Monday, April 27, 2015

Paciencia and the passing time

Pacencia: Patience, a virtue; possibly the most painful to develop.

Passing time: it either flies or drags, and there really is no in-between.

This was another week in piso with many little activities such as Spanish church videos, reading missionary library material, and "de-busheling" some talents. Did you know that Hermana Terrazas is actually a lemonade-making expert? I certainly didn't. I pulled out some of my "former art major" talents and drew a picture for her to color in and then we had a good 20 minute discussion about whether the couches were blue or black (they're black). Also, as it turns out, I have "Meet the Robinsons" and "The Incredibles" completely memorized.... as we found out when Hermana Terrazas challenged me to quote them.
I don't think there are missionary companionships that could be cooped up together this long and not even be close to killing each other. It's really just given us a steroid-dose of companionship unity which is never a bad thing.

We have a very supportive ward and they've volunteered to help us in the afternoons of the coming week (of course trying to coordinate travel and times with these people will be a daily, maybe hourly challenge, but we'll make it work). Although we still don't know much more about what WILL happen this next week, we're at least almost sure that they don't plan on sending Hermana Terrazas home (13 hour plane ride on a fractured tailbone? Not the greatest plan).

On Friday we were able to coordinate with members (someone to stay with Hermana Terrazas and someone to go out with me) so that I could go out with Mercedes to visit Allison. I was chatting with Mercedes and I just sort-of mentioned how long I'd been here, that I STARTED my mission in Valencia. I remember Mercedes dropping me and my trainer off somewhere, telling her life story, and I remember sitting in the back, zoning out, and wishing I could understand. Now here I am four months from that time, sitting in the front, holding a real conversation. Funny how time works.

Tomorrow is my 6 month mark in the mission. Which means that those of you who would like to write me tri-annually (if that's even a word), your time is now. ;)

In some ways it feels like forever, and in some ways I feel like I'm still just starting. But either way, there's no denying the fact that I'm not "NEW" anymore.
Popcorn is different here. Everything's different. I'm different. But I know it's in a good way.

Spiritual thought: Something I've been studying recently (obsessing over, really) is scriptural passages that mention "the one" or "but there was one." Specifically in Mosiah 11:20 And it came to pass that there was a man among them whose name was Abinadi; and he went forth among them, and began to prophesy, saying: Behold, thus saith the Lord, and thus hath he commanded me, saying, Go forth, and say unto this people, thus saith the Lord—Wo be unto this people, for I have seen their abominations, and their wickedness, and their whoredoms; and except they repent I will visit them in mine anger.  
16:2 And then shall the wicked be cast out, and they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth; and this because they would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord; therefore the Lord redeemeth them not., 
19:2 And now behold, the forces of the king were small, having been reduced, and there began to be a division among the remainder of the people,
19:16 And now there was one of the sons of the king among those that were taken captive, whose name was Limhi.
And it just goes to show the power of a faithful "one."
Maybe I can't change the world, lead an escape, or convert 300 people. But I know that I can be one faithful daughter, an obedient example, a loving hermana. And maybe that way I can improve something in this little corner of the world.
And I know that you can too.

So there's that.
I love you all, and hope you know that.
-Hermana Een

Summary: Piso purgatory perpetuates, pero con [but with] patience, perseverance is possible.
I'm almost at 6 months in my mission. I love you.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Piso Purgatory

Where do cats go when they die?

De donde van los gatos cuando mueren?
(Courtesy of  Punny Pete via Eliza)

Purgatory- (I'm actually not sure if that's how it's spelled) The in-between state of souls (not actually something we technically believe in. Questions? Ask a missionary to explain the Plan of Salvation... it's one of our favorite past-times)

Piso- The Spanish word for apartment. (Which you should know by now, if you are a frequent reader)

This week we've been in Piso Pergatory. Not really allowed to work because we're trying to help Hermana Terrazas heal, but also not entirely sure how long it's going to take and whether or not they're going to send her home. We were just... waiting for a phone call from the President and then from the mission Doctor. If you're wondering how it was like, it was worse than a college dorm full of girls waiting for the guy to call after a "perfect date." Even worse than Elder Calhoun, "Just waiting for that young man to call." It is literally "just the worst." (Thank-you Lego Gandalf)

So what do you do with a week in Piso?
We crafted:
-I embroidered her donut (butt pillow) with the baptism sign... and then with our names. And then added the date for good measure.

