Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27th, 2015 Letter

A lesson failed us and we were with M., who is a recent convert of the Elders (she used to be Jehova´s Witness and then had this incredible conversion story- she´s amazing). She was going to help us in the lesson and when it fell through, she invited us to go over to her house and share a message with her and her daughter. We took her up on it and went back to her house. I had the thought, "Maybe we shouldn´t- M. is doing good, she´s super strong in the Church, we should maybe be out contacting or knocking doors or whatever" but at this point, my companion and I were both about in tears, just so frustrated with the day and down in animo and the Spirit, and I just couldn´t handle the thought of being out in the street and freezing our tails off and trying to get people to listen to us. So we went to her house, and as soon as we got in, the Spirit just hit me SUPER strong. It was incredible. I had been struggling with feeling the Spirit all day, and it was just there so strongly. I knew that it´s where we needed to be. We sat down and taught her daughter, V., who is 8, a little bit about testimonies, and then we ended up watching the restoration video with her and talking about our testimonies of Joseph Smith. And it was so, so spiritual. We walked out of her house SO spiritually edified and just happy. It was cool, but I couldn´t figure it out. Like, we´re here to work. So why did we feel the Spirit so strongly when we weren´t doing the typical "missionary work" of contacting and walking and suffering with a smile? I talked to my district leader, a really good friend of mine, about it during the weekly interview on the phone, and he said that if you´re trying your hardest to be a good, obedient, hard working missionary, the Spirit will not lead you astray. If the Spirit is there, you know that you´re doing the right thing. I learned, with that experience, that God sends us tender mercies. He knows us and He hears our prayers. He confirms our actions and decisions with His Spirit. If we follow the Spirit and take the opportunites that the Lord gives us, He will allow us to be instruments in His hands for other people, while at the same time edifying and helping us. Obviously, that is not something that we´re gonna do often, or maybe even again- but at the moment, it was the right thing. I don´t know why it was so cool, but it just allowed us to do a 360 degree switch in animo, Spirit, and happiness. It was a good experience and it got us ready for this next week, which is going to be wonderful, I know it. 

Life is good. It can be hard sometimes, but that´s just part of the goodness. God answers prayers and I know that. I know I´m His servant and although it´s not always sunshine and butterflies, it´s lessons learned and strength gained, which is worth more, in the long run. I´m gonna keep working as hard as I can and improving everyday. I have SO much left to learn! SO much left to do, and only 8 months to do it!! So I´m just gonna give it all I¨ve got. Drive! I´ve got the drive!! :) 

I love you all so much! I¨m so grateful for my wonderful family, you guys are amazing. I´m grateful to be here and I know that there are blessings in the sacrifice. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you. THis week is gonna be amazing. 

Mission Flashback Monday
The hair has grown and I am grateful for that!

With Dora 

With Holly Hardy who is visiting with her husband.
She was one of my YW leaders.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 20th, 2015 Letter

 A bit of consistency in this crazy life that I´m living is the best thing ever. Like, every single day on the mission is different. You never, EVER, wake up knowing what to expect. For example, yesterday I woke up thinking, ok today we will go to church, go eat lunch with some members, and then teach 4 lessons and contact and come home. Those are the expectations. Then reality hits and what that seemingly normal day turns into is: getting a spiritual prompting during studies to leave early and go pick up your investigator for church, going and she doesn´t come so you´re not actually sure why you went (still not sure), then going to church, getting an AWESOME member reference there, trying to explain why we do baptisms for the dead to that same awesome member reference while the Gospel Doctrines teacher ends up talking about temple ordinances to people that have never heard anything about the church before, running to the member´s house with a MA family and trying to entertain their little girls on the train with the "Silent Game" (never seen that work so well), getting there, having another little girl put her chapstick all over her legs and then insist on wearing your chappa all while I´m trying to learn Dominican catch phrases from her parents, going to teach our lessons, one to a guy that was once in jail and then calling a drunk guy to repentance on a park bench (yes that is literally what happened), then teaching a crazy Nigerian that had questions about who Jesus´s grandmother was (um.. what?) and then eating the spiciest food ever (Nigerian) and trying not to cry or cough or throw up and meanwhile, look like you´re enjoying it. Actually, I´ve had worse. Nigerian food, that is. So yeah. Like I said, thank you for being my CONSISTENTLY awesome family. It really does mean the world.

