Thursday, September 19, 2013

Room for one more...

A few weeks ago we had the missionaries over for dinner. As we were chatting, it came up that the new set of sisters our ward would be receiving would need a place to stay for a bit when they first arrived. Marty casually mentioned that we could make room for them if needed, but we didn't really think much about it. However, a few days later we got a phone call. "Brother Vieira, does your offer still stand?" Oh, boy. "Yes!" we said. And then we got to work cleaning and rearranging.

Well, a day or two later we got another phone call from some friends in the ward. "We know of an exchange student from Japan that is still looking for placement. Would you be interested?" No! Absolutely not. Those were my initial gut reactions. But then I started thinking that we should at least pray about it so Heavenly Father could confirm my gut reactions. Always dangerous:) After thinking and praying for a day or two, I told Marty that we needed to make room for one more. We WERE supposed to take in this Japanese exchange student after all. At least we had a few weeks to prepare still.

The sisters moved in with us right before September began. Oh, how I love sister missionaries! It was wonderful to have them in our home. Our children were obsessed and stalked them to no end. I would often find them sitting outside their door in the morning--listening. "Mom! WHAT are those sisters doing in there?! WHEN will they come down for breakfast?!" When that tactic wasn't working they would go out in the front yard and try to see as much as possible through their windows on the second floor. "Mom, I saw one!! She was reading her scriptures!!" All that studying about drove our kids crazy. They couldn't understand why the sisters would not just come down and play with them! I loved it. And Sister Lee and Sister Palmer did, too. They will forever be honorary family members.

We spent a glorious two weeks with the missionaries down the hall. Then, as quickly as they came, they packed up their things and headed on over to their official apartment that was now ready for them. And we were left with one day to get things ready for our new arrival. We scrubbed, and washed, and vacuumed, and rearranged some more. Then, we packed everyone up in the mini van and went to pick up our 15 year old son.

I can already see why Heavenly Father sent Isamu to us for this year. He is just perfect for our family. The first morning, probably still dizzy from the time change, he sat down to show the girls how to do origami. He shows love to our children, he is polite and humble, and he is hard-working. His example will be greatly appreciated all through the year. I can already imagine that I will be sad to see him return home next June. His humility is probably what stands out to me the most. We felt like our offering to him was humble: a bed, desk, and dresser in our busy home. His first response was, "I've never had my own room before! Thank you!" I worried for weeks about what he would like to eat. He has eaten everything put before him without complaint. The fact that we can offer him choices for breakfast is luxury to him. He is used to natto (fermented soy beans) and rice to start every day.

I am learning what it truly means to be humble and grateful through this teenage boy. I am feeling like we have more than we could ever need as I look around at our home. Why is it that I EVER feel like we need more? While he learns English and experiences a new corner of the world, I will be learning what it truly means to simplify and find joy in the abundance of little things that make life so sweet. 

 (new family picture--courtesy of Dorothy)