Monday, April 15, 2013


I awoke early this morning to thunder so loud that it shook our
apartment, rattling the windows. It actually rolled, like a gigantic
boulder down the side of a canyon. The sky was an angry, murky red
and the rain was falling so hard that it broke through our roof in
places, oozing down the walls and creating a mini river in our
hallway. In my dazed, half-awake state, I was positive that it was the
second coming and I was trying to decide what we missionaries would
need to do here in Jequié. But the more I thought about it, the more I
remembered that the second coming can't happen quite yet because there
are still countries not open to missionary work. So I rolled over and
went back to sleep.
   I did hear a rumor, though, that the first Stake has been organized
in Saudi Arabia? Is that true, or just another missionary myth? If it
is true, I'm sure the second coming isn't too far off now! Here in
Jequié, sometimes I feel like we're right at the threshold. Yesterday
we had to drag a young woman out of the way of oncoming traffic
because she felt like she was done with living in this world. It was
very sad. What's even more sad is that such an occurrance is so normal
here. People's hearts are failing them and many are living in fear.
The most common reason that people say they can't come to church is
because if they leave their house, they know that things will have
been stolen by the time they get home. Most of the people here make
sure that there's always someone in the family guarding the house. It
reminds me of how at the end of the Book of Mormon people were
sleeping on their goods and their weapons so they wouldn't get
    How perfect it is that come June, there will be more missionaries
serving in the world than ever  before in the history of the church!
There's certainly work to be done. The forces of darkness will shrink
under the light of so many warriors of light! It's going to be
amazing, and I feel so blessed to be a part of it!

    This past weekend Marina was baptized. I hardly had a chance to
even write home about her, she was converted so fast! For pretty much
the entire time I've been here in Jequié, Sister Ellis and I have been
concentrating our efforts mainly on one long road, because there's
never a lack of work to be done and people to meet there, but no one
has even come close to being baptized. Every time Sister Ellis and I
prayed about moving on to another area, something always kept us on
that one road, Senhor do Bonfim. As we struggled to teach and help the
people there, little 12-year-old Marina slipped into our group of
investigators silently and almost imperceptibly. She joined a group of
other people who we brought to church and I, hardly thinking anything
of it, gave her a booklet to read and continue focusing on the older
members of the group, who professed to love the church experience but
had no interest in reading the Book of Mormon or being baptized.
Whenever we talked to them in their houses or on the street, Marina
always appeared to watch in silence. I routinely asked her if she'd
read the booklet I'd given to her and was surprised when she nodded
her head yes. I didn't get too excited, though. Lots of people say yes
just to please us. "Cool," I said. "And what did you understand?"
    I'm sure my jaw dropped almost to the floor when she proceeded to
explain the first principles and ordinances of the gospel with the
matter-of-factness of one who'd been raised in the church. Here in
Jequié, even the people who actually do read have a hard time
understanding the booklets we give them. We invited her to be baptized
and she accepted the invitation without hesitation. She read everything
we gave her and repeated back what she understood every time with
perfection. She even read to her mother. Her mother is very devoted to
her Pentecostal church, but she supported Marina through the whole
process of preparing for baptism and sat in on the lessons with her.
Then she got all dressed up and came to watch the baptism.  Marina is
such a strong young woman. I always used to be afraid of baptizing
children, but I'm not at all worried about Marina. In the days leading
up to her baptism, she was bullied by the other kids on the street for
her decision and heard numerous rumors about the evils of Mormonism,
but she firmly stood her ground and testified to everyone that she'd
received a witness from the Holy Ghost that the church is true and
boldly invited them to visit the church and see for themselves. She
even walked home from school all by herself rather than take the bus
because the kids were teasing her so bad. Her mother very lovingly
reminded her that we missionaries had warned her that the adversary
would try to stop her from being baptized. I think that woman knows
the church is true, too. I'm praying that she'll be willing to accept
it some day.

Well, out of time now. I love you all! The church is true, and no
matter how dark the world may appear at times, we can be the army of
the Lord, blazing trails of light! Go out there and shine!

-Sister Railee

P.S. Heed the council of the prophets! Be smart with your money and
have a good food storage. Storm's a' bruin'.

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