Monday, August 31, 2015

The Tears of God-August 31, 2015

Ok so the title line is a joke. It's not me being dramatic and overly spiritual. So I'll explain in a sec.]

So this week has been full of experiences, big and small. I'm loving being with Hermana Santiago. She's wonderful and has taught me so much about life and missionary work and the Gospel. We have been working SO hard. It's been so awesome and with the schedule change, we have even more time to work and it's shown in the week that we've had and the results that have come. We had a few days that were literally chalk
full of miracles. 

We were able to set a fecha with Yami, our 15 year old Ecuadorian girl that we've been meeting with forever and seen next to no progress with. We had an awesome lesson with her about the Atonement and the need for Jesus Christ and we put her on date. And then she came to church! It was her first time ever coming and she
loved it. Speaking of church, we had FOUR investigators there. That's the most I've had in such a long time. It was amazing. P. came because she's amazing, and she brought her mom, which was her first time ever coming. P. sang in a musical number with they young women and M. (mom) was so proud. It was a really sweet moment. And then we had this woman named R. that was an old investigator of the elders from about 2 years ago. The branch president gave us her number and we called her and she let us come over. She then committed to coming to church with her two cute, sweet little boys. They are six and three and seriously so cute. And they all came and stayed and LOVED it. It was a huge miracle and we're so excited about her. 

We are progressing with less actives that were working with, we had a bunch of lessons on the street, and F. is still progressing super well. We had a noche de hogar with him in the house of the president of the branch and it went super well. We talked about the priesthood and he's excited to receive it after his baptism. Our lessons were just all really spiritual and uplifiting and I learned so much from teaching them- it was really cool.  Just a great week. I feel really happy to be here and seeing so much progression in the area and in the people we are teaching is a wonderful feeling.

So in reference to the title line- backstory. F. was telling us about Maradona and the "hand of God", when he scored a goal against England by using his hand to swat in the ball. The ref didn't see it, it counted, and after the game, Maradona is quoted as saying that it was the "hand of God". Best moment ever. So we talked about that, and then on Sunday, we had a branch counsel meeting before church, just like every Sunday. We were there and the branch president, Florin, started talking to us about how we need to improve in our member-missionary relationships. It's been a bit hard in this branch, honestly, to work with the members. We had the goal going into next week of visiting more active members, bugging them more about coming to lessons with us, etc. Florin started talking about it and the members just sort of starting getting on us for not inviting them to lessons, etc. It was super hard because we have been trying and it's just hard to work with members because they are all so busy. We do invite them, although it is something that we really do need to work on. So I'm sitting there, listening to this go on, and even though it was a little bit hard to get called out like that even when I felt like we had a great week and we really have been working with members as much as we can and we had the goal of getting better, I wasn't that upset by it. But all the sudden, I started crying. Just crying, right in front of the whole branch. And it was SO WEIRD. Like, why am I crying? I wasn't even super mad or upset or anything. Frustrated, yes. But not to the point of tears. But then I cried and I was so embarrassed and everyone was just staring at me and you could tell they felt so bad. But I couldn't stop. Needless to say, after the meeting, EVERYONE came up to us and started to invite us to their houses and tell us they were available for lessons and that they
supported us. It was embarrassing and unexpected, but let me tell you, the tears worked. We have like 5 members set up in lessons with us already and it was amazing. So.. My companion and I decided after the
meeting was all over that it was similar to Maradona's goal- those tears were the tears of God! The fact that I was crying totally softened their hearts, softened the situation, and I think we're gonna see miracles from it. Haha. Sort of weird, but it was just a funny story. I think the connection between the two stories is sort of
hilarious, although my comp doesn't quite get it. She's more of a volleyball person- the name Maradona means nothing to her.

It really has been a great week. We've been so blessed and I don't quite understand why, but I know that good things come when we work hard and leave the rest to God. There's a scripture in Alma about constantly remembering our unworthiness before God. I think that's the key in good times- always remembering that when the good times come, we still have to rely on the Lord. Always. He'll make more out of us than we could ever make out of ourselves. And I have a testimony of that.

I love you all!! Sorry I don't have a ton of time to write today, this might be the only email that I can get out. We ran out of time, we went to Covadonga with the Browns and it took up our whole  pday. I promise I'll write more next week- but I bought gifts!! Haha. Love you all, have a great week, and remember to rely on the Lord! I'm doing great and LOVING the mission, it just keeps getting better. Love you all!!


