Monday, September 26, 2016

Gandía week 11? 12?

Buenas Tardes!!! 
Lets see.... Starting on Sunday of last week, we got to sing a musical number! Thanks to the musical talents of Elder Garner on the Guitar, the four of us missionaries got to sing "Asombro me da" or "I stand all Amazed" in sacrament meeting. I love that song, you know? English and Spanish. The spirit that comes from music is SO STRONG. Ugh I love it. So that was really fun!!! Monday we spent preparation day at Europe's Largest Aquarium, right here in Valencia, Spain! It was a little expensive, but it had a dolphin show that made the trip SO WORTH IT. At least I think so. Haha I don't really know for sure.... maybe we're just fairly easily entertained as missionaries. But I think we all changed our post mission plans to "Dolphin Trainer", so take that for what it's worth. ;) After that, we went and had a Family Home Evening with one of our Single Adult members, Lilliana. She told us a little more about her life, and we found out that she actually lived in Utah a few years ago, which made me think a little bit. I mean, I just wonder how many of these people, particularly members, that I saw/passed by before the mission, who now I'm getting the chance to know! (Not saying that happened with Lilliana necessarily, but it's an interesting thought.) And how many of us knew each other in the pre-mortal existence, and hoped that we would get a chance to meet here on earth! #FoodForThought 
Tuesday we had another lesson with Cristian!!! It was SOOO GOOD and he, again, was SOO PREPARED!!! It made our jaws drop, how much faith he already has. We asked him if he had felt the influence of the Holy Ghost in his life before, and he told us about how he decided about a month ago that he needed to quit smoking, because it wasn't good for him, but also because he felt like that's what God wanted him to do. He talked about how even though it was hard for him to quit, and even though he still sometimes felt tempted to smoke, he felt God helping him to be stronger than the temptation and to keep going. It was incredible!! Then Hermana McBride asked him if he would be baptized, and he said YES with the biggest smile on his face!!!! We set his fecha for the 15th of October, so we'll hopefully get to see him take that first step in changing his life forever!!! 
Thursday we had Zone Enfoque which is always a blast, and then I got to go on an intercambio with an hermana in Valencia, Hermana Crofts! She's the best, and we had a REALLY AMAZING lesson with one of their investigators, Joaquin. It was so great to get back in a city, because it felt a lot like my first area, and it made me appreciate some of the things about Gandía a little more, hahaha. I have loved having the opportunity to work in such different areas! 

Valencia Zone

Stormy weather in Gandía
I'm so sorry, I'm completely out of time, but I truly love you all and I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!! My favorite spiritual moment this week comes from a talk in this latest Liahona by Elder Russel M. Nelson about Standing as True Millennials. ITS SO GOOD!!! I CANT WAIT FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE THIS WEEK!!!! 

I'll talk to you all on tuesday, because of transfers!!
El reino de Dios o NADA!!!

-Hermana Larson

*Hey folks!  It's Rebecca here! (Katelyn's mother) If you're reading this letter from Katelyn, I know she would love to read one from you!  Her birthday is coming up in October, and I would like to send her a package full of cards/letters/birthday wishes from her friends and family.  If you could send that to me this week, I'll get it to her next week, in her Birthday Package!  I know she'll love it!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Gandía week 10

Hola Familia!!!!!
This week, surprise surprise, went by in a blink. Monday we spent
preparation day in Gandía with a couple of the missionaries from
Cataroja, (a Pueblo about an hour away) playing basketball, singing
along to Elder Garner's guitar, and eating Chinese food. Super
relaxing, and super fun! (Up until email time, to which we were super
late, which is why last week was such a poor email) That night, we had
an appointment which ended up firing on us, BUT THEN. A miracle
happened.

Pause. I just realized that I need to give a little bit of background,
cause I was such a slacker last week.
Scene: plaza eliptica, one of the hot spots of our area, where we can
usually find people to talk to, on a super hot and sweaty, sleepy
Sunday afternoon.
We were contacting with one of our YSA members all afternoon, and we
come to plaza eliptica to meet with an investigator, who ends up not
showing up. But this member who we're with recognizes someone there,
who she goes over to greet and brings over to meet us! His name was
Cristian, and immediately he starts asking us questions and discussing
gospel principles with us (In a good way.) we set up a future visit
with him, and we walk away happy.

FLASH FORWARD TO MONDAY.
As we're going contacting after preparation day, we walk down a
street, and who do we see? Cristian! He asks us if we want to sit down
right then and there on a bench and explain the church to him.
Obviously, we were totally available to do that. We ended up having a
really great discussion about Agency and the love of our Father in
Heaven and the plan that He has for us, to which Cristian was super
receptive! He asked a lot of great questions, and told us about how he
had gained his already considerable faith. He and his family have
passed through a lot of really difficult things, but he has learned
for himself that the happiest he ever is is when he is in line with
the will of God. He's so prepared! He ended up reading the passage we
asked him to read for "homework" right then and there on the bench,
which made Hermana McBride and I giggle a little bit. (For some
reason, everyone else finds it pretty hard to ever read the paragraphs
we ask them to. It was refreshing to actually watch somebody do it!)
We set up another visit with him, which didn't end up working out due
to travel, but we're hoping to meet with him again soon! He's
definitely a miracle.

