Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter Miracles

Buenos Tardes Familia y Amigos!

This week in the life of me, time went by very quickly YET AGAIN!
Surprise! We had a Zone Conference on Tuesday, which was so amazing,
because we got to hear a lot from President and Hermana Dayton and we
learned so much about Missionary work and the gospel! As part of that,
we got a special invitation from President. This week, as a gift to
the Savior for Easter, the goal was to especially focus on our New
Investigators goal of 8 every week, and try to get 8 investigators
each companionship! That was pretty hard, especially here where people
aren't very interested in hearing more than we tell them on the
street. But after days of full-on knocking doors and contacting in the
Street, we found our last two on Sunday Night, the deadline! BAM!
Easter miracles! Speaking of Easter, this week was really fun because
we got to see a bit more of the Spanish culture around Easter.
Actually, Easter was pretty chill, which was surprising because about
60% of the people here are Catholic, but there was a holiday on Monday
called the Mona(?) which is basically a day where Godparents get their
Godchildren a little circle-shaped cake that has feathers and
chocolate on it. I don't really know why, but it sure was fun to see
all the cakes! They all have chocolate figurines and stuff so they
each cost about 30-40 Euroes. Needless to say.... The missionaries
didn't participate further than looking at the cakes though the glass.
;) It's beginning to look a lot like SPRINGTIME here in Badalona City,
so people are emerging more from their houses and everyone's feeling a
bit more kindly towards their friendly neighborhood Mormons. Also, a
strange tradition that they have here, (I think it's just a Ghetto
Badalona thing) is to carry around these little lunch-box shaped
things to wherever you go, then once you find a sunny little spot with
people to talk to, you unzip the cover and reveal that the lunchbox is
actually (PLOT TWIST) a wooden cage with a live bird inside! Bam! I
don't know if the description makes sense, I'll have to take a picture
to prove it, but it is a trend that is EVERYWHERE here. You'll see
these old Spanish men with two or three cages in each hand just
walking down the street to their park... It's quite entertaining. ;)
With investigators this week, things have been making progress slowly
but surely, and everyone's been getting excited to hear about General
Conference! It's something that we even talk about in the street with
new contacts, about how we get to hear from Prophets of God and get to
hear the messages that our Heavenly Father wants us to hear for this
day and age. That's a pretty unique and wonderful message to share,
isn't it? We're so blessed to have the knowledge that comes from our
prophets and apostles in the latter days! It's incredible as well all
the help that we are constantly receiving from our Heavenly Father
though personal revelation, scripture study, church attendance,
patriarchal blessings, and more! It's just such amazing proof of a
loving FATHER in Heaven, isn't it? That he makes sure we have every
resource possible to feel of his love and his guidance. HALLELUJAH!
(Like the Easter video... Get it?) Anyway, I'm totally pumped for
General Conference, especially to be there with some of our
investigators! I know that President Monson is a true prophet and that
the apostles and other general authorities are also called of God as
prophets, seers, and revelators. I AM SO EXCITED FOR CONFERENCE! I'm
so thankful to be here in Spain, getting to experience and see and
testify of the Father's love for his children. Each of his children. I
am so blessed to have this experience and to be in the presence of so
many amazing members of the church, and I'm so privileged to get to
learn of their conversion stories and hear of their faith! I love you
all, and I'll talk to you next week!
Love,

-Hermana Larson
 Sagrada Familia

With her companion, Hermana Birch




#SagradaSelfies

New Chapa!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Hola Familia y Amigos!
I'm so sorry, things have been so hectic over the last couple of weeks
that I haven't written very much! La vida misional seems to go by so
quickly and so slowly all at the same time. Every day this week has
been a blast, we've mostly been contacting and trying to get in
contact with all the people that had missionaries working with them in
like... 2007 to see what they remember and how they feel about the
gospel. Usually, people aren't very interested, but occasionally we'll
come across someone who would like to meet with us and who are
(hopefully) more ready to accept and apply the blessings of the gospel
this time around! So we have quite a few appointments this coming week
that I'll have to update you on next week. I've already been
companions with Hermana Birch for almost two weeks now and I haven't
told you practically anything about her! She's really funny, she's
from Florida, she's the oldest sibling and she has 4 younger brothers,
and she's been out here for a while now so she knows LOTS about
missionary work! It's been really fun to see the differences between
her approach and Hermana Perkins approach to la Obra and to be able to
apply each of their suggestions and ideas and see how they work for
me. She's been helping me a lot with Spanish, so I feel like I've been
progressing a lot over the last couple of weeks. I still get a stutter
when I'm out on the street contacting or talking to people, but in
lessons and interacting with members, speaking has definitely become a
lot easier. We also have Hermana Francisco in our Piso now, who I
actually got the chance to meet and get to know a little bit during my
time in the CCM in Madrid! She came in the transfer after me, so we
got about a week to get to know her group. She is really cool, she is
part Apache and part Navajo Indian, and she has attended school in
Cambridge and in Washington DC and then she decided to come out and
serve a mission! Piso has a very different vibe from before, but I
like the different dynamics and it's been really fun to talk and laugh
and cook with this group as well!

