Monday, September 30, 2013

The Rain in Spain!!

Well the rain in Spain definitely doesn´t fall mainly on the plains...unless I happen to be on the plains... haha I´m not really sure!
So let me tell you a story: One day this week we´re on our way to visit a less active member. So we have our map in hand and are a little lost, but are definitely on our way to have a fabulous lesson. That morning the weather had been great so we don´t have any sort of jacket or umbrella (mistake number 1). So on our journey, it starts to get really cloudy and cold... we start joking about how it might rain (mistake number 2). Then it does start raining... awesome!!! We head over to the nearest apartment complex and wait for a few minutes to see if it´ll pass. If anything it gets harder... we take a good look around- we are pretty far from where we need to be, neither of us have jackets or umbrellas... so 'well should we knock this apartment building?´ Then it starts absolutely pouring. haha  I guess that is a 'yes'. So we are let into the building by someone who feels sorry for us, but isn´t interested in our message so we go to the first floor and start knocking on the doors. To add to this beautiful picture- the electricity is out. haha  So when people open their doors all they see is darkness and two outlines of two very wet girls. hahaha  It wasn´t super successful. :)  And so this continues as we go from building to building trying to avoid the rain. Then we ran out of apartment buildings and continued our journey again to this less active member. We FINALLY arrive at her building, completely soaked head to foot. ready for this great lesson... haha and her floor doesn´t even exist. hahahahahahaha  One of those moments you just can´t but help laughing. We looked sooo ridiculous and I´m convinced God has the greatest sense of humor :)

Ask me if I will ever forget an umbrella ever again? ...because the answer is no :)

 And hey look on the bright side- fall has begun, the weather is beautiful and the next day I got to pull out my boots and cute rain coat!! WOOOHOOO FOR FALL!!!! :)

Want to know something else funny that happened this week: so we had a lesson in the mental hospital... yes. yes. you read that correctly. So we´re visiting this less active who was about to visit her friend and asked if we would come with her. So we did some rearranging and went with her. Well, fully expecting to go to an apartment or something... no she takes us to the hospital... ok ´well she´s sick´ we´re thinking... no we are led into the pysch ward- haha  They had to unlock the big heavy prison door and everything! :) haha ooohhh the things that happen on missions.  It was quite the experience, I don´t really know how much you could feel the spirit due to all the people yelling on all sides of us, but you know, the Lord knows the needs of each of his children. 

Also yesterday we walked into an apartment where a couple was watching Little Mermaid together! wooohoo! How adorable is that!?? That is my kind of couple... I´m done with all the teenagers making out on the metro- a couple that watches Disney together stays together... haha that was a super fun lesson!

We met with an Armenian family that just moved from Belgium... so they fed us an Armenian dinner with Belgium chocolate! :) yuuuuummm!!!! ...and they are suuupper sweet and the spirit was super strong!

I am continually amazed by how the spirit works! The spirit can speak to us all individually and give us all the comfort and peace and knowledge to know for ourselves that this church is true!! It is truly amazing!  GENERAL CONFERENCE is coming up!!!! wooohoooo!!!!  ...and I just found out I get to see it in English! Soooo relieved!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Peruvian food, paella and green olives

Sometimes I really like quotes: ¨It is not your responsibility to convert anyone. That is the work of the Holy Ghost. Your task is to share your beliefs and not be afraid¨ (President Uchtdorf). I just really like that! 
So we got this Amish bread starter... so we thought it would be a good idea to 1. make some yummy bread and 2. give it out to members when we asked for references. haha  So we followed the instructions, put the base in the jar and then headed out to give it away.  Well turns out that when put in small container the dough will first expand... and then explode... hahaha and explosions on the metro... quite hilarious :)

