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.

Megan Called to be a Sister Training Leader

Excerpt from Megan on July 28th:

"So President Pace called Saturday while we were eating at a recent converts house. I picked up and chatted with him as they brought out the food. I was a little nervous because transfers are coming up and that usually means change. He asked me to be a Sister Training Leader. To be honest I had had a hard night the night before that call. I was disappointed because we had a lesson that didn't go the way I wanted and I knew I could have done better. I was feeling pretty inadequate when he called. Today was the Leadership meeting which was an incredible spiritual experience. It was 4 hours of pure spiritual high. The missionaries going home in the next transfer bore their testimonies which of course just rips your heart out. We spoke about working more effectively with the members, asking for referrals from everyone and how to do it, and we decided our mission focus for August. Our focus will be on baptism, we will be working to invite someone to be baptized every day. I am excited for this goal. We did this as a district in the islands and it really helped us focus in on baptism. I am excited, but I also saw what Hermana Rhodes went thru and I know the Lord has a lot of work to do with me so I can fulfill this calling. This will not be easy, but it will be a great learning experience.

Joy in the Journey

Excerpt from Megan's letter July 14th:

"Mom, I have always appreciated your encouragement and support regarding helping us focus in 100% on our missions. I remember sitting on the futon next to you while you were doing case notes one day. This was after I got my mission call, about a week before I left. I just have in my head "Enjoy it! Get lost in the work and just love it!" You just said it so happily and in a manner that was like "don't worry! Its going to be great if you can just enjoy it". I have subconsciously kept that comment present. I have also heard your voice in my head again as just about EVERY companion has echoed you in saying "Be nice to yourself!"  I have lots of drive, but I feel like I am finally learning how to enjoy the journey. I think sometimes I substitute working efficiently, with working hard. I will go around and take the harder route as long as I can just keep walking and not stop for crosswalks, but Hermana Floisand is teaching me to smell the flowers enjoy the journey and work hard but efficiently. There is a special spirit in our companionship, we are both focused in on the work and I pray that the Lord will continue to guide our efforts.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Kim Coming Home This Week!

No surprise, Kim's testimony is in picture form.

Excerpt from Kim's Letter Aug 11th:

"This is the greatest work EVER! To quote Myriah, a YSA member, "The more I  get to know God, the more I like Him." Serving has become my reprieve and I look forward to lessons like I looked forward to a new movie before my mission. Why!? Because repentance is real, the spirit really refines us and as we roll up our sleeves and get to work the dust of eternity is all around us and the Lord's work is all we could ever want to do!!!




Mini-Missionary Miracles and Caricatures

Excerpts from Kim on August 11th:

"Ok, as for our area... The week was slow. Then, BAM, we found out we were going to have a mini missionary!!! We were not expecting to get so lucky!!! So we had very little time to prepare, and basically we had a series of miracles that resulted in 5 appointments just dropping into our lap for Friday and Saturday. Allie was randomly in Evanston and called us asking to meet. I randomly remembered last week to actually set a return appointment on the spot with Bridget and with
Sarah. The list goes on. Anyway, it was a HUGE blessing to us to get our mini missionary, and at her departing testimony she said the most beautiful thing... She said that she had been praying to the Lord so hard to get missionaries that were just working every single moment. She wanted to be teaching and working. And the Lord set things up so we pretty much went from appointment to appointment!! And miracles happened with her. We were on our A game but even then... We know the Lord heard the prayers of our humble little mini sister and He answered them. Her example taught me a great lesson. I can have the same experience as I really pray in all humility for whatever it is I need that only he can give."

Contacting with caricatures and our mini-missionary

Sharing the gospel through art.

Kim turn's 23!

Happy 23rd Birthday Kim!! Who needs a cake when you can have rice-ha, leave it to Kim.

Kim will always be a kid at heart. Megan's caption for this picture would be "Why are you so jolly all the time?" --HA!

Kim busy with exchanges as Sister Training Leader

5 Guys and 2 Sister Missionaries - lovin' the mission!

Busy going on splits, often.

Thumbs up for being missionaries.

The best part of the mission is getting to teach investigators.

