Monthly Archives: October 2013

E-Mail on 10/28/13

This week was better as far as actually doing stuff, I think.  I don’t really know though, let’s be real here.

I’m trying not to pop my knuckles at all because it’s a bad habit.  It’s not going so well because I pop them when I get anxious and that just so happens to be everytime I encounter Spanish which just happens to be every time I walk outside.  I’ll get there eventually.

I have made more paper cranes in the past month than I have ever in my whole life.  The ward loves it.  The little kids don’t even care as much as the parents do!  Kinda funny.  It definitely is a good time waster whilst I try to (unsuccessfully) understand the talks and such.  I understand more than week one but it’s still really rough.  But anyway, thanks Mom for teaching my this skill!  Super helpful!

Okay so there is this one family…. the mom is Camila and she literally lives right next door.  We found her because her daughter, Patti, was in our Antiguos (old) lists.   We thought Patti was an investigator and she gave us Camila as a reference so we originally thought Camila was an investigator too.  BUT, both are inactive members.  Patti has two kids and I don’t think either of them are baptized so we’re working on that.  Patti also has a sister and a brother here, Grover and Mariela (both members as well but definitely inactive).  Well we basically run into SOME member of this family every day on the street or the metro or something.  It’s crazy!  God is trying to tell us something.  We NEED to work on this family.  He’s got it worked out, we just need to listen.  It’s cool to see how that all works out.

The other day there was a little bit of commotion going on across the street.  By commotion I mean a piso was on fire.  By on fire I mean…well just that.  Completely on fire.  Totally destroyed.  But let’s start from the beginning of this day.  The father of the Elders Quorum president passed away this week so we decided to make brownies and bring them over.  Just after making brownies, while eating lunch, we heard a loud pop and saw a bunch of people on the street calling on their phones and pointing and getting all worried.  We went outside and the piso across the street was on fire!  A whole piso was just burning away and I just kept praying that no one would be hurt.  There was a lot of commotion.  We saw a man talking to a bunch of the police officers and we assumed he was the owner of the house because he was just crying and crying.  Since we were about to leave to take brownies to the members, we decided to wrap up a couple and give them (along with our card, of course) to this man.  We said a quick pray before crossing the street asking that we would be able to deliver this to him because he was kind of wrapped up in talking to the police.  By the time we reached him, the officer talking to him turned away.  This man’s name is Victor, he’s from Honduras.  I hope he ends up calling us because we offered to help him with anything.  Otherwise, I’m just glad that we could have reached out to him in the smallest way possible.  It felt good to be able to offer some token of consolation and comfort.  I know it’s not his house or his belongings, but he did smile through his tears and that smile was a miracle for me.  Oh and I don’t think anyone was hurt in the fire.  So yeah.  That was interesting.

We invited an almost missionary to go to a cita with us.  The person ended up being a no show so we decided to show this cute little thing all about contacting.  We got some good work done.  THEN she actually ended up listening to a prompting to talk to a couple sitting on the grass.  It ended with a phone number, two copies of the Book of Mormon handed out, and two new investigators.  CHAMP!  She will be great in Madrid.

I attended a Relief Society planned and hosted Despedida de Soledad (maybe that’s what it is?).  Yeah.  I was at a Bachelorette Party on Saturday.  Missionary work has it’s perks because we were totally there to take care of the Elders’ investigator and that is totally justifiable because we also totally needed to meet more of the Relief Society since Hermana Tuttle hasn’t met any of them.  It was pretty stinking adorable and certainly harmless.  Nothing crazy.  It was at the church for crying out loud!  They dressed up the bride to be as Snow White and a woman was dressed as the witch and she passed out little apple shaped tags.  The place was decorated with Snow White and then the 7 dwarves and her fiancés’ face photo-shopped on there.  Not bad, Relief Society.  Not bad.

Yesterday after church, which was at 3 instead of at 9 because another stake was using it for their stake conference, we went over to the Bishop’s house to just have a treat and talk about the ward.  It turned out to be like Christmas.  We had fruit cake and hot chocolate and they played Christmas music.  It was quite sweet.  Angela, the bishops wife, is like my best friend by the  way.  When she is feeling funny she uses what little English she knows by saying things like “I’m crazy, baby” and “It’s not true”.  She also occasionally dances and sings “I don’t care, I love it” from that one popular song back home.  They are truly the most awesome people in the whole of Spain.  I can’t imagine what it’d be like without them.  I LOVE THEM to pieces.  They are the bomb and they are leading a very strong ward now.  I am hopeful about the success of the missionary efforts here.

