Monthly Archives: August 2013

E-Mail #2 8/29/13

I am lucking out as far as computer time. I decided to type up my repentance talk.

El arrepentimiento es uno de los primeros principios del Evangelio. Este es muy importante y escencial para nuestro felicidades. El arrepentimiento es un cambio en la manera de pensar y en el corazón. Lo motiva el amor a Dios y el sincero deseo de obedecer sus mandamientos.

¿Cual es la necesidad del arrepentimiento? En Alma 11:37 dice: (insert escritura aqui) asi porque por nuestro pecados no podemos viver con Dios. Nuestro Padre Celestial ha preparado el único camino para que seas perdonados de nuestro pecados. Este es la expación de Jesucristo. Jesucristo padeció el castigo por nuestro pecados y podemos perdonado. En Doctrina y Convenios 19:16-17 dice (insert otro escritura aqui).

Necesitamos usar arrepentimiento tan pronto como posible. Amulek advirtió sobre el peligro de postergar el arrepentimiento en Alma 34. El dijo: “Esta vida es cuando el hombre debe prepararse para comparecer ante Dios… os ruego, por tanto, que no demoréis el dia de vuestro arrepentimiento hasta el fin.”

Arrepentimiento exitosomente debemos seguir este proceso. Primero, debemos tener fe en Dios y Jesucristo. Segundo, debemos sentir la tristeza según Dios por el pecado. Tercero, debemos confiésale nuestro pecados. Luego, debemos mantén la determinación permanente e inflexible de no repetir nunca la transgressión. Finalmente, debemos restituir todo lo que ha sido dañado por nuestro acciones. Doctrina y Convenios 58:42 dice (insert mas escritura aqui).

Somos bendicido con la habilidad arrepentirse. Este es un maravilloso el don de Dios. Yo se que mi vida estaba bendicido porque de expiación de Jesucristo y porque de arrepentimiento. Yo se que Dios is nuestro Padre Celestial y nos ama. Yo se que José Smith es un profeta de Dios. Yo se que El Libro de Mormon es la palabras de Dios y es verdadero. Yo se que ese cosas en mi corazón. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.

E-Mail 8/29/13

Last one from the MTC yo,

So every Wednesday night we all go into panic mode because we legitimately can´t remember what happened over the course of a week. I know. It´s really weird. But we try to write it out beforehand and this time I didn´t and so I can´t promise that it will go well.

Thursdays are always really awesome and beautiful and amazing. The temple is fantastic. This morning, for our last session, my district decided to go through in spanish. The devil is more terrifying in Spanish, that´s for sure. It was very cool to speak spanish too! It was a nice last session. Last week we went to a big mall and even the Elders were excited about that. This week we MIGHT go to Sol, we MIGHT stay around here, we really don´t know. It all depends on laundry and companions and other things like that.

So this week at the park I was paired with Hermana Porter who is fluent basically, practically. We spent a lot of time trying to find people and being turned down. But THEN we happened upon one cute guy who let us sit down next to him. We proceeded to have a conversation about the culture, geography, and food of Spain. All of Spain. He had a lot to say about it. We eventually slid into the religious territory and asked him if he believed in God and Christ. He excitedly pulled out his wallet that has a picture of Christ with a saying that said something along the lines of “the friend who never fails us” and he said he loved Christ. We talked about our beliefs and offered him the Book of Mormon. He asked if we were selling it, we said no it´s a gift. He told us he didn´t want it and he wouldn´t read it, but we think it´s just because he felt bad that we were giving it away. So we persisted. We said “Es un regalo para usted, porque su es nuestro amigo”… roughly… and he accepted it and said he had a gift for us. He pulled out 10 euros. YIKES! We both refused profusely. He said we could buy coffee with it, we said we don´t drink coffee, he said we could buy breakfast with it, we said we really don´t need it. Hermana Porter felt guilty and took it and then we parted ways after a few more minutes talking. I suggested we but the bill in a Restoration pamphlet and give it back, so we basically went sprinting back to catch up to him and said we had one more gift for him. It was pretty sneaky of me. It was a pretty great day en el parque.