- I doodled. We now have a drawing of our companionship. So that´s exciting.

-We made scripture cases/decorated future agendas with pictures cut out of old "Liahona" magazines.
-I made, like, a million cards (ok... just 10.)

-We wrote back to family and friends

We watched:
-(technically listened to) The Sunday Afternoon Session of Conference. Apparently the world's ending soon, so watch out for that. ;)
-20 minute version of "The Restoration"... in 3 different languages.

- Basically every DVD we have in piso. (yay for "The Testaments! #BibleVideoBinge's like 4 hours all together.

We studied:
-We went through the entire Children's Song Book in Spanish.... which is much smaller than the English.
- We played Uno (definitely counts as Language study).
- We studied each other's lives by flipping open to journal pages and going through our camera memories.

I went on splits with the other Hermanas of our Piso for two of the nights, one in our area, one in theirs. So at least we got to visit our recent converts (still going strong... minus a slight "tithing" misunderstanding that's going to take some work).

Our Elders have been SO understanding (even though half of them are new). Hermana Terrazas has gotten blessings, they've offered comfort, Peanut Butter, and scripture-references.

Hermana Terrazas made it through Sacrament Meeting (standing up... like a champ) and we even managed to have a couple of investigators in church... one of them a new who came with a menos active [less active]. So miracles really DO happen.

And after almost a week of waiting we got word from Hermana Pace, that we'll be in piso for another week to watch it, help it heal. Translation: We still don't know.
(Downloading Mormon Messages as we speak)

It's funny (in a way that's not funny at all, so maybe strange is a better word).
I've helped "train" two companions.
One just wanted to go home, and ended up staying.
One who wants nothing more than to stay and be useful again....
we'll see.

This week's spiritual thought comes from the new Elder Pember-perfectscripture (I promise, I´ll learn his real name soon), who listed a bunch of comforting scriptures from memory like a Doctor prescribing meds... unfortunately I only remember this one:
Moroni 8:16    Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear.
(Which is actually kind-of funny, because it doesn't start out comforting AT ALL.)

I'm Hermana Een. She's Hermana Terrazas.
We'll get through this, finding joy in the little things.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Obsessions me Olvido

Obsession: Something that is constantly on your mind and in your thoughts. A focus. Generally thought to be unhealthy or to the extreme.

Olvidar: To forget.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that missionaries in general are obsessed with two things:
1. Baptisms.
2. Transfer calls.

I just... entirely forgot to mention those two things in my last email, even though they proved to be incredibly relevant this week.

But big news first so...
Guess who´s going to the TRANSFER MEETING for the fourth time in a row???!

No one, sheesh, I'm not THAT special. ;)
(sorry, couldn't resist.)

Hermana Terrazas and I are staying here in good old Valencia for another six weeks... which means I will be here for 6 months. Which is one third of my mission. Which is weird.
BUT this means that for the first time (in forever) I will be out of the 12 week training program (rejoice... just kidding, it's kind of sad.) So we took a graduation picture... included.
I just remember going through the week thinking "I just don't want anything to change" and it's amazing how sometimes you get your wish. ALL of the hermanas in Valencia are staying together and staying here. But every companionship of Elders in our District is changing, and our district is splitting because they're opening a new area in Castellón (a little city in the outskirts of Valencia). It always amazes me how much somethings change while others remain the same.

