Thursday, December 3, 2015

I'll Be Home For Christmas....

November 30, 2015

Okaaaaaay......familia.... I don't think I'll have time to write next week so I've got a looooot to say this week..jaja. 

First off, this week was great! I loved the opportunity that we had Monday to go visit some of my favorite people on Monday in Alcorcón. It truly is a precious thing to visit friends who have become your family. 

Tuesday we got to see my favorite 10 year old. I love "C."! And "B."! The way that he remembers and understands things is just incredible. I can't wait to teach him the commandments tomorrow.  We made a cute little matching game for him and I can't wait to see his face. 

Wednesday we had Zone Conference in Madrid and we got to go learn and listen. The best part? Hna Pack and Hna Larsen made Thanksgiving dinner. Like full on, turkey and stuffing, Thanksgiving dinner - with cranberry sauce. YUM! They are the best. It was even decorated for Thanksgiving! What a glorious little part of home! 

Thursday, we spent Thanksgiving dinner with the Bishop and his wife. I sure have been blessed with my last couple of bishops. They have been the sweetest men. And their wives are incredible. Anywho, for my last Spanish holiday meal, guess what I had? Paella. Yup. Doesn't get much more Spanish than that! We shared a little Thanksgiving message and then went around the table and said something we were grateful for. Every single one of us made some sort of mention of our families. The gospel truly unites and makes you value your family. And so do missions! 

On Friday we had lunch with the Relief Society President and the 2nd counselor in the bishopric. They're an old Spanish couple and adorable. She actually used to travel and sing Sevillana songs, so she had a bunch of costumes that she put us into afterwards. It was golden. Hahaha! She even game me a little gift. Just wait until next Halloween ;). 


And Saturday we met with one of our American friends and had another Thanksgiving dinner! Yay for Americans! "E." even invited a few of her friends to lunch and after the food the neighbor woman started saying how she was jealous that we were so strong in our beliefs and how she needs religion in her life, to feel a void that she feels is there, but how her beliefs in the Catholic church just don't do that for her. The Lord truly is preparing people. She agreed to listen to our message so hopefully we'll be seeing her again this week. Later that night we had a Thanksgiving activity and a bunch of our friends came. We were especially pleased to see "J. C." there. And he brought his wife! They are definitely a few of my best friends here. 

Sunday we even got to go to his house to eat with his family. It was kind of a goodbye dinner since he works the evening shifts this week so we won't be able to see him. But he is wonderful. I can't wait to see the changes he makes in his life as he applies the gospel.

OK so there's my week. And now we're starting the next. I can't believe that I'm starting my last week. Honestly, I still don't feel like it's hit me, but...I don't know. It's just weird. I still feel like me being home next week is something they're just telling me. Mission life is real life. Right? But since this is my last email I guess there's a few lessons I've learned I would like to share:

I've learned...the value of service and met truly serviceable people. It is the fastest way into a person's heart, even if it is the route hardest to find sometimes.

I've learned...to love the people of Spain. My Spaniards, Latinos, Africans, Muslims, and every other place in between.

I've learned....to trust in my Heavenly Father. I know that the best way to do it is His way. And no matter how hard I twist and tug to try to arrange life my way, His plan of things is always better than mine.

I've learned...that miracles do exist and they are most often found in the form of people. From "I." to "E." to "M." to Hna Cheret to "M.", I have learned the greatest lessons of my life from the incredible people I have met in my mission.

I've learned....that missionary work does not stop when you go home. I have my friends here that are still going to need encouragement and just because I may not be able to physically touch them doesn't mean that the teaching process has stopped. 

I've learned...how to have a more personal relationship with my brother Jesus Christ. Just how much His sacrifice meant. How much He loves me and how much He wants me, and is willing to help me, change. 

I've learned....that family will always be the letters I read first. And the ones who, no matter how crazy the week has been, will always be there for me. Even though we're half a world apart I've had moments were I have felt closer to them here then when we were in the same house.

