Thursday, January 28, 2016

This week my thought aren´t quite so organized as usual, (that´s not
saying much, is it? ;) So it´s kinda going to be a bit of a list
of....things. (It took me a second to come up with that word. I kept
thinking ´´cosas´´. Go Spanish Powers!) ok. Primero. Nothing exciting
on last p-day, just walked around and got supplies/groceries. OH I
FINALLY GOT A EUROPEAN SCARF!!! Ok you walk down the street here and
literally every other man, woman, and child will be wearing a HUGE
brown or green or red plaid scarf. (European fashion is interesting...
but that´s a discussion for another day.) These things are like
blankets that you wrap around your neck. I LOVE THEM. And so I bought
myself one. Which actually turned out to be really good because its
been like springtime here in Spain! Sunny, slightly breezy, and just
cool enough that you need just a jacket OR a
blankety-soft-hugenormous-european scarf. So I basically am a native
now! WIN. Ok, so the Park. It was probably the best time so far! (no
referrals this week though... kinda a bummer.) I was with Hermana
Humbert and a new girl from Italy named Sorella Bellomo. Which was
really cool, because between the 3 of us, we effectively covered 5
languages! English, Spanish (ish), German, Italian, and Sign Language.
The last one, I mention because I ACTUALLY GOT TO USE IT! IT WAS THE
BEST THING EVER! Actually it was super hard because ASL And SSL are
definitely not the same thing. So communication was a little rough.
But I just got to talk to this girl from Madrid and she told me about
her all-deaf girl´s futbol team, which was really cool. Anyway, Tender
mercy of the week! Then we got ANOTHER blessing of knowing so many
languages! Things were a bit difficult at the start, and people
weren´t very friendly despite it being a beautiful day, so we decided
to go off on the grass and say a little prayer. (keep in mind this
park is HUGE. Like a slightly smaller Central Park.) and we asked for
help to be able to communicate with people. Ended the prayer, looked
around, went up to the first guy that we saw, and started to talk with
him. He was an Agnostic History Professor here, and guess what. He
spoke completely fluent English. Spanish. German. AND ITALIAN. We all
had to laugh at that. A fairly visible miracle right there. And even
though he wasn´t exactly receptive of our message, he was very kind
and interested in learning about why we were here and what we
believed. So cool! On that note, in the last two weeks we´ve recieved
10 italian speakers who are leaving with our group to go back to
italy, and, drum roll please, 23 new Americans who are here to learn
Spanish! Mom, you must´ve met one of the 8 missionaries who had a visa
issue, because originally we were supposed to get 31! Things around
here are a little...nuts. I´m kinda glad that we had the chance to be
part of the smaller group and that we´re getting ready to leave. :)
They´re really fun though! The first day that they got here we had the
most... interesting food that I´ve had so far here in Spain. Black
pudding was one of the things on the menu. Not. Ok. Blood was not
meant to be eaten, my friends. Especially like THAT. Esta bien. My
favorite thing this week was that we got to watch Characteristics of
Christ the mormon message with all the descriptive words of Christ.
You know the one I´m talking about? I love that video so much. I´ve
written as many of them as I can remember down and I´m working on them
one at a time. And we got to watch the same video of Elder Holland
talking about the Apostle Peter, and it was like a hammer to my heart!
I LOVE Peter and every day I gain a greater love for my Savior, Jesus
Christ. And I love that I get to add my hands to the thousands out
here in the world actively trying to do the work of the Lord. I´m so
excited to get started! I love you guys and I miss you all and am

praying for you all! Love, Hermana Larson

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Real People, Real Stories, Real Experiences, Real SPIRIT