Letter Excerpt from Kim on July 21st:

Exchanges. Sister Helsten and I arrived in their apartment for the night. I look at the clock and it says 8:30 p.m. Sister Helsten started putting her stuff down and all of a sudden, the Spirit gave me the best idea. So I said, "Well,we have 30 minutes (and since this was my old area I knew by the spirit exactly who to visit) lets go see Leta. Have you gotten in to see her yet?" She said they had tried calling her many times but had not seen her yet. I know a weird back way to get into her house that sister Smith showed me. It's actually the way she prefers us to come in, it's just that these missionaries did not
know about it yet. So we bounce into the car and zip off to Leta, andsure enough she just HAPPENS to be there and we set an appointment up for the very next night!! ( love the SPIRIT). We get home right at 9:01. Perfect ending to the day!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Meg Staying in Barcelona, Gets New Companion

Excerpt From Megan June 26th:

"It's transfer time and I am staying in Barcelona. I have a new companion. Her name is Hermana Floisand. President told me yesterday that she is literally the sweetest person he has ever met...and he wasn't lying. She is so sweet! But not annoyingly so if you know what I mean. It makes me wonder how you make people like that. She is a humble hard worker, and a stress de-something-izer. She takes the stress out of me, which is what I need."

Our own Mormon Message

This was for a talent show video the missionaries did. We took pictures of the ward members with signs like this. It is from the "Because of Him" Mormon Message.

Letter Excerpt from Megan June 9th:

"Another miracle-we were passing by people and just contacted a man. He was very kind, and said I'll give you 5 minutes to tell me what you are all about. We saw him yesterday and we have a lesson with him today. His name is Josep (Joseph in Catalan), and he is a "native Spaniard" as he calls himself. Its a huge blessing to teach someone actually from Spain, that does not happen as often as I would like."

"Hermana Rhodes and I are just loving this area, we are working hand in hand with the members which makes all the difference."
Letter excerpt from Megan May 26th:

"This past week Hermama Rhodes was gone for 2.5 days since she is a Sister Training Leader, it was quite the adventure and the other Hermana Missionaries were great about having back and forth sleep overs for 3 nights and the members were great about helping me out. There was one member Carmen who I had for only one hour to help me out between members. I was trying to plan things but felt I should ask if she knew anyone nearby that could use a visit. She said her sister-in-law's bother was in a coma and she was working nearby. I wrote her a note with a scripture reference thinking she was a member. When we got there I realized she was not a member and we had the opportunity to read the scripture together. Carmen, the member, was just so happy and comfortable there it made my part so much easier, sometimes the members can feel awkward, but she just oozed joy. We even prayed together before we left and Carmen's sister-in-law seemed really happy. "

"Another highlight of the week is that Laura and her son came to pass by a less active members home with me. We have been teaching her 9 year old son Erik (he is not baptized yet), he really liked having another boy there and in the end he said the prayer for the first time in front of me! He repeated after me and it was touching. Laura apparently took mental note of that because when her friend Francisco called us to tell us he wanted us to come teach him, in the end she did the same for him to teach him to pray. I thought that was great that she had paid attention to what I did with Erik."

"Spain update: We had a thunderstorm this morning... I couldn't help but sing, "The RAIN in Spain stays MAINly on the pla-ane!"

"Funny update: I have spent my preparation day in the mission office because Hermana Rhodes in in the Leadership meeting and all the other sister training leaders have sister training leader companions, so I'm "stuck" in the office. I actually love being here! I made everyone in the office scones with jam this morning, they loved it. I also shared some brownie I made for our Sarah and her family. They are contemplating hiring me onto the office team to come and cook for them all day. We have had fun, plus I got to help the office couple with a little paperwork, I don't think I would mind working in the mission office."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Letter Excerpts from Megan May 19th:

"We took Fernando to eat at the Bishop's house and on our way there we had mentioned that one of the things we missed from the States, was Lucky Charms cereal. About 3 days later we are in the middle of a very vital cita and we get a call from Fernando. About ten minutes later I see Fernando running, in his suit, towards us with a bag in his hand. He looked so flustered it took me a minute to figure out who it was. He came running up to us saying, "I have 2 minutes till my conference call and I wanted to give you this!" It was a box of Lucky Charms cereal.  He ran off and we just stood there laughing in shock yelling out "Thank you." When we saw him at church Sunday (4 bowls of cereal later) we asked him how he got it and all he said was, "I know a guy." Classic, that gave us another good laugh."

