Monthly Archives: June 2014

E-Mail on 6/30/14 – Castellon Tiene Talento!

Uff.  The noche de talentos was NOT a complete disaster!  I’m still in shock.  It went relatively smoothly after a few hiccups.  We had to convince the bishop that doing a printed program was not a good idea and hopefully he doesn’t hate us for not liking his idea.  Sorin, a Romanian recent convert, was our host and he did a bang up job!  We had people playing the guitar, dancing, singing, drawing, skits… it was quite fun and very cute!  Plus we had a full house!  Investigators were there too!  In fact, one of our investigators brought a cake.  No big deal.  Just bringing cakes to events… So as stressful as it was, it went well.  I sang hymns because I’m boring.  Hermana Masters drew.  The Elders threw food into each others mouths…. we’re a talented group here.

I know more things happened this week… I’m trying to come up with what…

We found a lizard at basketball.  He was cute.  His name is Elvis.  I decided I’d send a picture in this email for the first time in my whole mission. I just barely got all the pictures on the flash drive so that ought to be sent soon-ish, Mom and Dad.  Sorry.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I gave a talk in church about charity.  That was interesting.  No one said anything so… I hope the listened.  I picked the topic for a reason.

A miracle this week is that we received a reference from a member.  We walked out to where we thought we needed to be and then realized we actually were in the completely wrong side of town, wrong street and this person wasn’t even in our area.  Okay… not ideal… BUT we did have the address of a woman we contacted a few weeks earlier and she lived on the same street so we decide to stop by.  She let us in and started sharing her story.  She’s hurting a whole lot.  Her mother died in an explosion a year ago and she just cried and cried and told us she didn’t understand why.  A few days before, I had an investigator, Marius, teach me how to say “God love you” in Romanian because I feel like that’s an important statement to know in any language.  It was nice because I could tell her in her own language that God loves her and she said she knew.  She said she knew we had run into her on the street for a reason and was grateful that we came.  She wants to come to church on Sunday and said that we can come over whenever we would like.  Wow.  Who knew that a little mistake in direction could have led us to find this woman in need of comfort?  The Lord. He knew.  He worked with our weakness.  I am so very grateful for the opportunities to spread a little hope and faith.

That’s what I’ve learned a lot about on my mission.  The success isn’t necessarily a baptism.  Baptisms are good, very good.  I know that.  But really… I think we should appreciate the small successes too.  We’re here to represent Christ and all that He is.  We’re here to share hope, faith, and charity.  We’re here to lighten a world that is completely dark.  I find the biggest successes in my mission have been seeing people smile when they learn that they can see their family again, people who don’t like to read who read the book of mormon on their own, the people who say “thank you for being here for me”.  That’s success.  When we give the hopeless hope, the faithless faith, and the unloved charity… that’s what Christ wants from us.  He wants us to love His children.  We need to think with hope, speak with faith, and act with charity.

We’re going to kick it into overdrive this week because the new church is opening up and we really want people to be there.  I’m going to contact more because people need our message.  We’re going to baptize Gianella, Helen, Luz and many more people very soon so don’t you worry.  But most of all… we’re going to love.  Love the people, love the area, love the weather, love the dumb elders… love.  Yep.

SOOO, my invitation to you all is to love.  To take advantage of the promise given in Moroni 7:48.  Pray for the love if you lack it.  Do it!  I love you all, have a lovely week!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 6/24/14 – “… Quiere horchata?” *shrug* “Vale.”

Ay… traslados… You remember how I hate change?  Yeah.  Still hating it.  Learning to cope with it, but still hating it.

Hermana Masters is off to… kill it with me here in Castellón for another transfer!  I’ve never been so excited!  So one change avoided.  BUT… they’re closing one of the Elder´s areas so we’re down to 4 missionaries here.  My best friend ever, Elder Ferrer is moving to Tarragona and Elder Cox is off to Logroño.  Which means… yeah. We’re left with the “little brothers”.  Another transfer of being the mom.  Yay.  This also means that we are no longer a district and we have to travel to Valencia every week for district meeting.  Double yay.  But it’s okay because life will move on, we’ll see lots of great success here in Castellon and all will be well.

