I am a little worried about poor Benny! He sounds so miserable! I will certainly pray. Braces are the WORST. Remember that phase of life when I had a twin-block? Ugh. SO glad that is over. Orthodontia is the pits. Please send an update on him next week! I hope he gets back to being his sunny self soon! I have been missing him a lot this week. Miss you, Ben man!
Okay, I am going to be boring and chronological this week.
Monday. Fish Spa. Sister Rad and I went to this pedicure place where you stick your feet in a tank of water and these little tiny fishes eat the dead skin off your feet (or so they say) and it tickles to high heaven. I was dying. Then we got pedicures, and the poor lady had probably never seen Sister Missionary feet before. She was shaving dead skin and callouses off my feet with a pumice stone and it was like grated cheese falling to the floor. Ew. TMI? sorry.
Tuesday. Mission Counsel. This one was a lot different from the last, but equally good. I love seeing the leadership of the mission and how much Pte. Fluckiger really just loves the missionaries and wants all of them to be successful.
Wednesday. Zone Meeting in Setubal. Our last trip out of our area of the transfer! Woo! A note about the car -- the best part of driving is the gusto with which Sister Rad fulfills her responsibility as backer-upper. She waves her arms in big circles and jelly-fish-like motions, enthusiastically making sure I don't dent anything as I back up. It's so fun. She loves it so much.
Thursday. Year mark!! Can you believe it!? I have been thinking about what I was doing around a year ago -- before and during the MTC -- and just laughing at how silly I am and what good times I had in the MTC. Such a magical adventure, missions are. I feel like I have been changed in such permanent, profound ways. Yet I am still just weird old me. Probably actually even weirder. I am SO GRATEFUL I came.
Friday. I don't remember what happened on Friday.
Saturday. It started out horribly. We had gotten a hint from someone that I might possibly be staying in Evora for a fifth transfer and it was just a really hard prospect for me. I'm such an emotional wreck with Evora - love it so much and never want to leave, but also it's just so isolated out here and I have been here so long and I feel like 6 more weeks out here could legitimately make me go insane. So I had some nice little crying time and stuff, but the day turned around with CONFERECE! We huddled around the computer - Nazare, Manuel, me, Antonio jr, Americo, Ana, a random brazilian investigator named Marcos, and Americo. Luis showed up near the end, too. It was just good to be surrounded by people I love for conference. It was Manuel and Antonio's first one! they dug it.
Sunday. Mostly spent at the church watching conference. In Portuguese. I wish I could say I get just as much out of conference in Portuguese as in English, but I don't. :( I am stoked to go back and study the talks in English, especially Oaks and Bednar and Monson and Uchtdorf and Eyring.
Joao came to part of a session. He started to leave during the middle musical number, and I caught him just before he got out the door (still in sight and sound of S. Rad, don't worry ;) I really loved the conversation we had, it was one of the highlights of my week. somethinglike:
me: Joao! are you leaving?
me: are you tired? (he was dozing off during the session)
Joao: yeah, I am tired
me: Joao, how are you feeling, about, like, everything?
Joao: about the same (meaning, still conflicted)
me: okay. (pause) how are you feeling about the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?
Joao: Carinho (affection) (smiling) Lots of carinho.
me: (smiling) me too. Why?
Joao: I just feel like there are good people here, trying to follow Jesus.
me: Yeah, me too. I mean, no one is perfect, but the truths restored in the rrestoration really are helpful and important for us in our quest to become liek Christ.
me: Are you feeling any desire to, like, act ... on ... anything?
me: for example...
Joao: I want to be a good christian, and do god's will.
me: (smiling) yeah. me too. (pause) how are you feeling about the possibility of baptism?
Joao: it's still too soon
me: are you thinking it is something you want to do in the future?
me: (inner fist pump, big smile) cool. Well, keep reading, keep praying. keep coming to church -
Joao: can I?
me: OF COURSE!
me: - and your process will continue. You will find direction in your search for truth, and you'll know what you need to do. And it will be personal, for you, for Joao, and that is how it should be.
Joao: (big smile)
We made an appointment for during the week, shook hands, and he left. But it just felt like the conversation that needed to happen. I don't know why I loved that so much, but I did. It is small moments like that that are my favorite part of being a missionary. Watching people's hearts change through really tiny things.
This week the APs are coming to Evora to do some filming for a mormon message type video they are making! they are going to interview Manuel and Antonio and I am hoping Manuel will do his rap for it. :)
Ana and Luisa are getting baptized this Sunday, by Manuel and Antonio! We are so excited. They both need to do the last stop smoking push. Will you pray for them to succeed?!
Also, we really want to see the Valentim fam get baptized this next transfer in Evora. Will you continute praying for them with us?
Love you so so so so so so much.
ps. Wayne: i am SO glad that you also noticed and loved the rendition of Abide with Me in Priesthood sesh. holy COW I was overcome. I feel like the MOTAB and other choirs in the church are getting much more progressive in terms of harmony and arrangements. SO happy about that. and that BYU I mens choir sang it SO earnestly. They meant it so bad, you know? Good stuff. :)