Monday, January 26, 2015

Sister Training Leader

January 26, 2015:

Wow! So I definitely did not think I would miss Alcalá, I mean I´m still in the same country for crying out loud! Not. True. Homesickness for Alcalá hit me like a ton of brinks on Tuesday. Don´t get me wrong, Alcorcón is gonna be great, but Alcalá is still my home. I wonder if that will ever change. I mean I´m sure I´ll love Alcorcón, but my ward, my area, my memories there were for a 1/3 of my mission. It's a long time! But I´m getting more used to Alcorcón and there is so much work here for us to do!

This week we spent a ton of time just trying to organize things. Missionaries aren't the cleanest so even though Hna Marsh had already done a ton, we´ve been deep cleaning this week. Our piso, the numbers in our phone (Hna Fowers I learned that from you!), and the next thing up is our area book! Oh yeah Alcorcón is a branch. There was about a total of 40 people at church yesterday so yep, a lot of work to do! :)  We also got a list from the president of the branch of all the members in the ward and there are at least 130 names on that list! It is gold! We are talking part member families, menos activos, and more! GOLD! So we've got our next project. Hna Marsh and Hna C. are already teaching a bunch of part member families, we've just got to make them realize that we're not just passing by to share a scripture, we're there to baptize them. Woo! Even though I´m super sad to leave Alcalá it is great to be in a new area and have so much to do. It´s like a breath of fresh air. A new area, a new companion, a new piso, a new me. Every transfer we have the chance to grow and to change everything....whew! Biggest opportunity ever!

Speaking of opportunities... I got a call Thursday and it´s President Jackson and he´s like "Well, I´d just like to officially ask you to be a Sister Training Leader, but I assume you already know." Uhhhh....what? Me: "Nope, uh actually I didn't know, but I mean, sure, what do I have to do exactly?" Yep, so apparently I get to go on a bunch of intercambios and show people this new area of Alcorcón that I don´t know....This is gonna be great! Hahaha! And we have the tour of the mission this month so I don´t even get to go to the mission home for leadership training. Apparently we're going to be meeting with an area 70 (Elder Dyches or something) in Pavones so we will speak with him as the "leaders of the mission". All I´m saying is I better get Hna Jackson´s food ;)  BRING ON THE DESSERT! Wooo! 

CPdE: Sooo we have an investigator......He took the Divinci Code too seriously and now well....this was our conversation basically:
Us: "The Church of Jesus Christ is restored!"
Him: "And in the painting of the last super the virgin María is sitting by Jesus and this is the lost religion!" *virgin María? 
Us: "Yep well.....We would like to testify that..."
Him: "And you can tell it is her cause it forms a V!" 
Well everybody has their own time and one day he´s gonna realize what he lacking, but for now. I don´t really think he´s ready to listen, if you know what I mean. 

Annnnd I love you all and I hope that everything is going great!

5 Questions:

1.  How are you liking your new area?
      I didn´t think leaving Alcalá would be that big of deal...wrong! I started tearing up in a lesson, one day I missed Alcalá so much. I like Alcorcón, don´t get me wrong, but it´s no Alcalá. It´s different and instead of a ward we have a branch, but there´s a lot of work to do and we've been working really hard this week to get everything organized and cleaned (especially our apartment!)

2.  Do you live with just your companion or are you with another set - like in Alcala?
     There is only one sister companionship in Alcalá so it´s just Hna Marsh and I in our almost clean piso!

3.  What is your apartment like?
     Dirty. Missionaries suck at cleaning. Seriously. That´s what we've done for all our medio dias this week when we didn't have comidas and that´s what we´re doing today, but.....we´re almost done!

4.  Where do you email from?
     We email from locotorios. You should google them. I´ll take a picture of them. Basically just a shack that has computers...super glamorous I know ;)

5.  What is your favorite part or chapter from Preach My Gospel?
     My favorite part of Preach My Gospel....hmmmm Chapter 3 Lesson 1 the point about the Apostasy. There´s a red box that says key points or remember this or something. Basically it talks about the apostasy. Whew! Maybe it´s just because that's what I was studying this morning, but really! You can´t have a testimony about the restoration of the gospel unless you have a testimony about the apostasy. Study it. It´s incredible how fully the gospel was lost from the earth, just to have a complete and utter restoration of it begin in 1820.  This is so cool!