So yeah.  I love it here!  Everyone is really just awesome!  Minus the not awesome parts of course.  But it’s all pretty awesome.  I also read this really great talk that I highly recommend to EVERYONE ON THE PLANET called “His Grace is Sufficient” by Brad Wilcox.  Totally go check it out.

Love you all to pieces!  Keep up the good work back home as I know you are!  Besos!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 10/21/13

So… I don’t know exactly what has been going on this week but it’s been a real riot.  Not an actual riot but you know.  A fun time.  A great event.  Thrilling adventures.  Etc.  Etc.

Friday night I think they were doing a thing for Breast Cancer Awareness and the Sagrada Familia was lit up all pink.  LEGIT!  They had a concert and everything.  It seemed pretty cool.  Then Saturday (basically all day) they had some street fair something or other.  I can’t figure out what this whole event was but I’m dying of curiosity.  It seemed like the coolest, funnest thing I couldn’t participate in.  There were games and food and clothes and Bollywood dancers and parades.  Super awesome!  And then Sunday there was some crazy procession thing going down at the Sagrada Familia.  Okay…so we asked some guy who looked official and not tourist-y and basically he said this.

Every year for the Holy Week, which is April, all the towns are assigned a certain “step” or time of Christ.  This year Mataro was in charge of the resurrected Christ and Barcelona had something to do with Mary so there were these massive statues that they carried.  Well, just for the heck of it, they decided that they wanted to bring all of these different areas together to do one big massive mass and a mini celebration (except not so mini since a ton of people were there) of the Holy Week at the Sagrada Familia.  It was SO cool!  We got to watch a little part of the procession and this very sweet, very catholic man explained everything to us.  He knew we were missionaries for the mormon church but he didn’t mind.  He said everything very respectfully by saying “we believe this…” and “this is very important in our religion…”.  So anyway, this is probably never going to happen ever again.  Everyone will go back to their normal lives doing their normal Holy Week in their towns.  It won’t ever be such a big gathering.  DOUBLE SWEET!  History in the making, my friends.  I was there.

As far as the missionary aspect of this week, not a whole lot happened. We pretty much feel like we are white washing this area.  We got nothing.  NOTHING.  Lots of cancellations.  Lots of no shows.  Lots of let downs.  But that just means we have something great in store.  With a lot of work, a little elbow grease, and a lot of praying we’ll be in tip-top shape in no time!  In theory.  We can’t all be as lucky as Ammon.  We got to be Himni and Omner sometimes.  Wow, check out that missionary cheesiness.  Yiiiikes.  Watch out world, here’s Hermana Durham!

My new companion (Sister Tuttle) is great!  She’s bubbly, fluent in Spanish, and buckets of fun.  Plus she works similarly to me so that has been very nice.  She is a sweetheart and she is optimistic about our area even though I am truly not.  I haven’t gotten us lost yet so that’s always a plus!  But, I’m worried about tonight because we have a cita and I don’t exactly remember where the street is…  That´s what maps are for!  Yay for looking like a tourist.  (Boo.  Boo on looking like a tourist.)

Also, first interview with the President.  It went well!  I really like President and Hermana Pace!  Seeing them really helps me feel better about everything.  It’s nice to know we have them supporting us!  I always feel a little more energized and ready to hit the streets again.

Friday we spent all day tracting.  Walking.  Contacting.  Knocking doors.  It was so truly exhausting that that night when we went to sleep I don’t really remember how it all went down.  I remember starting a prayer and then I woke up at 4 am.  The light was still on, the window was still open, I was on top of the covers…  I don’t think I finished my prayer….  This is what our life is like.  Welcome to the joys!  But!  Plus side, someone came up to US and asked us for a card.  Crazy, right?  Some people are just a little more open than others.  That´s why you have to talk to everyone or you´ll miss those people who are really ready.