One of my goals-

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 24, 2015 Letter

Hey Family!!

 I LOVE it here. Every area has gotten better and better for me. I'm trying not to think about coming home because I am really scared- so we're just gonna focus on this week and try not to think about it. :) it'll be amazing, though.

I'm just so, so tired today. Like, so tired. Got like 4 hours of sleep to start off this week, my new companion got here, Medio dia got changed and we've just been KILLING it.. As in, working so so hard. Then, today, we did the most intense 20 minute hike I've ever done in my life. And as a result, I'm so tired. Like, so tired. Never been this
tired. Ever in my whole mission. I'm so happy but so tired and wow. Ok. This email will probably be really scattered.
But just bear with me.

This week was crazy. Hermana Santiago is a boss. She's a really hard worker and she's really bold, which is all that I need. We've been working so hard and I love it. We had 3 days out of our area and we still had a really good number of lessons at the end of the week. We taught F. the law of chastity and he took it really well. He's amazing and we're so grateful for him. He also gave me these super cool books about soccer as this random gift and it was amazing. I was so excited. 

P. is stil going strong. She came to church and the fireside that the mission president gave and she loved it. We've taught her all the lessons now and we're planning on fasting together at the end of this week to help her to get to
baptism. Our goal this week is to really work a lot better with members and to involve them in everything that we can do. 

Our Chinese man is still going really good- he came to the lesson and said that he knows the Book of Mormon is true!! We can't even communicate with him that well at all, but I'm so grateful for the experience I had with
Valentine at the beginning of my mission because I feel like I was prepared to communicate with Lu. I've learned how to take what people say (even if I can't understand it), watch what they're doing, and somehow, the Spirit has helped me get through a lot of lessons understanding them. He's a good man and he really wants to keep
meeting with us, which is really good.

 Also, we had a really cool experience this week. Hermana Santiago got here and said she had met this man named A. in her last area, the Canary Islands. He was from Gijon and knew members of the church there. They got his reference but never passed it- and this was back in May. We called him on her second day here and he was like, yeah! I'd love to meet with you! I've been thinking about you girls a lot lately! So we went and met with him- he's this older Spanish man that owns an art gallery in the center of town. We explained the restoration and found out that he knows our branch president and his wife and a TON of other members here. He's been to church and had a Book of Mormon for awhile. So we set up a time to come back, and we went and told the branch president
and his wife and they were SHOCKED. They were so excited, they couldn't believe that we had found him and we're teaching him. It was the craziest experience- we're excited to see how it goes with him.

Other news: we haven't had hot water all week, we hiked the Cristus statue today and we loved it, we watched meet the Mormons at zone conference and it was super cool. We loved it- I had never seen it before! It made me cry. We started exercising Better in the mornings and it's been awesome. It's a goal of ours. We've just been doing the best we can and I'm trying to make the most of the time I have left. It's going well.

 I know the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real and I know He always sends us answers. This weekend was chalk full of answers to my prayers, and I'm grateful for it. I can't even... I love this place so much. I love my companion, I love the work. I love the miracles that God is willing to work through us. I'm so far from perfect, but I have trust in Christ. 

Oh, ps mom, that talk about Joseph Smith was AMAZING. I loved that so much. Thank you for always being in tune with the Spirit. It was just what I needed. Ok, sorry again for the crappy email. I can't explain the tired levels
coursing through my body right now.  Love you!!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August 17, 2015 Letter

Hey Familia!!

So just to update you on the changes that transfers brought:
1) I am staying in Gijon.
2) I am getting a new companion named Hermana Santiago. She's a good friend of mine, from Texas, has 2 transfers less in the mission than I do, and she's awesome.
3) We are sister training leaders together for the Leon Zone. Our new mission president, president Pack, instituted this new thing where there are 2 STLs in all the zones in the mission, and that they are companions. It's the first time there have been STLs in the North or the Islands and it's pretty exciting. It means that we do intercambios and that we also go down to Madrid for Concilio once a month with the zone leaders, and we do zone trainings together. It's pretty cool. It's cool that I get a second try at this thing, because I feel like it was trial by error the first time, and I'm excited to apply the things that I learned. I am feeling a little overwhelmed, but in a good way. I'm so so so sad that Hermana Stephenson left. She's one of the best friends I've ever had and seriously such a great companion and missionary. She's going down to Villalba, a pueblo outside of Madrid. I sent her down this morning and right now I'm chilling with my friend Hermana Freestone in Oviedo until our new companions get here. It's been a good day, although sad. Im EXHAUSTED, though. So tired. We have gotten little to no sleep in the last few days, thanks to transfers and packing and cleaning the piso and just trying to get caught up on everything. It was a bit of an emotional week, but it turned out great. It'll be so good to start a new transfer and see what we can get going in good ole Gijon. I'm so glad I have more time! It's my third transfer here and I'm loving it.

