Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Irma Sarah Ray's Last Mission Post!

Well, perhaps she'll make a POST-mission post (I'm sure she'll make many of them actually), but this is the last one I will be making for her and while she is ON her mission. I am SO thankful for her constant example and uplifting (and often hilarious) stories she took the time to share. All I know is she has shown us all, including our Heavenly Father that she will Return With Honor. She has blessed SO many lives there and back at home.

I am also SO thankful for all of you who took time to read about and take interest in her mission, and that wrote and supported her. From one heart to another (as cheesy as that sounds), thank you so much - or danke! Y'all really made and contributed to her mission and the success she had out there. I'm sure she feels the same.

Now, enjoy her last post and get STOKED (I know I am!) to talk with her again face-to-face/via phone or internet again! Thanks again for the support you gave my best friend, and this is me signing off...
- Ridiculouslygoodlooking

"Editor Note (Sarah's Dad): Well it has been fun and quite the memorable journey for Irma Sarah and all of us. As she says all good things come to an end and this is the last "News from Portugal". It has been a wonderful experience to share with each of you the experiences that Sarah has been having serving the people of Portugal. Thank you so much for your love, support and kindness that you have shown Sarah. I hope you have enjoyed the journey as well.

From Sister (Irma) Sarah Ray
March 22, 2010

Well, unfortunately eventually all things come to an end. So bummer for all of you, there will be no more incredibly entertaining, spiritually inspiring, (junk taking up space in your inbox) editions of the Chronicles of Portugal. Sad day, I know you will all be feeling the lack very deeply. As a result I will try and make up for that at this moment:
Besides the fact that my companion has been singing "you say goodbye and I say hello" to me nonstop for the past week, we have managed to get quite a lot of work done. We found two new investigators that are super solid and Carla started answering her phone again. WOOHOO. She is back on track to be baptized and even agreed to get out a calendar and mark two visits with per week all the way until April 17th aka, baptism day. We are super pumped. We were pretty worried that she wouldn´t show up for our appointment because it was raining. (we have to teach her in the church because even though she is 35 she still lives with Mom and Mom doesn´t like the missionaries.) Of course Irmã Ebeling I and do not understand why a little thing like rain could stop anyone...especially seeing as how we had forgotten our umbrellas that day and were at that point, completely soaked head to toe. So we did a lot of praying all day that the rain would stop, and that we could teach her. As a result two miracles happened.

1. A member took pity on us, gave us new clothes to change into, umbrellas and cookies. Life doesn´t get any better.

2. Carla showed up! Even though it was raining, and was even invited to Church by the Relief Society president who happened to be in the chapel setting up for the RS birthday party!
It is amazing the way that Heavenly Father works through all of his children to answer prayers. I am continually amazed at the love that he has for us, that I am only starting to comprehend. I am so thankful for the opportunity I have had to concentrate, to serve, and to live the gospel in every aspect of my life. The church is true and our Heavenly Father loves us more than we can comprehend. We just need to trust in him and everything will always work out....even the impossible
Just to go out with a laugh.....
So just in case you were worried that we had found normal people, I will introduce you to someone that I will sorely miss here on the Island.

Ascenção. She used to be a nun. She is the third person who was baptized on the island and is in some unknown (but very debated and gossiped about) way very very rich. Of course she is also crazy (just like everyone else on Madeira). She has Alzheirmers and as a result some times resorts to thinking she is going to marry Jesus even though she has been married in the temple. She also has this complex that her whole family is trying to kill her to steal her money. She is convinced that her nephew has broken into her house to steal the bottom half of her dentures. So she shocked the whole ward in that she showed up for testimony meeting a while ago in her temple clothes. She was convinced that God had told her she was going to die that day and she wanted to be prepared. We have to go visit her about once a week just to make sure that she hasn´t lost her keys again and gotten locked in her apartment (yes this has ~happened before.....we got to try and talk to her through the door and tell her to call the firemen). Basically she is hilarious and she is also the source of our plague of fleas. However, as a result of this story I am proud to announce that after a week and a half of a hard battle, the sisters have come out victorious in our battle, and our apartment is bischu free.
Well, time is up, so sadly this is the end. All who have had the best intentions of writing me but never actually mailed those letters... all future correspondence can be directed to ray.sarahl@gmail.com, or
4343 Whittington Way
Norcross GA 30092
LOVE YOU ALL and thank you so much for the continued support.
The soon to be former,
Irmã Ray

Sidenote: Sarah, you will ALWAYS be "Irma Ray" in many hearts - love you bestie... :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The last month in Portugal!

Here's another updated from our beloved Irma Ray! It took me awhile to post as I was in Switzerland last week, so I apologize. Enjoy!
- Ridiculouslygoodlooking


"March 1, 2010

Hey hey...

