Monthly Archives: August 2014

E-Mail on 8/25/14 – What’s up, Lollipops!

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That’s our new way of saludar-ing the Elders.  We’re really good friends with them, obviously.  We say really kind things to each other.  (Another name for lollipops being suckers, see?  Clever).

So, the surprise baptism went smashingly.  Marius’ mother came and seemed to really enjoy it.  It also would seem that she has a baptismal fecha set herself.  Let’s hope that goes well!  Marius is getting incorporated into the JAS group even though he basically refuses to speak Spanish with them.  We have a decent amount of them that speak, or at least understand, English.  It’s cute that they try.  He’s a shy person, but super funny so they’ll appreciate him.  He’s changed a whole lot and it’s great to have a friend in him.

Juan Carlos also got baptized this last Saturday.  He was about the cutest thing in the whole wide world.  His testimony was great too!  I’m so proud of him!  He is also making big changes.  He asked Carlos to baptize him which is super sweet because this is the first baptism Carlos has performed.  Carlos spent all week reading scriptures and praying and fixing problems so that he was completely clean and worthy to perform this sacred priesthood ordinance.  I’m so proud of Carlos.  It was really cute that he cared so much.  He understands and cherishes the priesthood.

We had 18 lessons with a member present this week.  That’s a ton.  We were really blessed.  A lot of the JAS have been helping us out a lot lately which we really appreciate.  They’re pretty stinkin’ great.  We went with them to a place somewhere for preparation day today.  It’s Melanie’s birthday.  Double reason to go.

I ran out of time, sorry.  It was a great week.  We saw lots of great miracles!  For example, we need to send numbers in a 9 o’clock on Sunday night.  By 8:30 we only had 2 new investigators for the week.  In 30 minutes we found 4 news.  Incredible!  So we “hit 4 pautas” this week which is awesome.  We were only one number away from hitting all five!  DARN!  But that just means we’ll push ourselves harder next time.

I love you all!  Have a great week, do good things, smile lots!  MUAH!

Hermana Durham

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Lesson of the Week: El PLan de Salvacion

Well… it’s been a really interesting week.  We’ve done good work and good things are happening.  The work is moving really well here.  Hermana Barker and I have great unity, we’re a strong companionship that gets work DONE.  We had a wonderful specialized training on Thursday to help us improve even more.  So of course that means something would come up.  And it did.

On Thursday I found out about Allan.  Do you remember Karla, Jacqui and Allan, the cute recent convert family in Vic?  Allan got in a bad accident and passed away 5 days later.  He was 19.  That’s young.  I read the little note that Hermana Tyler and Hermana Wallace had sent me in the metro on the way home from specialized training and was shocked.  Stunned.  I couldn’t move.  I ended up bursting into tears on the way to English class later that night in front of Marius and Carlos.  You know how much I love public crying… And today I found out Grandma Briggs passed away yesterday.  Woof.  Lots to take in this week.  The plan of salvation is a really wonderful thing and now I suppose I can add more of a testimony to it because it hits even closer.

On a lighter note, we had a big surprise.  After a lovely morning of walking 3 investigators to church and some great lessons, we were settling in to our seats for sacrament meeting.  I was sitting next to Marius and Hermana Barker was behind us next to Juan Carlos.  The second counselor is announcing the usual for the day: choir, institute, temple prep.  The normal.  Then “Tomorrow at 8 o´clock we have the baptism of Marius…”.  My head snapped so fast!!!  WHAT?!?!  Without even reacting one bit he shrugs and says “yep”.  It’s always fun when you find out your investigator wants to get baptized 2 weeks sooner than we were all planning.  So… we had to call up Elder Alder, our district leader, to see if he could make some last minute arranges to get to Castellón or for us to go to Valencia.  He’s a sweetheart and he said “Yeah… we’ll be there in like an hour and a half.”  CHAMP!  So.  We have a baptism tonight.  Which means we have to split our preparation day a little.

Saturday we had a great ward activity.  Sports and Paella!  Super weird combo…but it worked.  We had a great turn out!  At the peak we had about 120 there and there was a good group of less actives, recent converts, and investigators there.  Super wonderful!  Hopefully this helps us all with our unity.

This Saturday we’re planning on baptizing Juan Carlos, the man with the cutest prayers I’ve ever heard.  He’s working on this date and we’re excited for him!  He was congratulated by a bunch of people in the ward (because they also announced his…but that one was planned).  We’re really excited about it!

Thursday we had English class.  One of our new investigators came and brought his brother and his friend.  That was shocking… no one comes all the way out to the church!  It’s far!  After the class the brother and friend started asking us all about the church and had great interest in coming.  We’ll see where that goes.  But it was great!  Miracles are just everywhere, truly!

So it was an interesting week and it will continue to be interesting.  Hermana Barker and I have some really high goals this week and we’re going to try our best to hit them.  We can, I think.  We work really well together.  I’m just hoping to keep it all together!  Isn’t that just the struggle of life though?

Smile, be happy, the gospel is a wonderful blessing, and families can be together forever!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail from 8/11/14 – The Fuertes of Castellon

Hermana Barker and I are doing good work here.  I’m not going to lie, it’s really nice to be companions with her because we work very similarly.  We’re very similar people actually.  Both sarcastic, both strong, both sassy, both hilarious, and we have the same time in the mission.  This definitely allows us to conquer the area.  We joked about how each companionship normally has a strong companion and a soft companion… but with us it’s not like that.  We’re the strong companions and the Elders are the soft companions.

