Friday, April 23, 2010

Coming home...

Wow. I cant even believe that this time next week I will be sitting in my own home. Weird. I still havent really come to terms with the fact that I wont stay here forever. This place has been my home for the last 18 months and I have become accustomed to it. I love it here. I love the people like my own family. I feel like they would do anything for me, just as my family would. I would do anything for them, also. The ward here threw me a party wednesday night. I had no idea. They told us that they were having an activity and that there would be investigators there. I was not really all that excited to go. When I arrived they were all there already waiting and started singing and I started crying. I went around the room hugging everyone. After they finished singing, each person that I taught got up and thanked me for sharing the gospel with them. It was really cool. This was my favorite part.
Anyone who already served a mission knows that at the end, things always enter into your mind like, Did I do everything I could? Did I find all the people I promised in the pre-existence that I would find? Was a diligent enough? Did I give my all? Can I go home in peace? Well, this had already passed in my head. Anyone who knows me, knows that I often think down on myself. I never think I did I was feeling that. But seeing all these people get up and tell me how I changed their lives, I realized, it was THEM that changed my life. All of a sudden it didnt matter any more. I came here to help the people here in Pernambuco Brasil, but they ended up helping me. I am a better person. I am different. Dont get me wrong, I am still the same crazy Melissa Ortolani that everyone remembers, but I have learned so much in these last 18 months that I didnt learn in the last 24 years of my life. Anyone who is thinking about going on a mission, I say JUST DO IT. You wont regret it. It is the best thing in the whole world. It is the best decision that I have made thus far. I am SO happy that I came and SO grateful for all the people that supported me and helped me through this time. It wasnt easy...but the good things in life are usually hard, but it was SO worth it. Thanks to everyone who wrote me, prayed for me, or even thought about me while I have been gone. I appreciate everything. I am so grateful that the Lord was so good to me and allowed me to be here serving. I am so grateful for this opportunity and it will be something that I carry with me for the rest of my life. The people of Brasil changed me. I will be eternally grateful for that.

Ingrydd, Mércia and Mônica...some of the girls that I taught.

Cybelly and Iara

Marcos, Célia, and Neto. A family that I taught that is preparing to be sealed! woohoo!

Denny and I...and the food. :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Vida na missão...

Me and Elder Cole...hes our neighbor. He lives in South Jordan. Hes awesome.

My other neighbor, Elder Coffin. He lives in sandy or something around there. Hes awesome too.

This is Elder real neighbor. He lives like 5 minutes from my house...up on the mountain. Hes also awesome. And Elder Shallenburger, from Payson, is hiding behind.

Our special christmas P-day with half of the mission. It was such a trunky day. We just like sat around with other Americans playing guitars and singing songs. It was great.

This is my brother (or he looks like it) Elder Wagoner. He is so cute!! Hes from Idaho.

Me and my comp Sister Caciolari when we got my christmas package from my mom.

My last night in Recife. It was like my going away party. Do you like my hair?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Baptism of Valeria

