Friday, November 14, 2014

Megan Training her Last Transfer

Excerpt from Megan's letter October 28th:

"It looks like I will be training this last transfer! At the end of my time in Barcelona, I prayed that the Lord would help me to go out strong, that he would give me a challenge, and that I could work hard and enjoy the work. I feel like that is exactly what I have gotten. We had to start over a little as our area boundaries changed drastically, but for the past two weeks I feel like we have gotten our feet under us. With the new missionary I will be getting I feel like I am going to get to experience the mission from a fresh pair of eyes. It will be fun as we learn how to get around the area together, I have a feeling she will be fun and a hard worker. My biggest prayer for this next transfer is that this new missionary will get to really work and see success. I cannot help but feel there are people who need to be baptized in this next transfer. I feel really good about Ari and Ricardo. Ever since I have gotten here I have felt a connection to this family. Their mother, Raquel, came back to church about 6 months ago. Her family is not members, but when I got here we started teaching her two kids."

Megan's letter November 4th:

Dear Family,
I am the luckiest trainer in the whole world. Before I tell you why I, am going to tell you the story of how I met Hermana Burkett. The training meeting ended and I hear all the new trainees coming into the Paces Piso. I am in a bedroom putting my bags away and Hemana Pace is in the doorway greeting everyone so I can't really see whats going on. I decide to head over to the bathroom before the meeting starts, when I come out there is only one hermana standing in the hallway by herself. I run on over and give her a hug. She introduces herself as Hermana Burkett. We chat for a second, get some food and end up sitting together again. We chatted quite a bit and of course I was just wishing she would be my companion but didn't want to get my hopes up. I enjoyed being with her so much because she seemed more mature, but fun. When President Pace matches up the companionships he likes to have fun with it. He calls up the new sister and introduces her a little and then talks about the area she will be going without saying the name of it. When President Pace started to describe my area, I couldn't hold it in, I waited for him to begin to say Zaragoza to make sure it was the right area and before he could say my name I was already shouting Zaragoza and hugging her! I was so happy!

She is a musician so I can finally speak music with someone. She is an "older" hermana, which is nice because there is no homesickness and a higher level of maturity. She is confident, she has no problem teaching, her Spanish is great, and she is a very happy person. It seems like by the life she has led she has learned to choose to be a happy person. I am just loving being with her.

I went to Barcelona for a leadership meeting, every time I go I feel like I am taking a step back in time because I always have to walk though my area to get to the office.

It has been a great week!

Hermana Bennett

This is my wonderful companion, Hermana Burkett. She is just ans happy and sweet as she looks. I bet if you didn't know me you would think she is training me...well guess what, she is! (kim thas quote if for you, if you can guess which version on the district that was from Ill give you a high five)
Beautiful fountain by the Zaragoza Visitor's Center

Excerpts from Megan's letter Nov 10th:

"As for an exciting moment this week- Yesterday we were waiting for some members to come and Hermana Burkett talked me into singing hymns on the street with her. She has a beautiful falsetto, so I just hung back on the Alto part. Some people joked, some people stopped for a moment and listened. In the end there was a woman who stopped with her mom and son and we ended up talking to them, we gave them our info and they said they would stop by on Sunday. It was nice to try contacting Hermana Burketts way and have success, it was a special moment.

"Last cute comment: There is a 12 year old named Ayla, her family is incredible. She is like a mini adult, so cute. Sunday she comes up to me alone and says. "Hermana, I have a favor to ask of you. Do you have a time this week when you can come to my house because I have a list of less active kids in my sunday school class and I want to give them some notes so I need their addresses. We ended up having time that night and she has a stack of these adorable cards of encouragement. We gave her the addresses and she asked us if we knew anyone who could use a card so we wrote a few with her...I want to be like her when I grow up. It was a very sweet, humbling experience."

