Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Querida Familia. 

Pues, it's been fun. Thanks for everything. Talk to you on the flip side. 

Hermana Larson. 
­č笭čçŞ¡El Reino De Dios o Nada! 

Haha just kidding, I'm just having a hard time coming up with what to say to adequately express what's going on in my life right now. This last week has been crazy. As usual. :) We've been between intercambios, meetings, traveling, Zone Conference, Interviews, Concelio in Barcelona, and right now we're in Bilbao to do a mini intercambio/have preparation day/prepare for District Meeting tomorrow. Long story short, time is going crazy fast right now, and 
I never ever EVER imagined that I would make it to this point. Ever. Honestly I think I figured that I would just be here, doing this mission thing for the rest of my natural life. I guess that this is just the beginning though, my life as a missionary is nowhere near ending. :) something that we do as a mission at the end of our term as a "full time missionary" is to share "Lo que El Se├▒or me ha ense├▒ado" or "What the Lord has taught me". I thought maybe I'll put some of my notes on here. 


-A couple words at least in: Spanish, Catal├ín, Valenciano, Euskara, Romanian, Russian, German, Italian, Portuguese, Twi, Benin, Edu, Quechua, Greek, Chinese, and Arabic. 
-How to eat Fufu, Pique Machu, Arroz con Leche, Tortilla de Patata, Morcilla, Empanadas and Arrepas, Kebab, and Rice and Fried eggs and Hot dogs. 
-How to take lice out of someone's hair
-How to live in the Ghetto
-How to live in the (crazy expensive) north of Spain 
-How to sleep.... basically anywhere 
-How to get into buildings to knock doors
-The Lord truly works by small and simple means
-God is mindful of His Children (I found that that even applies to me, personally) 
-The temple truly is the house of the Lord
-There's a difference between believing and having faith
-Happiness is the purpose of life, but there's a big difference between being happy and simply having fun. 
-AGENCY IS REAL AND IMPORTANT. And frustrating. But important. 
-The day of rest is SO IMPORTANT to the rest of the week, more than anything for the Sacrament. 
-when I submit my will to God, I ALWAYS end up happier. 
-The worth of a soul is its capacity to become as God. 
-We have known great sorrow, but we have seen the power of the Savior turn our most devastating defeats into glorious spiritual victories. 
-The wisdom of God may appear as foolishness to men. But the greatest single lesson we can learn in mortality is that when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right.
-Gods work and Glory is not simply to run an effective organization, its to bring to pass the immortality and  eternal life of man. 
-Missionary work is not easy because Salvation is not a cheap experience
-This gospel is true. I know it is, because it works. It absolutely has wrought a mighty change in me, and in those around me, and in HUNDREDS of people whom I've met here. 
-This is the real restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 
-My Heavenly Father is real, he knows me, he loves me, and he is always aware of and watching out for his children. 
-My Savior lives. His Atonement is infinite and indescribably wonderful and beyond our current understanding. He is full of mercy and love and compassion, he understands each of us perfectly and completely, and He will never leave us comfortless. The testimony of Alma 7:11-13 is truth. 
"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.  And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.  Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me." 
-The Holy Ghost is real and powerful and only testifies of truth. 
-There is no sacrifice that I could make that would even get me close to paying off part of the debt I owe to my Father. And every time I give something to the lord, he blesses me beyond what I have room enough to receive. President Monson has quoted, "The best decision I ever made was to give up something I loved to the God I love even more. He has never forgotten me for it."

As President Nelson has said, 
Every missionary can have at least one convert on the mission- his or herself. Done the right way it will not just be a baptism, not just a church attender or a name to be remembered but a rock solid, true blue, through and through disciple who will be an exemplary member long after the mission is over. 

I hope to be that, 
Love you all. 
Hermana Larson

Monday, May 29, 2017

It's Not Over Yet!