Just to let you know.....in case you were following the weather here, we are fine and we are staying in areas away from our apartments because the weather is predicted to be bad again. We are safe and happy, just frustrated because we can´t do any work.....we are being held prisoners by our members who are taking care of us.... I got to clean up a lot of mud. We actually helped clean out the Funchal theater that had become completely covered in mud. I felt a little crazy spraying a huge hose inside of a theater, but in the end it looked really good. We were pretty proud of ourselves. We also organized a food and clothing drive to help the hundreds of people who have been left homeless over the past week. It was quite the interesting experience, because we really had the chance to see the good in everyone. It is amazing to see the people all come together and to see people who don´t have anything giving to the people who have even less. It has also made me realize even more what is really important in life....like family! I am now a firm believer in food storage. I always was, but now I have other reasons!

I wish i had some cool missionary story to tell you, but since we have just been cleaning that is about it. GO figure. We did get some pretty good public relations though as everyone seemed to know us by the end of the week. We even had quite a few people in church this week. Of course half of them happened to be English, so I had the opportunity to translate all the meetings and realize just how bad my English really is now. Uh oh.

Well love you lots!!!
Irmã Ray

March 8, 2010

Well, we have officially transferred over to missionary work again. I am pretty glad because I feel like someone is trying to steal my days and the harder I hold on the faster they fall through my fingers. It was a little tough with the transition because the public transportation still is not working, but it was good. We actually had the opportunity to find a bunch of new people, so we are excited. Also we managed to mark Carla for baptism. Unfortunately it will not be until after I leave, but that is okay.
We had a weird week because President and Irmã Walton were here, but while they were here they received the news that their son-in-law had passed away from cancer. So Irmã Walton is once again in the states for two weeks. It just seems like they are being hit from every side. Last transfer it was Presidents Mom who passed away. That on top of all of the craziness on the Island has really been hitting home how fast things can change and how much harder they are becoming. Signs of the times right.....luckily we are able to help a lot of people still. People are a little more open, it seems that almost everyone knew someone who lost a house, a life, who knows what in the flood. Really makes you want to be a better person always.

Love you!!
Irmã Ray

March 15, 2010

Well, this week was quite the adventure. It started off when we were able to diagnose the problem with our apartment. My companion has a fondness for all animals that also happen to be found in the street. I have put an abrupt end to this as our apartment is now infested with FLEAS. Yes, that is right. I made it all the way to the last week of my mission without getting fleas (of which I was very proud because it is common here), but apparently, there was no way to avoid it completely. Tragic story that has led to an arsenal of bug sprays and a psychotic amount of cleaning. However, I think we are starting to see a retreat in the polginhos and I hope that we have managed to evict them soon.

Speaking of cleaning, we have once again put on the jeans and t-shirts and made it into the trenches of the floods. We spent an entire day shoveling mud out of a members house, following which we adapted the Portuguese cleaning method and just pulled the hose inside and sprayed everything down. Luckily everything is Portugal is made of tile, so that is common. You just pull up all the space rugs and put about 3 inches of water on the floor and the sweep (yes, with a broom) all the water out into the street. At this point, you start all over again. After about 3 hours of squirting and sweeping we managed to discover the original floor of the house! MIRACLES!

So, what made the cleaning even more interesting is the family we are helping. Alberto (dad) used to be a professional pianist playing in the huge resorts here on the Island. The funny thing is that he is also the ward pianist. He like to take creative license as well, therefore turning every hymn into something that you would be more likely to hear on an elevator. This confuses many of the members, leading to a very out of tune congregation and a very angry chorister. (Augustino, who vaguely resembles a cross between a dwarf and a umpa-lompa, who then starts snapping his fingers at Alberto and will randomly stop the congregation and make him start over again). Not one to let people be confused by the piano playing, his wife( Adelide) has taken it as her duty to lead everyone in singing....outdone in volume and pitch problems only by her son. The entire family is a bit ...okay, completely crazy and really just makes us laugh the whole time. We had used a mop on the upstairs of their house to dry the floor, so while we were spraying out the downstairs Alberto thought it would be a good idea to use it again. As he said " how about we use that thing that does this (as he waves his arms back and forth as if he had a mop)." I. Ebeling and I could hardly contain our laughter. We figured his house hadn´t been cleaned in about 10 years, so the flood was probably the best thing that ever happened to them. Alberto was so excited to be cleaning we just couldn´t help but laugh. Sometimes the missionary life is just to crazy to be real. I think I have walked in on some crazy movie that just doesn´t make sense. I LOVE IT.
Anyway, aside from the crazies (of which there are many more here in Funchal-character sketches in the future) we managed to find some new people, teach some old ones and help too menos activos come back to church. It was a great week and this one will be even better. LOVE YOU ALL

Irmã Ray

PS Today we climbed Pico Ruivo-the highest peak on Madeira....pictures attached."

No address for Sarah will be posted as it is now too late to write anymore - I hope y'all made time to do it before!