Crystal had an excellent question in her letter, and I'll answer it here so you all can read the answer... she asked if it is apparent living here day to day that the economy is bad... the answer is YES. it is really bad here. so many stores have been closed. everyone we talk to is looking for jobs.. there are no jobs. if you have a job, you are lucky. everyone is always talking about the crisis... it is really intense. there are people who cannot come to church all the time because they dont have gas money to get there because they are out of work... the crisis also is affecting missionary work. In some ways it is good because there are so many people out of jobs, and so they have more time to meet with us, but then again it is bad because there are SO many people in the street that say that if there was a god that things wouldnt be so bad right now... all most people can think about is getting food on the table and finding a job-- they cant think about next week, nevermind eternity.. that is a little difficult. but with that being said, of course there are some people who are still doing ok. just the majority of poeple we talk to do not have enough.. it is really intense.
lets see, i love you all so much! i hit my year mark in the mission this past week! one year ago i left home! i cant believe it! i cant wait to see you all!
So this week went by so fast! I cannot believe how quickly time is going by! This week I will have exactly 7 months left here in Spain. it is hard to believe. time is going by faster and faster! I love you all and I think about you all so often. thank you for your love and support!!! I love receiving your letters and pictures!
This week we also had specialized training the president and Hermana Clegg! It was sooo great to see them. I am convinced that we have the BEST mission president and his wife in the world!!! they did special training sessions with each district, so we got a lot of time to just talk with them, and we had a question and answer session with them as welll. It was great! I will attach a photo of me with them!
It is time for Feria here in Sevilla. It is so cool to walk around and see women dressed in Flamenco dresses!! Next weeks i the Feria here in Dos Hermanas and we are going to try to go so hopefully i will be able to send some photos next week!
The work is going pretty well here! It is amazing how much the Lord´s hand is in our work. There are so many times when our original plans do not work out, but that the Lord blesses us with other plans to talk with people that we were not expecting to meet.
one awesome thing i learned about dos hermanas-- this is a FUN fact to put on my blog! the band los del rio (i think thats what it is) who wrote the song la macarena is from dos hermanas and they live here!!!!!!!! that is dos hermanas´claim to fame! the macarena!!! hahahhaahhahahaha love it!
Things are going well here in Dos Hermanas! so today rather than writing a lot, I am going to share some photos!!! i hope that you enjoy them!
1. a plaza in sevilla all set up for semana santa! mea nd my companion hermana roderick
2. a street sign we found in sevilla-- dos hermanas in dos hermanas!
3. a funny shirt that i thought dad would like. there are a lot of men here names pepe.... anyways the text on this shirt means pepe, say something to me! hahhaa
4. me with the two women that got baptized last night! i didnt teach them, but i have had the chance to talk with both of them on occasions and they are great!!! the one with the dark hair wasnt planning on getting baptized yesterday, but she ended up having her baptismal interview right before the baptism and decided to do it yesterday!!!! it was amazing!!! she knew that it was what the Lord wanted her to do. she is great!!
5. picture of an old palace that is like 1 minute from my house. now it is a club-restaurant. it is beautiful, huh?
6. a plaza that is about 5 minutes from my apartment. i pass by this everyday. the monument is of the virgen de valme. it is the virgen of dos hermanas.
7. photo taken from the plaza int helast photo. some cafes and shops! can you see doña aceituna?? the best olive shop in the world!!!
So Happy Easter! So! Here in Spain the celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week). There are processions in the street all week long, with bands and a ton of peple in the streets! It was really interesting to see....I wrote a little about it last week, so I wont take the time to write about it this week! Since they celebrate the whole week, they do not really put a big focus on Easter Sunday. Anyways, I love easter. it is my favorite holiday.
Anyways, I went to church and it was fast and testimony Sunday. It was truly an interesting Sunday. I had to lead the congregation in singing a capella because the piano player had to go home early... haha. that was an experience.
After church, we went over to Nancy´s house (member whose family is in England) to eat. We brought a special dessert froma bakery and we had a spiritual thought about Easter. It was nice. Then after that it was back to business as usual. I wish easter was as big of a holiday as christmas. I like easter. I like the tradtiion and the meaning. it is my favorite.
I hope you all enjoyed your easter. I miss you all so much! Today I am going bowling with the Elders!!! woo hooo!! haha it should be fun!
have a great week. remember that life is a gift and that we are here for a reason-- to learn and grow and become more like our Heavenly Father. What a blessing that we have that knowleedge. If i didnt know that was true, I dont know how I would get through those difficult times in my life. Keep reading the scriptures and praying-- it is what truly keeps us close to the Lord.
