3.19.2018

Rainbows and Rain


I'm going to start by telling you now... we did not get our residency permits. And you might have thought the FBI background check was in the bag. We did get it in time, but not without at least 24 hours of hearing from various sources that there were problems with the address or customs or it wouldn't make it here until the 19th.

Woo made a lot of phone calls. I sent an email. We all said a lot prayers and we got my background check at 12:34 PM the day before our appointment.


Anyway, we waited for only an hour or so in the waiting room (which was good, the kids were not in a waiting-quietly mood), and we all got to go in the room together. But we were told that our documents needed one more form of authentication (that we were never exactly clear on), and they threw a completely brand-new form on us (that we'd never even heard of).

There was a second or two of disappointment, but Woo convinced them to accept and record the dates on our documents (so don't have to order them all over again)--we'd get the apostilles by the end of September (the date of our next appointment), and we quickly began to feel happy, like we'd gained some sort of victory.


It dawned on us both separately, that essentially we'd just been allowed to live in Portugal for free for a year. Woo estimated we'd saved over $1500.

We know how to get the things we need for our next appointment, and have plenty of time to do it. If they reject us again, we'll get another appointment 6 months out and maybe we'll even fly home before then? (We don't actually know when we're leaving. No current plans, other than, not yet.)

The only downside, and it's small, is that I wanted to go to London for Herbie's and my birthday, but leaving the country isn't the best idea now. Maybe October?


Because of rain and a rescheduled track meet, Ruby was at our SEF appointment instead of running the the 1K at the district race. She was not happy when she discovered she wouldn't be able to go, but was a good sport about it.

She was very excited to get a "Bom" on the end of term test in a class she failed last term. Another teacher commented on Ruby's test in that class that she was showing more enthusiasm for the subject.
Ruby: I'm not showing more enthusiasm. I'm understanding more!
Another thing she's improving is her piano playing skills. She plays almost every Sunday after sacrament meeting. She had enough piano lessons to read the music, and now is getting more piano practice in than she ever had while having lessons.


Herbie doesn't have an official primary calling, but I asked him to be our music leader. He's been teaching us "Scripture Power" in Portuguese. He also gave a talk in primary today, but didn't write it out, just had a general idea with some scriptures, and it ended up being a mini-lesson when he started asking questions. Which was great.

To change up my exercise routine, I started running dunes in the afternoons with Archie and Herbie. Archie is my speed. Herbie does a lot of climbing up hills, jumping, 360s and slides. I try to do whatever they do. Usually.


Moses is really into the Avatar: The Last Airbender books right now. He's kind of resenting school lately because he doesn't feel he gets enough time to read or play soccer.
Moses (talking about hitting his bum): It doesn’t even hurt. You know why? 
Me: Why? 
Moses: Because my bum is so hard! Like when Herbie kicks it, all that happens is Herbie hurts his foot. My bum doesn’t even feel anything!
I hope you can say that your whole life, Mose.


Woo went on his first, ever (?) dejunk the house rampage last night. It was awesome. We threw away so much cardboard and Woo even had all the kids completely clean out their closets. After the initial disappointment the kids really got into it and Linus said, "We should do this every Saturday night!"

Linus loved his planetarium field trip. He thought it was the most amazing thing he'd ever seen. He almost didn't make it. I happened to look at the paper the morning of his field trip to see that they were leaving a half-hour before school started. Woo hurried and ran him over, as he had 2 minutes to be on time, and he made it.


There's a little girl in Penelope's class who has always been so excited about her (and about us). Sometimes when Penelope is tired, she'll cry and say no one will be her friend at recess, and I'm like, what about that little girl, who clearly loves you, Penelope?


And also, she lost another tooth.


Last week Archie read about Jesus ministering to the children in the Book of Mormon. He talked about it with Woo and then came to tell me all about it. He was clearly touched and told me it was his favorite scripture.

Then, last week it was his turn to teach FHE. He chose to talk about the Book of Mormon, shared when he read that story and had a good question, "How do you feel when you read the Book of Mormon?" before sharing a testimony.

Archie was taking longer than usual to get plates to set the table. This is why.


Woo decided to do something different this week. I don't know what it was. He wouldn't tell me, other than to say that he'd decided to do something. But it's clearly a good thing. He's happier and nicer.

Also, progress may feel slow, and the surfing this week was rough, but he can tell he's improving. He was able to get out and catch a wave or two, instead of not even being able to paddle out and being completely exhausted.

I'm pasting my talk to the bottom of this. I should say, I don't do this because I think my talks are so amazing, but because I'm part of an army. Every little spark, together, makes a roaring flame.

Also, I'm playing a long game here. In a hundred years or so, the little things I record will add up and be valuable to my grandchildren and great-grand children. I've been promised this.

I hope you had a great week!

***************************
Once when I was younger, a little older than Ruby, I was thinking about the prophet Moses and how he parted the Red Sea.

I wondered to myself, how did Moses get to that point where he could part the Red Sea? Did he practice in the bathtub first and slowly work up to it? How? I couldn’t understand how someone could know they could part water.

Soon afterwards I read D&C 8:2-3.

2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.

When I read this I knew how Moses had parted the Red Sea—the Holy Ghost had told him to part the Red Sea and he had obeyed.

And I also thought: I can do this! I can listen to the Holy Ghost and I can obey!

To be obedient to that prompting, Moses must have had an incredible amount of faith in the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

The stakes were very high. The Israelites could see an army pursing. Thousands of people were panicking, saying, “Why did you take us out of Egypt to be killed here?”

And Moses couldn’t just go do some quiet thing the Holy Ghost had asked him to do in his own house. He had to stand up to the water in front of everyone. Raise his hand, with the rod over the water, and command it to part.