Funny stories, funny stories... ok. So the Elders in our district we´re teaching this woman named C. and her husband, who isn´t a member. We started visiting them, too, because she was having problems with depression and in her marriage and stuff and she jus tneeded some women to talk too. So we´ve been visiting them and her husband started being in our lessons and listening and everything. He´s really a cool guy and actually has a really strong testimony, just has never gotten baptized for some reason. Then, this week, we called C. to confirm our lessons and she told me that it was fine that we were coming, but that I needed to call the Elders and tell them that they couldn´t come anymore because her husband didn´t want them too. I was kind of like, what the heck? But I called them and told them what she said, and the Elders were fine with it because apparently S. wasn´t progressing, anyways. Then, we taught them some really spiritual lessons, and much to our surprise, S. showed up to church on Sunday for the first time in 2 years. HE CAME. It was incredible. And I was just laughing because I felt a little bit bad for sort of stealing him from the Elders, right when he was about to start progressing. I just think some people need Elders and some need sisters... haha. It was so cool and a little bit funny.

Spiritual- Just know that I know that God loves us and puts people in our paths. That´s all. Plain and simple testimony this week.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 13th, 2015 Letter

Well Hey There!!

Ok before we start- I did not get transferred. I repeat, I did not get transferred. :) No worries there. I´m starting up my third transfer here in Barrio 8 and I´m really happy that I get to have another one here. Someday I´ll maybe go somewhere else, but last night we sang the hymn "I´ll Go Where You Want Me To Go" during a Noche de Hogar and I realized that sometimes the Lord asks us to go to crazy cool places and sometimes He asks us to stay right where we are. The important part is to do His will in all things. So, although I someday hope to go somewhere different and I may get that opportunity somewhere down the line, for now I´m really happy to stay here and I know that there´s a reason for it! I am also starting my second transfer as a STL.

Hermana Judd took off for the North of Spain this morning. It has actually been so hard for me to see her go. I´m going to really miss her.

 My new companion is a doll. Her name is Hermana Spencer and she´s from Parla, Idaho. She graduated from high school this last year and worked until she came out into the mission. She just got finished being trained and everything is a bit new for her still, but she seems to have great desires and to be a really good missionary.  So I now have my 4th companion! Pretty cool.

 I really loved conference and it really gave me so many insights and strengthened my testimony of the Savior and the apostles and the prophet. I loved it. I especially loved the talks by Holland and the one about dancing to the music in your heart. We all loved that, actually. The missionaries thought it was awesome.

This week has been good, besides Hermana Judd leaving! A pretty normal week, but we saw a lot of little miracles with our investigators. A woman named J. that we´ve been trying to meet with for FOREVER finally let us in and we had a great lesson with her. She cancelled stuff during the morning that she had to do so that she could wait for us and we could read with her. It was actually such a miracle, I was really grateful for it. We also met this awesome man named F. last week and were able to meet with him this week on a bench. He´s Spaniard and doesn´t believe in God, but he started reading the Book of Mormon and he prayed at the end of our lesson with him. I´m really excited about it. We worked a lot with members and that really was incredible. We received THIRTEEN member references this week. Thirteen!! Amazing. It was something that we decided to work on as a district and I was really excited to see it start to work. We weren´t able to get anybody to church, but people are slowly but surely progressing. And that makes me happy.

Well, family, I love you all so much! I come to grow and understand my Savior more and more. Something that I´m trying to work on is thinking of Him all the time and having Him constantly on my mind. I know that He knows how we feel and what we need, and I know this is His work. I love you all so much and have a fantastic week!! Love you!!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter/Conference Letter April 6, 2015

This week was incredible, thanks to conference and also Leadership Counsel that I got to go to. It was the best thing ever and I loved it so much. Conference is the best in Spain- everybody comes out to the temple and we all watch it and then picnic together in between sessions. I saw all of my old friends from B2 and all of my current family in B8 all together on temple grounds and it just made for an incredible time. Conference was BOMB. Holy cow. Every single talk had something that I needed, as a missionary and as a normal, breathing person that has worries and questions all her own. I loved it. I couldn´t be more grateful for it. Spanish talks are always the best. I understood them and yes, they were wonderful.  It´s so cool that you all got to go, so jealous! I would love to all go together when I get home. That would be a literal, straight up dream come true. I´ve always wanted to do that.

Leadership counsel changed my mission. All the STLS and ZLs were there and we talked about ways to improve our work as missionaries and holy cow, it gave me so much animo to come back and work harder and talk to EVERYONE. And that is exactly what we have been doing- talking to absolutely everyone. It´s made an difference and it makes me grateful for moments like that when the Spirit testifies to you and gets you going. I´ve been praying to have more spiritual experiences and it really worked out. Just gotta keep going. We´ve been working our bums off and finding some great people. I´ll keep you updated as they start to progress.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Pictures from March 30th

Sunburn from our 'Bench Miracle'

Winter is back in Madrid!