Birthday Tradition

Birthday Party in Recife

Feb 2, 09

This week was crazy full of things. Well, I had my first baptism...Valeria. It was beautiful. She was confirmed on Sunday too. Whew. That was so fast. I don’t know how people do it. was very cool and a real blessing to be a part of someone’s conversion process. She received several confirmations from was very cool. I think I told you about Taciana before. She is a woman that we have been teaching the entire transfer. She was taught by Sis Bueno and Sis Jacobs last transfer. Anyway...she´s been in Sao Paulo for two weeks and she just got back and we went to visit her and she told us that she had a dream while she was there that she was baptized and now she wants to get baptized. We marked her for the 17th of February (I think that’s the day). Anyway...I was pretty excited about that because I have spent a lot of time with her and I really love her and want the best for her...which would be to get baptized. I´m glad she finally made that decision to be baptized. I don’t know if I´ll be here or not...cause transfers are on Wednesday. Can you believe I´ve already been in Recife for an entire transfer? CRAZY. My Portuguese hasdefinitely improved, but I still don’t understand everything. It still causes contention sometimes with my companion. She doesn’t have a lot of patience with me...or maybe she does and I´m just really hard to deal with. Ha-ha. I think she’s kind of trunky. She only has 2 transfers left and she is very concerned with herself right now and concerned with what is going to happen when she gets home. It’s very frustrating at times because I just want to bury myself in the work...and I end up getting sucked into doing things she wants to do like buying a dress for a wedding the same week she gets back...yeah. It’s frustrating when we make plans and then we don’t do them. You know me; I always have to know what’s going to happen before it happens. I´m not very spontaneous. I guess that’s something I need to learn here cause many times plans fall through or some things take longer than expected. Well, Friday...some members from the ward threw me a party. It was so nice of them. They made a cake and everything. It was beautiful. People here are so nice. Then Saturday...after the baptism when we returned to our house, Sis Garai and Sis Furriel (the sisters we live with) came running inside saying they had to use the bathroom when in reality they were getting eggs. They cracked an egg on my head and then sis Bueno threw flour all over me. Yeah, apparently this is a tradition for birthdays here. I don’t know what the deal is because who wants an egg on their head on their birthday? Yeah, no one. It was really gross. I don’t think I will tell anyone when my birthday is next year. Ha-ha. Man...I don’t know why anyone would want that on their birthday. They didn’t even make me a cake or anything! Just the egg on my head. They did tape balloons on my desk and bed though with messages written on them...I guess that was nice. Ha-ha
I haven’t received your packages yet but I haven’t been to the mission office in a while so it could be waiting there. We will check today. I sure hope it’s not lost. So...I am not asking for another package because I know it’s expensive...but if you send another package in the future...doesn’t matter how far in the future... I can’t feel ugly all the time so I´ve still be wearing makeup. So...eyeliner, mascara, that mineral powder stuff...that would be nice to have more of. Peanut butter is definitely good, they don’t sell it here...and any cake or brownie mixes. Oh, and I have a question...sis Garai told us that we can’t sing sacrament hymns in our house because their sacrament hymns. Is that a rule somewhere that I´ve never heard of? We sing every day before our comp. study and one day I wanted to sing Oh My Father. She said we aren’t allowed. What’s up with that? We can’t think about the atonement during a normal day or what? I thought that was really bizarre. The people here are definitely different than in the states. As a matter of the baptism...the only people that were there were us, the ward mission leader, Valeria and the family that she is friends with that introduced her to the church. Another lady that lives in the same apt complex came late, but no one else showed up. Not the bishop. Not the relief society president, no one. What the heck is that? I was very disappointed in that actually because I really think she needs more support from the ward. Hopefully that changes soon.

Okay I'll try to get to all of these. Remember when I told you that you might have to teach the leaders. This may be one of those times. The retention in the church is very bad right now after baptisms. The GA's have even spoken about members’ fellowshipping new converts. This may be a time that you have a talk with the bishop about that. Do you want me to send you some church talks about that?
You might want to ask your mission pres about singing. It might be a mission thing. If not then maybe you could explain that in America it is okay to think and sing about the atonement outside of sacrament. It may just be a rule there. It’s like some bishops here won't let you sing non-hymn songs in a sacrament program. Just check the rules and try to be compassionate about their customs, because it just might be something they just don't do.
Also. I will send makeup. I was actually thinking about that the other day. Oh and peanut butter? I've been telling everyone that you don't like peanut butter what’s up with that?

Where did you get a silly idea like that? Me? Not like peanut butter? Heck yes I like peanut butter. home I don’t really eat it a whole lot. Every once in a while... but when you don’t have it and you don’t have access to it...that’s another story. My bishop just got back from a trip to Bountiful and they bought peanut butter there and brought it here. We were at their house last week and I saw it sitting on the counter and I wanted some SO bad, but no...I didn’t ask and they didn’t offer. :(

You have told me over and over that because you ate so many peanut butter sandwiches in elementary school that you didn't really like it. Whatever! :)

Um...I think you have gone crazy. I have never said that...nor have I said that I don’t like peanut butter. Aunt Molly sent me peanut butter in her Christmas package...I devoured it. I shared it with my district too. We ate it with the Oreos you sent. It was delicious.

