Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Love from Evora

Hey!  I love you!

I missed communicating with you this week.  It made me realize how much I crave that weekly word vomit to you.  Sheesh, guys, I love you so much.

Can I just tell you that this transfer is going to be CRAZY!????? We will be out of our area a LOT. But we are super excited and know that there are big miracles in store for Evora in the next 5 weeks.

Want to hear about our car?  So ... the car we should be getting is currently in the shop, because the last missionaries who had it drove it for like 6 months or something without coolant, or the AP's totalled it.  (those are two true stories, we just don't know which one is going to be our car.)  They said it will be at least another week until we can go to Lisboa and get it.  So we're pretty much planning on not having it all tranfer long.  Good thing I blew 50 euros on getting a Portuguese driving license and they confiscated my American one!!  hehe jk.  I'm sure it will come in handy at least some time in the next 6 months.  Dad, it is not a Citroen or a Fiat, although the bearded Irmao Rocha has the most gutless, red citroen.  I laughed out loud at your aptness.  I bet he bought it in the era when you were in Spain!!  Ours will be a Meriva van.  Whatever that is.

We'll be going to Setubal this afternoon for a division.  I am going to be with Sister Cardoso, a brand new missionary who is from Portugal.  I am excited; I have never worked with a Portuguesa before!  Then next week we'll be in Madeira from Monday to Wednesday.  (woot!) The following week we'll go to Setubal again and then weeks 5 and 6 of the transfer will be all to ourselves in EVora.  We can already tell the transfer is going to FLY.

Sister Rad and I have such a unified vision about this transfer -- what we want to do and be as STLs, and what we see happening in Evora.  Oh man, you guys.  Fun stuff on the horizon.

The most exciting news is about the Santos Family.  Joao, Luciana, Joshua, Wendel, Karen, and Nicolas.  I have told you about them, right?  They are Brazilian and have their own band.  They are animated and fun and put everyone at ease.  

Way back at the beginning of last transfer, Sister Rad had the idea that we should put on a concert.  We started to plan for it, and in the meanwhile we gained this new desire to teach families.  The day we fasted about that, we met Joao and Luciana and their family and taught them.  We decided the concert would be the perfect way to get them involved with the branch.  So we invited them to play at it, and you guys, it was a total total success.

Yesterday, first of all, the family came to church.  All 6 of them!  That means we had 9 investigators in church, the most I've ever had on my mission by far.  They all seemed to really like it.  Especially Lu and the kids.  Joao is a little harder to read, but I think he also had a good experience.  

Then, that same evening, we did the concert.  It was SO FUN.  It was a big mixture of styles of music.  Mom, you will be pleased to hear that I played my violin.  I performed a movement of a Bach Partita (kind of out of tune.  20 mins of practice time wooo!) and a Jenny Oaks Baker piece.  Sister Rad sang a few chill pop tunes with Joshua on the guitar and me backing up on the violin.  Joshua and Wendel did a handful of numbers (Joshua is a really good guitarrist and singer, Wendel plays drums).  And Manuel did a few raps.  Everybody loved it.  Ate it right up.  We had a lot of members and investigators there.  

While Manuel was performing his rap about Jesus, I sat there watching him and marvelling at how much I have seen him change and grow.  He is truly living the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it has changed and is changing him.  I can't even tell you how much I love Manuel, guys.  There's not space inside me for it.  I am certain he is a large part of why I came on a mission.  I sat there and he was rapping about Jesus and tears were rolling down my cheeks.

Don't worry, I am not in love with Manuel.

He is going to move to Almada soon, because Pte. Silva is helping him (I think) get a job out there.  I am happy about this - I think it will be great for him to be in an area with other young adult mormons.  He says he'll come to evora for church with Pte Silva whenever he comes, but I bet he'll get pretty integrated out there.  Evora will miss him, though.  Poor Nazare and Americo.  And Antonio Junior.

Speaking of whom.  He's doing great.  He blessed the sacrament last week.  the other day he was telling us about how he had gone out with his friends on a weekend for the first time since getting baptized.  He said it was kinda weird -- they were all trying to get him to drink and stuff -- but he said it went okay and he thinks that now that the first time is over they are going to chill out.  He has been inviting friends to come to church and stuff, and keeps commenting how it's really hard because they never want to come.  But we are so so proud of him.  

We miraculously met a friend of his, Andre, who lives on our street.  We talked to him for a while in the street and told Antonio about it, and so did he, and he's probably going to come to chruch next Sunday.  Cool huh?

Anyway.  I got sidetracked.  The family.  We are full of faith that they will be baptized this month.  The 30th is the day we have in mind.  Will you pray for them?  Especially Joao.  If he's in, they're all in.  He told us he had a problem with the idea of anybody putting their hands on his head, because to him that seems like a symbol of someone elses power over him.  We're brainstorming how to teach him in regard to that.  We were thinking of teaching about the priesthood in DC 121.

Most of all, we are super super filled with fire to be exactly obedient and unwearyingly diligent so as to pave a smooth course for all these miracles!
Will you also pray for us to be able to have strength to do those things?

My birthday was lovely.  Nazare hosted a dinner.  It was just me, Rad, Nazare, Americo, Nely, Luisa, Manuel, and Antonio.  Nely gave me a kid's cookbook and Antonio gave me a scarf.  I felt really loved.  It was a great day.

Well, I feel like this is a lot of info and not much, like, commentary or ideas.  But man it feels good to talk to you.

I'm happy.  The sun came out.  There is a different flavor in the air.  It's magic.  THere are families around.

Luisa didn't get baptized yet but she's still doing good.  She just needs some more time to stop smoking.

Sonia and Marina came to the concert!!  That was a great blessing!  They LOVED it and really hit it off with the Santos family, too.  :)  

I've been thinking about that quote by whats his face that is something like, "That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us, not that the nature of the thing itself has changed, but that our capacity to do it has increased."  That is so true.  I have felt that happen gradually but very truly on my mission.  This is why diligence is so so important.

Oh, my dears, I love you.

I hope the sun is shining where you are like it is here.



ps someday remind me to tell you about my birthday excursion in lisbon with the elders.

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