A new companion and McKenna is forwarding her emails to me!  Yeah for awesome companions!  We love to hear about her mission from a different perspective!  Here are some excerpts:

Hola Mi Familia :)

First off, I absolutely adore my companion.  It has only been 1 week and I already feel like we are best friends.  We laugh all day long, but also feel the spirit constantly. That is the greatest thing as a missionary! We are both pretty new on the mission, so we still have that fire and desire to give it our all and it is the greatest. We are working really hard and I am excited to see the miracles this transfer.  She´s great! I am a loser and didn't take pictures this week of us together, but there will be some next week!

As for our investigators, we made some progress this week! I want to start off with "C".  He received the Holy Ghost and is officially a member of the church! There is no greater feeling you guys.  I love that 13 year old boy so much! He is going to be a great example for his brother.  We were teaching them this week and "R" and without us asking, he said that he wanted to be baptized this summer.  In a perfect world it would be sooner seeing as it is January, but we can work with that! I was worried that he was closed to the idea and he isn't! So that made me happy :) They are great.  I really love those two boys so much they make being a missionary fun.

We met with "P" this week for the first time and he is just great.  At the first of the lesson he kept talking about his desire to know more about the church and hey, that´s our job :) He was attentive during the whole lesson and gave the greatest prayer at the end. I wish I could've recorded it! He is so prepared I am excited to continue to teach him.  He wasn't able to come to church yesterday so that was a little sad, but we have an appointment this week to see him again.  

We had interviews with the Jacksons this week and I can´t say enough good things about them.  I feel so blessed to have them as mission presidents! 

Hermana Marsh

Monday, January 19, 2015

Byebye Alcalá, Helllloooo Alcórcon!

January 19, 2014

Wellllll I left Alcalá...mixed emotions....definitely mixed emotions. I love Alcalá and it will always have a special place in my heart, but a new area with new opportunities will be fun! So first things first: Shout out to Alcalá the best area ever to start out a mission in.  After spending 1/3 of my mission there I think it´s safe to say it has a special place in my heart. All the ward members are incredible. I felt like a part of a family there. I´m so happy that yesterday was not goodbye with them, but that I´ll be coming back during the mission and after! 

We had an incredible week. Since I had 6 months in Alcalá I knew a fair amount of people and I wanted to give all of my old investigators one last chance to learn and accept the gospel, people we had dropped for one reason or another, people who needed time. So I called up everyone and wow! Our challenge of the week was that we didn't have enough time to meet with them all! What a great last week it was in Alcalá! Oh so great!

Also last night we had a bomb FHE for the last time (well with me there)! We covered 3 onions and 1 apple in chocolate and then had four of the young men race to eat them. One of the BYU students took a big bite, chewed then spit it out. "That´s oninon!!!!!" Bahhahahahahahahaha!!!!!! Frecia I totally stole this idea from your oratory. Anyway we tied it in with how sometimes things look more appetizing then they actually are, but if we´re actually eating an apple (like Javier was) we´re going to enjoy it. hahahha best part of the week was seeing their faces!

Milagro (miracle): This week we had a lesson with Raquel. We actually dropped her a few weeks ago cause she is ridiculous amounts of Catholic. The Plan of Salvation really hit her, but she ended up saying the Catholics believe almost the same thing and justifying it all. Anyway we dropped her, but our last chance lesson with her this! Umm talk about inspired questions. She ended up saying that the Catholic church has changed over time to fit the needs of man....Um Hello? Do you believe God is the same yesterday, today, and forever? Yes! So why would the church Jesus Christ established need to change to fit the needs of man? Shouldn't we change to fit ourselves with God? Anyway I hope that Hna Chav. and her new companion will be able to get through to her!

