Tuesday, December 30, 2014
I loved Skyping with all of you, too!! It was so fun and so happy. Everyone really thought you guys were cool. I wish we could have had more time, but at the same time, it´s good that we didn´t. It would have just made it harder. I was fine for the rest of Christmas, but getting back to the grind the next day was a bit hard for me. I got pretty homesick for a little bit, but I learned in that moment that just forgetting yourself and working as hard as you can for other people is the only way to make feelings like that go away. I´m doing great now!! We had a great week and we both feel really, really good. Hopefully that can continue for my last 2 weeks in Barrio 2.
Tell everyone thank you for the money, that´s so sweet of everyone. It will be put towards warm mission clothing (as in the scarf that I am wearing right now). The mission is going really well. It freaks me out that a third of it is already over, but I have this entire year to give everything I have to the Lord and work as hard as I can, so I´m excited for that.
I´ve been learning a lot about the 12 Tribes of Israel as of late and about the significance of the Restoration and missionary work and how everything goes together. This is the dispensation of the fullness of times because the covenant that God made with Abraham is finally available for everyone in this Earth- that covenant basically being that if we live the Gospel, we can live with our Father in Heaven again. We have the enormous responsibility to bring the knowledge of that covenant and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of the world that are not aware of the fact that these blessings are now available to them. When people are baptized, they enter into that covenant- to serve and to be saved. When they are sealed in the temple and their kids are born, their kids are born into the covenant of living forever with their families. It´s really very simple. There are people everywhere that have been scattered and are lost, lost from the Church and also lost in their own lives. So that is where we come in. We do ALL that we can to find these people that will listen, and in that process, we save them. The Lord pulls them into this covenant. It´s so interesting and it brings a whole new dimension to missionary work, understanding and realizing my part in the Abrahamic covenant. I just know that this Gospel is the only true way for people to be saved, not only in the future, but now, in their own lives. Everyone has a story, and their needs can always be answered with a principle or blessing in the Gospel. It´s amazing. The more people I meet, the more I see that. I hope I´m doing the best I can to spread this work to more children of the Lord. I´m glad that I have this chance to do so.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
So I´m doing pretty good! Owned some Hispanic men at soccer this morning with my new shoes, am in the middle of planning a dance that the missionaries are going to do at the ward Christmas party (why did they put me in charge of that) and had a crazy lesson with a crazy Scottish lesbian in her piso last night... so I guess you could say that life here is crazy as usual. I am still in Barrio 2!! One more transfer and Christmas here, woohoo! It´s pretty normal to stay 4 transfers in your first area, and the last two or three sister missionaries that have left here have spent 4 transfers here, as well. I´m excited to have more time here and to have more time to try my hardest to leave it better than I found it. I´m still with Hermana Irigoyen... woohoo.
It actually wasn´t fast Sunday for us this week, seeing as it was stake conference in Pavones, but I can tell you how they usually go! We start fasting on Saturday afternoon, after we eat at Medio Dia, and wait till the next day at Medio Dia to break the fast. It´s not too hard! Actually not bad at all. We eat every Sunday afternoon with a member family that loves the missionaries! They´re really sweet and the hermana has really improved in her cooking since I got here... but they do have two very sheddy dogs... I just try to pick my way around the dog hairs and then it´s all good!
To answer your other question, there is nothing but city in my part of Madrid. Nothing but city. I actually get very homesick for the mountains and grass and yards and everything while being here. I hope that someday I can go to the North or the Islands, where it´s green and pretty (in most parts). I´ve learned that city life really isn´t for me. I love it here.. I really do!! But when I get home, I´m going to definitely spend a long time in the mountains and like... laying in grass, I guess (what else do people do in grass, I forget). But if I have to be in a city for this long, I´m glad it´s Madrid. I really love it here. I don´t know how to explain it... it´s just a special place.
So this week has been good! I´ve really been improving a lot and I can feel it on the streets and in lessons. I still have SO much left to improve on but it´s a work in progress. The mission is not a race, it´s not an event, it´s a process. So I guess you could say that I´m a work in progress. Nothing too exciting! We have a new Spanish old man investigator named M. He´s really amazing. We contacted him in the street and he let us come over the next day and teach him. He has a read a little bit of the Book of Mormon already and it´s so cool! I think he has a lot of potential, I felt the Spirit really strong when I stopped him that day.
Our familia bonita is doing well! They love the Gospel and are excited to progress. I don´t feel like I´ll be here for their baptism, I think it will take more time, which sort of breaks my heart. But at least I get to play a small part in their process. We haven´t been feeling like we´ve had a lot of success lately, which I think has been hard for both of us. We really are trying to improve and get better every day, but sometimes as we improve as missionaries and people and servants of the Lord, the results get worse and worse. It´s a weird thing but I guess you just gotta roll with the punches! I´ve been reading a lot of last conference in my personal study lately and I really loved the talk by the Ukranian guy, Jorg something?? It was very straightforward and direct and super, super good. I loved it. I loved what he said about how sometimes, hard times in our lives (and in our missions) are a sign that we are doing something right and that the Lord is testing us and helping us become better. I hope that´s the case at this point! I loved his counsel to make the Atonement a living, breathing entity of our lives by constantly repenting and using the Atonement at all parts in our lives, because it never runs out. I have felt that out here. The enabling power of the Atonement has become very apparent in my mission and I´ve come to understand it better and better.
Life goes on! I love being a missionary, as hard as it can be at times. I hope that I can continue to become better and improve. Every day is an adventure, and I´ve learned that the harder I work, the better I feel. I hope that I can become the example that I need to be and the missionary that the Lord needs me to be, as well. Life just keeps going! Time keeps rolling. I hope everything is good at home and that people are happy healthy and good, and super excited for Christmas!! I love you all!!
Monday, November 24, 2014
Well right now it´s 10 in the morning, almost 11 actually, and we are prepping up to play some futbol! I am very excited and that will probably become more and more apparent in this email. To start off, as usual, I will answer your questions.
