Monthly Archives: December 2013

E-Mail on 12/30/13 – A White Christmas

Well another week down…. And was this one a busy one.

Christmas Eve we ate with the Familia Lopes for a little bit but their oven was actually broken. They were kind of freaking out about what they would do for Christmas dinner since it was not going to be cooked. I felt really bad about it… but you know… nothing we could do either. Then we went over to Vanessa´s house (she´s the relief society president) and had a very delicious French dinner with all the other missionaries. It was lots of fun! Up until we realized we were going to be home late. And then we lost our phone. Yeah. Our nice phone is somewhere in Barcelona right now. New phone, new number. Merry Christmas.

Christmas day was awesome! We got to eat with the Familia Lopes again, this time they had a working oven. Then we ran over to Liset´s house to have very delicious food again for another lunch. Then we went and found more food at the JAS center. Then we went to MaryAnn and Damian´s house to skype and eat. THAT WAS AWESOME! It was so nice to see my family and just talk to them. I love them a little bit, lotta bit.

So Yuli got baptized. That was a whole lot of crazy.  She told us on Monday she didn´t want to do it… then Friday we were going over the baptismal interview questions to make sure she was ready. I feel bad that it was a really slapped together baptism but she really wanted it right away and so… yeah. Baptism. It feels almost like it didn´t happen because it was THAT fast. Everyone in our Zone baptized this month. We saw 61 baptisms as a mission which is pretty freaking incredible. It was a white christmas for us afterall!

This week Kofi is getting baptized. He´s about the sweetest man you´ll ever meet. He´s from Ghana and he speaks English and he basically came converted. It´s been a real pleasure teaching him. Oh and Heidi´s husband, Carlos, has accepted a baptismal date for the 18th of January. I´m pretty stoked about that, seeing as he was a very difficult sell. We have a long way to go for him but we will make it happen. Miracles happen!

We´ve been sick the past few days so we haven´t gotten around to doing much. I got a really beautiful blessing from Elder Bascopé. He was worried about giving me one because it was going to be in Spanish. I told him the priesthood works no matter what language so… let´s get going. It was perfect. We love the priesthood! It´s so stinkin´ great!

I wish I had more time to be more in depth. I´ll try to fill in the gaps letter and hopefully in my journal. Maybe letters? I don´t know. I´ll work something out. I love you all! Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR! WOOO! Celebrate hard for all us missionaries who need to be asleep! I love you!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 12/23/13 – Fleiz Naviblah!!! . . . Riiiiight.

“Hit it Konky!” (spell check this name Mom)

Oh man have I been so excited for this email, and yes.  Just so that I could quote one of the best Christmas movies of all time.

I gots my Christmas package.  Patience has never been a strong attribute of mine so I have been really struggling with the not peeking into my stuff thing.  I also listen to my Christmas music every morning and night.  “In the third drawer I keep….”  It´s been really great.  Our house is filled with various decorations and presents and wonderfulness.  Thanks for all the great things!

This week we’ve done lots of service again.  (I just did a time check and regrettably I have only saved 8 minutes to type up this email.  Fail.)  We helped a part member family move down the street.  We recruited the Elders to assist.  It was super weird to wear jeans, let me tell you.  It’s been a long time!   It’s miraculous to me how the Lord inspires us to be where we need to be exactly when we need to be there.  We were headed to pass by an investigator’s home.  As we were sadly disappointed that the investigator was not there, someone was struggling down the stairs.  It was our menos activa who lives in the same building!  She opened the door and explained that a truck was coming with a bunch of new furniture.  We offered our services, which she was hesitant to accept at first because we’d have to wait for a few minutes.  We told her it was really no big deal, that we’re here for service so we were in.  We got to help her out, which she really needed since apparently her spine has been hurting her.  The Lord knew that Cynthia needed a hand and so he inspired us to pass by at the exact moment she was needing us.  So yeah… we got to help move stuff up to the third floor in skirts.  Nothing like a little unexpected exercise, right?