I've learned a lot of things here in Spain. When I look back to a year and a half ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This has been the best accident I ever could have fallen into. I'm so grateful for this place. For my people. And for everything I've learned. I'm sad to leave them behind, but I will always take them in my heart. I love my Savior. I love His plan. I love my second home. I love my family. 

Love, 
Hermana Finch

PS. I don't know if you all remember "E."? She was the girl from Legánes that had cancer that Hna Valverde and I found our day of exchanges and I got to go back and visit? Well, Hna Valverde came up to me Wednesday, after the dinner and and me sit down and told me that a couple months ago "E." passed away. I only felt peace. I'm so grateful for the miracle that we had to plant that seed with her and teach her the Plan of Salvation. I know where she's at right now, she doesn't have the pain she had in life. She truly was one of my most precious miracles and now she has the chance to embrace the gospel, fully and completely. 

And so we don't end on that note...
Funny story: When we went to "B." and "C."´s we were sitting on their porch (they have a house, I know, biggest surprise ever) waiting. We had kinda walked around their yard before cause we had never had the chance to explore it and it's a HOUSE and then we sat back on the porch and were laughing over some little thing and then Hna Cheret was like "Hey, imagine if this was the wrong house." Haha, as if. We'd been sitting there for like a whole 7 minutes! Anyway, I saw "B."'s car pass the house and then a few minutes later, I was like "Wait.....Blanca still hasn't come up to the door.....what if this is the wrong house?" We stood up and were shutting the gate right as another car pulled into the driveway of the house we were at. We booked it to the next house over and ran into the door, where "C." was waiting, and slammed the door shut and burst out laughing. Hahaha. Well, guess it was the wrong house!

PS. If you made it through this whole thing, go eat some Nutella. You deserve it!



Monday, November 23, 2015

Another FB Bonus!

November 23, 2015

Another FB Bonus!  Going to miss these gems that pop up!

Last Temple Trip

November 23, 2015

Buenas! Good morning! Once again I'm sitting on a bus writing my email this week. Today we're off to Alcorcón to visit a families and recent converts waiting there. Wanna hear one of the best parts of our adventure? Hna Berry and Hna Marsh with their companions will be coming along with us! The trio will be reunited! We're all very excited to visit all our loved ones again.

This week I almost spent more time out of my area than inside it! Let me explain.  Wednesday we had the temple, but seeing as the temple is two hours away and we had to be there at 7:30 and there's no bus that leaves early enough to get us there on time we had to travel Tuesday night to get to Hna Berry's area and we got to spend the night with her and the three other hermanas living in the B8 piso. What great hermanas! Then we left Wednesday morning, got to go through the temple (I loooove the temple. I love the Madrid temple. I love the spirit there. I love learning there.) Then during the day Wednesday and Thursday morning I went on exchanges with Hna Marsh.  Then all day Thursday we had conferences since Elder Dykes and Elder Craig Christensen with their wives were in the area. The first meeting we had was just a meeting for missionaries and then we had one later that was members and missionaries. Soooo good! The we stayed the night with Hna Berry again and came home Friday morning. Needless to say I was sooo glad to come home.

We had a wonderful moment this week teaching "C.", our little friend. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and after using some pictures and trying to explain how the atonement is free, but we have to take some steps, he had his 'ahah' moment. He looked at the pictures and then looked up and was like 'Oh! I get it now! It's all free! He died because He loves us! But we have to choose to take the steps back to him!' Yes! His grandma and we were all super happy for him. I love that kid!

The temple was beautiful and....slightly heartbreaking. It hurt to think that I won't be coming back to my Madrid temple for a while.

The conferences were great, I learned so much and love feeling the love the general authorities have for us. Whenever people talk about missionaries and how important missionary work is, I can't help but feel so grateful to be a part of the greatest team that has ever had a cause. I think think the lessons I learned before and after the conferences had just as big of impact on me as the conferences themselves. I got to see "I." and "A." again. I love those girls. I saw so many people from my old areas, I just loved their faces and catching up on their lives. Some of my teachers, the Gorginos, from the MTC came up to me and told me how nice it was to see me interacting with members. I learned from them first how to interact with members and it was definitely taken home with Hna Fowers. I really have had some great teachers here. I saw my 'grandma' in the mission too.

