Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I'm home!

Coming home has been a peaceful experience for me. There was a lot of stress involved in thoughts of coming home, but as it always seems to happen, the worry about an experience always overshadows the experience itself. Ever since I stepped on the train to leave my sweet Gijon, I have had a peace in my heart- one could say that this peace surpasseth all understanding. I know it's the Lord's way of telling me that this is where I now need to be.

I am happy. I am grateful for my mission. I am pleased with the experiences that the Lord allowed me to have and the growth that He enabled me to experience. It is a time I will never cease to treasure and one that I will never forget.

I know that the Lord lives. I testify of Him. I love Him and I am grateful to have His Gospel in my life, it has given me happiness that I cannot explain. Ahora, compartamoslo. Let's share it. Let's get on our knees, and ask for our opportunities and then get on our feet and find them. There are people waiting for the happiness that we have.

I love you all. Thank you for everything.

Here's to part two.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pictures November 2015

November 30, 2015 Letter


This might be my last time writing out a really long email to you on my
mission! Next week I'll be spending the day visiting people in Madrid
with my friend Hermana Shurtz. We started together and we'll be
companions for our last pday. I'm not sure what the schedule will be
like, but I'll write a little bit to let you know that I'm good and
everything. It really is winding down, isn't it? So crazy. I can't
believe how fast the time has gone, there were moments when I never
thought my mission would end. It is starting to hit me more and more,
in little moments. But overall, I feel ok. I'm excited to see what my
life holds for me! 

Last week for district conference, I asked
President Pack for a blessing. It was so special, actually. They know
that I've been having issues with going home and they told me that if
I wanted a blessing, I could ask him for one. So I did and it was a
really special, spiritual moment. He told me that Heavenly Father was
well pleased with the work I have done and that the Savior is
overjoyed with the person that I am becoming. He said that my mission
isn't ending, but that it has actually just begun. I felt a lot better
after than and since then, it's been going wonderfully. I feel content
with my mission, so grateful for it, and I'm happy for what is to
come. So yeah, I'm doing pretty good.

I'll tell you about some of the highlights of my week. :)
District conference!!
Like stake conference. But less people and a HUGE area of people come.
From one end of the district to the other it's 4 hours. So we all met
in the middle (Leon) and had the best district conference EVER. J.
M. came and loved every single second of it. He met president pack
and a member of the 70 and was just stunned with everything. J.
M. now has a baptismal fecha. We taught
him about fasting and he committed to doing his very first fast, mind
you he's 63, in his entire life this next Sunday with us. He's really
working on receiving an answer and were really excited for him. He's a
really good person and every single time I'm with him, I feel the
spirit so strongly. It's super cool.

We had over 50 people in sacrament meeting yesterday and it was the
most we've had in such a long time!! It was so cool. A lot of them
were investigators and less actives that we've been working with and
it was such a good feeling to see it. C. came for the first
time- in fact, it was her first time in any church in over 25 years-
and that was a huge miracle. She loved seeing the baptismal font, for
some reason. It really hit her hard and that was cool to see. JM
 took time off from his Catholic Church duties so that he could
stay for 2 hours instead of his usual one hour and that was cool. And
M., L.'s Cuban boyfriend that were teaching, came for the
second time and he wore his suit!! And it was so cool. They need to
get married or move out, but he will get baptized. I know he will.
Their goal is the temple and it's so cool to be here to take these
first steps with them.

J., the husband of N. that has been inactive for 14 years, is
keeping his commitment of reading the Book of Mormon with her every
single day and he's committed to coming to church on Sunday. We
invited him a few weeks ago and we finally had time to pass by and
follow up on his commitment. And he's locked in and ready to go! We're
sooo excited, it'll be his first time in 14 years coming. It's been
such a special experience working with him, were really excited to see

P. failed us for our lesson and for church, so we're thinking she's
not going to meet her baptismal date. It's disappointing but there
isn't any point in baptizing somebody if they are going to go inactive
anyways. I didn't ever want to do that on my mission. I love P. and
I'm disappointed that she's not progressing, but I know that Heavenly
Father loves her and has a plan for her. Whether it's now or in the
future, I know the gospel has changed her life. Thank you for your
prayers for her.

