Sounds like you've had to much fun for one week! Thanks for all that you do! Yes, I did get your package, I got it probably on the 3rd? So it was good:). Though, it was quite the stress to lug to my NEW AREA:). It was a little rough, the move. Poor Sister Stokes, last night, we stayed up until 2 am and I packed and cried as I tried to figure out where I'd gotten all the junk that I had, and how exactly I was gonna get it all there. Well, long story short on that one, not everything made it here. So be it. I'm a missionary, I can live without it, but somehow I seem to have gotten a TON of clothes! So, I'm now in Almada! It's not far at all from Lisboa, in fact it's just across the river. I got to cross the really famous bridge on the train, the one that looks like the San Francisco bridge. It was cool. I wanted to see the statue of Christ that's here in Almada (it's a copy of the one in Rio, Brazil, the Portuguese are copy cats;)) last transfer, but it wasn't in our zone and so I couldn't go and I was kind of sad because I saw lots of pictures online of it before I came and I didn't think I would ever get to go. Look at me now! It's super close! I'm now serving with Sister Williams who has one less transfer than me. She seems sweet. It's a little weird because we live with 2 other pairs of missionaries. Six sisters and one shower... sounds like tomorrow is gonna be INTERESTING:). Man, the fact that I even got here is a miracle! It was a rough morning. I woke up at 6 after going to bed at 3 (lots and lots of trying to figure out how to pack stuff. Before I leave this area, a large amount of it is going to stay behind). Then Sister Stokes and I got ready and we cleaned a little, and we took the trash out. This caused a bit of a problem. The apartment in Benfica happens to be on the 7th floor, and so we took the elevator down to floor -1 where the trash is, but we forgot that sometimes this causes the elevator to stop working (maybe 1/5 of the time), and we just happened to have luck enough for this to happen. So then we climbed the stairs up and we had to lug my 3 70lb bags down the stairs all the way to the bottom. At one point I just started crying. Poor Sister Stokes haha. Thankfully, as we were dragging the last one down, the heaviest, an angel left his apartment and fixed the elevator. I think we must have woken him up. Then we had to drag them and we flagged a taxi. Then we took it to the train station (poor Sister Stokes was supposed to wait there at the station for her new comp until 1:30! So from 9 am until then, by herself, sitting outside in the cold! I hope it didn't turn out that way!) and I caught a train with my huge bags. The problem with this is that the train stops for about 20 seconds and I knew I wouldn't be able to take my bags off the train, and so I just started praying. It was a day of praying. Then Heavenly Father sent me another angel, a young woman named Joana. She helped me get my bags off the train, then she asked me where I was headed and turned out she was headed there too. Then she helped me with my bags, helped me get to the trax station, buy my ticket, get on, and then get off with the bags, just barely not missing her own traxs train. Then I sat and waited for my comp to show up. I told her to show up at 10 because I figured that's when I would be there. Well, I got there at 9:25 and I had a good little wait until ten in the freezing cold. Thankfully I'm from Utah because it could have been a lot worse for me than it was because all the Portuguese people around me were whining about it haha. Then my comp was sweet and she helped me pull the two heavier bags because I couldn't do it because I had blisters on my hands from lugging the bags down the stairs. Good times. Transfers. But Heavenly Father really does answer prayers, he uses other people to do so. We are his hands. He loves us and he wants us to be happy and to always be comforted. Yesterday, Sister Stokes and I were sitting in the house during lunch and I just started feeling a little tired and worn out and just a little down, and so I just said a quick prayer and I felt like I should just open the Book of Mormon sitting next to me. I did so, and I turned to Helaman 10:2-5. Which says:
Talk about cool. Heavenly Father is the best. Our Heavenly Father is so merciful! He loves us and will never give us anything that we can't handle and he'll be there along the way to help us. That is something that I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn here in the mission.
Well other than transfers, it's been just a good, crazy week! First off, the Accutane is working. My face is clearing up really good, and also, no weird mood swings. I don't know why, maybe it's because it's not actually Accutane but instead is a generic brand? Second, we've had some changes in our mission! We are now no longer allowed to use backpacks, sisters and elders, all must use side bags or not carry anything, and the other is that we sisters will now be driving in some of the areas with cars! That'll be cool. I hope that I don't get moved to one of those areas because I don't want to get anywhere near the wheel of a car for another (little bit more than) 9 months. Plus it's stick shift. No thanks. But it'll be cool for some people. On Sunday, Eduardo was confirmed! It was good. Afterward, he had some interesting questions for us. Turns out he got a new girlfriend and it's one that he's liked for a while, and he wanted to know more about the Law of Chastity. We sent him with the ward mission leader. Haha. I didn't get to say goodbye to Jéssica though, so that was really sad:(. Thankfully the Benfica area is an area I'll visit at least once more before I go home because of the office. We also had a ward Christmas party on Sunday. It was really fun and turned out really well. We did a goofy skit. It was filmed, but I don't know if we'll ever see it, but it was great. We sang this song in Portuguese that goes something like, "If I weren't a missionary, what would I be, I'd be a..." I was a gardener. My lines in Portuguese were "carving the dirt, carving the dirt, oh it's hot!" It was super cool with the six of us because what you're doing is that each person is swinging around in ways that should hit the people on their sides but we were so perfectly in rythm that we move out of the way just in time. Elder Ryan would swing his hands over my head and I would duck out of the way just in time and then he would move and I would stand up and swing my arm and Sister Stokes would move out of the way just in time, and so each one of us were doing this, all six of us. It was cool. Then, we did it blindfolded. The ward thought it was great. Also, we have a man we've been teaching and he's practically ready to be baptized! He's just waiting because he wants to read the whole Book of Mormon first. We tried to convince him otherwise, but we decided that he's reading at a good enough pace (he read 200 pages in one week) that it would be fine. He's a good guy and I'm excited for him. Then one of our usual drunks, João that we talk to in front of the same bar where we met Eduardo came to the movie night on Sunday. The turnout was really sad this time, only 4 people, and all of them men. I think it strengthened their testimonies, but the problem was that we couldn't go in and instead had to stay outside in the cold! But João liked it and he really wants to know more. I love being a missionary! It's totally beyond exhausting, but SO SO good at the same time.
Love you! Thanks for everything!