So basically, yeah.  I am very excited for this next week and what it has in store.  We definitely have a lot to do, but it’ll feel good in the end.  It’ll all be worth it in the end!

I LOVE YOU ALL!  Keep up the missionary work!  Don´t forget to OLA (Orar-Leer-Asistir (Pray-Read-Attend))!  Besos!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 10/15/2013

So it´s transfers week.  By the by, that means I have Preparation Day on Tuesday instead of Monday.  I’m sure you have figured it out by now… seeing as I didn’t write yesterday.  So what is the fate of Hermana Durham and her companions?!   Drum roll please.  *Here is the drum roll*

Hermana Cozzolino has been called to serve…. in her home.  Shocker!  Hermana Franchino is heading to….. Valencia (tear my heart out with a spoon, why don’t you?) and I…. am still here.  Left in the dust.  Left to pick up the pieces. Left to try to explain where my companions are in the basically no Spanish I have to work with.  My new companion is Hermana Tuttle and I really feel like I know her from somewhere…like for real (I saw her when I first got here).  She comes in an hour actually.  That should be exciting.  She seems a little too bubbly and happy but I’m sure we will be buddies.  Bright side?  I have a bed now.  And a cupboard for my food.  And a real place in the bathroom.  I actually have a place to live in!  That´s a nice thought.

I’m going to be straight up and say that this week was legitimately the most uneventful week of my life.  We did nothing.  We had 12 lessons total.  Twelve, ladies and gents.  I am looking forward to getting back to actually working.  I’m real tired of not having any progressing investigators.  Hopefully next week I’ll have more to say about the work.

It’s been an interesting 6 weeks, full of laughs, tears, fights, hugs, passive aggressiveness (I really won’t survive this place if that’s how we have to solve problems, I’m more of the “talk it out, get it solved” type…), breakdowns on the balcony and so much more.  I’m actually pretty surprised that we’re already halfway through October.  Wasn’t it August just the other day?  I guess the time really does go by fast.  Days don’t.  Weeks do.

You know what I think is my favorite part of the day?  The whole hour between 9 and 10 when I get to read my scriptures.  I just LOVE the Book of Mormon.  It really feels like one of those kinds of books you just can’t put down.  I often catch myself reading the headings and getting totally excited for what is about to happen.  I’ve read the Book of Mormon tons of times but I have NEVER been able to notice this much stuff.  Never picked up on the timeline in it’s entirety.  Never noticed the parts that are being written in first person versus third person when it’s Mormon abridging it.  Now I get to notice though.  It’s been really fun to figure out all this stuff.  I have learned a ton in such a short period of time.  What has been extra fun is explaining it to my cute little convert companions.  I really was blessed to have pretty smart parents who knew their stuff.  Thanks Mom and Dad!

Thank you for all your love and support and care.  Thank you for the letters and emails!  It makes me smile to know what’s going on back at home.  What are the movies coming out?  How’s that snail one (we see the ads)?  How are the books?  How’s the music?  How’s everything?

Keep in touch!  I love you all!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 10/7/13

Okay so this week was pretty uneventful.  I mean just regular mission stuff here, regular mission stuff there…

I got a great package (from Mom)!  It felt like Christmas!  I was so so stoked!  I wore my dress, I wore the skirt, I wore the bracelet, the chocolate was gone in two days, the kids in my ward have already broken two crayons and torn out the pages in the coloring book… it’s been put to good use.  Thank you thank you thank you so very much my wonderful family!

We had Zone Enfoce which  was a “Hey we need to remember to do this better!” meeting and the Zone Leaders read the cool story about Hernando Cortes and the burning of the boats and that whole thing.  After that… WE BURNED BOATS!  WOOOOOO!  FIRE!!!  No but really.  They talked about all the things that could be holding us back from being really great missionaries and how we need to just let them go.  They passed out little paper boats and we wrote down all the struggles we were having.  Then we burned the little buggers on the roof of the church.  It was quite interesting.  I really enjoyed it!

This Saturday we find out our fate for the next transfer.  Dun dun duuuun! I hope I can stay with Hermana Franchino but I doubt it because she is due for a change in scenery (this has been her first and only area).  Hermana Cozzolino is 9 days away from seeing her family and so this leads to occasional break downs and such.  It´s been a real fun week.