This week has been mostly good! There were a couple really hard days, but for the most part, it´s been good. Nobody came to church yesterday, so that also added to the slightly frustrating number battle that we´ve been having. But I know that it´s really not about the numbers, it´s about the people, and we have some fantastic people right now. The family is doing so good! Last week we had another lesson with them and the mom is an angel and like, already a missionary. She´s been talking to people about the Gospel! At work, she told everyone about the Chapter in the Book of Mormon that she was reading (Alma 32 about faith) and she actually invited a friend that she had to the lesson! Her friend, Janina, is golden. Absolutely golden. She invited us back to have another lesson separately with her later in the week, and that went really really well. She´s awesome. None of them came to church which was a little bit heartbreaking for both of us, but it´s ok! Back to the drawing board, as they say.
We had some good lessons on the street this week, as well! We starting talking to this one lady who was sitting on a bench from Hungaria and she was SO RUDE. Before the mission, I hated contention and awkward moments and I still sort of do! But I don´t know what happened, but something just lit up inside me when she started saying these extremely rude things to us- I just had it. I started preaching like I´ve never preached before! I didn´t back away, and I was proud of myself! It was a good moment for me to stand up for who I am and what I believe in and not back down.
Hopefully I can continue to get better at that.
Spanish is surprisingly becoming less and less of an issue. I´m not good yet, but I´m really improving, thanks to the divine help that I have and the fact that I have a very native companion. It´s coming, slowly but surely. Ok, to finish this email up, I will end with a funny story and a spiritual story, good?
Ok so the following story reprises the stupidest thing I did all week. So we were in the piso and I was waiting for Hermana Irigoyen to finish up in the bathroom so that we could leave and go start working. I wasn´t hungry but rather concerned about the lack of food that we had in the house, so I was looking around to see what we had to make sure we didn´t need to go to the grocery store. I opened up the freezer and before that moment, I didn´t realize how cold our freezer truly was. SO COLD. There were icicles and it like, fogged up when I opened it. I just got lost in this moment of fascination with this stupid freezer, and for some reason, I decided to see if my fingers would stick when I touched the inside of the freezer. They did a little bit, and that was so cool to me, for some reason. So, being me, I decided to lick my ring finger on my right hand to see if I could make it stick even more. So I licked it, stuck it to the bottom of the freezer, and it immediately froze. Like, my finger was both frozen and stuck. I was FREAKING OUT and it hurt so bad! I couldn´t get my finger off! So I started yelling, "Hermana... HERMANA!!" and she couldn´t hear me because the fan in our bathroom is so loud and wow I was so scared. So I just grabbed my hand with my other hand and just ripped my finger off of the freezer. Luckily, I didn´t lose any skin, but I still have a blister. Yes. You can get blisters from the cold. So I guess you could say that I still not the most highly intelligent human being on the planet.
Ok, spiritual story to end this sucker. So we were at Zone Conference this week, and I was in charge of playing the piano for two special musical numbers. I got the music for both the day before, so I only had a couple hours at medio dia to practice and I was so, so nervous. The first one was fine, but the second one was harder and there were only two girls singing, which meant everyone could really hear the piano. We performed in the middle of the AP´s talk. The song was "If the Savior Stood Beside Me", and that title was the theme of their talk. They talked about how the Savior is literally with us, we just can´t see Him, and if we follow spiritual promptings and let Him help us, we will feel His presence. I felt the Spirit SO STRONG during their talk, and I really, really didn´t want to ruin that Spirit by making a lot of mistakes on the piano. So I just said a prayer and asked God to help me at least not ruin the Spirit. I was praying and praying, and as I got up to play, I honestly felt someone else take over. I cannot tell you how I hit the notes that I did. It wasn´t perfect, but it was good, and I know it wasn´t me playing. It was really, literally my Savior. I know that. I know that He cares about the BIG things in our lives, but also the little, stupid ones, like playing the piano well. He will magnify our abilites and help us with everything, if we can just turn to Him and let Him help us. He is literally always there, and I felt that in a very real way during that song. It was a good experience for me, one that I don´t think I´ll ever forget.
So, life is good! Missions are amazingly hard and amazingly beautiful. I know that God loves us all and that He can fix things that nobody else can. I love Spain, I love Spanish, and I really just love the people here! I love you all so much, mom! I hope you all had a good week and I can´t wait to hear how this one will go!!
We had some hilarous experiences this week that just made me so happy. One of my favorites was in the Metro. We were sitting on the bench, waiting for the train, and there was this old couple sitting across the tracks from us. They were ADORABLE. He kissed her on the cheek and I started to just smile at them, I couldn´t help it! They saw me smiling and they started smiling back at me and then I made a little heart sign at them and they started laughing so hard. It was just this little moment of love and I loved it, needless to say. We saw a very dramatic break up in the street (they were SCREAMING at each other and crying and wow it was crazy) and a guy got arrested on the bus that we were on this morning! So yeah, life is good. Interesting, as usual.
This week I learned a lot about the power of prayer. There are moments out here when I just don´t think I can do it anymore. Little moments, but they´re really hard for me and they always make me wonder how in the heck I am going to do this for 14 more months. In those moments, I´ve learned that the only thing that helps is prayer! Telling Heavenly Father EVERYTHING is the only way to make EVERYTHING better. The more specific and direct and sincere we are in our prayers, the more specific and direct and sincere He will be in the answers to our prayers. It´s beautiful and I am grateful for it. My testimony grows more and more every week! I am changing and I know that progress comes a little tiny bit at a time, but it comes. Patience is key! Patience, faith, diligence, and prayer. I know that missions are hard. I have a testimony of that. :) But I also know that they are worth it. I love it out here!!
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Ok to answer your questions: Typical day (I am going to do this Taylor Aramburu style. I asked him the same question a few weeks ago and the response was hilarious, so here goes my attempt to imitate it)
6:54- The alarm goes off and I am very confused for like, a half a second because I always forget where I am and which side of my bed the wall is on, so that results in a really painful waking up experience.