By now, my district has realized we´re the remedial class. We play games to help us learn, kinda like the first and second graders. But BOY are they funny games. Tuesday night we played a game using Subjunctive Noun by saying “Yo quero Hermana/Elder…” and then you fill in the blank. There was dancing like Shakira, acting like a dinosaur, singing Happy Birthday, acting like Hermanas, acting like your companion…. it was pretty funny. We were laughing so hard that people came to watch us play this game and look stupid. Mostly the Elders looked stupid. We picked on them. We also have played “Do you love your neighbor” and “Pictionary” and “Taboo”. It´s been a real learning riot. Do I remember any of it? No. Does Spanish go in one ear and out the other? Si. Es verdad. Do I add Spanish into my letters to make it seem like I´m learning? Claro! Our brains are legitimately fried from all this crazy stuff. I can´t figure out conjugation to save my life. Lots of prayers get said before lessons.

This week we had our last lessons with Carlos and Iratxe. Iratxe committed to baptism which was especially difficult because she has a phobia of water. We promised she would be blessed and God will strengthen her. What a champ she is! Carlos progressed so quickly, so well that we asked him to move his baptism date from September 20th to this Saturday and he agreed. But you know… we had to say goodbye to them and that was weirdly emotional. I can´t imagine what it will be like in real life. This whole mission thing has turned me into a real sap. It´s getting out of hand. I cry all the time… comparatively.

I also got a blessing this week from Elder Gentry and Elder Rasmussen. One of comfort. It was very sweet of them to agree and they were really nice. It´s been a rough week. The whole final countdown thing gets to you and makes you question EVERYTHING. What am I doing? Am I able? How can I handle this? How can I teach these people when I don´t know anything? It´s hard. But the priesthood is there and it´s powerful.

My companion and I this week decided to heart attack the rooms of the Hermanas. We´ve done one big heart with a quote and then little hearts for all the girls in the room. We even got a Spanish quote and an English quote translated in Spanish so that the natives could be included. It was challenging to be sneaky because there is ALWAYS someone around. But we did ALL the doors (including ours of course) and then they started interrogating. My companion cracked like a squishy little egg. Ugh! So they found us out. But it was fun while it lasted.

Hermana Thunborg and I are the Music Directors…kinda… we are in charge of music for Sundays and now the Talent show. Cool? Maybe.

I also have been pegged as the resident “seamstress”. I really don´t know why because I know literally nothing about sewing. I can stitch, I can sew buttons… I have already stitched 3 hems, sewn on a button, cleaned two ties, and I am supposed to help hand wash someone elses clothes. I feel like I am under qualified for this housewife stuff…but oh well. If it helps, I´m happy to help.

We leave soon. Cinco mas dias…. YIKES! I feel overwhelmed and very not ready. But that is okay. I will survive. I´m sorry for the lack luster email. I´ll plan better next time! However it is really quite challenging to find time.

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of places, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” (yes that is Dumbledore, what of it?)

“Mi distrito es mi familia, El Señor es mi luz, y mi familia es mi inspiracion.”

I love you all. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay well. Next time I write, I will be out in the field!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail 8/22/13

Holy Hannah I can compose an email! This is going to be a great day then!

So last week we went to the Museo de Prado. It´s a massive art museum. It was HUGE with tons and tons of rooms full of beautiful pieces of art. We only had about an hour to see it all so I probably only got around to 1/4th of it. It was SO COOL! The trip there was cool too because we climbed out of the metro and boom! Madrid! The buildings here are way cooler than the buildings in Wisconsin, just fyi, because these buildings are older than Wisconsin. Everything is so green and muy muy bonita!

On Thursday, Elder Buttars found out his grandma has cancer, Hermana Thunborg heard her family was really struggling, and Hermana Fuller got a very cryptic, weird letter from her missionary boyfriend. It was a really rough and emotional day for our district. We had one of the best testimony meetings that night though after the devotional. Real heart to heart action there. The Elders gave E. Buttars, H. Thunborg, and H. Fuller blessings for comfort. It made us all cry. I was thinking of how amazing it was to see these darling young men able and anxious to jump to the aid of those in need. I am so grateful for the priesthood and for the men worthy to utilize such a powerful and important gift. So that started our meeting out really well. There were so many tears, so much pain, so much love and support. It was really beautiful and powerful.