P days seem to be coming faster and faster these days! Hopefully
that´s a good sign. But goodness gracious I only have like a week and
a half left here in  the CCM and then comes THE REAL WORLD. I really
feel a bit like Maria at the beginning of the Sound of Music. You know
that whole ¨what will this day be like¨ to ´¨I have confidence¨
sequence? yeah. pretty much my mission life so far. And then I get up
to the gate and say ´´oh help!´´ haha it´s good though. And I´m still
loving it here! There is just so much to be done and so much I want to
do before I leave! I´m happy and excited and scared all at the same
time again. :) OK! Activities of the week. Last P day I went to
Bernbeu Stadium where Real Madrid plays! It was Hermana Lofgren and I
and ALL the boys(who were like kids in a candy store), so that was an
adventure in and of itself, but even for someone as uneducated in
Futbol as I could appreciate how amazing the whole thing was! My
camera´s dead, so pictures will have to wait until next week, but I
was fairly thoroughly educated in the art of loving european Futbol.
The stadium is HUGE! Bigger than anything I´ve ever seen! And the tour
included a whole interactive maze of Jerseys, Trophies, replays of the
best saves and goals, and statistics of the best players. I have a
newfound appreciation for Christiano Ronaldi  (spelling...not my
forté) and for the love that Spaniards have for Futbol. Man. I don´t
think ANYONE ANYWHERE ELSE has the kind of love that spaniards have
for futbol. It´s nuts. But that was tons of fun and it was probably my
favorite P day so far. This week was also a hard one, because we lost
the Lovells as our presidente y esposa. Everyone had a hard time with
that, the Lovells were amazing and we all miss them so much. But now
we have the Packers! We haven´t had a ton of time to get to know them
yet, but they´ve been really nice and SUPER energetic so far! These
last couple of weeks are going to be great. The park this week was
also a great experience, this time I was paired with Hermana
Briggs(who is from Pleasant Grove and is headed to Malaga) which was a
great experience because goodness that girl is FEARLESS. We would see
someone on a bench, head over, and she would start right up and start
asking questions and giving information about the Church and The Book
of Mormon. Her spanish is also really good so that saved me a couple
of times. :) We made a pretty good team, because she would explain who
we were, what the gospel was about, and a bit about the book of
mormon, and I would ask questions to get to know them a little better
and bear a (VERY BROKEN) spanish testimony. It was a pretty successful
tactic! We got our first Referral so that was a major victory for both
of us! It´s such an incredible experience to be able to go out and
actually practice what we´re learning how to do. And it´s with real
people and real stories, real experiences and there is such a real
SPIRIT! It´s indescribable. We also have a couple of ´´investigators´´
that Hermana Humbert and I work with about 3 times a week, where we
get to teach and try and figure out needs and learn how to communicate
with people. (have I already talked about this?) Our investigators are
Josefa and Andrea, but until yesterday we had Patricia. She was the
hardest one by far! Tough questions and problems and a totally
unreadable face during discussions. Haha. We had a really good
experience with her though when we took her over to the stake center
and gave her a tour of the chapel and a couple of the classrooms. Even
though the investigators are just our teachers, the Spirit that comes
when we testify of what we know is real and powerful and amazing. We
had a worldwide missionary training yesterday from a few members of
the twelve and other people from the Missionary Board (Bishop Waddell
spoke which was really exciting! He spoke about committments and how
we must first commit, then promise blessings, then testify of the
truth. He used the story of Elijah and the widow woman who had only
some meal and oil to make one cake and he asked her to feed him first.
you know the one I´m talking about? Oh it was so good!!!!) which was
entitled TEACH REPENTANCE AND BAPTIZE CONVERTS. We learned a bit more
about what our responsibilities are and how we should go about
accomplishing the work that we´ve been given. One of the most
important things that I learned (throughout my MTC experience and park
experience and in the broadcast) is that we, the missionaries are not
the teachers. We are not the people in charge, using the Spirit as a
tool to penetrate the hearts of investigators. WE are the tools that
Heavenly Father, through His Spirit, uses to bring just a taste of the
joy that can be recieved through the Gospel. Haha in my mind, I  see
myself as a bit of a person who hands out samples outside a bakery. We
go over to people, show them what can be theirs, offer them a taste of
the power of the Holy Ghost, and point them to where and how they can
recieve more. We don´t make the treats, we just hand them out. Does
that make any sense? Anyway, that´s how I´m seeing it right now. :) My
goal isn´t to be a good missionary. I want to be a good and faithful
servant of the Lord and at the end of my mission and be able to say
that I have fought the good fight, tried my hardest, and been a good
soldier of the Lord. (And then continue in the work. ;) I´m a bit
tired, sometimes confused, neck-deep in spanish that I need to learn,
and I´m happier than I´ve ever been. I love you all and I pray for you
every day! 
 Con Amor Siempre,
 Hermana Larson

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Which week am I in?

I´ve officially been a missionary for four weeks now! Two days short
of an entire month! WOOOO HOOOOO!!! That really is pretty insane
because I feel like I just got here and like I´ve been here forever at
the same time. This week especially seemed to FLY by, and here we are
at P-day once again! Let´s see... This week was more about getting
into the swing of things, so it seemed like a normal(ish) week for the
most part. Last thursday we went to the mall, which wasn´t really as
fun as any of us were hoping for. But we did get quite a few contacts
and recieved more stares than I think I ever have in my entire life.
Funny what a skirt and a nametag will do, isn´t it? ;) But the best
part of it all was getting to go to the grocery store that was inside
the mall. FOOD IS THE FUNNEST THING. We browsed for a while, just
looking at the rows and rows and rows of fish and crabs and starfish
and octopus and squid and such,(still not tempted to eat any of that
stuff, oddly enough.) And then moved on to the Hamon(?) section. You
know, the racks and racks of Pig´s legs? 