There were so many other cool experiences this week. I'm grateful for
it and grateful for the experiences that it brought. I love the
Atonement of Jesus Christ and I love my Heavenly Father.
So I just wanted to thank you for your work, all of you, in the work
of salvation. I know that Heavenly Father wants His children back and
we all have a part to play in it. Thank you for all being willing and
ready to give away a Book of Mormon and share the word of God,  which
is the word that heals the wounded soul (Jacob 2:8). Thank you for
your endless sacrifices and support to me, for crying with me and
rejoicing with me and just constantly writing me, praying for me and
allowing me to come here and have this incredible experience. I know
that families are central to Gods plan and He sent me to you for a
reason- for so many reasons. I want you all to know that I have been
prepared in my mission to serve my Heavenly Father for the rest of my
life. It is my greatest desire to return and help others return to
Him, as well, and that doesn't end with my mission. Our Savior lives,
and He makes good things possible in our lives. He has made salvation
possible, and He makes it so that exaltation is possible through His
Gospel. I know that this is a good work, and that God loves us. I am
grateful for trials that build our faith, and I am grateful for a
knowledge of the plan of salvation. I love my Savior. I know that
Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord, I know that the Priesthood and
the Gospel were restored through him. I know the Book of Mormon is the
word of God. I know of His patience, His love and His mercy. It's all
true and it's all real and I've felt it and I know it.

I love you all!! See you next week.


Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015 Letter

Hi Family!! 

 It was really cool this week- we found 4 new less actives! It's something that the Packs have wanted us to focus on a lot- less active work- and we were praying really hard for opportunities to do so. We've also been looking for miracles of the day, and it's been cool to see that when you look for miracles, you really can find them. We have this investigator named M. that we found in the house of  another investigator. She's been a bit hard to meet with and she never wanted to invite us over to her house- she just kept telling us that we could come see her in the house of her friend where we found her. We basically had no hope of her ever progressing, and worse yet, she told us that she has a daughter that got baptized awhile back that hasn't been coming to church for about three years. We were never going to be able to meet her daughter if we were never able to go over to her house, so we were a bit worried about the whole situation. So on Tuesday (?) (can't ever distinguish the days, they're all the same), we taught English classes to this little Spaniard family that we visit, and as we were leaving, I saw this woman carrying a huge amount of groceries walking towards us. We went up to help her and realized it was M.! She was actually having s really hard time with her groceries because she has problems with her hands and had forgotten her cell phone to call her daughter with to have her come and help. So we took her grocers and she let us into her piso and we ended up being able to teach a lesson to her and...wait for it... Her menos activa 15 year old daughter!! We were so excited, it was like this big timing of the Lord miracle and we loved it. We were able to visit them twice this week and review essential Gospel principles to help them feel the Spirit coming back into their lives. The hurdle will be church attendance. But we are going to see progression with them, I know it. 

Speaking of miracles... J. M. He's a straight up miracle. He's this Catholic deacon who Hermana Stephenson and I found in a park in my first transfer here. He's Spanish, awesome, and into theater. I don't remember if I've written about him before but he's awesome. This week we couldn't meet with him because of his horribly busy theater schedule, but he came to church and the best part was is that he asked his Catholic Church boss guy for some time off so that he could come to church for longer. And he LOVED it. And then, our ward mission leader actually fulfilled his calling and INVITED HIM TO A BAPTISM. The daughter of the branch president in Oveido got baptized in our capilla and J. M. accepted the invitation and came. This may not seem like a big deal but it was a huge deal, and he absolutely loved it. Even though the little girl was a pill- he loved it a lot. And he said that it "fills him"- everything that he learns here. We still have a lot to teach him but he's incredible. And the whole branch is just so excited about him. It's incredible, the member missionary work that goes on when somebody interesting comes to church... Haha, it's funny. And I appreciate it. 

Also, speaking of menos activa work, we have this friend here named N. who is just the best and our best friend and the young women's president. Her husband, who was once a member of the district presidency, has been inactive for about 14 years. He's incredible and were not really sure what happened, but N. invited us over to visit him a few weeks ago and we've been visiting with him ever since. So we show up last night, made pancakes with them and then read from the Book of Mormon together. So my companion the night before suggested that we read from Alma 5. I was like, ehhh.... That's like the most call to repentance chapter in the Book of Mormon and it might be a bit too much, but then I didn't say that and we went through with our plan. Literally 62 verses of repent or go to hell verses. Like, we don't even believe in hell! And I was so uncomfortable that I could not even look at this guy the whole time we're reading and I'm messing up a ton in my Spanish because I just can't believe how fuerte we are being with this 14 year inactive man and my companion is doing the same thing. And then, we talk about repentance a little bit and invite him to come back to church and you guessed it he said YES. Taught me a powerful lesson- We should never, ever apologize for the doctrine. We let the Spirit be the teacher, and the Book of Mormon, and he accepted to come back, at least one time. And it was awesome, al final. We were so excited about. 