Tuesday was a pretty normal day, contacting and teaching!

Wednesday, we got the opportunity to do some service (which is another
miracle- usually people here are very independent, so it's difficult
to do real service projects!) which was so fun! We helped our relief
society president clean her house top to bottom (for the wedding of
one of her friends,) which was so fun!!! (Thanks for the weekly
practice, mom and dad! ;) Plus, at the end she made us a tomato
tostada, so it was totally a win-win! That night we had English class,
which is always entertaining, and we bought a slice of cake from a
bakery down the street from the church to top off the night. ( they're
just one euro and they're SOOO GOOD)



Thursday morning we studied and then headed over to the church, where
a member brought us some really good homemade paella for lunch! Then
we headed over to the train station, and started our looooong train
ride to Barcelona for the Mission tour. We got there late that night,
and that was our day!



Friday was AMAZING. Remember how way back when I told y'all about a
bakery in Badalona/Barcelona called Maxci Pa? Where they have the most
amazing Napolitanas? Well, they had one on our way to the stake center
for the conference, so I was able to buy one for Hermana McBride and
continue the tradition that my trainer started with my own trainee!
Napolitanas for breakfast. (🎼traditioooooon.... Tradition!) We got to
the stake center in Barce at like 9:10 in the morning and read our
scriptures until about 9:30. There were 5 zones there of the 8 we have
in the mission Barcelona, Spain, so there were TONS of missionaries.
Including my other trainee, Hermana Stahl! Didn't get a family picture
there.... But we got one the week before at women's conference, so
it's all good.) THEN the real fun began! Elder and Hermana Zwick
are... Amazing.  So so so amazing. They talked to us about our
companions and how we are with them for a reason, and how our mission
call and our assignments all came by inspiration. We learned how to
teach more effectively and with more power and authority through the
spirit. And even though it wasn't exactly talked about, we all learned
of the power of personal revelation. Each of us received instruction
from the spirit regarding our own personal areas, investigators and
circumstances. Right from the get go, the spirit was so strong!!! It
was almost tangible in that room full of missionaries. Aggghhh it was
soooo amazing. One thing in particular that I loved was what they said
about preparation, and how it' the preparation for a
lesson/conference/experience that makes the difference. That's what
brings the miracle of conversion and testimony. It was amazing!
All of that was about until 5 in the afternoon, and we all came out of
there on a spiritual high! 


THEN Hermana McBride and Were blessed
enough to get to have an interview with Elder Zwick, where we received
even more counsel for our Area and our investigators! It was
fantastic. We had the rest of the afternoon to spend in Barce, so
Hermana McBride and I decided to go spend a bit of time in my last
area, Badalona. Gracious how time flies! But nothing had changed,
hahaha. Everyone was still in the same place where I left them! All
our little friends on the street and in their shops and everything. I
didn't really get to say hi to anyone, cause they were all working and
stuff, but it was nice to be back, anyway.

Also, I hit my nine month mark..... But that's alright, we don't have
to talk about that. ;)

Pues I'm out of time, but I'll catch y'all next week! Spiritual
thought for the week:
D&C 46:7-9

I know this gospel is true and that personal revelation is real! I
know that Heavenly Father knows and loves us, and that through the
sacrifices of His son, we can return to live with Him again, with our
families. I'm here because I love my Savior!

El Reino de Dios o NADA!!!!
Love,

Hermana Larson


Monday, September 12, 2016

Gandía week 9

Hola familia!
This week this week this week..... To be honest it's getting harder
and harder to remember what happens during the week as we keep going.
But this week was great!
Some highlights cause I'm running out of time-
Women's conference was FANTASTICO, and we learned a ton!! 
The Valencia Hermanas on our way to Barcelona for the Hermanas' Conference


We went up
to Barcelona Wednesday night and had the conference all Thursday
morning/afternoon. 
*borrowed photo from the mission blog.  See more at espanabarcelonamission.blogspot.com


Hermana Perry was there, and she spoke to us about
true happiness, and the spirit was so strong! Hermana Dayton talked to
us about being our best selves and putting our best foot forward, and
we learned about mental health and self worth from Hermana Chase,
who's serving in Palma de Menorca with her husband. It was a great
conference and I got to see Hermana Stahl and Hermana Romero, my last
two companions! Hermana Stahl and Hermana McBride and I had to take a
family photo... I can't believe how fast trainees grow up! ;)
Family Pictures!!! My two babies
Shoot I have less time than I thought.... I'll be more detailed next
week I promise! Something I learned this week was a quote from Elder
Neal A Maxwell
"As church members and citizens, we are instructed to be "anxiously
engaged" in good causes of our "own free will". But the challenge is
being "anxiously engaged" on the basis of correct principles, not on
the basis of popularity. Besides, those who are becoming more saintly
will have their own spiritual attractiveness. They will not only
receive respect from the thoughtful and observant, but may even be
able to rally the many kindred spirits in the Earth."

