Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pictures October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014 Letter

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

Pictures October 20, 2014

V.'s Baptism Day!!!

October 20, 2014 Letter

Heyyy Familia!!

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

Pictures October 13, 2014

A Mormon 'Fox' in Spain

W.'s baptism!!

October 13, 2014 Letter


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

October 6, 2014 Letter

HELLLOOO FROM MADRID I did get to listen to conference in English, which was a tender mercy because I got a little bit sick the night before (just a cold, no big deal), but I was soo tired and when we were watching the women´s session (which they didn´t have in English, just Spanish), I basically slept through the whole thing. Embarrasing. But true. Then an Elder in my district saved my life and gave me Dayquil and I was wide awake for the rest of the sessions, and I understood every word (GO INGLES). But how cool was it that they had speakers in different languages! The Spanish talk was so beautiful. We listented to that one in Spanish and everyone was so excited about it. He did a beautiful job and even though his accent was  a little weird, we all loved it a whole lot. I understood most of it. Quick story about that, though. So at BYU I had this thought that Conference should be spoken in the native languages of the speakers, since the Church isn´t an American Church, it´s the Lord´s Church. I thought about it A LOT and talked to a few people about it. One was this lady on Trax who actually, as I found out through our conversation, translates conference every year into Romanian. She said it would never happen. But then I talked to my English Professor about it, and she LOVED the idea. She thought it was so cool. She told me on the last day of class that she had thought about my idea a lot and she actually ended up writing  a letter to the First Presidency about it. That was the last I heard about it until an Elder in my District told me about how they had announced that there would be speakers in speaking in their native language. I was SO excited!! I have no idea if my idea had anything to do with the change, but it was cool to think that it may have. 

Ok so the week was FANTASTIC. Such a super great week. I think it had a lot to do with Conferencia General that occured over the weekend. We had 4 investigators in total come, and they all loved it SO much! Quick update about all of them- V. is doing so great! He is now a permanent resident at the aforementioned lady´s house that we had a lesson with last week. She loves him like a son, she told us this week. It´s been so good for him! He´s working on getting his paperwork sorted out and finding a job. Because he is progressing so much, we felt like it was time to move forward with a baptismal date! October 18th right now. Hopefully everything keeps going smoothly and progressing with that. He is so happy and so excited to get baptized, and we can´t wait, either! We met a crazy guy named H. and he´s great. Conference was BEAUTFUL. I loved it sooo much. We felt the Spirit super strong and I got anwers to a lot of my questions regarding missionary work and everything. We didn´t get to have a lot of lessons this week because it was so crazy preparing for conference, but I did do a lot more contacting and it was really good. Getting way better at that. It doesn´t really scare me anymore, but I´m still not great at it so there´s a lot of room for improvement there. I went on intercambios again with Hermana Hadley (again). We´ve become really good friends and she always teaches me a lot. She only had good things to say about me and it made me feel really good. Sometimes it´´s hard to see your own progress as a missionary, but when somebody that isn´t around you all the time tells you that you´re doing well, it feels really good. We also had interviews with the President and that went super well! He´s doing great and I think all is well. Spanish is coming along slowly but surely! I actually found myself having a lot more conversations with people this week, which was really unexpected and cool. I just loved this week a whole lot. Hearing the living Prophet and his apostles speak was the highlight, for sure. Gave me so much animo to just go out and work so hard and change my little part of the Lord´s vineyard! I love it so much and I´m so happy to be a part of this work. I learn more everyday and I´m really working on strengthening my testimony, along with the testimony of my investigators. It´s hard going but super amazing.