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?"

(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.

Yáll 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

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