Ah, guys. I am SO HAPPY. Thank you for your prayers this week.
Our week swam in miracles. Let me tell you about some of them:
Adriana e Rhaiane. Okay this is a sweet story. We contacted them a couple weeks ago, and then went back to teach the first lesson. It was one of the most powerful first lessons of my mission. They understood the importance of our message and we felt like instant friends with them. They are a Brazilian mom and daughter. Rhaiane is 16 and was asking us if she could go on a mission and if maybe she could go out and work with us sometime. SAY WHAT? Um..... yeah!! They accepted the convite suave in the first lesson. They werent able to come to church, but I have high hopes for them. We went back this week and taught Adriana. She has a baby daughter who is soooooooooo cute. Oh my gosh. I was dying.
She told us the story of when we met them, from their perspective. They had been really stressed and tense, and there was some conflict between them that day. Then we had shown up out of nowhere and contacted them, and apparently from the moment we showed up, Adriana felt a great peace, which helped her calm down and relax. It stayed with her for the rest of the day. SO COOL.
Elder Kearon taught us that people become converted because of what they FEEL, not because of what they KNOW. So evident in this case.
Andre. Other HUGE miracle. He stepped out of an apartment building and into our path, and Sister Stewart contacted him. (She's a BOSS!) He told us he's at a moment of starting anew in his life. He has crazily blue eyes that are intense against his dark European complexion. He had a rough adolescence -- kicked out of the house at age 15 because he had started smoking marijuana. He majored in film and has been fending for himself his whole life. I bet he's about 28 or 30? We went back and taught him the first lesson yesterday and it was so WONDERFUL. I felt such an outpouring of love for him, as we sat at a picnic table in the middle of Oeiras and spoke with this humble, changing man at dusk. These moments are indescribable. He told us he had decided the week before to quit smoking drugs, and he was shaking visibly during our lesson with him. He also told us he normally judges religious proselyters, but he is trying to be less judgmental, and that is part of the reason he consented to talk with us more. He is so open and thirsty and searching. It's beautiful.
At the end of our lesson we left him the BOM and a couple chapters to read.
"Este livro é seu," I told him.
"Dont call me você!!" he said. (This is a sign of proximity -- he sees us as friends/peers and doesn't want us to be all formal and call him voce.)
"Ta bem", I said, smiling, "Vou tratar você por tù."
He corrected me: "Vou tratar-TE por tù."
I don't know, I can't explain it. It was just so tender and human and sweet. My heart just exploded. Ahhhhh, guys, my heart. My heart just explodes again and again doing this work. God's children are just so exquisite, and feeling His love for them is indescribable. I love Andre a lot.
Eddy. I will tell you more about Eddy next week. We are in Lisbon and only have a half our to email. :( LAME. (BUT. I ran into Sis. Gutzwiller and it was SUCH a tender mercy!! I got to take a photo with BOTH my trainees. So cool. Ahhhh the mission is the best.)
My comp and roommates are SUCH a blessing. Let me sketch them for you.
Sister Stewart. Guys, she is soooo cool. I love her guts so much. She is fun and dedicated and courageous and full of faith and bright freshness. She is fun to be a missonary with, and I LOVE that we are opening an area. It's fun. It's a cool challenge and the miracles are so stunning and abundant. She's five foot one and adorable and shops in the kids section sometimes just cuz she can. She's funny and kind and just quirky enough to make me crack up all the time. (ok, let's face it, who doesnt make me crack up all the time? but seriously.) I love her.
Sister Swasey. She is tall and 1/4 Japonese but doesn't look it. She speaks PERFECT Portuguese and it is so fun to learn with her. She says what she is thinking and feels what she is feeling and is generally a passionate, emotive person. She is so good. She makes us all laugh. She is currently going through a crazy health crisis -- possibly mono? Will you pray for her?
Sister Hirschi. Ahhhh guys I LOVE Sister Hirschi so much. She is hilarious. She, like mom, has the gift of remembering details from her childhood. She has me dying when she tells us stories about her pet gerbils growing up. How they accidentally started multiplying and then dying and they had a bunch of gerbil funerals and her dad pretended to cry and she and her siblings made up a special musical number. She says it all with this impish grin and a twinkle in her eye. I wish you could see it. She has the most contagious laugh and is just good through and through. One time she was telling us a story about the beginning of her mission and I started dying laughing before she got to the punchline just because i KNEW it was going to be SO FUNNY. (I have problems.) But she is just so fun and cool. Sometimes when I am washing my face she waits until my face is all wet and I'm trying to find my towel and then she puts her head in my face so that the first thing I see when I squint my eyes open is her goofy grinning face. Ha. It is so funny. I can't describe it.
These sisters are AMAZING. I am so so blessed. It's like a family. It's a party whenever we are in the house all together.
I am feeling good. Like myself. Happy. Close to God. GRATEFUL. Being a missionary is such a privilege.
Our ward mission leader is named Ruben and teaches digeridoo lessons. No lie.
Must go. Love you all so much.