Okay so I poorly explained this whole park thing. Every Saturday, all the missionaries saunter down to the metro and we proselyte on the metro and then we get to this gigantic park called Parque de Retiro… I think. Matt might remember and can help figure it out. So we spend about an hour and a half talking to people and then we all meet up at the fountain in the middle to sing for 20 minutes or so. It is so cool! We get a chance to run around and see this gorgeous park AND then we get to share the gospel with real people.  It’s so scary, but definitely cool. A taste of real missionary work. This last Saturday Hermana Green and I tried talking but it wasn´t going well. I don´t know Spanish and she knows even less. We decided to pick up trash and that lead us to an older woman and her son on a bench. We talked to them for a bit, the woman was very interested in teaching us how to speak Spanish. She comforted us and told us it would come in time if we just practiced. We gave them each pass along cards with Jesucristo on them and moved on. Next, we happened upon a cute little playground with a mom and her BEAUTIFUL baby. She figured out pretty quickly that the two white chicks with the name tags can´t speak Spanish so she switched over to her basically perfect English for us. She gave me the name of a Spanish author to read so that I could get better (I´ll have to wait until I get home though) and then we talked about religion. She doesn´t believe in God at all and she had some pretty interesting thoughts about religion in general. Her heart is not quite ready for the Gospel, but it´s all about planting seeds, right? While we were talking to her another family had come up and started playing on the playground. Once the woman we were talking to said she had to go, we went our seperate ways. I felt like we needed to turn around and go talk to the family that had come up early so we turned back. We began talking to the dad and he knew English so we did a pretty sad Spanglish message. We decided to talk about eternal families. He didn´t believe in God really so we told him the God is our loving Heavenly Father who wants us to succeed and return to live with Him. The guy was pretty surprised because he knew most religions are based on fear of God. We said we know his family can live together forever and I asked how that would make him feel. He said it sounded really great and he was pretty interested in knowing more. We gave him a card with the website and a pamphlet on the Plan of Salvation for him. He wasn´t too interested in talking to more missionaries but it was a start. We bore testimony, the Spirit was strong, I hope somehting comes of it.

This Sunday, in Relief Society we played a game. What game might you ask? Only the bestest game in the whole wide world. I want you all to prepare for the name of this game because I think you might be just as excited as I was when I heard it….It was…drum roll…. THE UNGAME! Yeah. Yeah I definitely laughed out loud. You´re funny Heavenly Father, thanks for the little family reminders! I taught the Sunday School lesson in our district about utilizing the footnotes, bible dictionary, and topical guide so that we can find and use Bible verses to support our Book of Mormon verses, especially because every one and their dog are Catholic or something like that. So using the Bible is pretty important. Then I was the lucky lucky girl who had to give a talk on repentance in Sacrament meeting. Yippee.

Okay so… class, class, learning, learning… Okay so this week we got new missionaries. The natives are here! Our room is back to 8 hermanas total. Boo hiss. But this time I have a bed and a closet so that is a whole lot better than the first week.

We have almost been here for a month and my district wants to celebrate but we don´t know how. There were suggestions of a candle lit study session but I doubt that will pass. All of the Hermanas wish we could make cookies but alas, no oven. It feels weird to know that in 2 weeks (a little less actually) we will be thrust out into the “real” world. It makes me so sad to say goodbye to these really awesome people who love to belt out “Tengo gozo en mi Alma Hoy” and like to tease each other and mess around. We promised to keep in touch and we´ll all be at each others weddings…supposedly… AH! TWO WEEKS!

Oh hey! This week we committed Carlos to be baptized in a month. We promised he´d be prepared by then because he was worried he didn´t know enough yet. I was on cloud nine when we walked away from that lesson. He was super happy about church and the BoM and he thinks he got an answer from God about it. We need to have the word of wisdom lesson though because he drinks coffee. Dang! But still…so awesome! Iratxe is coming along just fine. She went from not believing in a God to knowing He loves her and is her Heavenly Father. Yes! Woo! Go fake investigators!

This week has been kind of rough. I am definitely frustrated with the language and my inability to grasp it. Those stupid verbs and the stupid conjugations!! I am getting weary of it. But, it will all be well, right? I sure hope so.

Oh, and side note, it´s hot.  Like…hotter than Africa hot.

This weeks themes have been:

“I love you…in an appropriate way.”

“Satan is one dirty dirty dog.”

“Lock your heart!” (there are some flirtations going down in the CCM…scandalous!)

“Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

I love you all so very much! I hope you are well and happy and safe and enjoying life!

The one and only, Hermana Durham

E-Mail 8/15/13 – (3 e-mails organized and edited for context)

On goes the work…

Last Thursday we went to the Real Madrid Stadium. I feel meh about it but maybe I will learn to appreciate it more as time goes on. All the Elders were giddy little school boys about it so that was cute. Today we are going to an art museum! I am stoked!

