Monday, July 29, 2013

Badly done, Emma

Remember in Emma when Mr. Knightley says that?  Yeah.  I didn't plan out my email time very well and now I have to run away.

But a picture is worth 1000 words right?  and I got some of those off at least!!

I led the area here in Lagos with Sister Rad for 4 days and it was EXHAUSTING.

-----------------------------------

Sorry it cut off!  Anyway.  Yeah.  For the rest of the week I felt like I was more of a survivor than a contributor.  But Tudo Bem!  Its an adventure!

Transfers next week and I am soooo on the edge of my seat to see what happens! Could stay, could go, could train, could be pretty much anything.  Gah!!


I love you so so  so much!  will write better next week!!

Sister Sandholtz



Here is me and Sister Rad.



Damasio got baptized yesterday!!



Here it is! This is the story of our companionship. Took this yesterday.

Monday, July 22, 2013

What Fine Legs

Gah!  only 13ish minutes today.  Yikes!  sorry!

Spent most of the week with Sister Radvansky in Loule.  Yes Wayne!  Loule!!  I love that we have walked some of the same streets.  So cool!  Where did you perform?  In the park ampitheater?  I love that park in Loule.

We had a lesson with this old lady named Zezinha who randomly throughout the lesson would look at my legs and exclaim, "What fine LEGS you have!"  She would then reach down and stroke Sister Rad's leg and comment, "You too!  So fine and smooth!  I can't even tell which one of you has finer legs!"  HA!!  This seriously happened 3 or 4 separate times during our lesson with her. 

I wrote my phone number on a drunk man's hand yesterday.  Only as a missionary, right!?

A man, you guys, missionary work is heartbreaking.  It's like your heart gets softer, but also it just gets kind of broken.  You have to learn to be a little bit emotionally detached, because you just have almost NO control over the things you want most for the people you care about.

I mean, Zeca pretty much disappeared.  He got a job (we heard), which is good, but he just stopped returning our phone calls completely and didnt come to church.  So sad!  He was progressing so happily towards baptism!  I swear you just have to relinquish all control into the wise, loving hand of Him who knoweth all things.

Gina and Elho are moving.  :(   Luckily, to Albufeira, which is part of the Loule area, so we can pass them along to Sisters Hill and Radvansky. 

Simone is back from Germany.  We finally connected with her last night.  I think I was subconsiously expecting her to have gotten some of her issues worked out at the treatment center, and to have connected with the missionaries we gave her reference to, and to be more ready to learn more about Christ.  But she's in pretty much the same place she was before she left.  She's just not emotionally/mentally stable enough to really be able to be taught by us right now.  So sad.  Christ is exactly who she needs!!  We are going to pass by tonight to have a kind of final lesson with her.  Sheesh!  At least we taught her to try to believe that God exists and how to pray to Him.


We met this Nigerian miracle named Damasio.  I will write more about him next week.

One of the things I love about being a missionary is being able to consecrate the small things.  Like, for instance, when my face was all sweaty and then I had to put sunscreen on and it just felt sticky and gross, I could be like, "Hey.  I'm wearing this sunscreen for Jesus!!" and then feel awesome about it.  Such a blessing. 

All right, best ones, I have to end this installment.  It sounds like you all had a great week!  I love you so so much.

Sister Sandholtz

Monday, July 15, 2013

vignettes

Love.  It is ALL about love, isnt it?  Man, I love you guys.  I just swam through your emails.  Sounds like you have had a blast of a time on the east coast!  Whoppee!  Give big hugs to each other and all the cousins for me.  Thanks for being the best family in the universe.  I cant tell you how fortifying your words are each week.  And your prayers.  Thank you!!

vignettes:

1. A Portuguese youth is sitting on a concrete siding.  We recognize him as David, an interesting, friendly atheist with whom we had a long conversation about 7 weeks ago.  "Hey David!"  (he is smoking), "Oh Hey, look, I know I'm sinning right now, but don't worry about it, I mean, I already believe in God now."  WHAT!?  We just BEAMED at him and sat down on either side and let him tell us about how he kind of just decided to have faith and how much happier he is now.  He still doesn't want a church.  But seriously it was maybe the happiest moment of my mission so far.  He kind of reminds me of a Portuguese Aaron McMurray.

2. Sister Radvansky and I arrive at the house of an old woman (in Loule, where I stayed Tues through Thurs).  Her daughter in law is there, so I start a conversation with her.  "What's your name?" "Welcome" "Oh thanks, what's your name?" "Welcome" "...Oh, thanks!, um, what's your name?"  "WELCOME!"  "Oh!  cool name."  Her name is Bem Vinda.  That means welcome.  Ha! 