6:59 I get up in an attempt to be more obedient than my very-obedient companion (kidding. I get up at that time so that I can get to the bathroom first. We share).
7:05- Exercise! This either involves going jogging around Madrid or stretching/doing situps in the kitchen. Depending on the day.
7:30 Either she showers or I shower. We run out of hot water EXTREMELY fast and something I have learned is that Argentinians take an EXTREMELY long time in the shower, so I like to get there first so that there is water left for me. The other day we ran out completely, so I boiled a pot of water and used that and a washcloth to sanitize myself.
8:00 Breakfast which means that I eat cereal and bananas and read the Liahona (my companion is not a morning person, which means that by this time, we still haven´t said a word to each other)
8:30 PERSONAL STUDY. My fav time of the day. Working on reading the entire Book of Mormon by Christmas. In Spanish. Also working on studying PME and other materials in order to be a killer teacher.
9:30 Buddy study. We sing a hymn, say a prayer, read from the white bible and then talk about what we studied and do practices. This is the first vocal interaction we have with each other all day. :)
10:30 I study some Spanish while Hermana Irigoyen studies English.
11:00 Out the door! Contacting, tracting, teaching appointments, saving souls and taking names (and numbers)
2:00 Medio DIA! I like Medio Dia. We eat and do some other stuff. Sometimes nap. Sometimes not.
4:00 WORK UNTIL 9:30.
9:30 Walk in, take my shoes off (my current companion has no sense of smell so that helps at this time of the day) and plan for the next day.
10:00 One hour to wind down, kick our feet up and read some scripts, drink hot chocolate and have hilarious conversations in Spanglish.
11:00 Try to remind myself which side of my bed the wall is on, prayers, and I am OUT.
So yes. That is a very detailed description of a typical day here in Spain. I love it. 4-9:30 is my favorite time of the day. Mornings are always weird but once we´re warmed up, things always get better.
Also, giving thanks is not a thing here in Spain. Unfortunately, America is the only place that has turned that Christlike attribute into a holiday. But it´s alright, maybe we can start something this year (what day is Thanksgiving on?). This week was a WHOLE lot better than last week. Whole lot better. I still haven´t taken any pictures since Hermana Irigoyen got here, so I promise I will this week. I keep forgetting that that is a thing to do. We worked super hard and had a real good time doing it. She´s awesome and we really are becoming great friends. We are super different, right down to the langauge in which we communicate, but it works! We are doing well as a companionship.
On Monday we had a really cool experience. I was a little frustrated (as you saw) and I really just didn´t want to go out and contact. But we did. We were knocking doors and no one was answering and those that did hung up on us (knocking doors really means ringing timbres). We were approaching this building and I just looked at Hermana Irigoyen and said "We are going to find someone that is interested in the message here, I have faith that we will." Alas, we rang all the timbres and NOBODY was interested. As we were turning to walk away, this lady came up with her two daughters to go into the building (she lives there). She asked us who we were looking for and we just said something very cheesy missionary like "Just someone to share a message about Jesus Christ with!". She smiled and said, "Come back anytime, I´d love to listen". Like. What. And get this. We asked her what her name was- Milagros. Spanish for Miracles. We literally found our miracle. So cool. We have had one lesson with her and although she is stalwart Catholic, she is very interested in learning more! So I´m hoping Milagros can keep living up to her name.
We´re praying to find a family to teach and so far, nothing. But we will find one, I know it! Families are the coolest. Let´s see- Spanish is coming along! I was talking to Hermana Irigoyen about something the other day and after we had been talking for about a half hour, I realized that I had been speaking in Spanish the whole time. Not perfect Spanish, mind you, but Spanish! It was such a cool moment! She helps me a lot with the language. I hope I´m able to help her just as much with English. She speaks really, really well, though.
I feel happy and like things are going well. There are tough moments in every week on the mission, maybe even everyday. But there are more happy moments than hard and as long as we show the Lord that we´ll just keep going, He´ll help us get through it and bless us for it later. I have SO much to improve on and work on but Taylor said it best-"If you ever don´t feel like you´re changing lives, just look at your own". It´s so true. I feel like my life is so different now than what it used to be. I mean, I´ve only been here for 4 and a half months but I just feel like a different, happier, stronger person. I know that´s because my testimony has grown and I´ve started to trust in God more and more. Still have a lot of work to do and a lot of ground to cover, but I know that I´m on the right path! Missions are WEIRD. So weird. So hard. But just because it´s weird and hard doesn´t meant that we can´t be so happy doing it. Not all the time- of course not! Nobody is happy all the time, even when they´re wearing a chappa. But really, at the end of most days, after all the hard moments and the grind, I am so happy! And I know that the Gospel makes other people happy too. It´s not just salvation for the next life, it´s peace during this one. God wants us to be HAPPY! And the best way to do that is by doing what He´s so wisely and lovingly asked us to do. SO yeah, I´m doing good.
I love you all! I hope all is well and that life is good! Keep me updated, I love hearing about everything. I hope you´re doing good, Momma! And Dad too, of course. I love you guys! I have the greatest family EVER!!