On Saturday we went to the park, as usual, and guess what?! I gave away 3 copies of the Book of Mormon! Two of them were to the same guy though…so that seems like cheating. He was practicing his English so we gave him a copy in Spanish and English so he could practice. The other one we gave to the cutest lady. I saw her doing Tai Chi and I waved, she waved back, so I turned to my companion and said “We have to talk to her!”. We asked if we could join her, she taught us Tai Chi, we walked her out of the park while talking about the gospel, gave her a Book of Mormon and told her Moroni´s promise. I didn´t say too much…my spanish is still dreadful, but fortunately my park companion is fluent.

There is an Hermana Green here who was the Senior Class President when Max was the Junior Class President so she says hi. We talk about Max quite a bit. She is definitely going to be the General Relief Society President in the future, so heads up. Also and Elder Ethan Johnson is here and we went to EFY together two years ago. We are going to the same mission…small world right?!

On Sunday we sang “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” as the musical number for the fireside. We ROCKED it. It helps that we have Zooey Deschanel in our district. Her voice is like an angel! OH! It´s Hermana Fuller. In that picture I sent from the airport she´s the tiny one on the opposite side of me and next to her is Hermana Thunborg, my companion. Now you know what they look like! We definitely didn´t know we´d be roommates together, but we bonded at the airport immediately. Precious.

I would send more pictures but I have no time. So when I´m in the field, you´ll get so many. There is some great stuff out here! We are expected to leave September 3rd, fyi. Next week we get all the natives from Spain in the MTC and from that point on, Ingles no mas. Dun dun duuuuuuunnnn!

My Spanish really is coming along, but slowly. The things I say most are “lo siento”, “esta bien”, “…que?”, and “muchas gracias”. Other than that, it´s hit and miss. We taught more lessons without books this week and that has been great. The spirit really does help you with the words when you listen. We also got new fake investigators. I have Iratxe and Carlos. Iratxe is open to religion but doesn´t have any solid beliefs. Carlos is Evangelist. That should be enough of an explanation. He is so difficult! He loves the bible, loves God, doesn´t believe anything we say unless the bible testifies of it… it´s easy…in English. Difficult in Spanish. Oh well! We will get a baptism!

I am able to bear my testimony and say my prayers in Spanish now. I typically supplement my prayers with English here and there but I can do quite a bit. It´s amazing what a simple Spanish testimony, broken and in very short sentences, has the power to accomplish. I love bearing my testimony to my investigators. It burns all the way through you!

This week really wasn´t eventful…sad, huh? But still busy. We have had really great devotionals, firesides, and speakers. Every day is a spiritually uplifting day.

My district is still awesome. My companion and I cried thinking about having to say goodbye and not being able to hug our new brothers. We just love them all too much! But it must happen, so we´ll have to enjoy now while we have it. The best part of my district is how great the testimony meetings are. We are so close and we share some really great stories. There are some incredible people here at the CCM. I can´t imagine life without them! Just like you 😉

Two quotes for the week:

“God is like your grandma. Even if you break her 100 year old face, she´ll still give you a cookie.”

“Everything good takes time.”

I am hearing a bit from both [Jake and Max]. I don´t think I get any long letters from Max, mostly pictures. Of course Max´s letters are better [than mine], He probably has decent computers and more time! I am working with technological rejects and only 30 minutes. Pffft.

Hermana Alissa Thunborg is very cool. She has similar mannerisms to [my firend] Tiana, which is often really weird. She turned 21 shortly before coming out here. She has an awesome testimony. She is really funny. We are definitely in sync now and that is super cool. She has to pee a lot so we spend a lot of time in el bano. But she is way awesome.

[As far as going to the park] It´s been crazy hot so we have been going to the Stake Center instead. We have an hour to exercise…the goal [of contacting in the park/Stake Center] is to not go crazy being stuck sitting inside. We can´t get competitive but otherwise anything goes. Volleyball, futbol, basketball, running…really anything.

You can shop anywhere really. When is the real question. There is a mall that is a 20 minute walk from here, a grocery store across the street and a German store called Lidl´s. We can go, accompanied by a teacher, during physical activity or unaccompanied on P-day. The CCM is very chill compared to the MTC, so I´ve heard. We get to escape a lot.