Ok. Experiences this week: We made it in the news! See photo below:

So last pday the Oviedo Hermanas came up to Gijon and we went to the fair with our branch mission leader, Santi. He took us out to eat "comida basura, estilo americana" (garbage food, American style- his words, not mine) and then bought us all a gift. Like, seriously, nicest guy ever. This is what he made us eat while with him (he was paying, we couldn't say no. Literally, we tried, and he just refused it) : a literal platter of meat. Bread. A huge slice of cake. A ginormous ice cream cone. Coke. And then, 20 minutes later, he bought us another ice cream cone. And then he offered to take us out to snack and we were like, Santi! We have seriously eaten so much today! And he was like- what do you mean? You've eaten so little! He just didn't understand why we were so full. Did not understand at all. Anyways, that was just a little side story. As we were walking around in the fair, this guy stopped us and asked to take our picture for the paper. He was doing a piece about the fair, and he was trying to show that the fair was international. We literally stand out so much- haha. He took our picture, and the rest is history. We had to laugh because it probably just furthers problems with people thinking that Mormons are polygamists- its like Santi with his 4 young wives. 

But the Hermanas in Oviedo has a cool experience with it- this guy stopped them and told them that he saw them in the paper and that he wants to know more about the church! It was really cool. Hopefully they'll see progress from him. We had breakthrough lessons with P. and F. this week. P. told us that she knows the church is true. She just feels it, she said. The situation is hard with her family right now but she's so sweet and just so strong. We love her so much. She was sad to say goodbye to Hermana Stephenson yesterday. She still doesn't feel prepared to get baptized, so we're working on it with her. Little by little. I told my companion that I'm really sick of little by little- i feel like it's been the motto of my whole mission and it's getting old- but she was just like "you're not going to progress any faster now than you did at the beginning. Life just comes one day at a time. Just because you have more time on the mission now doesn't mean that progression will suddenly come faster." I liked that. Patience is so essential in all facets of life, and it's something that I've had to learn so much about out here. Anyways. I liked that. She taught me a lot. 

Also, F. is just progressing so well. He's receiving answers right and left, he's so sad he can't come to church more because of his work, and he's just the sweetest guy. He's read the whole Book of Mormon. And now he's reading it again. He's just... Prepared. It's the best way I can think of to describe him. Just ready. He told us that he wants to wait to get baptized until the work situation evens out a little bit because he doesn't want to make a covenant with God and then just not be active. He took tithing really well and he's just so amazing. I can't even begin to describe how lucky we are to have the chance to work with him.

We had a zone training meeting this week in Leon and they announced a new rule that we have as a mission. They're changing Medio dia. So what we're doing is that we usually have 2 and a half hours of study in the mornings and then we go out and work, Medio dia starts at 2:00, we eat and rest a little, and then we're out the rest of the night.
Every mission has 2 hours to eat, we just have ours together in the middle of the day. Now what's happening is they have changed it all up so that we have one more hour of proselyting and one less hour of food/rest time. Well now just have 1.5 hours of study in the morning, leave the piso and hour earlier, and then during Medio dia, we have one hour to eat and rest and another hour to do companionship study. It's still two hours, but one of them is for study. It's s pretty big change, and I'm thrilled about it. When I got my release date, I was really sad because I felt like it was just too soon. So I was praying and I asked God to give me more time. I told Him I would take any opportunity I had to have more time on the mission. As I said that prayer, I felt a lot of peace. I felt like He was gonna give me more time. I was sort of waiting to see if there was an option for an extension of the mission or something, when this announcement came along. He gave me more time, in the form of one more hour of work a day. It adds up to roughly 115 hours total, or, in other words, 2 weeks worth of more prostleying time. Exactly the amount of time that was taken off of my mission. It was an emotional moment to realize
that God answered my prayer. It may seem like a little thing, but it didn't feel little to me. I'm grateful for it and excited to have more time to work! I'll probably drop dead at the end of it- I can't imagine getting more tired than I am right now, and yet I get tireder
everyday. It's insane.

