Monday, February 22, 2016

A Day in the Life

Hola amigos y familia!
Another week goes by in Badalona. Life here is pretty swell for the
most part, pretty nuts for the rest of it. But let me give you a quick
little tour!

7:30 AM. Arise and shout, the missionaries get up! Boo yah! Mornin'
prayers and then exercise first thing!
8:00 AM. Get ready for the day. Put on a skirt and a coat and a
blanket probably, because our apartment has no heating so it's
FREEZING in the morning time! But we have a lot of fluffy, warm
blankets, so we're good. I water the flowers that we have on our
balcony, grab myself a bowl of Muesli (which is magical granola
delicious cereal stuff that you can only get here) and some milk from
a box, and settle down for...
9:00 AM. Personal Study! One of my favorite parts of the day. It's
especially nice to have investigators to keep in mind while I'm
reading scriptures or talks or other articles!
10:00 AM. Companion Study. I also love this part of the day because I
LOVE my companion!!! Prep for investigators, practice vocab for
lessons, learn more about being a missionary, SING CAUSE MY COMPANION
IS A BOSS AND SHE IS PROFESSIONAL, and get ready to meet with people.
12:00 PM. Enter the world and get stuff done! Contacting or citas with
investigators, it's always an adventure! Often we meet some really
amazing people from ALL OVER THE WORLD. Here in Badalona, it's mostly
people from Africa and South America and Pakistan, but occasionally we
meet someone born and bred in Spain or another European country.
2:00 PM. Go back to piso for comida, usually we cook for ourselves but
we get to eat with members occasionally! We like cooking together, my
piso-mates and I, and it's tasty, but it's always nice to get to have
some really good food with the members! This week, for example, we had
a really great Peruvian dish called Cabrito, which is a mountain of
rice and white beans and yummy sauce and goat! Haha it was really good
and I think it might be my favorite thing we've had here so far!
Always there is Coke and a water bottle on the table, because we can't
get good drinking water from the tap. So we buy a six pack of giant
water bottles once a week and that's our drinking water! Haha We
always have to sing that song from Jungle book about fetching the
water, cause that's how it feels, haha. But it's fun! And then we have
postre, which is usually a piece of fruit or a yogurt or something,
good stuff!
3:00 PM. Language study! Duo lingo is my friend during this time.
4:00 PM. Back out and about again! Contacting and citas and citas and
contacting and WALKING. Hopefully my legs will be super great by the
time I'm done!
10:00 PM return home for the night. On the dot, sabe? If we're still
out and about and it's 9:55, we RUN home, because here we strive for
exact obedience.
10:05 PM plan for tomorrow! Call members and see who can come out with
us, (everyone is awake WAY late here.) and plan citas and lessons and
such for the next day.
10:45 PM get ready for bed and tomorrow! Do laundry, we only have a
washing machine, so we do what EVERYONE in Spain does and dry our
clothes and sheets and stuff on a rack or laundry line. Eat if we're
hungry, but usually we're not, and write in journals and stuff.
11:30 PM. In bed, ready to rest up for tomorrow!

This is an amazing work and I am so blessed to be a part of it! I love
you all and I love my savior and my Heavenly Father and these people
-Hermana Larson

Monday, February 15, 2016

This is...The district.  Minus two of the elders who decided to sleep in...Losers.
Elder Bennion, Elder Noovau, Hermana Larson, Hermana Leija, Hermana Perkins, Hermana Larsen
Ta daaaaa! I made it to Preparation Day! There were a few times where
I wasn't sure I was going to make it though this week, I'm gonna be
quite honest, and most of it has to do with..... Food. Serves me right
for talking about it so much in my emails home, eh? ;) This week on
the menu: raw chicken (which happened twice), Liver, pig fat, tuna
pasta, garlic garlic GARLIC, (it's been two days and about 10
teeth-brushing sessions and I can still taste it) and oil-soaked
potatoes, which were burnt on one side and completely raw on the
other. (Which happened twice as well. Fun fun! (Please don't put that
part in the blog, haha, I just wanted to let you know that the Lord is
helping me to eat stuff that I normally wouldn't be able to. And He's
helping me to not die in the process, so woot woot!) 
**Note from Rebecca:  Sorry, but how could I edit that out?  It must go down in history!**
This week was
also kind of a rough one because Satan is working hard on all of our
investigators. Nobody was able to come to Church on Sunday, except one
investigator we haven't seen at all in the last couple weeks, most of
our appointments fell though, and the success that we found while
contacting turned out to be a victory for the other hermanas, because
the new investigators live in their area. Which was happy because they
were golden new investigators, but sad because we fell in love with
them and we had to let them go. But it's ok because the other Hermanas
(Hermana Larsen and Hermana Leija) are great and we know they'll take
good care of them! We also had a ward activity for Valentine's Day
which was great because everyone in the ward got to know each other a
bit better and I got to meet a lot more of them! I love this ward,
everyone is so kind and fun and funny and they each have spicy
personalities, haha. Angela, the relief society president is awesome
and so no-nonsense and still can be goofy at the same time! She's
hilarious. Oh also for Valentine's Day night I made Chocolate covered
strawberries and bananas and we watched the chastity video from The
District with the Hermanas in our piso! Best valentines day dates
ever, eh? ❤️Haha I love those girls.
So there aren't a whole ton of grand events to talk about this week
I'm afraid, it was mostly a lot of walking and contacting and praying
for strength and the Gift of Tongues. It was a tough week! But it's
good because we know what we need to do for this next week and we have
a full plate of things to do and people to see! And with every time
that we get rejected or hurt or laughed at or when things fall
through, Hermana Perkins and I are able to lean more on each other and
on our Savior and our testimony of the enabling power of the Atonement
grows. There were a few times when I really wasn't sure how much
longer I could walk, how much longer I could handle rejection after
rejection, or how much longer I could continue to feel as foolish as I
do trying to speak Spanish. In fact, there were a few times when I
couldn't continue on my own. But every time that happened, right at
the moment I couldn't do it anymore, tender mercies of the Lord
appeared in the form of my companion and piso-mates, scriptures,
conference talks, music (hymns and other mission appropriate music, of
course 😉) people that we would meet in the street, ward members, and
countless other evidences of the hands of the Lord and His servants.
And it's a good thing that Hermana Perkins is on my team, because I
definitely couldn't do anything without her. :) 

