Monday, September 28, 2015

A Donde Me Mandes Iré Señor, A Toledo De Las Islas Del Mar....

September 28, 2015

Family!!! I'M GOING TO TOLEDO!!! Yay! Talk about a dream mission...Alcalá, Alcorcón, Tenerife, y ahora TOLEDO. I know my Heavenly Fatherly loves me! But first before I go off about Toledo....

I'm leaving Los Cristianos and my wonderful ward and people here😢 Nothing like your last Sunday to make you miss your area even more. I love my people here. In this ward I have found: the most wonderful bishop ever (aside from Bishop Yardley of course😉) so service oriented and really wanting and helping missionary work succeed. I
truly learned what type of leader we should be from him. I found the woman most like my mom on the mission. Strong, faithful, and yep, tears up for most things too😉. Love you Mom! I've found the best "fellowship"er ever. One lady knew every less active member, their dog, and their birthdays and baptismal birthdays (this is not an
exaggeration). I've found the most giving woman ever, who always had a little gift for us almost every Sunday and spoiled us as if we were her daughters. I've found my Venezuelan abuelita. I've met the strongest examples of priesthood bearing men, each one having had to serve as branch president in one or another moment here in our little branch turned ward. And of course everything has its equal. With all the wonderful experiences and even better people I've had and met in this area, I also think I've experienced the most heartbreak in this area. Maria
didn't come to church today. She was the most invested investigator I have ever know. Of my investigators or any other missionary. Taking notes literally meant writing down whole verses. Learning family history meant researching and asking her anti-mormon brother for more details. Seeing her progress from just coming to English class to seeing her change to be the one correcting other members on the doctrine over 4 1/2 months was my miracle. I don't know what happened, but something changed. I thank Heavenly Father so much for our bishop
who invited her and us to his house to eat pizza Thursday since she wasn't responding to our calls. Yep that hurt. Pero bueno. The things we've taught her will stay. Maybe it won't be this year when she remembers how she felt, but she will. And when she does, she'll want it back, and more than having the missionaries being there
ecstatic to teach somebody so prepared. She'll have our wonderful bishop and his wife, our bishopric, the relief society president, and the members who will remember her. Who cared for her. For thank I will
be eternally grateful to this ward. 

Next up.....TOLEDO!!!! Ahhhhhhhh! Yay! Soo confession time. When I was in Alcorcón I went to Toledo. Twice. Haha. It is sooo beautiful! It is the old capital of Spain and I've actually got relatives there! Hey hey! Family history I am doing it... I mean yeah they were there in 589 ad but hey, relatives! Am I right? 😉 It was the only city I knew of besides Madrid when I entered the field and my biggest hope was to go there. Well, maybe I didn't start there but I should be finishing there. So this is what's up folks. Toledo actually didn't have sisters missionaries before so my new compie Hna Cheret and I are gonna go in and open up a new area. Yay.... I'm all about trying everything, but opening an area wasn't ever something I wanted to do....haha. I'm not very good with rejection ( and when you open an area you contact obscene amounts and contacting contains a lot of rejection. But I

relying and trusting heavily in Ether 12:27 - "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble...if they humble themselves...and have faith in me...then will I make weak this become strong unto them." So basically this scripture=life now. This is gonna be great! There's already a companionship of elders there and the elder that's
not getting transfer called to invite us to a FHE Monday night with them. Thank heavens for those elders. So I least we'll know what we're doing our first night in Toledo. 

Onto....companions! I can't believe I haven't even mentioned the most important person that I'm leaving behind in the islands! Hna Turina. She's gonna be a trainer! Yay!!! So honestly I can't say that either of us have shed too many tears yet. She's so excited to train and I'm so excited to open up Toledo for sisters that we've both been bouncing off the walls trying to prepare everything. But I really am gonna miss this sister. Unless I end up going to Tahiti this will probably be the last I see her, which is completely heartbreaking. I have learned so much from her. All the strength she learned with the passing of her father, her unfailing patience (even when mine would fail), ease of talking to people when she contacts, and her love the she shows everyday in every way. She's great and I miss her already. I don't know too much about my new compie Hna Cheret yet, seeing as I still haven't met her. But here's what I do know. She's from Idaho and she's got 4ish months on the mission....I think. I have talked to her a bit on the phone and she sounds great, I think we're gonna get alone splendidly.

Hna Turina made me coronas for my last day. Yay islands!

The most beautiful sunrise I've ever seen in my life from the plane today.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Photo Overload!

September 21, 2015

Family!!!!! You all are so great!!!! Thank you so much for your emails and support. I love reading them and seeing your pictures and listening to your lives. 

This week was significantly better than last week. Since our current progressing friend pool has sufficiently decreased we spent a lot of time this week trying to find news. We started off the week strong and Monday we were blessed to find two new promising friends. Here are just a few.

One, Herminsul - (Yeah, I still can't pronounce his name right either!) is Pentecostal. I don´t think I've taught too many Pentecostals in my mission, but man. Their view of religion and God is kinda harsh. I'm so glad to have the truth that while God is a God of justice, He is also a God of mercy and love. He loves us! He did not judge us before we came to this earth, but placed us in the exact situation where He knew we could succeed. 

