Monthly Archives: November 2013

E-Mail on 11/26/13 – “I’m a real boy!”

Or Sister missionary, rather.  I have officially completed my last week of training!

Oh yeah and transfers were this week… let’s see… where am I now?  What has happened to my district?  Really great questions everyone.  Elder Bascopé is now the District Leader/Zone Leader (He called yesterday and said “Soy Batman” because he is super super sick and can hardly speak… poor dear) and his companion is still Elder Seegmiller.  Elder Neumiller is kickin it still, mourning the loss of his old companion Elder Feller, but eagerly awaiting the arrival of his new companion Elder Ferrer, a tall Spaniard who is the other Zone leader now.  Hermana Tuttle and I are able to enjoy the Christmas season together with all the members we know and love.  It´s pretty awesome.  Elder Feller has moved on to be an Ayudante to the President (hot shot) so that means he is still in our Zone.  Fun!  Hermana Llerena is off to Lleida so we are getting a new piso mate, who happens to be the hermana who TRAINED Hermana Llerena.  Small world!  All of the changes should be done and settled by tomorrow.

I really super hate change, everyone.  I just do.  It’s not really my thing.  I also realized that I’m just chock full of anxiety all the time.  I get anxious about everything!  Typically things involving me having to use a talent or skill that I don’t actually have.  I was anxious all day Saturday just knowing that I could potentially be sent off somewhere else.  Not so good.

One thing that created anxiety this Sunday was Elder Neumiller who so kindly mentioned to someone in the bishopric that I knew how to play the piano.  I was quickly drafted to play for Sacrament because the 3 pianists were MIA.  I did some minor (or major) freaking out, picked the 4 songs (yeah… yeah I had to do FOUR songs!) that I knew how to play, because I really don’t know how to play many, and then I just had to play.  Hermana Tuttle quoted something from Esther about being called for such a time as this and then Elder Feller told me I needed to use my talents… stupid missionary pep talks.  UGH!

One of the members gifted Hermana Tuttle and I with scarves because we weren’t wearing any and apparently that’s a real sin because we are going to get sick and die or something.  That was very sweet of her.  My scarf collection is growing.

Apparently my companion is a movie star.  If you ever feel like watching the “Home Teachers” (we both acknowledged the lameness factor of that movie), she’s the main characters daughter.  Shannon Tuttle will appear in the credits.  I’ll get her autograph for you, if you so wish.

We were filling out cards on a bench, because our cards are like novels in comparison to the Elders’, and some guy shouts (in English) “Hey are you mormons?”  “We sure are!”  “Cool! Hi!” and then we had a one and a half hour chat with these two men about the church, about Spain, about the beach, about how we can use the internet and drive cars because we´re not Amish.  It was really fun actually!  Kind of refreshing to explain this stuff in English.  I was an active participant this time.

You know what´s a mistake?  The Dominoes 6.20 a person for unlimited pizza and soda deal.  I don’t know why we keep thinking we should go and eat there because we never feel good after.  To make it worth it, each person has to consume 6 slices.  WHAT THE WHAT?!  This is what happens when you put Elders in charge of what we do for lunch.  And guess what?  We’ll just do it again and again!  We just never learn, my friends.

Basically every Saturday you best believe Hermana Tuttle and I are in charge of singing for baptisms.  I don’t know how or why this happened but we are always the special musical number on the program.  We can only spice up these hymns so many ways.

Elder Bascopé has decided to continue to ask for cookies at every occasion.  He has promised me cookies in return but I don’t think that will happen.  I bet we will end up making him soup tonight because he’s sick. What would the Elders do without the Hermanas… I mean really.  We just are so useful.  (Actually I don’t know what we would do without the Elders either… they’re useful too!)

Tonight I get to show around a brand new, fresh from the MTC hermana how to be a real missionary.  YIKES! Anxiety again!  I don’t know how I will function.

I love you all, stay awesome!  Don’t forget to OLA (Orar, Leer, Assistir) because that’s what brings blessings and miracles and other good things in life.  MUAH MUAH MUAH!  Les quiero, con mucho cariño from Catalunya!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 11/18/13

It’s been nice and rainy the past 3 days.  I think my poor little umbrella is tired.  We’re all hoping (and hearing) that this will all clear up a little by tomorrow.  I’m kind of hoping that the rain is just a small period of time but not what winter is like.  I’d really rather not have a rainy winter.

Drenched missionaries are sad missionaries.  Well… I don’t know.  I think some people take pity on us so they accept our card or invitation to the church because what other crazy person would walk around in the rain unless they felt they were doing something important?

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about some people we are working with so let’s get down to that.  It ain’t much folks, but it’s all I got for ya.

Betty and Augustin:  Betty is a menos activa who hasn’t been to church in a real long time.  She also basically told us “Good Luck” because she doesn’t think we will get her there since she works.  Conveniently, her job is taking care of Augustin.  Augustin is the SWEETEST CUTEST MOST ADORABLE ancient Español who can’t really remember things well but he remembers us and he loves talking to us about everything.  We read him some scriptures from 2 Nefi… woah.. Spanish moment.  2 Nephi 4 and he started to cry and say it was true.  What a precious soul.  We are trying very hard to get him to agree to go to church so then we can basically sucker Betty into it.  Tricky, tricky missionaries.

