A Tribute to Irmão Joaquim
Wow. Família e Amigos!
This week was one to remember. We had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows this week. My testimony was strengthened more than I thought of the Plan of Salvation. I never thought this day would come. Our best friend, walking buddy, 3rd companion and grandpa here in Portugal, Irmão Joaquim passed away yesterday in Sacrament Meeting.
I honestly have no words to describe how much I miss him but I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to get to know him during my 5 months here in Leiria. I have a firm testimony that everything happens for a reason and I know that one of the biggest reasons I was sent to Leiria was to be able to get to know Joaquim Brites and learn from this wonderful man. If there was anyone more prepared for the mansion in Heaven that he deserved, it is Irmão Joaquim. I am so grateful for the knowledge that we have to know that death is not the end. Irmão Joaquim was one of the most Christlike man I have ever known- always thinking about others, always wanting to help serve the Lord and the missionaries and always bearing his testimony whether he meant to or not. I have no doubt that he will have the sweetest reunion with our Heavenly Father and Savior.
27 And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen.
It amazing how comforted I have been since his death. I have had this peaceful feeling. I know God lives. I know He has a perfect plan for his imperfect children. Because of Joaquim I will live my life striving to honor him and the example he gave to me of how to truly live the gospel. The last 3 memories I have of him are of the mornings of the last 3 days of his life.
Friday morning, showing up at our door to drop off Pão de Quejo and Chocolate for us because he knew it was our favorite. (Serving others)
Saturday morning, calling us to say he is outside of our apartment with 3 huge bags full of fruit. (Serving others)
Sunday morning, Blessing the Sacrament bread before taking his last breath (Serving others)
Joaquim lived his life in the service of others. He truly lived Mosiah 2:17 “When you are in the service of others you are in the service of your God.”
To repay him, that is what I will strive my whole life to do. Never again will I think about myself before thinking about someone else. In short, Joaquim was truly a Christlike man. I want to be more like Christ because of His example.
For the sweet part of the week: Carla and João are getting baptized this Saturday at 7:30!!! They are both absolutely amazing! Carla made a comment as we were teaching her and said “Every time I walk into church, this warm feeling just completely envelopes me and starts from my head and goes all the way to my toes. What is that??” We then were able to testify of the spirit and she got so excited and said “THAT´S IT! THAT`S IT!!! I never want to leave Church. EVER. Every Sunday I wish we could just stay all day. And now that I am meeting with you both, I feel the SAME exact feeling and I never want you to leave” My testimony was strengthen once again about the power of the spirit. The spirit is so powerful and is the biggest comforter. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have as a missionary to help people recognize the spirit and enter the waters of baptism. It is the most incredible opportunity. And João told us last night “I have been thinking a lot and I want to do what you two are doing. I want to be a missionary so that I can help other people find the truth and feel as happy as I am now. So I decided to start now and invited all my friends to my baptism and to learn more about this church. I know it is the only true church on the earth.” Wow. I do not even any of these miracles but I am so grateful that the Lord is blessing my life by helping others come to have this happiness that I have.
I absolutely love the Gospel. I absolutely love this opportunity I have to be a missionary. Every day I wake up excited to see what miracles the Lord has in store for me. Every day I wake up so grateful for the opportunity to live one more day as a representative of Him. I love my Savior. I love my Heavenly Father. I love the Plan of Salvation and that knowledge I have that I will be able to see Irmão Joaquim again, resurrected and perfect.
Have a fantastic week!! Remember to tell the ones you love how much they mean to you 🙂 I LOVE YOU ALL! THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT AND LOVE!!!
Com MUITO amor,