3. Two pasty white girls walking towards the bridge on one of those delightful mornings where its not yet raining but its like water droplets are just suspended in the air, you know?  (This week was mercifully cooler than the last few.  I swear, you guys, when it's over 100 degrees and humid it's, like, SO HOT.)  Anyway.  They see a group of Cabo Verdians hanging out.  Zeca emerges and comes to shake our hands.  I love how he's not ashamed to be associated with these two white ladies who represent Jesus.  We taught him the law of chastity and the 10 commandments this week on some stairs by the church and he just really understood.  But then he didnt show up at church yesterday.  Pray for him!  His baptism is stilly scheduled for Saturday.

4.  This thought has been reverberating around my brain lately:  HAPPINESS IS POWERFUL.  I seriously believe that.  When we are doing what we need to do to be happy, we just have a kind of magical splendor that is contagious and empowering.  Probably its just a gift of God.  Definitely.  But its powerful.

5. Sisters Hill and Radvansky only have one cd in their house and its EFY hits from 1987 to 1991.  There is this song that is totally trying to by Phil Collinsy and its about the good samaritan and basically has one line.  "Do likewise my friend"  that repeats over and over and over and Sister Radvansky would sing throughout the day "they robbed and they beat him.... and left him for dead" in this scratchy wispy voice.  And in the back ground theres this synthesizer greatness.  Cant explain.  just try to look it up.  its probably called "do likewise my friend."  ha!!

6. So a while back this beautiful lady stopped US on the street and wanted to meet with us.  But then some things happened and we kind of lost track of her.  Unrelatedly, we met a youth in the street who said we could pass by sometime because his mom likes this kind of thing.  But then we kinda lost track of him too.  But then the other day we ran into them TOGETHER and they are mom and son.  Gina and Elho.  We taught Gina the first lesson yesterday and she is the absolute most pure hearted, golden investigator I have yet met. Like, during the first lesson in her tiny bedroom house, she was just crying and happy and saying how much she has always loved God and how she was baptized by the waters and now God is opening another door for her, through the Irmas.  Like, it was the first lesson and I was already thinking to myself how much she is going to LOVE the temple.  She is just pure.  The spirit was there in abundance.  Droves.  Honeycomb sunrays of warmth and yesness.  It was a really amazing lesson.  God is so good.

7. Sister Warburton, while eating "chocopillows", which are basically nutella filled bursts of amazing breakfast cereal, "This tastes like what I'm going to crave when I'm pregnant."

8.  Carla the mom came to chruch with Carla the daughter and Daniel the son!!  She liked it.  Wooo!  Things are HAPPENING in Lagos, you guys.  And its because you are praying for them.  This week Sister Warburton was like, Hey, you gotta help me have faith with the parents of this fam because I am beginning to doubt they want it.  And I was like, Hey, my Dad said in his email last week that he is praying for Carla and Amandio and their family.  And I know my family is.  And that's powerful.  Then the mom came to church.  You guys rock.

9. I had a really special morning one day this week when I just really felt that the Savior was CLOSE.  He is close to us.  He loves us.  He knows our hearts.  He is a real being, on whom we can rely.  He is our brother, teacher, redeemer, and friend. 



All the love in the universe of me.

Sister Anne LaMyrl Sandholtz

Monday, July 8, 2013

Diary of a Banana

That´s what the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" book title is translated to in Portuguese.  "A Diaria de uma Banana".  I guess they don´t have a word for "wimpy".  When I saw it in the supermarket I thought of you 3, BJC, and it made me happy.

Today I want to tell you about some of the people with whom I serve the Lord in Portugal.

1. Sister Warburton.
Ah, man, you guys, she´s the best.  She´s just good.  She is going to be such a good mom.  She is gentle and funny and one of the least judgmental people I think I´ve ever met.  She loves children and is playful and patient with them.  She adores dogs and whenever we see dogs in the street (which is basically every 5 minutes) she starts talking to them and wants to pet them.  
I feel like she and I have really become sisters.  It´s wonderful.  Seriously, God knew I had to go on a mission because I didn´t have any blood sisters and I needed sister missionary sisters.  
Sister Warburton says all these great English expressions, like "Blimey O Riley!" and (in the situations when I would say "crap!" or "dang!") "Pants!"  You can also use "pants" as an adjective -- i.e. "has your day been kinda pants?  do you fancy a bit of chocolate?"
That question is one that gets asked with great frequency, actually.  Sister Warburton loooooves chocolate and is introducing me to all these great European brands and flavors of chocolate.  It really is just BETTER than in the states.  The flavor of Lagos for me is probably Milka strawberry-filled milk chocolate.  It´s one of Sis. W´s favorites.  And, of course, random pasta and tuna concoctions in platefuls every day at Nelma´s.  Sheesh, you guys, Nelma is soooo wonderful.