Crazy. And fun. Also, there
is Hamon flavored EVERYTHING here. Chips especially. And we learned
that if you bring one of those suckers while tracting, you have about
a 98% chance of getting into ANY house. (too bad that´s not really a
practical or realistic method of spreading the gospel. ;) Friday was
probably more studying, to be honest I don´t really remember, ha. And
then Saturday we went back to the park and PREACHED THE WORD. This
time I was companions with Hermana Hojholdt (the Danish sister I room
with) and it was a much better experience! Still humbling, and it took
us a bit to really get started, but oh man it was such an amazing day.
The first guy that we talked to was my favorite, but i´ll get into
that one in a second. Through the day we talked to quite a few people,
and tried to give away as much of our stuff as possible, (we ended up
giving away our first 3 Book of Mormons!) and struggled through our
Spanish, though I think some people actually found that endearing. It
was also a good conversation starter! You know, ¨Hola! Yo enseño
español. Por favor, que es la palabra por (insert random object here)¨
And again, I must testify of the Gift of Tongues! There were so many
conversations where I really should not have known what was going on
or known what to say, but the words came. It´s so amazing! The last
guy that we tried to talk to though, was tough. He started out really
nice, we had a nice conversation, and then he brought up ¨los
mormones¨. He would ask us questions, give us about 5 seconds to give
a satisfactory answer, and then he would go off about how in order to
claim that we were the true Church, we would need an explaination for
every aspect of the Bible and Book of Mormon. We attempted to just
bear our testimonies, but this guy  wouldn´t let us get a word in
edgewise. That was pretty discombobulating, and luckily for us we had
to leave to go to the fountain so we had an excuse to get out of that
Bible Bash, but it was more than a little disappointing. I have to
admit that I kind of felt the urge to take him by the shoulders and
look him in the face and say ¨Please! Listen for just a second and
understand that we are 19 year old girls out here to bear testimony,
not compete with your knowledge of the Bible!¨ I was blessed with a
more patient companion, though, so when we were on the Metro heading
back home, we discussed how, through all the points that he brought up
that we could understand, we weren´t shaken in our faith. We know that
this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and no matter how many
questions or facts or speculations this guy or others could give us,
we can´t be moved from that. It´s the truth, and we´ve been lucky
enough to find it. So that was a good experience after the fact. But
back to the first guy that we talked to: His name was Juan. We saw him
sitting on a bench just looking at a fountain, and after some dragging
of feet and shrinking in terror, we screwed our courage to the
sticking place and we decieded to go over and talk to him. He was a
little...apprehensive at first, but we just tried to make friendly
conversation and get him engaged, and he finally opened up a little.
He had just moved here from the Dominican Republic about 3 months
before, and he found
the missionaries about a month after he got here (WHAT). They took
down his number and name and address, and then guess what. THEY NEVER
CALLED HIM!!!! Ugh I was so mad. He told us about how he was still
kind of interested and we gave him a couple of pamphlets and the
address of the church building and he said he would try to make it to
church this coming sunday (of THIS week.) I have been praying so hard
for him! it was the first time that I really felt in my heart the love
that the savior has for this man, and my own love for him as my
brother and my desire for him to find Happiness in this gospel. Oh man
I hope he comes to church and I hope somebody finds him. Ok then this
week President Lovell gave a farewell talk because he´s leaving us
next week and the French Sisters left on Tuesday and it was so. Good.
He described to us what he has observed of the missionaries that he
has sent out and heard of them doing the best that they can do. Here
are the attributes he encouraged us to develop to become the best
missionaries that we can be and to be closer to Christ.
Seek to be invested with Power from on High
Be loving
Have a vision to help others come unto Christ
Inspire and serve others, especially other missionaries
have a positive and faithful attitude
be united with leaders
consistant and constant
and worthy of trust
I love you all and This is amazing!!! I ´m so
grateful and blesssed and glad to be here!

love always,

Hermana Larson

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Universal Language

Hello Hello Hello!  Again, no pictures this week because I´m a slacker
and I left my Camera upstairs. But I have some good ones! Ok. Let me
pick up where we left off cause I didn´t get to finish about last
week. Madrid on P-day was AMAZING and I kind of wish that I could get
to Barcelona already so that I could fall in love with that city as
well. It is sooooo beautiful! It´s like New York City at a slightly
more sassy tempo, if that makes any sense. Also everyone speaks
lightning-fast Spanish and there aren´t quite so many billboards. But
we got to see Puerta Del Sol, Catedral Almundena, Calle Mayor, The
Opera House thing (PHANTOM) and the point from which all roads in
Spain are measured. (I think that´s what our guide said... my spanish
was worse a week ago than it is now, so I can´t say for sure. That´s
what I understood.)

