This week has been SO AMAZING!
Highlights of the week:
1. I may have talked about this is in my last email, but on Dec. 9 we were given forms to fill out that are new requirements for our visas. They are police clearance forms. We just had to write our name and home address on them and then put a thumbprint at the bottom. We filled them out right away and turned them in that night. They have been having the districts fill those out for the past 3-4 weeks starting with the oldest districts. Some Elders and Sisters were told to do it before (like Sis Kessler)--we don't know why some were told and some not...its kind of a mess I think! But Sis. Kessler got her visa so we think its related! Anyway, we were excited to know that we had done everything we could and are really just waiting now...
2. Related to this....Yesterday 31 visas came!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not anyone in our district, but most of the "Mega" districts got theirs. You become a Mega district after your allotted 9 weeks in the MTC are up and you still don't have a visa! The second week we were here the first district to go MEGA was temporarily reassigned to different missions in Tennessee and in Georgia.
AWESOME STORY ABOUT THIS:
Okay, so one set of missionaries from that MEGA district were reassigned to Marietta, Georgia. There they were told they would stay companions and were given an apartment to live in. It just so happens (AKA God Exists!) that the apartment complex is 80% Portuguese-speaking Brazilians who were praying for missionaries to come. They are teaching about 8 lessons a day in their mission language when they thought they'd be getting rusty on their temporary state side assignment. AMAZING?! I think so. I love this Gospel!!!!!!!
Anyway, back to the visas that came in: So great!! We are so excited for everyone! We were told that these visas were all from the LA consulate too, which is the one that has been the most problematic, so this is a VERY good sign!! We also heard that the USA is the only country having problems getting visas...so we don't know what that is about but I hope it all gets resolved soon! I want to go to BRAZIL!!!
3. Sunday. SO GREAT! First the sisters in our branch sang Mary's Lullaby together in Sacrament Meeting in Portuguese! I LOVE that song and its so beautiful in Portuguese! Then we had an AMAZING fireside by the BYU Men's Chorus! I didn't even know they existed! They are INCREDIBLE! The spirit was so strong! A few members shared their testimonies and conversion stories throughout the program. Each one brought me to tears and testified to me of the truthfulness of what we know about our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is TRUE! There is no way the many miracles that occur could happen without a Supreme Creator who has a PERFECT, LOGICAL Plan! THEN, after the fireside, Sis. Riggs and I went up to the common area on our floor to do our personal study. We hadn't had time to do it yet that day. There was a district of Elders up there that were talking and goofing around. We started our study and I began by writing down all my thoughts and impressions from the fireside. I was on a spiritual high. The Elders were being pretty disruptive and started talking about inappropriate things and I had a prompting to start a testimony meeting with them. The idea terrified me. I argued with the Spirit for about 10 minutes--which I hate to admit--and finally prayed to my Heavenly Father asking him if it was really what he wanted me to do. It was. I asked him for strength to do His will. The next thing I knew I was standing up and walking over to them. We had an amazing testimony meeting together. It was incredible. One of the Elders ended up sharing some very personal stuff with them that he had said he'd felt prompted to share but hadn't known when to do it. After wards Sis Riggs walked over and closed the meeting with her amazing testimony. Then we both went into the bathroom and cried our eyes out.