I am not even sure what to put in the subject write email, so much has happened in the last week I don´t know where to start!!
First of all, I have a new address: :) :) :)
Calle Juan Pedro Dàvila Garcia 2-6B
38008 Santa Cruz Tenerife
I have been transferred to the TENERIFE!!! One of the seven Canary Islands!! We found out Saturday night and since then Hermana Hansen and I have spent HOURS on end packing and weighing and packing and weighing suitcases! WOW, it has been a lot of work, but the boots and coats and tights have been left behind :) I just got off of a three hour plane ride from Madrid to Tenerife. My new companion is from Ecuador and lived in Spain for many years before the mission. Her name is Hermana Burgos. I already love her, and I feel so blessed to have another native companion. She only has two transfers left in the mission, and her family actually just moved to New York while she has been serving. From what I can tell, she loves being here and she is very calm and collected. I love that. It was hard to say goodbye to the ward of Alcobendas, but I feel like the Lord blessed me to really see things in an eternal perspective, realizing that the relationships we have made here with the members and converts do not stop here, and we can all stay in touch, but I am needed elsewhere right now. All of the goodbyes could have been a lot more sad, but I felt at peace with the changes to take place! Even though I still have been a bit nervous at the same time!
So I said goodbye to Hermana Hansen, who is leaving for Norway tomorrow, and Hermana Sanchez, she will receive a new companion there in Alcobendas. She is very nervous to "area train" which means she knows the people and the area and needs to help her companion out, even though she is brand new. I know that our investigators are in good hands with her, she is very capable and loving and I will miss both her and Hermana Hansen :)
The Islands are beautiful!!!! Ah I have really missed seeing green everywhere!!! I am pretty sure it's about 70 degrees all of the time here, our apartment is big and overlooks the city with ocean view. :) I feel so blessed to be here, and grateful for change. :) It is exciting to start working in a new area with a new companion. All so overwhelming and out of the comfort zone, but really, what isn't out of the comfort zone on the mission?!
Oh we also had leadership meeting this week, where all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders come to president´s house to have a council and we talk about how we can improve as a mission. I loved being a leader :) President and Hermana Jackson are so incredible to have us over at the mission home and make us feel at home with their love and support and Sunday-dinner type food!! Those missionaries that are leaving this transfer also bore their testimonies, we felt the spirit very strongly, and two of the missionaries have entire families that aren't members. One of them shared his testimony about how his mom didn't want anything to do with the church but on his mission her heart had softened, and wants him to baptize her. He goes home tomorrow :) what a sweet story :)
I wanted to share an experience that we had with Gustave this week. We met with him, sang a hymn like normal, opened with a prayer, and we asked like normal where he had been reading in the Book of Mormon, and if he had any questions. He grabbed the triple we had given him with our testimonies written on the inside, and thanked us for the words we had written. He said; I realize how important this all is to you¨, and I am so grateful that you found me that day on the street. After I finished reading your testimonies, I just flipped open to this page. Then he asked us to open to Alma 29:9: "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."
And he said that he now realizes what JOY we have found in seeing him come to repentance and be baptized. I could not stop smiling!! Gustavo progressed so rapidly and it was such a blessing to witness and to be an instrument in the Lord´s hands to find him and teach him. He said that this scripture is a gift for us for all that we have done for him. But I don´t feel like I did much, The Lord simply put him in our pathway and told us what to say :)
It was a tender mercy before I left Alcobendas to see that the people we were teaching really have progressed in the love for the gospel. Alba and Walter slowly but surely progress, but they have recently shared a lot of personal experiences about how the gospel has changed their lives, 180 degrees. He used to drink all of the time, and she used to have issues with her temper. They say that no matter where they go, they consider this their church and they know it is true. It has been incredible to see their changes, even if it is very slow. And Gerson, he has such a desire to know the truth for himself, not just because everyone tells him it is true. He has a lot of respect for the church and recognizes his doubts and wants to change. I feel such love for these people. I feel like I am leaving 10 children behind that I care about with the recent converts and investigators!
SOOOO all in all, ALL IS WELL. I am excited to get to work here and love the people, love my companion. Please send all mail here now, not to the mission office because I will never get it!!! BUT still send letters :) hehe.
Also, Pam VanWie asked me to share one way I have learned to Come Unto Christ at this time in my life, I would say that being a missionary is the most humbling experience in my life. I am grateful for that because the more humble we are, the more we need to lean on the Lord, I have realized how human I am, and I need to lean on the Lord's wisdom and strength on the days I am tired and feel little desire to work, or scared of what is expected of me, or when I wonder if I can live up to who He wants me to be. BUT He never fails to show me that HE IS ALWAYS THERE. Always, unconditionally. We just simply kneel down to pray and we find peace, comfort, and unconditional love. We learn to accept our circumstances and move on :) and then we look back and see at God´s hand was in it all. I love that. I am so grateful that the mission has helped me COME UNTO CHRIST in that way. ANYONE thinking about going on a mission should go :)
Have a great week family! Pictures of everything to come next week (I forgot my camera cord this week!) I love you!!
Oodles of Love,
|Las Hermanas de Alcobendas: Hansen, Sanchez, and Mather|