2. Sister Hill is the other STL in the Algarve.  She´s serving in Lolei with Sister Radvansky.  So one or two days a week she and Sis. W will be traveling to other areas doing divisions, and Sister Radvansky and I will chill in either Lagos or Lolei.  Anyway, they did divisions with US this week, so I worked with Sister Hill in Lagos. 
She is really neat.  She is studying creative writing and wants to be a writer.  I told her to read Gilead.  She recommended the author Anthony Doer to me.  I read her that Gerard Manley Hopkins poem you wrote on the first page of my journal, Wayne, and she exclaimed, "YES!  I mean, I don´t want to look down my nose at those sappy sentimental poems they are always publishing in the Ensign, but THIS is how we should write poems about Jesus!!"  It was a great bonding moment.  I whipped out all the other poems yall have sent me and she LOVED them.  Which was perfect because it happened to be her birthday.  

3. Sister Radvansky is as cool as her name would suggest.  She and I are going to have fun this transfer.  Tuesday (when we were here in Lagos and our comps were at a training meeting in Lisbon) was incredible.  We didnt have senior comps to lean on, so we had to lean on our faith, and amazing things happened.  (She came into the mtc the same day as me).  We taught two first lessons, threw the convite suave (invitation to be baptized once you feel it´s true) in both of them, and they both accepted.  We were kind of like "How did that just happen!??"  
She´s from Elko.  She loves baking and cooking.  She has these really stylish glasses.  She wears all these fantastic articles of clothing she found at second hand stores.  I always expect her voice to be lower than it actually is because she just looks like she should have a lower voice than she does.


So yeah, God´s servants are COOL PEOPLE you guys.  God just creates interesting, beautiful children, you know?  And we´re all human and have different weaknesses and strengths, and God just needs all of us.  He just does.  And we all need Him.  and each other.

One of my absolute favorite things about being a missionary is singing hymns with people.  We start comp study with a hymn each morning and I just love it.  Sister W and I do alto/soprano/tenor an octave higher variations on each verse.  It was fun to sing with Sister Hill and Radvansky respectively, too.  And I love singing with the members or in lessons with people.  Music is such a rich, lovely vehicle for the spirit.


Covenants, man.  God just wants us to be happy.  I feel like I am learning to understand consecration a tiny bit better as a result of being called and set apart to live more consecratedly than ever before.  It makes me realize how weak I am.  But it also makes me excited for the consecration that is raising a family.  Sister W and I are always talking about how preaching eternal families all day can´t help but make missionaries stoked to go create them.  Yay families!  Yay marriage!  Yay for Roxy and Jared, and Steph and Peter.  It´s just good and happy and beautiful.


One more thought: I had a few really incredible moments this week during lessons where I glimpsed the greatness of a soul.  Being a missionary is extremely humbling -- it makes me feel so small to be included in some of the most important moments of the UNIVERSE of someone´s soul.  I came away from a couple lessons this week just totally humbled and in awe of these people and with a great desire to be more worthy of the privilege of being involved in their progress toward God.


Thank you for praying for our people!  Zeca accepted the invitation to be baptized on July 20th!  Nelson is progressing (have I even told you about him? Dang! I dont think so.  Aw man guys he is so cool and he GETS how important the BOM is.).  Carla and Daniel (the kids) are reading the BOM and came to church again!  Their parents are seeming less interested, but keep praying for them!  Seeing their family join our branch would be breathtaking.


So yeah.  I´m still me.  Ridiculous as ever.  But I am off in Portugal having the biggest adventure and being shown God´s love in a million different peoples faces.

Love you like everything,
Sister Sandholtz

Monday, July 1, 2013

2 Nephi 9:50

Sorry that one from last week didn´t get sent for some reason!  I guess you just get two installments from me this week.

Oh my hex you guys, this week was INCREDIBLE.  Absolutely unbelievable.  Probably the most miracle-filled week of my mission so far.  (I have been thinking about miracles and our perception and how interesting it is going to be to see, when this is all over and the veil is lifted, which miracles were relatively small blips and which were just the tip of an iceberg of miracleness that we didn´t even recognize.  I think there will actually be a lot of those.)