Pilar: she is the daughter of a less active member we are visiting.  So we were meeting with her again this week when her husband came home from work.  He ended up loving the gospel too and we scheduled to come back for an FHE with their family.  So we show up for FHE and there were a ton of people there!  Pilar, Marcos (her husband), Josefa (her mother), Luis (who lives with them and turns out he had taken the discussions 2 years ago... we looked at his record and he is totally golden and is sooo ready to learn, he was just working a ton back then), and their friend Pedro. So it was quite the FHE with yummy food, (side can make lasagna- Mexican food style and it is SOOOO GOOD!!!!), good company and super strong spirit!! Ok so we gave the first discussion about the Restoration and watched the Joseph Smith movie.  Every single one of them loved it!! ...and now we are teaching them all! Woohoo..  And cool story so at the end Pedro asked for a copy of the movie so he could watch it again when he got home.. so we gave it to him and were asking for his info: he doesn´t have a number, and he is never at home. basically if I would have met him on the street I would have thought that he was not interested and there would have been no way for him to hear the first discussion. but because he randomly came to his friend's house the day that we were there he now knows about the gospel and we are now teaching him! God knows each of his children and how to reach each of them.

Maria: so we met with her for the first time this week and she has 2 adorable children (5 and 8). She basically is just looking for a religion and doesn´t know where the truth is... :) I have never seen anyone connect to the Joseph Smith story so much! When we were describing how he didn´t know which church had the truth.. she was like ´yes, that is exactly how I feel!´ She is great! haha  And from the mouth of babes: so there was some confusion about the trinity... so we´re talking about God and she turns to explain to her 8 year old daughter how Jesus has a body but God is a light-energy. haha  The daughter totally called her out ´mom, that doesn´t make any sense¨ and then goes on to explain how God does too have a body... Yes little girl, how right you are!  :)

So we got invited to this birthday party slash family reunion thing. haha  I just really love Peruvians. So just listen to this... so they start out with some appetizers... chicken wings and potatoes.  Then there is some singing and dancing.  Then they bring out some tamales :) yummm super good.  Then there is some more singing and dancing while we recovered from our burning mouths... so we´re super full and getting ready to leave and that is when they decided to bring out the main course... say what? haha  People just keep piling us up with food. so then we ate beef-rice & potatoes... at this point we really have to leave so they box up a cake for us! haha  Which was probably good because if I had to eat anything else I would´ve exploded! and to make it worse it is allll soooooo delicious!  Also this week I had real Spanish Paella :) yummmmmy! and fun fact... they snack on green olives here... we saw a girl on the metro snacking on them and commented on how strange that was. I need to learn never to do that. The very next day we were fed green olives before we ate... yummmm...????  Armenian food is super good too :)

We had a woman approach us this week... pointing to our name badges and ask us where our church is! haha  That doesn´t just happen!! It was amazing! Turns out her sister is Mormon in Columbia and this woman has been looking for the church here...and we were just in the right spot at the right time! Amazing!!! We are teaching her today after we go have an adventure in the center of Madrid!

Woohoo!!  I love you all!!  Have a great week!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Want to guess who I shook hands with?!

So you know... Elder Ballard came and spoke to us. As in Elder Ballard from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles... and I shook his hand. It was a pretty great moment in my life.  So we had to be in Pavones at 7:30 am... so we woke up bright and early, (and when I say bright I really mean it was pitch black outside :)) and got to the train station at like 6:00 am-- I was fully expecting it to be deserted that early on a Saturday morning... but we get there and every single teenager in Spain is there... we´re super confused wondering why they are up so early.  It didn´t take long to realize how drunk they all were and we put it together that they were just coming home from a long night of partying. haha  I have never felt so out of place.  It is amazing the perspective we have.  We were going to go hear from an Apostle of the Lord.  We know what will really make us happy.  We know why we are here and where we are going.  This gospel is amazing!

Want to know what else is amazing?! ELDER BALLARD!! Ohhh he is just the greatest!!! It was amazing to hear from him, to feel his spirit, and to know that he is an Apostle of the Lord. He spoke to us about D & C 11... how our desire to do this work is directly proportional to our success. How even though there are sometimes challenges and difficulties, we do everything we do because we love the Savior. Then he just told about his week, how they had been to London, Paris, Spain and was going to Rome all in one weekend.. how he is turning 85 next week and how he is tired. He told us that sometimes he wonders why someone of his age is running around ´like a young boy´... then he was quiet for a few minutes and said, ´it is because I know what happened in Gethsemane´  He then bore the most powerful testimony of the Savior and His love for us and his love for the Savior.  He told us that anytime we feel discouraged, to look at a picture of the Savior, to ponder the love He has for us and the sacrifice he made for us... and then to turn outward and share that love with someone else.  Incredible!  Also he took the time to shake all of the missionaries hands! What a great guy!