Oh whatever I think you have Alzheimer’s. :)

No’re the one with Alzheimer’s. You make up stories about me all the time. I think you actually had some other kid that you didn’t tell me about. I´m pretty sure that’s it.
I miss yáll a lot. I talked to Sister Bueno about this because I miss you every day. I don’t know how to stop missing you. She said she doesn’t know how to help me because she doesn’t miss her family. I don’t know how she cannot miss her family...really. Well, hopefully my next comp will be more interested in working and then I can just forget about myself and not think about yáll so much and then I won’t miss you so much. I don’t know...It’s not like I´m thinking about you guys all the time, but I do think about you quite often and anytime something happens, good or bad, I always think about what I´m going to write to you about on P-day.

I wrote you a letter that is probably sitting at the mission home but I wanted you to know that I sat here last week waiting for you to get on line. I was afraid to take a shower for fear of missing you. The Internet backed up or something. I didn't get any of your emails until after you had already signed off. I was so upset I cried.

Aww...I´m sorry. I don’t know what happened. The internet was really slow here, maybe that was it. I don’t know. I was pretty sad too....but I cry pretty much every p-day when I read your emails or write you. I don’t know just happens. My comp probably thinks I´m unstable.
Oh...I wrote to Katie Ellis and I don’t know if she got it or not....but can you find out. Is she engaged yet or what’s going on with her? And I wrote to Ryan Bruce too. What’s going on with him? I haven’t heard anything.

Well hopefully your next comp won't be so trunky. That might help. Oh I was telling the elders about your situation in the city. One of the elders told me that wherever is brother served (I can’t remember where) they had the same problem with the doormen. They ended up preaching to the doormen. I thought that was pretty cool

We leave pass-along cards with the doormen practically everywhere we go but none of them live in our area so it’s a little difficult that way. Eh goes on. I wonder if I´ll get transferred or not. The second or third week I was here, in my interview, Pres Emerick said something about me getting an American comp next but he could have changed his mind by now. I don’t know. I kind of hope to get an American cause she can explain things to me that I don’t understand instead of me always being in the dark and not being able to explain myself.
I think we might be leaving soon but I wanted to tell you that I love you so much. I sent dad a package on the 13th and they said 15 days and then I sent you one on the 20th...but that one will take a month. I went the cheaper route...sorry. Nothing big, but hopefully you will like the stuff.

Melissa sent David a t-shirt. Apparently they had a king once. Well on this shirt is a picture of their king but they have turned him into a goat. Melissa said that it reminded her of the “Emperors New Groove”.
Also the shirt is a size L but apparently L’s in Brazil are more like M’s here so it looks like a muscle shirt on David. So…I guess I get a new T-shirt. HA!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jan 28, 09

So many things have happened this week. I don’t know if I’ll have time to go through everything. Well, Elder Cook came and spoke to us. It was very cool. I got to shake his hand, along with the rest of the missionaries (it was cool, but I have actually had a conversation with him before at the church office building) which I actually talked to him about at the conference here. I talked to him a little about the people I used to work with there at the church office building and he said he´d tell them I said hello. Ha-ha. Can you imagine? Elder apostle of the Lord, is doing me a favor and telling my ex-coworkers I said hi. Ha-ha I thought that was really quite humorous. Anyway...his talk was AMAZING. I felt like it was just for me. Seriously. He talked a lot about how to be a better missionary and such...and he told us that there is no better place for us to be right now than here, serving the Lord and spreading the gospel. He couldn’t be more right. I really needed to hear what he had to say because we went through a couple of rough days last week where we didn’t teach a single lesson. Wow. It’s hard to find people in our area...but we´re chugging along. Oh yeah, and at our zone conference we were asked to fast for a baptism. Our entire zone was supposed to have a baptism this week. Well, Sis Bueno and I did what were asked and fasted, but we knew we didn’t have anyone to be baptized...our only progressing investigator is on vacation right now. Well, we had a miracle. One of the ladies in our ward has a friend and she brought her to church last week...and then again this week. We started teaching her. After the first lesson, we challenged her to pray and ask heavenly father if this was the true gospel. She received a very special and personal answer and she agreed to be baptized....ON MY BIRTHDAY! Wow. It was truly a joyous day. It is truly a blessing to be a part of someone’s conversion process. I highly recommend it to everyone :) It was very special to see her progression in such a short amount of time. She already knows a lot about the Bible and has a very special relationship with Heavenly Father and now she has gained a testimony of his true and living gospel on the earth! There is nothing more special than that. I can’t express to you how I feel about this. I couldn’t be more excited for her. This is just the first step she needs to make in order to return to live with our Heavenly Father once again, but it is certainly a necessary step. Wow. It’s exciting. On another note, some ward members found out my birthday is on Saturday and they want to have a birthday party for me. How sweet huh? So we´re going to have some cake and celebrate on Friday. I´m excited. Well...we went to the temple today for the first time. It was very cool. Man...Try going through the veil in Portuguese...that was rough. Ha-ha. The temple is beautiful though. I only have 5 minutes left, no, I haven’t gotten your packages yet...I’m waiting patiently....okay, more impatiently...I probably annoy the secretaries asking them every time we go to the mission office if my package is there yet. I don’t know when it’s going to come. It’s been more than 3 weeks. Hopefully sometime before next week...transfers next week!!!! Wow. I don’t know whets going to happen. I don’t know if I’ll stay here or not. I’ll let you know.
Com Amor,
Sister Ortolani

