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!
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!
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!
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