I've been learning a lot lately and realizing just how imperfect really am. I have so much to work on- so much. I know I'm inadequate and always will be- but I'm learning how to better trust in Christ and Heavenly Father. They are my everything, and it's only through them that I am able to do anything. I'm so grateful to have them and to have the chance to serve them. I'm not perfect- soooooo far from it. But luckily, this isn't about me! My motto as of late is "forget yourself, and go to work", with emphasis on forget yourself. I'm trying to forget my will, forget my desires and forget my struggles and just do my best to help the Lord. It's a work in progress and it always will be, but it's in the journey that we find what we need.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 10, 2105 Letter *My release date is December 8th*

Hey Fam!!
How are you?? That's nice of what Sister Knapp said. She's a really nice lady. She told me that my Spanish was good, as well, which I was so happy about- she's a Spanish professor!! She knows what she's talking about! Haha. I think she was just being nice, honestly, but I do really like her. It was fun to have her family here for a few weeks, they literally almost doubled the size of active members in the branch, which is always fun.

I got the email about my release date, as well. I was shocked! I couldn't believe it. I'm not ready to come home- there's so much left to do! I'll probably feel like that up to the date of my release, though. I am working on being more accepting of the fact that I do have to go home eventually. I'm mentally trying to make myself excited, and I've set a lot of goals so that I'm busy and working. I am excited to see all of you again, that's for sure. It feels like a really long time since I've seen all of you. One of the reasons that I've been grateful to be here is because I think it's helped me a gain a greater appreciation of what a great family I have and how much I love you! I never realized quite how blessed I was. It's seriously strengthen my testimonies of families so so much. So anyways. I've got 4 more wonderful months left here, and then a lifetime of wonderful months there! Just gotta make the most of it :) I really like what you've said about making it the best 6 then 5 then 4 months of my mission. I've been really trying to do that and I feel so good. It's been such a good process for me to realize that i can and should continue to improve, and that God doesn't wait for perfection to be pleased. I could possibly finish in Gijon, but I don't think I will, it would be a long time in one area. And Hermana Stephenson and I definitely won't be together the whole time,  transfers are this week and we're thinking that she'll probably be leaving. But we'll see. :)
The plans for the Europe trip sound great! I'm excited for that. Europe is amazing, especially Spain. Honestly, I just want to visit all my areas and see everybody. I love them so much! 

Ok so I'll tell you about my week now. It's been a really good mix of everything missionary. We contacted a lot, knocked a lot of doors. We got a member reference which is a big deal up here, but he's actually an apostate member, so we can't really count it. Kind of a weird situation, but his mother in law that we started teaching is really really sweet. We found this Spanish guy on the street and even though he didn't want anything, we ended up getting all of his information, went back and taught him with a member, and he said he would read and wants us to come back. That was cool,honestly. I really felt the Spirit testifying so strongly to him, and I know that Heavenly Father loves him so much. We taught P. a lot this week and she's doing really good. She still has this weird fear of baptism but I think she's slowly but surely getting over it. She has a hard home life right now but we talked a lot yesterday about setting goals so that she can make a better future for herself. I think she's starting to see the link between the Gospel and the Church and living a better life. She's young but wonderful- we just need a little bit more time with her. We've seen a lot of great
miracles with her. The Dhinese man is great, as well. He was so excited to get the Book of Mormon in Chinese! I'm trying to give you a good run down of the week but I'm realizing its impossible, especially with the limited time that I have. It was just so good. So spiritual,so hard at times, but hard in a good way. We had time with investigators and times the street and everything in between. Oh, and F. is doing great. Turns out he's basically always lived the word of wisdom and he's plays soccer on the beach from time to time. It's like, come on! I'm teaching a Spanish soccer playing man. How much more blessed could I get? I'm really loving it here and loving what we're doing. Everything is just so good. Not perfect, but good. And that's all we need.

I love you all so much, I hope your week is wonderful. I pray for you everyday. I'm sorry this email is short and lame, but it's all I've got time for today- we'll see if we find more time later on. I really am happy and we just keep on keeping on! I'll let you know about transfers next week. Love you all so much!!


Teaching with my companion, Hermana Stephenson

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August 2, 2015 Letter

 Anyways. I just decided that I don't care about how little time I have left, I'm just gonna work to improve and get better every single day, just like I have up until this point on my mission. Just keep trying and relying on God and learning through Him. That will bring the greatest happiness.