There are so many different people and the
buildings are all old and european looking and every few buildings
there is another statue or monument for something that happened there.
Also there weren´t any cars in the city! Everyone walked, rode a
bicycle, or one of those stereotypical scooter things. It really sunk
in then that I was in SPAIN! So cool. And there are bread and
chocolate shops EVERYWHERE, so what can get better than that? Today
all of us are going to the mall to look around and maybe buy some
stuff. But it´ll mostly just be nice to get out of the building and
chill for a second. The schedule here is even more tight than in
Provo! There isn´t a time to write letters or relax or anything,
unless you choose to skip Sports for the day and use an hour there.
But there´s no way I´m doing that! I´ve played Fútbal EVERY DAY this
week, and I´m not ready to give up now. My goal (no pun intended) is
to be able to be a decent fútbal player by the time I get home. Hear
that Lauren? We´re going to need to play when I get home. It´s one of
the highlights of the day, cause we get to get out and stretch our
legs and release energy for a bit. I´ve been talking/hanging out quite
a bit with Hermana H, Hermana Malterre, and Elder Keen, but in this
last week I´ve also become fast friends with Hermana Goreeba (another
Parisian who, @Bailey Riggs, Libby Hill and Ali Jesperson, is another
Soul Buddy) and Elder Liptrott (another English Elder). Everyone here
is so great and it´s nice to be in a smaller MTC so that we can get to
know everyone. We got 2 russian sisters and a Ukrainian Elder this
week, and we´re going to be getting a few Italian missionaries
sometime in this next week. But they all are only here for 2 weeks, so
us Spanish-Learning missionaries are a bit jealous. Grateful for the
extra time, but a bit jealous. ;) Everything about this CCM is awesome
and I love it so much, the views, the people, the president and his
wife, the maestros, THE FOOD (I tried my first Pallella(?) this week!
Soooo delicious, and I am perfectly ok with eating it the rest of my
mission! Also on the menu, Chinese food done Spanish Style, Watermelon
Jello, 3 king´s day cake, and SO. MUCH. BREAD. YUSSS. Also lots of
Patatas. I really think I´m going to like it here!) But the best part
of this CCM is that every Saturday, from 2-4, we go into the park and
PRETENDING TO BE INVESTIGATORS!!! (Leandro was actually our teacher...
predictable, but disappointing.) It´s in this beautiful park like
central park in NYC, with lakes and statues and LOADS OF PEOPLE. But
it´s crazy. Last week was probably the hardest 2 hours of my life,
because I would walk around with my companion (we go on a mix up
splits thing, so I was with one sister from Tahiti who speaks a bit of
English but mostly French) and try to talk to people and people would
glare, shake their heads, cuss at us in spanish, walk away very
quickly, and just altogether be fairly unkind. It. was. horrible. I
swallowed back many many tears over the course of that 2 hours. But at
the end of it all, All the missionaries gathered together by a
fountain and just sang a few hymns. People of all shapes and sizes,
some of which who had hated on us beforehand, stopped to listen and
even would talk to the couple of missionaries we had designated
beforehand to communicate with the passers-by. The spirit was so
strong even with those few songs, it was amazing!!! Which makes me
think that, as much as the gift of tongues applies to Spanish (and it
has. I understand most everything now! Even though my spanish is
broken while speaking, it really is an incredible blessing and
miracle!) I think it must apply to Music as well. Music is the
universal Language! and I miss it so much. I need to find a CD player
somewhere in here. Time´s up, but I love you guys so much and think
about you always and Thank you for the prayers and fastings! It helps

so much and I can feel your love! Love you so much, -Hermana Larson.

Friday, January 1, 2016

I think I´m gonna like it heeeeere.....

