It was a good week. We really truly are seeing miracles every day. I never know where to start these things.
How about Conference? I LOVED it. Uchtdorf, Christofferson, Holland, and Nelson were my favorites. My spirit was fist-pumping all the way through the Saturday afternoon session. Those of you who missed it need to go back and watch it. It was fantastic. We were in stitches during the Exlamation Point!! talk. Did any of you also think it was really funny? Also very good, but man, his delivery was so ENERGETIC!!
Guess what happened for the first time in my mission this week? Someone to whom we gave a passalong card CALLED US this week. He wanted a Finding Faith in Christ DVD and then he CAME TO CONFERENCE. Say WHAT!?? Antonio. We'll see what happens with him.
We are teaching a man named João. He is black, a doctor, moved here recently from Lisbon, and is seeking truth. He has all sorts of questions, basically all of which are answered in the Book of Mormon. It is actually really amazing to me. Last night we were teaching him the Plan of Salvation with Nicole, one of the soon to be missionaries in our branch, and the spirit was SO present. I felt so keenly that the spirit was elevating my language and helping me really listen to him, then pull all his doubts and questions back,somehow, perfectly, to the plan of salvation. It was really cool, especially because the Plan of Salvtation has been one of the less comfortable-to-teach lessons for me as of yet.
Near the end of the lesson (conference was starting in 10 minutes), I felt like I wanted to invite him to come watch it with us, even though we already had and he had turned down the invitation becuase he was WAY tired. I kind of tossed up a question in my heart to God, like, "should we invite him again?" and I got this feeling of confidence in the spirit, like, "Say whatever you want, little girl, I've got your back." It was new and cool. So we invited him again, and he sat there for a second, then stood up and started putting on his shoes and coat. We will see him again on Tuesday. Will you pray for him? And us, that we will be able to help him as Jesus would?
That is something that I have been focusing on this week. We had some awesome training about street contacting in Zone Meeting, and I have been trying to get Jesus into my street contacts as early as possible. Telling people that we are His disciples, and that as His representatives, we love them and want to share His message to families, individuals, and all people. But even more than that I have been trying to look into peoples eyes the way Jesus would.
There is something really powerful that happens when you really look into someone's eyes in love and compassion. Something changes. Most notably, I have noticed that I am way more filled with love and genuine desire to help and serve these people. They, also, seem to open up, and be more receptive to what we say.
It is just such a breathtaking privilege to have the job of telling every person that he or she is not forgotten to God. I like to measure success that way -- did that person feel God's love as a result of the conversation we just had with her? No matter what they say or do or are willing to act on, I want them to feel God's love as a result of their interaction with the Mormon missionaries.
Sister Austin and I discovered our companionship theme song. Last week after I got a blessing from Elder Phippen, Sister Austin hugged me and I said, "You're the best!" She said, "No, you're the best!" We discovered later that day that we had both been thinking in our heads at that moment of that 80's song in karate kid, "You're the best, around!" Do you know what I am talking about? We sing it all the time now.
We also sing "On my body, penguins on my body" to the rhythm of the African chanting under "The circle of life" from The Lion King, like all the time. Someone in Sister Austin's family heard it at some Divine comedy skit or something. SO random. But when she said it the first time I died laughing. It never fails to make me laugh. Ha!
Um, music geek moment: Did you all HEAR the last song in conference, Abide with Me tis Eventide? Can we just talk about the fact that it is SO COOL that the MoTab is singing things with a few tasteful, dissonant harmonies in them? Did you also hear the key change? SOO not Mack Wilbergy. I wonder if it was arranged by someone else?
Allrighty. I'm happy. I'm growing. I am realizing for the first real time in my life that CHANGE IS GOOD. I am so so grateful to be a missionary. The Azores are beautiful.
You are beautiful.
P.S. We hit our 6 month mark this week! Can't believe it!