Monthly Archives: February 2014

E-Mail on 2/24/14 – Happy 7 months!

Okay so… I’m sure you’re all wildly disappointed in the last email.  So was I.  Spent 7 hours of preparation day getting to and waiting in Barcelona for my companion.  We arrived back in Vic with about 35 minutes of preparation day left with a lesson immediately following.  Yay.

Hermana Findlay is now in Zaragoza and is a Sister Training Leader.  She freaked out.  She doesn’t feel capable of such a calling.  I know she is.  She’s incredible.  She’s the hardest worker I know, on top of being so loving and sweet.  I am really very sad that we only had a transfer together.

My new companion is Hermana Hamson.  She is from Colorado, is 23, and this is probably her last area.  She leaves in June.  She was companions with Hermana Hassett awhile back (remember her?  My MTC buddy?) so that’s fun!  So yeah, President Pace did it again.  Making me teach someone the area after only one transfer.  The nice thing is that Vic is small and so is the branch so it’s not too bad.

Hermana Findlay and I finished our week pretty strong with 36 lessons.  The goal is like 20 or 25.  Boom!  We rock.  This week wasn’t too bad considering how rough it started.  Monday, Hermana Findlay and I had 10 so that helped start us off.

We have a new branch mission leader (kinda like the Cottonwood 7th ward…).  Abel.  I’m so excited to work with a BML who can actually meet with us.  He will really help this work move along!  We also have Vanessa, Piero and Alan as new branch missionaries.  ¡Por fin!  I can see great things in the future of this branch.

I’m sure you’re all dying to know, but yes.  Kevin was baptized and confirmed.  Wow.  He’s so awesome.  He also has the Aaronic priesthood, ordained a priest on Sunday.  Not bad.  Future missionary?  I hope so.  He’s so great.  His dad and the girlfriend of his dad came to the baptism and were all cute and emotional about it.  I have such high hopes for this family!  Aside from Kevin being late and needing to be baptized 3 times, everything went well.  I always get super worked up over these things.  I was pacing.  Now Kevin is a member of this great church, he was ordained a priest, and next week he’ll get a calling.  I hope this keeps him active.  I don’t want to be baptizing menos activos.  I’m not okay with that.

I’m getting better at contacting…finally.  I still have some fear of initially approaching people but that’s going away.  Once they’re contacted, I don’t mind at all harassing them for their number, to pray in the street or whatever.  Just the initial “excuse me…”. Poco a poco.

I do love Vic.  I still have my heart in Barcelona though.  The first area love…ya know?  Penelope is still alive and happy.  Spring is coming around….slowly…but it’s coming!

7 months down as of today.  Wow.  I am looking forward to working hard this transfer.  I am far from perfect and I have a lot I need to improve.  I hope to give all that I can.  It’s a wonderful life I get to live.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  It’s not easy, but it’s the best and most rewarding.  I tell you, the smile of people who feel the spirit….worth every scowl and “no”.  So worth it.  Seeing Kevin get baptized, knowing what it meant for him, knowing how much he wanted it… worth every single hard moment.  I love what I do and I hope that the next few months go by slowly.  (They won’t…but I can still hope)

I love you all, thank you for all the love and support and everything.  I couldn’t do it without you!  Have a wonderful week!  Nos vemos!

Hermana Durham

E-mail on 2/18/14 – Bad First Day

So… yeah.  It took my companion 4 hours to meet me where we were supposed to meet so now I have literally no time to write.  Or buy food.  Or anything really.  Not a happy camper.  I love you guys, I’ll respond to all your mail.

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 2/10/14 – That awkward moment when . . .

I only have like 10 minutes to write…. sorry!  I didn’t see that happening.

This week was really good.  We are starting to really get into the swing of things.  We’ve had lots of great ideas on how we can better work with the branch to give them a little jump start in the missionary work department (because we can’t do this without them… like Pres. Hinckley said “There´s a better way!”).  We are excited to see some big improvements.

I’m contacting people on the street a lot more now!  WOO!  It’s only been like…what?  7 months.  Yeah.  Fail.  I know… but I’m trying to improve.  It’s really not that easy to stop people on the street and hope they listen to you, okay?  Not easy.  Oh AND in a different language, don’t forget that part.  It does provide lots of adventures.  We contacted a ninja, for example.  Yep.  Super cool.