CPdE: Saddest story ever: So, we were walking to an appointment one morning and decided to speak with a girl walking with two big bags. We started talking to her and this is her story: She´s a 19 year old gypsy, 9 months pregnant, and had cuts on one side of her face. Her husband has been beating her. She finally had enough so she ran away. Her mother is dead. He father is a drunk or in prision or something. She´s running to her grandmother´s......shack. When she was crying to us she said that it doesn't have light or water and I didn't understand the word she was using until after we left and Hna Chavarria explained it. Her grandmother, also gypsy, lives in what we would call a squatters hut. It´s made of branches, cardboard, and tarps. This is the world to which she will be bringing in her new son. How grateful I am for my parents. For the Church. For my country. For my life. Wow.

Ok now, tribute to Hna Chavarria. She was the best. So awesome. I honestly think I found a twin. Apart from our looks and the countries we were born in and the languages we speak (I know they´re kinda big differences, but roll with me) we are the exact same person. Our personalities, the way we handle situations, the way we work, everything! Hahaha it was a blast to be with her!

And now my new companion: Hna Marsh! She is from Murray, Utah (yep back to Utahns, haha) She was a cheerleader too! She almost has 3 months in the field (I´m the old one now...weird!) and she is the sweetest person I have ever met in my life. She´s also the granddaughter of Elder Russell M. Nelson (Yep I´m name dropping, but my comp´s gramp is pretty legit).

Also my new area is Alcórcon annnd I know nothing about it soooo when I find out more I´ll let you know! 
My new address is:
Avenida de los Carabancheles 16 4D 
28921 Alcórcon, Madrid, 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEIGHTON!!!!!!!!!!! I looooove you! You are the most wonderful special 5 year old in the whole wide world! I think you are the funniest, cutest person ever!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!
Side note from Rachel:  Alcorcón is a city in the south-west of Madrid, Population: 170,000.  Wikipedia states "The site appears to have been inhabited since prehistoric times. The name is of Arabic origin, but little is known of Alcorcón before the Reconquista. An early written reference to Alcorcón is in a medieval document that dates from 28 July 1208. Alcorcón has a small historic centre (including the church of Santa María la Blanca), which is protected as an "archaeological zone".[2] The centre is surrounded by modern developments, as Alcorcón has been growing rapidly in recent times due to migration from other parts of Spain and Latin America."

Emails and Facebook

January 12, 2015:

We spent a very nice day today with these lovely ladies. McKenna is doing so well with her work and with her language.  I'm amazed and impressed. She is so special to us.

Best wishes to you and your family. Love,  Elizabeth

January 12, 2015:

January 18, 2015:

Monday, January 12, 2015

"I.'s" Baptism!!!

January 12, 2015

What a great week!!!!!!!!

Seeing as Hna Chavarria is a Sister Training leader I get to go on intercambios all the time which I looove! It's so fun to visit with new sisters! This week I was with Hna Santiago from Texas and we set like nine fechas! Just kidding... like 2 but one was in my area and the other was in hers.  We spent the day working both areas because our companions went to the mission home for the training meeting.  Basically we rock! ;) Hna Ross from Pennsylvania was in Alcala a few days later so our home was filled with Americans! It was kinda fun to just have a house full of girls hollering in English for a day:) 

This week I learned a very important lesson about service. Not gonna lie. Sometimes it's rough being around a person for 24/7. I have definitely learned a lot about humility and letting other people win. Anyways this week after a few tense days I learned the importance of service. After you think you've let go of all your pride, let go of the last scrap you've been holding onto and just serve them. I also learned the importance of cooking and eating together. I'm not gonna go into all the details, but suffice it to say: I will always cook and eat with my family. I have noticed the difference it has made in every single one of my companionships when you are working together to accomplish a small goal. The mission is a big goal and we work together for the baptisms, for the work and everything. But to have a goal as small as the food finished and eaten together...I'm voting this for the number one companionship changer.