"Cultural shout out for the week: Spaniards all think that Spaniards are closed people. We talk to so many of them every day and they are all so kind and happy to talk, and they all say the same thing about one another, that they are closed. They are the most open closed people I have ever met ha, ha! This week I heard an analogy about fleas. Fleas are known for their ability to throw themselves very high in the air. If you put them in a shoe box with the lid off, they will jump right out; however, if you put them in a shoe box with the lid on for no longer than 2 days and open the lid, they will stay in the box. After hitting the lid so many times they give up and lower their potential to jump right out. I think Spaniards and us humans in general, like to put ourselves in a box and we limit ourselves when really the lid is off and possibilities are endless. There is nothing we can't do when we learn to make the Lords vision for us our own. I pray this week for a higher vision for myself and for my area, I know the Lord is waiting to make the most out of us and the work we do."
May 5th Letter Excerpt from Megan:

"It has been another wonderful week here with Hermana Rhodes. Every day I thank the Lord for this precious time I get to have with her. We are really enjoying the work here. We are preparing for the baptism of our friend Fernando this upcoming Saturday. It has been a battle for him, but just like we are promised, he has been reading, praying, and coming to church diligently. He has truly experienced a change of heart that is humbling to watch. He bore his testimony of The Book of Mormon to our recent convert (of 3 weeks) was kind of backward to see the baptismal candidate uplifting the member, but is was a powerful testimony. It amazes me that although he can be so busy with work he always makes time for the Lord and us and it has only brought him miracles."

May 13th Letter Excerpt from Megan:

"Highlight of the week: Fernando coming out of the water at his baptism, he gave the Elder who baptized him a hug and then turned and looked at everyone and said "thanks for coming!" it was really sweet. He looked happy."
Photo from Fernandos baptism: Left-Guery(Recent convert), Gicela(recent convert), and far right is Fernando.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kim Becomes Sister Training Leader second to last Transfer

Excerpts from Kim's letter June 9th -

"We cover three of my old areas in this one area since being transferred to the YSA Ward! We cover not only my last area of Logan Square, but also North Shore 1 and 2, and much more because we have all the ysa ward. Technically, the elders cover my old area, but hey-we share the ward. Long story short, we are responsible for an area at least three times as big as anything I have ever covered in addition to the responsibility of training 18 sisters from about 3 zones."

"As for being a sister Training leader, I have a great companion who is an old hat at all of this stuff. She has been doing this for two transfers already. Surprisingly, my companion sister Winward and I were BOTH trained by sister Smith! She has a testimony of steel and notices what other miss-she sees what others are feeling and she notices when others are uncomfortable or really feeling the spirit. She has the gift of inspiration and revelation, which really complements my strength in the same area. I can't tell you how often we are on the same page when, with past companions, they have totally missed the prompting she catches it. She is unafraid to be herself and God put us together for many many reasons, mainly I have alot to learn from her."

"As sister training leaders, we are just a big ear. We go on exchanges with the sisters in our zone, care for them, call them as the spirit directs, and run a "vibrant" area for them to use as a example in their own work. We model by example exact obedience and follow up on things President Woodbury has said. Overall, my missionary work has expanded to include the sisters assigned to us. Our purpose is to invite others - not just investigators who have not been baptized yet, but with these investigators who are wearing a name badge - to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the  holy Ghost and enduring to the end."

"As a bonus, I get to attend transfer council ( previously called zone leader council) and I also get to help present training at a zone meeting in Buffalo Grove."
Kim with companion and sisters they are training

Kim's Zone playing Chiball. Can you find Kim?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Two baptisms!

Except from Kim's May 12th letter:
Paul is getting baptized this Saturday! We are so excited! He has already read The Book of Mormon once and is on round 2? In addition he has listened to the audio twice! So, in one way or another
he has gone through the Book of Mormon three times even though he has a disability and reads very slowly. We are so proud of him!