Hooooola todos, 
These past few weeks have been flying by and it's totally not funny. This week we spent all over the place, from San Sebasti├ín to Vitoria to Bilbao and back again, and we're having an absolute blast! We spent the beginning of the week in a pueblo of San Sebasti├ín, then went on Splits that night with the hermanas. The next morning we all woke up super early and ran to see the sunrise and eat cereal, as is our tradition, but, of course, being in the north you can never predict the weather, and the sun never came up thanks to the sudden blanket of clouds. (Fun side note, this week we've been alternating between rain storms and 90 degree weather with 3000% humidity, so that's been fun). Hermana Hofstetter and I have been running all over our area looking for new people to teach, and we've been blessed with a lot of great new investigators! Right now in particular, we've been working with the father of a cute family that lives in one of our pueblos. He comes to church every week and the ward has really taken that family in and has worked with them really well, he just has some doubts that he is working through. The whole family is super cute though, and they're making amazing progress! Alassana... suddenly got a job, which is great, but now he can't really meet with us, which is not super great. But It's not over yet! 
Ok, I'm totally the worst but I'm out of time again. I know this church is true, I know that the Book of Mormon is a real testament of Jesus Christ, and I know that my Savior lives! 
Love you all! 

Hermana Larson 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hola familia! 
This week I have to write really quick, cause we have to leave soon, but it's been fantastic! We are currently in a pueblo by San Sebasti├ín called Zarouts (not sure how to spell that...) with the missionaries up here. We went on a hike and made curry today! Suuuper fun! 
Jaime's doing SUPER WELL we've seen an incredible miracle with him because he has NOT SMOKED ONCE!!! He's SUPER excited about everything, family history and activities and EVERYTHING, and I've never seen him so happy. He's amazing! He got the priesthood this Sunday and he's doing great. 
We also had a super fun activity this week... a TALENT SHOW!!! Let me tell you, there's not much more in this world that's more fun than a talent show/dance in a ward full of South/Central Americans. :)  
I'm so sorry, we already have to go, but I loooove you!!! I hope you have a fantastic week and I promise it'll be a better email next week! 
Love you! 
Hermana Larson 

­č笭čçŞ¡El Reino De Dios o Nada! 

Sisters...sisters... there were never such devoted sisters

My beautiful little Santander

When you find a perfect(ish) ice cream on your intercambio

Monday, May 15, 2017

No Effort is Wasted

Hola familia! 

Just a quick one today, not much time, but I just wanted to say that.....


Jolin, I am SO happy, my heart feels like it's going to bust! He's doing so great, his Baptism went swimmingly, (no pun intended), and he's a fantastic recent convert. :) He has been investigating the church for 20 YEARS!After 20 years he finally made the decision to follow what he knew to be right and to take the leap of faith that we've been waiting for. Would you believe the good that has happened because a couple of missionaries gave out a Book of Mormon to a joven Espa├▒ol? I really truly have a testimony that no effort is wasted here. Even though it's taken him a couple of decades to cultivate the seed that was planted on that day, Jaime's life has been changed ETERNALLY because of those brave elders! I will never forget that incredible day. As we were singing the special musical number, he just leaned back and closed his eyes and the Spirit completely flooded the room, and it was so hard to hold back tears! He is SO excited to finally have the blessings that come with Baptism, and he's already sharing them with others; He has brought two of his friends to meet with us! Doing great there. 

We also had an intercambio this week with the Hermanas of San Sebasti├ín so I got to go up there again! I LOOOOOVE San Sebasti├ín, it's absolutely beautiful. This time I was with the incredible Hermana Brudnicki who I've been wanting to work with since she got here, so it was an incredible day. Too short, because I had to get back for Jaime's interview, but super good. On that same day, we had a piso check/reparations, which means that our apartment got inspected and "looked over with a white glove". Hahaha we did alright, but I'm kinda frustrated with all the places where dust can hide! All good though. 

Today all the missionaries from San Sebasti├ín came here to Santander to have Preparation Day together, which has been SUPER fun, but it's made the time go way too fast, so I've gotta go, but I love you all! I loved getting to talk to you all yesterday! Have a fantastic week and we'll talk soon! 