This coming week we have a million and ten places to be and we’re trying our best to organize our schedules to accommodate everyone without offending anyone.  It kinda sucks.  Not gonna lie.  We are eating at 5 at the Familia Lopes’ house, then at 8 at the Relief Society President’s house tomorrow.  Then on the 25th we have lunch at 12 at the Lopes house again, then other lunch at 3 with Liset.  Then “dinner”/skype at MaryAnn and Damian’s house.  Doesn’t sound complicated, right?  Wrong.  It takes about 2 hours to handle a meal cita.  Boo.  We’ll figure it out.  We’re well fed and taken care of this week, I promise.  We also have the 31st, 1st, and the 6th all filled up too.  Transfers is the 7th so that will be my preparation day.  Just a heads up.

Thanks for all the love and support.  I really have the greatest family in the world, I think.  I know it more and more every week!  I feel so very blessed.  Remember that the best gift you can give this year is yourself.  Your services, your time, your talents.  There are people out there in need of a little apoyo, caridad, amor, esperanza.  Yo quiero invitarles a buscar oportunidades para servir alguien.  Go out and do work, ladies and gents!  Les quiero mucho, besos y abrazos!  Feliz Naviblah!  Bonne Nadal!  Next time I’ll write more (because I’ll have a lot of fun festive things to write about, claro!),  Sorry about the shorty this week!

Con cariño, Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 12/16/13 – Estamos Aquí Para Servir…

In whatever way that means.  When you offer service at every turn, you never really know what is going to come from it.  A missionary’s gotta do what a missionary’s gotta do.  Here are the random things we’ve done this week that we never would have thought about in regards to the typical mission life:

-We went to Carolina’s house for a lunch cita.  While there we tried to open the door leading to the dining area and the door wouldn’t open.  At all.  Not even the slightest bit.  I asked Carolina if she had a screwdriver or anything because we’d just have to unscrew the handle and pop it open.  So yeah.  We busted into someone’s living room.  The door is now functioning normally, no worries.

-The Familia Lopes often asks for our help with homework.  Usually it’s English homework but lately we’ve branched out into Math.  Hermana Tuttle took on the task this week of rewriting a test for Pedro so that he could practice.  Since the schools teach in Catalán, she needed to understand what the problem was, rewrite the instructions and then write new problems.  Super cool.

-We went to Alfons X and while waiting for Johnny to join us on a cita with a man from Nigeria, we talked to our Churro friend.  His machine was broken and he was trying his very best to put it back together with the assistance of his friend, the carousel man.  We asked if we could do anything and he took us up on the offer.  We climbed up into his churro stand and held down the machine while he did his best.  It works!  So yeah… that was weird.

-While at another eating cita with Esther, she asked if we could help her out with something.  Apparently some people in the ward were celebrating their 25 anniversary and she was holding a surprise party in the chapel.  She asked if we could cut out hearts to decorate.  We spent a decent chunk of time cutting out hearts and Hermana Tuttle wrote their names on two of them in her pretty cursive writing.

-The Elders are moving pisos sometime soon and they were gifted a couch…but… they currently live on the top floor of an apartment that doesn’t have a working elevator.  We live on the second floor of an apartment with a working elevator and we have a pretty massive piso.  So yeah.  We moved a couch into our piso.  The things we do to help out the Elders.  Sheesh.  We actually really love the couch so we might not be willing to give it back to them.

On top of all that weirdness here’s another fun thing that happened this week.  On Wednesday we were walking back from a cita that had fired on us.  We were being bad little missionaries and talking in English and a woman said “Where are you from?”.  She had apparently lived in North Carolina for a long time and her daughter was still in the States.  She´s from Honduras.  We talked awhile and gave her our card.  Friday afternoon she calls us and says “Hey I want you to come meet a friend of mine, do you have time at 7?” and since that is like… AMAZING that we were contacted TWICE by here we totally agreed to go.  What the heck?!  Miracle!  So we head all the way out to where she is and it’s like…super far away.  We get lost.  We call her and she directs us to her piso and then we successfully get inside.  Once inside we are led to a room with, I would say, about 9 other women in it.  Chairs are set up in a circle.  It’s like a whole discussion thing going down.  Apparently she is a pastor of a church and every Friday they meet and have a little gospel discussion.  She invited us to her church (which she was super annoyed that we didn’t attend) and said that she expected us to come the next Friday.  Man.  We totally just got caught into another religion!  Everything that was said was really great, very positive, decently close to our beliefs so it wasn’t a bad use of time.  Just an unexpected use of time.  Weirdest week ever.

