There are a couple things that I want to talk about today. The first thing that I will talk about is faith:):):) Faith in the Lord Jesus Cristo. Let me tell you all about the biggest miracle, and blessing that I have seen in my entire life.
On monday we got a call from the ZLºs that we would have a meeting in Coimbra the next day and that we all needed to be there. Kinda of weird but we prepared ourselves and left our house Tuesday at 530AM to pick up the Castelo Branco Elderes and arrive in Coimbra on time. There at Coimbra we had a good meeting with the ZLºs who had just got done talking to our ever so inspired mission president Moroni Torgan. The Captian Moroni of our days. They told us about what he told them and we talked for a while. Then they invited us to kneal down as a companionship and pray about someone that the Lord had prepared for us to baptize, someone that the Lord literally had prepared. So we did:)
Elder Peacock and I prayed to know, and the Lord gave a very strong answer. As we prayed a name came very clearly to my mind, even to the point where I could literally see this person entering the waters of baptism. I could literally see who it was, but when I recognized him the first thing I thought was... NO WAY... not possible. But as we ended the prayer Elder Peacock turned to me and confirmed what the Lord had shown me, he turned and said the name of E:):):):):):) Aka the very man Elder Maldonado and I had found one of the first days in Covilha, and who had told us that he didnt want to talk to us anymore haha. From that second on I knew it was going to be a big battle:) But I also knew that the Lord had confirmed in our hearts that he had prepared E to accept us.
So the next day, Wednesday, we called him and asked him if we could talk to him. When we got to his house I had no clue what we were going to talk about or how we were going to let him know that the Lord wanted him to be baptized 4 days later, on Sunday. But the one thing that I did know, gave me the courage to do it anyways, and that is I did know that the Lord had told me that E needed to be baptized. So we talked to him the first day, taught the plan of salvation, and let him know what the Lord had told us.... he rejected, but accepted to meet with us every day until Sunday. We took that hahaha and that is exactly what we did. Every day we taught him a new lesson, full of faith and every day he told us that he did not feel ready to be baptized and that he had never recieved an answer that this is the true church and the only way to return to our Heavenly Father. Ernesto expressed to us how he knows that baptism is one of the most important steps in life and that he needed to have a surety that this is the true path to follow. Pretty much his whole life he has been confused by other churches and has been in this confusion not knowing what to do. As we taught him, it still didnt come to him and as we prayed and prayed and prayed with him he never recieved an answer. It got to the point where he started wondering if God would ever answer his question.
But every single day that we met up with him we let him know that his baptism was on Sunday and that we had no doubts. We let him know that we could not deny the response that God had given to us and that we would continue to tell him that until Sunday night at 11:59PM. He continued to reject us. So we told him that if he did 3 things he would get a answer from God, that is OLA orar, ler, e assistir a igreja, or pray, read, and come to church.
So we taught him every single day up to Sunday, and on sunday we started our trip to Castelo Branco together (we had a branch conference so the meetings were at Castelo Branco that day). I gave him a white shirt and the best tie that I have (yup you all know what tie I am talking about;):) and we drove down together. This was the make it or break it moment for Ernesto. We got to church and not everything ran like I thought it would. For example, the sunday school teacher taught about the principle of the fall of Adam and Eve and Ernesto and the teacher got into a gospel fight over it hahaha. Things didnt go like they were supposed to in my mind. AFter church we all knelt down and said a prayer. AFter we asked him if he had recieved an answer during church and he let us know that he honestly didnt.
Up to this point I had shown all the faith that I had. I had worked as hard as I could and shown sooooo much faith in the Lord Jesus Cristo, and when he told us that he hadnt recieved an answer, I almost died.... my heart was broken. I had done EVERYTHING in my power.... and I had failed...:( I specifically remember Elder Peck asking me quickly if E would be baptized, and me telling him NO he wouldnt. We then got in the car and headed home. My hopes and dreams absolutely crushed and my heart sooooooooo confused about the feeling that we had both recieved a couple of days before. But it was at that point that the Lord gave us another chance. And this is the following, how the biggest miracle I have ever seen with my eyes happened:)
Et began to talk about Baptism and how he felt like he was not prepared and how he had not recieved that confirmation that he needed to make the biggest decision of his life. Be he let us know that ever since he had been talking to us he had been feeling so much better and how much he liked some of the things that were said in church. I told him that is the Holy Ghost testifying but about the truthfulness of these things. Then I asked if we could just go say ONE MORE PRAYER in the church house in Covilha. I told him, ERNESTO I STILL KNOW THAT GOD WANTS YOU TO BE BAPTIZED TODAY, I HAVE NO DOUBTS AT ALL, I KNOW THAT IT IS HARD FOR YOU TO SEE RIGHT NOW, BUT I HAVE 0 DOUTBS ABOUT THIS. Then he asked us if he could spend more time with us because he felt so good being around us learning more about Cristo and talking about Cristo. So we arrived to the chapel and we all knelt down and starting saying prayers, over and over and over. We talked about the fall of Adam and Eve to try to help him out, and it just didnt work.... nothing was working to get him an answer. Finally I felt like we needed to tie everything into faith in the Lord Jesus Cristo... so we did:)