Two, Jonay - (They all have weird names this week...just wait for the next one!;) ) Is a native islander and is 20 something. He's great. So willing to meet and has true desires to learn about God. And here's the best part. He called us to confirm our appointment. Yeah, I know. Miracles never cease.
Three, Evalyn - (Ok so this one isn't a weird name, but it is Grandma's name! As my companion would say "Heeeeeey!") She is adorable. Also 20 something. When we started talking to her, she looked at me and said "Oh! You helped me in the bus one day, didn't you?" Service, people, does wonders. She is adorable. Seriously so smart and charming and lovely. 

Four, Sasha - is from England....whooohooo! And is living here. And is also 20 something and was very accepting to meet with us and is anxiously awaiting her own Book of Mormon, because we weren't able to meet more this week, so we've got an appointment to see her tomorrow and give her the gift.

And a few others, I would go on and on, they really were so great and friendly.

We also had stake conference. I loooved it. Every single one of those talks were for me. Hna Pack talked about how we know why hard things happen. And at the end of her talk she gave such a great testimony in Spanish! For only being out for such a short amount of time she is rocking the Spanish. I adore her. And President Pack talked about the importance of the "one". The Lord knows us one by one and it's our opportunity to go out and find the "one" as missionaries, but as members as well (pray for opportunities to share the gospel, please. This work would move so much more rapidly if every member would be a full time finder so that the missionaries could be full time teachers). And the stake president (Pres. Denís) gave a very powerful sermon on the Sabbath. Very. Powerful. "You think going to the beach on Sunday is keeping the Sabbath holy? NO." It made me think about how I can better keep the Sabbath day holy when I get home. And Hna Castaño talked about complete fasts. A full fast. Fasting with an offering. And last but not least the 2nd counselor talked about the importance of....Sunday School! How it's important to attend every single one of our meetings and how the Sunday school program is specifically designed to help increase the knowledge of member concerning the gospel. I loved it. 

I love you all. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here. I received an email from my companion in the CCM, Hna Jones, today and honestly what she said was so good and mirrored so many of my own feelings that I just have to share it with you. She wrote:

"In the scriptures, it mentions that Jesus, after having borne the sins
and pains of he world, after having been brought before the rulers,
after having been hurt and spit on and scourged, had to carry His
cross to Calvary. Luke 23:26 says, "And as they led [Christ] away,
they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country,
and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus."
There is a lot of symbolism with this, but, focusing on Christ, one
Elder said, "Some say that Simon was asked to carry the cross because
Jesus was tired and couldn't bear any more. That is a lie. He is and
was a god, and He could have done any thing that was asked of Him. Why
did Simon bear His cross then? I ask you, who was helping whom?"
That made me think a lot about the crosses I carry, and why I do it.
Sometimes I think, why do I need to be suffering so much in this work,
when Christ could do it so easily and so much better than I could?
These precious people deserve to have the Gospel preached to them
through the mouth of the Son of God, not a young woman who still
struggles with their language. But this Elder made me consider
something: what is important is that the cross gets to Calvary. It
doesn't matter if Simon's slower, if Christ could have taken it
Himself. He allowed Simon to carry it because it helped Simon to grow
and become stronger. What greater blessing could we have than to carry
a bit of the burden for Jesus Christ on His painful path?

​I hope that we can all take the crosses we have been called to carry and learn from them. They are our opportunities to learn and grow. Maybe we don't do it perfectly, but we carry what we can and even if we stumble, He is always there to help us. I love this work. I love my Savior. I'm grateful (and sometimes not so grateful) to carry the crosses I've been given. To help share the gospel in this race against the opposition. To help my brothers and sisters. I love you all. Espero que tengan una semana maravillosa y exitosa.

Love, Hna Finch

Be prepared!  Photo overload!  All the pics I still haven't sent!

We found a Spanish fish hatchery. Had to stop and take pictures for Dad!  

Teide with the Mar of Nubes to the side.

El Mar de Nubes. ¡Qué maravilla!  The Sea of Clouds.  Wonderful!

The ward activity on the mountaintop.

Turns out Spaniards do pioneers también. ha! Who´da´thunk?

Rainbows over Miraverde

Heading out to Gran Canarias for Zone Conference a few weeks ago!  It was so beautiful in the harbor. I looove this.   

My favorite Italians! So sad to see them go on vacation to Italy!

Another pair of shoes gone.

 Monkey park!!!

My favorite animals to feed....aren´t monkeys!

The fattest lemur there.

We were great friends :)

Just givin´ food to everything!

The cutest monkeys there were the ones we couldn't feed. They were sooo teeny!

More feeding....hehe. And that little guy took my apple I gave him, threw it one the ground, then grabbed my finger and then growled! Yikes!

Go-ril-la (Imagine it like Tarazan) that's what I was saying the whole time I was feeding them....until I noticed the sign. "Chimpanzees". Whoops

Yeah, Finch proof. Everyone here thinks I´m "Fish" Noooooo. Finch! Like a bird! Gurrión!

Ya está!  (It is done!)

Found these 2 pics off Hna Marsh's blog!