L-R: HermanaFrancisco, Hermana Larsen, Hermana Birch, Hermana Larson

 We had our New Beginnings in our
ward this week, which was super fun because Hermana Birch and I were
asked to help out a little bit with a special musical number that the
young women were going to sing. There are about 8 young women in the
Badalona area, so they combine the young women activities for both the
wards. They went full out with their program and decor and most of all
with the refreshments! That's something you can always count on here,
a good supply of really tasty goodies at every activity. ;) Even at
sports! 



This week was SUPER fun, because it was warm, but it was
drizzling a little bit so it felt like living in Washington again. We
played Futbol for a while, but then things started to get a little bit
crowded so some of us split off and started playing Frisbee instead.
It was such a fun game, and because it's not very well known in Spain,
everyone was about on the same level and it made things a little less
intense. (Almost everyone you meet here can play futbol like a
semi-professional, so games get pretty competitive occasionally.) BUT
the grass was pretty slippery after the rain, and while I was making a
super impressive catch, (it was VERY impressive) I slipped in the mud
and accidentally landed on my ankle wrong. (I still managed to keep
hold of the frisbee, though, so at least I have my priorities right.
;) It's been pretty sore since then, which makes walking a little
difficult, which is a problem because this is an area where we walk A
LOT, but I've been icing and elevating it when we can, and it's been
improving. I should be all better within a day or two! It's been
raining all week, which has put me in a really good mood! (We've got
opposite energy-charging weather, mom.;) And we go through the streets
singing songs and running from appointment to appointment to get out
of the rain. We've also been working on making cards that we can pass
out that have our information and a picture of the chapel and a map
and directions and information and all kinds of stuff on them, but the
end result is pretty great, not going to lie! We're pretty proud to be
Graphic designers now, as well as missionaries. ;) Not much progress
with our current investigators this week, I'm afraid, but We've got a
lot of appointments this week, so I'm excited to see what happens!
Let's see.... Did I mention English class already? Every week we teach
a free English class which has been a point of interest and has helped
us generate some investigators! (Mostly for the other areas
unfortunately... But they're still great investigators!) It's actually
a great help to me because then I get to learn new phrases in Spanish
as they learn them in English! We've also been trying to speak just
Spanish while on the street which has also helped my memorization of
the conjugations POR FIN. Irregular verbs still give me trouble,
though..... I've got work to do. ;) That's life for right now! Lots of
work to be done, and I'm so happy to be here and to have the chance to
take part in it! I love you all so much and I miss you and I'm praying
for you constantly! Have a good week and I'll talk to you soon!

-Hermana Larson

PS. This week I've been studying the talks "The Three Gardens of God"
by Elder McConkie and "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence"
By Elder Klebingat. They are such amazing talks and if you want some

fantastic study material, these are them! ;)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hola Familia!
This week, yet again, has gone faster than I can believe. We're
already back at Monday??? That's crazy talk! Pues... This week was one
of miracles, I gotta tell you. On Wednesday, we contacted almost all
day, and we found all kinds of promising people on the street with
interesting stories and ideas, and then the LAST person we meet on the
street turns out to be a lady from Ecuador who had been baptized
there, but who had never had her records transferred over here, so
she's never gone to church here! She has some issues with the church
that she's working through, so we're going to continue to meet with
her for a while before she starts attending again, probably, but que
suerte, eh? Milagros cada dia, aqui in Espana. I've taken to cooking
quite a bit since I've been here! Orange rolls, different kinds of
Pasta, brownies, arrepas, all kinds of stuff! It's been really fun to
use that time in mediodia to cook and get to know my companion and
piso mates a little bit better, and then I get to eat yummy food! So,
win-win! Today for preparation day we helped the elders and hermanas
in Badalona 2 to move one of their less-active families out of their
piso and into another piso about 15 minutes away. Which was really
fun, actually, and productive, but the first piso was up on the FOURTH
floor, with NO elevator, and very little light, so it was quite the
adventure. So I ran up and down about a million stairs today, so I'm
gonna feel super good tomorrow! Haha adventure is out there! 