Kevin invited us over for lunch yesterday after church.  It was super sweet of him and his whole family was way nice and we started talking about birthdays and asked him when his birthday was and he said “Sorpresa! Hoy!” and then we were super stunned.  The little punk didn’t say ANYTHING!  But he invited us to his birthday party!  AWWWWWWWW!  He introduces us as his sisters too.  He invited his friends to come pray with us and he prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true.  It was pretty solid.  We’re bringing him cookies today because we felt super bad that we had no idea it was his birthday.  I just kind of love this kid.  We’re going to be best friends forever.

I feel bad that this email really is pretty low on quality…. sorry.

We had our piso check today.  Passed with flying colors, like expected.  Hermana Findlay was freaking out this whole past week that we wouldn’t pass.  She’s a worry wart.  Which is funny because normally I’M the one who worries about everything.  I can be cool as a cucumber now because she’s got the worrying all under control.  We’re still having too much fun together.  I’m really stressed out that she is going to leave this next week…. I like her too much!  She can’t go!  I have no idea where everyone lives!  AHHHH!

So yeah… transfers are here again.  How did that happen?  I have no idea.  So next email won’t be on Monday, but rather Tuesday.  There are a lot of people that I met my very first day who are going home this transfer.  It’s a little bit mind blowing.  This time ZIPS by… I know you still don’t believe it, mom, but I’m telling you.  It really is fast.  The days take forever to end but the weeks feel like a blink.  Every weekly planning we’re like “what the heck…. didn´t we just do this….”

Well…I love all of you!  Have a really wonderful week, spread the gospel, love lots (Valentine’s day is coming up after all), smile, remember OLA, and yeah.  Next week I’ll try to be a little more put together.  Les quiero!  Besos y abrazos!

Hermana Sorry About This Email Durham

E-Mail on 2/3/14 – W.O.W.

I think I could turn that subject title into something cool like “Week of Wonders” but really… “wow” just sums it up so well.  Remember when I was talking about Mosiah 24 being our theme?  Like how we needed to be patient in our trials because God was testing our faith and patience.  Well, just like the people of Alma, we have been freed.  WOW!  Wow.  God really just does love us.

This week we had a two day Specialized Training conference as a zone.  Like I might have mentioned before, the Badalona Zone (of which I am a part) has the same schedule as the Barcelona Zone (of which I WAS a part) so you best believe I was stoked out of my mind to go back “home” for a bit.  Yeah.  It was so nice to see my little family again.  A little weird though.  The training was incredible.  We learned a lot of great tools, practiced our teaching skills (or what we could… Elder West, companions with Elder Bascopé, made for a really intense investigator… Elder Bascopé had to kind of rescue us at one point because it was intense), prayed, sang, enjoyed our time together.  Hermana Findlay and I came back from it with a refreshed look on our area and how we could go about making the work better and more effective.  It was a WONDERFUL time spent.

Also this week, two of our investigators READ THE BOOK OF MORMON ON THEIR OWN!  Yeah.  Baby steps.  BUT WOW!  YAY!  It’s been hard to convince them to read this wonderful book but you know, you can’t really be converted until you do.  Our tactic?  We only read the Book of Mormon with them.  Until they start reading it on their own, we won’t teach anything else.  They won’t keep bigger commitments if they aren’t keeping the little commitments.  It’s a slow process but one that is working, one that will last and that is our goal.  We’re here to baptize converts, not less actives.

We had our Sister Training Leader, Hermana Rhodes, come up Thursday night to hang out with us.  Thursday, pretty late, we contacted a man on the street and said we had a message to share.  He said okay and asked if we were cold because his house was right around the corner.  His name is Pep.  We talked a little about the restoration and Christ.  He’s atheist but he agreed to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon and invited us over for dinner Friday night.  We’re slightly worried that he’s only in it to be with young american girls, especially because Hermana Rhodes is too stinkin’ cute for her own good, but… we’re hopeful… We will learn real quick if that’s all he cares about because we’ll be going with our Relief Society president, not Hermana Rhodes.  The cool thing about this story is that a man invited us in from off the street and let us share our message!  People hardly give us the time of day!  I’ll keep you posted on Pep.

