Monday, July 14, 2014



Okay, update:  My comp is NOT Sister McCall.  She got sick or something and stayed in the MTC.  My comp is Sister Stewart, from AZ, and she's awesome.  I love her so much already, and I LOVE training.  

I think I am destined to have trainees who are teeny and adorable, because Sister Gutz sure was and so is Sister Stewart.  They actually look remarkably similar!  My dream is that Sister Gutz comes and finishes Sister Stewart's training once I leave, because then in mission geneology, Sister Stewart would be my daughter AND my granddaughter.  :)

It is so so energizing to work with her -- there is something so beautiful about seeing someone do her first contact, teach her first lesson, invite someone to be baptized for the first time.  I love it.  I love Sister Stewart.  I love being a missionary.

I love having the job of just telling someone how GREAT she is doing.  Being a new missionary is OVERWHELMING, and I love being the one who gets to tell her she's normal and that Portuguese will get easier and that I felt the spirit when she testified of Christ.  I love getting to buy her her first Milka bar and teach her how to pull money out of a Portuguese ATM and teach her what to say to stop a person in the street, then watch her do it and succeed.  So so cool.  Heavenly Father ROCKS.  He knew just what I needed to give me a little extra boost at the end of my mission. 

Sis. Stewart was responsible for starting to take the lead in contacting situations, and extending baptismal convites this week.  5 estrellas!!  She's done both, and lots!  We contact A LOT, seeing as we are opening an area, so pretty soon she is going to be a contacting MASTER.  I want her to feel totally comfortable in contacting situations before these 6 weeks are up!!  She's also been inviting people to be baptized! 

Miracle of the week:  The longer I am on my mission the more I realize that the miracles we see are truly not because of what we did, but because the Lord is merciful and pours out His grace on His servants who love Him.  I feel like all too often we missionaries (myself included) take a little too much credit for the great miracles we see.  We write up our miracle stories as if it was us who made it all happen, when in reality it is ALL the Lord and His Spirit that works ANY miracle.  We are simply servants, participants, benefactors of His grace and goodness.  This has been especially clear this transfer, because we arrived in our area on Thursday and started almost completely from zero.  We had nothing; we had "earned" no miracle, but Heavenly Father poured out His grace to help us get started.  (Sister Swasey and Sister Hirschi, our roommates, have been wonderful in helping us get started and get to know a few investigators.  Life savers!!)  Anyway, the day before Sis. Stewart got here I was working with Sister Hirschi and we bumped into a less active and her husband in the train station, who we figured out lived in my new area.  We made an appointment, and then on Saturday, Sis. Stewart and I went to the appointment together.  The whole family gathered around -- Mircia (LA), Cassio (pesquisador), Marta (LA), Melissa (LA), and Cassio's brother, Olivio (Pesquisador).  We taught them the first lesson (Sis. Stewart did a great job teaching all the points we had planned for her to teach!), invited them all to read and pray about the book of Mormon, and then Sis. Stewart invited Olivio and Cassio to be baptized!!  OLIVIO ACCEPTED!!!!  For the 27th of July!!  And Cassio said he'd pray about August 10th.  We were astonished and so grateful and joyful!  I am so grateful that Sis. Stewart is already having such amazing experiences. After the lesson we freaked out for a second outside and said a thankyou prayer.  

I love training.  If I were an elder and had 6 more months on my mission, I would ask if I could train for ALL of them.  It is so so cool.  I love it.

Sis. Stewart's first lesson was with a lady named Fernanda.  Fernanda had met with the other sisters 2x and has now come to church twice.  We are going to mark her this week -- I really feel she is ready to be baptized.  But Sis. Stewart's first lesson ever as a missionary was really memorable because during it her trainer got a bloody nose!  HA!  That's unforgettable.  :)

I love living with other Sisters.  Sister Swasey is hilarious and speaks impeccable Portuguese, which is really fun, because I am learning a lot.  Sister Hirschi has the most contagious laugh and is full of light and makes me happy.  They are both incredible missionaries.  I love living with them.  It's like a party all the time.  So fun.

Oeiras is cool.  It's outside Lisbon and it's sunny and hot and different from the North.  

My address, before I forget, is

Rua Jose Regio No 5 R/C dto
2780-129 Oeiras

Well, family, I love you.  I love you TONS and I am so grateful for your faith and prayers.  I have FELT them this week and every week.  Keep them coming!  

I read a cool verse in Alma 4 yesterday about how Alma was sorrowful, but "nevertheless the spirit of the Lord did not fail him."  The Spirit will never fail us.  I have felt that on my mission -- through it all and the ups and downs and craziness and miracles, the Spirit of the Lord has been a constant friend.  I am so so grateful for him.

Keep shining.  Have a great week.  Ben, Joe, Coby, thank you for the email updates!  I love them!

More yours than ever,

Sister Sandholtz

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