Mom, transfers will be October 28th. I think I will be staying in Ponta Delgada. But we'll see. The next ones after that will be December 9th. Then January 20th, if I am not mistaken.
The Cobster and Boje are getting so gigantic! Size 13 boots!? Holy Cow! Your camping trip sounds like it was amazing. Dad: Narrows, fall 2014. I am THERE. I love the little Benism jokes you guys include. It sounds like Ben is in rare form lately. :) I was telling Sister Austin yesterday how one of my favorite things ever is hearing my dad laugh at something one of his kids said. Imagining Dad cracking up at all Ben's jokes was a happy happy image. :)
This week was good.
Have I told you all how much I adore fasting? Every time we do it I feel so much clarity and peace.
We had another miraculous rainstorm day this week. We were out, of course, without our rainjackets or umbrella, when it started POURING. So we hurried to the house of Tania and Gorretti, an aunt and niece we had contacted earlier in the week. Turns out we had the wrong house (across the street from theirs), but Manuela and her two daughter Beatriz and Carolina let us in, mercifully. They were super nice. Manuela's sister owns a Portuguese bakery in San Jose called Padaria Popular, where I am going to take you all next year and impress you by ordering you delicious bread and pasteries in weird Azorean Portuguese that sounds like French!
We conversed with them for a while (visiting again tonight!), then crossed the street to visit the real house of Tania e Goretti. Goretti is this super light-filled woman who spends all her time taking care of her bedridden father, who has Alzheimers. Tania is her niece, a university student studying history. We had a powerful first lesson with them but had to end before explaining the BOM because it was almost 10. They loaned us an umbrella to get us home in the storm.
I wish you could have seen me and Sister Austin, sprinting up their street-turned-small-river, clinging to their umbrella, giggling like schoolgirls at the adventure of it all. We were SOAKED head to toe by the time we got inside -- EXACTLY at 10:00 pm. Woo! I've had that experience now.
Anyway, the next day we went back and finished the first lesson. We followed the counsel of our mission leaders, doing "convite do poder", which I have been terrrrrrrrified to use in real life, because it includes asking the investigator, "according to what we have taught, do you think your baptism was valid in the eyes of God?" I hate it. Sorry. Every time we practice it I am cringing inside. But I also have faith in the inspired counsel of President Fluckiger, and I sustain him. So we did it. And guess what? It turned out GOOD.
Goretti seemd a little protective of her catholic baptism and all the good things she is doing in her life (and rightly so. She's a super righteous, good, Christlike woman. Probably way closer to celestial standard than I am.) But Tania raised her hand and said, "Actually, I think it wasn't valid. How could a baby understand such a big promise?" Then Goretti was like, yeah, good point. (This is why I love to emphasize the importance of baptism being a covenant.) We are really excited about them. We think Goretti's dad might have taken a turn for the worse or passed on, because our last appointment with them fell, but I really think that Tania especially has a lot of potential for baptism. Covenant making! Which really is the best thing ever. Will you pray for them?
I have been talking to some people a little more about Pope Francis. All the Catholics seem to really dig him. Wayne, could you send me some deets on him so I can have slightly more informed conversations with all these good Catholics?
I read about Christ washing the disciples' feet yesterday. Ah, that is one of my all time favorite New Testament moments. I was thinking about what Christ says to Peter: "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." Then, Peter, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands, and my head." I was thinking about the beauty of that. How important it is for us to let Christ wash us.
Also, one of my favorite scriptures that pops into my head sometimes is Mosiah 18:12, "Lord, pour out thy spirit upon thy servant, that [she] may do this work with holiness of heart." I feel like that verse sums up how I feel about missionary work. Alma says it right before he baptizes Helam in the waters of Mormon. That might be my favorite chapter in the book of Mormon. One of them, for sure.
All right, I gotta go write Pte. Fluckiger.
I have been thinking about you a lot this week.
Oh! One more thing! There has been this poem partly stuck in my head for like a month now. I think it is called "Portrait of my Mother on her Wedding Day". It includes the phrases:
lillies gathered to her breast
the moment of the wave before it crests
the will to shape a world of her own devising
Could you look for it, Mom/Dad/Wayne, and send me the full version. It's a really beautiful poem.
Love you so much! This would be easier if I didn't love you so much. But it's worth it. 1000 times over.