"I." GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!! I can't believe how incredible it has been to have been there with her from the very start and see it change from our excitement for her baptism to her excitement and then to hear her share her testimony after her baptism  Before her baptism, we walked around the chapel explaining things to her mother and aunt.  How incredible. What a miracle. I am so grateful for this work. For this gospel. For this change. I can't even begin to express how grateful I am for my family and their support. We wear the last names on our name tags because we are not just representing us. We represent our families. Our family and Jesus Christ. 

CPdE: So when Hna Santiago and I were waiting for the train to go to Alcala, a man staggered up to us.  We were on this almost empty platform. The only other people were a mother and her son.  This man asks us for a cigarette. As he comes closer, we saw crosses literally engraved in his pockmarked face. We we told him we didn't have any cigarettes and he just stared at us until he saw my fork that I was using to eat my crepe with and asked for it. Oh...if it would only take my fork to get him away....I gave the fork right to him and he staggered off to the other people who had recently got onto the platform. I don't think anybody is too far for the gospel to reach them. But...oh looking into his eyes....some people are just much much farther away than others. 

5 Questions:

1.  What are some local sayings and interesting things people say in your area?
     That's wierder than a green dog. And calling everybody Tio.

2.  What is the scariest thing that has happened so far where you have felt protected as a missionary?
     Ummm when I was with Hna Coburn and the drunks chased us through the park and a mother let us blend in with her children.

3.  What do most people do in your area for work?
     Ummmm There's a lot of students who bum off their parents.

4.  What sort of things do the vendors sell in your area?  What is the most common? 
     Vendors sell....a lot of hats a scarfs right now. Also roasted chestnuts and corn.

5.  Are you doing well budgeting your money?
     I am so freaking awesome at budgeting! Despite that leak in my wallet that occurs whenever there is chocolate. I'm doing great! I've definitely learned how every penny counts!

Christmas Devotional:

Christmas Eve:

Christmas Morning:

Doing the last day of your advent calendar! It was lovely! Thank you!

My present from the white elephant exchange! Hahaha!

The night before the Reyes came there was a parade and we couldn't cross the street!  One parade of many!

Los Reyes Magos! 
Side note:  I looked online to find this about  Los Reyes Magos.    "The best-loved tradition among kids is Los Tres Reyes Magos (the Three Wise Men). Santa Claus is quite well-known as he delivers toys and presents, but the real stars in Spain are los Reyes. These Three Kings are the ones who followed a star to meet the new King of Kings (Baby Jesus) and offered him three presents: gold, frankincense and myrrh to the newborn child in Belén (Bethelem).
When December comes, all the boys and girls in Spain and Latin America start to write their letters to the Three Kings or to their favorite King: Melchor, Gaspar or Baltasar. They write about the things they'd like to receive on the morning of the 6th of January, (which is the day the presents get delivered) and also about their behavior during the year. If they've been good, they get presents; if they've been bad, they get a piece of coal.
Their Majesties travel by camel and due to the fact that they come from the East, they take a long time to arrive to Spain. Once here, they visit all the cities and villages, and listen to the kids' requests, after a spectacular parade. On the night of the 5th, the kids put their shoes by the door before going to bed so that the Kings will know how many children live there. They also put out something to eat and drink for Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltasar, and also water and grass for the camels (true, they can last a month or more without drinking water, but that night they have a lot of work to do, so they need extra water and food).
On the morning of the 6th, children find their presents inside and outside the shoes (it's very unusual for their Majesties to bring carbones (coal) because no child really behaves so badly, and many people say it's not true that naughty girls and boys get only coal and no toys). The food and drink placed in the plates and glasses are gone. The children start playing with their toys, and excitedly wait for the next 5th of January to come around."

Diablo Burger Challenge. One of my proudest accomplishments.  
Bun: rolled in cayene pepper
Meat: normal
Layer of spicy whole peppers
Sauce: smashed up pepper with all the flavorings of the devil himself
Fries: with a layer of cayene pepper
The waver you sign before you eat: No sueing. No going to the bathroom. No one else eats your food. Do it!  