Yesterday I gutted fish and cooked them.  That´s a first.  I’m making big big strides in my cooking skills here.  It’s actually funny.  The Elders called us and said “Let’s have lunch in the church one last time.  Bring whatever you got.” and well… we had nothing actually.  We packed what little we had and went out to try and visit a couple people before heading to the church.  We ran into an investigator who I hadn’t met yet (but oh, we’ve tried) because of his crazy work schedule.  I asked where he worked and he said at a fish place.  Then he asked if we eat fish.  We said yes.  He said “Hold on!”.  We go up to his piso where he gives us a bag of whole fish and some gloves.  What a sweetheart!  So… yeah.  Then we had fish.  Still have fish actually.

The church church is opening soon!  We finally got the permission to move in and the 6th of July, we´ll be there!  WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Prayers work, I tell you.  So in church, after they announced it, I set up two baptismal fechas for the 5th.  Boom, boom.  Baptisms.  I think we’re actually going to need to move them, awkwardly.  Also, Luz told us she wants to get baptized in the new church.  Boom!  Baptism.  This transfer will be good.  The Lord is really working miracles here and we’re very blessed to be a part of it.

This Friday we have a Noche de Talentos that is, so far, poorly organized and horribly advertised.  I have a great fear of activities like this because it typically means we’ll be more in charge than our schedules SHOULD allow for… I think I’m going to have to make a lot of cookies again.  I have faith.  Not much, but a little.  That’ll work right?  Alma 32:27.

Our picnic Preparation day went well.  I learned that Elder Ferrer has NEVER been on a picnic with a blanket on the ground, ever.  Sad.  He told me that it’s because there aren’t any places in Spain to do that really.  It’s kinda true.  We played Ninja to end off the day.  Elder Ferrer won most of the rounds.

We get loaded with a lot of food from the sweetest members.  This week we were given a bunch of stuff and some horchata.  Hermana Masters and I decided we didn’t really want to carry the horchata so she suggested we find a homeless person and give it to them.  After a short walk, we found the lucky winner.  I handed her the box and she walked up, said hello.. and well.  The email title is basically the rest.  Shining moment of the week I think.  We have too much fun sometimes.

So yeah… that’s what I have for ya.  Life is good.  It’s raining today so things are a little cooler.  I’m happy,  I’m healthy,  I’m alive.  I love being here, I love the people, loving the language (more and more it’s growing on me).  I’m planning on finishing the Book of Mormon in Spanish for my 1 year mark.  I’m in 3rd Nefi 13… 115 pages left.  Pan comido!  Piece of cake!  I love you all, share the gospel, do good things, be good people, above all… smile!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 6/16/14 – Corazones, Calor, y la Cuchenador

It’s getting hotter and hotter and hotter and hotter…  Thankfully the Lord blesses us with well timed breezes and homes that have cold water.  We’ve been real blessed.  Another tender mercy of the week… at Mercadona (the grocery store we go to) they have greek yogurt which I normally eat with granola for breakfast.  My options are to buy a big tub of natural yogurt (gross) or 6 little tubs of the kind with sugar (yes it´s not as healthy but it’s what I like…so there).  I told Hermana Masters that they should have big tubs of the good stuff and then I’d be happy.  Guess what’s new at Mercadona this week?!  Yup.  God listens to little, dumb prayers too.

Last preparation day we heart-attacked the Elders door because we’re trying to love them more.  Actually it’s my fault because I keep snapping at them so… I needed to serve them.  It was fun!  We have also been heart-attacking everyone’s door as we go to meal citas or when we have lessons fire on us.  I think we’re slowly working over the ward.  They WILL love us!  I know it!  So Hermana Masters and I have gotten very good at the whole system.  It takes 8 pieces of tape.  We live their piso, go to the floor below, tape the hearts, run up the stairs quietly and get ’em!  Carlos has pictures of us doing it which I specifically told him NOT to take!  He’ll put them on Facebook as soon as you add him. Hint hint ;).