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jan 19, 09

This week was pretty normal. Nothing really huge happened. I do have a short story of a simple prayer. We went to this store and bought a brand new telephone card (because we have to use public phones to call people with) and we went to a phone and Sis Bueno stuck the card in and called someone. When she hung up she tried to get the card out and it wouldn’t come had sunk into the slot really far and we couldn’t get a good grip on it to get it out. She was freaking out because we JUST bought it and so she walked over to the nearest apartment complex to ask if they had anything to get it out. While she was gone I just simple prayed to Heavenly Father that we would be able to get it out. (It wouldn’t have been a huge deal if we couldn’t...but we JUST bought it and it would have been a waste of money). Anyway...she came back with nothing. They didn’t have anything. I was just standing there thinking about anything I had in my bag that could help us get it out...Sister Bueno tried using one of the clips in her hair to get it out...didn’t work. Then for some reason using two coins came into my head. I wasn’t sure that it would work I actually thought it was a strange idea...but I decided to try and came out. It wasn’t a huge thing...but I know Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers...I haven’t felt his love as strongly before as I do now. I can feel him with me every day. He really takes care of his missionaries and thats the truth. Every time I pray for something, even something simple like this...he blesses me. Anyway...I thought it was cool. He is looking out for all of us. We just need to have the faith to ask for what we need and he will bless us. Other than that...we didn’t teach a lot of lessons...we never do. I don’t think we´ll have a baptism this transfer and thats okay because we have helped a lot of less actives and recent converts. I came here to help people not necessarily just to it’s all good. I feel like I´m doing alright. The language is coming along. I can feel a difference but I still talk myself into a corner a lot when I can’t continue cause I don’t know a word in can be very frustrating but the members and investigators are usually pretty patient with me so that’s good. Well, I love you so much and I pray for you every day. I hope all is well at home.

Tell Kelly thank you for her last letter. Everything she said was so helpful and it made me put things into perspective. Tell her to email me more often. I really enjoy her advice because she just finished doing the exact same thing that I´m doing.
Oh yes...and I was wondering...What the heck is happening in Israel? I really have no idea...but I´m very curious. Oh and all the new people I meet here that find out I´m American ALWAYS ask if I like Barrack Obama. Ha-ha. I don’t know if he will be a good president or not...and I don’t know if he will do good for our country or not...but I really think he is good for all the other countries. Everyone here hates bush and they see hope in the eyes of barrack. It’s very interesting to see things from the outside.

Oh I haven’t received your package yet...but maybe today. Apparently it takes 3 weeks to get here. I don’t know anything. How is the family? How is troy and his family? Hanging in there? I´ve been praying for them a lot lately.

This is an email that I sent to Melissa last week. Melissa responded to it but I thought you all may want to read it.

Katie Ellis and I have been writing a bit to each other on face book. I wanted you to see what she wrote to me yesterday. I thought it was very cool.

From Katie-
You know, I think it is so awesome that you are doing that for her. Mail is treasured like GOLD on missions. And so are the things that parents do. I know that Melissa feels your prayers. I can think of numerous times in Montreal when I would be freezing my rear off on a street corner waiting for a bus in -40 and sometimes I would just feel warm despite the weather, and along with that warmth came the reassurance that is was because my mother was praying for me. I felt her prayers more than anyone else’s over the course of my entire mission. It truly taught me (along with lots of other experiences on my mission) about the power of prayer on behalf of others, and the special relationships that exist between mothers/daughters.

