Monday, July 23, 2012

The Economy in Spain

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!

Monday, April 30, 2012

More pictures!

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! 

me in plaza de españa in sevilla

 me, my comp and nancy in sevilla!!

 me and president and hermana clegg!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lots of Photos from Dos Hermanas

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!!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Sunday

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.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy Easter in Sevilla

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.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Baptism in Dos Hermanas!

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!! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back in Dos Hermanas!

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.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Another Week in Sevilla and Dos Hermanas

The american restaurant last week was good but a little pricey. I had a burger, which was actully pretty good, and a banana split! haha. it was pretty fun, and the inside looked like a 50s style diner.. it was really fun!

the best thing is that the 13 year old boy that I have been teaching  is for sure getting baptized!I cannot wait!! He is the most spiritually mature 13 year old that I have ever met.. He has so many wonderful thoughts about thigns, and he just loves church, and he just wants to do the right thing! His baptism was supposed to be the 18th, but we have decided to postpone it one week so that his grandmother, which has been traveling, will be able to be there. His grandmother has been taught  by the missionaries a few different times, and I really think that when she sees her grandson getting baptized that she will want to as well! I just cant wait! He has already been to a youg mens activity and he will be going to another this coming weekend! how great is that???!!!  I feel so blessed to be themissionary that gets to teach him. I cant just see him being a great leader in the church one day... and a missionary! I really think that he will stay strong and will serve a mission! I cannot wait!!!!
So this week has reallly been focused on him and preparing him for baptism. It is so amazing how the Lord prepares people. Carlos is so prepared. The spirit has taught him so much, and he has such a thirst for knowledge. When I first met him, he didnt really seem to have interest.... but when he watched the film about the restoration, everything changed. He all of a sudden began to understand. He is so amazing! I wish you call could meet him!!! 
This week I will be going to Malaga on Thursday and Friday to pick up my new companion! I will be training again, like i said before. This will be great! I really like training. You have the chance to really work with someone and help them to grow intot he missionary that they want to be. I feel so blessed to have the chance to train again.
Today for P Day we are going to go inot sevilla to see the cathedral there. google it. it is either the 2nd or 3rd largest cathedral in the world!!! it should be great!!!
I love the work that I am doing, and it is so amazing to see such grteat changes in peoples lives! thanks for your love and support!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Back to Do Hermanas Tomorrow!

so things are going well here. it has been a strange week because i have been living in sevilla with the hermanas here and traveling in to dos hermanas by train a few evenings a week to do some lessons there.  i CANNOT WAIT to get back to dos hermanas. i will receive a temporary companion tonight and tomorrow morning we will be back there. it has been rough to be here in sevilla because i feel like i am just watching things happen a little bit. it is amazing how as a missionary you really come to love your area. you come to love the people, the place, everything.  i just want to work!!

so today for pday we are going to an american restaurant!!! it is like a 50s style diner with burgers shakes and stuff.... we will see how authentic this is!!! hahaha... sevilla is nice, but it is a really big city! i am glad I am serving in dos hermanas!!! ttoday i got my hair cut a little and went to corte ingles, which is like macys here in spain. it is wonderful!!! i have been wanting to go there for  so long!!

ok, well i really need to go. cant think of whether there is anything else that i need to write. i love you all and i miss you all!!! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dos Hermanas y Sevilla

I feel so blessed to be teaching these people!!! right now, since i dont have a companion in dos hermanas, i am going to be staying with the hermanas in sevilla for this coming week. I will be traveling by train three times this week to dos hermanas to teach some lessons to these three investigators with members. then next monday or tuesday another hermana will be coming to be my companion for about week.... then after that week i wil get my permanent companion. it looks like i will be training again! wow!!!!! ahh. i keep being challenged by the Lord to work harder and harder. I know that I will continue to be blessed!!! Even thoug hthese last few weeks have been really hard, I am still happy, and I am still feeling good. Thanks for your support and for everything. I love you all so much. 

So, one thing that you might be interested in knowing is that the office elder called this week to ask me about when i would be going home. my normal release date is 7 feb. 2013. however, i told him that i need to come home early to get to school. he told me that he thinks my new releae date will be 6 december!!! it is not set in stone, but thats what it looks like! so, i think ill be home next christmas! we´ll see though. we have a new president coming in, so things might change, but it looks like that is it!!! wow! crazy, huh? the real date that i would be going home is dec. 27, but the church doesn't want to send people home two days after christmas, so looks like ill come home then! we´ll see!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

7 Months!!!?!?!

So! How was everyone´s valentines day??!! We hada relief society activity where we decorated heart shaped cupcakes! haha it was pretty fun! So this week was pretty good. Kind of tough as far as the work goes--However, we have some great things happening thisweek and we are going to work hard to find new people to teach!
So today I complete 7 months in themission! can you believe it??!!! Time fliees by soooo quickly!! It is funny because in the mission sometimes it really feels like days go by slowly but that weeks and months go by really fast!!!