Except from Kim's May 19th letter:
The pioneers had to cross icy waters and tread frozen plains to leave their legacy. Paul's legacy began with an icy trip into the baptismal font. We knew the water must be cold when we saw the Elder's dumping a pan of boiling water in the font as well as a pitcher of microwaved water. Paul hesitantly got in the cold, cold water. After the baptismal prayer was said, the expression on Paul's face made it look like he was going to meet his death as he got shoved backward into the water. They were
quite the scene and sister Payne and I tried so hard not to laugh.  It was a memorable experience for
all who witnessed.
Paul told us he wanted to sing at his baptism. He wanted a duet, and he picked sister Payne to sing with him. Although we had only practiced a few times, he did so well! His raspy lungs, ravaged by years of smoking rang out the words: " I know when I am baptized, my wrongs are washed away... And I can be forgiven and improve myself each day. I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain- I want to be the best I can, and live with God again!" As the speaker got up after the song, his eyes were wet. The spirit was in the room. And while they were singing,  I was so proud of him and so happy that I thought, " I didn't know my smile could go this big. I don'tthink it ever has gone this big." And I smile alot!

Paul's baptism

Another jubilant moment was hearing that RHONDA CHOSE TO BE BAPTIZED!!! We got approval to go to Chesterton for her baptism. When Rhonda called and told me herself that she is getting baptized, all I could say was " I am SO happy ... That of all the people.... She made the right choice. She made the right choice. SHE made the RIGHT CHOICE."

Rhonda's baptism in Chesterton.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kim loving being a missionary

Contacting via caricatures

Use those talents Sister Bennett!

Enjoying Chicago

Finally seeing the City and still enjoying Sister Payne

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Tale of Two Cities and Meg Transferred to Barcelona

Letter to Meg from her companion in Palma:

"A couple of months ago me and Hna Bennett were walking home about to cross through the park and she stopped to turn around and contact someone. His name was Jesus (no I´m not kidding though I have to say his name with a Spanish accent otherwise I feel like I´m speaking blasphemy...) He seemed pretty open and nice but as we were contacting him it turned into the most awkward contact because someone else came up and was being kind of mocking/rude to us while we were contacting him. So we just got his number and quickly left. we tried setting up citas or different things but it always fell through and then he went to Germany for a trip and we kinda forgot about him. Well the other Friday after interviews and lunch with President Pace we were waiting for an investigator to come to the church. So I was calling different people and setting up citas and such when I saw his number in our phone, remembered that he´d returned from his trip, so I called and he answered me. He said he was busy the next few days but had time that night. So we set up to see him. I didn´t even recognize him!! but he came and luckily our most incredible member was there and stayed to help us with the cita.

Jesus is incredible!!! He´s from here, 22 years old, doesn´t have much but is incredibly faithful and happy. We talked about the Book of Mormon and he was so grateful to receive it and wanted to read it. Then the baptismal question was set up and they looked right at me so I took it and invited him to be baptized! He said yes. He wants to be baptized. He is one of those amazing contacts and investigators of gold who is just so prepared and ready. It was honestly one of the most amazing moments of my mission. He also told us that just recently he´s been looking for God more and had been praying right when I called him. He doesn´t believe in coincidences and neither do I. it was just all so incredible. He´ll be baptized on the 3rd of May. He came to the special conference we had on Sunday with Elder Evans of the Seventy and he just loved it! He´s been reading so much, loving it, told us that he didn´t know about the law of chastity or tithing but wants to live them (I don´t even know how he found out about them!!) and after the conference he went up to Elder Evans. This is how the conversation went (in English mind you!)
´´Thank you so much Elder Evans!´´
´´Thanks for coming! Now are you a member?´´
´´Are you planning on becoming one?´´
´´Yes! of course!´´
´´Well good! Congratulations!´´
. . .Jesus is kinda great.

 It´s been an incredible miracle for me because I´ve yet to see a baptism here on the mission and though I know that that´s not what makes a successful missionary, you still want to see success in seeing someone come into the waters of baptism. So I´ve been praying for it and asking God if it be His will to bless us with a miracle. He definitely did. And then we learned that Jesus lives in the other branch boundaries. So we passed him off and the elders just got the greatest most prepared man in all of Spain! Well, at least he´ll be baptized and I am thankful to have been part of this and to have witnessed what I did. ha, I guess I´ll just keep praying.