"Our miracle this week was an incredible cita we had with two investigators we are preparing to be baptized. On Saturday they came to a baptism and afterwards we talked with them about what they had just seen. The room got pretty full, President and Resu were the members we had asked to come and help us talk with them, but then two young adult recent converts ended up coming as well. We felt impressed to read from Alma 32, which turned out being exactly what Ari needed, and Resu, whom Ari connects with quite a bit, was able to explain with this scripture her "Desire to desire" before she was baptized and how she let that desire feed her faith instead of turn into fear. Then all the members, including Aris' mom (which I thought was really key), bore powerful testimonies. Ricardo who sometimes does not pay attention, was attentive and asking questions . Everyone started sharing their testimonies and it turned into a really powerful spirit filled experience. I even saw Ricardo smiling as we explained the Holy Ghost and how he could have the peace he felt at that moment more consistently after being baptized. He accepted a baptismal date. Him and Ari have fechas for the 29th of November."

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Smore's Activity a Hit and "Fiesta de Pilar-Ofrenda de Flores"

Excerpt from Megan's letter October 13th:

"We are finally getting into a normal work mode and getting comfortable with our new area. We are praying for people to teach and also to help our main investigators progress."

"It is very common in Spain to have a ward activity every week. And our ward activities were great....until I got here, ha, ha. The past 3 activities we went from 8 to 3 to 2 people there....that's awful! So instead of throwing in the towel, our district put our heads together and with Hermana Boyer (my companion) leading the way we planned a smore's activity. They don't roast marshmallows here is Spain, so we thought it would be new for them and a fun activity...and it was! We had our branch president  (who was pleasantly surprised at the success of the activity this week) send out a "What's up." He was so excited that every time someone would confirm they were coming he txted us. About 30 people showed up to our activity!!! (keep in mind we have about 90 people at church usually) They loved it! Hermana Boyer and I just sat back like proud parents and watched everyone just enjoy being together, that is exactly what this branch needs, unity!"

This is the huge"Fiesta de Pilar-Ofrenda de Flores" (Holiday of the virgin Pilar -the flower offering). So this is a huge holiday in Zaragota. For every saint there is a holiday and if you are named after that saint its like your second birthday. So up at the very top of the picture you can see a little chunk of metal above the thing that looks like a red cross...that is the virgin. Its one of the most famous saints but also one of the smallest. This is a side shot of all the flowers. People all dress up like their ancestors and put their flowers below the saint Pilar. They made it sound like it is a huge metal structure made with little holes to put your flowers in. I thought it was interesting that you can only put your flowers in if you are dressed up.

Behind me is "El Pilar" the cathedral made in honor of this saint.

This is one of the long time members in our branch. Her name is Olga. She is dressed up for the festival and she stopped us on the street, we were glad to get a picture with her.  She is so sweet and her daughter Natalia helps a lot with the missionary work.

This is Hermana Graham and Hermana Munns- our roommates :) with me and Hermana Boyer, my companion


Excerpt from Megan's letter Sept 22nd:

"This has been one of the most incredible weeks of my mission. I think Hermana Floisand did a great job of mentally preparing me to come here. Our first two days we literally talked with everyone we could. Almost all our citas fired, but we just kept going. Hermana Boyer felt so bad that our citas were firing and it was extra hard for her this week because we had to change the boundaries now that the zone leaders have been relocated to our branch. The areas changed in such a was that the whole working part of our area we gave to the Elders, it just made more sense geographically speaking and after praying about the reset boundaries we felt good about it. So we are practically white washing (starting over completely), The first two days we came home very tired, but for some reason we both just felt peaceful, the next day we contacted the first people we saw coming out of our piso and...success! We should be teaching them tonight and we are so excited!

"I got to speak on Sunday, apparently they do that like initiation here for all the new missionaries that come into the ward. "

Excerpt from Megan's letter Sept 30th:

"Fun Fact: Zaragoza is the funnest city to say because people literally pronounce it like ( say it, its fun.

"So, thoughts about my new area: It is VERY different from Barcelona. There are not as many people on the streets, but when there are people they are Spaniards and that makes contacting a lot different. I enjoy it though it is more of a challenge, I can no longer use my Catalan jokes now that I am not in Catalunya.

"Hermana Boyer:
Incredible. She patiently sat by me and coaxed me thru my last essay for my college application. She provided a nice shoulder to cry on when the computer shut off and I had not saved the beautiful essay I had spent an hour and a half working on. She was my cheer leader as I started back up again. She helped proof read and was just great!

