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

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