Saturday, April 20, 2013

Uncle Elbie


I so wish I could just spend all day P-day reading your letters and rejoicing in them. Corresponding with you all this way is so joyous! You are all so good with words and have such beautiful lives. Gaaaaah. I love you so much.

Want to hear a great story from this week? On sunday we met with our branch for the first time. Brother Christofferson, one of the counselors in the Branch Presidency, gave the closing talk. At the end of his talk, as part of his testimony, he said something along the lines of: "I love you Elders. I'm excited to see the missionaries you become. I love my wife and my wonderful kids and grandkids. But most of all I love you Sisters. Thank you for giving up your childbearing years to serve the Lord. As you serve faithfully, you will be blessed, and there will be plenty of children for you when you return home."

WHAT!!!???? Sister Duke and I just looked at each other and our eyes got all wide. Then we both immediately looked at our laps and bit our tongues. We were miraculously able to keep from laughing at least until the closing hymn started. Phew! Giving up our childbearing years!? Yep, that is definitely what I was thinking about when I considered the sacrifices I would have to make to go on a mission. It was either go on a mission or stay home and bear children right now. And all these 19-year-olds were definitely thinking that too. Oh mercy. Bless his heart. Oh, and it was also just funny that he accidentally implied that he loves the Sister missionaries more than his own family. Bizarre.

We watch these little video clips about people in class sometimes and then think how we would teach those people. At first I thought they were an MTC resource, but I think they are actually something done by the NY Times. They're called "One in a Million" and they are just little 3 - 5 minute glimpses into a person's life. They are really cool. I think you would especially like them, Wayne. Keep an eye out for them.

The highlight of this week was undoubtedly Tuesday night. Ever since we got here we'd been hearing rumors about how there hadnt been a general authority here for a while, so we were overdue. Well, on Tuesday night we got to devo early so we could have good seats. I was sitting there writing in my journal when suddenly everyone in the auditorium stood up in unison and the room instantly became silent. Elder Scott walked in!! He gave the devotional that night and man, it was powerful. I wish I could describe the experience. He spoke about prayer. His words were beautiful and powerful and instructive. But I feel like I was instructed even more by his manner and his countenance and his attitude. I thought to myself, "This man is a disciple of Jesus Christ. He has acheived the consecrated, humble, grateful, devoted life of a true disciple." He was somehow able to be so personal. At the beginning of his talk he said, "I would love to spend an hour with each of you - talking, sharing, weeping, laughing". And at the end of his talk he paused and then said he was impressed to pronounce an apostolic blessing. He blessed us with many beautiful things, including the ability to master the language we are learning. He also mentioned (both in his talk and in the blessing) that the Sister missionaries serving would find that their choice to serve a mission would "bless you eternally - bless your homes, bless your families, bless your future husbands and children in ways you can't even imagine". Rad, huh? It was such a neat experience. The spirit was tangibly, resonatingly there.

On Thursday night we had a substitute teacher who served in Lisbon! It was awesome and got us all STOKED to get to Portugal. Oh my gosh, you guys, I'm so excited.

Heavenly Father knows us so well. He knew that I was going to adore speaking this language. I still have so so so much to learn, but learning Portuguese absolutely delights me. Especially the crazy Continental accent. It's SO weird. I love it SO much. Brother Mateer (the one who served in Portugal. He's actually from Scotland!) taught us how to say "A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Ulitmos Dias" in the continental accent. There are so many different ways to pronounce the letter S that each word in the name of the church that ends with "os" has a diffferent pronunciation! Crazy!

Oh dangalang I have so much more to tell you. Wayne wanted more character sketches of my district peeps. Sister Brand is great. She's this tiny blonde-haired super interesting illustration major. She was telling us the other day how, as an illustrator, she thinks drawing skinny bodies is boring. "Big bodies have so much more movement. It's beautiful." She has this way nice camera and is taking to Portuguese like a fish because she studies so dang diligently. I think she's going to be a powerful missionary.

Elder Passmore told us a story about his Great Uncle Elbie, who served in WWII and aparently took a whole beach of enemy territory without shooting anybody. Before he told us the story, he said, "Once you hear this story about my Great Uncle Elbie, you're going to say, 'That man's all man.'" His full name is Elbie Bowcook. And Elder Passmore's full name is Denim Garrison Passmore. Oh my H-town (that's a Sister Brand-ism) I wish you could meet them all.

Ok well I'm over time, even though I sneakily printed your emails out, logged off, read them, then logged back in to write back.

Thank you for the love and prayers and mail.

Mom - thank you for the packages! Mail is so fun here. The chocolate cherry bread was divine. Sister Brand especially loved it and told me to tell you thank you. I think sweeter chocolate chips would be a good addition, and maybe some sugar. Elder Passmore asked if it was made with rye flour. Was it? We loved it so much, even though we're never hungry. Don't feel like you have to send goodies - they just sit on our classroom shelf and tempt us. Then we go to the cafeteria. Then we go back to the classroom. Then we go back to the cafeteria. Then we (hallelujah!) have our beloved Gym time, where Sister Duke teaches me beastly workouts and we sweat hard.


Time is so short. But I love being a missionary and I love having the best family in the universe. I'm super stoked for the SZ ring! I hope it's a good fit. Between my 10 fingers it's bound to fit at least one, right?

O evangelho e verdadeiro! The gospel is true. It really is. It is too beatiful and uplifting and empowering to not be true. I know this because we're teaching a fake investigator named Augosto and he has 4 kids and I want to meet them SO BAD even though I know they don't exist and he's "coming to church" with us on Sunday and I can't wait and when we sit in his "house" and teach him I feel SO much love for him and when I tell him that I know the gospel of Jesus Christ will bring more light and peace and seguranca into his home I mean it. Really, truly, 100%.


Thank you for sending me poetry. I love it.

Be excellent to yourselves and to each other. Nate, good luck getting all ready for quals and then the mish! Keep me posted on that time table!

Ah, my heart, it's like, my heart. It hurts so good.

Hug each other for me.


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