Hermana Larson 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

love love love love LOVE

Pueeeeeeeeees Nada! Life is a crazy amazing whirlwind as always, and I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!!! Highlights. 
Once upon a time, I got a new companion!! Hermana Hofstetter is from the same group that my baby Hermana Dinkelman is from, and she is..... pretty much my twin. We look more alike than Emily, Lauren, Hannah or Olivia and I do and we are VERY similar in a frightening amount of ways. I would call her my "mini-me", but the problem is that she stands about 8 inches taller than I do. And her name is a little more complex to pronounce than mine is. Every member of our ward has given her a different nickname, including "Hermana Haagen-daz", "Hermana H", and "Hermana F├│sforo". Pobrecita. :) Hahahaha we're having a BLAST up here in the North!!! Life couldn't get better. :) 
This week has been NUTS though, I said goodbye to Hermana Dinkelman on Tuesday of last week, spent the day in a strange series of trios (which was also super fun) around Bilbao, and then Hermana Hofstetter came in that night. We spent the night in Bilbao with the other hermanas, then early the next morning we took the bus trip back to Santander. After spending a day running from place to place presenting her to the members, investigators, and other friends of Santander, we hit the sack and then woke up early to head back to Bilbao to have District meeting. (Northern life! We're very familiar with our Autob├║s system up here.) We headed back that night and helped Carolina and Cesar move to a new apartment closer to the church. (Side note. I LOVE Carolina and Cesar. Have I ever explained about them? They got baptized about two years ago and have been super faithful since then. they LOVE the missionaries and are working on getting sealed in the temple! They give everyone nicknames, I'm affectionately known as "Basura Blanca" or "La Fea". :) Saturday we had Sports and then a fantastic lesson with...... drum roll please.... JAIME!!!!! Jaime, who I taught about six months ago with Hermana Nelson, has returned!!! For those of you who don't remember, we were teaching Jaime, who was super prepared and on fire except for one thing.... he smokes quite a bit. He disappeared for a little while, but then a couple weeks ago we got a text from him and he asked if he could meet with us! We've been meeting since then, and he's getting ready to be baptized this Saturday!!!! Fingers crossed that everything goes well, he's SUPER prepared and he's going to finally make the plunge! :) Sunday was fantastic, after a fabulous day at church, we headed right over to the bus station to take a bus to Bilbao, so that Hermana Hofstetter could catch ANOTHER bus to Vitoria (that trip is about 2 and a half hours in total) and I could meet with Hermana Dupre to head to the Airport to head to Barcelona! We had concelio this week!!! (The meeting we have once a month with all the Zone leaders and Sister Training Leaders in Barcelona). The flight is pretty short, but it left at 9:50 and was DELAYED so we didn't end up getting in to Barce until about 12:30 at night. (The flight was pretty fun though, we played a Spanish Vocabulary game all together and I realized that I really need to study a bit more. You'd think that after almost a year and a half of speaking Spanish daily that I would know the word for "hanger" and "collar bone". Always room to improve!) We walk into the airport ready to make a trip on the metro, when we see the ayudantes waiting with all the other people, and, instead of a sign with "missionaries" or something on it, they have their picture of the second coming of Christ on their iPad, held up high as they can reach, for all to see. :) We all got a good giggle out of that. Since we got in so late, we got to stay with the Hermanas in Barcelona instead of the mission home, so I got to see Hermana Dinkelman again! She loves Barcelona already and is doing great. :) The next day we had concelio from 9:30 to 5, which was INCREDIBLE and I loved it SO MUCH, and then we headed back to Bilbao that night. Then this morning, we woke up far too early, and Hermana Hofstetter and i made our way back to good ol' Santander! We have a piso check on Thursday (again) so we spent all day trying to get rid of the rust and mold that we have in our bathrooms..... cons of living so close to the ocean in a super humid climate. But now we love it. :)  Let's see... what else..... We're putting on a talent show here on the 20th so that should be fun! And.... I'll have been in Barcelona, Bilbao, San Sebasti├ín, and Santander all in the same week by the time I write next week, so there's that. :) I love love love love life here, it's the best thing ever. THE MISSION IS THE GREATEST!!!! 
Here's something I learned from one of our ward members this week; We always talk about how God is just and how He is fair, but very rarely do we focus on how merciful he is. But just look at the instances in every book of canonized scripture! There are absolutely countless instances focusing on His MERCY towards His children. During the life of Christ, he very rarely exercised Justice on anyone, but always extended incredible Mercy. Incredible, huh? One instance being in the account of the last supper in John, where Judas leaves to betray him, and immediately afterwards Christ commands his disciples to love one another as he has loved them. I love my Savior. I love this gospel and for the chance that I have to share this message with these people here in Santander. I love this church. I love the scriptures. I love the commandments. And I love love love love LOVE being a missionary. :) 
love love love love you all!!!! Have a great week! 
Hermana Larson

­č笭čçŞ¡El Reino De Dios o Nada! 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hellooooo Family, 
So so so sorry, not a ton of time today because, ya know, transfers, but quick little update, 

Pizza and Ben&Jerry's for Transfer Night

I GET TO DIE IN SANTANDER!!!!!!!!!!!!! We got the call on Saturday night that Hermana Dinkelman will be going to Barcelona, and I´m going to stay in my beloved Santander until the end of my mission, which I am SO excited about! 

