Saturday, November 30, 2013

Joyful Noise

First.  Sounds like a PACKED house and a packed week and a truly abundant stretch!  Your descriptions of the previous week were beautiful!  Ben, Congrats!  It sounds like your court of honor was spectacular.  The Clay Christenson lecture sounds awesome.  I am super excited to read his book when I get home.  The Synthesis concert sounds great too!  How is Aaron McMurray still at BYU?  You're right, Dad, he's a total genius.  Like, I really believe he is.  I have seen him do one of those pre-song solos before and I my jaw was on the floor.  Literally.  ;)  Last night we passed a window that had a flyer advertising Jazz jam sessions and I thought to myself, if I was just visiting here, I would go to that.  But it starts at 10 and is in a bar.  Pants.

Ah, guys, I'm pretty darn happy.

Natalina is doing well.  She loved family night at Nely's and is coming to another family night at Nazare's tonight.  As are Sonia and her daughter Marina.  Marina came to church yesterday!  I think she liked it.  

Manuel is going to record some of his raps this week.  He practiced a few for us and he's pretty good!  He's really enjoyed talking to you on FB, Wayne! He hasn't been coming to church and I wouldn't really say he's progressing.  But I think when the time is right for him he will join the church.

Alberto's situation is complicated.  I think he might move to Viseu.  But it has been a real privilege to see eternal truths change his life.  Sister Warburton is serving in Viseu and I really hope she baptized him.  It's a farfetched dream but it would rock.

We had a cool thing happen this week.  Here's an excerpt from my letter to Pte. Fluckiger:

It's been a good week here in Evora. The most salient thing from the week was probably a series of events that culminated in us catching the vision of what the Lord wants to happen in this area. On Thursday we were fasting (I love fasting. It always brings miracles.) and during our companionship study we were reading something in PMG and it just kind of hit us: we need to focus on HEALING in this branch. We have adjusted our plans for the coming week to include visiting as many of the members of possible (it's not too hard when there are only about 8 active members!) and as many Menos Ativos as possible. We will treat these visits with as much preparation and planning as we do Pesquisador lessons. 

The idea is that as the members learn more about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and are invited and motivated to draw nearer to Him, they will experience personal healing and spiritual growth that will lead to collective healing and spiritual growth in the branch. It is my true desire that this branch can heal and grow -- overcome the negative conflicts of the past; forgive and forget and grow into a more Zion community. We are going to plan a special fireside in January and we're thinking the theme will be ZION. I know from personal experience and from the witness of the spirit that Christ heals us; changes us; lifts us. He can accomplish this healing in the members individually, and between them. Our quest, then, is to work hard to bring them to Him. We earnestly desire to be instruments in His hands. We are going to focus on that -- pray for it, fast for it, and work hard and smart for it. 

The best part of all of this is that it's already begun. The missionaries before us did a great job here, and the members are already much more unified than they used to be. They are great with being friendly to the pesquisadores -- even inviting them to Noite Familiares in their homes weekly. It's fantastic.


We thought Thanksgiving was LAST Thursday.  Oops!  Oh well, we'll get to have the warm happiness of knowing it's Thanksgiving Day AGAIN this week!

I have a copy with me of a poem Beth sent us all a few years ago.  Can I write it to you?

First Sunday, Laie First Ward
Circa 1960
Vernice Wineera

Strains of Hope of Israel weave
around soaring beams
and trail through open windows
drawn by trade winds blowing salt
into sacred wounds of fault.
Then comes a father with his child
cradled as a shepherd holds a lamb,
in man-sized hands
gentled by love and that compassion
for small creatures marvelous
to world-worn eyes.
Prayer laves walls
plastered with ancient paint
and washes over all
in accents of the Saints.
On crowded benches they sit,
sentinels before the glass and plate
and worship, like Lot,
never looking back,
never succumbing to the curious fate,
the salt-sour questioning
of things too wonderful to know.
These are the tasters of bread
fresh on fervent tongues
Of wine turned to water,
kept until last days
herald the marriage feast.
These are the least, the last
who will be first to thirst
the best gifts given free.
The past reverenced in this bread,
these are the listeners of His word
whose souls' eyes do not see
Him dead.
But alive, unbroken,
and adored.


Isn't that lovely?  Pants, I have to go.

I love you so much!  Eat lots of pie this week and soak in all that family time!  My regards to the Andrus' and my happinesses to Kurt and Taylor.  


Sister Annie LaMyrl Sandholtz

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