I love you all and I miss you and I pray for you every day!
-Hermana Larson

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I prayed to feel taller, so God sent me to Spain

Goodness. Goodness goodness. How long has it been? It feels like these
last few days have been an eternity already! Honestly I have no idea
where to start. I don't really remember a whole ton about what my last
couple of days were like in the CCM, I think everyone was just pretty
excited to get out of there and find out where we were going for the
next 12 weeks or so! Oh! We did go take a tour of the Royal Palace,
which has something like 3,418 rooms. We only saw about 20 of those,
though, and then we went off to Madrid so people could get a few last
minute supplies and such. Crazy, that feels like so long ago. Did I
already tell you about that? I can't remember. Haha. Then everyone
packed up and guessed where we might go, and had a few classes of
preparation for the field. Then Tuesday morning, bright and early, we
got on a bus and headed to the train station. Then a three hour train
ride to Barcelona and we were met at the station by President and
Hermana Dayton! Oh I just loved them the second that I saw them. They
are so sweet and so kind and I love them! We dropped off our stuff at
the mission home, filled out a few papers, went over the handbook, ate
lunch, and chatted for a little while, and then they took us to the
top of this little mountain (it's just a hill compared to Utah
mountains, but they call those mountains still.) overlooking Barcelona
in a castle that was built by Ferdinand and Isabella about 500 ish
years ago. We saw the ocean on one side, and then on the other side,
just....Barcelona. As far as we could see, there were buildings and
cathedrals and apartments and for a minute I think we all just took
some time to sweat just a little bit. To look out on all that area,
all those people, made you feel pretty small. Then we hiked back down,
packed an overnight bag as best we could, and headed off with
temporary companions to go do some missionary work! We went to a
couple of Citas, (appointments), contacted a bit in the street, and I
caught a glimpse of what real missionary work is like. And boy, it is
WORK! With LOTS of rejection, and LOTS of people, LOTS of different
walks of life, LOTS of new sights and sounds and smells, LOTS of
walking, and JUST A LITTLE bit of foot pain. Ok, quite a bit of foot
pain. I'm getting used to it though. :) We spent the night with a
couple of those sisters in their apartment, and then the next morning
we got up, headed back over to the mission home, and killed time
(tried to complete our registration with the Spanish Government, but
something was broken so we ended up just going to see the Columbus
Statue and the Sagrada Familia instead. Both so beautiful and VERY
SPANISH.)  until it was time to have lunch and meet the trainers!
Those hours were VERY nerve-wracking, to say the least. All of the
trainers seemed great of course, and they were all super nice and
reassuring, but goodness it was like getting a Mission call all over
again. I was the very last Hermana to go, and the second to last
missionary to get called, so I got to sit and stew in my nerves for
quite a while.... Not kind. Haha just kidding, it was so fun to
finally learn where everyone was going! I might've already said it,
but Hermana Lofgren is in the islands, and Hermana Humbert is in
Zaragoza. And I'm in Badalona! WITH THE BEST TRAINER EVER, HERMANA
PERKINS IS MY FAVORITE!!!! And we are the same. Person. It's a little
freaky. Every day we find out that we have more in more in common.
We're making a list. I'll send it to you when we complete it. Anyway.
She's the absolute best in every way.

Speaking of things that are the best, here is a short list of things
that I love Love LOVE about being here in Spain. (Some of them are a
bit sarcastic. I'll let you figure out which ones.

