Monthly Archives: March 2014

E-Mail 3/24/14 – Another one bites the dust!

So it’s been another week.  And another month.  I feel like the time is going by drastically faster the further along I get, I don’t think that’s fair at all!  I’ve decided that from here on out, I only have 8 months in the mission.  I don’t want anyone else to know that I actually have more (when I actually have more) because I don’t want to have to talk about home.  I want to stay focused.  I’ve seen what it does to a couple of my companions and I don’t want that at all.  I am here to serve for a year and a half and though I’m not perfect at it, I committed this time.  I owe it to the Lord to be in it until the end.

Eber.  Eber promised us he would come to his baptismal interview on Thursday and then he would decide from there if he would in fact get baptized.  We actually saw Eber an hour and a half before his interview.  He pinky promised and EVERYTHING!  Guess who didn’t show up?  Eber.  Good guess, everyone.  Well done.  We went over with brownies on Friday, the day he was SUPPOSED to get baptized.  We ended up accompanying them to the clinic because Diana’s eyes are so much worse.  Then we walked her back home while Eber went to go get medicine.  We had a calm, keep the peace, lesson-y thing because we wanted Eber to know that we still loved him in spite of his wrong decisions.  Yesterday he told us he wants to be baptized but he wants to pick a day.  He doesn’t want to put a time on it.  I might could strangle the man….but that’s not Christ-like so I won’t.

David and Rami.  WOAH.  Okay so highlights from them are the fact that they’re incredible!  Both of them are very prepared and very sensitive to the spirit.  They always have stories of how they can see that Satan is working to get them away from the path so they KNOW that they’re in the right church.  They aren’t married though and they live together.  We had a TWO AND A HALF HOUR lesson on the Law of Chastity.  Woof.  They were super upset about the fact that they had to move out.  The thing that gives me hope is HOW they were upset.  I know that they’ll live it soon.  They just have to work things out.  They want to obey the commandments.  They STILL want to be baptized and be part of the church.  We poured out two bottles of whiskey on Saturday with David.  That was fun!  YEAH!  Word of Wisdom!  They’re really incredible.  Rami got a job working Sundays though.  She cried yesterday when we talked about the Sabbath and how she won’t be able to be baptized because she can’t come to church.  She feels super guilty but she can’t see that if she quits this job she’ll get a better one or something BETTER will happen.  We’re working on that tonight!  They’re incredible people.  I love them more than I can express!

We met a man from England and we went out for coffee today.  He got coffee, we got hot chocolate.  He said he was open to listen to us and our message but that we shouldn’t get offended if he tells us that he won’t come to church or join in our beliefs.  He prayed for the first time in 23 years with us.  We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon which he said he never had asked his friends for.  He has friends from Utah.  He’s actually a Ute fan so we have that in common.  He’s really cool!  We hope to keep in contact with him because, though he may not progress the same, he did promise to read the Book of Mormon and that book changes people in miraculous ways.

Antenor is a man from Bolivia (we’ve been suddenly finding a lot of those people recently… which is good… gotta help out my best friend’s people) who has had a really hard life.  He told us that he tried to commit suicide when his girlfriend left him.  He drank 5 huge bottles of alcohol with rat poison.  His friend found him and was able to get him to the hospital where he was in a coma for 20 days.  He knows that he’s been given a second chance to find the right way.  He’s going to get baptized the 12th of April.  He’s probably the sweetest guy.  He’s also very prepared and ready to hear this gospel.  I just love him!

Kevin is still really wonderful.  He blessed the sacrament yesterday and I could have cried.  Just seeing him in his suit, using the priesthood.  It was just as wonderful as seeing him get baptized.  He’s super funny and he’s really doing well.  I just love him too!  He is a strong member and for that I am really grateful.  I just hope we can help his family get here too.

I love the people in Vic.  Transfer calls are this Saturday and it makes me a little bit, lotta bit emotional to think of leaving.  I love these people a lot.  I feel closer to them than I felt to those in Barcelona (I think that’s just a language barrier thing though) and I can’t imagine having to leave.  We’ll see.  The Lord will send me where I am needed most and wherever that me be I will do my best.  I love being a missionary.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Keep on keeping on!  Remember that God made you special and He loves you very much!

Hermana Durham.

E-Mail on 3/17/14 – A Week of Miracles!

Yet again, I have failed to save a sufficient amount of time to write.  It seems like the weeks that I actually HAVE things to say are the weeks that I don’t have time to say it all.  Fail.  I’ll see how I can improve that.

