Tuesday, October 14, 2014
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.