From Me-
Melissa I pray for you every day and not only do I pray that the Spirit is with you and that you learn the language and help convert people. But I also pray that Angels are with you always and they protect you and guide you help you feel when things or places are unsafe. I ask that the people around you sense those angels and are guided by the Spirit to cause you no harm and to feel your spirit and want to learn more of Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. I knew that my prayers were being answered by Heavenly Father, but reading Katie’s words yesterday made me wonder if you also had felt my prayers on your behalf. If not, no big deal, but just know that I do pray for you all the time, sometimes too in the middle of the day at random times. That's probably weird, I don't know. Anyway...I love you!Ignore what she said at the beginning. It’s a surprise.

This is Mel’s response
Thank you for this email. It’s true. What Katie says is so true. I can feel your prayers. It’s really cool; actually to hear that you pray for angels to watch over me because that thought comes to my head a lot when we are walking down a dark road. Last night we were walking to an investigators house and a boy was sitting across the street. He got up and started walking towards us asking if we had money. I was a little nervous and so was Sister Bueno. She kept telling him we didn’t have any money and we kept walking. He followed us for a little bit but then stopped. I suggested that we stop and pray. When we reached a safe point we stopped and I offered the prayer. When we were done...the first thing that came to my head was...You´ll be alright. There are angels all around you watching over you....honestly. This was my first thought and it is often my thought. It’s true too. There are angels watching over us. I can feel it. Thank you so much for your prayers. They are very much needed and appreciated. Heavenly Father really hears and answers our prayers. I can testify of that. I have felt that every day since I´ve been here. The only thing he asks from us is to have faith in him. We need to have faith and pray in faith. He will answer our prayers. He won’t necessarily take our afflictions from us, but he will comfort us when we need it. We need to always remember that Heavenly Father doesn’t give us anything in this life that we can’t handle. We might feel like we can’t handle it, but he knows better than we do. I know this is the truth. Thank you mom. I love and miss you so much!
Tchau! Sister Ortolani

12 weeks out!

So...this week was a million times better....but still rough. I still don’t speak Portuguese well but it’s coming along. I told my mission president that I was having a really rough time and I thought that I was starting to get depressed. I didn’t want things to get any worse because I know that wouldn’t help anyone. So...anyway...we had interviews with him on Tuesday I think it was...and no, he doesn’t speak English, but I could understand most of the things he said to me. He kept it simple and he also talks a lot slower than all the rest of the people here (cause he´s not from Recife). So anyway...he told me that he was really glad to have me in this mission and that I would bless a lot of lives. He also said he knew it was hard to learn Portuguese but he knew I would learn. He showed me the board with all the missionaries and their companions and areas and he told me that when I first arrived as the mission president in July he was so overwhelmed with everything (I can only imagine) because he was supposed to do transfers and he didn’t even know any of the missionaries. He said he had to rely on the Lord for help and he was there and he made it through. He said I just need to do the same and everything will be fine. He is right. Everything will be fine. He also told me that my next companion would probably be an American so that she can explain more things to me so I can understand better. I was pretty excited about that. I ask sis bueno to explain things to me but it’s rough because she doesn’t speak English and I don’t always understand her Portuguese. Yeah anyway...I´ve been praying a lot of help and President Emerick gave me a beautiful blessing. I know everything will be okay and I´m fine right now. I hope you didn’t worry about me too much. I had a melt down last week but this week was much better. So...we have Taciana who is going on vacation tomorrow (I think) and she won’t be back until the 30th of this month but she told us that she wants to be baptized. YAY! Too bad transfers are on the 4th of February so I doubt she will be baptized before then...which means that I probably won’t be there for it. We have 2 other investigators with potential but one of them works a lot and we haven’t been able to teach her much because of it. Our area is ridiculously hard because everyone that lives in the city works, goes to school, or is at a party. It’s very difficult for us to find people in their houses. On another note....this city has a lot of gay people. It’s very strange when you walk up to the bus stop and think you’re standing next to a woman until you look closer and realize it’s a man. Ha-ha. It has happened on numerous occasions. Kind of interesting.