My new companion is Hermana Hoffsetter, who I got to meet when I first became companions with Hermana Dinkelman! (they´re in the same group). I´m SOOO EXCITED for this next transfer, I have a great feeling about it all and I can´t wait to see what miracles are in store! I'm here in Bilbao and I'll get to pick her up today at about 9:00 tonight, so I'll have to introduce her next week. :)

Other fun news, this week we had our Open house for our new chapel, which went SUPER well, and we were able to spend 3 solid afternoons just sitting and waiting for the people to come to us and ask us questions! (kind of a nice little flip-flop of contacting, hahaha) It was super fun, and we got some really great potential investigators out of it, just from people who walked in because they were curious! Sure to see some more great miracles out of that in the next little while. 

So so so sorry, I´ve gotta go already, but I know that this gospel is true, I know that our savior lives and loves us, I know that we are divine children of a loving Heavenly Father, and I know that He lives!!!!!!
Have a fantastic week family, I love you all!!!

Hermana Larson

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ok family, we officially did it. We OFFICIALLY had THE CRAZIEST week ever. Absolutely nuts. 

Monday: All of our Jovenes had the day off because of Semana Santa (Easter week, basically) so we went with a big group of jovenes to go play Capture the Flag at the Magdalena, which is this really great little island-y thing that is actually connected to mainland, so it's not an island, buuut I don't know what that's called, so... there's that. It was SO FUUUN!!!! We ran around hunger games style, which was really fun and kind of more difficult due to the fact that we always have to be in eyesight and hearing range of our companion. Soooo a little more complicated, but we made it work! It was super fun. Afterwards we all headed to Domino's because here, they have this nifty little Buffet thing where you pay 7 euroes per person for endless pizza. After stuffing ourselves to the brim, the elders and us headed over to the paper store of one of our members, pablo, where we wrote and talked and had a good time. THEN immediately afterwards, hermana Dinkelman and I had to run/speed walk about 2 kilometers to the bus station to get tickets to Bilbao for our conference, because we saw online that there were only two seats left, so we ran and did that, had literally just enough time to go back to piso and shove all of our stuff in our bags, and headed back to catch the bus. (We got there just in time) Our elders had just been called and told that, thanks to the Semana Santa holiday, they needed to find a place to buy water bottles for everyone at the conference the next day, because all of the supermarkets in Bilbao were closed. Unfortunately that was a little late, and we were already on our way to Bilbao, so we prayed for a little more help, and as we were walking to our respective pisos in Bilbao, we found just ONE store that was open, and they had enough water bottles for everyone at the conference! Ok, writing it out sounds a little weird, but I'm telling you, it was a huge miracle!!! 

Ok, so that was monday. Tuesday, we had Zone Conference with President and Hermana Dayton, the Ayudantes, and the Zones of Bilbao and Vitoria together. I LOVE getting to learn from all of these incredible people!!! In the morning we got to go to a leadership meeting where we dissected Doctrine and Covenants 121 and talked about each verse individually and the spirit was so strong! I loved it. Every time we're in a conference I feel like I can't write fast enough to keep up with all the things that come to my mind and heart as these inspired men and women are speaking. I think it's especially interesting that sometimes I receive answers to prayers in moments and ways that dont have anything to do with what's being talked about! As that hymn goes, The Lord works in Mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. He plants his feet upon the waves and rides upon the storm. (Kinda unrelated, but I just love that line. :) 

So tuesday afternoon, instead of going back to Santander, I went up to San Sebasti├ín with Hermana Bodden to have an intercambio with her! She's just incredible. She came in the same group as my Hermana Dinkelman and she's the one with the afro, for those of you who have seen pictures. She's super sweet, a fantastic human bean. :) We had a great time teaching and talking and walking the streets of Sanse. The next morning we got up early (shocking, I know) to go RUNNING (even more shocking, I know) and it was actually super enjoyable! (Gasps from the crowd). We had a great morning together, then I headed on the bus to go back home sweet home. :) Three hours on the bus... not super great. But hey, I survived! 

