The letter box opens. BARK! BARK! I race the tiny Dachshund to the door. Sadly, my reactions aren't quick enough. Lata is already attacking the letter as though it's a paper burglar. As I wrestle it off her, the importance of the letter dawns on me. This is it. Today I will know where I'm going!
No one else is around to witness my battle with the dog, except my brother Peter, who is mentally handicapped. I don't think he fully appreciates the gravity of the situation. So the waiting commences. Let the guessing game begin!
And so we come back to the moment of opening the letter for the first time at 7:30 that day. The map is dotted with people's guesses so there's hardly a stone unturned. Germany seems to be the hot favourite, even from people I didn't think new I had studied it to A-Level. We're crowded around the sofa, I'm fumbling with the envelope and then...
'Dear Sister Regan,
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You re assigned to labour in the Portugal, Porto Mission'
Portugal! I know where that is! (there was always that worry that you would look incredibly stupid by not knowing where your assigned mission actually was). What an unexpected blessing. I'd never imagined being sent somewhere so nice and sunny. Immediately I could feel a love for a nation I barely knew.
And Provo! Yes, I'd be going back Stateside for a season because goodness me I know absolutely no Portuguese! Provo was part of the best holiday I had ever been on, the backdrop to the happiest I'd ever felt. What an added bonus.
It might have been a surprise for me (and everyone else with guesses that danced around the country) but it certainly wasn't a surprise for the Lord. How blessed am I to already have so many friends and stake members who speak Portuguese, come from Portugal, even served in Portugal on their own missions. It's a wonder I missed the opportunity to learn the language already! Clearly the Lord can see the end from the beginning, the great plan that he has for us. How exciting it is to be putting complete trust in him, who knows more about us than we can possible imagine.