Luz and Gustavo are doing really great.  They have a few little doubts here and there which we’re trying to clear up.  We had a great family home evening with them last night with the Bishop.  We’re hoping to get them feeling that they NEED the gospel.  We want Gustavo to want this, because Luz really wants it.  The kids are a whole other story.  It’s a slow process.

So the miracle Romanian family from last week?  Yeah.  Still super great and wonderful!  They got kicked out of where they were living and some really amazing members in the ward let them into their home.  I’m amazed by the extreme charity being shown here.  Like jaw-dropping amazed.  The sad part of the story is that they don’t live in our area anymore sooo… we’ll happily celebrate the success of the Elders at their baptism scheduled for this week.  Magdalena, the wife, thanked us for talking to her and helping her family because if it wasn’t for us she didn’t know where they’d be.  That is a reward in and of itself.  I’m grateful for the chance to have been part of helping those in need.

Hermana Masters continues to be awesome.  I love her.  We have a party everyday here.  Elder Ferrer, I’ve realized, is more mean than I originally thought.  I think it’s because I actually understand more spanish now so I know when he’s being sarcastic and rude.  It’s actually pretty amusing.  Except when it’s not.  And then I have to learn to be kinder.  He taught Hermana Masters that a fork is a cuchenador… it’s not.  He’s still one of my MAPS though so we’ll stick it out.  Elder Burnett is like a little brother.  He drives us crazy but we love him.  Elder Benton also drives us crazy because he IS crazy but he definitely livens things up.  Elder Cox is great.  He’s chill and quiet and sweet and he knows the gospel.  He’s the one Elder that we can handle.  Just kidding.  We love them all.  Somedays 😉

Today we’re having a picnic in the church.  I got chastised for not knowing how to cook so apparently Elder Ferrer is going to teach us how it’s done.  I was in charge of cookies.  Surprise.

Have a great week!  I love you!  Scriptures I studied this week: Proverbs 15:1-2, 4-5 and James 3… yeah I’m working on patience this week.

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 6/9/14 – “See that penguin over there? Yeah, it’s dying of heat!” -Hma. Masters

It’s been an interesting week full of pass-bys and trying really hard to win the hearts of the members.  Roxana told me that our little announcement in Relief Society was super great and we’ll see great things from it.  We handed out notes and cookies and just thanked them for their help and reminded them that we’re here to serve them too.  I know we’ll get some good help from this.  Now to win over the bishop… he´s a little harder.

Luz was “mad” at me on Sunday because I didn’t sit by her.  I left her feeling alone.  I actually sat across from her, behind our other investigators so I really was close.  She’s honestly the cutest thing in the world.  She asked us about tithing this week because she wants to be sure she is doing everything she needs to.  She also said that she knows that “when” she is baptized she’ll have to give talks in sacrament so she pays attention for that.  WHEN!  Not IF!  WHEN!  AND she was talking about how she doesn’t understand why we have to cover our shoulders but in church on Sunday she wore a shawl to cover her shoulders.  I don’t think there is a cuter person on earth.  It’s a little slower with the rest of the family but they’ll get there.  The boys are reading the Book of Mormon, devouring it in fact.  So that’s good news.

It’s getting hotter.  Hermana Masters is ruining my visualization of living in Antarctica by being a sass!  All the penguins are dying of heat thanks to her.  I’m going to keep trying on it though.  It does help on hot days to happen upon cute little animals.  I held a kitten that we saw knocking doors.  Maybe I shouldn’t pick up stray animals but it was SOOOO CUTE!  And everyone who has a puppy… I’m dying.  That’s my biggest distracting factor so far.  Cute little animals.  And babies.  I got baby hungry for the first time in my life yesterday.  Super weird.  I know that when I start to feel really focused and in “the groove” is when I get thrown a whole bunch of other things to deal with.  Dumb.  Super dumb.  But it’s okay because I will win!  Babies aren’t that great anyway.