Thursday we were doing service all day, we helped one of our hermanas in the ward carry groceries, we made posters for the Chapel Open House tour which will happen this next week, and taught a couple classes of english, then helped pablo, the member that has a store, clean and wash windows and everything. I LOVE IT WHEN PEOPLE LET US HELP THEM!!!! (Fun fact, people here dont accept help from the missionaries very much.) 

THEN THE CRAZY DAY. Yesterday we were in the chapel after our block meetings when all of a sudden my Hermana Dinkelman passes out. PASSES OUT. We caught her and put her in a chair, then on the floor and elevated her feet, but she couldn't open her eyes and wasn't responding much when we talked to her, then suddenly she started shaking a ton with cold, and stopped responding and it was super scary. We called an ambulance and president and she and I rode to the hospital. They took some blood and did some tests but after about 7 hours of waiting, they couldn't find anything wrong and she had returned to normal. We have the most amazing members who drove and stayed with us and prayed and figured out a back up splits schedule that we could use if someone wanted to stay with Hermana Dinkelman so I could run and grab stuff from piso, but we ended up getting out of there by about 2 in the morning. Everything is good now, she's tired but fine, they think it was some kind of heat exhaustion or panic attack, but everything is fine! So... that tops off our crazy week! Also, Alassana almost got baptized on Saturday, but thanks to some problems with his family, he has to wait for a little longer. Hopefully everything will be good by the 20th of May! 
I'm attaching one of my favorite things we got from the conference, where we learned to ALWAYS have a purpose to our studies! I'm sorry, I have to go, but I love you all so much and I KNOW THAT THIS GOSPEL IS TRUE!!! I love being a missionary!!!!!! :) 
PS next week is transfers, so talk to you on Tuesday! 

Hermana Larson

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pues familia, this week has been a CRAZY ONE. Ready for this? 

-Monday we went to San Sebasti├ín and had a fantastic time with our District all day, then we got permission from President to go to a Premier league F├║tbol game! So we went and saw Real Sociedad against some team from Gij├│n? Yeah, I didn't do my research. But it was a fun game! We bought a couple bags of Sunflower seeds and felt like real Espa├▒oles for a little while. :) The game was super fun, not very intense, but it was great to be with everyone in our District! 

-Tuesday we had District meeting up in San Sebasti├ín, which is always great, and then we made spaghetti and ate together in the chapel there. We were supposed to do an exchange that night, but thanks to a weird bus schedule, we ended up having to stay all together another night, then hermana Dinkelman headed to Santander to go meet up with another intercambio hermana while I stayed in a trio in San Sebasti├ín until my time to take the bus, and from there I took the bus an hour and a half to Vitoria to do another intercambio. Yeah, it's a bit complicated, but basically I left my area on Monday and got back on Thursday, haha. I missed Santander! But I LOVED getting to be with so many different Hermanas! I love getting to see different areas, meet different people, and share these experiences with mis chicas! 

-Semana Santa was this week, which is the week-long catholic holiday that leads up to Easter! It's a spring break for all the youth here, so we've had a couple different ward activities this week which have been really fun. On Friday was a big parade which was kinda creepy but a good experience at the same time. I dunno. The holidays here are kinda strange. 

-Today we went to a park with almost all of our youth and played capture the flag, then went to Dominos. I just love our j├│venes so much!!! They are truly golden. One of my favorite things about Santander! 

Im so sorry, I've gotta go already, but I love you so much! Have a fantastic week! I KNOW THIS GOSPEL AND THIS CHURCH IS TRUE!!!

Hermana Larson 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hola familia! 

Holy cow, I honestly can't remember what has happened this week. I remember... I got back from concelio on Tuesday, then Hermana Dinkelman and I went and helped out a couple of our members after preparation day. On Wednesday morning we went back to Bilbao for Zone Conference, and right after we started an intercambio with Hermana Howell! It was so fun to be with her, we had some really fun visits, English class, and ate a giant doughnut. Good day. :) 

The next morning we proselyted a little bit and then headed to the bus station to switch back again! The rest of the week I can't really remember much... mission brain is getting real bad! Our District has been trying to work on a "Call of Duty" game where we have different contacting tasks that we have to accomplish, like talking to 10 old Spanish men with hands behind their backs, or 3 people carrying big loaves of bread. So that's been a pretty good adventure for this last week! Andddd..... Alassana, our investigator from Guinea Bissau, has been really good, but he had to go to Madrid for his visa, and he'll be back this week so we'll pick back up with him. 