Alma 37:6 says:

6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.

The parting of the Red Sea was a great thing, but it was done by small and simple means. The Red Sea itself didn’t part in an instant, but it took hours and hours.

Exodus 14:21 says: And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind ALL that night.

Also Moses was prepared to be diligent and obedient to the commands of the Holy Ghost over a period of years. He was 80 yrs old when he returned to Egypt to free the Israelites.

Moses performed great signs and wonders before Pharaoh to get him to release the Israelites, but before any of that Moses had to battle great opposition to be diligent and obedient to what God had commanded him to do.

For example, when Moses first asked Pharaoh to release the Israelites, pharaoh was angry and ordered the Israelites to provide their own straw for bricks instead of the Egyptians. The Israelites were beaten for not producing the same number of bricks every day and they were angry with Moses.

One of my favorite scriptures is when Moses says,  "Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? Why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all."

I like this scripture, because at times we are promised something for our obedience and the exact opposite seems to happen.

The Lord promises again, success to Moses, in the next verse and Moses labors on through the 10 plagues of Egypt, with all the work and energy and guts each of them took, until finally parting the Red Sea before the children of Israel were delivered from the Egyptians.

And Moses labored with so much humility and diligence and obedience and faith in the Lord’s promises that over time the Lord was able to work great things through him. So great that almost every religion in the world reveres Moses as a great prophet of God.

I know that the Holy Ghost speaks the words of God. And his promises are true. And we we are blessed when we follow them.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

********************************

Uma vez, quando eu era mais jovem, um pouco mais velho que Ruby, pensei no profeta Moisés e em como ele separou o Mar Vermelho.

Eu me perguntei, como Moisés chegou a esse ponto em que ele poderia separar o Mar Vermelho? Começou a treinar na banheira? Como? Não entendi como alguém poderia saber que podiam separar a água.

Logo depois eu li D&C 8: 2-3.
 2 Sim, eis que eu te falarei em tua mente e em teu coração, pelo Espírito Santo que virá sobre ti e que habitará em teu coração.
 3 Ora, eis que este é o espírito de revelação; eis que este é o espírito pelo qual Moisés conduziu os filhos de Israel através do Mar Vermelho, em terra seca.

Quando eu li isso, eu soube como Moisés havia separado o Mar Vermelho - o Espírito Santo disse-lhe para fazê-lo e ele obedeceu. E eu também pensei: posso fazer isso! Eu posso ouvir o Espírito Santo e posso obedecer!

Para ser obediente a essa inspiração, Moisés teve uma incrível fé na orientação do Espírito Santo.

As apostas eram muito altas. Os israelitas podiam ver um exército perseguindo. Milhares de pessoas entraram em pânico e disseram: "Por que você nos tirou do Egito para ser morto aqui?"

Moisés não conseguiu fazer uma coisa tranquila que o Espírito Santo lhe pediu para fazer em sua própria casa. Ele teve que ficar de pé na água na frente de todos. Levante a mão, com a haste sobre a água, e ordene a água para separar.

Alma 37:6-7 diz:
 6 Ora, podes supor que isto seja tolice de minha parte; mas eis que te digo que é por meio de coisas pequenas e simples que as grandes são realizadas; e pequenos meios muitas vezes confundem os sábios. 7 E o Senhor Deus usa de meios para realizar seus grandes e eternos desígnios; e por meios muito pequenos o Senhor confunde os sábios e efetua a salvação de muitas almas.

A separação do Mar Vermelho foi uma grande coisa, mas foi realizada por meios pequenos e simples. O Mar Vermelho não se separou em um instante, mas demorou horas e horas.

Êxodo 14:21 diz: Então Moisés estendeu a sua mão sobre o mar, e o Senhor fez retirar-se o mar por um forte vento oriental toda aquela noite; e o mar tornou-se em terra seca, e as águas foram partidas. 

Também Moisés estava preparado para ser diligente e obediente aos mandamentos do Senhor ao longo de um período de anos. Ele tinha 80 anos quando voltou ao Egito para libertar os israelitas. 

Moisés fez grandes sinais e maravilhas antes do faraó. Mas antes disso Moisés lutou por uma grande oposição para ser diligente e obediente ao que Deus lhe ordenou que fizesse.

Por exemplo, quando Moisés primeiro pediu ao faraó para libertar os israelitas, o faraó se irritou e ordenou aos israelitas que fizessem sua própria palha por tijolos em vez dos egípcios. Os israelitas foram batidos por não produzir o mesmo número de tijolos cada dia e se irritaram com Moisés.

Uma das minhas escrituras favoritas é quando Moisés diz:

Senhor! Por que fizeste mal a este povo? Por que me enviaste? Porque desde que me apresentei a Faraó, para falar em teu nome, ele maltratou este povo; e de nenhuma forma livraste o teu povo.

Eu gosto dessa escritura. Às vezes somos prometidos algo para a nossa obediência e exatamente o oposto parece acontecer.

O Senhor prometeu sucesso a Moisés novamente no próximo verso e Moisés continuou através das 10 pragas do Egito, com todo o trabalho, energia e coragem que cada um deles tomou, até que finalmente ele separou o Mar Vermelho e os filhos de Israel foram libertados do Egípcios.

E Moisés trabalhou com tanta humildade e diligência, obediência e fé nas promessas do Senhor que, ao longo do tempo, o Senhor trabalhou grandes coisas através dele. Tão grande que praticamente toda religião no mundo reverencia Moisés como um grande profeta de Deus.

Eu sei que o Espírito Santo fala a palavra de Deus. E suas promessas são verdade. E somos abençoados quando os guardamos.