1. Tuesday was amazing.  We left the house to go try knocking doors for the first time because apparently it´s not very effective but Sister Warburton said we should at least try it so I get some experience doing it.  So we started walking around this neighborhood where all the houses are white adobe with different color painted eaves and door frames and windowboxes.  Sooo pituresque.  I love Portugal/Lagos.  And we saw a lady sitting on a bench with some kids so we went and talked to her and got a return appointment.  

While we were talking I noticed a black guy watching us across the street and he actually waved at me.  As we were wrapping up with the lady, he crossed the street to meet us and said, "Hey, what´s your church? I want to know more about it because my friend Zito is a member of your church."  SAY WHAT!?  That never happens!! People approaching US to talk about our church!?  Rad. Sauce.  Zeca.  He´s cool.  He came to church too!  

So then, as if that wasn´t enough, we continued down the street and there was a door open with some people inside and we just kinda walked up and said "Hi we´re missionaries can we come in and talk to you?" and it was this 14 year old girl named Carla who was like, "well yeah, my mom´s not home, but it´s our house and sure!" and we went in and taught the first lesson to her, Daniel her brother, Beatriz (friend), and Maria (random lady, friend of the Mom, who is also nambed Carla).  And they were attentive and participated and it was awesommmmme.  Halfway through, the mom arrived and stayed for the rest of the lesson.  We left some BOMs with them and challenged them to read.  The next day we went back and Carla and Daniel were there hanging out and we read the first chapter of first Nephi with them and their dad came out and started asking us questions like, "Hey, I´m technically Catholic but I dont agree with everything.... like our priests can´t get married and that seems dumb because they should be an example for the congregation...."  SAY WHAT!???  WELL BUCKLE UP BECAUSE OUR CHURCH HAS THE BEST STANCE ON THE FAMILY EVERRRR!  We brought them a Family Proclamation the next day and taught the second lesson to them ALL while the DAD was cooking dinner for the family.  (Seeing sooo many disfunctional families has made me so touched by and grateful for good men in the world who love their wives and children and actually participate in creating a family.  It makes my heart just rejoice.)  Anyway.  Carla and Daniel came to church yesterday (the parents had to take little Gabriel to the hospital) and we are really hoping they felt the spirit and will come back!!  PLEASE pray for this family.  Carla, Amandio, Carla, Daniel, and Gabriel.  They are so choice.  And we have been praying and praying to find people who are solid and will LEAD this branch and I really have high hopes that this family will join Zion and love it and participate and make covenants and serve.   Ohhhhh the gospel is so good and beautiful and just true true true.

Oh yeah, and the other day we went back and asked the kids if they´ve been reading and Carla was like "yeah I´m in chapter 7 already".  !!  I think she´s going to catch the wave first and bring the rest of her family with her.  She´s seriously awesome.  And yesterday in church she pulled out her BOM and the bookmark in there was this picture of a male swimsuit model.  HAHAHA!!  Sooo funny.  Oh my goodness.  

2. The Holy Ghost is real.  I don´t know why I´m still surprised by that sometimes.  Yesterday in church I felt prompted to go outside and see if Zeca had arrived near the chapel.  But I didn´t want to disturb the meeting by leaving.  But I felt like I should, so I did, and sure enough I get out there and there Zeca is, walking towards the chapel.  So I wave at him and motion for him to come and seriously I think sometimes Heavenly Father is just like, "Yeah, Anne, I´m really in charge of this whole thing and am guiding you." 

Another example: we had some free time to do street contacts and I usually don´t feel particularly inclined to go anywhere specific, but I kinda thought we should go up this one street by the supermarket.  So we did.  And on the way we saw this old lady who was sitting near the sidewalk looking deflated.  She caught my eye and said, "Do you guys speak Portuguese?" and we were like "yep" and she started talking about some bill she couldn´t pay and we sat down and explained that as missionaries our money is not ours and we can´t give money to people, "But the thing we can share with you is the love of God, and the gospel Jesus Christ established to help us be happy.  What´s your name?"
"Catarina"

(backstory: last week this random girl who is on vacation in Portugal called us with a reference of a lady she wanted to give a BOM to, named Catarina.  We had tried to pass by to get the BOM to this lady but she wasn´t home.)  

When she said her name I was like, oh my goodness is this that same lady!? But then I was like, no it can´t be because there a million people named all the same things here.  But I explained about the girl Kaylie, who had written in the BOM I pulled out of my backpack for this lady, and she was like, "Kaylie!? Yeah, I remember her!"  and started weeping.  WHAT!?  Miracles, people.
She came to church, and we´re a little concerned about her just wanting welfare, but still it was just a sweet blessing to be involved in that moment where God told his daughter Catarina that He is aware of her and loves her.  So amazing.