THEN we found out that today, Monday, for preparation day, we get to do something SUUUUPER fun and different tonight!!! Are you ready for this? We're going to a premier league F├║tbol game in San Sebasti├ín tonight!!! This morning we took the bus SUUUUUPER early and got here to spend preparation day as a district and we've been prepping for this game! We're all so excited!!!! 

Then tomorrow we'll have District meeting here, I'll start an intercambio with Hermana Bodden, then go straight from here on Wednesday to Vitoria to have an intercambio with Hermana Halls! This is so amazing, getting to meet with and talk to so many hermanas, I feel so blessed to be serving with such stellar missionaries! 
As for right now, that's about all I've got! I love you so much, I know that this gospel is true and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God! I know that the church is true!!! 

Have a good week, love you, 
Hermana Larson  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

¡¡¡Muy buenas!!!
As promised, an extremely long email recounting all of the happenings
of the last two weeks, since yours truly has been an inexcusable
slacker in regards to writing emails.

Pues these last two weeks have absolutely FLOWN by, and I'm trying to
remember exactly what has happened. I don't know if I already talked
about it or not, but we had transfer calls and I get to stay in
Santander with Hermana Dinkelman for another 6 weeks at least, which
I'm thrilled about! I love it here. Especially now in springtime where
everything is getting even more green and flowery and warm and
beautiful! Not to mention all the work that we're getting to do! We've
now officially moved in to our new chapel, but it's not dedicated yet
because we're still missing the benches for the sacrament hall and a
few other little things, and we're hurriedly getting ready for our
3-day open house that we'll be having at the end of this month, to
give a little tour to the government officials of Santander, to press,
to investigators, less-active members, friends, and hopefully everyone
else in the north of Spain! The good news is it's a beautiful huge
chapel, but the bad news is that for now it's a little bit difficult
for people to find. But poco a poco!
Some of the highlights of last week were:
-being able to help some of our investigators move out of their piso.
They called us on Friday morning and asked if we could help them,
because they had to be out of their piso in less than two hours, so we
and the elders rushed over and helped them get everything packed and
moved out! We were able to find a couple new investigators through
that, PLUS were able to get everything moved out in time! Add that to
the miracle that someone actually took us up on our offer to help, and
you'll see that we had a pretty miraculous day. :)
-we had a ward activity put on by the youth in our ward- a tropical
dinner/dance to help them pay for their trip to EFY this summer. What
amazing youth we have in our ward! It's always so great to see them
working so hard.
- During Sports this last week it was raining pretty hard, so the
youth and investigators and missionaries had a giant ping-pong
tournament in the chapel. I'll not get into details, but let's just
say that I'm not going to make it to the Olympic trials for table
tennis anytime soon.
Last week I was able to go on an intercambio to Bilbao with one of my
good friends, Hermana Meredith! She's an incredible missionary who
always finds the light and joy of every situation, and shares the
message of happiness at all times by living it! I think one of my
favorite parts of the mission is getting to meet and talk with people
who live and love and share the gospel with others. They are all such
great examples to me and I feel so blessed to get to know so many
incredible people who do that in so many different ways! I'm going to
have the privilege of going on a few more intercambios back to Bilbao
and to San Sebastián and Vitoria this transfer, so I'm going to be
able to see a lot of northern Spain and I'm going to get to meet lots
of new people, so I'm super excited about that.
Now, you're probably wondering why I haven't said anything about
General Conference yet, and that's cause... I haven't seen most of it.
We were able to see the general women's session (which was INCREDIBLE)
and the Saturday morning session, (ALSO INCREDIBLE) but we missed the
rest because I had to travel to Barcelona on Sunday for a conference.
So after doing our studies, hermana Dinkelman brought me to the bus
station where I took a bus to Bilbao to meet with Hermana Dupr├ę who is
working in Vitoria where we then took a plane to Barcelona and spent
the night in the mission home, while our companions went back to
Santander. All day Monday we were blessed to be able to be instructed
by the Spirit and President and Hermana Dayton and other leaders,
which was one of the most uplifting days of my mission, and then that
night we took another plane back to Bilbao to spend the night. And
finally this morning I got back to Santander! It's good to be home. :)
One of my favorite things that I learned from the conference this week
was this:
Repentance is a privilege.
I'm so grateful to have part of my life a gospel that allows me to
learn and grow from my mistakes. I'm so grateful that my Savior, Jesus
Christ, suffered for my sins, temptations, trials, and  weaknesses.
I'm grateful that He made and continues to make it possible for us to
return to our Father in Heaven. I'm grateful for his love and example.
I love you all! Have a great week!
Hermana Larson

