Linus turned eight and was baptized! In planning his program, he wanted to both give a testimony and say the closing prayer. In keeping with tradition, he asked someone non-musical to lead the music. Ruby got to stand and wave her arm around like she knew what she was doing.

Linus was very excited, and we were excited for him. Like many kids getting baptized, he was on his best behavior. We struggled to find a white suit small enough for him, but the branch had a suit that only needed to be rolled up 8" on the legs.

Woo baptized Linus in Portuguese (after explaining to the kids what every word meant in Portuguese and English on the drive up) and confirmed him in English. I decided to speak in English, since my talk was for Linus. One of the sister missionaries translated for me.

The branch members were very generous in their support of us, traveling to the baptism and being thrilled to give a talk or say a prayer. There were a couple of small presents for Linus, and luckily, the RS President came through with a pot of traditional Portuguese fare for the Portuguese after the baptism. They seemed a bit wary of my sandwiches (but the Americans and Brazilian were happy with them).

I thought it was the least stressful baptism we'd ever had--I didn't forget anything! Woo thought it was the most (he spent the morning making too many phone calls to arrange rides for the carless). The day ended with a crazy drive to a chapel for a district primary leadership meeting--wrong turns, tolls, and a complete inability to find the church. We walked around a surprisingly sketchy area for like half an hour before someone came out and found us.

Other events of the week:

There was a weather advisory of "extreme cold." It never reached freezing, but the wind was relentless. We were cold.

Moses' teacher made him promise to wear three jackets to school, because there was a walking field trip planned. He did (and a hat besides!), but the field trip was cancelled.

It's started...
Penelope: Mom! You sound like a... like a... dumb person speaking Portuguese!
Ruby (laughing): Mom! You have such an American accent!
What can I say... I am an American. And I always knew the kids were the ones with the real chance to master Portuguese anyways.

On the other hand... Linus stared at a man speaking English from London before he laughed and turned to me.
"What did he say?"
Carnaval is now? I guess, I don't really understand it, other than it's kind of obnoxious. Moses, Linus, Penelope and Archie got to march in an elementary school parade in the city center. Each school had a different costume theme. Our school was emojis. Moses, Linus and Archie mostly looked horribly bored, like they'd been asked to stand in line, in the rain, for an hour, then go for a long walk around town.

Archie was the maddest, "And then we didn't even get any candy!!"

The kids in preschool wore a different costume every day of the week. Archie only had two.
Archie: Can we go to Lidl tomorrow and buy me a costume?  
Me: No. 
Archie shrieks, then cries.
Penelope: What’s wrong, Archie? 
Archie: Mom said we’re never going to shopping again, ever!  
And we’re just going to run out of food and die!  
Penelope (laughing): Come on, Archie! 
Archie: Okay! 
They ran away, hand-in-hand, laughing.

Ruby and Herbie's school had a three hour long party. Herbie hated it! Maybe partly because he was a little sick, but the music was giving him a headache. He left to sit outside and almost came home.

Woo rigged up a "surfing-exercise-station" in the garage for days when it was too cold and the waves were just too crazy to surf. It consists of an old surf board on top of two flat soccer balls, but I think he's switched the soccer balls out for something better. He also did some skateboarding in the garage, and he even braved the craziness to go surfing a few times. One day was good, one day was bad.

Here Ruby left a little something on the board for the entire Sunday School to stare at for their entire lesson. I think she was suitably embarrassed when she realized what had happened.

Penelope wrote a very nice note to Linus for his birthday.

It came to my attention that I haven't been taking the instruction of our new prophet, President Nelson, seriously enough. I'd been studying the Living Christ and reading all the entries about Jesus Christ from the topical guide, but had started to slow down. I had never started to write lists about the Book of Mormon.

Anyways, after being called to repentance, I memorized the Living Christ in an hour (easy to do when you've memorized it before and have been "ponderizing" it with the kids), read more topical guide entries every day and paid more attention, and started my Book of Mormon list. I hadn't started that one because it sounded so boring to me for some reason. But when I started, I saw that my own list items were more interesting... which was maybe half the point. Your own personal list is... personal.

