Monday, July 18, 2016

Gandía week 1

Muy buenas a todos!!! Como estamos?

For me, this week has been probably one of the strangest of my life,
just because there have been SOOOO MANY CHANGES. So. Starting off of
the last time I wrote, which waaaaassss.... Tuesday I believe. Ok. So
Tuesday we ate McDonalds at the train station and then Hermana
Romero's companion came, (I think we already talked about her, but
just to reiterate, she's a mini-missionary, she's suuuuuper cute, and
they're just gonna kill it.) and then we ran to piso, dropped off her
bags, ran back to Barce to go to the Mission Home, and received our
companions for the night! I got to be with Hermana Nelson, who is
SUUUUPER CUTE, super sweet, and super ready to be in the mission.
Unfortunately, I don't know where she ended up, but hopefully I'll get
to see her in the future. She's great. We spend the evening
contacting, and then we said goodbye and had a lesson with one of my
favorite families of Badalona, I don't remember if I talked about them
or not, but Christina and Francine and Daniela? Christina is a recent
convert and we were teaching her 8 year old niece Daniela. They're
from the Congo, and they are ADORABLE and I love them. 

"I love this cutie!!!"
Christine and Daniela

So we had a
sweet lesson with them and then we ran home. With 3 new baby
missionaries, the 2 new missionaries to Badalona,  the 2 veterans, and
me, the random chica with no home or companion haha, we had a pretty
adventurous evening, trying to get everyone fed and cleaned and with a
space to sleep. I couldn't sleep much that night. I kept thinking
about my time in Badalona, where I was at the beginning, the people I
had met, the funny things that had happened, etc. and to top it all
off, I was SUPER NERVOUS about starting off training somebody in an
area I don't know, haha. This whole process has given me a newfound
appreciation for my trainers and for the effect they had on me. It's a
lot of pressure!!! I was really blessed to be with two companions that
really helped me learn and grow and love the mission. 

Hermana Leija (one of her first piso mates in Badalona)
So with all of
that on my mind, I didn't really sleep, haha. The next morning I got
up an hour early to finish writing in transfer journals of my
piso-mates and packing, and then me and my temporary companion,
Hermana Nelson, brought my giant suitcases to the mission home. (Sorry
that's how you had to spend your first morning in the mission,
Hermana!) We arrived just in time to head to the trainers meeting,
which was really really really great, but didn't help calm my nerves
much, hahaha. It was another good opportunity to think about how great
my trainers were, though! Now usually, the trainers do the meeting,
and then the trainees and trainers meet for lunch and then they have a
meeting to introduce the babies to the mission, pautas, etc, and to
have a big reveal to find out who your new companion is and where
you'll be serving. BUT my new companion and area were waiting for me!
So right after the training meeting, we headed out, took another metro
adventure with my suitcases, and my old companion and piso mates said
goodbye to me. I waited for a couple of hours in the Train station,
just kind of stewing in my own sweat/nerves.... But then I got to
talking with a lady sitting next to me, who was also from Switzerland!
(Like my new companion) It was kind of funny to me to kind of pause
after that conversation and realize that I had just spoken to someone
completely in Spanish, without the guidance and help of my companion.
I kinda cried a little bit, haha. I NEVER THOUGHT THIS DAY WOULD
COME!!!! I'm not fluent, nor can I express myself really as completely
as I would like, but I can communicate, jaja. Yay! Miracles.

Then came what I like to call, "The train ride of Temptation." 3
reasons for that:

1. My train car didn't have a functioning AC system, so it was VERY
HOT. At the same time, we were passing a lot of really really really
gorgeous beach... Temptation #1.

2. The trainride was approximately 3 hours long, from Barcelona to
Gandía, and so they had a movie playing the entire time. Oh no, not
just any movie...
Star Wars.
The new one.

Such. Killer. Temptation.

3. That one was really hard to resist, but I was just able to glue my
eyes to the windows, and was settled comfortably WHEN SUDDENLY the
little girl sitting next to me starts playing TANGLED on her tablet.
Ugh. Satan knows us well, y'all.


I managed to stay strong, however, and FINALLY we made it to Valencia.
Where I ran into the welcoming arms of my new companion! She's super
super SUPER cute. Her name is Hermana Stahl, she's from Switzerland,
she is a FANTASTIC cook, she loves to sing, and she's a wizard who
speaks five languages. We had another hour long train ride to Gandía,
which we spent laughing and talking, already the best of friends, then
we pulled my suitcases to piso and went back out and contacted for the
remaining 30 minutes of our day. The following days have been filled
with visits and church and sports and noche de barrio and getting to
know the area, and it feels like we've just been running ever since!
She and I had a meeting during weekly planning our first morning
together, and we agreed that we're going to do our very best to be
exactly obedient, hard-working, worthy, consecrated missionaries.
We're a good team, I can already tell! Gandía is SO beautiful, and I
really AM going to get a nice tan, haha! (I hope) it's really really
hot and humid, and the streets here are DEAD from about 1 to about 5.
They don't speak Catalan, which is a bit of a bummer, ;) but they
speak Valenciano, which is basically the same. There are LOTS of
Spaniards here, as well as Bolivians, Senegalians, and LOTS of
Tourists in the beach part of our area. The Ward is super nice, and we
have lots of members who are always willing to help us out with visits
and contacting, which is amazing. I love it here already! We're
surrounded by all these cute little mountains, and then on one side we
have the Mediterranean Sea, so it's really really beautiful here. (I
didn't do so well on picture taking this week, so I'll do better next
week.) We have lots of really beautiful Catholic Churches and
monasteries and even some ruins up in the mountains somewhere, so I
can't wait to explore more around here! We're right down about 17
kilometers from the Malaga mission boarder, which is also a little
funny. Gotta be careful there! The only complaint I have is that there
aren't really many cute little bakeries around here.... Fresh, warm
pan is a little harder to come by, I guess. But we're still on the
lookout! ;) well, this afternoon we'll be going to a birthday party
for one of our members, so we've gotta head out soon, but I also
wanted to just say something really quick that I learned in personal
study. Alma 36:3 has become one of my favorite scriptures, because
it's such a simple and powerful testimony of the worth of faith and
confidence in the Lord. I may not know everything about this gospel or
this message, but I do know the most important thing: that it's true.
I know that each trial and difficulty we may have in our lives can be
overcome with the help of the Lord and through faith in His power and
His timing. I know that my Savior lives and loves me. I know he loves
the people here. And I know there is somebody here who is searching
for that knowledge. The Church is true, the Book is blue. ;)
Les quiero,

-Hermana Larson

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