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Dear Mom and Family
Well. This week has been interesting! It´s hard adjusting to a new companion but we´ve become really good friends and I think things will go well with her. She´s very serious, very obedient, very calm and very level headed. Good things! Really good things. Just a different personality and it´s been an interesting week for both of us to get used to each other. She´s an incredible missionary, to the point where I sometimes feel like I´m being trained again. She´s a great example to me and I´ve learned a lot from her. We´ve been working with people and it´s been a struggle finding new investigators. But we will continue to work on it! Today I am feeling a bit frustrated and down, for some reason, but this week has been mostly good. I just don´t feel like I´m being a good enough missionary, really. I have a LOT to work on- language, teaching skills, knowing the scriptures well, obedience in the little things, contacting- basically everything needs improvement. It´s been an interesting week realizing how far I really have to go. There are a few investigators that we have that Hermana Irigoyen wants to drop and that I want to keep working with, and that´s been sort of hard for me. It´s hard to work with people for a long time and then to have someone new come in and tell you that we should drop them. But she has a lot of good points and we´re going to be ok, we just have to figure somethings out. But it´s a good area and we have some good missionaries here and I know that everything is going to be ok. Just a rebuilding week! Spanish is still frustrating. I want to speak Spanish soooo badly and I´ve been learning a lot this week with Hermana Irigoyen, but still a lot to learn. Valentin is doing good! I got your letter to him and gave it to him and he was really really happy. He said to tell you thank you. He´s very close to getting a job! Just keep praying for him and I know that he´ll be able to find one. His Spanish is getting a lot better, too, so that helps a lot. I´m just a little frustrated with everything today. But it´s ok! Everything is going to be ok.
Yesterday I was fasting for my testimony to be stronger so that I can testify to people with more of the Spirit, and then we went to Church and as soon as I realized it was fast and testimony meeting, I had this huge spiritual prompting to get up and bear my testimony, which terrified me! But I did it. I got up and said what I wanted to say and I just felt the Spirit so strongly. It was a really cool experience because I feel like it was an answer to my prayers. I know that the old addage "you gain your testimony in the bearing of it" is true. I also gained a bigger testimony of fasting yesterday. I know that fasting and prayer brings miracles! That was probably one of the coolest moments of the week. That and seeing how much the investigators that we do have actually like and trust me. I thought a lot of that would leave with Hermana Fuller, but turns out that they like me too! That was a tender mercy this week.
Well, mom, sorry to be such a downer! It´s just been a little hard this week. But I know it will get better! I have faith! :) I love you so much, thanks for the email. I love hearing about everything. Tell everyone hi and that I love them tons and tons!! Love you all!!
PS- I didn´t take any pictures this week. So next week for sure. :)
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
So tranfers were today and Hermana Fuller left! She is now in Alcobendas with one of my best friends from the CCM, Hermana Shurtz. Remember the story about "no dinero"? Yeah. That Hermana Shurtz. hahaha it´s so great that they get to be companions! I sort of feel like my two best friends are throwing a big party and I´m not invited... just kidding. This week was spent helping Hermana Fuller pack and also saying goodbye to everyone with her. I think that was hard for her but she is really excited to be there with Hermana Shurtz! My new companion is Hermana Inigoyen. She´s from Buenos Aires, Argentina. We are one month apart in age and she has a couple more months in the mission than I do, so we´re basically at the same place in our mission and everything! It´s really awesome. She speaks a little bit of English and she´s really, really sweet. I think she´s a little shy, too, but that´s ok! Hopefully we can find a way to communicate effectively. I can tell she´s a really good missionary already. I think we´ll be able to work really well together and learn a lot from each other! I´m excited to see what this next transfer will bring! It´s so crazy cool that I´m not being trained anymore, either. Such a good feeling, actually! I got really tired of that, by the end. It´s going to be really good to get some stuff started and work really hard together, and I have a feeling that my Spanish is going to improve A LOT through this transfer together, which is what I really need! I´m excited to see how this goes. Nervous! But excited. :)
This week was awesome, though! Pretty normal. We´re having a hard time getting stuff going with people, but I think it will just come with time and talking to everyone. I think it´s going to be really good. V. is doing really well! We´re just working on keeping his animo up and helping him find a job. He´s a really good person and he´s grown so much, even since his baptism. He loves that everyone talks about him in their letters and everything! I think he feels like he has family all over the world, which is really a good thing. I think one of my proudest moments of the week was on the metro on Saturday. We were on the Metro with Valentin and we were going to get off with him at Quintana, but we both felt like we should talk to this one lady that was sitting down on the Metro across from us. So V. got off and we went over to talk to her. Usually Hermana Fuller will do most of the contact, especially on the Metro, where it´s hard to hear and to interact without being creepy/awkward. But this time, Hermana Fuller sat down and I stood up next to the lady and I did the ENTIRE contact by myself! I didn´t understand everything that she was saying, but I was able to talk to her for two stops and really gain a good conversation with her. She was a really sweet lady, and although she wasn´t able to give us her phone number because she didn´t remember it, we gave her our card and I think it really was nice for her to have somebody really show and interest in her. It made me happy. My Spanish really has gotten better, and I´m starting to realize that more and more, the more time I spend with Hermana Inigoyen. We´ve been able to talk and get to know each other pretty well so far, mostly in Spanish! It´ll be good to have a companion that I can talk with all the time in Spanish. It really will help me so much. Our other investigators are doing really good. Trying to get people progressing is hard, but I know that we can find success! Everything is going to be great. I sort of feel like we´re completely starting over here, but it´s going to be so great.
Life is going so good! I can definitely see myself changing out here. I feel different. Like, different but the same but just really happy. There are moments when I feel like I can´t go on anymore, but then I just say a prayer and keep going and things improve. It´s cool how God tests us and tries us and then just helps us get through the trials and be even stronger. This week is going to be crazy hard. I´m area training, I can´t really talk to my companion that well, we are trying to find new investigators and keep old ones going, take care of some crazy situations, but I KNOW that God is going to help us through it. I know He will give us what we need. I´m gaining a testimony of seeking the Lord´s will in all things. If we can do what He wants us to do and how, we will always be blessed. I know that.
