Thursday, June 27, 2013

And the Temple is Open...

My dearly beloved family... and friends!
Ok ok ok the temple finally open we got to go this morning!!!!!! :):):) OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS IT IS SOOOOO PRETTYYY!!!!!!!! ...and because the majority of us speak English the session was in English!! The blessings just keep coming!!

So this week I have come to the conclusion that the Lord knew exactly what He was doing when He called me to the Spain MTC. Let me tell you why:

1) The Park. :) So after a whole week of classes and language study I´m just about ready to get out of the MTC and experience some real people. Luckily here in Spain I can do just that!!  We hop on the metro and talk to everyone!!  It is a really good reminder each week that this work is about people and helping them receive the joy that comes from this gospel.  I love it.  I love talking to people. haha  I just wish I knew what they were saying back to me... ;)

2) The teachers... I don´t know how I lucked out, but these are the best teachers I´ve ever had in my entire life.  They truly care about me and do everything to help us learn what we need to learn to be the missionaries we need to be.  (Nick you better be this good, because it seriously makes all the difference)! One day this week my teacher came up to me and just gave me a big hug (ahhh how cute is that!!!) and just said some very inspired things.  Most of the workers here are converts so it is really cool to hear their stories and their perspectives on missionary work.  I love all of my teachers.  It is good to know that I have people here that are looking out for me.

3)President and Sister Sitterud.  I love them!  President Sitterud looks like President Monson, sounds like President Monson, and is just about as inspirational!  Every time he opens his mouth I want to be a better person/missionary.  And Sister Sitterud comes to tell us bedtime stories and sings us lullabies at night. LOVE THEM!!!
Anywho... basically all the days are exactly the same: breakfast, personal study, companion study, grammar, teaching lesson, teach investigator, lunch, grammar, language study, spiritual lesson, physical activity, dinner, language study, teach investigator.

So I love any day that is a little bit different :) haha,  Sundays-Saturdays are golden!!  This Sunday we watched the Jospeh Smith Restoration movie.  President told us at the beginning that we would have feelings about this movie as a set apart missionary that we had never experienced before.  It was true.  The spirit was so strong and it was so motivational to go share this amazing message.  One part that really hit home was when Joseph´s brother is on his deathbed... he tells Joseph to ´do everything to obtain the record... everything´  As a missionary it is my job to do EVERYTHING to share the record... God has provided a way and prepared the people... now I just need to learn Spanish... haha ¨shall I not go forth in so great a cause?¨
...and apparently I can do it on facebook now... haha say what?!?!?!

My district: 4 hermanas, 4 elders:  Hermanas Mather, Heims, Nydegger, me. Elders Holt, Benton, Franklyn, Dunn. They are great. I really just love them so much!!  I didn´t expect to grow so close to my district.

Honestly that´s all that happened this week,. but last Thursday we went to the center of Madrid!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOSH I´M SO OBSESSED WITH IT!!! So on our p-days we´re allowed to go on excursions :) (yet another blesssing of this beautiful MTC) (today we´re going to the Prado... and admission is free today. haha we must be living right or something ...)  

Ok Madrid! . I´m in Europe, it´s official.. shout out to Tessa Ruth Barlow... I felt like I was staring at your architecture wall.  you would absolutely love this!!!! I don´t even know where to start in describing this.
My personal favorite was when we visited the royal palace... we got there right at the changing of the guards.  :) Then behind the palace there is this garden maze... ok ok ok I did not believe these even existed except for in those super great cheesy chickflicks.  It was a maze, made out of bushes with fountains and flowers interspersed throughout.  So we´re just walking through the maze with a perfect view of the palace and to top it all off there was accordian-piano music playing in the background. haha   This is not real life.
Also I found out later that the maze was the location where missionary work for Spain was dedicated.  Kind of a cool tidbit of knowledge. I don´t blame them for choosing there... beautiful. breathtaking.  I really want to witness a proposal there... that would be epic. haha

I love it, I love you!!! Just love love love all the way around....hmmmm yup that´s all I got!
Hermana Fowers

Pic 1 - My view of the temple...not too shabby aye?
Pic 2 - The temple is open!
Pic 3 - The Royal Palace
Pic 4 - The Royal Palace gardens
Pic 5 - Me and my comp Hermana Nydegger
Pic 6 - Me and the Hermanas in my districts (Hermana Heims, Hermana Mathers, Me and Hermana Nydegger

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wait, we don´t get to call on Fathers day?

Since you have seen me last.... I have taught 6 lessons (in Spanish), proselyted in the park (in Spanish), eaten a variety of seafood assortments, and have had a nice big helping of humble pie.

So when I left Lagoon a few weeks ago I thought I was saying goodbye to roller coasters for a year and a half. haha  Turns out the MTC (or the CCM  (pronounced ´the the eme´)  is the biggest roller coaster of all... a lot of really spiritual highs, a lot of really discouraging lows.  I have already come to see the hand of the Lord in my life already, and for that I am sooooo grateful! This has been a very humbling experience already and my prayers have become WAY more sincere, and my relationship with my Savior has become more strong. I have even found myself enjoying playing sports (what is happening to me?!?!?!?!) haha

I´ve got a lot to say and not a lot of time to say it in.... so i´m resorting to bullet points... just kidding I can´t figure out how to do bullet points...

1. FOOD- OK the food here is sooo good!!!  Like I´m in love with it!!! haha  They have a lot of fish, a lot of fruit, and a lot of potatoes? (I´m still trying to figure out if that is actually Spanish, or if that is just an accommodation for all the Americans.  We seriously have some variety of potato with every meal). The fruit here is so fresh and I have eaten probably more oranges here than I have in my entire life! Yummmyyyy!!!  And to my great surprise... I like the fish! haha... say what!?!?! phew... However... the squid on rice was a little much.  Especially after I found out the sauce was squid ink.  Food should just never be purple... end of story!