The French sisters [mentioned in an earlier e-mail] are from France, going to France. The CCM teaches/houses missionaries headed to Spain, Russia, Portugal, Cape Verde, France, and Italy. Maybe more, but I am not sure. We still only have four sisters in our room but it won´t last for much longer.

H Dunn has singled me out as the one person to argue with. Anything I say she fights me on. It´s like…she can´t handle anyone proving her wrong or even less right. Ugh. She´s also really  passive aggressive and likes to awkwardly mention how different we are. She basically has said I find immature/stupid things funny while she likes the witty things. I definitely just laugh about everything. She´s a wet blanket. She´s also crazy disobedient. No respect for rules. Between meals and class she takes naps. She is always late. She bugs. No my hands are not sore yet [from pre-emptive shoulder rubs].

Marti Gillette and her companion H Green just became the new Sister Leadership Training peeps. I see Marti about every hour because our companions pee so much. We also went into their room so they could rap for us and tonight we have to return the favor. We spend a lot of time talking to each other actually. Love them! is Hermana Thunborgs mom´s email and she has pictures that she can send you if you request them. The computers are sooooo slow so the uploading thing is just not good. Sorry!

I love you all very much! I am thinking of you and I am grateful for the letters. It makes the day so much better!

Oh, here is a talk I wrote on Faith for sacrament meeting:

Fe es tener esperanza en lo que no se ve pero que es verdadero. En Alma 32:21 este dice: (you´ll have to read it). Fe es muy importante. La fe en Jesucristo es el primer principio del Evangelio. La fe nos da el deseo de seguir a Cristo y guardar los mandamientos. La fe nos auyda a enfrentar los desafios de la vida y superar. Mi escritura favorita es en Mateo 17:20. Cuando tenia 7 años, tuve collar con este excritura y un grano de mostaza. La semilla es muy pequeño pero arbol mostaza es muy muy grande. Como el grano de mostaza, nuestro fe puede crecer muy grande medio estudiar y oracion. Mi fe es aun brote pero yo se que mi mision fortelacera mi fe porque nada es imposible con Dios. Nada. Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial y nos ama. Yo se que Él escucha y contesta nuestras oracíones Él quiere que oremos a Él asi Él puede ayudamos. Dios quere ayudar nos. Dios quere suceder. Tiene fe en este conocimiento. Tiene fe que mi fe crecer. En el nombre de Jesucristo, amen.

It´s not super great…but I´m sure you can get the idea.

Have a lovely week! I´ll talk to you soon!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail – 8/8/13

Letter to the family:

The schedule of my life is basically-

6:30 Wake Up, 7-8 breakfast and planning, 8-9 personal and companion study, 9-12 class, 12-1 lunch, 1-4 class, 4-5 physical activity, 5:45-6:30 dinner, 6:30-9:30 class, 10:30 bedtime

My district is Nefi and it includes: Elder Buttars/Elder Dean, Elder Stevenson/Rasmussen, Elder Gentry/Elder Weeks, Hermana Fuller/Hermana Dunn and of course Me/Hermana Thunborg. Hermana Thunborg is from Saratoga Springs. She´s 21 and pretty freaking awesome. We realized just last night we both love speaking in English accents so that was pretty fun. She is hilarious and is very serious about the work. I love to hear her sing and to listen to her testimony. The other Hermanas are basically part of our companionship as well. We are roommates and classmates so we are a quartet. Unless they are taking too long and it´s food time, we go everywhere together.

Our teachers are Hermana Garcia, Hermana Martinez, and Hermano Larrea who are also our fake investigators Lucia, Sara and Miguel. They are some of the best people on the earth. Hermana Martinez is like a mother. She has been so kind and understanding. After days of asking Hermano Larrea to sing a solo (somewhat jokingly), he sang for us last night which was a really sweet and special experience. He is not good at singing but he got a scarf and wrapped it around his neck to “warm up” his voice and then he was laughing so hard he couldn´t start for a little bit. It was precious! He is awesome!

The park this week was really cool. I couldn´t speak much but I understood a lot more. My companion for the park, Hermana Rawle, and I happened upon a gorgeous rose garden. We met a nice guy who gave us tips for learning the language. We spent about 20 minutes talking to a woman from Norway who had read the BoM before. I gave her the address to the Temple because she loves seeing churches of other religions. She gave us her email and wanted us to keep in touch. I feel like we had watered a seed that had been planted a long time ago.