Yudaily:  Yudaily is from Cuba.  She’s basically the cutest thing on the planet.  She has been super eager to meet with us and everything and she loves what we are doing.  But her husband doesn’t.  He doesn’t want anything to do with religion.  So we are currently out of contact with her… that sucks.

The Familia Lopez:  These precious souls come to us from Brazil.  Vandu, the father, speaks only Portuguese.  Challenge?  Yes.  Manageable?  Of course!  Nothing is impossible with God on your side!  He speaks all languages!  Anyway… Zuleide is the mom and she works a ton but she’s super sweet.  Maria Laura is 12, Pedro is 10 and Lorena is 7.  All super sweet.  Vandu, Maria Laura and Pedro have baptism dates for the 7th of December but I think Zuleide might put an end to that (she wasn’t there when you set the dates because she was working). Vandu is SO prepared but Zuleide wears the pants.  DARN IT!  Mujeres.

Patti and Mireia:  Patti is a menos activa, her mother is Camila our next door neighbor.  Mireia is her 8 year old daughter who was SUPER rowdy when we first met her but she has really calmed down over the months.  (Months… I’ve known her for months… CRAZY!)  We wanted to set a date with her (it doesn’t count for our numbers but it helps the ward grow) and she said she didn’t think she could be baptized because her dad won’t let her.  We said we can just pick a day to work on as a goal but that we’d ask permission first of course.  Then she prayed and so help me if this little girl can’t get baptized, my heart will break into a thousand pieces.  She said thanks for us, thanks that we could come over, she told God she was excited for the 7th to be baptized and said she’d really like it if she could be.  So stinking cute.  I will be so so sad if her dad won’t let her be baptized.

Hermana Tuttle knows all the songs to Pete’s Dragon.  She never disappoints.  She actually is a wonderful little singer with a lot of lyrics chillin’ in her head so we have a good time jammin’ to her songs.

Hermana Alatorre came to work with me this week because she is my sister training leader.  It was nice except for that really cool part where EVERYTHING FIRES (everything is cancelled).  Madre mia.  That was a really crappy day.  I looked like the saddest kicked puppy at Noche de Hogar.  Elders Bascope and Seegmiller stole my agenda and put in smiley faces and a scripture (Alma 38:3) so that was really sweet of them.  They did demand cookies shortly after, so less sweet.  Funny still, because Elder Bascope doesn’t use a ton of English so it’s cute when he demands cookies rudely.  It’s like trying to turn down a 5 year old.

So yeah… this has been my life.  Lots of cancellations, lots of rain, lots of being abandoned by Hermana Tuttle for her intercambios (72 hours this last time because she missed her flight home…awkward…), but this week should be a little more calm.  Saturday we find out the fate of our little area.  I hate change.  But oh well.  The sun will come out tomorrow.  All will be well!

Les quiero un monton!  Besos!  (You get normal sized besos this week, I guess).

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 11/12/13 (cool date, huh?)

Re:  The Final Countdown

That’s an interesting title for someone who hasn’t been on her mission long, isnt it?  I’m sure it will make its appearance again in the future.  Let’s see where this letter goes.

So we’ve been teaching English to 3 Chinese kids.  That’s all kinds of language barriers there since we’re teaching Spanish to English…. It´s going better than you’d think though.  At least they regularly show up to class so far.  It makes it seem like that hour isn’t a waste of time.

Rumor has it that we are running out of supplies because there are too many missionaries, too much demand.  No more agendas for us… or pamphlets… we were dry on copies of the Book of Mormon too for awhile there.  Scary!  Hopefully that all works itself out in the end since we kind of need all that stuff.  In the meantime, we just need to go to one of the Chinese stores and buy ourselves agendas.  Cool.

My companion happens to be one of the Sister Training Leaders so that means I get to be abandoned a couple times each transfer.  This week I was left to my own defenses (or not really since that’s against the rules) for all of Thursday and Friday.  I had to answer the phone and make calls and set up appointments.  It definitely could have gone more smoothly.  I hung out with my roomies both days.  I was supposed to have a member come with me on Friday so that we could do work in our area but she called last minute to cancel.  BOO!  But she’s on her mission now so it makes sense that she had some packing or whatever.  I forgive her.

I bought a plant.  A cute little (I think) aloe vera plant.  Her name is Penelope.  She sits on my desk and just looks cute and all.  She was 1 euro.  Totally worth it.

Cleaning check tomorrow!  Are we prepared?  No way José.  Does that matter?  Of course not!  Wish me luck.  Our piso wasn’t looking too hot a few hours ago and I can’t imagine it getting much better.

