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