Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Leadership and Looking Up

Leadership- A quality highly favored in today's society, but difficult to define (I wish I had access to an English dictionary...)
Looking up- Fixing your sights skyward, more than just an "upward glance" (cue "I won't give up" from Jason Mraz and "I hope you dance" from... whoever sings that [Lee Ann Womack])

Well, here I am in Barce (which is apparently what the everyone calls the city, but still not a nick-name I'm used to yet), and I'm writing on a Tuesday again because of a leadership conference we call concilio and the fact that we got iPads.

I have a new companion, Hermana Wiseman. She's a little more than one transfer behind me, is from California, and LOVES talking to people. It's her strength, and something we've already seen MIRACLES from. We work together well, have got a pretty good handle on the language between the two of us, and we're ready to work. I love her.

Can I just say what a joy it is to be here? I thought it would be hard to leave Valencia and everything I know and "start over" for the first time in the mission. But it turns out it really isn't that hard. There are many things that never change, and I'm pleasantly surprised to find people I know and respect here in Barcelona. Elder Day from my MTC group is an office Elder here, Elder Smiley and Elder Buttars from Valencia are still in my zone, and Hermana Worthington (also from my MTC group) is one of the Sisters I'll be working with.

This week we've had some fun miracles, such as with Abraham and Lucas.

We were walking to a pass-by (though we didn't know exactly where the street was) and my companion said that she wanted to talk to this man on a bench but felt a little awkward because he had headphones, was our age, etc. I suggested that we could ask him where the street was and go from there. So we did. I've never had a conversation flow so easily into a gospel discussion. He brought up the church, and HE asked "what makes your church different from the rest" (which just so happens to be my favorite question to answer). So we sat down and taught the first lesson RIGHT THERE. It was incredible. We've met with him twice since then and now he has a fecha [baptismal date].

I know we're never "lost" when we FIND people.

We were walking to do some OTHER pass bys and I heard something from behind me. I didn't really pay any mind until the third call of "Hermanas!" So we stopped and talked with Lucas. Lucas had been in Barcelona for exactly 3 days (same amount as I had, as it happens) and he said he'd been looking for a church there, but found nothing he liked. When he saw two "hermanas" walking down the street in long, modest skirts he knew he had to stop and talk with them.  So he did.
Something fun about this week: Someone had an activity planned in the church and asked the missionaries to come and help out. I have now seen mature Flamenco dancing and let me tell you, it's a treat when you can watch groups of 6 year-olds, teenagers, and then octogenerians dance in traditional Spanish style.

So concilio. I can barely SPELL it, so it's safe to say that I didn't quite know what to expect. It was so good to see some Valencia Hermanas and other leaders and friends and to speak with President Pace again. I have such great respect for that man, and to hear him teach and brainstorm with him about how to improve the mission was a real treat.
Valencia Sister Training Leaders & my good friends

At one point President Pace pulled me aside and said that he was just so glad to have me "finally here" and that "It was always in the plans" to bring me down here and be Sister Training Leader, and they would have done it last transfer but thought that Hermana Terrazas still needed me in Valencia (that, and I wasn't ready to leave). And something about that really struck a chord with me. It was "always in the plans."

We don't always know the plans. But God, as the architect of our future, DOES. And they're magnificent. And they're revealed to us on an "as needed" basis.

I live in the shadow of the Sagrada Familia (those of you with Google- who aren't iPad missionaries,  stay obedient - look it up). It's an ancient, modern, and continuing wonder.  It's been under construction for decades (almost a century or maybe more) and they're still following the grand design and vision of the Master Architect.  I'm blessed to live a in a place where people are ALWAYS looking up.

We lead when we lift to a higher plane.

We need to look to and trust the "Man with the plans."

Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not"

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic and inspired week.

Hermana Een

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