- chocolate. Duh.
- bread. Also duh. I didn't think it was possible, but it's even
better than the bread in the CCM! Magical gluten-y goodness. Ugh I
love it.
- the smell of walking past a bakery. We pass by a million of them a
day, but the best ones here are called Maxci Pan. (Pronounced
mahk-she-pahn) and the best thing at a Maxci pan is a napoletana,
which is basically a croissant bread stuffed with Nutella and/or cream
and topped with a light glaze and/or chocolate and powdered sugar.
Super healthy, I know. I've restrained myself and only had 1 since
I've been here. Ok, maybe 2. But they have a 2 for the price of 1 deal
that just physically hurts me when we pass by!
- the people. Once you get them to talk to you, they are so open and
friendly and willing to talk! And talk and talk and talk, sometimes,
but they tell really cool stories! ;) I legitimately love them so much
already, and they are so patient with me and my Spanish. And everyone
is from EVERYWHERE! All over Africa, the Middle East, Ecuador,
Argentina, Peru, all over. It's crazy! I love them all.
- frutarias. You find one about every 10 steps, and the fruits and
veggies taste SO GOOD! Especially the tomatoes and the apples. My
-my piso mates and my companion. We got so close so fast and it's so
fun to live with them! We get to cook together occasionally and we
chat for a bit before bed and I just adore them.
-the scriptures. As a missionary, they're taking on a whole new
meaning! Every verse, no matter how many times I might have read it
before, is coming with a new kind of clarity and application. You
start reading, looking for how it might be able to help your own
missionary progress or your investigators. We got to read with an
investigator family here this week and the spirit was so strong! It
was. Incredible. Such a great experience.
-the spirit that comes from missionary work. I'm so lucky to get the
chance to share my testimony with so many people every day! And they
strengthen me so much with their testimonies and faith and goodness
gracious I just love these people so much. And occasionally, you meet
someone, like Hermana Perkins and I did this week, who is just. So.
Ready. To find the gospel. Someone who is already doing everything
they can to follow Christ and help lift those around them and who
might even say something like "I was just thinking this week that
there must be something more than what's in the bible! It doesn't have
all the accounts and stories that there are, so where are the rest?" I
think my jaw literally dropped. It was like the Spirit said "hey!
Look! She is LITERALLY LOOKING FOR THIS GOSPEL. Do your job!" It was
one of the best moments, not only of my mission so far, but I think
maybe of my entire life. Not going to forget her any time soon!

Anyway, there's lots more but I'm outta time for today. Fun stuff fun
stuff! I'll talk to you all more next week. Love you all!

-Hermana Larson

Still a Caveman at heart!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I'm alive and I have an Area!!!

Hola from the other siiiiide!!! The other side of my mission training,
that is, AND the other side of Barcelona. Hello, Badalona!!!! I'm
officially out in the field. How weird is that. Aaaaannd I'm a bit of
an emotional wreck for the moment. Lots of FANTASTIC emotions, though,
because my trainer and roommates are AMAZING and I LOVE them! Sister
Perkins is from Riverside (Moreno Valley?) California, and this is
actually her last transfer before she heads home. 😖 But she is
WONDERFULLY talented and super nice and she is extremely musical and
has an incredible singing voice so we will have a lot of fun, I just
know it. My area is causing me a bit of stress at the moment, just
because I don't knew what to expect just yet. Hehe the first thing
that Hermana Perkins said to me when my area was announced was, "We're
in like the ghetto of the ghetto! You're going to LOVE IT!" Hahaha.
SO, I'm a bit nervous, BUT I'm also very excited. We live about 10 ish
minutes from the Sagrada Familia, and about 6 blocks away from the
beach (which I won't see for my entire mission, because European
beaches are dangerous and so we steer clear.) I'm feeling a bit like
its my first week in the MTC again, because I've just been separated
from my "family" from the beginning. Hermana Humbert is now somewhere
closer to the middle of Spain, and Hermana Lofgren is on the islands!
( incidentally I also saw Elder Nathan Jones packing up to head there
as of yesterday. I guess if you go to the islands you only get 1
suitcase, and you leave the rest at the mission home. Kinda glad I
didn't have to do that first thing!) My "Elder Brothers" that have
been with us since day one of Provo are all over Spain as well, though
none of them are as close to Downtown Barcelona as I. I'm gonna miss
them a lot! We took an early morning train here from Madrid on
Tuesday, which contained a lot of talk about where we might end up and
we made plans to have a Provo-CCM Barcelona bound district reunion in
London. (Because 6 of us are from the states and ONE of us is from
England. Makes sense that we would go over there, right?) Anyway, I'll
miss them. BUT in this area we have 2 baptisms scheduled for this
month and lots of progressing investigators and LOTS of work to be
done! I'm so excited to get started!!! And I haven't even talked about
presidente y Hermana Dayton  yet but I love them and I'll write more
on next p day, which is normally on monday but we're having it on
Tuesday next week. Anyway I love you and I miss you so much and I pray
for you every time I get the chance! Love you so much, talk to you


Picture Credit: Google Maps

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Meeting the Mission President

Hermana Larson is in Barcelona!  with President and Sister Dayton