So, for finally, I bought myself a little study journal.  I know.  Gasp.  I didn’t really have one and I wasn’t writing things as I learned them.  Worst missionary award, right here.  I have seen the errors in my ways, repented, and I have started to write down what I’m studying.  It’s helping me focus a lot more.  I’ve been struggling with a wandering mind the past few months and this helps a little.

My talk [in church] went okay…  I was super nervous.  I can try to send it in a letter but in all reality I never finished it…  I had to just wing the last part.  It went okay though! I hope people really listened.

Monday night we had a noche de hogar with President Merchan and a friend from work named Andrea.  Her husband is Nacho (cool name, right?) and they have two kids, Sophia (16) and Sara (5).  It was a really great meeting!  We had helped this family move a few weeks earlier but weren’t able to really set up anything with them.  President Merchan, at the dinner table, said “Well here are the missionaries and they’ll be in Campdevanol every Wednesday to come teach you, okay?”  That was easy.  So yes.  They’re new investigators and we hope to get them going.  Nacho is Muslim, but not practicing.  Andrea and Nacho both smoke and drink.  The family is super cute though.  I have faith!  If only it wasn’t so difficult to get to them!  (Campdevanol is a little pueblo that is about 45 minutes away and doesn’t have a lot of trains running through it…tricky tricky.)

Deysi and Leo (a member couple in our branch) have two new roommates that they brought to church, Rami and David.  We met with them Tuesday night, Thursday night they came to Noche de Amigos, and we met with them Friday and Sunday.  They agreed to work toward the baptismal date of the 29th.  They are SO prepared!  It’s quite interesting how the Lord works with people like this.  I have met Rami a couple times in the street with Hermana Findlay.  We knew who she was.  She was a “Potential Investigator” for our whole transfer.  Never got around to visiting with them, it never worked out.  But then all of a sudden, out of the blue, they’re in church.  My jaw dropped when they walked in.  And now they’re wanting to be baptized (their only doubt is wanting to be prepared but they WANT to be baptized).  It’s a huge miracle!

Eber.  Yeah well then we have Eber.  His eyes are INFECTED.  He can hardly see.  He’s suffering a ton and now his wife, Diana, has an infection in her eye too.  They’re super worried about if they’ll lose work because they can’t really work with their eyes like this, so… if you could pray for them that would be nice.  It’s hard to work toward a baptism with someone who can’t keep his eyes open during lessons.  He’s really doubting himself too.  He thinks he needs more time.  I promised him that if he committed to a date, the Lord would heal his eyes.  Then I made him kneel and pray right then to know if we could still work for the 21st.  His smile after that prayer was amazing!  His eyes felt better too…for a moment.  He said he’d do all he can to work for the 21st.  Thin ice…but again, I have faith!

Another great miracle is whenever we can answer prayers unexpectedly.  Saturday we finished talking with Eber and then I figured we should try to pass by Jesus (he’s a whole other story…for another day).  As we walk down the street I realize that Karla’s car is right there.  What’s more, Jacqui is sitting inside on her phone.  I told Hna. Hamson to call her while we stand and stare at her (creepily…like stalkers).  Jacqui looks super surprised, answers the phones, sees us, is more surprised.  Apparently she and her mother and been visiting a friend in the hospital.  The friend expressed some interest in being visited by us.  Jacqui, while sitting in the car waiting for her mom to finish another visit, decided to pray to get into contact with us, to either have us call or for her to see us, so that we could find out about this friend.  Jacqui started crying because WOW.  Her prayer was answered so very quickly and not just by a phone call but we were there too.  By both.  Instantly!  The Lord knows that the new little lambs need miracles and testimony builders.  I am so grateful for the chance I was given to answer this dear friends prayer.

I love being a missionary.  I wouldn’t want to live any other life.  I realize I will have to in a few months, but until then I am enjoying it out here.  Thank you for all the love and support and prayers.  Keep on doing all you can where you are to spread the gospel.  People are in need of this light!  It’s our job to share it!  Les quiero!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 3/10/14 – Keep On Keeping On

So this week, after much discussion by the best friends of Eber who have to work at the most ridiculous of times and aren’t willing to change schedules, it has been decided that Eber will be baptized the 21st.   Annoying in that we weren’t there when they decided it and neither was Eber.  But it’s happened, it’s done with, we must only move onward from here.  No one really has faith that he will keep this date.  That’s a little discouraging because how is Eber supposed to feel if even his friends don’t believe in him?  It’s hard enough for himself to believe in himself.