This week we ate with members everyday!! sometimes two time a day! uggh. I think the newness will wear off soon and we will not have so many eating citas... however, a few of these eating appointments are worth mentioning! First, Ricardo and Juanita are fromBolivia and Argentina. They live out in the campo in the middle of an olive grove!!!!! ricardo takes care of the olive trees for his job. It was soooo cool!!! unfortunately, it was night time and i could not see much, but they invited us to come back during the day sometime so that we could walk around the olive grove andall.. there are over 1000 trees there!!

Another great eating cita that we had was with the Black family.... AMERICANS!!!!!!! Brother Black is in the military and works on the base closeby. They are about the age of Crystal and Jess, and they have a 10 year old, 7 year old, and a 1 year old!!! how perfect! I felt like I was in crystal or Jess´s house!!! it was soooo amazing to have dinner and just talk to americans and just enjoy our culture! and our food! we had excellent ribs!!!! also, sister black offered to buy us whatever we want from the american food store on base! we already have a list of things that we want... for example: pancake mix, lucky charms, kraft mac and cheese, peanutbutter cups, root beer..... etc. hahaha I cant wait!!! i had SO much fun being in their home!!!

things are going great. im happy. i really like it here in the Sevilla area. everything looks more like what I imagines spain to look like. Also, there are Flamenco dresses EVERYWHERE. I amso happy I am here on my mission.I cant imagine my life without this experience already. What a blessing that I am here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hermana Letendre's Birthday Week!!!! :)

So things are going great here. I cannt believe that it is my birthday this week! i am getting old!!!! I found a member in the ward who has the same birthday as me! how cool! we are going over her house this week, so ia m going to bring her a little chocolate or something as a birthday present! The ward here is great. we took time this week to go over to a lot of members houses, it was really great to get to know them. There are a bot of great people. The ward here is about 60% inactive, so there are a lot of les active members that we need to meet. The Bishop here is really great, and is willing to help us a lot. THere are also a few sets of Americans in our ward! it is really exciting.... but the sad part is that they all live in Utrera, which is the Elder´s area, so we probably wont see them tooo much. But i Really like this area. It is letting me see a different side of Spain. I love La Mancha, and really miss the members there, but I really love the feel down here in Sevilla. It is more of what you imagine Spain to look like and be like. Here in the summer is gets SUPER hot, so hopefully I will be out of here by then! it gets to like 40-45 degrees celcius, which is soooooo hot! look that up to see that it is in F.

We are actually headed off to Ikea today! since the piso we live in used to be the elders, we dont really have very much kitchen stuff, so we are going to go buy stuff and get reimbursed by the mission for it! i am excited! anyways, i have to go...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dos Hermanas in Dos Hermanas!!

Greetings from Dos Hermanas!!! It has been a crazy week! When we got here the Elders were here to pick us up and showed us around our piso and for the last few days they have been taking us around to show us things and to introduce us to members and investigators.

The new ward here is great! It isnt a very big ward. Also, there are Americans in the ward!!!!!!!! It is sooocool to be able totalk with them. We went over to our ward mission leader´s house-- he is half american half spanish, but grew up in america. His wife is spanish but i feel like i amin america in their house!!! he works on the american military base here so they have sooo much american food and stuff in their house!!!! i even for to drink a dr. pepper!!!! haha. it wasreally exciting!! haha

Things aregoing great. my new companion is wonderful! I do not feel overwhelmed like I thought i might. I feel supported by the Lord, bymy companion and by your prayers. It is a bit tough to be in a new place, and have a brand newcompanion, but things are going well so far!!! I amso excited about this challenge! We are basically starting the work fromground 0, and we will work work work until we find a lot of people to teach! This week is when we will actually get started because we wont be with the Elders this week... woo hoo. i am so excited.

Sevilla is soooo different from La Mancha. I feel like I am in Floridasometimes! haha it has that same feel--with palm trees and classic spanish style architecture... there is a big influence here from the arabs that occupied spain many many years ago... the buildings have tiles all over the walls with beautiful artistic designs... i will send photos soon! it is beautiful!