This week has been really good, actually. Not anything super special, just a good, solid, hard working week. On Tuesday all of our plans failed and we literally walked around for 5 and a half hours. Straight- and NOBODY listened. And we weren't just walking around aimlessly, we were actively trying to talk to everyone and knock buildings and literally nobody listened. But weirdly, we didn't get too upset about it. I felt really peaceful the whole day. I think Heavenly Father was helping us so much. The next day, we went and visited a menos activa lady without calling, and she ended up making dinner for us,  which we didn't want her to do but we didn't know how to stop her without offending her. Even though we weren't out on the street walking around and getting rejected, I felt a whole lot worse about being with the menos activa for almost two hours then I did walking around for 5 and a half. It just was a lesson that I had to learn again- the hard things bring the greatest blessings. So the rest of
the week I made an extra effort to talk to as many people as I could and to just work as hard as I could and use time as wisely as I could, of course with the constant companionship of my lovely companion, and it went really well. We contacted this Chinese man and he came to church and wants to meet again. That was pretty cool. F. is doing great. We made him a baptismal calendar and he loved it, and I've never had anyone understand covenants so well. It was amazing!! P. came back from camp and she's still doing great, as well. She found the blog and has been reading it- so cute. She's amazing and we're so grateful for her!! She came to church and loved it. Oh, and CHURCH!! I forgot about this. First of all, we had 3 investigators there, which is a big deal. And then all the youth came back from EFY that they had down near Madrid. Our youth are a little bit verging on inactive, almost all of them. There aren't any Diegos here. But they all got up and bore their testimonies and it was INCREDIBLE. EFY seriously changed their lives. Everyone was crying, especially the
young women's president, Natalia. She just kept saying- it's such an answer to so many Prayers!! It was such a cool moment for everyone. So yeah, this week was good. We're just gonna keep on keeping on and believing that miracles can and will come.

I've felt the spirit a lot this week and felt very close to my Savior. I'm trying to learn how to immediately apply His atoning sacrifice and how to connect that to other people better. It's been really good. I'm excited for this week and to continue to make the next 5 months the best of my mission. I love you all so much!!

Hermana Seegmiller and Hermana Stephenson

I love it when members feed us!!

July 27, 2015 Letter

This week has been a really good one. I might just sum it up in bullet points to keep my thoughts more organized:
-we had a zone conference in Leon that went really well. We set our alarm early to be able to catch the bus at 8, but then it didn't go off, and we woke up at 7:25. We woke up and we're out the door in 9 minutes, and we made it. It was amazing, such a miracle!! Haha. I did my makeup on the bus, as a result. I felt the spirit a lot at the conference and it went really well. I like the missionaries in my zone a lot, I get the feeling that they are all hard working, serious missionaries.  It makes me happy. But they're still good, fun people. I know the Lord has a lot of trust in us- it makes me grateful to be here.
Outside of our apartment

-F. is AWESOME. We've been communicating (with permission) though email, and I sent dad some of the stuff he's written (he speaks English). He's just amazing and I think he's really truly seeing changes in his life, through Jesus Christ. He came to church this week and loved it, and also sent his own baptismal date in the lesson that
we had. He's such a miracle and we're grateful for him. P. is still doing great, but she was out of town all this week, so that's why I'm not really mentioning her as much. We've also been trying hard to find new investigators this week, and while it's hard and slow, it's been going well. We just talk to as many people as we can and we've found a few great people.
-I smashed whipped cream all over my companions face during noche de hogar. It was he funniest thing I think I've ever done. It turned bad, however, when A. decided to do it to me, she's this sassy little Dominican girl. It was a great night, I sent you pictures.

Pie Night

-we got failed a lot this week, but we were able to maintain really positive, happy attitudes, and that helped a lot. Even though we were on the street contacting a ton, it wasn't too bad. We were also able to work a lot with some great members and get to know them better, which is something we're going to be trying to focus on more and more. We both feel like we need to strengthen the branch, and we're trying to find ways to do so.

Anyways. I love the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I don't always understand all of it, but I love it so much. I'm grateful for the scriptures in my life and for prayer. I'm grateful for the Spirit that testifies at the most random, most needed points of my life. And I'm just grateful for what I've been blessed to be able to do. I love you all so much, I hope you have a great week.