Just thought I´d share it with you, Hermana Bennett! love you and thanks for making this miracle happen! keep workin hun! Love you tons.
Hermana Carter

 Letter excerpt April 14th:

 That saying, "Days become weeks and weeks become days." is becoming very real to me. It has been a very full week, but full in the best way. I don't think I have ever poured my heart into a week so much in my life. Hermana Rhodes is very inspiring to work with. People tell us all the time we are twins, which I take as a huge compliment. Hermana Rhodes captures love so perfectly in everything she does, that's why she is so happy and enjoys the work so much and is so successful. When love, as opposed to numbers, or fear, truly becomes our motivation...that's when we can truly dive into the work. I think that is what it means to give the Lord "your heart might mind and strength."

We had some priceless moments this week. One of them with our now recent convert Gicela. It was the day of my birthday and for our physical activity we decided to go running to this big metal dragon/slide/street art thing with Gicela. We looked at it, wondered if it was really safe and threw caution to the wind. We climbed up it, took lots of pictures (we got a great one of a guy passing by stairing at us), and decided to be dare devils and head on down. We learned some quick math... the force of three 90-100lb girls + wet metel slide = very dumb. We hurtled down the slide and realized we were still gaining speed about 5 feet from the bottom. Once we got to the end of the slide...we continued to slide...across the cement sidewalk. This would be illegal in the States. We were definately being watched over though because we only suffered some ripped gloves and sore muscles the next day. Gicela told me she felt bad because she clung to me about half way down when she realized we were about to end badly... I don't recall a thing, I think I was in shock.

Megan was transferred to Barcelona, which was NOT an April Fool's Joke!

Excerpt from April 1st letter:
Great news about transfers... I am being transferred to Barcelona, right in the heart of the mission where the office is, which means the office Elders are in my district (the office Elders are always incredible, President likes to keep the top quality elders nearby). Elder Singerman, an incredible Elder  from my MTC group, will be my district leader. Elder McMahon my old incredible District and Zone Leader (yes, at the same time) from the islands will be my Zone Leader again with Elder Sutten (my Zone leader for 1 week in Sabadell). I feel like I am coming come. Last but not least...I have the companion of my dreams. Her name is Hermana  Rhodes, she stayed with us for one week in Sabadell for transfers, so we have already taught together and love being together. We clicked immediately and I had been hoping to be her companion ever since. The overall feeling I cannot seem to ignore is, now its time to work.  I have been practically jumping up and down wanting to leave piso because my last companion was sick for the past 3 weeks, I did however get really good at setting up members to come out with me, which was inspired because Hermana Rhode is a sister training Leader. That means about once a week she travels to another place in the mission to work with and train other hermanas... which also means she is the best of the best. I remember thinking when she came to my piso 4 transfers ago, it felt like she was a sister training leader coming to train us. She is so loving and one of those naturally cute, happy people. she is a cute tall blonde, we just look like companions. I am excited beyond words to be with her.

Notice Meg in the background taking this picture of Sister Rhodes, ha!

Megan and missionary headed to Brazil.
Note from April:
Megan finally received her Christmas packages, one in March and one the week of her birthday! What a relief.

Letters from Meg while still in Palma

Excerpt from March 24th letter while in Palma:

This week I had probably one of the biggest miracles of my mission so far. Gwenneth is doing incredible! During our cita this week we went a little more in depth about The Book of Mormon. We explained that we can come to know it is true by reading and praying, thru the spirit. As Hermana Carter went on explaining Gwenneth put her hand to her heart and said "Oh!" she continued to touch her arms and her face in shock as she felt the spirit for possibly the first time. I was blessed to be able to look into her eyes and simply testify that it was the spirit testifying to her that the things we have taught her are true. She came to church for the third hour on Sunday. Almost in tears at the end of the meeting she looked at me and said, "Ive got that feeling again." I just hugged her. She is praying about being baptized and is going to begin reading the Book of Mormon. She does not live in our area so we will be passing her off to the Elders this week if it feels right. I am so excited for her. It is helping me see we just have to be patient and diligent and we will find those who have been prepared. 