Hna Pack shared a story about a time in her mission when she just wanted to know if she was doing a good job, so she prayed to know and afterwards had a spiritual experience where it was confirmed to her. I think the feelings and thoughts that tell us that we aren't doing enough plague us all and as she told her story, I immediately offered a prayer. I wanted to know the same. After the conference, one hermana (one of Jamie Cooper's young women) came up to me and paid me a very dear compliment. The words she said were my answer. The Lord is so kind to me.

President Lovell told me now in my mission I just need to pause every once In a while and take a breath and look around, really savor my mission. I've been doing it, but for some reason I always start to tear up every time!

I love you all. I love my Savior. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to improve my understanding of His atonement. The mission is the springboard for the rest of my life. This truly is an incredible
opportunity. I love you! Have a wonderful week!

Love, Hna Finch











Haha, I laughed today when I saw this one that Hna McKenna sent.  I think she's on to something here!   

FB Bonus!

November 20, 2015

FB Bonus!  Yay!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Heeeeey You Guuuuuuuys!

November 16, 2015:

Heeeeey you guuuuuuuys!

Good morning! I hope everybody's doing well and healthy! I'm writing this on the bus to Madrid cause guess what! ¡Juerga de compras hoy! Shopping spree! Hehe Just kidding, but we are headed off to Sol (downtown Madrid) today. So even though I haven't had the chance yet to read everybody's emails I hope you're all doing well. Spain's good, everybody's pretty shocked and up in arms after all that's happened in France. We've gotten a lot of mixed reactions. Some people blaming it on religion, but we had a great comment made in Relief Society that it's the hatred of men not love of God that makes them do thing like this. Kinda makes me a little nervous to get on a plane in a few weeks!

This week was great. I gotta start off by saying how blessed I am to have the companion I have for these last months of my mission. Hna Cheret is so great. Seriously, I can completely just be myself around this girl. I think we've both been able to learn a lot together these last couple months and I'm just so great full for her!

Next up, "J." our ward mission leader, seriously the best person ever. I hope I can explain and get through everything that I learned from him last night. In correlation he talked about how each one of the 12 apostles has their own "apostolic calling". They've got their normal call, but it's like they also have an emphasis, if that makes sense. For example President Uchtdorf is always lifting people up. President Packer seemed to always talk about family and chastity. President Monson, missionary work and service. President Hinckley, temples. Make sense? So he talked about in his mission he was to testify of Christ. He said if the Lord measures the success of a mission in how many baptisms you have, he probably wouldn't get in. But if he's judged upon how many times he testified of Christ, he did alright. So it got me thinking in my call as a missionary, what's my emphasis? What's the thing I always go back to?


In talking with my comp and meditating on the words in my patriarchal blessing I realized it has been to find and help those who stand in need of encouragement. To the covenant to 'mourn with those who mourn'. I've been blessed with many opportunities in my mission. Beginning to share the gospel with "I.", finding "E." in time of divorce, crying with "E." with her pain of cancer, helping "M." with her endowment. Even small things like burying "Y."'s bird or giving ""I." a foot massage when she was pregnant. Or even this week when we found some members cleaning the church and we helped them for a few minutes while we waiting and a sister started to share some of the pain of her mother's passing a few years ago. I've been blessed and guided in seeking out those who need that encouragement. How satisfying it felt last night, to reflect and realize all the moments when Heavenly Father has blessed me with those moments to lift and help. As my companion and I have reflected on our special 'callings' we've been honored and made more humble and grateful to see the ways the Lord has helped us develop our talents and be a special tool in his hands.