This coming week we have Zone Conference which I’m very excited for!  I love big meetings like this.  They usually come right when I need them (like after distractions) and help me get back on track.  Hermana Masters and I looked at the calendar and realized we only have 2 weeks left, more or less, of this transfer.  Crazy.  I have no idea how that happened.

Oh big miracle this week!  Last Sunday we were briskly walking home to be home on time and we passed by this cute little family chillin’ at the park.  The little girl had the most animated face I’ve ever seen.  Big huge eyes, huge smile…  I waved and said hello.  We walked past.  I did a double-take.  I couldn’t let that family go without a card or something.  We talked for a moment, the dad seemed more interested, the mom was NOT interested.  Monday night we get a call from a man who wants to meet with us.  Tuesday we go to the church to have this meeting.  It’s the dad!  He asks us a million questions and takes the Book of Mormon.  Saturday we met with him and his wife.  They were both pretty interested in coming to church.  They came and stayed through all of church which was great, then they went to a members house that night for a noche de hogar.  I feel pretty good about their potential.  There are a few hiccups…but we’ll see how it goes!  They’re a cute family from Romania.  Loren, Magdalena, Eva (4), and David (2).  Eva can’t really speak, she’s had lots of health problems thus far.  But she’s super cute.  I can tell that she is very spiritually in tune.  I’m excited to see where this goes!

It was a good week, it’ll be a better week!  The Elders are mad that I didn’t make them cookies.  Elder Ferrer especially because he gave me a candy (which I didn’t want, but was given by his investigator) so… I have to make cookies or something.  I feel like I get in this cookie making situation a lot.

Have a great week!  I love you all very much!  Share the gospel, help the missionaries, be missionaries and all that jazz.

Hermana Durham

E-Mail on 6/2/14 – Ahora es el momento de que los miembros y los misioneros se unan

Y trabajen juntos!

We have a goal this week to win over this ward.  It’s a little bit in need of some love and care.  I’m slowly trying to flatter my way through them all but that only goes so far.  Game plan?  Cookies.  They always work!  Cookies and thank you notes and extra praise (whether or not it is due).  That is how you win the hearts of the people.  I learned that from my trainer actually.  We just need to get them animated about helping with the work because, like the prophet says, now is the time.

So remember Eliseo from last week?  Funnily enough, we’ve run into his wife like 6 times this week and every time she is super sweet and we chat for a little bit.  I feel better about the whole situation.  Eliseo is a little too proud right now to accept but it’s okay.  I don’t think he hates us.  He’s just a fighter is all.  His wife is great though.

We’re going through the ward list the next couple weeks which is SUPER fun except for the part where it’s not.  BUT, no effort is wasted.  We actually have met some really great people from passing by members who no longer live where the list says they live.  We have new investigator (we’ll see her tomorrow, actually) and a really great potential who asked us about what happens after we die when we were talking at the door.  The Lord puts people in our path.  I can very clearly see that!

We had an intercambio this week too after Enfoque de Zona.  I stayed in Valencia to work with Hermana Blanco while Hermana Reid went back with my companion to work.  It was a fun intercambio, a little crazy, but I got to learn a lot.  Hermana Blanco is in her last transfer and I always like learning from the wisened missionaries about what they have seen work in their mission.  Hermana Blanco ate pizza with us my very first day in Barcelona, actually.  Crazy how you just stay in touch with everyone.

Basically that sums up everything… not a ton happened this week but we’ve got a lot set up for this week.  A lot of really great potential greatness.  We’re stoked!  We’re fired up!  We’re going to find people and teach people and spread a little more joy in the world, because, well, everyone needs a little more of that.

Les quiero!  Have a great week, do great things, be great people!

Hermana Durham