Thanks for allyour letters!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hermanas Conference in Malaga

So I am finishing up my last few days here in Ciudad Real. It is such a strange feeling to leave this area. I feel so excited to move on to Dos Hermanas, but at the same time, I am really sad to leave behind all of the people I love here in La Mancha. There is really something special about La Mancha that I do not think I will find anywhere else in the mission. This past few days, as I have started saying my goodbyes, I have realized how much I love these people and how much they love me. They are literally feel like they are family members. The members here are so impoortant to me--I just pray that they will see a baptism here soon so that they can get excited about missionary work again and really have more hope that the branch will grow.

This week we went to Hermana´s Conference in Malaga! It was sooooo fun! We were there for about 2.5 days and it was just great to see my old companions and also to meet all of the hermanas in the mission. President and Hermana Clegg do not have to have an Hermanas conference, they just do it because they want to. They are sooo wonderful! I feel so blessed to be in this mission!

Here are a few pictures from theSpain Malaga Mission Blog!

Twins!!! Valerie and Hermana Clegg have matching Swarovski earrings!
All 20 Hermanas in the Spain Malaga Mission at Hermanas Conference in Malaga.

Hermana Letendre meeting her new companion, Hermana Collett.
Hermana Collett & Val pointing to Dos Hermanas!!! Dos hermanas in Dos Hermanas, Spain!! How very cool!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dos Hermanas!!

So this week was kind of a normal week, except this week, a LOT of people fallared us... (this means that they stood us up!). although we didnt have a lot of lessons, we had a good week! my companion and I were having a great week, then on saturday morning i received a phone call from President Clegg...............................He told me that I am going to be transferred rom Ciudad Real. I will be leaving Wednesday the 25th. I was not expecting to be transferred--i was thinking i would be here for one more transfer. Ok, so there is more news! President also told me that I will be going to an area that currently doesnt have hermanas--a city called Dos Hermanas!!!!! Right now there are Elders in Dos Hermanas, but the ward there has been asking for a set of hermanas. So, President is granting their wish and he is putting dos hermanas in Dos Hermanas!!! The Elders who are there are going to be moving to a pueblo outside of Dos Hermanas and we will be living in the Elder´s current appartment. Wow!! Dos Hermanas is located outside of Sevilla, so I will be going to Sevilla once a week for district meetings and all! how cool! oh... and that is not all. After President told me that I would be transferred to Dos Hermanas, he also told me that I will be training a new hermana. That´s right.... training! Whatttttt?! I couldnt believe it! This is sooo crazy! I was just barely trained. I only have 3 transfers in the mission, and I am going to train. Usually trainers have much more time in the mission. I felt pretty overwhelmed at first. It is really an interesting situation because I will be moving to a new area AND I will be training. We will have to learn the area together, we wil have to learn everything together! wow! President seems to have a lot of confidence in me, and so does the Lord. I am working on having confidence in myself! This is a pretty big task. I feel like I still need a companion who speaks better spanish then me, i feel like i still need a companion to turn to to ask what to do in certain siutations... but starting next week, I am going to be the one whois turned to.

This is all really unbelieveable. I can´t even believe this it really happened! I have so much to do to prepare myself to train this hermana!!! But, I am so grateful for this situation. It is going to be hard, but hard things always make us stronger--always help us to learn and to grow. Although I question whether I have the ability to do this, I know with all of my heart that with the Lord´s help I can do it. I know already that this is going to be an amazing experience-- that I am going to grow so close to the Lord because I am going to have to rely on Him so much more. I feel so honored that the Lord has so much faith in me and is putting one of his missionaries in my hands--to teach her and to guide her. What an opportunity! wow!! Can you believe it?!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Working Hard in the Vineyard!

On dia de los reyes, some members took us our for churros and chocolate for breakfast, then we went out to their house in the campo to PICK OLIVES!!!!!!!!! I told them when I first found out that they have olive trees that I really wanted to help them pick them!!!! As you all know this is like a dream of mine!.... well I did it!!
we spent the morning picking 4 huge buckets of olives. Normally people dont pick the olives by hand like this.. but they dont have many trees, so this was the best way to do it. We did it in many different ways.. we also took big sticks and hit the top branches so that the olives would come off! it was soooo fun! it was soooo great!
afterwards, we stayed at their house in the campo to eat lunch! we had a very spanish meal of salad, cheese, pork, and chorizo!! it was sooo good! they have a special barbacue house that they cooked the meat on.. it was cooked on an open fire and was super delicious!!! it was such a wonderful day!!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Spain Malaga Mission Picture

Here are two pictures Valerie sent this morning of the missionaries from the Spain Malaga Mission!

Can you find Hermana Letendre.......
There always needs to be a silly one..... ;)

She may have to work on that... ;)

What a great looking bunch!!!!