Meet Nino and Anna. They've been an unmarried couple for years. Suellen is their daughter. Then they met the Elders and started coming to A Igréja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Ultimos Dias (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). They were welcomed warmly, felt comfortable, kept coming, kept learning with the help of the Elders' lessons and decided to become members. We got to know them well during the Churrascaria two weeks ago. Good, obedient people! Dennis and I were part of a supporting cast, helping wherever we could, throughout the five big events of this crazy week.
First, they had to change some lifelong habits.
Second, on Monday, they were married civilly, as the Brazilian law requires. Bishops and stake presidents cannot legally marry couples here. Marriage licenses are very expensive and require long waits.
Third, they were clean before the Lord and were worthy to become baptized. On Thursday evening, we all traveled to the ward in Guaraitúba, about 25 miles away. All went well, but it was a VERY cold evening. There is no central heating in any buildings. When it is cold outside, it is cold inside. Everyone wears their coats and sweaters inside. Even so, Brazilians open all doors and windows (?!) Anna smiled as she shivered before, during and after her baptism. But that's what they do . . .
Fourth, they wanted a ring ceremony in the chapel in Guaraitúba, with the Bispo (Bishop) giving them counsel, their repeating vows, exchanging rings, and signing their marriage certificate. Following was a reception in the "sala da Sociadade de Secorro" (Relief Society room).
And fifth, on Sunday, August 17, during Ward Conference, Nino and Anna were confirmed as members of the Church and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Next Sunday, August 24, Nino will probably be ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. We will visit them regularly, teaching, answering questions they have, encouraging them as they work toward going to the Temple in one year.