So this week we ate at a members house like every single day... that is slightly unheard of!! :) and haha none of it was Spanish! :)  Want to hear which countries food I ate?   Well let me tell you... Monday we ate Mexican, Tuesday we ate Equadorian,  Wed we ate Peruvian, Thursday we ate Honduran and Friday we ate Peruvian... hmmmmm  It was so good!  It was super nice for everyone to be so generous! Cesar had us over for mediodia... and it was just hilarious.  He just pulled a bow and arrow out of nowhere... and so we played dress up with all his sweet Peruvian paraphenalia.  

We have a new investigator as of this week! Her name is Pamala... her mom is a member and less active, so we were visiting her and met Pamala. So she just barely had a baby- like 2 months ago and he is PRECIOUS!! :) They are so cute and humble and so receptive to hearing this message! She loves how family centered the gospel is and she loved hearing about the Restoration and the Priestood and she is so full of the spirit!  Also miraculously her baby sleeps through our whole lessons... this is when you know God wants to you listen.

We were talking to this woman (Rosa) on a bench earlier this week and she said she was interested in coming to church... long story short we got her number, called her to set something up and reminded her of church- and she came!!  We haven´t even met with her, and she lives in Getafe, which is far from the chapel!   She is so cute and I can´t even wait to meet with her!

This young woman in our ward was showing me her back to school supplies... oh my goodness gracious...I love school so much and may or may not be going through withdrawals at not starting school.... haha but it was so fun to be excited about her new stuff!

Also... we called a member and turns out our number is the same number that her mom had when she was alive...  so she answers the phone thinking we were her dead mother...hahaha crazy!

Lots of cool experiences this week- we met with this member and shared a message about family history work. She was kind of quiet the whole time and then at the end she is just smiling and said ´thank you, I was thinking about that a few nights ago... I got the strongest urge that I needed to start, but I didn´t know where to begin´ (or something to that effect). Then she thanked us for being angels in her home! :) soooo cute!!

Love it!  Well got to go!  Have a great week!
Love you much,
Hermana Fowers

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wedding Cakes and Spanish Swords...

Want to hear a cool quote?!?!  "You were called to the mission and the language in which you can most powerfully bear your testimony"  Wow... hmmm and that is my encouraging message of the week.  So this week has been a little crazy, we lost some investigators- because Hna Christian left our companionship but all is well! (with the transfer her companion Hna Christain received a new missionary and Megan stayed with Hna Zitting)  We did a lot of contacting and walking this week... haha

Here are some highlights:
Cesar- He has a baptismal date!!!! I´m hoping and praying that that date will work out, but we have made huge progress with him!!! We were having the lesson about baptism and we were asking him about how he feels... basically he knows that he needs to get baptized and he has the desire. Guess what, we actually got him to say that he wants to get baptized!!!!  That doesn´t seem like a big deal, but for him that is huge!!! It is a big step of faith for him.  He also told us that he is afraid.  When he said that I thought of a scripture I had read earlier that morning Moroni 8:16, "perfect love casteth out all fear."  When he read that scripture he was quiet for a long time, you could just see it in his eye the desire he has. The spirit was so strong and long story short he now has a date!!!! Woohoo!!  What a champ!  Also at church yesterday we went to go talk to him after Sacrament Meeting and we didn´t know where he had gone... so we walk out into the hallway and he is sitting on a bench, in the midst of tons of people, listening to a conference talk on his ipad... and I repeat, what a champ!