Anyway, everyone is super excited for Christmas.  I have received a nice package from Grandma (I´m dying not being able to open the stocking…), a fun advent card from Jena, a fun card with decorations from Grandma, and I think another christmas card from Jena.  Wow.  I feel super loved and our piso is cute and decked out!  Thank you so much for all your love and care and support and everything!  I really appreciate it!  I miss you all, I hope you all have a great week!  I’m off to share the gospel!

Besos!  Les quiero!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 12/9/13

This week started off pretty rough.  Hermana Tuttle and Hermana Liu were both sick as dogs so they stayed in while Hermana Scoville and I tried to hit all the citas we could without adding too many on because we had no idea how healthy our companions would be the next day.  Wednesday Hermana Tuttle joined the living and then Thursday Hermana Liu came around (just in time for….. Weekly Planning… boo).

It was definitely an interesting few days at the beginning there.  I taught a lesson practically by myself because I was with a youth and got a baptismal date out of it.  I hope that progresses.  The woman is a little interesting though so we’ll see how it goes.  It was actually pretty funny because I had forgotten all about this cita and I was at the church with Hermana Scoville because we had just taught a lesson with her converso reciente.  When we left the room I looked down and saw the lady that we had a cita with and she said (obviously in Spanish) “Hey I’m here for my cita… it´s right now” and I said “You’re kind of early… hold on a moment”.  I turned around and BOOM!  Fernanda was right there.  She’s 16 and basically is the best.  She is super willing to help out so it was a miracle she was there.  I asked if she had time right then, she said yes, we sprinted down the stairs.  I might have abandoned Hermana Scoville…. yeah… not great on the whole missionary thing…  To be fair, Hermana Scoville WAS with the members who came for that lesson with her CR.  I just didn’t know that they weren’t able to stay with her for more time.  My bad.  Anyway, while teaching her, she gets a call and I hear “Hola Yuli. Tenemos una cita con usted este noche pero…” and it was Hermana Tuttle calling to cancel the cita.  I shouted “It’s my companion!” and Yuli just laughed and said “I’m in the cita…” So that was awesome.

The Lopes Family has demanded that we come over for Christmas.  They told us it wasn’t an invitation, it was obligatory.  Zuleide also offered her phone to us so that we could call you guys because her plan lets her call to everyone (including the 3rd degree of hell) but Brazil which is what she bought the phone plan for in the first place.  They’re really sweet.  Apparently they bought us Christmas presents too.  They call US to set up appointments for us to come by.  I have never loved anyone more than I love this family!  (Aside from my own family… of course).

We found out on Saturday that one of our investigators passed away.  Augustin.  He was 89 years old so it wasn’t a huge surprise but at the same time, it’s always a surprise.  We’re quite crushed.  He was a sweetheart.  But he’s with the people he loves and had been missing and so for that we are very grateful.

It was the Primary program this Sunday.  HOW FREAKING CUTE!!!!  The kids did a bang up job.  It was also really cool to hear all the songs that I had been learning with MY primary kids just at the beginning of this year, but in Spanish.  Some of those songs are a real mouthful in Spanish as they try to cram all the words in.  It was super cute.  All the kids had name tags like missionaries and the boys had ties and the girls had bows.  Super precious.  Loved every minute of it!

Our ward mission leader made all of us shirts!  They are personalized and everything.  They say “The Spain Barcelona Mission” with a lighthouse and our names.  I was stunned!  They are so super cool!  He is the best.

In Relief Society we took a couple seconds and said how grateful we were for the help and support of the Relief Society and we passed out brownies and little cards that told them we loved them and were here to serve them if they needed anything.  We have plenty of food to eat.  We also have set a goal to learn EVERYONE’S name by the end of this transfer because we realized it was just as much our fault for not befriending the ladies.  Don’t worry.  All is well.  We are fed and we are loved.

Today we went to Parc Güell.  Kind of.  It costs 8 euros now (before it was free) and so we decided that it wasn’t really worth it.  I might decide that it is worth it later but for now it’s not worth it.  We took lots of nice pictures and spent a jolly good time talking about our families and everything.  I usually end up talking to the natives so I get to practice my Spanish.  Anyway, Parc Güell is really pretty, it probably is really cool where all the cool architectural stuff is but alas… I did not see it in it’s entirety.  Just parts.  Que pena.

That’s about all.  I need to get better at contacting people.  People still scare me.  I need to also get better at spanish…obviously.  It’s coming along.  The members are really nice and say that I have learned a lot more in the past few months but I think they’re lying.  Little by little though.  Poco a poco.

