I hope that everyone is doing well. It seems as if that is the case. I would be sympathetic about the snow in Texas, but hey, it's freezing here. Here's to hoping that it's warmer in Portugal, but if not, I've got me a lot of warm clothes.
This has been a good week here at the MTC. The food all tastes the same to me, but other than that life is good. It's been interesting to not really have teachers, but we've made the best of the situation. I am amazed at the focus that my elders have. They amaze me every day. We have about twoish hours with teachers each day, so the other time we study on our own and we get together every day to do grammar reviews. I've been able to help out with those and explain things, so I'm glad to be of some use.
Two of our teachers are Irmao Hibbert and Irmao Christofferson. We met Irmao Hibbert in Portugal when he was serving in Santarem. Small world. He's been great. He cares about us and we can tell. Last Saturday he created a scavenger hunt for us to do to practice directions, which was so much fun and he always shows that he cares. That is something that I've really learned here: the importance of showing that you care and making the effort to care. That is a lesson that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. We had a great lesson last Friday from Irmao Schlappi, he takes his day off to teach us on Friday nights, about Christlike attributes that we've all taken to heart. We all discussed charity, patience, diligence and humility. These four qualities are SO important in missionary work and in life. It was a much appreciated lesson for our district and we've all been striving to have these.
I also moved seats (again) in the classroom. I was sitting underneath the vent and it was like 12 degrees in my spot and I ALWAYS had my coat on and the elders were so hot, so Sister Skinn and I moved away from the vents. It was an adventageous move for everyone.
I've always been a little disappointed in myself that I can't make good sound effects. Really. I always wished that there was something that I could do that would actually sound like the sound something else makes. Well family, that day has arrived. I can make good bird noises. Yep, that's right. I can sound just like a crow. Caw Caw! I thought I would share that with you all to let you know how much I'm growing here.
We also went to a makeup class this week that they provide for the sisters. They pretty much told us that we need to look our best and gave us free makeup. That was pretty much the only sisters time I'm going to get here and probably in Portugal as well, so it was really nice to be around women. I always look forward to Relief Society because it's SOOO nice to be around women again.
This week we had another appointment set up with Marie, the woman we chatted with in the Referral Center. We went there and I figured that we had about a 50/50 chance of her getting on to chat with us. This woman truly is amazing. 11:30am on the dot she was there and was so excited to talk with us. The first thing she said was "you don't know how many times I looked forward to talking with you again." She's read about half of the Book of Mormon and knows that it's true. She told us that she loves it because it helps clarify the Bible. AMAZING! She's going to have a hard time getting to church, as the closest branch is an hour away and the missionaries aren't in her area anymore, but I'm pretty sure she'll go. Marie has truly taken hold of the gospel of Jesus Christ and I can see the light that is in her life now. She asked us about drinking iced tea (because, don't worry, she'd already read the Word of Wisdom on her own) because she had started feeling guilty about doing it. We committed her to living the Word of Wisdom and I know that she will be so blessed for keeping this commandment. She is so incredible. I can't believe I am privileged enough to be able to help her. She is such a blessing in my life. I look so forward to talking with her again next week. We asked her to finish the Book of Mormon and I know that she will. She loves it so much.
I'm just doing great! We got our flight plans today, I leave 18 March and fly directly to Paris. I don't know what I'm going to do there, it's not like I can speak French, but I am so excited to be able to see that great city and to finally get to Portugal.
I love this work. I am so blessed to be able to be a missionary. This is the true church and Christ is at the head of it. The Book of Mormon is the word of God translated by the prophet Joseph Smith. I love you all! Have a great week!
Irma Laura Thomas