I often think the observation that Heavenly Father must look at us in amusement, as like little children who after being to do something time after time are still surprised when we start doing something that makes our lives easier. For example, my mission. I can't count how many lessons I keep having to relearn time after time. I'm so grateful our Heavenly Father is a perfect being with perfect patience, cause I think I really must try it sometimes! For example this week I learned
a really important lesson...again! How important it is to have specific plans. I think we got into the routine of "We're opening a new area...backup plan...contacting!!!" And that was true at one point
cause we didn't have anybody, but now that we're starting to have a few more friends that are progressing we had to learn once again this week the importance of prioritizing them first.

To finish off I just want to share one experience that we had this week teaching the grandson of a member who hasn't been baptized. When asking him how his prayers were going he answered enthusiastically that he loooved to prayer. He said "When play my video games, I stopped 4 or so times to pray! I just turn my game on pause and tell Heavenly Father how I'm doing and that I love him!" The faith of a child is incredible. He really realizes that he is a son of God.

It' s my hope that this week we can all realize our divine potential and who is our Father. I love you all so much! Don't forget to pray!

Love, Hna Finch

PS. Just cause I'm coming home within the month doesn't mean you can stop emailing me!


Ballet shoes with "N."'s daughter!



That's what real artists do:








Monday, November 9, 2015

The Last Package

November 9, 2015


Hey hey hey! Family! I love you guys! This was a great week! A loooot of down time......but a lot of soul searching...so good. Let's see, well first off Hna Cheret was sick all day Saturday and Sunday...
I've never had so much down time in my whole mission. I was so BORED! For the first time in my mission you know what I willingly did? Exercises. Not in exercise time. Yeah. I know. I was surprised too. But I had all this pent up energy and I was just going crazy. In the bulletin this week they announced that President is gonna be doing some random piso checks. Our piso is set. So clean and organized. I even cleaned up my package. It usually takes me like months to clean those up. 

In other news the things we did accomplish this week: We finally met the nonmember wife of a member here! He's been telling us we would meet her this whole transfer and I finally got sick of it and we headed out to his house with some cookies on a day he said we possibly could meet annnnnd his wife was sick..... BUT I think it made him feel so bad that we had traveled out to his pueblo that he finally gave a real date we could meet with her and not just a maybe. So we finally met her on Friday and she is just the cutest thing ever. So sweet and so believing. She's a doctor and is currently working on getting certified as a nurse health practitioner (I think that's the translation) and is three months pregnant so she's very busy, but oh so sweet. Her husband really wants to be sealed with her and I think she's just so tired of hearing it from him so it'll be good for her to hear it from someone else. 

This next week is gonna be great. We have a lot of potentials that just need a little shove to get them moving in the right direction. And we are so ready to shove them. It's time to get these people moving! We also have the most fabulous ward mission leader ever. Do I talk about him every time? His name is Josué Sánchez  and he is so incredible. I won't be surprised if he's a mission president or area 70 one day. He is such a power house and I'm so grateful we have the opportunity to work with him. He truly wants to magnify his calling and not only has the desires, but also the plans in place to make it happen.

 I love all of you. I love this work. I am constantly amazed every time I look back to how much I knew about the gospel and where I am now. I know that Thomas S. Monson is led and inspired of God. I know the brethren are inspired. I'm so grateful for the atonement of Christ, for every chance we're given to change and better ourselves. I love you all. Have a glorious week! (Yes. David Archuleta is now playing in my head.) 

Love, Hna Finch

Hna McKenna received her last package!  It was based on President Hinckley's talk "10 gifts to bring home from your mission".  Yay for dependable postal service between 2 countries!


1.  A knowledge of and love for God our Eternal Father and His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ - a temple name holder. 

2.  A knowledge and love for the scriptures, the word of God - her favorite scripture markers.

3.  An increased love for parents - Hersey's Hugs and Kisses.


4.  A love for the people among whom they labor - no picture but it was CTR rings in Spanish and come cute bookmarks saying I Am A Child Of God - again in Spanish

5.  An appreciation for hard work - deoderant - hehe!

 6.  The assurance that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is available to each of us when we live for it - Cox's Honey - the Spirit is sweet and stick to it!