Excerpt from March 10th letter while in Palma:

I think I can safely say this has been one of the most successful weeks on my mission so far.
I am overjoyed to report that our Investigator Elena has been reading and praying! I sill never forget sitting there in our cita, asking her if she had read...she said yes. Then we asked if she had prayed and received an answer (to know if the Book of Momon is true)...she looked at me and said she had. The ceilind opened up, the clouds parted, little rays of sunshine hit her face and I am pretty sure I heard angels singing. She mentioned she wasn't sure about the answer she received, she wasnt sure if it was the Holy Ghost or her head, but she thinks (get ready for a plot twister) the Catholic church is true...gaaah! The ceiling smacked me in the head as it closed back up. The angels ran away crying and I think I saw lightning strike outside. I almost started laughing at my suprise. We talked thru how to pray and how we recieve answers. I think we really cleared some things up for her and we are excited to see her continue progressing. She truly wants to know and has very sincere questions.  Keep her in your prayers :)

Excerpt from March 3rd letter while in Palma:

I want to be sure you all know that I am doing very well. Hermana Carter is magnificent, my area is wonderful, and hardly a day goes by when we don't see miracles of the Lord's work, and not one day goes by when I don't feel grateful that I am serving as a missionary for the Lord in the Spain Barcelona Mission.

We had a great week and looking back I can hardly believe how much we fit between Monday and Sunday.

It has been festivos (holidays) here in Spain. They have a lot to celebrate here in Spain, there is a holiday for each area, kind of like in Utah how each city has a holiday when there are parades and stuff. Well for "Dia de los Baleares" people dress up, like we do for Halloween, and its an all day event. There are concerts set up thru out the island, and carnivals, and little vending stands set up everywhere (which is very tempting as a missionary because I just want to eat EVERYTHING). All that stuff is set up in the touristy part of our Area, which we spend quite a bit of time in looking for menos activos (less actives). We  learned in our Specialized Zone training how to make separate lists to sort out our area so we can do pass by's when we have time. We made our lists and had at it, trying to locate all the less actives to see to update the branch directory. Hermana Carter testified in front of our zone the other week that when we do these lists and pass by's we don't always see blessings directly related with what we are doing, but they do come. This week was no exception, while we ended up just crossing off a lot of addresses instead of finding people, when Sunday came we had 4 menos activos and 1 investigator come.  I was overjoyed as I saw each of them come in and even happier as I saw the members giving them a warm welcome back. We may not have had all our investigators at church, but for me the joy is the same. As we work with them and are inspired in our studies about what to share with them, we get a glimpse of exactly how much the Lord loves his children. The work we do and see is just the tip of the ice berg, the Lord is doing a lot of work with their hearts and it is a blessing to see.

An investigator accepting the Word of Wisdom.

Excerpt from February 3rd letter while in Palma:

It was a roller coaster of a week, full funny moments! One day we had called a recent convert whom we had never met before and told him to meet us in a plaza. We were a little early and were just standing there doing calls and busy work until he showed up, we assumed he would just walk right up to us, and sure enough, a man walked right up to us, we chatted for a bit and asked if he wanted to sit down, he said he didn't have much time, a couple of teenagers came up to us while we were chatting and stood there waiting anxiously for our attention. I was a little worried so I tried my best not to pay attention to them and continued talking. After Frank left, the boys confused stood there and said "hello" one of them pointing to the other saying, this is frank. We were so surprised! It turns out the man we were talking to was not the person we were waiting for at all, it was just some random guy who had come up to us. We never get contacted! I confessed what had happened to the real Frank and we all had a good laugh!

Video of P-day Fun

Work hard, play hard and Kim will be Kim :)

Kim Really Enjoying Companion Sister Payne

Story from Kim's letter April 21st:

"Easter was pretty spectacular. We were headed across the street to go to dinner at bishop Mali's. At the crosswalk, the red hand was blinking and we were running behind, so we knew we had to run to make it across without holding any cars up. However, we still talk to everyone and we see this man in a wheelchair and ask, "How is your Easter?" as we rush by. He says quietly, "terrible!" We turn around immediately and came running back. "Why? What happened?" We asked. He seemed all the
more distraught and said, "Well, I've been beat up twice today and I just need to go to the hospital, but my wheelchair isn't working!" We were shocked and a little humbled by this man's plight. Another stranger also helped him. The stranger stopped the bus just in time. The driver came out to assess the situation and immediately went to work lowering a ramp for him. Now, you should know, this was a BIG guy. All 3 of us pushed with our might and somehow got him all secured onto the bus as onlookers stared. As we went to exit the bus, we went to give a card to the man so the bus could leave. The kind stranger agreed to ride with him all the way to the hospital!  and he says to us, " I can't read it! I can't see." Wow. I've never gotten to serve God like that. But as we exited the bus, sister Payne and I were just staring at each other in total amazement.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"I Love This New Area"

Excerpts from Kim's letter January 27th:

"I love this new area!"