So Can you all believe that it is Easter already? Here in Spain, Semana Santa (Holy Week) started yesterday.Here in Sevilla is one of the regions where in Spain where they celebrate it the most. Every day there are processions where the differennt catholic brotherhoods will take out their images to the street and havea procession with a band... it is interesting. we actually had our first encounter withthis last night when we were walking home to our apartment. We got stuck, and could not pass streets tog et home for at leeast like 30 minutes. It was such an interesting experience! The tradition is interesting. it is hard to explain, but there were people everywhere, tehre were peple doing something called penetance in the streets marching with candles... yu should google it... they are people who are doing some kinds of sacrifice and they dress is outfits.... sometimes they are white, sometimes other colors. interesting. anyways, it was quite a cultural experience!
I dont know what we will be doing for easter-- dont know if we will have any plans.. but HAPPY EASTER!!! I love easter. I think that out of all of the holidays it is my favorite. The meaning of Easter is the most significant thing we could celebrate-- the atoning sacrifice of our savior and his triumphant resurrection. This is the reason why we have the opportunity to live with our families for eternity-- this is the reaso why we have the ablility to erase our mistakes through repentance, this is the reason why we can experience the consoling power of the savior´s love during our most difficult earthly trials. The atonement is somethign that i cannot even begin to comrepend, but that I know took place. I know that it is the center of the plan that God has for us, and I am infinately grateful. Take a look at Alma 7:11-13. It is a greatscripture about the atonement.... Christ suffered so that he would knnow how to succor us...that knowledge is simply amazing.
Things are going well here. I just got word today that it looks like 6 December will be my release date. See you call in 8 months! wow! I am really halfway done! weird!! Anyways, I love you all and miss you so much.
yesterday, I witnessed one of my own investigators be baptized for the first time on my mission! It is going to be difficult for me to describe all that I want to say. Yesterday evening was one of the very best experience I have ever had.
Last night, his baptismal service was something really special. The members of the ward really come out to support him. The baptism took place in Sevilla at the brand new stake center-- it was so beautiful. We had the chapel almost full of people! My companion and I gave the talk on the Holy Ghost, and we also did a special musical number right before the baptism-- one of the elders played guitar while we sang I am a child of God. The baptismal service itself was so spiritual. After Carlos rose up from the water, there was a huge smile on his face and he just looked over at us all and waved with all the excitment he had! After baptism, Carlos bore his testimony. This was the best moment for me. He said how the scriptures have changed his life and that every since he started going to church that he has felt so good. He expressed how proud he was of the step that he took, and said all of this with such sincerity that tears filled my eyes.This is what it is all about-- helping others come unto Christ by making and keeping covenents with God. I love this work. I cannot wait to keep helping others-- and finding those who are waiting for me. I cannot wait to find those other people who Heavenly Father is entrusting me to bring into His fold. After the baptism I asked Carlos how he felt and he said GREAT!!! I am finally a member!!! I couldnt have asked for a better experience. This baptism was definately worth the wait! Remember that each of us can have this experience--- the joy that comes from bringing souls unto Christ is waiting for all of us-- see D&C 18:10-16.I love you all and miss you!
I have attached a few photos of the baptism! I hope you enjoy them!!
So I am back in Dos Hermanas with a permanent companion! it feel so good! I traveled to malaga this week to pick up my new companion. It was so fun to go to the mission home again! I just love going to the mission home. President and Hermana Clegg really are like my parents here on the mission (dont worry mom and dad, I still miss you! haha). It really feels a little like being home when I am there. Thursday night, just the missionaries who were going to be training were at the mission home-- we had a trainers training meeting, which was great. I love this work, and I am so blessed to be here. It was great to be there in Malaga, but it is also great to be back in Dos Hermanas. We have a baptism coming up on Sunday!!!!!!! I cannot wait! Carlos and Kevin will be getting baptized. We have worked so much with them preparing them, and they have so many righteous desires to follow christ. i will tell you more next week. i miss you all so much!
Hermana Collett and Hermana Letendre at Setenil. A pueblo blanco in the province of Cadiz.
Hermana Letendre, Hermana Sturgess and Hermana Torres hanging out in Malaga.
Valerie in Plaza de Expana in Sevilla! It is soooo beautiful!
A family that Val and her companion are teaching in Dos Hermanas.
Relief Society Activity Celebration for the Anniversary of Relief Society.
All of the missionaries that will be training new missionaries this transfer as they were waiting for their new companions!
President and Hermana Clegg, Valerie and her new companion Hermana Roderick.