"Sister Training Leader Responsibilities:
We had our leadership meeting yesterday which means I went back to Barcelona. It was interesting going back, it was like it was mine but not. There is just a special energy in Barcelona. This was probably the best leadership meeting I have ever been to. We talked a lot about being fearless, knowing who we are as disciples of Christ and love. I feel like everything said was just what I needed. "

Megan Being Transferred to Zaragoza

Dear Family,

Excerpt from Megan's letter Sept 16th:

"I think I learned something very special in Barcelona, that if we don't love we are not doing the work. I have come to love a lot of people here in a very special way. One sister here has been a huge asset to the missionary work. I feel like she was like a mom/grandma to me in this area. When we said goodbye the other night she held my face, looked me right in the eyes and said, "love your parents... love your parents. Marry someone your level." She hugged me tight and we ran off to our apartment. I sure love her. She is just so sincere and loves unconditionally, to the point where you just feel it when she walks in the room. What a blessing and example she has been to me!

"German also made saying good-bye hard. On Sunday he volunteered to give the closing prayer. I had kept quiet about me leaving and had only told him I was going, but in his prayer he announced I would be leaving, which made my laugh, but then he said something very sweet like, "Heavenly father, please bless my angel Hermana Bennett, for because of her I am here." Tear jerker.

"I feel peace. I don't feel anxiety or sadness, or even overly excited, I just feel peace, what a blessing! I will be going to Zaragoza ("Sarah-go-sa"), I am so excited because I will be working with Hermana Boyer. I had the opportunity to work with her for a full day in my area 2 transfers ago, the day was full of miracles and we both felt we would be companions in the future, I am very excited. Everyone makes Zaragoza sound like my first area, Sabadell...not quite city, not quite town. I do feel like I belong there, I just feel good!"

Friday, October 24, 2014

German's Baptism

Hermana Floisand, Hermana Bennett and German at his baptism
 Megan's Letter to President Pace August 25th:

"Germans baptism was beautiful. This whole experience with him has seemed almost too good to be true. I remember that Monday evening, everything had fired on us, and we were just struggling to keep our chins up. I remember saying a fervent prayer, I felt the need for some guidance. I will admit I even felt a little alone, and I was concerned about the progress of the work in our area. About a minute later, you and Hermana Pace called, congratulating us on the poutas and reminding us how great you thought we were. Hermana Floisand and I both recognized that as an answer to our prayers. When we hung up, we hit the road with a good second wind... and that's when we found him. He was walking his dog, we chatted with him and found that he was interested in our message because he was a little depressed and he felt like he needed something more. After our second visit, Hermana Floisand looked at me and said, "I think he is going to be baptized." His interest was sincere. Our third visit was in his home. We asked him if he had begun reading the Book of Mormon. He told us he had only read a little and then showed us that he was in First Nefi chapter 3! He has read the introduction, the testimony of the 3 and 8 witnesses, as well as Joseph Smith's account of retrieving the plates. He continued to share with us a scripture that stood out to him. He proceeded to read aloud First Nefi 3:7 "Iré y haré lo que el Señor ha mandado, porque sé que él nunca da mandamientos a los hijos de los hombres sin prepararles la vía para que cumplan lo que les ha mandado." It was a touching moment. As we continued teaching him we realized that the Lord was teaching us how to help people prepare for baptism thru him. He would say things like, "Do you have any scriptures about baptism that I could read", or "what are the requesites for baptism?" We had a member at every lesson, and the 2 main members we used were both praying for opportunities to serve before we called them, that was inspiring. It makes me wonder how many more members there are like that, just waiting for the opportunity to serve. German's baptism was programmed for the same weekend as the ward temple trip, so nobody would be able to come. We also realized we had not presented him to the bishop yet. German was so excited for baptism, we were prepared to make everything happen sooner, and go to the bishop's work to present him to German; however, after thinking and praying about it, we realized we could go thru with it if we wanted to, but we would be robbing him of a much richer, much more memorable experience. We waited and as a result: he was more prepared for baptism and the Aaronic priesthood, we filled the baptismal room, and we had a sweeter spirit there. German came 4 hours early to cook for his own baptism, he was so excited and calm. He told us he was more concerned about making his temple cake than he was about the baptism. He was just so prepared! His family came and he has faith that one day they will be baptized as well. He kept on going for his confirmation as well, he was terrible sick with a cold on Saturday, and Sunday he was still pretty bad, but he came anyway and even stayed all 3 hours. I have never seen anyone so prepared, he is such a great example of dedication and a pure desire to serve. I can feel the Lord is hastening his work, and I know because he in raising up leaders, like German, because we have more work ahead. What a blessing it is to be part of this marvelous work!