Baptism. Allison was baptized on Saturday. I guess I didn't mention it in the email last week because we weren't sure if it was going to happen or not, since we haven't been able to get in contact with her in a while (she lives in a pueblo 30 minutes away and only has her phone on weekends... and is 13). But she was prepared and excited when we visited her on Wednesday, we had her interview on Friday, and she was baptized on Saturday. Crazy right? There weren't a ton of members there because we had to do it at 3:30 because her mom works (and the fact that seis [six] and tres [three] sound SUPER similar in Spanish has been a REAL struggle this week). But her mom, grandfather (whom we've never really SEEN before) and Aunt came.
Baptismal programs are really stressful because people are late, don't show up, or cancel on you. But somehow everything works out anyway. Which is a huge miracle.
Allison and us! (And Elder Davis)
On Sunday we had the confirmation and we brought Antonio to church. He's 70 something, so when we told him that we'd be there at 3:15 to pick him up for Church, he thought we said 6:15 (the fact that seis [six]and tres [three] sound SUPER similar in Spanish has been a real struggle this week). Well he wasn't quite ready but came anyway... leaving his teeth at home because he didn't want to be late. That's some real dedication. The testimony meeting was somehow centered on Baptism and one of the Elders' investigators stood up and said how excited he was for HIS baptism. At this point Antonio leaned over and said, "No voy a bautisarme todavía." [I will not get baptized yet] ... I feel like there's a lot of hope in the word "yet."

On Monday (last time I wrote) we went to a really cool Spanish park modeled after Gulliver's travels. It's the shape of a man laying down which has something to do with the story and is a really cool construction idea and was super fun.... but Hermana Terrazas fell a couple (3) times and her tailbone has been hurting ever since (though she's stubborn and wouldn't call earlier). So we called in on Monday, went to a hospital (which is kind-of miraculous, to get a same-day appointment here in Spain), and found out that her tailbone has a small fracture.
So we're stuck in piso [apartment] for the next little while, while a couple of people figure out what to do.
We bought a donut so that she can sit more comfortably and let it heal. Not the donut that you eat, the one that adds cushion when you sit down...though technically in the long run, edible donuts do that too. :)
two types of donuts

It's weird to go from two baptisms in three weeks, new investigators, and hitting pautas [mission goals] twice to just.... sitting in piso [apartment] and waiting. But it'll help us learn patience, I guess.

It is not meet that you should run faster than you have strength, after all.

So pray for us, but don't worry too much. I've still got my sense of humor, we're working on patience, we bought ice cream and we wanted to watch "The District" again anyway.

Lots of Love,

Hermana Een

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Conference Moments from Halfway Around the World

Conference Moments—for the family

Conference is a little different here.  We don’t watch the last session (sad) and the ones that are live and in the morning in the states are live and at 6 PM here.  They showed the Women’s Conference at 4 on Saturday and so it was just us—8 Hermanas—in a room thousands of miles from home watching a session SUPER family focused.  Hna Terrazas said beforehand that she thought Conference would make her more home-sick than Holidays.  Well, I started tearing up in the opening song—remembering a year ago when I was sitting in the Conference Center—with Melissa and Mom.  So much has changed since than.  I don’t think there were any of us that didn’t cry at some (or many) point(s) in that session.  It was so good.

A couple of other people (some African investigaors) showed up too so it wasn’t just missionaries.
Bonnie L. Oscarson—I can be a homemaker, here on the mission (so the next day I decided to be the mother).