3.  Lagos is a BRANCH!!!  Wooooooot.  So awesome.  We were made a Branch yesterday, and Pte. and Sister Fluckiger came, and we had FIVE investigators in chruch (that has never everrr happened to us before).  Pray that Lagos can stay strong and stay a branch.  They´ve tried before and had to disband it.  We need more priesthood!  Pray for Zeca and Amandio to become Priesthood leaders in the Lagos Branch.


So, yeah.  This week was amazing.  An excellent start to a transfer.  And it came just when I was getting pretty wilted.  God is so gracious.  Seriously, anything good that comes of us being missionaries is just a gift from Him.  It´s all just His grace.

Mom, to answer your question I haven´t heard anyone talk about or serve gazpacho.  But it´s a shame because it would be amazing to have gazpacho in this sticky sticky HEAT.  Holy cow, I did not know the meaning of the word Sweat until I became a missionary in the Algarve in the summer.

Y├íll are going to BOSTON for the 4th of July!  WOOO!  That rocks.  Desfruta-la! (enjoy it!)

There´s this member family who have us over every Monday night for a nice sit down meal and they have the same IKEA silverware as our family and it is soo relaxing and the mom Sonia Melo is like a Portuguese Tracy Jackson.  So awesome.

I need to tell you more about Sister Warburton because she´s totally awesome.  But I don´t have time now.  

I saw a kid´s jeans this week that said, "random fasaion jeans weasr"  HA!!  English phrases on clothes here are the bestttt.

Sorry this is soo long and has such bad grammar and spelling.  Hopefully some of it made a little bit of sense!

I think about you guys every day and thank God that he blessed me with such incredible people surrounding me as my family.  Your letters are SUCH a strength every week.

Consecration, man.  We are so weak but trying to consecrate ourselves to God feels SO GOOD.  And it is the biggest blessing to have our whole family on board with that together.  I didn´t know how huge of a blessing family unity was until now. I love you all so so much.

Snowballs, heaps, mountains of love,

Sister Sandholtz

This is from last week. did it not send? SORRY!!

There is this jazz combo that plays in the square outside where we do internet.  So I read your emails each week while listening to old jazz standards being played by a not-too-shabby street-performing jazz combo.  It´s delightful.  I have been thinking lately how merciful God is.  I really feel like some of the little things in Lagos are special little gifts that He knew I would just love.  For instance, the wind.  I have always loved a good breeze, and with the hot stickiness of summer in the Algarve, the sea breeze is especially wonderful.  Every time, it feels like Heavenly Father is saying 'I love you.'.

It is so fun to hear about your summer happenings.  You all are doing such neat things!  Joe, it sounds like Summerfest was a blast and a half, and that you really shone!!  It´s crazy that last summer I was a counselor at those dances that you were dancing at this year!  The world spins madly on, right?

Good luck at championships, Cobe!!  That´s awesome.  And MATH CAMP!!  heck yeah tech yeah.  

And BEN!!  Marching in the PG parade!!!!!  You are a stud.


Today begins my second transfer as a real live missionaria.  CRAZY.  Time is so weird on the mission.  Some days feel like a universe, but when I consider that it]s nearly July I can't believe it.  I'll be staying here in Lagos!  With Sister Warburton.  But she's going to be an STL, which means that once a week she'll go on divisions with Sister Hill (a few areas away in Olhau), and I'll be with Sister Hill's comp, Sister Radvansky, who is a newbie like me and is awesome and spunky and from Elko or something.  So that will be a fun change!

Everyone keeps telling me that Lagos is the exception to the rule in just about every aspect; that none of my other areas are going to be anything like it.  I'm happy to be here for another transfer.  Sister W and I have been praying to find people who will be able to really LEAD this group in Lagos, which is (drumroll please, Benny!) about to become a BRANCH!!!!  You heard it.  Woooo!

But yeah.  We met a couple, Manuel and Lena, who are normal and cool and could really help the branch.  We need some solid, normal people.  People who have stability in their marriage and financial situations and can therefore be consistent leaders.  We'll teach them the 2nd lesson tomorrow!  Pray that they will be taught by the spirit and feel how true this is!

We're also teaching Isabel, who is not normal, but is awesome.  She really has desire.  She wants to improve her life and knows that we can help her. 

It takes all kinds!  All kinds of missionaries.  All kinds of members.  And the Lord's grace is sufficient for all of us. 

Ah, this combo is making me want to cry!  mmmm, jazz ballads.  I'll take jazz vocal lessons when I get back so we can all jam together.

I'm happy, bewildered, tired, content, and growing.

I love you.  So much it hurts.

Love,
Sister Sandholtz