7.  An understanding of the importance of team work - gloves for her and her companion. 

8.  The value of personal virtue - a necklace with her initial on it, a gemstone in her favorite color - blue, and a little silver pine cone for reminding her that great growth comes after the fire.  

9.  The faith to act - socks with the music to Faith in Every Footstep.


10.  The humility to pray - lifesavers - again no pic, but here is the final setup.  I also sent Reese's Pieces - her favorite, some homemade grape jelly, the memorials to the Apostles who have recently died which were in the Ensign, and a CD of the EFY music for 2015.

Then this picture came with no caption, she must have made breakfast!

 The root beer and Dr Pepper our bishop and his son in law left for us. Cuties!

Then - I think I have a problem....

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Best Sunday Ever!

November 2, 2015

This week was....great! You know when you come to the end of the week and you just kinda think to yourself "dang it..." But then you get to church and miracle of miracles, every miracle that God was saving up in store for you during the week suddenly pours out. Best Sunday ever! But before we get to Sunday, I've got to tell you more about the week! I was just kidding before, it really was a great week and we saw a ton of miracles like for example...

Remember the guy I told you about last week? The older Spaniard man whose wife had died in the train accident that Elder Ward was in
and when we offered to him that he could have her forever, he didn't want to even hope that he could, even though he totally understood, just how close he was. Annnnd he didn't give us his number. Well apparently the Lord has other plans in store for him. Tuesday, when Hna Marsh and I were together we ran into him! So we talked and he said that he had read Alma 40, but he didn't understand some of it. So I was like "That's OK! We can help you with that! What's your number?" He just laughed and said "Mo, no, you know I don't want commitment." Dang it.... But we saw him again! AND THEN guess what happened?! The next day when Hna Cheret and I were together again we saw him again! I walked straight up to him and I said "A. You know that this is meant to be! You're supposed to listen to our message." He laughed and agreed and gave us him number. 😄 Yup. Tell me miracles don't exist. His wife definitely has some desires for him to learn the gospel, I think.

We also started teaching the grandson of a member, his name is "C.", and he's nine years old and lemme tell you. I think he may just be the smartest nine year old I've ever met. He grasps some of these teachings ten times as fast as adults. So there's "C." and he's just great.


On Halloween we did a little service and then had a reaaaallllly good chat with one less active/inactive young man. Oh! And it was so good! We sat down and asked him about what plans he has for his life and if he was thinking about a mission (it was his birthday too and he was turning 19) and then he began to tell us some of his doubts. He started by saying that he's never been able to talk to anybody about his doubts before, but for some reason he started talking with us about them. And wow. I felt like he was expressing some of the same things I've felt before. And as we shared our testimonies with him we began to realize that this kid, who was saying that he basically
believed that the Catholic Church was more true than ours, didn't know anything about what we believe! We talked about the spirit world and the three kingdoms of glory and the priesthood and he too began to realize that he didn't know what we believe. And then we said "You know, you can't just say you don't believe in something you don't even know." And then invited him to church! And he said he'd come! And later when we had an FHE with his family I announced "Hey "R." said he's coming to church! Are you all coming too?" Do you know how many times they've said they'll come to church? A lot. Buuuut wait for it cause -SPOILER- they came!


