Every single week when I read Ben's email I want to copy a sentence from it to use as my subject line. Every week. This week I wanted to say "Shine to a great life." They are just always so pithy and Bennish and wonderful.
My life is very good. I had some cool reflection moments during personal study this week, thinking about my whole mission until now and how much it has changed and shaped me and broken and healed me and wiped me out and lifted me up and battered and blessed me.
I read my journal of what was happening a little more than a year ago -- I arrived into the loving care of the trainer who changed my life and taught me how to let life be wonderful and take care of people. I met amazing Nelma and walked around the streets of the Algarve, understanding little Portuguese and splashing in the incredible wonder of tasting a life more consecrated than ever before.
I read some of my journal entries from last September, when I was feeling really worried and blue on an island in the middle of the Atlantic, and I cried with gratitude at what all of you did to send me love. I received a letter from Nate and a letter from Wayne --written on the same day -- that were both sunrays of truth and love in envelopes that lifted me and gave me strength to carry on. Mom sent a package, Heather sent an email I printed and still have, you all prayed and I FELT those prayers. Heavenly Father, too, of course, gave me moment after moment of little kindnesses, strengthening and leading me along.
Fast forward several months -- I found myself in the middle of my stay in unexpected Evora, astonished and grateful at how incredibly strong and okay I felt. Evora was ripe with miracles and God's love. I met some of my all time favorite people there, and saw God change hearts, including mine. Heavenly Father gave me two true sisters, friends that feel more like family, to serve with in that holy place. I cannot think or speak of Evora without my throat tightening in profound gratitude and awe. There are not words for these things.
And now here I am in lovely, promising Matosinhos. Still learning, still with many miracles to swim in and look for each day. Still having obstacles in the road and challenges to overcome and still meeting people who are changing my life completely. It is just too sweet, too exquisite, too hard, too good for words. Sorry I'm even trying.
Ah! Guys! Here I am being all wishy washy and nostalgic and because of a problem at the email place I have pretty much no more time. Pants.
I wanted to tell you about Fabrice, and Dalila, Cristina, and Fernanda, and Sergio thinking Jesus was maybe an alien, and giving Mom's testimony in the BOM to Elisabete, and Irene feeding us dinner and then getting sick so she couldn't come to church, and Armando's phone conversation with us that was delightful and hilarious.
We missionaries are heading up a scavenger hunt at the ward picnic tomorrow and when we tried to translate the word scavenger so that the committee would know what we were talking about, the translation was "a person who looks for food in the trash, or an animal that eats the flesh of dead animals" HA. We were like, okay, um....
I made an AMAZING chocolate mousse this week. Nazare status. I will make it for you in less than 3 months.
Sheesh! Have to go. Sorry for the lameness of this email.
I love you.