I hope your week was great!

Linus' Testimony:

Eu estava animada para ser batizado e finalmente fui batizado! Jesus foi batizado para mostrar um exemplo e quero seguir Jesus.

I have been very excited to be baptized and now I finally am baptized! Jesus was baptized to show us and example and I want to follow Jesus.

My Talk: (Why?!? Why not? Plus, I didn't include my white-bread testimony last week...)

Linus, the Gift of the Holy Ghost is one of the most valuable gifts we can ever receive in this life. It is more valuable than 1000 soccer balls. It’s more valuable than 100,000 Apple Watches. It’s more valuable than 10 billion dollars. Very few people who have ever lived on the earth have been privileged to receive this Gift. And you are one of them, Linus.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost contains many things great and small. It includes all the gifts of the Spirit. With these gifts men, women and children can do amazing things, miraculous even. They can prophecy or speak with the tongue of angels; they can heal others; they can feel peace even when angry storms rage all around them; they can know the exact right thing to do at the exact right time they need to do it; and they can even get to a point where Jesus Christ himself can come and speak to them.

But the power of the Holy Ghost doesn't come by magic because we have been given the gift, we have to earn it. Dad will lay his hands upon your head and command you to receive the Holy Ghost. He will say, "Linus, I say unto you, receive the Holy Ghost!"

He will give you the gift, but YOU have to decide to receive it. It is exactly as if your Heavenly Father has given you a present, but you have to decide to open it and then use it.

To receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost we have to decide to do things EVERY SINGLE DAY that invite the Holy Ghost to be with us.

You already know and do many of these. One of the most important ones is to read the Book of Mormon every day. I know you have been reading the Book of Mormon every day for awhile now, Linus, and I know that many times you read very well. I know you know when you are feeling the Holy Ghost, and that sometimes, even, the Book of Mormon speaks directly to you.

But other times you do not read so well. You pretend to read and you do not feel the Holy Ghost, but it is important to read to feel the Holy Ghost because the Holy Ghost will give you power. The power to become more like Jesus Christ every day.

Another important way to invite the Holy Ghost every day is to pray. I know you have said prayers when you’ve been scared in the night. That good feeling of comfort that helped you go to sleep was the Holy Ghost. I know you’ve said prayers when you’ve lost things. That little idea of where to look was the Holy Ghost. I know you know that Heavenly Father answers your prayers. When you say a good prayer, even when you don’t want to, maybe especially when you don’t want to, the Holy Ghost will come to you because your Heavenly Father is so happy to hear from you, because He loves you. 

Another way to invite the Holy Ghost is to sing or listen to music the Holy Ghost likes. I remember one time when I was a little girl, I was waiting for my mom to pick me up. She was late and I was all alone. I was scared, so I sang, “I’m a child of God” out loud, right there in a parking lot. I felt the Holy Ghost, and I knew I was safe.

I remember the time you and Penelope sang “Sou um filho de Deus” together in your afternoon class. You came home so happy because you were feeling the Holy Ghost and helping other people to feel it too.

There are others, but I will speak of only one more way to receive the Holy Ghost and that is to go to church every week and take the sacrament. When we take the sacrament the Holy Ghost cleanses us again, just like when we were baptized. But the sacrament does something more. It sanctifies us, which means it makes us a little bit better every time we take it. And when we worthily take the sacrament every week for years and years and years it changes us to become like Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost takes over our weaknesses and lifts us up to Jesus Christ, because the Holy Ghost has the power to do this through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Linus, I know that you are one of the greatest spirits of Abraham ever to come to earth. I know that Heavenly Father has great plans for you as a priesthood holder and as a missionary and as a father. I also know that you will not be able to live up to those plans without the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is what will bring you to know your Savior Jesus Christ and you will need to make a special effort every day to invite and receive the Holy Ghost.

I know that Jesus Christ lives and that he knows you, Linus. He loves you. And I do too.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.