Ok and then I'm skipping to Sunday, cause I don't want to wait to tell you about these miracles! So for the first time of my time here we didn't have any investigators at church so I wasn't too excited for church. But getting there we sat down and I began to talk we one of my favorite members who happens to be the mother of one of my favorite members in Alcorcón. Then the meeting started and the miracles started pouring in. One of the less active members we've been visiting walked in with her two sons in tow. Two minutes later, the mother and son of the family with whom we had had the FHE the night before came in. And then. As the members were bearing their testimonies one 13 year old boy stood up to bear his testimony (side note: we're visiting him and his mother and grandmother. They're also a little less active. And when we visited him this week honestly I didn't think he was even paying attention so we made sure to ask his lots of questions.) anywho. This 13 year old young man gets up and starts saying that he was going to leave the church next year, but he has felt the beginnings of a testimony and wants to continue learning and growing and even teared up at the end of his talk. The spirit was so strong and everybody was crying in the congregation, his young men's leaders, him mom and grandma, every woman, everyone. The member I was sitting next to told me afterwards that she had taught him in Sunday School and never ever thought she would hear anything like that leaving his mouth. I think she cried the most. Then another member got up (we've been teaching her husband, she's the one we went to the temple with for her endowments) and pointing at me and told me not to give up. That her husband had told her that he didn't want us to come over because he was afraid we were going to convert him. I definitely shed some tears. She got me. Last time we had visited them he had barely said two words to me, but later during this week he had called us and we had had a good conversation.

Oh I love this area. I love everything is happening. I'm so grateful for the miracles we experienced yesterday to remind me of that. Congratulations if you actually made it all the way through! OK I love you guys! Have a great week!


Love, Hna Finch


McKena's Mom here, I couldn't remember Hna McKenna saying anything about Elder Ward's train wreck so I googled it and here it is - complete with an interview from Elder Ward!  What a horrible accident.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-ZtCFqf7UI

Monday, October 26, 2015

Reunion of the "Dream Team"

October 26, 2015

So:) Guess who is sitting next to me right now? Hna Marsh. Yup. 😀 We thought we'd never serve together again when she went to the islands and then we knew it was too good to be true when we got to serve together again there, but hey guys! We're together again!!! Hahah yay for the millionth surprise reunion of the "dream team" (President Jackson's words not mine).

Honestly I've been thinking of how I was going to describe this week the whole week. This week was...interesting? Enlightening? Let's just say that by Saturday, I had learned a lot of things about myself and about helping others that I should have known and been doing a long time ago. This week we...

Had interviews with President. Jeez I love this man. And Hna Pack. They're just the greatest. I looooved President and Hna Jackson and the Packs just strengthen my knowledge that Presidents are called for the missionaries. I'm so grateful for every chance I get to receive President Pack's instruction. The first thing he talked about in the interview was elevating others. My district is very young, I guess everyone is pretty young in the mission when you get to where I'm at. But the ward has loved having hermanas, but in the process they kinda have pushed the elders to the side a few times. So we talked about the importance of elevating them and also my companion. She is wonderful and such a great missionary.  So it was a great interview and my comp and I had a great talk afterwards in the ways we can help and strengthen one another.

An incredible lesson. With "S.", a member, and her nonmember husband. We were under the impression that he's received the lessons before, so we went in with our guns blazing to make him feel the spirit and boy I know he did. "S." was crying at the end, I was crying, and Hna Cheret was crying. I know his heart Spanish heart was softened. It kills me to talk with "S.", her parents and siblings are all sealed to their families for the eternities and she knows exactly what she's missing out on and it kills her. I want to help this wonderful woman so badly. We'll see what happens. Please pray that "R.'s" heart will be soften. "S." and her children need this.

A lunch appointment with the bishop. First missionaries to enter his house in 9 years is what the ward mission leader told us. So two claps for us!

Last story. We were out contacting last night and we start to the old Spanish man. He had been involved with that really bad train crash that happened two year ago ( the one Elder Ward was in) and his wife had died in the accident. We got talking about it and we were pretty good buddies and then we we offered that hope that he could be with his wife again. He just shook his head and said no. Some people don't get it, I think. This man was different he understood exactly what we were offering him. And he refused so I started pleading with him. "Please 'A.', this is why I'm here!" He was fine chatting with us, but when offered the hope that he could be with his wife again, his
weary heart couldn't even take that opportunity. I love these people, but sometimes I just want to shake them! I know that we will be with our loved ones again. I know that there is life after death and that the sealing power is real. I love you all and hope you have a great week.

Love, Hna Finch
video