So yeah, good week. Not perfect but good and I'm grateful for the answers and the help that God always sends to us. He's been teaching me so much about His Son, Jesus Christ as of late. It's a lesson that literally takes our entire lives to learn, but I'm so grateful for this consecrated experience of learning of the Atonement. I love my Savior and how sweet and patient He truly is. I'm grateful for His church. I know that the Prophet is a man called of God, along with his counsellors, to teach us about Jesus Christ and testify that He lives and loves us. When they make decisions and share their wisdom, it's always for our benefit. We have much to learn from them and their examples and goodness. I am grateful for the compelling and inspiring doctrine of repentance and that the Gospel is a cycle that never ends, simply fills. I love this time of my life and I don't want it to end, but I will go where the Lord wants me to go with faith. :)  

 I love you so much!! 


Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015 Letter

Hi Family!!

Ok so I'm staying in Gijon!! I'm so happy that I get to end my mission
here. It's been such a good run and I'm excited to keep on working
here and giving it all I've got until the very end. I've been thinking
about things that I want to get better and improve on this transfer. 
 I'm excited for the best month of my mission! :)

This week was a great week. We went down to concilio again on Monday.
It's always a good,spiritual high to be there. We slept over at the
mission home, which is my favorite thing to do. We have family prayer
with the Packs and then we just sat around for awhile, talking with
them, before going to bed. That morning we helped Hermana pack make
pancakes- it just feels like being back the United States for a half a
second. I like it. Concilio was really good. We talked a lot about
member work and ways to better it in our areas. It gave us good Ideas
and perspective on what we can do better in Gijon.
Then, we took the train back, planned the zone meeting that night on
the train with the elders, standing up in the cafeteria, the zone
meeting that we were going to give the next day. I hate planning
meetings. That's the main thing that I've pulled out of this sister
training leader thing. Actually, it's ok, I don't mind it, but it's
just hard. Hermana Santiago and I talked about talking to everybody
and different ways we can do that and how accessing the Atonement
gives us greater desires to share the Gospel with everyone that
crosses our path. It was a good topic and something that really helped
me learn.

Getting back to Gijon was awesome, as usual. We had some good lessons
with a few investigators. Finding new investigators has been hard the
entire time I've been here, but I have so much animo to go find some
new ones this week. F. has been investigating for so long and he
still has it very clear that he's getting baptized, which is a
blessing. I'm grateful to be able to work with him. We've been teaching
the boyfriend of a menos activa, L. His name is M. and he came
to church for the first time this week! He's awesome. L. is a huge
support to him and that is a huge help. Hopefully we'll get to
continue to see him a lot- he works in a town pretty far out of Gijon,
so we can only see him on weekends. This week he cooked Cuban food for
us and it was INCREDIBLE. Not to mention L.'S daughter, la Peque,
gave us makeovers before we ate. It was hilarious. She smeared blue
eyeshadow all over Hermana Santiago and she effectively made her look
like she was 13 years old. I was loving it. Until she did the same to
me... Haha. A lot of people came to church this week. There were a lot
of the elders investigators there, but a lot of menos activos came as
well. It was a beautiful sight to see. :) I loved it a lot.

 I know the Savior is right by my side, helping me through everything. This is
His work! Not mine. So I just need to continue to trust in Him.
I love you!! Sorry about the short email. 


Monday, November 2, 2015

November 1, 2015 Letter


 We had our last district meeting with the Browns and the two elders
that are going home this transfer. It's always sad to see people go
home, but I'm excited for all of them to be able to get back on with
their lives. It was a good district meeting, and it was Hermana Browns
birthday, so we brought balloons and a apple cake. My comp chose the
cake and it was frozen and there was a dead fruitfly on it. I picked
it off before Hermana brown saw it, but oh, that cake was terrible.
Cake in Spain is always below par. So anyways, we'll miss the Browns.
On Friday, the branch threw a farewell party for them. It was really
sweet. Everybody came and the all chipped in to buy them gifts. My
favorite gift was probably the framed picture of, you guessed it, the
Browns themselves. Somebody had taken a picture of them, without them
knowing, blown it up, printed it out and framed it. They reacted well,
but it was hilarious. Can you imagine giving somebody a picture of
themselves as a present? But the branch was dead serious, they thought
it was a great gift. The elders, my comp and I were dying. Like,
that's just so Spain. There are little culture differences that just
catch me off guard sometimes. But I love it.