My friend from Barrio 2

At the temple with Hermana Judd

March 30th, 2015 Letter

This week has been good. I honestly don´t understand why the Lord is blessing us so much, because I don´t feel like I deserve it. But I¨m grateful for the miracles that have passed. There have been some funny moments and some sad moments and some really beautiful times when we´ve been able to feel the hand of the Lord helping us so, so much. First of all, though, I just wanna tell you how much I love and appreciate my Savior. I feel so indebted and so grateful to Him. This week has been hard number wise and although we worked really hard, there´s always more that we could do. And despite our weaknesses as missionaries or as people, He still continues to bless us. I don´t know why so many miracles have come this week or why, but I do know they weren´t through me. I had nothing to do with them. They came through the grace of our Savior Jesus Christ. I know He´s intimately involved in all times in our lives. I know He knows us perfectly and He knows what we need and what those around us need, as well.  It´s all about our Savior. And although doing His work and His will is so hard sometimes, it was hard for Him too. Although people may reject or laugh at us, they rejected and laughed at Him too. And although we may feel so completely alone and so completley abandoned, He felt that way too. And yet He overcame that ALL. He rose above it all. He is our Savior and He saves us in EVERYTHING- He didn´t just save our lives physically and spiritually, but when we fall, He picks us up and helps us keep going. He is everything! This work isn´t about anything but Him and His children. And I know that´s true. 

Bench lesson MIRACLES
So we had a few bench lessons this week that were just really amazing. I´ll tell you about the one that happened on Saturday morning. We were walking around Entrevias doing passbys and we saw this younger Spanish lady sitting on a bench, watching her kid play in the sand. I saw her and just KNEW that we needed to talk to her. So we sat down next to her and started talking and she is incredible. She recently gained a testimony of God because she was in a Christian drug rehab center for a year and a half. She said she had really incredible experiences with God and that through that, she knows that He exists. She reads the Bible and is just the kindest person. We are going to see her in her house on Tuesday (thank goodness because let me tell you something, I got FRIED during that bench lesson) and I was just in awe about how God puts people in our path that He has prepared. It was a beautiful experience. 

Also ward list MIRACLES 
So, whilst we were in Entervias, we stopped by for some random members on the ward list that lived there. We found this man named N. that is wonderful. He opened the door and looked like he was going to cry! Mind you, we´ve never met nor heard of him before, but turns out he was baptized by the elders about a year ago, and when the elders that baptized him went home, he went inactive. He was so grateful that we came to find him! We´re going back to see him and poco a poco we´re gonna get him more involved in the Church. Now, keep in mind, the ward list is 23 pages long. He was just a random member that we found on page, like, 17, and he was waiting for us. It was amazing. I walked away from that completely in awe. Then, right after, we rang a random timbre to this cute, Mexican looking house (this is how that conversation went down- I said, "I like Mexicans!"  and then rang the doorbell) and this sweet old woman answered. She let us in and we became friends and guess what?? A year ago, Elders rang her doorbell and gave her a Book of Mormon and she has read half of it. And then we just happened to pass by and find her. It was so amazing, and she loved us. This was the same morning as the bench lesson with the Spanish lady and I just walked away thinking, holy cow, the Lord just completely, 100%, guided our paths. And there wasn´t really any reason to be in Entervias that morning. It´s a bit far away from everything, but we just decided to go because we felt good about being there, and what do you know, it was a morning full of miracles. 

The other night, we forgot our keys and the Hermanas were nowhere to be found, so we ended up going inside with our neighbor and hanging out in her piso for about 45 minutes after curfew. She´s this cute old Spanish lady who is just so nice to us and LOVES her dogs. We were there trying to have a pleasant conversation, ignoring the fact that she was insulting my companion´s Spanish, during which we were also frantically trying to find the other Hermanas. They weren´t answering their phone and they are NEVER late, and we were super scared that maybe something happened to them. We called our district leader, he called the zone leaders, and they called President Jackson. Finally, at 10:45, the Hermanas called us and said, innocently, "What´s going on??" I was like, "You´re 45 minutes late!! Where are you??" Hermana Toone then said, "What are you talking about? It´s 9:45, we have 15 more minutes!" And then I said, "Hermana. It´s 10:45. You are 45 minutes late" And then she started to cry... they read their watches wrong. President Jackson had people out looking for them and they just read their watches wrong... oh my gosh. It was the funniest thing.. well, now it´s the funniest thing. At the time it all sort of freaked us out. That was probably the funniest thing of the week.. 

I´m doing well! Loving the mission about as much as one possibly can. Trying to improve everyday and serve my Father in Heaven well. I´m excited for this next week and what miracles it will bring. I love you all so much, have a wonderful week!!