Also, to
give you another idea about the area that I work, we got super hit on
by two guys from Morocco yesterday.... That was super awkward. The
conversation went a little something like this:
"So... Do you have a cell phone number?"
-Actually on this card is the number of the Church! We meet on Sunday's at 11.
"Do you have... A Facebook?"
-Not at the moment! We're out here for a year and a half to tell
people about the gospel.
"Do you have.... *insert social media here*"
-Nope! I'm so sorry, it looks like we have to go. It was nice meeting
you, though!

La vida missional! The name tag attracts all kinds of people... ;)
Anyway, that's about all the time I've got this week! We got here a
little late so I'm sorry that it's so short, but I love you all and I
miss you all and I'm so happy to be here!
Until next week!

-Hermana Larson

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Time to say Goodbye

This week was pretty strange, because all week we've been doing little
things to prepare for Hermana Perkins to leave. We made a list of
investigators and everything that we knew about them, made a map of
the area and where everything is, got her all packed up and ready to
go, and this morning we officially parted ways. Guess what. I bawled
like a small child when it finally came time to say goodbye. She has
been such an amazing example to me and a stellar missionary and
phenomenal trainer over these last 5 weeks, and the time just flew by,
you know? She's going to be a famous Opera singer pretty soon, so keep
your eyes peeled for her. But I got my fabulous new companion, Hermana
Birch, today as well! So it's been a bit of an emotional roller
coaster, to say the least! She is really awesome so far, even after
traveling all day and having me get us lost in the metro station.
She's a trooper to put up with me. ;) She only has 2 more transfers
left in her mission, so she is a PRO and she's going to be able to
help me learn a lot about the mission as well. This is her first time
serving in the "ghetto", so she's a little nervous/ excited about
that, haha. She just came from San Sebastián, which is a BEAUTIFUL
place that's not quite so city-ish. So she's getting lots of tastes of
everything! I'm excited to get to know her even better. Hermana Leija
also is leaving tomorrow to go to Valencia, but Hermana Larsen will
still be here, and she'll be training a brand- new Hermana, which
she's really excited about! As far as investigators go, it's been a
bit of a slow and crazy week, without much progress, which is
frustrating. But we have about 4 people who are ALMOST ready to be
baptized, they just need to attend church once more or they have an
issue with a certain aspect of the gospel or something like that. So
hopefully we'll make more progress there this week!  Anyway, I
know that's not much of an update, but not much happened this week,
I'm afraid! Hopefully I'll have more to report next week. Oh, I
finished the Book of Mormon Again this week! And I'm starting over. ;)
Still working on the one in Spanish. I love you all and miss you all!
Think about you and pray for you every day!
Love,

Hermana Larson

Hermana Perkins's last Zone Enfoque!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My African Name