We had some incredibly spiritual moments this week, as well. We found
this woman from Cuba who has a ton of potential. She failed us in
coming to church this week, but we're still really excited about her.
She is just so prepared. She was telling us how she wants to start
over again I her life and how she is looking for the truth. We
committed her to baptism in the first lesson and she was so excited
when we invited her. She was like, really?? I would LOVE that. We
contacted her brother in the street- that's how we found her. He
wasn't home, but she opened the door to let us in and we ended up
realizing that she was the one that was waiting for us, after all. We
think she has a lot of potential but sometimes miracles like that
happen and then the people just...disappear. So we're not holding our
breath but we're also trying to have faith. She didn't come to church
yesterday, but we're going to continue to teach her and help her start
to live the Gospel principles in her life. I'm excited to see where it
goes with her. Pray for her, if you can.

We also found this woman named R., she's a Dominican lady that has
lived in Hong Kong. I don't know why that's the detail I chose to
include about her but I've never met a Domincian that speaks Cantonese
before, so I thought I'd spread the news that people like that do
actually exist. We found her in the house of another investigator,
Mary, and she invited us over to teach her I her piso. She was
AWESOME. She's really faithful, receptive, and intelligent, which are
three things that don't always exist in the same person at one time.
She understood and related to Joseph Smiths story so well, and she
wants to receive and answer from God like he did. She accepted the
invitation to be baptized, although we don't have a date with her yet.
And she's invited a friend to listen to our lessons, which is super
cool. I'll keep you updated on her.

F. and P. are still doing well, although they've both slowed
down significantly based on the time that they've had. F. is
really excited for his baptism but he just changed jobs- he's now
working as a professor and the nursing school in the University of
Oviedo. His schedule is wacked but it should be getting better. I
really want him to get baptized before I come home, but I know he's
not doing it for me or anybody else, he's doing it for God. Also, get
this, he was like, yeah, I haven't had a ton of time to read the Book
of Mormon this week, I've been so busy, I've only read a little. I'm
only in Alma 60. I just looked at him and all I could do was laugh.
His standards of reading "a little" are so different that when we're
used too. Usually when people say that they are referring to the fact
that they literally read three words of the introduction, decided that
they didn't understand it, and put it down. With Fernando it means
that he read 17 chapters, only took a few notes and can't tell us
exact names and dates. Basically what I'm trying to say is that I love
teaching him. He's a boss.

Ok, one last story. Sorry this email is so long. This story is going
to be accompanied by a few videos, so prepare yourselves. So when I
left to Oviedo on intercambios, I had a ton of laundry that I hadn't
had time to do. My comp told me that if I sorted it out, she'd wash it
for me and hang it out to dry, which was super nice of her. So I get
home, and she did it! She washed the clothes in two different loads,
and she hung them out to dry. To my dismay, however, we had run out of
clothes pins to be able to hang up all the laundry safely, and during
the time we were both out of the piso, this gnarly windstorm hit and a
bunch of my... clothing... Was strewn all over the roof of the
shed outside of our piso. Basically, long story short, at the
insistence of my loving and responsible companion, I had to jump out
of the window and walk around on the roof of this super unstable shed
to grab all the clothes. I was so scared and so mad and then we had to
figure out how I was gonna get back into the piso and... Yeah. Watch
the videos. We were DYING. It was probably one of the top ten funniest
experiences of my life, not even joking, and we got it all on camera.
Hopefully they all send without any problems.

Well, family and friends who faithfully haven't forgotten about me (I
know that a few of you still exist), I love you all so much! The
mission has its highs and lows, but as one of my friends out here told
me, we can't get too high on the highs and we can't get to low on the
lows. We just gotta be content with our need to repent, like Elder
Ballard said, put our faith in Christ and take what comes with grit,
determination and patience. I have come to the conclusion that the
mission is like a highly consecrated, faster version of life, and if
we can get it down here, we have a good base for struggles and joys
that come later on. I'm grateful for the patience that my loving
Heavenly Father has for me and for all of His children, and for the
fact that He sent His Son to atone for us because He knew that our
efforts alone would never result in perfection. I know He's involved
in the intimate details of our lives. I love you and I love Him. Have
a wonderful week!

Hermana Seegmiller

Intercambios with Hermana Milne