We had a branch activity, run by the missionaries this past Friday.  It was a way to teach the members how the can start opening their mouths and invite their friends.  I originally typed up some negative, whiny thing about it but I’m just going to say that it went alright.  All things considered.  I hope that we lit something within SOMEONE so that we can get this work moving.  Maybe next time people will come.  It’s a work of patience here.

We had lunch with Kevin and his family on Saturday.  They’re super cute.  Dia de las Mujeres and they thought to have us over and feed us!  What a cute little group!  I just wish they were more open to hearing the gospel.  Little by little, we’ll get them!

So we were walking to a cita and got to a crosswalk.  I felt like I should check to see if Hermana Hamson was close and it’s a good thing I did because otherwise I would have been run over by a car.  Two lessons learned here: Listen to the Spirit and be smarter about crossing roads.

Something about the culture here that I am not quite sure if I find charming or not is that they are BLATANTLY honest.  They tell you exactly what they think or feel about you.  If your eyebrows need to be plucked, they tell you. If you need to lose or gain weight, they tell you.  If they don’t like your skirt, they tell you.  I’m still on the fence about this whole thing.  It’s usually funny…sometimes hurtful…but usually funny.  Karla wants to get rid of some of my eyebrows.  I ain’t lettin’ her anywhere NEAR ME in regards to hair.  I don’t care if I look crazy!

Next week I get to speak in sacrament.  I’m contemplating a lot about at what level of intense I need to me.  How bold?  How straight forward?  How to go about this?  Obviously it’s about missionary work…duh.  So it’s just a matter of deciding what to say.  The hard part is that they don’t listen too well…especially as I’m the last speaker.  Oh and I have to speak Spanish.  Yeah let’s not forget that part.  Actually I don’t mind all that much anymore… still not comfortable or easy but do-able.

I’m feeling discouraged and it’s hard…but you have to have the hard times to really enjoy the good times!  So I’ll do my best to just learn what I can from here.  Something I always remember someone awesome (psst… my mom) telling me is “In the end, it’ll all be okay.  If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.”  I just got to tie a knot and hang on.  Thanks for all the love and support!  Keep being awesome!

Hermana I’m Still Smiling, Don’t Worry Durham

E-Mail on 3/3/14 – March Madness

I’m a little bit, lotta bit surprised that it’s March already.  WOW! There are so many things coming up and it’s going to get crazy.

I’m the branch pianist basically.  I really wish I had tried harder to learn the piano.  I definitely regret not taking advantage of such a wonderful gift.  I’m sorry, mom.  It’s been rough.  The branch might fire me if I don’t get a grip and figure myself out.  I’m just not as fast at reading notes as I would like to hope.  Elder Miller and I might switch on and off.

This last week was pretty interestingly boring.  We had Zone Focus which was really awesome!  We got to learn about how to be more awesome.  Those are always such wonderfully inspiring events… and then you hop on a train for 1 1/2 hours…. and you get drained again.  BOO!  I need to figure out a way to keep that spiritual high going.

This week I’ve been studying diligence and humility in Preach My Gospel.  Characteristics of Christ that I seem to be lacking.  I don’t know how to bridge that gap between learning this stuff and knowing it with actually applying it.  I’ve seemed to always miss that step.  I know that I need to do this or that… it’s another story to actually do it, you know?  So yeah.  Basically… yeah.  That’s what I need to figure out this week.

Eber has agreed to be baptized on the 15th. He has had fechas before but they fall through because he gets scared.  We read “His Grace is Sufficient” with him because his problem is that he thinks he needs to be perfect.  The spirit was super strong.  We originally had the plan to take it easy with him but then we decided to talk about how wonderful the temple promises were and how is family is all progressing without him because he won’t open the door to this progression and how he could be such a great example for his daughter (she’s his WORLD) and all of this great stuff.  It really hit him I think.  He agreed to set the goal and we’ll be working with him on that.  He’s hard to nail down for times though… that’s what my worry is right now.  Teaching him all the lessons again in time.  But it’s okay!  I believe in miracles and he will be baptized!

Other than all that, not an eventful week.  Pretty rough actually.  I feel like there was a lot of time wasted…. I need to be more bold and say what I think and how I feel.  I can’t let myself be acted upon.  I will get there somehow.  Progression.  We’re all here to progress.

Have a lovely week, remember that you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep trying!  That’s the blessing of the Atonement!

Besos y abrazos, Hermana “it’s raining and I don’t have my coat” Durham