Keep reading, praying and showing up to church.  I love you all! You’re pretty awesome people, ¿sabe una cosa?

!Les quiero un monton!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 12/2/13 – Thanksgiving

Todo!

Hermana Scoville approached me in our kitchen and said “Did you have any plans Thursday night?”  and I said no, we were free.  Then she said “Well… I bought some stuff for Thanksgiving dinner and we could all eat together when we get home from Noche de Hogar and after planning.”  So I said “heck yeah, let’s do it.”  So basically Tuesday night, Wednesday afternoon and night, and Thursday afternoon we spent our free time preparing food.  Our fridge was full of ziploc containers of various special items that we could eat.

Thursday in the capilla there was a reunion/celebration of some old people home across the street.  We had to learn some phrases in Catalan so we could welcome them graciously and escort them to and from places.  It was the least productive time I’ve ever spent as a missionary.  Standing.  Freezing.  Being a bouncer and not letting people in until we made sure they were good to come in by getting the little woman who reminded us of Edna from the Incredibles.  “Bienvenguts a l’Esglesia de Jesucrist dels Sants dels Derrers Dies.”  I really don’t know where the other missionaries where in all this.  The Barrio 3 Elder’s were MIA.  Elder Ferrer and Elder Neumiller were annoyed that they had to watch an empty room.  Hermana Scoville and Hermana Liu had to watch the room with the dancers in it.  Elder Bascopé and Elder Seegmiller were stuck in their house because Elder Bascopé is sick but then EVERYONE showed up just in time for Noche de Hogar.  Of course.  Ugh.  Elder Bascopé let me wear his gloves because I had frozen my hands by standing by the door for 4 hours.

Okay, but THEN that night we went back home, finished planning and then microwaved everything.  Chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, corn, and rice.  We also had PUMPKIN PIE!  Hermana Durham successfully has made her own pumpkin pie.  It was so deliciously delicious.  Our Thanksgiving was legit. Completed by gratitude leaves on the wall, a little turkey for a centerpiece, and some lovely MOTAB Christmas music playing.  It was L-E-G-I-T, everyone.

As far as anything else goes…I organized the area book on Saturday while Hermana Tuttle taught English class.  Elder Bascopé tripped me on the way into class so I stole his gloves but then he just let me have them so that was no fun.  Hermana Scoville needed help getting out of her jacket because she had zipped her scarf in there.  That was probably the funniest thing ever.  We were laughing so hard in the bathroom we were silent and crying.  Oh the life of a missionary.  You find the littlest things entertaining because…well… what else are you going to do?

It’s been a rough few days.  I don’t really know what is going on.  I’m obviously not doing something right because otherwise we’d have more success in our area.  I need to figure that out real quick here so that I can be a useful missionary.  I need to contact more.  Scary.

Spanish is coming along poco a poco.  Everyone is pretty understanding about it and they try to be patient.  Some people think I speak more than I actually do up until they ask a question and I’m staring at them all blank-faced.  Fun times.

Our relief society doesn’t really like us that much.  That’s a hard hurdle to have to leap over.  We’re going to make brownies and thank you notes and hopefully they’ll start to feed us.  They only feed the Elders.  The president of the Relief Society handed us our food calendar and said sorry because she couldn’t find people to put their names down.  Not even SHE put her name down but the Elders list was practically full.  She’s been a big supporter of how hard the Elders work and walk the streets and they need to be fed but what the crap?!  We need it too!  It’s hard.  We don’t know how to fix that.  I don’t think she even tried to pass around our calendar.  So yeah.  Brownies.  That should help.

It really hasn’t been an eventful week.  Aside from telling Elder Bascopé to stop coughing, trying not to strangle Elder Seegmiller (just kidding, just kidding), getting to know Elder Ferrer “the white one”, avoiding the topic of politics with Elder Neumiller, and kickin it with Hermana Tuttle, I’ve got nothing to really share that I can remember. I’ll try to come up with more for next week.

Until then… LES QUIERO! Gracias por todo su apoyo y caridad para mi.  Gracias por las cartas.  Gracias por… pues… simplemente por todo.  Yo tengo la mejor familia en todo el mundo.  Claro que sí.  Besos!

Con cariño, Hermana Durham