I love you all sooooo much! I can´t wait to hear about this next week. I´m being and safe and healthy, don´t worry! Things are all good! LLOOOVVVEE YOUUU
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
To answer your questions before I start into the amazing week that I had... I have heard a lot about Ebola but not from President or anybody else, just from people that we work with. Everyone is freaking out about it. I´m sure it´s going to be fine. If not, we´ll all die and then just go to the Spirit world anyways, right? So either way, win win. :) Just kidding. I honestly haven´t thought much about it but I should probably start being more careful about who I shake hands with... if I ever meet an Ebola victim on the street, I will be sure not to beso them. So no worries! That´s really cute what you said about Jake. Tell him that I am doing just fine! If anything, I´m going to get sick from the rotten ham "jamon" that everybody eats down here, rather than Ebola. Spanish culture will kill me before any foreign disease. :)
Hermana Fuller and I will probably have one more week together here. She has been here for 4 transfers and it´s rare to stay for longer than that, so she will probably be going to a new area. I love her so much and I´m really going to miss her! She has two transfers left in the mission after this one ends, so she´ll be going home in January. I´m going to be sad when she leaves, we really get along so well. We´ll definitely be friends when we´re both home and hopefully living in Utah. She is a super amazing missionary and she has taught me a lot.
So this week... V. GOT BAPTIZED. Ahh it was SO AMAZING. So the day before I had a super rough day. I started crying in the bathroom at the capilla for no particular reason. I think it was because Hermana Fuller had told me like a day or two before that something always goes wrong before every baptism to delay it or mess with it somehow. After everything that we´ve already gone through with V., the last thing I wanted was for something to delay his baptism. So the day before I think the stress just kind of got to me a little bit and I had a rough afternoon. But all that worry was for nothing because the next day, everything went PERFECTLY. It was incredible. We got the programs printed, the clothes tried on, the font filled, the people there, the talks written, and the music number practiced. He was so happy. He took his earring off for the first time in 11 years, gave it to Hermana Fuller to wear, got into his baptism clothes, and from there on out, it was one of the most spiritual experiences I´ve ever been a part of! I seriously just felt it so strongly. He was SO happy. Just glowing. I just couldn´t handle it... he has changed so much. He´s not the same person anymore, he´s just so so happy. All the time. Hermana Fuller and I both spoke before he ordinance was performed, and I think it went well. Way better than at Wilder´s baptism, for me at least. Then he got baptized by a member named Fernando, who has been an enormous help in getting him to this point. Then Fernando gave his testimony, Iulia (the member he has been living with who is Romanian) gave hers, and then V. got to give his. He was SO nervous. He showed me his hands right before he went up and they were totally shaking so hard. He gave it in Romaninan and Claudia, Iulia´s daughter, translated for him. It was beautiful. He just talked about how grateful he was to God for helping him find the true church and for the Book of Mormon and everything. Then he said, "Before I was alone. Now, I have a really, really big family". It almost made me cry. Ahh. He was so happy!! HE just walked around for the rest of the weekend saying "Soy Mormón" over and over and over again. Right after his baptism, when everyone was eating the snacks that people brought, he came up to me and asked who he needed to talk to about serving a mission. I knew he wanted to serve, but I couldn´t believe he was willing to just go up to someone and talk to them about it, he´s so shy! But he was determined. I told him not to worry about it at that moment, just to wait and enjoy the day. Needless to say, though, the next day at church, he found one of the other Romanian members and talked to her about him serving a mission. He´s 25 and will have to wait a year, which means that they would have to make an exception for him. But in his blessing when they confirmed him and gave him the Holy Ghost, he was promised that he would have the opportunity to participate in the work of the Lord. Ahh it was soo cool. I know he´ll serve a mission and I´m so excited for him. I can´t wait to see how much he has yet to progress and learn. It´s going to be amazing to see. Also, he was able to find money for the passport! So he´s getting that in three days, and then the other papers, and then he is legal to work and find a job here. Things are working out for him. He´s been such a miracle and I´m so grateful to have had this experience in my mission. He´s like a brother to me. Things are just going up from here!!
I love this experience so much. I say that all the time, but it really is so beautiful. I wish there was some way to express everything that I feel and see and learn on a daily basis. I told my companion the other day that the mission was not what I was expecting. She asked what it was that I was expecting and I said "This is a whole lot worse and a whole lot better than I ever thought it would be". I feel like that describes the mission perfectly. The highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows and the best part is that I can feel Heavenly Father with me through it all, stronger than I ever have. I am so excited to get to work this next week! I love working and knowing that it´s for such an important purpose and cause. This means the world to me. I looovee my mission!! And I love you all so much. I can´t wait to show Spain to you someday. I hope you can meet V. and all the other people that I have the privelege of working with. It won´t be complete till my family is here! I love you all, have an incredible week!!
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The temples in Utah are so awesome! I love telling people about them here. It really amazes them that there are so many in our one little state alone. I love the Madrid temple SO much. It´s amazingly beautiful, inside and out. Everyone feels the Spirit so strongly there, even people who don´t really understand what they´re feeling. We met one guy last week and he came to general conference, which was shown in the stake center right by the temple. He just could NOT believe how beautiful the temple is. He was just in awe. It was cool to see that. We get to go every transfer when we are in or near Madrid. So for now, I´ll get to go every six weeks, until I get sent somewhere further away! This transfer ends in 2 weeks. I think I´ll be staying in Barrio 2 for longer, but we have yet to know for sure.
This week has been great! We have been working a ton with V. to get him ready for his baptism on the 18th. He´s incredible. Seeing him now compared to when we met him is incredible, he´s a different person. The Gospel has really changed and blessed his life so much, and he feels it. He´s one of the most faithful people I´ve ever met, ever. Nothing really phases his faith. I really admire him so much for it. He wears an earring in one ear, which is from his mom. She died when he was 14 and he hasn´t taken it out since then. His sister in Romanian has the other one. I actually thought it was a really amazing thing and really sweet, but a couple weeks ago, our district leader told us that he had to take it out and leave it out for and after baptism. We had a hard time with that at first, but then at conference there were a TON of talks about like trusting in the prophets and the Lord and not making the Lord and His standards different in our own eyes. After that we knew it was the right thing to do to talk to him about it, so we ended up having that conversation this week. I told him what the prophet said about boys wearing earrings, and he looked at me and said, "Well, God knows everything. When do I need to take it out? Right now?" I said that just by baptism he had to take it out, and he agreed immediately. It was INCREDIBLE. He hasn´t taken that thing out for 11 years and we tell him that the prophet said not to wear them and he just immediately agreed to follow that counsel. It was amazing. I was so proud of him. He decided to give it to Hermana Fuller to wear, and he said that when she comes back in a year for when he goes through the temple, she is going make it into some sort of ring and bring it back to him. He´s so awesome. He hasn´t taken that Romanian CTR ring off since he got it, either, and he´s saving the shirt that you sent him for his baptism. Thank you so much for that, mom! He loves it and it is so good to see him so happy about it. He has such a strong testimony of the Gospel already and I just can´t wait to see how much more his life will change because of it.