"We've gotten off to a running start. The ward has been so helpful in pointing the way for us; the ward mission plan is 1 INVITE (to be taught by the full time missionaries) per adult member PER QUARTER..We love the ward already, the first thing Bishop Malli said when he saw us was "I'll need a restraining order on these two." We are quickly getting used to his sense of humor."

"Also, sister Payne and I LOVE being companions! she feels like a sister to me. We have so much in common! What a change! It is nice not to have to worry a ton about our companionship. I feel like one day I will wake up and this will all have been a dream... the dream companion, the dream area, we are on the horizon of something very special. My new companion, wow, she is like a mix of Megan and a]Aunt Ruthanne and Patti Barrow. I say that because she has Aunt Ruthanne's
nurturing touch, Megan's enthusiasm, energy and strength, and Patti'sresourcefulness and easy- to- be-around-ness. She has been with some hard companions  (her trainer was only 6 weeks old, etc. ) and we are always laughing but we really work well together and love and serveeach other. I would definitely choose her for a companion."

April's question: "You two are having to learn the area together huh? Please tell me she is not direction challenged too ;)"

Kim's response: "You bet we are! It's nice, though, because we are both able to learn at the same pace whereas everyone around me has usually been better atdirections. So, we study the maps together and we learn I. The same way so we help each other a lot. And we soapboxes in the bus once. Itdoesn't work for us like it did for Dan Jones or Brigham Young or Cleon Skousen.... Everyone is on their smartphones or doing their own thing.

April's question: "Do you cover more than one ward?"

Kim's response: "Nope, we cover a quarter of the ward. The branch council live in pretty much the same spot, so he tried to put us where the entire branch council is in OUR area so we can get
them motivated."

April's Question: "Did you two get to teach any lessons this week?"

Kim's Response: "We taught 5... All on the spot."

New Companion and Silly Story

Excerpt from Megan January 20th:

"Hilarious moment for the week: After walking away from talking to a sweet old lady for a good 30 minutes i mastered the best pole encounter known to the history of Americas funniest home videos. I was so anxious to get away that as I was looking back saying goodbye I forgot that I do not yet have eyes on the back of my head. There was a short pole about 2 and a half feet tall, as I turned my head forward it was too close to escape, so I cleverly decided I would just walk right over it...that doesn't work very well with a skirt...actually it doesn't work at all...the poll caught me right in between my legs, luckily I did not fall over, but it did take me a second to back up and start walking normal again, my legs were fine, but my abs were sore the next day from how hard we were laughing. Everyone on the street looked at us and we just kept busting up, it took me a good minute or so to gain my composure. I pray the old lady didn't see us laughing and think we were laughing at her. Regardless, that story definitely made first page new in my journal that night.

Meg with new companion Sister Carter

From Chesterton to Logan Square

Update on Kim, she continued to serve in Chesterton until January transfers. Here are are few pictures she sent:


Winter in Chicago. Where's the Elder's when you need them??

Frozen Lake Michigan

Still doing caricatures.

Letter to President Woodbury, January 20th,

"I wasn't expecting to be transferred! I just want to say thanks for calling me to Chesterton; for allowing me the privilege of coming here. It's been nothing short of necessary for my salvation. The people I have met have changed my life. What great members to work with. I will miss every one of them, especially president Fowler and brother Caggiano. We have seen miracles begin to take off here. Prior to mine and sister Spackman arriving to open the area in August, certain members of the branch were doubtful about there being any work to do in Chesterton. But as we learned to work with the members then hit the baptist-laden streets with all our might, we reaped in unexpected ways. Sister Friday's baptism really helped the branch see that people do change. They are learning that missionaries are more obedient now than they were in the past, because they MUST be!! We simply have to raise the bar and they have come to expect that and trust us. Logan square will be a real metamorphosis for me.