Hermana Bennett

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Enjoying Food and Sights While in Barcelona

Megan enjoying food made by her companion.

Megan with Companion Herman Floisand

Cathedral in Tibee-da-bo

Megan Staying in Barcelona

Letter from Megan August 5th

Dear Family,

The news for transfers: I am staying in Barcelona with Hermana Floisand! We both let out a sigh of relief when we found out. I am going to really enjoy this transfer. Now that this transfer has begun so will my Sister Training Leader responsibilities. In our mission sister Training Leaders do the following:
We go out and work with the other assigned Hermanas for 24 hours just to help them with the work learn and love them, we set the standard with the Poutas (Baptisms, new investigators found, lessons taught with members present, etc.) We teach during Zone meetings and attend leadership meetings in which we are trained and participate in setting monthly goals and finding ways to lift the vision of the mission.

This week I got to teach about Charity and Obedience in our Zone meeting. I was exited and anxious to teach. When assigned the topic the Zone Leaders felt inspired that I should speak on the topic and I couldn't ignore the spiritual confirmation I felt as they assigned it to me. I really wanted to bring a good spirit, while praying about the topic I felt specifically inspired to be sure to ponder well beforehand what I would say. Hermana Floisand and I had an inspired Chat about the topic as we ran in the morning, the revelation just kept coming as we came in to stretch and we sat there stretching and chatting for a good 10 minutes longer than normal. When the time came I felt calm and I felt very blessed because that calmness just let me lay back and totally rely on the spirit. I was able to confidently present a message guided by the spirit. There was a strong spirit there in the meeting and I just sat down with that clean feeling I get after teaching a lesson. I don't mean to brag that I brought this incredible spirit into the meeting, but it was just such a spiritually edifying experience to me. I really felt the spirit as I taught to a degree I don't believe I have felt before. I felt the Lord confirming that he was not going to leave me alone in this new calling, that he would be there to lift me up, give me energy, and fill my mouth, what a comforting feeling. To share a little about what I taught, I explained a little about how the Pharisees and the Saducees had a list of many rules and in an effort to trick Christ they asked which was the most important. Without hesitation he used this as a teaching opportunity and replied "Love". This is where we are taught that we should love the Lord, ourself and others. We connected that with the commandments and the missionary handbook; these become a list of Do's and Dont's like the list of laws from the Pharisees and Sadducees...when we forget why we are doing them-Love. They were given to us out of love, and when we obey we should do it out of love. We talked about how that applies to missionary work when we obey and teach and do everything out of love that's when the missionary work becomes enjoyable. With love the commandments and missionary guidelines become liberating instead of suffocating.

On another note, we get to house 4 of the new sister missionaries coming in. Tonight we will take two of them to go on splits and the other two will go with 2 of the trainers coming in (one of them being Hermana Rhodes!). We are going to clean up the piso and bake so the hermana's coming in will feel at home. We are so excited to have them! I remember my first night was hard, and I really want them to have a great experience their first night. I am also excited because Hermana Pace (mission presidents wife) has put us in charge of the lunch for the new missionaries and their trainers tomorrow, so we will do last minute preparation and we will also get to eat with them. These are the benefits of being the Sister Missionaries closest to the office. We feel so blessed, plus Hermana Floisand loves serving, so it will be fun!

Funny Story for the week: to begin you know we give two kisses to say hello and goodbye, but only to girls. The other night we contacted a younger man. He looked like he was 20, he couldn't stop smiling for some reason. We talked about our English classes, when his bus came I shook his hand but gave him a stiff arm so he would know I would not kiss him. I was safe, but when he went over to my companion she tried to do the same and she even leaned back a little to make it clear, he blatently ignored her and gave her two fat kisses on both cheeks. Normally you just touch cheeks when you do it, but he went all in, he jumped onto the bus and laughed as he watched our reaction from the window. We waited for the bus to pull away before cracking up.