I recently turned 22! It was a great experience spending my birthday in Brazil. Lucas's family has a fun tradition of making a special breakfast for the "birthday" person.
I woke up to a great surprise!
The fruit loops were the greatest part :) You know you aren't in America when you ask for cereal for your birthday!
Lucas's family also made me a special cake. It was a chocolate cake topped with brigadeiro and beijinho. It was SO GOOD!!!!
It was a great birthday!
God continues to change our plans, though. That is something that I have really come to understand. We can't get angry when things don't go the way we want them to. We need to understand that God might have a different plan than the one we have for ourselves and for our family.
There have been many difficult times recently where I have a hard time remembering this truth.
Though it may look like fun to live in a new country and meet new people and learn new things, there are some challenges that aren't as fun.
Recently, I missed major events in the lives of my greatest friends. I missed the wedding of my best friend, Alyssa Powell, along with other friends and mission companions. I missed Thanksgiving with my family and will miss my third Christmas with them as well.
There are many other events that I'm sure I will miss in the next year or so. It is very hard for me to be so far away when these wonderful events are happening. These are the days that I cry myself to sleep and miss my friends and family. These are the days where I constantly get on Facebook to see if someone posted anything about my friend's wedding or my family. These days are the hardest ones for me.
I haven't always been the most outgoing person, but I learned how to step out of my comfort zone when I was on the mission and I feel a lot different now. Being here in Brazil has been a very different experience from the mission though. Even though I have been able to meet so many people in my ward, it has been extremely hard for me to make a "best" friend here. Of course, my husband is my bestest friend :), but I haven't been able to find someone else who I can really relate to and talk to. Portuguese has been one of the biggest barriers. I've been in Brazil for 8 months or so but my Portuguese is still not where I want it to be.
Sometimes my heart hurts to be so far away from all of my friends and family in the US, but I LOVE being with my husband. I waited a long time to finally be with him. My heart hurt during the 9 months of waiting and skyping. I know that my heart will hurt a lot when Lucas and I return to the US and leave behind friends and family here. It seems that my heart will always be hurting and missing something. I know that God knows this as well. I try so hard to remember this when I am missing something back home, but it is really hard to do. Satan always sneaks in and makes me begin to doubt everything that I have felt and understood from God.
I received answers from God that I was supposed to marry Lucas. When Lucas' visa was denied, I felt comfort in the idea that I would be moving to Brazil. In the hard moments, Satan tries to make you forget all of these things. He tries to make you doubt the spiritual promptings you have received.
I have felt this time and time again, but Heavenly Father always reminds me of one thing: That He knows. He knows what I am going through and how sad I am. He knows why I am where I am at this time. He knows what I am missing in the US and what I am challenged with here in Brazil. He knows what lessons I need to learn right now. He knows what will happen in the future, as long as I am obedient and submissive to His will.
This is the lesson I am learning now. I hope I am able to really learn and apply what God is trying to teach me. I know that I will look back at this time and think to myself, "I am so glad I went through that and learned what I learned."
To all of my friends, I just want to tell you that I love you, miss you, and wanted to be with you during those special events that took place.
To my family, I love you all so much. It is hard to be away from you during holidays and other times, but it makes me appreciate the fact that we have eternity.
Heavenly Father has blessed me with a wonderful husband who takes care of me and loves me. He is the biggest blessing I have received and I look forward to all of the things we will learn together.
Now, Lucas and I will be moving to a new city. The Lord blessed Lucas with a great job with great benefits. We weren't planning on him getting the job at a school farther away, but the Lord must need us to be somewhere else now. God continues to show us that He is in control and will guide us to where we need to be. I look forward to the new friends I will make and the new lessons I will learn.