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!

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