Juan Carlos is preparing to be baptized on the 23rd of this month. He’s trying to quit smoking right now (went from 5 to 2 cigarettes in one day) but he’s very excited.  He told a bunch of people in church yesterday that he was getting baptized.  He says the cutest prayers I’ve ever heard because they’re so genuine and simple.  I just love him!  He’s had a hard life but he’s wanting to change.  What a great guy!

Gianella and Helen.  Still no uncle.  In fact, they’ve been on the noticias so long that they aren’t on them anymore… awkward.  But it’s okay.  The girls don’t need the prayers.  The uncle does.

Luz had a small meltdown over this whole calling thing.  She’s having difficulties because her family isn’t so supportive of her.  She’s trying to make a ton of changes with her family but it’s not going well.  So we’re on rescue mode… we’ve tried to help calm Luz down but even still she seems a little frazzled.  Callings are big and scary.  Especially when you’ve been a member for a month.  I get it!  My callings stressed me out sometimes and I have been a member my whole life and my family too!  Poor dear.  I love her.

Marius is one of the Elder’s investigators who asked if he could be ours.  That’s always awkward.  He’s a sweetheart though.  We really love spending time with him.  He always looks really sad and it hurts my heart to see that.  He’s from Romania (he’s been teaching me romanian… little by little), he’s 23 and he’s also trying to quit smoking.  Only smoked 1 yesterday!  WOO!  He’s a really special person.  There’s a light in him and I know he’ll come around.  He’ll find the happiness that the gospel can bring.

As emotionally draining as this place can be sometimes, I really just love Castellón.  There are good people here!  I love them all! We have a great ward with great members who help us out (such as Carlos, my big brother) and it’s definitely noticed in how well the work is moving along.  I am so grateful!  The work can only move as far as the members are willing to help push it.

It´s hot, we’re not sleeping well, and it’s just really hot…but we’re happy.  Hold on let me ask my companion.  She said yeah.  We’re happy!  The work is a great thing, isn’t it?  This week we have a giant ward activity with paella and sports (sounds like a bad combination to me… but hey… it’ll be fun) so we’re greatly looking forward to that.  Also, we have specialized training!  That’ll be nice too.  I enjoy seeing President and learning how I can improve to help the people here.

Do good things, be good people, smile, laugh, serve!

Hermana Durham

E-Mail from 8/5/14 – Still converting in Castellon

So I’m going to be working here in Castellón with Hermana Barker.  Hermana Barker is from California.  She came in my group actually!  I totally knew and loved her in the MTC so we’re going to be good buddies here.

Actually, right now I’m in Tarragona.  Interesting story behind this: So Hermana Masters is going to Sabadell to be with Hermana Ward and Hermana Tuttle.  Crazy, right?  My trainer.  Hermana Tuttle is leaving mid transfer, that’s why.  Elder Burnett is going to be District Leader in Barcelona 3 and well… well yeah that’s great too!  Now we figured that those two would leave and Elder Benton and I would wait for our companions to get to Castellón from Tarragona (it´s not too far).  The plan was a good one too!  BUT, the Hermana’s piso in Tarragona is STILL having problems with bed bugs so Hermana Barker actually hadn’t been in her area for the past week or so.  I get called up and told that I actually will be going to Tarragona to pick up my companion and spend the day there.  The area is getting closed.  Super sad.  So… it’s a weird, stressful day.  Lots of extra travel for me.  I did get to ride first class though on the way here.  Sweet.

Carlos said that whoever is going to be my husband would be his hero because I’m complicated.  I know I’m a difficult person but I didn’t think I was THAT bad.  But I know it’s true so I said “yeah… pobre…”.  The longer I stay here the more I realize that I AM really difficult.  Who in the world would decide to put up with me?!  Eh… we’ll cross that bridge later.

We have some really great people we are working with and I’m excited for them to meet Hna. Barker because we need her here.  We’re also re-doing the area lines this week so we’ll get even more people to work with… in theory.  I’m very excited.

Luz got a calling this Sunday.  She’s now in the Young Womens Presidency.  SUCH A CUTIE!  I literally love this woman with all my heart!  Now… we need to baptize her family.  And Juan Carlos.  And Alex.  And Jonathan.  And Gianella and Helen (still waiting on that freakin’ uncle…).  And Cathy and Toni.  It’s going to be a great 6 weeks.  I can tell.

Quote that I just love and I have it written everywhere: Obedience is a choice.  It is a choice between our own limited knowledge and power and God’s unlimited wisdom and omnipotence.  -L Tom Perry

Talking with Alex about our rules made me realize that I love being obedient.  I love the rules.  I like to be home on time.  I like to get up at 7:30.  I like that I don’t have access to the internet or the news or anything.  I like to do these things even though they seem ridiculous to other people because I’m HAPPY.  I told Alex that.  This week I really came to understand and appreciate obedience.  We’re obedient because we love God.  We love him so much that we’re willing to do what He asks us and it’s okay if we don’t know why He asks certain things.  It’s important to obey.  It becomes so easy after time, so natural.  We’re happier.  God gives us commandments because He knows what will make us happy.

Well that’s about all folks.  I’m going to try to learn to love more, smile more, control my emotions more… wish me luck!  Find people to share the gospel with!

Hermana Durham