That is the sweetest thing ever! Awwwww! Hailey Brookie!! I miss you so much too! I love you and I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited for you birthday soon! Are you going to have a party?! Freestone park again?! haha!! Take that picture around with you everywhere and pretend I'm there! (**Our little sister Hailey is turning 8 on February 10th and is going to be baptized...she is very sad Erin won't be there! My mom told Erin in her last email how she keeps finding Hailey holding Erin's picture, or giving it a big hug! So sweet!)
Okay, so the story about your little misfortune on the way home from Utah is hilariously sad! I'm so sorry! Que Pena!!! (what a pity!) (**This is referring to the fact that my parents got stuck in the mud on their way home from Utah...I couldn't think of a better description of it then how Erin put it "Hilariously sad" we are sisters for SURE!) BUT...I have to agree with what mom said that it was a great time for you to pray and work as a family! I was overwhelmed with a mixture of humor, spiritual testimony, and sadness for you as I read about it. I'd say its a great story for the posterity though! (Wow...do I sound like a missionary or what?! The other day some of our Elders were talking about something they wouldn't tell us and my companion said, "Is this secret combinations?!" She then turned to me horrified and said something to the effect of "Oh no...I've started using missionary humor!" It was pretty funny. Its bound to happen after 11 weeks in the MTC, right?!)
ANYWAY...I had a really amazing experience at the Temple last week that I didn't write about. I had been struggling to fully stay awake during the sessions for a few weeks in a row, so I prayed that I could really pay attention and learn from the incredible things that occur in the Temple. Nothing crazy happened, but I was able to stay away and my testimony grew that the things that we do in the Temple are of God and are necessary for our Salvation. As I pondered it later as I was writing in my journal on Sunday, I was filled with the Spirit and overwhelmed again by the Restoration. This is what I wrote in my journal: "The truth has been restored. The ways of God, though far too complex for our earthly minds, are shown in part to us in the Temple, His sacred home. I am able to covenant with him and learn the things I need to know and do to be brought into His presence, and to be sealed for all eternity to my family. To progress without end. The temple is the most important place on earth." My greatest joy would be to one day be in the celestial room with my entire family: Me with my spouse and children, and with all of you. That would be the purest joy I could feel on this earth.
Our amazing teacher from Brazil we skype with gave us an awesome surprise on Saturday! His family was in town and we got to teach all of them! They acted like family members of our investigator "Marcus." I adore his family! He has 3 younger sisters, Mariana (19) who just got engaged to one of his best friends--we got to see the ring and he had one too so I guess they do engagement rings for the men too! Karina (15) and Larissa (12). His parents are Joubert and Wanderleia! I love Brazilian names!! haha!! They are awesome! It was a lot of fun and they said we did a great job! We love praise...probably too much...But the best news is that "Marcus" is being baptized tomorrow!!!!! We are so excited!! Having progressive investigators is awesome! I can't wait until they are real!
Okay so guess what?! I sang in church on Sunday....in a quartette. Yeah...shocking I know! I didn't do very well but it was a fun experience! It was Elder Armitstead, Elder Lew, Sister Riggs, and me with Elder Lunceford at the piano. We sang Where Love Is in portuguese! It was fun but scary and I shook the whole time and didn't sound very good. but...TUDO BEM! All is well! haha!
AG! No time....I have more to say so I will try to send a written letter too! But all the Elders and one sister who had been here 14 weeks were all reassigned on Thursday! We just started week 12, so we will see what happens! No one knows anything about visas, except that its random and weird!
Love you all so much!!! Thanks for the pictures! They made my day!!