Something I’ve realized this week is that it’s very important to make sure your member who is coming with you actually knows what you are wanting to talk about.  I was super not confident in inviting this one member to our lesson because I know she just talks a lot and she’s pretty intense (She´s a Catalunyan… so… yeah…) but well member presents are important so we invited her anyway.  She ended up talking the ENTIRE lesson with our investigator, Yudaily (from Cuba) and so we literally got to say nothing.  It definitely could have gone more smoothly but it certainly went as I predicted.  Next time we’ll verse our members on the lessons first.  All you members, read Preach My Gospel.  That way you know what we are trying to teach here.  Plus it just has some super solid, great stuff!  Lots of great scriptures and tips and everything.

We’re working with a part-member family right now that is super cute!  The older son TOLD us to come on Monday nights.  He basically reserved us for everyone Monday night so we can do a FHE (or NDH in Spanish) every Monday.  He is the sweetest thing in the world.  We will hopefully get his step-dad and half-brother baptized soon.  They really are precious.  I’ll write more about them next time.

I have sprinted home TWICE this week.  Barefoot.  Nothing like flying (or dying… let´s be real) home with only about 3 minutes until curfew.  Miserable with a capital M.  We made it though.  Both times.  NAILED IT!!!  Bet you didn’t know I could run 7 blocks.  It´s okay, I didn’t know either.

I’m on week 11 of my 12 week training program.  Holy Hannah it’s really been that long!  I am almost a real live grown up missionary.  I can’t believe it.  How did that happen?  Your mission really does fly.  They weren’t kidding!

Helaman 12:15… The Nephites knew what was up about the Solar system

Helaman 3:35… I don´t remember why I wrote this one down but I’m sure it’s awesome since I wrote it down.

I love you all, I hope you are doing your best when it comes to missionary work!  Keep on keeping on!  Besitos!  Les quiero!

Hermana the Olympic Runner Durham.

E-Mail on 11/4/13

So it’s been another festivity filled week in Spain.  Shocker there.  Long capes, foam swords, painted faces, dashing princes… Sounds like Halloween, right?  Wrong.  It was the nerd convention I just described for you.  I don’t actually know what was going on but that was during the past two days and I have seen more costumes for that than I saw on Halloween.  I did luck out and see a little Zorro on Halloween who was pretty upset with his mother.  I’ve never seen Zorro run so fast!

Spanish spaghetti is more disappointing than regular spaghetti.  I’ve learned that this week.  It’s not bad.  I just haven’t been able to get behind this whole pasta thing yet.  I’m trying real real hard.  It’s rough.

I was very lucky to receive 3 wonderful Halloween cards.  This helped us get all kinds of festive in the piso.  AND I got a massive package from the Eric Briggs clan.  That was so awesome!  I am so very thankful for that (and don’t worry, I’m writing a response to them to say thanks, Mom)!  It was a very fun week for mail!

Our piso, to get in the holiday spirit, is haunted.  The lights flicker.  The windows open on their own.  Doors slam shut.  It’s pretty cool I guess.  I did end up fixing one of the windows.  I was carefully inspecting it, since I’m clearly super qualified for house repairs, and realized that something was sticking out the bottom and that was making it impossible to close.  Since we apparently don’t have any useful tools in the house, I used the only tool, a screwdriver, to hammer it into place.  Voila.  The window is shut!  I am the champion, my friends.  And I’ll keep on fighting, ’til the end.

I often wonder to myself if some of the affects of a mission are reversible, such as the crazy shoulder pain, the disgusting feet, and the fact that I am losing a TON OF… hair.  Weight would have been a better end to that sentence, but alas, hair is the winner!  Seriously.  Everyday I am pulling handfuls of hair out during personal study.  Totes gross.  Totes depressing.  Totes unacceptable!  It’s the water apparently.  It’s literally going to kill me.

For Halloween we dressed all in black and looked like missionaries (totally original, I know) and hit the town.  We snuck up on our friend Juan Carlos, the churro boy, and shouted boo!  Which scared him.  Then I said Happy Halloween, Hermana Tuttle said trick-or-treat, and we actually got a bag of deep fried something.  WIN!  Then we got trapped in the dark in a piso so that was like being in a scary haunted house.  WIN!  Then we went to the Primary’s Halloween party which was SUPER cute!  All the kids had to wear costumes that had recycled elements to them.  There were some very impressive costumes.  Then they pranced down the red carpet, got judged, and were given prizes.  Super win!  So all in all, not a bad Halloween, right?  Someone also said I look like Adele.  Actually 3 people have said that now.  So, I´m Adele.  Pretty cool.

Helaman 5:35-42.  Aminadab is pretty awesome.  I keep thinking of less actives/inactives when I read this.  Off you go!  Go study!

We had lots of cancellations, lots of hiking, lots of fun.  It’s getting pretty cold now but still not cold enough to prevent me from sweating a ton.  Boo.  I’m counting on the winter time to bring some relief.  Christmas lights have been put up all over Spain and Hermana Tuttle and I bought advent calendars because we just couldn’t help ourselves.  Tis the season!

Thank you for all your love and support and wonderfulness!  Keep being awesome!  Sorry it was rushed at the end here because I have 5 more minutes and I still need to write the President!  I’ll save more time next time!


Hermana Adele Durham