I had my first ever baptism this week! His name is W. He´s been investigating for 2 years and he and his "wife" actually just barely got married a few weeks ago, so he was finally able to get baptized! I´ve never mentioned him in my emails before because he already had a fecha when I came into the mission and I haven´t really done anything to help in his conversion at all, but it was really cool to be able to be here for a baptism that so many Hermanas have been involved with. He and his family are amazing- they have two really cute little boys and their goal is to get sealed in the temple eventually. His wife was menos activa for a really long time, and about 2 years ago the hermanas contacted her in the street and started meeting with her and her family! He´s a great man and it was awesome to be here for this step that he´s taking. I also gave a talk, my first talk EVER in Spanish. It went pretty well! Spanish is coming along, as usual, I still don´t feel comfortable but it comes slowly but surely.
Funny story of the week: so Hermana Fuller and I were on our way to the Bishop´s house on Thursday after planning. We eat there every Thursday and it´s a really great time. So we left the piso and it was cold and cloudy and we didn´t think anything of it, just a normal fall day here in Barrio 2. We got on the Metro, took the usual route to the Bishop´s house (two stops from Quintana to Ventas), and when we got off, the change was INCREDIBLE. It was raining so. hard. The only other time in my life where I have seen it rain that hard was the one freak rainstorm in Provo last year where they had to delay the football game and parking lots flooded and stuff. It was INSANE. And because we are thoughtless and irresponsible, like the weather, we forgot an umbrella (over here those are called paraguas. Translates to "for water". Spanish is a very literal language). So, having no other option, we put our scarves on our heads and just booked it. We ran as fast as we could and literally screamed and laughed the entire way. My scarf became useless halfway through the run so I just took it off, shoot my hair out and enjoyed the moment. People here act as if they will die if they get even a little bit wet from the rain, and they all just wait underneath the buildings for it to stop. But not us! We just ran like hooligans through that rain and I LOVED it. People were laughing and honking at us and in that beautiful moment, I felt really accepted in Spain. We made it to the piso and the bishop gave us towels and we just had to take our shoes off because that was a lost cause. We ate lunch soaking wet and somehow it even made it taste better. It was just a really fun moment.
Well, another week down! Time flies! Mission life is not easy and nobody understands what it´s like till they´ve been a missionary, but it´s also the most amazing time ever. I´ve come to accept and love the fact that I am a missionary and a disciple of Jesus Christ. I love talking to people about the Gospel and helping them learn about the truths that we have. It´s the equivalent carrying around a HUMONGOUS bucket of water and carrying it around and giving drinks to people that are just super thirsty but don´t know where the water spout is (sometimes that´s what it feels like, too, with how heavy my bag is). I love the Gospel! I really just love it. I loved all the talks about gaining our own testimonies in General Conference. I read Alma 5:45-47 this morning and it reminded me of what we all have the responsibility to do- to know for ourselves if this is actually true! We have never been asked to blindly follow anybody- it is our duty to read, fast, pray, and to find the answer for ourselves. I feel as if I´ve been doing that for myself in Madrid, and it´s the best experience I´ve ever had. My testimony is the best thing this country has given me.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
|When in Spain you've got to love Catholicism!|
|My roommate from BYU, Katrisa! |
She is in the CCM and is headed to Barcelona to serve.
|I love the Madrid temple|
This week was SO much better than last week! Ok so last week was fine, I guess, but this week definitely got a whole lot better and I´m determined to make the next week better, too! To answer your questions first, though...
Spain is definitely my kind of place! The weather has cooled down a TON (thank goodness). We have actually started wearing cardigans and jackets and I love it!! The trees have yet to change but I´m excited for that. Fall is in the air and it´s awesome!
Oh also I wanted to mention that I got Jake´s typed email about Mac and Cheese and I laughed for a solid 10 minutes and then periodically for days after that. He´s so cute. "Ok I have to go eat my mac and cheese now! I miss you have a good week!". Classic. I´m keeping that forever and then when he´s on a mission I´ll have my kids write him the same sort of things. :) I´m excited to get the rest of the letters! They make my week! Hopefully you will get mine soon.
This week was super awesome. A lot of work with our same investigators and some work with some new ones, as well! So life is good! V. is doing super well spiritually. He asks every single day when he can be baptized. The only problem is that President told us that he needs to be temporally self-sufficient before he can get baptized. So that is taking some work. But we have complete faith that everything is going to be alright! He has almost been taught everything and then we think we´re just going to keep going through all of the lessons until he is on his feet and we can baptize him. He´s super excited for General Conference this weekend (as we all are). We get to go with all of our investigators to Pavones (where the temple is) and watch all of the sessions there. Everyone is really excited! I can´t wait. Rumor has it that we get to watch it in English, so that will be AWESOME. There is a lady that lives in our ward boundaries but actually goes to a different ward (no idea why) who is from Romania. We got in touch with her and she offered to let us bring him over to have a lesson with her! When we were there she realized he didn´t have a home and she offered to let him stay in an extra room that they have there for a couple nights. It was such a HUGE blessing. He hadn´t slept in three days at that point and he was just so happy to have a place to shower and sleep. We´re praying that he can find a more permanent situation, so we´ll see how that goes.