Saturday Morning Session

-Nothing is more awkward than sitting in a room full of missionaries and listening to a talk on marriage/charity (Boyd K. Packer)
-Loved L. Whitney Clayton’s talk on light.
-Announcing of full-time missionaries—Hey, I’m one of those!
-D. Todd Christopherson—Good talk on marriage . . . completely irrelevant at the moment (BUT CONGRATS !! TO LINDA KAY!  That’s one marriage I’m totally OK with missing because I just want it to happen!)
-Wilford W. Anderson’s Music of the Spirit talk was phenomenal . . . also left me with a strong desire to tell orchestra jokes.
-Dale G. Renlund—Hey, I read that book . . . Nice and fuerte.
-Last conference Elder Nordine was in the MTC choir.  Weird.
-Super-shiblom.  That was a great talk.
-Right-time-at-home.  I thought of your clocks . . .  I also thought that you’d be conference caroling soon and it was a nice feeling.
-New TEMPLES—all the missionaries look around.
-And next, Jeffery R. Holland (Yesss . . . , the missionaries rejoice.) SUCH a great talk, and wrap it up with Uchtdorf, you can’t go wrong!
-The people who “opposed” vocally :(
-Lots of new camera angles, right?
-When you missed a point, you could just ask the room in general, someone was bound to have it.
-I wish I had a Euro for every time they mentioned “The Family Proclamation”.

Postmarked European style as 07.04.15

Monday, April 6, 2015

Come Listen to a Prophet's Voice

Listen: Different from hearing, requires the attentiveness of the listener. To hear and understand, or take note.
Prophet: A man called of God to proclaim his word the world.
Voice: An instrument

When all else fails
As a missionary we LOVE making plans. We plan for half an hour every night, we have plans and back-up plans for every hour of the day. We spend a whole morning once a week planning for the next 10 days. We have goals and make plans. Plans plans plans. But some days, nothing goes according to plan. On Thursday we burned through plans A, B, C, and D and no one was there. We kept passing by addresses of old contacts or members and ended up at the house of two wonderful African members who have NEVER had the missionaries in their home before. We lifted them, they lifted us. Vanessa bore one of the strongest testimonies I've ever had the privilege of hearing, and I knew that we were where we needed to be in that moment (for me, for my companion, and for her). We had to go through a lot of failure to get there, but sometimes the Lord changes your schedule so you can be where He needs you. That's something I'm constantly learning on my mission.

We had our tri-monthly interviews with the Mission President. I love and respect that man so much. We talked about the "interesting" mission I've had so far and agreed that although there were some trying experiences, "we wouldn't have had it any other way. "All these things shall work together for thy good and give thee experience" (Or something like that.)

Easter- Pascua?
(For the longest time, I thought people were talking about the chameleon from Tangled... ;) )
It turns out I'm the mother of the apartment. I woke up 5 minutes early on Easter morning and hid Easter eggs for the others to find (some were chocolate, some were hard-boiled pre-dyed eggs that I'd bought). Then we had pancakes and home-made jam from (Elder Keen... who has time to make JAM on a mission?) and it felt like home.

General Conference
Listen to a Prophet's voice. We all went to the church on Saturday and Sunday and we watched General Conference (When leaders of the Church give talks and it's just.... super great). We watched it in English in the Primary room. Of course being literally on the other side of the globe (and not being able to see the last session :(  makes things different, but It was different in another way too. I watched Conference in room FULL of LDS missionaries (each of us taking notes and eating candy). I thought of PEOPLE as the talks were given. Their names are scribbled in my margins, and I just wanted them to hear what I heard and to feel what I felt. And then at the end, after being so spiritually filled, I thought, "Why can't everyone hear these words? Why can't EVERYONE feel this way?"
...some people are kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it.
So I know I need to talk to more people, and help them find what I've found. I'm not bad. I could be so much better.
For people to listen to the word of the lord, His servants have to SPEAK.

So I'll work on that, and other things.
There's always so much to learn and re-learn.

Love you guys!
-Hermana Een
Mama Mambo between conference sessions (they were at 2 and 6 here, right in the middle of mediodía so we HAD to eat.) 

The Hermanas were all together watching the Women's session... trying not to cry 

Cool Panorama of the Center of Valencia (Now that all the fences are finally down from the Fallas).

Also, pig legs are EVERYWHERE in Spain. Thought I´d send proof. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Found in my inbox Friday morning . . . .

I received this from Hermana Pace, the mission president's wife:

These sisters reached the "Standards of Excellence" TWO weeks in a row! Outstanding!!!