Three different people this week have showed us their wedding pictures... haha so I would like to thank Maddie for giving me a story to contribute to the conversation :) Anyway want to know something cool about Spain... they cut their wedding cakes with swords and then feed it to their spouse with the swords as well.. haha   It makes for a super awesome picture and I´m thinking Maddie should implement that... haha

We had the most adorable FHE this week!! So it is a family with 4 kids (14, 12, 10, 9)... So we were explaining the Restoration and were using the pyramid cup object lesson! (which is super sweet by the way) and the kids were so cute the entire lesson, so actively engaged and everything! So at the end we were talking about reading the scriptures and we left them with a competition... we left 2 reading calendars, one for the girls and one for the boys.  We told them that whoever read the most would win a prize... you should have seen their faces, it was almost like a Ben Fowers competitive look!! They all started making plans and trash talking the other team, haha (and then the best part) they all pulled out their Books of Mormon and started reading right then and there!!! haha  It was THE CUTEST thing I have ever seen!!

Hna Christian´s new companion is a native speaker- from Equador! and she cooks really well!! Well this week I have kind of felt like my Spanish has been getting worse... haha which is not a good feeling. Anyway I was talking to Hna Zitting about it and she just told me that ´no, it is just that you are noticing more when you make mistakes... which means you are getting better... before you just didn´t notice´ haha  I kind of like that way of looking at it.. makes me feel like there is at least some hope for me even when I don´t realize it :)

I know that I am supposed to be here learning Spanish. I know that God helps me everyday, and that somehow, someday I will be able to bear my testimony in the most powerful way in the Spanish Language to the Spanish people. :)
Love you much!!
Hermana Fowers!! :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

And thus concludes Transfer 1...

So good news... I´m staying in Legan├ęs :) with my companions!!! Except we won´t be a trio anymore- I´m staying with Hna Zitting... and Hna Christian is moving downstairs and getting a baby! haha but we will still be able to party in the piso! woohoo!!

Also speaking of partying.... so there was a ward party this week! woohoo for ward parties. So we were told to come ready with games to play with the primary... except it turned out to be more like a talent show haha and we ended up being the entertainment.  Let me explain... so the nice spiritual message turned into this primary girl doing this dance... and Hna Christian and I start dancing in the back... haha and the Bishop saw us and thought it was hilarious... so the next ´act´ for the talent show the Bishop and all the members were begging us to dance.... haha can´t disappoint the members, right?  If that doesn´t strengthen relationships with the member, I don´t know what will! :)  Also more people talked to me after that than ever have before, success!!!
Anyway, for some reason my companions thought it would be a good idea if I was in charge of directions for this week. hmmm... hey remember the first time I drove a car and I didn´t know how to get to Bountiful High... yeah.... so we´ve been lost a lot this week. haha  But I have learned a lot.  You can´t win them all...
We had lots of yummy food this week :) I still wonder what Spanish food is like... because I feel like everything we eat is not Spanish: Peruvian, Armenian, and Chinese this week!  Funny thing about the Chinese- we were talking about the Mandarin restaurant that very day, and we show up to an appointment and he had made Chinese! :) haha miracles happen I am telling you! Also I am pleased to report that everything we ate was stupendously good! including stuffed peppers- stuffed with like this meatloafy goodness, and these seasoned chicken legs. yummmmm. hey we also had American food!! the Day of transfer calls we went to this cute little old fashioned diner and had good old hamburgers!

Anywho enough with that! Maria has been making the goals we set for cutting back smoking, so we set new goals! wooohooo! She is so great! She has a niece and a nephew that come to the lessons we have with her and it is just so cool to talk about a topic and explain how it can apply to each person individually! This gospel is for everyone and has the power to change-heal everyone!  We also played soccer with her little 7 year old nephew... OK I´m pretty awful at soccer in the first place, now add a skirt and missionary shoes...hmmmm! That is a pretty picture! haha   I was on the ´SPAIN´ team... pretty sure we won...

Cesar is a rockstar... haha he is the funniest person! Dang sometimes our lessons with him go on the most random tangents because he has so many random questions... but I really just love him so much. It is crazy to think that 6 weeks ago when I came here I didn´t know any of our investigators and members and now I just love them so much and have such a strong relationship even though I can´t really speak Spanish. 
I really am so glad I am staying, I couldn´t imagine starting over when I feel like we just barely begun! It really is a miracle to have the opportunity to teach the people we are teaching. I am learning from them and it is amazing to see the change the gospel can bring in their lives. My comps and i were talking about what we like doing the most as a missionary... ´Telling people why we are so happy!´

I love you all!!! Have a great week, and don´t party too hard! :)