Here is a recent letter from Sister Arbuckle:
Oi oi oi FAMILIA AND AMIGOS!!!!
I am officially leaving for Manaus in 3 DIAS!!!!!!!! I am so freaking excited!!! My flight is going to be just over 4 hours long haha – yeah Brazil is GINORMOUS! This week was super super good. It is our last week at the MTC and we are finishing strong. We are so sad to leave some of the people and friends we’ve made here but super ready to move on!
Going to cosmetology school was pretty much the best idea ever. I seriously use those skills all the time for the girls I live with. This week we focused on everyone’s eyebrows J
This week was daylight savings in Sao Paulo which meant we got an extra hour of sleep!! The sunrise in the morning now is breathtaking – I’ve become obsessed with it haha. Sao Paulo is so beautiful! I can’t even imagine what Manaus is going to look like.
Today we were told that a general authority was going to visit so I spent time curling my hair (yeah, huge waste of time because now I look like I have dread locks because of the humidity). Turns out a former mission president was visiting our area and he was super cool.
Sis. B and I are starting to love the beans and rice which is good considering we eat it at almost every meal. One day they actually ran out and we craved it all day!
Mom, please don’t be mad, but I gave away one of my suitcases. I’ve been so stressed about my carry on being too big and when I measured it this week it was two inches over the limit. So, I went to one of the Hispanic sister’s rooms and asked if anyone needed a suitcase and this sister from Guatamala raised her hand and said she would love one. Then she pulled out an old duct taped suitcase she had brought and said it was the only one she had. She was so amazed and so so grateful that I could give her mine. Before I go I’m going to stuff if with things I don’t need. She then tried to give me a bag her mom had made for her out of her baby clothes!!! So sweet and so so generous and oh my goodness…so humbling. Don’t worry though – I bought a backpack and will use that instead. I’ve discovered there aren’t a lot of things I actually need.
Someone asked me this week if I was Brazilian?!! What. Yeah, made my lifeeee!! Something that I love is when you randomly hear over all the Portuguese “Hallo how a you?” or “what is sup?”.
Learning a new language is hard. Like, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. It’s the most overwhelming, frustrating, demanding, takes all my concentration, but coolest experience ever. Everyone should study the Book of Mormon in a new language. I firmly believe this because you actually come across words and phrases that make more sense in another language. You can also start to see patterns of different prophets, what connotations they used, tenses, forms, etc. In the end though, we just need to teach by the Spirit and teach what Heavenly Father knows the investigator needs to hear.
My spiritual thought this week is from a note my Dad sent me. I read this all week and am memorizing it in Portuguese! It’s in Doctrine and Covenants 76:2-7:
2. Great is his wisdom, marvelous are his ways, and the extent of his doings none can find out.
3. His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand.
4. From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail.
5. For thus saith the Lord – I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.
6. Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.
7. And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
What I am learning is that although each of us are unable to understand all of God’s ways, the things He has asked us to do, the callings we have or the things that are placed in our individual path we can be assured of two things: 1) He loves us. He loves us so so much and as a missionary it is so awesome to get to learn about this love through teaching people about Him. Learning how to be a disciple of Jesus Christ allows us to feel of His love for all the people we teach. It’s so amazing that the Lord has given us the gift of tongues not so that we can be fluent but so that people will be able to understand our message the way that they need to. All so that His children can come to know of His existence and eternal love and plan for them. 2) He has given us the gift of the Holy Ghost. (This is a gift we receive after baptism). Through the Holy Ghost we can feel comforted, loved, happy, and like Moroni says when we have real intent in our hearts we really can come to know the truth of all things. What a huge promise.
The Lord is at our side every step of the way and I would never be able to do this without him.
Everything is really good here and my when I send my next email I will be officially in the Amazon with my insanely broken Portuguese! Love you all so much – keep sending me pics and stories and emails. They help so much!
Sister Arbuckle is serving from the Heritage Park Ward. You can visit her blog by clicking HERE.