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.
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!