As the title implies, I LOVE IT HERE!!!! As fun as the Provo MTC was,
getting to Spain has been THE best part of these last few weeks! I
just... oh man it´s amazing here. Quite honestly I don´t really
remember that much about the last couple of days at Provo... After I
emailed you it was probably just packing and classes and eating.
Pretty typical MTC stuff. BUT THEN. Monday morning, far too early to
be awake, we finished cleaning our room, packed up the last of our
things, and headed out the door. 10 minute bus ride to the Frontrunner
Station, then we rode from provo to SLC (Passing the AF and Lehi
Stations was weird.... But I waved at you all!!). Finally, we, the 14
of us who were traveling to Spain together, took 3 minutes to unload
47 suitcases from th e Frontrunner and got on Trax. As we headed to
the airport I realized that I had left one of my nametags (the
magnetic one. :( ) and ALL of my books (preach my gospel, language
study books, 2 of my notebooks, ETC) in the classroom in Provo. Oops.
Lucky for me I brought my scriptures because I had been reading them
the night before and the morning of. BLESSINGS OF THE SCRIPTURES!!!!!
Anyway, we waited in line for a couple hours, then got on the 4 and a
half hour plane ride to Texas, which took off an hour later than
expected, which turned an hour layover into a few minutes, so we had
to book it over to our next flight. Then we spent EIGHT AND A HALF
HOURS squished on a plane on our way to London. That. Was. Horrible.
Not even Advil PM could cure my headache or send me to sleep, so it
was basically the worst thing of my life. But we did get food! That
was the best part. Oh and everyone around me was speaking with gnarly
british accents, so it was pretty fun to eavesdrop for a while. But
still. Almost not worth it. We arrived in Heathrow and had quite a
time trying to get through security and such. We had to find all of
the liquids in our Carry-ons and one elder discovered that his hair
gel had exploded over every item he had brought with him. We were all
far too tired to laugh at the time, but it´s pretty funny looking
back. :) Then we sat around for a few hours, got on yet ANOTHER plane
and headed off to Madrid. As we all sat down, (My Barcelona District
got to sit together on the plane for the first time, which was a
blessing as we were all ready to relax and not have to talk to people
and maybe get some shut-eye), a stewardess came over the intercom and
started speaking the fastest and most crazy language I´ve EVER heard.
Completely unintelligable. After a few blinks and checking to make
sure that our ears worked, we realized that it was, indeed, Spanish.
Hardcore, Full Out Lisp, Faster-than-the-speed-of-Light kind of
Spanish.The kind that we have to learn. And for a moment, just a brief
moment, I think each of us passed out cold. (kidding. but only
partially) It was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. But
then I fell asleep, so I got over it. It was only about an hour and a
half to Madrid, so we touched down before too long. We grabbed our
luggage, got herded on to a Bus, and headed to the CCM. The rest of
that day was a bit of a blur, I´m not even sure that it ever really
happened. But at some point, we were each interviewed by President
Lovell, and we ate some of the best bread I´ve ever tasted. (I think
I´m in trouble for the rest of my mission.... the bread turned out to
not be a dream. Boo Yah!!) Wednesday was P day, (PRAISE!) because of
the New Year, but it will typically be on Thursdays. And we didn´t get
to email until today, because of some reason that they explained on
the first day, therefore I do not recall. I´m still with Hermana
Humbert which is AWESOME, and Hermana Malterre is still in my room
which is GREAT! She has a new compañera named Hermana H. (Her real
name is Danish so it has a bunch of crazy letters, and everyone,
especially Spaniards, has a really hard time pronnouncing it. So we
just call her Hermana ´atchay´. H in spanish. Spelling stuff out is
hard.) She is absolutely awesome and I love her a lot! During lunch
she and I will go to a room together and she plays the piano while I
get to sing. Love her!

ANYWAYS. So I got to go into Madrid on P Day and it was AMAZING and
BEAUTIFUL and I LOVE IT! Also I got to go to the Temple which was
AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and I LOVE IT!!! It was an english session for
now, but I think this next week will be in Spanish. I´m practicing my
Lisp as hard as I can! We are literally right next to it, so we get to
see it out our windows wherever we are. And we have the prettiest
views ever!

The nativity outside the temple here

On new year´s eve we celebrated ( a couple hours early) in true
Spanish Style. We put on masks and clown noses and false teeth and
hats, and then on the 12 strokes of midnight, we ate one grape on each
gong of the bell as is Spanish Tradition. One for good luck for each
month of the year! Apparently they don´t sell grapes without seeds in
them in Spain, so we all promptly spit them out, which I think might
have canceled out the luck. But Still!

I´m getting shooed off the computer now, but I love you all and I have
so much more to tell you and pictures to send! Until Next week!

Hermana Larson

Hermana Katelyn Larson
Centro de capacitación Misional
calle del templo 2
28030 Madrid