Add that to D&C 58:26-28!!!

I love you all!!!
Love,

Hermana Larson

Maria Flores making us some real Valenciano paella!

Monday, September 5, 2016

GANDÍA WEEK 8!!!!

Monday: We finished preparation day, I sent my cute companion off, and
I waited for the other hermanas from Valencia to come pick me up. We
headed over to their area, and we had a nice lesson with one of their
investigators on a bench, which was really fun, and pretty different,
because it was in ENGLISH! I forget how to say things in English
sometimes. Mostly Gospel things. But it was good! He was from Nigeria,
so I got to show off my Pigeon English and tell him I have an Eto
Tribe name. And I got to tell him that I've eaten Fufu, which he
laughed at. Then we contacted for the rest of the night, and headed
home, tired but happy!

Tuesday: I got to spend the day with Hermana Errigo, who is finishing
her training this transfer in Valencia! Her companion went out with a
member, so we went and spent all day contacting in the streets of
Valencia! It was really really fun, but I was really really excited to
get back to Gandía and start working with our investigators again.
It's funny how quickly this little place has started to feel like
home! I love our little corner here in Spain Barcelona. :)

Gandía


Wednesday: we had District meeting, which means that we didn't get to
go back to our area until almost 3 for the afternoon, which was all
ok, because our District leader brought us Root Beer Floats. I HAVENT
HAD ROOT BEER IN ALMOST 9 MONTHS. That's crazy. Haha Hermana McBride
and I had a discussion about the things that America has that Spain
doesn't, and vice versa. Cheese It's, and Goldfish crackers, Dr.
Pepper, and Reese's products were the first on the list, hahaha. But
we traded those for Napoletanas and Kebab and Real Valenciano Paella,
so.... Pretty fair trade I think. :)

Thursday: We FINALLY GOT A SERVICE PROJECT!!!!!! IT WAS AMAZING!!!!!
We were invited by a British couple in our Ward to come over to their
house to paint and move furniture, and it was the best thing EVER.
Plus, they gave us food afterwards, so BONUS! Then we had Noche de
Barrio, and we, as part of our object lesson (about using technology
and media wisely,) tricked our elders into eating fresh, warm,
homemade chocolate chip cookies stuffed with cloves of Garlic. Hehehe.
They still haven't forgiven us for that. But it was totally worth it!

Friday: We got to weekly plan, which almost took all day, because we
ended up having to go different places all day! If nothing else, the
mission has definitely taught me the value of Planning, because you
just feel so lost and stressed and disorganized without it! It helps
get our focus in place and helps us to really focus on our goals. I
love planning! Haha

Saturday: part two of the SERVICE PROJECT! It was just as fantastic
the second time around, and we managed to paint almost their entire
piso in just two days! Nice to feel like we have physical evidence of
our work in Gandía. ;) We came back just in time for Sports that
evening, and I got some nice lessons on how to shoot a basketball.
Maybe I'll come back a Deportista! (LOL like that's ever gonna happen)

Sunday: We had Fast and Testimony meeting, which is always a really
good (and sometimes interesting) experience! I love getting to feel
the power and peace that comes from hearing people bear their
testimonies. I love testimony meeting!

That's the loose structure of what happened this week, hahaha.
Traveling around is taking a toll on me, haha asi que I can't really
remember much of what happened in between. Women's conference this
week! Which should be AMAZING!!!! I'm so excited!!!!

I love you all and I'm so excited to be a missionary! Here's what I
learned about COURAGE in the month of Augosto!

-courage is the form of every virtue at the testing point.... Pilate
was merciful until it became risky. -CS Lewis

-Courage is the word we need to hear and hold dear to our hearts;
courage to turn our backs on temptation, courage to lift up our
testimony to all whom we meet, remembering that everyone must have an
opportunity to hear the message. It is not an easy thing for most to
do this. But we can come to believe in the words of Paul to Timothy;
"For got hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of
love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the
testimony of our Lord.

-Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

-D&C 6:33-34

-How Firm a Foundation

-And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is
good? But and if ye suffer for the righteousnes sake, happy are ye.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give
an answer to every man that a sketch you a reason of the hope that is
in you, having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of
you, as evil doers, that they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your
good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be
so, that ye suffer for well doing than for Evil doing. -1 Peter
3:13-17

-true and lasting courage is born of Love.

Love you all!!!!! Have a good week!!!!

Theme for September is "Integrity/Genuinity(?)" I dunno. I don't speak
English. Integrity and Genuine stuff. ;)

Love,

-Hermana Larson