Monday, March 27, 2017

Life is good and getting better. :) Hey I'm so sorry that, again, I don't have too much time to write. I actually have to go like... now. But I love you so much, and I PROMISE you're getting a big fat letter next week. The biggest one yet! But have a fantastic week and know that I love all of you and I'm praying for you! 

­č笭čçŞ¡El Reino De Dios o Nada! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Whirlwind of Wonderful

Querida Familia,
Sorry for the lack of communication! This last week has been a
whirlwind of wonderful. :) Last Monday the four missionaries from San
Sebastián came to spend preparation day with us, which was SUPER fun,
we walked along the piers of Santander and got drenched in the misty
downpour that's been pretty constant here. The elder's recent convert
brought us over to a Peruvian restaurant and we tried Arroz Chaufa and
Pollo Broster and felt pretty special. :) The next day we had District
meeting with everyone in our brand new Chapel (love that place) and
threw tomatoes at a Satan made of fruit to commit to our new goal of
no negative thinking. (I can't say I ever thought I would say
something like that in my life)

The week passed by pretty normally, teaching and preaching and
testifying! We had an almost-Baptism with Alassana, but he had to make
an emergency trip to Madrid for the next couple of weeks, so that got
postponed a little bit.

All week everyone has been super stressed about transfer calls, namely
me. I have loved Santander so much, it would be super hard for me to
say goodbye to everyone and everything here. So by Saturday night I
was a big ball of nerves! We got the call and.... I'm staying
here!!!!! Hermana Dinkelman and I were dancing in the hallway when we
got the news. :) I get to spend another transfer with my baby and in
this amazing area! We're feeling LOADS of miracles coming, can't wait
to see what this transfer holds!

Sorry I don't have much more to report, Hermana Dinkelman and I both
got a bit of a flu this week so our brains are a bit scattered, jaja.
Oh! We had our first Sacrament meeting in the new chapel this week,
which was such a fantastic experience. You can literally see and feel
the potential of our ward in the nice, spacious Sacrament meeting
room, jaja, and I can't wait to see the growth!

Spiritual high this week: reading 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father
of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to
comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we
ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation
also aboundeth by Christ.

I love you all! Love this work and love the gospel and love being a

Hermana Larson

Monday, March 13, 2017

I'm so sorry, not much time today, this week was full of meetings and things in Bilbao! 
We had Wednesday doing Zone Enfoque, Thursday doing Interviews with President, and Friday doing Zone Conference. It's been FREEZING COLD and RAINY in Santander. We finally moved into the new Capilla just in time for Zone Conference and it's BEAUTIFUL but takes a LONG time to get there. Life is good and we're working hard and we're seeing lots of miracles! 
We're loving the exercise videos and brownie mix, we're getting more and more popular with the ward for making American treats. 


Monday, March 6, 2017


Howdeee Family!! 
This week this week this week... This week has been pretty good! We went to Bilbao for District meeting on Tuesday, which was really fun because Elder Cutrer (our district leader) themed it around Jackie Chan and how we can become good finding missionaries. Strangely, the two coincide a lot more than I thought. :) 