Hermana Porter and Hermana Crandall are the Sister Leadership yakkity shmakkity and Friday night they came around and shared a spiritual thought. Hermana Crandall felt inspired to share “Lead Kindly Light” because it was a song her mother sang to her every night. So I shared your story, Mom. It was another musical message from Heavenly Father.

Exercise time is…okay. There is a park nearby that the Elders play soccer at and the Sisters do what they wish. Hermana Hassett is a dance major so yesterday she led us through some pretty hardcore workouts. We looked ridiculous but we got our sweat on.

Lucia (H. Garcia) agreed to go to church and pray about the Restoration. She is preogressing well. Hopefully she commits to baptism tomorrow.

Sara (H. Martinez) was taught for the last time yesterday. She agreed to go to church and to pray about our message.

Next week we get new “investigators”…they sound tougher this time around.

The French sisters left us on Tuesday. They drew us a picture and we got their emails so we can keep in touch. We said they are welcome to Utah anytime and we´ll show them around. Our room is so empty now with just 4, compared to the original 8.

We sang for a massive group of youth on Tuesday which was so cool! They got to watch us study in our classrooms like we were animals in a zoo afterward. It was a youth conference maybe? I don´t know. But we are getting good at singing! We do it every Sunday on the steps after all!

La comida es muy bueno!

We are touring the Real Madrid arena today…I hope it´s cool. I´m not a Futbol fan yet.

I got a letter from Ethan on Monday. Letters are such an exciting thing to get! I didn´t even realize it until I got one chillin on my desk. Hint hint. No pressure though!

This week was full of Spanish mess ups, as you can imagine. Here are the weekly “funnies”:

On the metro-

Elder Morgan: Somos novios! (We are a couple)

Elder Rasmussen: NO NO! Somos nuevos! (we are new)

Teaching Sara-

Sara: El Papa es en El Libro de Mormon?

Rasmussen: Si si!

Elder Stevenson: Dude… that´s the pope!

In Class-

Rasmussen: Jesucristo performed muchas miércoles.

Everyone: Jesus performed many Wednesdays?

(We refer to Wednesday as Miracle Wednesday now)

In class:

Me: Leér Juan 8:21, por favor

Me (after she reads it): Como se siente?

Maestra: Muy mal!

H. Thunborg: … por que?!

She was supposed to read John 8:12, not 21. Go read both. It was bad.

I love you all! I am doing very well. I feel like somedays I´m learning the language and some days I am… well struggling. It´s difficult! But I know it will work out. God is with me! Stay safe, write me! I love love love love you!

Two district themes:

Obedience will bring blessings, strict obedience will bring miracles.

My district is my family, the Lord is my light, and my family is my inspiration.

First E-Mail from Spain 8/1/13 (originally thought lost, but found)


So here is my first email to everyone. My P-day is Thursday, we didn´t get to have a real P-day last week since it was our first full day at the CCM. The computers at the CCM don´t let us compose (no one knows why) so I´ll just have to trust you with forwarding it on to everyone who cares. After finding the huge group of Spain bound missionaries, which was pretty easy, we all introduced ourselves and talked about how weird it was to be going NOW. We boarded the plane and were off and ready. It was so weird to not be able to listen to music or anything. Guess who I sat by on the plane? That´s right! Marti Gillette, or Hermana Gillette! So I guess meeting her before really did come in handy. We landed in a few hours and had our last meal in America, Panda Express. I did take some pictures here and there but my camera is up in my room and since I only have a half hour to write I can´t spare a moment. You´ll see them next week. We asked a passerby, who was admiring the Elders in our group, if she would take our picture on her phone and send it to our families. She thought that was super cute and was very willing. I sent it to my dad, mom and Ethan so I hope it got to you three and then if others care, you can send it on. The flight to Spain was HORRIBLE!!!! It was soooo long and soooo boring and soooo uncomfortable. So I´m skipping that part. Viva España! We landed, grabbed our bags and got wrangled up onto buses.