 Baptism of "I."!

Your darling (still unmarried...unlike the rest of the freakin world) daughter!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy 2015!

January 5, 2015

Happpppy 2015!!!!!!!!! Wooooo! Celebrating the New Year was so much fun this year! Like the most fun I have ever had celebrating a new year. In Spain they have a tradition of gathering around a big clock in Madrid and every time the clock strikes they eat a grape so you have to scarf down 12 grapes as fast as you can. Seeing how Hna Chavarria has grown up most of her life here we had to celebrate the new year with grapes. So we recorded on our phone ourselves going "dun. dun. dun." Then at 10:30 we scarfed down our own grapes and also combined it with the traditions of the States and banged our pots and pans and ate cheese. 

So this week was a week of miracles. Well every week on the mission is a week of miracles, but for me a couple special ones happened this week. 

1. Wednesday during medio dia I picked up the phone and called one of my favorite sisters in the mission. We started talking and I found out that she had just gotten out of a district meeting and she´s just having a few difficulties with her companion´s reluctance to work and was feeling pretty down when I called. Her companion doesn't speak any English and she was just needing to speak to an American girl. (Haha just realized that - American girl...Mom, I hope you get this;) ) I don´t really know why I called her, but during that district meeting she said she had been praying for someone to talk to. So miracle one!

2. I. She is the miracle that just keeps giving and giving. After the classes of English the Elders were talking about Mormons and she shot over to them "Well I´m gonna be one pretty soon too" Um YES! Also we had a lesson on baptism and confirmation with her parents yesterday and they gave her written consent for her baptism!!!!!!! YYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I am so excited! This is happening!

3. Saturday we had two lessons on temple and family history work with our investigators. I don't know. Personally I think that temple and family history work is the lesson where I can feel the Spirit the strongest. I know  that  when we promise our investigators that their ancestors are right there with them, cheering them on every time they come to church, or read, or pray, is not an empty promise. Because that means that their ancestors are one step closer to having their own works performed. I know that they are there with us, helping us touch the hearts of their children´s children. Oh it is incredible. I would invite all of you to seriously start on your own genealogy today! If you think yours is finished start indexing! It really is the other half of missionary work.

CPdE: Sooo the crazy person of Spain this week is dedicated to all those lovely crazies on the streets talking to themselves. That´s right old men. We see you. We see you have your intense conversations to who knows who and waving your arms frantically all over the place. This week we seemed to see a few too many of you all everywhere sooo enjoy your dedication!

I love you all! And hope that you have a wonderful year! And just cause I can: I will be seeing you this year! Ah! Weird! Love you!!!!!!!

5 Questions:

1.  Aside from Skyping with your family and your Christmas morning with your companions - what was your favorite part of Christmas?
     Ummmmmm that´s really hard. That honestly was the best part of Christmas and the only part I can really remember. Ummm afterwards we tried to go caroling with our ward, but just ended up watching a movie and playing chubby bunny soo that was pretty fun!

2.  Do you do a lot of service in your area?  What have you done?
     We definitely don´t do as much service as I would like, but once President said that we are doing the greatest service there is right now-bringing the gospel to people! But in terms of material service we've brought blankets to an unwed mothers center, cleaned the basement of an apartment building, carried groceries, and that kinda stuff:)

3.  What is music like in church?  Does everyone sing?  How does it sound?  Have you had to help with music?
     The music in church sound awesome. Everybody sings super loud - I love it! I haven´t had to help with the music in this ward cause I have no skills playing the piano:( But I´m working on that! My piano playing has definitely improved on my mission! And our ward is well established so you've got the good old Mormons who have raised their children in the church to be musically inclined and directs and play and sing and everything. 

4.  Do you go to the same ward every week or do you visit several?
     We go to the same ward every week. There´s only one in our area so we attend it with out investigators every week:)

5.  What is the food you miss most from home?
     The food I miss the most from home is orange julius right now and anything that is not dripped with oil and food that actually does have seasonings. Also brown sugar. :)