I haven't done very well with the pics on your blog. It's so confusing while you are trying to put them on and then they show up really weird. I guess they are still there though. Dad doesn't know how to do them any better either so I'm on my own. Oh BTW he just had to leave he said to tell you he loves you.We had all 6 elders here last Thursday for dinner. They all sat and watched the slideshow of your mission pics on that new digital frame. It was very cute. I wondered if they were a little jealous that you were in Brazil and they were in stupid” Louisiana.

Those Elders should be thanking their lucky stars that they´re in stupid Louisiana! :) I kid. Brasil is wonderful but learning Portuguese sucks. I´m pretty sure it hates me. Anyway...tell them to be thankful to be in America with air conditioning and with nice apartments and nice beds and clean water and so on and so on. They are lucky. Although, I think I´ll have better stories :) Ask Jen about the Macumba people I told her about in the letter. I don’t have time to write about it again. I think my time is almost up. We´ll see what Sis Bueno does.... But I love you so much and thank you so much for all that you do for me and all that you are to me. You’re the best mom ever. I hope you know that. I love you more than you´ll probably ever know.

Thank you Melissa, that means so much to me. Probably more than YOU'LL ever know. I love you too but you know that.

(Part of her letter to Jen)
It’s interesting because here, a lot of things remind me of Louisiana. There are a lot of similarities. Oh man...funny story. Okay, more like creepy. We were walking to visit someone the other day and there was this woman standing in the front of a house wearing a red tiered dress and she was arranging something on the ground. As we walked closer she got up and crossed the street. I looked down and I started to walk towards the thing she had put on the porch of the house and my comp pulled me away and we started walking faster. I was really confused for a minute. She had put some fruit (I think) arranged in a circle with flower pedals sprinkled on top. Apparently she is part of macumba....they worship the Devil. She was wishing bad on the house. Yikes! I was really creeped out...and then yesterday we were walking in the same general area and there she was again. My District leader told me that they sacrifice animals and they play music with drums and dance around fires dressed in white. Talk about creepy. It just made me think about life and what it’s all about. When we follow the teachings of Jesus and of the Gospel, we are following Jesus. Why would we choose to follow Satan? I certainly don’t want to be like those people. Why would you wish badly on anyone? We are all God´s children and we all deserve to be happy...but when we don’t follow the teachings of the gospel, we are following Satan. It just kind of made me think about how easy it is to slip into that. Slipping into sin is so much easier than keeping the commandments of the Lord but look at what happens when we do each thing. Completely different outcomes. Yeah, anyway...It was kind of eye opening for me.

My living arrangements....well, we started off in an apartment in our area. Very room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Then randomly one day we had to move to another area and now we live with 2 other sisters in a place called Madalena. PS my mission only has 3 American sisters in it and one of them is leaving after the next transfer. It is rare to have 2 American sisters together.

So we walk between 10 and 15 miles every day...and it made me wonder...How much did the pioneers walk? Oh and Can you explain to me who Heavenly Mother is. I always understood it that we have a heavenly mother but her name is sacred so we don’t know it or talk about it. A recent convert asked me about it yesterday and I didn’t know what to tell her.

Well I don't know if there is any doctrine on her but we have to know that she is there. It only makes sense. I always assumed that Heavenly Father doesn't want her name to be used in vain as his is, so that's why we don't speak of her. Just have to have faith that she IS.

(Mel)I didn’t know how to explain it to the convert so she asked the stake presidents wife....and she told her that it was Mary...which I was pretty certain that wasn’t correct but Whatever...I don’t know the real answer

Oh my goodness. That is so not right. What the heck? You may want to pass that info on to your mission pres. Melissa you may have to help teach people like that, the people that have had time in the church. I know Nana and Papa had to teach the leaders in their mission and so did Kelly. Don't ever assume just because they are leaders in the local church that they know the correct gospel. You figure things out and try to give the correct info. If you are not sure but don't think they are either. Make sure to say that and tell them that you will find out and get back to them.
Gen 1:26-27 -strong case for a mother in heaven. And Joseph Smith taught the idea that was the inspiration for a song written by Eliza Snow hymn # 292 "O my Father". President Woodruff called it a revelation.
In the heav’ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.
When I leave this frail existence ,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?

Melissa also sent a tape last week. She sounds wonderful and actually was speaking Portuguese in the tape. She wasn’t as fast as her teacher (who was also on the tape) but she sounded good to me. Better Portuguese than when she left. It was awesome!