OK. This week. This week this week this week. This week... Was a bit
nuts, and really good, and sometimes sad, and sometimes frustrating,
and really spiritual, and just the normal...mission...life. Haha! Ok.
First thing. You know how I said earlier that there are a lot of
people here from Africa? Well, it's still true. And guess what?? This
week, I have finally received my own African Name. Ready? It's...drum
roll please....OSAHONRUWEN! Yup, it took me a few tries to get it,
too. And I'm still working on the pronunciation a bit, haha. But you
know what it means? "God answers my prayers." I mean, RIGHT??? I love
it. And it actually ended up being a bit of a theme this week, and
it's always going to be a good reminder of why I'm here.
Lowlights of the week:
1. Mosquito bites. I have FIVE on my arms right now, which is really
not fun. There's a sneaky mosquito that just likes to eat me alive
while I'm sleeping, and the next morning I wake up with another red,
swollen part of my arm. Bug Spray and Anti-itch cream have been my
close friends this week. ;)
Highlights of the week:
1. After Church on Sunday, we, (Hermana Perkins and I) headed up into
the hills to meet with a member family for Comida, and we were lucky
enough to get to walk with the Familia Osa from Nigeria. (They were
the ones who gave me the name) They have 5 little kids, I think all
under the age of 12, and they are SO ADORABLE. They are absolutely
indescribably cute. So I had 3 surrounding me and Hermana Perkins had
a child on each arm and we all just walked up the hill, happy as could
be. They are so fun, and they think it's really fun to try and teach
me Spanish. I get all kinds of new words when I talk with them! :) We
also talked about who their favorite princesses are, and the littlest
one, Laura, said something along the lines of "Tu y la Hermana
Perkins! .....No, Espera.... Elsa y Ana!" So it's really sweet and
precious to think that Hermana Perkins and I make a close second to
Elsa and Ana on the Disney Princess Scale. Then one of the older
girls, I think she's about 7 or 8, borrowed one of my Chapas and put
it on her own shirt so that she could be a missionary also. She took
out her notebook and "Contacted" her mom and her aunt, which was,
again, hilariously adorable to witness. "Hi! I'm here to share a
message about Jesus Christ. Do you want to read the Book of Mormon?
Can I get your telephone number so we can call you? When may we visit
you?" Yup, cute.
2. Every Friday night, we have a Ward night that is usually mainly
coordinated by us 8 missionaries in the Badalona District. This week
we had a movie night where we watched "Conosca a los Mormones". (Meet
the Mormons) That was super fun! It started about an hour late, as
most things do here in Spain, but we popped popcorn and had soda and
got to watch a movie with ward members and investigators! That was
super fun for everyone, and the movie was a big hit! ESPECIALLY the
last story about the mom and the son who was preparing for his
mission. EVERY. ONE. Of the missionaries, sisters AND elders had a
tear or two in their eyes, and I think that we got a glance from each
member and investigator that was present. Most everyone else cried as
well. ;) Not of sadness, rest assured. Just because.... I'm not sure.
I guess it's just an opportunity to reflect on how we were feeling at
these different stages, how we feel now, how much we love these people
here, and how lucky we are to get to be here.
3. My piso mates. They are so fantastic and I just love them all to
death, especially my amazing companion. Have I told you about them
yet? Probably not. Hermana Perkins is my Companion, and she is just...
Phenomenal. I couldn't have asked for a better companion or a better
trainer. She is only here for one more week, unfortunately, and then
her mission is over! I just got her for the last little bit of her
mission here in Spain, and I am SO GLAD that I got the opportunity to
know her! She got her Master's at BYU in Vocal Performance, and she is
a professional choral singer, and an Opera singer to boot! She also
studied Theater for a time at SUU, so you can imagine that we tend to
sing in our piso A Lot, haha. She plays a variety of instruments, so
she is the lucky soul in our ward that gets to play the piano for
Every single event that we have, every church class, and every
baptism. She's such a trooper about it, and she is so patient and
funny and boy howdy am I going to miss her. We are so similar, as
well! The short list being that we're both fans of Dr. Pepper with
coconut and half and half and Cafe Rio/Costa Vida, we quote the same
movies at the SAME TIME, we have the SAME music and geek out over the
SAME singers/actors, and we just think about the world and people the
same way. Similar approaches to life, you know? I love her. ALSO we
have here Hermana Leija, who is originally from Mexico but now lives
in the south of Spain. She is REALLY funny, and she is an AMAZING
COOK! Goodness her food is so. Good. And she's stylin' AND generous,
so through her generosity, my closet has basically tripled in size.
Now we have ANOTHER Hermana LarsEn, which makes things a bit confusing
around Piso sometimes. But it's all good! She is a ballet dancer from
Colorado, and she is so sweet and so kind and always makes sure that
everyone is feeling loved and happy. So GREAT PISO!
This week we also had "Intercambios", (I'm not actually sure what
they're called in English), and I was with Hermana Leija for the day.
(She's a Sister Training Leader here as well.) We had a pretty rough
day for contacts, very few people wanted to talk with us, and those
who did didn't live in our area so we had to pass them over to people
in other areas. BUT THEN we were walking over to the Chapel, and we
decided to make one more contact, just as we were passing this lady in
the street. She was very short, about a head shorter than ME even,
(which is not abnormal here in Spain... People are super short) and I
just flagged her down and said in VERY broken Spanish, "Hello! We're
missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Can
we please talk with you for just a minute?" That last part I don't
usually say, I think it was a bit of a leap of desperation because
nobody had been speaking with us that day. She was very nice, and
glanced at her watch for a second, and agreed, though she said she
didn't have much time. We assured her we'd be brief, and started
talking about the gospel, how it focused on Families, and we testified
that we have a prophet of God who leads our church today. She was very
receptive, and accepted a Book of Mormon and a Pass Along card, and
AGREED TO MEET WITH US ON WEDNESDAY (tomorrow.) We got her contact
information, and she told us a little about herself, but then she had
to run off and we told her we'd call to confirm later on in the week.
We were super happy, obviously, and it was an amazing miracle. BUT
THEN. We've been going through our Area books and organizing and
re-contacting investigators or less-active members this week, and the
other hermanas in our Piso have been doing the same thing. Then
yesterday, when we got home at the end of the day, Hermana Larsen and
Hermana Leija told us that they had found a couple of registros in
their folder that actually were in our area, and that they had put
them on our desk. We headed in, looked at them, (mind you this is a
couple days later), and guess what. SHE WAS ONE OF OUR OLD
INVESTIGATORS! She had been contacted by the missionaries about a year
ago, and had been visited a couple of times, but somehow had slipped
though the cracks and hadn't been contacted since then. AND WE FOUND
HER! WE FOUND HER! I'm so excited and it is DEFINITELY a miracle,
because she is so ready and we're so excited for her to learn all
about the Gospel! So that was a fairly clear evidence of the Lord's
hands in our lives, for sure.
Another miracle this week, (we seem to have had quite a few) was with
one of our investigators, who is a mom from Peru and her two young
sons. She is one of the sweetest, most hardworking people I have ever
met, and she meets with us as often as she can, though she's usually
exhausted and running around from job to job. We were finally able to
meet with her this week, though, and talk with her a little bit more
about the Gospel and how it can bless her family. She's been trying to
read, but it's hard for her because she just doesn't have the time to
sit and read, you know? Literally. She is running back and forth all
day and being such a good mom and she works. So. Hard. I love her so
much. So we introduced the Gospel Library App to her and showed her
how she could have it on her phone and could even listen to it while
she worked if she wanted to, which she and her sons LOVED. They got
each of their devices that could have the app on them, and they
downloaded it right then and there! Then we started talking about
modern prophets and how twice a year we are able to have a world-wide
conference, where we get to hear the words of the servants of the
Lord. As we were testifying of the truthfulness of the words of these
modern prophets, though, one of her neighbors started just yelling and
screaming and cursing up and down the hallway, (which, unfortunately,
is not all that uncommon here in Badalona.) The walls in these
apartments are fairly thin, though, and the doors often aren't sealed,
so the sound just travels everywhere, totally unimpeded. The spirit
that we had been feeling in this lesson with this extraordinary family
just couldn't continue, you know? It was horrible. We weren't sure
what we could do, but Hermana Perkins and I just knew that we couldn't
leave the visit on such a low note. And then, my brilliant and
inspired companion decided that we would SING. Of COURSE! Because she
has the voice of an Angel, and what brings the spirit more than Music?
With our newly downloaded Gospel Libraries, we looked at the songs,
and the eldest son, who is about 10, decided on The Morning Breaks.
Together, the five of us in this little piso in Badalona, sang song
after song in order to bring the spirit back into their home and allow
the light to overcome the darkness. (Cheesy, I know, but it just can't
be described in any other way.) You could feel such a difference,
especially as we sang songs from the Children's hymn book, and after
each one, the mom would say something about how much she loved the
song, how peaceful and good she felt, and how much she loved having
the missionaries come to visit. We left from that visit so happy, and
we want more than anything for this family to be able to get Baptized
and continue progressing together so that they can be sealed together
forever. I think that that is one of the real goals here, you know?
The first steps are faith and repentance and baptism and confirmation,
which is why we missionaries are here, but ultimately it is SO
IMPORTANT that they follow the last step, Endure to the End, and be
able to go through the temple to be sealed together for all eternity.
It's such an amazing and beautiful and irreplaceable gift, and it's a
message that I have the privilege and honor and responsibility to
share with everyone that I can.
And can I just say again how much I love my companion? I love her
so.much. She is amazing and so hard working and patient and funny and
compassionate and charitable and long-suffering and humble and kind
and loving and the members and investigators adore her ALMOST as much
as I do. ;) She is practically perfect in every way, and she has been
and will continue to be a fantastic roll model and example for me. The
saddest thing in my life right now is that I only get to be with her
for one more week, but I am so blessed to have been with her.
That's the update for this week! I love you all so much!!!
Te Amo para Siempre,
-Hermana Larson

Barcelona / Badalona Specialized Training--Wednesday February 24th
Photo cred: espanabarcelonamission.blogspot.com

Hermanas Larson, Larsen, Leija, and Perkins


My Area!  Nice view of the beach, eh?