The CCM is in a very beautiful place. It is everything you would expect it to be and more. Spain is beautiful. The buildings are pretty, the people are pretty. It´s lovely. Our whole group was very sleep deprived though so our first day was a blur. I am in Districto Nefi (Nephi) and Zona 1. Mi compañera es Hermana Thunborg. She is newly 21 and is very cool. When we first arrived there were 8 girls in our room and 6 beds. 95 missionaries don´t fit so easily in an MTC built for 70. I now have a real bed and a closet instead of the cot and living from my suitcase because they have moved Elders out to a hotel. ´The work is spreading everyone. We have missionaries headed to Russia, Portugal, France, Italy and Cape Verde. It´s bizzare to sit in Relief Society with people whispering translations in Russian, French, and Italian. The French sisters are in my room and they are HILARIOUS. Sister Ziane loves Brad Pitt and Lebron James. She knows lots of American pop culture. We also have Hermana Fuller and Hermana Dunn in our room. I can´t imagine life without them! We are a little group of awesome.

Our District gets nothing done. I don´t know Spanish much better than I know it now. Elder Dean is like a combination of Max and Jake. Elder Rasmussen is so funny I could just die. Elder Stevenson is probably the funniest kid I know. Elder Buttars knows Spanish already so it´s super unfair. We always ask “Como se dice…” and “Que significa…”. Elder Gentry and Elder Weeks are new, they came yesterday. They seem to be fitting in nicely.

Our teachers are hilarious.

First E-mail (part two) – 8/1/13

Okay so I got a little extra time to write! The computers are super funky and they seem to hate me right now. I can´t access any of my drafts. So yes, we have heard a lot a lot a lot about the train wreck. Elder Ward is here at the CCM and he is doing great. He is the sweetest, nicest, most optimistic guy ever! He did a devotional for us and told us all about the experience and the angels that were there for him. What a cool story! The temple here is beautiful. Even though I forgot my recommend…seriously so dumb… they hooked me up. They start every P-Day with a session and it couldn´t be a better way to start the day! Everything there is so lovely! On Sunday in Sacrament Meeting we sang “Tis Sweet to Sing the Matchless Love” (in Spanish of course) and I burst into tears. It felt like Heavenly Father´s way of saying “I know you are missing your family and this is hard for you but I am taking care of them and you are where you should be.” It was very sweet, so I didn´t sing that with you in person but I did sing it on Sunday “with” you. My district is Nefi and everyone in it is super close. We talk way way way too much though. My Spanish is muy mal still. Hopefully that will come. Our teachers are awesome! Hermana Garcia is so sweet. She is also my investigator, Lucia. Raised Catholic but not attending, she doesn´t really believe in God. She´s a tough shell to crack. Hermana Martinez is like a mom. She laughed when I was frustrated with Spanish and gave me a hug and kiss. She is Sara, an investigator who´s brother is a member and told her to meet with the missionaries but she is still actively a Catholic. Tougher shell to crack. Hermano Larrea is so stinking funny. He´s basically a new RM so he knows a lot about what we NEED right now. I like him quite a bit! It´s been hard though! I don´t know Spanish! Ahhhh! Oh well. The food is tasty tasty tasty! Some of it is really weird though. I think that´s basically my time… I´ll write out everything so that next week I can more effectively use my time. However I hardly have anytime to write! We are crammed from 6:30am until 10:30pm so I can´t promise a lot.

It would be super helpful if everyone who is writing me in the family (including Sadie and Annie) could send you the email and then you send it in yours. That would save me SOOO much time. I could just print out that email and then respond. It´s very difficult to sort through and respond to a million when you have a bunch of missionaries breathing down your back. Nice missionaries… but anxious missionaries.

I love you all so very much!

Hermana Durham

First E-mail (part one) – 8/1/13

Okay so I typed a whole MASSIVE email that has completely disappeared so I will hand write it for next week. I know. Super duper depressing. There are 96 missionaries here and only space for 77 so everything is very crunched. The food is very good! Fresh squeezed orange juice and croissants for breakfast? Love it. It´s a beautiful city. The park is amazing but it was terrifying to go contacting on only 3 days worth of Spanish. The temple is beautiful and we get to start each Thursday with a session. Our teachers are very nice and very helpful. I have two investigators, Sara and Lucia. Both are catholic and that has proven difficult…on top of not knowing Spanish. My district is really fantastic. My companion is named Hermana Thunborg and she´s super sweet and funny. I am loving it here, when I´m not home sick for you.

I realized the other day that I don´t want you sending me scriptures in English. I have no need for that! I need me some nice Spanish scriptures. Crazy… Also I think I do want my phone´s SD card so that I have more pictures of everyone I love because I can put it into my camera and look at it.

I will write more next week. I´m really sorry! It´s hectic here and no one knows how to handle so many missionaries.


I love love love you all!

Hermana Durham