There was a concert last night in Pavones that a senior couple put on as their farewell. We were all invited to come as long as we brought investigators or recent converts. So we brought V. and K. and they LOVED it. It made both of them so happy. V.´s face when he saw the temple for the first time in real life was so awesome. We started talking about the temple with him this week and he is SO excited to go through for the first time. Seeing it for the first time was so incredible for him, it was fun to see. He just kept saying "Gracias por todo. Gracias por todo". He was so in awe. Made me realize what a huge blessing the temple really is for us. And to have 15 in the state of Utah alone?? Incredible. I love the Madrid Temple, though. It´s so beautiful. I´m looking forward to the day when I recieve an email from V. after he goes through for the first time. It´s going to be a huge day for me and Hermana Fuller (and for him, of course).
We had the FUNNIEST thing happen- it was so cute and so funny and just made me happy. So C. and V. know each other a bit. They´ve both been to Noche de Hogar together and church and everything, and we´ve had lessons with both of them there, so they´re starting to become friends. It´s cute because C. just really wants to help V. out. He´s always coming up with ideas that we could do with him. Once, this was his idea- "So I have a group of gays (I think he meant a group of friends that were all gay. But that´s how he phrased it). So what if we had them run an auction so that everybody could bring all their stuff and sell it and then all that money could go to buying Valentin a costume! Then he could wear the costume in Reterio Park and everybody could give him money and that could be his job.".... Seriously have no idea how he strung all those thoughts together into one grand service idea, but that is basically C. in a nutshell. So the other day I guess C. was on the street and ordered some churros and coffee (a really common thing to eat here). He went to eat it and then remembered that he couldn´t, in fact, drink coffee, and was super bummed but was being loyal to God so he stuck with his guns and didn´t drink it. Then, he looked down the street and just happened to see V., sitting on a bench. So he thought to himself, "Hey, I have a chance to help him out!" because C. is a bit of a sweetheart. So he gave V. the coffee and walked away. Then V., also living the Word of Wisdom and being loyal to God, just kind of sat there and stared at the coffee and eventually, once C. was out of sight, just threw it away. They told us the story together and we were laughing so hard. Our two cute investigators, being so faithful and so kind and so confused.. I love it.
This week we saw miracles and I can feel my faith in Jesus Christ growing every single day. I trust in Him and His plan for me, as well as for my investigators. It´s incredible to see how the Atonement literally changes people´s lives. Mosiah 2:41 has been my favorite scripture lately. It just applies so much to all the people that I am working with. I love this chance to be in Spain. Spanish is still so hard and I´m exhausted every single morning when I wake up to the time that I go to bed, but I know that it´s worth it. Every day my goal is to focus on being a disciple of Jesus Christ and doing what He would do. I am His representative to these people, and as huge and as scary as that is, He helps me every day. I want to be like Peter. There is a really good talk that I want you to go find, it´s called "Doubt Not, Fear Not" by President Uctdorf. I watched it this week at a Zone Meeting and it was INSPIRING. Talks a lot about the apostle Peter. Go and read it and then you´ll understand- I WANT TO BE LIKE PETER. :) Oh, and I had a thought this morning- I think that if you guys, as a family, were to buy a Preach My Gospel and start studying from it every day, that would be SO cool. It has strengthened my testimony so much. I think that every member should have and study from one. It just helps the Gospel become something simple and understandable, as well as deep and beautiful and profound. So that´s my Seegmiller family challenge this week. :) I love you all sooooo much!! I miss you and I wish you were here! Life sounds like it´s going great. Tell the fam (extended) that I love them and that I´m excited to see Jami´s baby (in pictures, naturally).
Love you all!
Monday, September 22, 2014
I actually had a really funny experience this week. We teach a recent convert named R. once a week. He is older but he lives with his mom because she´s really sick and he takes care of his nephew Ismael, who I think is about 6. Ismael is crazy and loves me, which is really fun because I love him too. So the way the lessons usually go- Hermana Fuller teaches and I keep Ismael entertained. This week, he wanted me to read him stories out of his Spanish Kid´s Bible and also do flashcards with him. It was hilarious and humbling- he was correcting me on my Spanish. Everytime I made a mistake, he thought it was the greatest thing, he would just laugh and laugh. Little kids are great in that way, they don´t care at all that you can´t speak and they aren´t afraid to laugh at you. It´s hilarious. At one point, his grandma tried to tell him to put the flashcards away because I think she felt a little bad that he was distracting me so much, but I just told her "He´s actually helping me a lot!". I love that little kid! He´s one of my best buds in Barrio 2. :)
C. is doing great! He committed to living the Word of Wisdom and he´s actually doing it! It´s such a miracle. That kid... he´s a weirdo but he never ceases to surprise us. We actually were able to get him to committ to living the law of chastity, too, which was an even bigger miracle. We´ll see how that goes. He came with us to a lesson after we finished teaching him. We met this old woman on the street last week and helped her carry her bags back to her piso. She was so sweet and really wanted us to come back. So we came back with C. yesterday and quickly realized that she is definitely not all the way there.. it was the funniest, sweetest lesson we´ve had, probably. She let us talk and try to teach her about the lesson, but she just kept saying how worried she was about her grandchild that was sick. So we stopped the lesson and offered to say a prayer for him. She agreed and we asked what his name was so that we could pray for him, and she sat there for a second and then said "I don´t remember! How embarrassing, I just don´t remember!" She was so concerned that she couldn´t remember her grandchild´s name. So we sat there with her for like 15 minutes, thinking of all the Spanish names we could and suggesting them to her so that she could remember her grandson´s name... we never guessed it right and she never remembered. So we ended up just saying the prayer without a name. C. and I kept making eye contact and we could not hold it together... I was laughing into my hands and he was covering his face with his backpack in order to muffle his laughter. I felt bad but she didn´t notice at all. Wow. It was so, so funny. Anyways.