Friday.  This was a day full of miracles.  We went out and about, visiting people, doing the things we learned about in Specialized Training, we played contacting games (“You have to contact someone with a moustache” “You have to contact someone with a dog” etc).  We walked past a building and Hermana Rhodes decided to push on the door.  It was open, so we knocked the building.  We got a new investigator.  SWEET!  Then we kept doing what we do and headed our way back home for lunch.  Okay so here comes in the real blessing, the giant miracle.  I’m talkin’ grand-daddy of miracles here.  We went out to meet with Karla.  She wasn’t at work… super weird.  She never fires.  We contacted the street instead and ran into Jesus.  I know what you’re thinking, “Wow that IS a HUGE miracle.”  Don’t be fooled.  It’s just an investigator of ours, not the Savior.  Jesus talked to us for a little about whatever and we went our way.  We ended up going back to see if Karla was at work, still not.  Contacted the other direction of the street and ran into Jesus AGAIN.  This time he was talking with some little pet birds in the window above (he’s an odd one… I really love him a lot).  He told us his friend, Fernan, lives there.  We took the reference and knocked the door.  No answer.  We tried the other side and a man answered.

Hermana Findlay: Hola, ¿Fernan está?

Man: No. Él no vive aqui.

Hermana Findlay: Oh. Pues, ¿como se llama usted?

Man: Kevin.

Hermana Findlay: Pues, Kevin, somos las misioneras de la iglesia de Jesucristo y tenemos un mensaje para usted.

Kevin: Vale (beep)

WHAT?!  Yeah.  He just let us in.  We were super shocked.  We went up the stairs and started talking to him.  We got to know him a little bit, talked about the Savior, invited him to come to the conference in Barcelona, and invited him to be baptized.  GUYS!  WE JUST MET HIM AND HE AGREED TO BE BAPTIZED!  I… I literally don’t have words to describe how I feel.  We didn’t even have a Book of Mormon in Spanish to give him or anything and he just accepted right there and then.  He told us we could come back the next day to bring him a Book of Mormon.

We squealed like little school girls and had a group hug after that lesson.

Kevin.  Kevin is from Colombia and he is just about the sweetest thing ever.  He is 19 years old.  He quit smoking and drinking about a week ago because he wanted to change his life.  He is living with his Dad, sister, and brother here.  They’ve only been here for 3 months.  The Lord has prepared this young man, let me tell you.  When we came back the next day, he was super happy and ecstatic.  His father and sister brought out juice for us.  His father then explained that he was supportive of whatever his son was choosing to do to change his life.  We invited him to stay for the lesson he said he wished he could be he had to go buy groceries but that he would listen in on the next one.  Kevin said the opening prayer because he wanted to and it was super solid.  We started teaching the restoration.  We found out that his brother had been killed back in Colombia.  I sort of stopped the lesson and said “Do you want to know something?  Families can be together forever.  The end isn’t the end.  You can see your brother again.”  The smile on his face was worth every single hard moment we’ve had over the past few weeks.  I can’t describe how I feel.  Kevin prayed at the end of the lesson too, because he wanted to.  We told him we’d meet him at the train station to go to church the next day.

We went to the conference in Barcelona.  We had two recent converts, a menos activa, and an investigator there.  That’s pretty freaking impressive when you consider that we had to travel an hour and a half to be there.  Dedication.  I was so happy with my cute little group.  We had a lesson with Kevin before the conference because we got there early.  He had read 1st Nephi 1 on his own, he had come to church, he had been praying.  He’s gold.  He’s incredible.  The conference was super great.  It almost made me cry to see Heidi again, especially when Ariadne ran up and gave me a huge hug.  I didn’t get to say goodbye to them.  It was nice to see all these people that I loved so much.  My Barcelona Family is still my family.  They still love me too.  That was great.

We have a lesson with Kevin tonight.  We’re teaching the Plan of Salvation.  He’s just SO great.

I love being a missionary. I am so grateful for the chance to be here.  It’s worth it.  It’s completely worth every moment because I get to tell people that God loves them.  That He has a plan for them.  That they can be with their families.  That there is a reason to all this.  That’s my job.  I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

Keep up the work.  Missionaries need members.  This is our work, our church, our message.  I love you all!  Les quiero!  Have a wonderful week!

Hermana “I’m still in awe” Durham