After talking for a little bit, we realized we had not eaten and decided that we could eat and then continue talking. He agreed and we all met back up at the chapel at 3PM to continue talking. We ate and it was good haha. AFter he let us know that at 6 he had to call his family, and it would be better if we could just keeping talking the next day, aka today. Right there we testified again, E YOU WILL BE BAPTIZED TODAY! So we talked about the church and the gospel for a while just trying everything we could but nothing was helping him. We said prayers and he wasnt getting anything. It got to the point where he had to go back to talk on the phone to his family in Cabo Verde, and we said a closing prayer before he would leave. AFter that and idea came to my heart, clearly the Spirit. I followed the idea and we all headed downstairs in the church and walked over to the baptismal fonte. We told him, ERNESTO SHOW YOUR FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS CRISTO, AND SHOW HIM THAT YOU WILL FOLLOW HIS ANSWER WHEN HE TELLS YOU THAT YOU NEED TO BE BAPTIZED TODAY, AND TURN ON THE WATER TO THE BAPTISMAL FONTE...... hahaha he didnt like that at first haha he told us no no no no NO that he wasnt prepared. So we decided to say ONE MORE PRAYER. and GLORIA A DEUS:):):) We all stood up and said this prayer, and we had Ernesto say it. He POURED POURED POURED out the feeling of his heart, pleading with the Lord to answer his prayers and let him know if this was the true church of God on the earth and that he needed to be baptized today....... and with the VERY LAST PRAYER, I stand as a witness the Lord answered with his great power. Ernesto prayed for a good 20 minutes pouring out his heart, and I could not help but bust out crying for the sincerity of his heart. I was literally cryin and pleading with the Lord in my heart the whole time PLEASE LORD PLEASE ANSWER THIS MANS BIGGEST DESIRE TO KNOW!!! During the prayer I had a legit feeling that I need to testify in the Name of Jesus Cristo that the Book of Mormon is from God and that the baptism needed to be today! So after the prayer, the second after, we all looked at each other, and we could tell that something had happened to Ernesto. I looked him in the eyes and told him, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CRIST I TESTIFY THAT THAT BOOK IS OF GOD, AND YOU NEED TO BE BAPTIZED TODAY. LOOK IN THAT BOOK NOW!!! (hahaha I almost lifted the arm to the square there). He ran over to the book of Mormon, opened it for one second, and his body literally started shaking. After 2 seconds of looking at the book of Mormon he ran (literally ran) over to the fonte and turned on the water and asked us if we could pray more:):):) We all ran upstairs and took each other hand by hand and starting praying. I started praying and literally cried my entire prayer, then Elder Peacock did the same. After E prayed for another good 20 minutes and the whole time thanked the Lord with all of his heart for answering his prayer. His testified that he knew that his baptism was that day, that Jose Smith was a true profeta de God and that he had left all the confusion and found the true church of God. :):):):):):):)
Within a matter of 20 minutes God had shown his hand in such a power that we were literally shaking. He answered E prayer with such a power that he could never deny it. As we prayed and showed our thanks to the Lord, it started to POUR rain. We finished and he looked at us with an urgency saying that he needs to be baptized...:):):):) We agreed and ran down stairs to the fonte. He asked if he could be baptized outside, we told him that there was a good spot in Castelo Branco to be baptized in the river. He took me by the armed and pulled me to the door saying, WE NEED TO GO NOW!!! So we did:) We got to Castelo Branco, he was interviewed by Elder Peck, and we drove down to the river. By this time it was 9:30PM at night and it was dark:) We shined the car lights for the river, and we changed into our white clothes.
I have never felt such a feeling as going into the water with my brother, raising my arm to a square, and baptizing the brother who will be my brother until the end. :):) After he came up out of the water, I looked at him with teary eyes and hugged him.
E G P C was baptized at 9:39PM, in Castelo Branco, on the 21st of Agosto, 2011, FOUR DAYS AFTER TALKING WITH US......
GLORIA A DEUS!!! GLORIA A DEUS, QUEM E AMAROSO, MISEIRICORDIOSO!!!
God has shown me his hand, in the moment that he knew it had to happen. I have felt then presence of an angel as we prayed that day in the house of the Lord, angels exist, and I will forever stand witness of the Glory of God! I am a witness of his Glory. I will forever fall his word, I will forever help my family, my brothers, and anyone I know return to his glorious presence.
Now, about faith. My faith has probably tripled in the last 4 days. I have never had to show as much faith, nor have had to fight so hard for the my faith, as I did these last couple of days. By our faith, we can see miracles! It is by our faith (and not the universal faith but faith in the Lord Jesus Cristo) that we allow God to show his hand in our lives. It is by our faith that we move mountains, we save lives, and we help others come unto the living God, and the living Cristo. I have no doubts that God lives, he loves us, and he has a plan for all of us to return to his presence, where we will always be in the warmth of his glory.
I love you family, I love you all! Thank you for your prayers, thank you for your faith. Have the best week ever! And never forget,
GOD LOVES YOU:)
Elder Daniel John Hatch