Sounds like everyone has been doing good! I have been too! This week was hard and I missed you guys a lot, but I really learned that the Lord will get us through our hardest times, if we just trust in and pray to Him! He answers prayers. I love you guys sooo much! I wrote a lot more in the mega letter that is coming your way, so hopefully you´ll get that this week. Keep my investigators in my prayers and know that they hear a lot about you, too! Life is good! Spain is grand! Have a great week!
Monday, September 15, 2014
Well my week was the best week I´ve had so far! It was the last week of the transfer and we definitely didn´t crawl to the finish line, we raced! We had such a successful, happy week this week. I loved it so much.
Later that day we had our first lesson with V.! He came to church and Noche de Hogar last week, but I was a little bit nervous to start teaching him because I didn´t know how much he would undertand or even like the lessons. But mom, he LOVED it. Holiene. He loved it so much. We have all the folletos in Romanian (we haven´t been able to find a Book of Mormon yet, but hopefully we will this week), so we read them with him, us in Spanish and him in Romanian. He LOVES it. Loves the Gospel. We talked to him about God and Jesus Christ and how they are our family and how them love us. We also talked about how we can see our families again after this life, which he just loved. Both of his parents are dead and it really affects him, I think. But he understands now that he can see them again, and that just made him so happy. We asked him if he would like to be baptized and he immediately started crying. He wants it so bad! We gave him a fecha and he´s planning on baptism on the 18th of Octubre. If we can get him into the waters of baptism sooner than that, we will, but for now, that´s his goal. Since then we´ve finished teaching the first lesson and he just loves it. He always tells us that he feels emotion in his heart, in his very broken Spanish. But he just loves it. He cries during every lesson, and Hermana Fuller and I cry too. He´s our miracle here. He´s trying so hard to find a job, he only has one pair of clothes, and sometimes he has to sleep at the park because there is no where else to go for him. But I think finding us and finding the Church has been his miracle, too. He came to Noche de Hogar again on Saturday and we gave him a little picture of Jesus and wrote him a note about how we loved him and we are grateful to be his friends. When Hermana Fuller gave it to him he almost started crying and said "Nobody has given me a gift like this before." Like, it was just a dumb little note and a picture of Jesus, but it meant so much to him. He´s had such a hard life- it´s so humbling to hear about what he goes through on a daily basis. On Sunday we were planning to meet him where we usually do and walk to the capilla with him for church, but he wasn´t there. So we ended up just leaving so we wouldn´t be late, and we were kinda worried about him. But he showed up after Sacrament meeting and stayed the whole time! It was just so cool- we´ve talked about him a lot as a companionship and we both feel like he loves us and the other missionaries, but he LOVES church as well. He doesn´t just come because we are there, he comes because he feels something there. And that is so special to see. So V. He´s amazing. I´m attaching a picture of him at the bottom!
On Thursday, I went on splits for the first time ever! Hermana Fuller went to Barrio 6 and the Hermana Training Leader, Hermana Hadley, came and stayed with me. We had three appointments and correlacion, which is where we meet with the ward mission leader and tell him all about our investigators and how we are doing that week. So it was my job to know where to go for all of the appointments and to do correlacion all by myself, since obviously, Hermana Hadley doesn´t know any of our investigators. I did it! I did it all by myself, all in Spanish, and I found all the of the investigator´s houses AND I lead all the lessons. It was such a miracle. I didn´t think I was going to be able to speak that much Spanish but I totally did. Hermana Hadley told me that she was super impressed with me. She said that she would have never guessed I was in my first transfer if she didn´t already know, based on how well I did with my Spanish and with teaching and with everything. She taught me a lot and it was a super good experience! I was grateful to get Fuller back, but now I know that when she leaves in 6 weeks, I will be able to do this without her. It was such a boost of confidence! I still have sooooooo much to work on and to learn out here, with language, missionary work, EVERYTHING, but I know that as long as I work super hard and rely on the Spirit, I´ll be just fine!
On Saturday, as you can see by the pictures, I cut all my hair off. I officially have a true pixie cut and I actually am in love with it. Short hair trumps long hair and it feels so good to have it cut!! Anyways, back to missionary work update.
On Saturday, we also found out about transfers and everything. I was so scared that Hermana Fuller would get transferred but she wasn´t! Our whole district is the same except for Elder Diaz leaving to Barrio 4. So all is well. Yesterday we have FIVE investigators at church. FIVE INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH. It was the coolest, best thing ever. I was so excited about it. K. is still coming every week, V., N. (our little girl that we teach), W. and J.L. came! We found a member with a car that was willing to pick him up and he picked him up and he CAME!! It was so great and he LOVED it. He came up to us after Priesthood and asked us what a priesthood blessing was and how he could get one for his health. It was so cool. So that night, in our weekly Sunday lessons with them, we brought Elders Lloyd and Elder Nash with us and they gave both the JL's blessings. It was so spiritual and really amazing. They blessed them with the health and strength to be able to keep coming to church and to be able to follow Jesus Christ. Ahh. So cool. They loved it and J.L. #1 loved Church and they invited us to come eat with them next Sunday. So that will be really fun. They make me SO HAPPY every week we get to see them. So yeah! That basically sums up my week, and the end of my first transfer in the mission field!! So awesome.
I´m doing really well! I miss home a lot and sometimes it feels like I can´t do this for another year and a half, but then a miracle happens and I remember how cool it is that I´m out here and how important this work is. My companion and I have so much fun while working super hard and being really focused. I´m so grateful for how good of friends we have become. Spanish is still coming, slowly but surely, and I´m starting to feel a lot more confident when I speak and I am able to understand a lot more. Reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish every day helps so much. I´m on track to finish by Christmas! I love you guys all so much! Fall is coming in and that makes me miss the pretty Utah mountains and all the leaves and trees and beauty. But Spain is beautiful too, in it´s own way. I love it here, so much. I feel so blessed. I am so blessed! Being able to share the Gospel with other people in this beautiful place in this beautiful language- it´s a really huge blessing. Onto the best transfer EVER!! Can´t wait!! I love you all so much!!