I have gotten better at street contacting.  My spanish is not as smooth as others and so I stumble out “¿Puedo darle una tarjeta?” as best as possible and then my little native swoops in for the kill.  I am more confident in approaching people at least.  I can’t say much though still.  I´m not trying to be humble about it.  It’s for realsies guys.  Spanish? Mal.  Muy mal.  Es muy difícil para mi porque yo entiendo un poco palabras pero oraciones…es difícil.  Claro.  Con el tiempo.  Con el tiempo.

Jordi told us he doesn’t want us to meet with him anymore.  Stab to the heart, right?  We invited Julian to be baptized but he declined because he needs more time.  He’s one of those people who is interested in learning about all sorts of religions instead of finding one to commit too.  I hope we can change his mind.  We’re bringing a cake to his mom because it was her birthday.  He’s worried about it because they’re super Catholic and he doesn’t think his parents will be okay with us.  Hence the cake.  Nothing a little sugary goodness can’t resolve, eh?  Hermanas.

Heidi is doing okay.  She is having a really hard time with her husband.  We’ve started teaching him and he seems pretty cool.  He is more interested in it so that he can be a better father but the whole awkward marriage situation is kind of ruining this all.  They don’t love each other.  They don’t talk any more.  We aren’t allowed to give advice or suggest anything because, well, the white handbook says so.  We can pray though.

UM CONFERENCE!  Can I get a whoop whoop for how wonderful THAT was?  I watched the Relief Society session in Spanish but the other two that are available here were in English because someone always sets it up for the poor little American missionaries or the people who want to practice their English.  Watching it in Spanish is not the same.  The prophet sounds way weird!  But anyway, I got to watch the Saturday and Sunday morning sessions WITH you.  LIVE.  How cute is that?  It was at 6pm our time.  We watched the Saturday afternoon session at 2pm, not live obviously.  I cried through Holland’s talk.  Big ol’ crocodile tears.  It´s true that you get answers from Conference.  You pray, you write down your questions, and then BOOM.  Answers.  It’s a miracle.  All those talks were tiny little gifts to me to help me here.  I really needed it.  (It’s a real shame we can’t watch the Sunday Afternoon session because I bet that was great.  I’ll get an Ensign though so don’t worry!)

Also, they all said it.  Missionary work.  The time is here, my friends.  Start getting to work on finding some converts.  Dad, you have people to work with at work, sabe?  Girls, you have school friends and ballet friends and Up with Kids friends.  Mom, you have your work peeps and I think Karina needs a little lovin’, don’t you?  Maxwell, you have been given some extra time to bring your friends to the church before going back out to bring others. Utilize it!  All of you!  We have a lot of work to do.  It´s 11:59 now, not 11.  Get pumped! Okay?  Okay.  I expect to hear about all of YOUR missionary work now too.

Well… I wish I had more to share but alas, it was a slow week.  The only real thing worth mentioning is that I fell down some stairs.  Yeah.  On our way to the metro early in the morning I took a pleasant little tumble and scraped up both shins and both knees.  Normal people fall on their butts.  THIS gal falls on her knees and messes up her foot so much that she can’t go about her missionary duties.  I spent Friday afternoon with a bag of frozen spinach on my foot after I FINALLY convinced Hermana Franchino that my foot REALLY did hurt and I wasn’t, in fact, exaggerating how much pain I was in just walking around contacting.  That was a miserable hour and a half.  Bright side though? We contacted a woman who was so willing to give us her info (name, number, address, children’s ages) that it caught us off guard.  And then we knocked at the door of a woman who had said she wasn´t interested to the Elders.  She almost told us that too because she was about to leave for an appointment but we just asked if we could pray with her to bless her and her family.  Guess who’s a new investigator?  Yup.  So anyway, in spite of my pain, we had miracles.  I feel a lot better now, my foot is fine, I have a slight limp but it´s significantly improved.  Don’t worry!  It’s just so stupid that I fell down the stairs in the first place.  Ugh.  Mi vida.

I love you all to pieces.  I love hearing from you!  I love the letters and emails and everything.  It’s just so nice!  Thank you for your support and love!  You are the bomb.coms.  Now go convert people!

Hermana Durham