So swear it never gets dark here.... it´s still light when we go to bed... and ít´s light when we wake up. Crazy!

2. Park-  Every Saturday the missionaries get on the metro and ride to ´the park´. haha  I´m not sure where exactly it is... 15 minutes ride from the MTC and it's kind of like the Central Park of Madrid.,, so cute.  So when we were there we were supposed to preach the gospel... haha and I don´t think I've been more terrified for anything in my entire life!!!! I DON´T SPEAK SPANISH!!!!! haha. But it really was sooooo fun and I loved it so much. It was such a testimony builder to me that the Lord is looking out for us--all of us. He has prepared people to hear the gospel, and he has prepared me (is preparing me) to teach the gospel in a way that people need to hear. I learned that I really just love talking to people. It really was such a happy thing- we were all smiles, and that is what people noticed the most.  They kept saying you look happy!!!!!´ So I'm just glad we didn't look terrified. Even with our LIMITED Spanish we were able to have a lot of heart felt conversations, get a few referrals, and place a Book of Mormon. Our teacher told us to forget our Spanish and follow the spirit. I know that it is the spirit that touches people, I know that even though people couldn't understand me, they understood how they felt and that is the beauty of this gospel-- the hope and light and happiness we can feel when we open ourselves to it.  At the end of the park we all gathered together as missionaries and sung hymns. I love singing. but the teachers told my companion and I to go and talk to the people that came to hear the music. So as people would gather... We would go give them a pass along card and tell them briefly who we are and how great this church is. I´m still not sure why she chose us...

I just have tooo much to say!!!!! soooooo... one thing I've really focused on these few weeks is charity.  In Preach my Gospel it talks about how when you have charity you have a true desire to share the gospel with people...even if I had all the skills in the world, if I didn't have charity it ´would profit me nothing´. So basically I have really took this to heart and realized that if i pray with all my heart to have charity- then the Lord will bless me with the ability to show his love for his children and I can answer questions and teach as he would teach.  I truly have come to love the ´investigators´ I am teaching and have a desire to teach them... and not just teach them lessons. As I've focused on that love- the spirit has come and made up the difference where I lack the ability.

ummmm.... WE ARE NOW THE LORD'S MISSIONARIES.  We sang that song.  I love it.  They had the girls sing the verse that says: ´´ we hear the words our prophet declares, let each who´s worthy go forth and share´ soooo perfect!!!!!  There are so many people here that wouldn't be here if the age hadn't changed.  We are ´bonus missionaries´as the president says.

Also one more thing... on Sunday President Monson is addressing the new mission presidents-missionaries in a world wide church address.  You can access it I think... I would try to, the President basically told us that it is historic and it would be amazing. ´I don´t know what you did in the preexistence to deserve to be missionaries at this time... but it must have been something incredible.´

I love it here... I really do.  It is hard,  harder than I thought it would be, but I am so happy and I love you

We´re going to the center of Madrid today!!! wooohooooo  party party!!!
I love you, I love you, I love you!!!!!!!

Hermana Fowers!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Well ... I'm in Madrid!

Well... I´m in Madrid! Wearing my name badge... and doing well. :) haha  I feel like it has been at least a week since I left.... and I´ve been wearing the same outfit the entire time... gross.  Well on my flight to Atlanta I was sitting next to two 11 year olds- it was so fun! The girl asked me: ¨So a missionary is someone that goes somewhere to do good, right?¨ haha   Why yes little girl, let me show you my Book of Mormon coloring book... (I can´t figure out smiley faces on this keyboard... just imagine them periodically). Then on the flight to Madrid I didn´t sleep NEARLY as much as I should have haha and I sure am feeling that now but just you listen to this!!!! So as we were flew over Madrid for the first time and I got my first view I freaked out!!!!! IT IS GORGEOUS!!! I mean like green rolling hills... tons of olive tree orchards that make up patterns... and the buildings!  They have red roofs and are all the orange-coral-brownish color!  I wasn´t quite sure what to expect when I got here, but this is better than I could´ve imagined!!!!  The MTC president met us at the airport and took us to the MTC.... so basically you are driving down this amazing European street- the buildings are all like 8-9 stories tall (all orangy) and the laundry is hanging out to dry next to all the pots of flowers! (So cute)  Then you turn the corner and suddenly out of no where this big, beautiful, BREATHTAKING pure white temple appears. Seriously took my breath away. It is beautiful, even the ground the temple stands on is white. hmmmmmmm (insert smiley). 
Well if there was any doubt.... I definitely can´t understand Spanish. haha  but if there has been one thing I have learned from today is that it´s not about me at all.... Once we got to the MTC we got straight to work... we´re just fighting through our jetlag and our frustration of not understanding everything.  But there is a feeling of peace that comes from being set apart as a missionary.  I can´t explain it, but I feel at peace.  I know that tomorrow  (When I actually get to change out of these clothes and can think again(smiley)  I just need to study and work and give it my all. The Lord will make up the rest.  I know that. It´s all about his children. Heavenly Father wants them back... and that´s why I´m here. The Lord is hastening his work for a reason... I am here for a reason. I may not be able to tell you why right now...but the Lord has a plan. He always does!!
I love you I love you I love you!!!!
Picture 1 . . .  The Siblings

Picture 2 . . .  All ready to go

 Picture 3 - The white shirt luggage service
Picture 4 -  We LOVE Hermana Fowers
Picture 5 - This picture was sent by a Mom who was able to go to the gate and see off the missionaries all headed to the Madrid MTC from Salt Lake City!  Thanks so much to Sister Woodbury!!!  What a pleasant surprise!