On Thursday and Friday we had an intercambio and this time Hermana Martinez (who I've known since Badalona) came up here to Santander to be with me. :) We saw so many amazing miracles! We were contacting and met 3 new investigators from Ghana, Joseph, David, and Bismark, and were able to extend a fecha to one of our investigators, Regla. Regla is super cute, super prepared, and already has such a strong testimony of the restored gospel! She just has had a few problems trying to get to church... so prayers for her please! The intercambio was super fun, I look up to Hermana Martinez so much! She's someone that is truly eager to share this message of happiness with everyone, members, investigators, and missionaries alike! Love her. :) 
On Saturday we were able to meet with one of the investigators that we met on the intercambio, David. Hermana Dinkelman and I were able to talk with him, out on a bench in one of our plazas, and share the message of the restored Gospel. He believes a lot in God and in Jesus Christ, but he felt as though he had kind of separated himself from God by neglecting to go to church and read the Bible. We encouraged him to build that relationship up again, were able to share that he is a beloved child of a Heavenly Father, and that doing the "small and simple things" would truly be a help in his life. He was really touched by that, and he wanted to come to church with us, but he is going to be on a trip for work (as a fisherman, how fitting is that!) until next month. Hermana Dinkelman was super in tune with the spirit and invited him to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized! Proud mamma moment. ;) He's going to be gone for a while, but he said that he will be reading and praying between now and then and that when he gets back that he will come to church with us. It truly is all in the little things, that strong relationship with our Heavenly Father. I was reading a bit in the Old Testament and the Student Manual of Institute this week, and I've been learning a lot about the Law of Moses and the reasons/symbolism behind all of these ordinances and laws. Something that really impacted me was the realization that all of these things were in place for a very specific purpose - so that their thoughts could always be directed towards Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ! They had very specific laws about what they could/couldn't eat and when and where and how, so that every time that they ate, which we all have to do and will all do multiple times a day, they would have to think about how they could best fulfill the commandments of God as they did so! Everything pointed back to Him. I love that! I think that sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in the tiny little human things of life, but it's so easy to forget the MOST IMPORTANT things. Just like we get physically hungry, our spirits can become hungry as well, and deserve just as much nourishment and care! And all of that comes by doing the little things, like studying the scriptures, conversing with our Father in Heaven though prayer, and attending church and participating in the Sacrament. They really make ALL the difference! 
I was also reading in the New Testament, in the Beatitudes. And I was also reading in the Institute Manual for that, and I learned about one of the most Christlike  attributes that I have ever heard of, something that I want to truly strive to develop; Meekness! In the institute manual, it describes the Meek as those "god fearing, righteous, humble, teachable, patient under suffering, willing to follow gospel teachings, kindness and gentleness, certitude, strength, serenity, healthy self-esteem, genuine self control, allows us to be tutored by the spirit, and PREPARED FOR CELESTIAL GLORY." Isn't that beautiful? I love that. 
I know that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that repentance is real and powerful and beautiful. I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is also real and powerful and beautiful. I know that Heavenly Father is aware and knows each of us personally and individually, that he truly is showering us with heavenly blessings. I love my Savior. I know He lives. 
Have a fantastic week, everyone! i love you! 

Hermana Larson

Monday, February 27, 2017

His Peace

Ohh boy I'm almost out of time already, but just really quick,
Highlights of the Week!
-Monday and Tuesday we were in San Sebastián which is like the most
beautiful place I've ever seen, and it was really fun to be with our
district, especially with Hermanas Burkinshaw and Bodden who work up
there! We went on a hike up a mountain to have a picnic and drink Mate
and play Uno, so it was obviously a super fun day. 
 Then Hermana Burkinshaw and I went on a split and our companions went together and
we all worked up there. The next morning we had District meeting which
was super great and ate Kebab and then made the 3 hour trip back to
our area of Santander.
-We've been getting more eating visits, if you can believe it, and
we've enjoyed homemade Lasagna not once, not twice, not thrice, but
FOUR TIMES this week. Yep, that's how you know that your ward loves
you. :) I love our amazing ward here in Santander! They're the best.
-Now I got sick this week... not super fun. But the weather has been
SO NICE that we can't help but be outside! We somehow have avoided the
dreaded Northern Spain Winter Blast and we've hopped directly into
Spring somehow. I'm not complaining about that! But I am kinda
disappointed that I bought my rain boots to only have used them a few
times in actual rain.... oh well!

Spring Blossoms!!!!
-On sunday we had a great day filled with fantastic lessons, and we
had a couple of members bring friends to church to meet the
missionaries! One in particular is from Brazil, and she's SO CUTE!
She's only been here in Santander for a couple of months after living
in London for about 7 years, so she speaks portugu├ęs and english and a
little bit of Spanish, and she loved the different classes so much
that she cried multiple times during the different hours! Especially
in Relief Society as we were talking about President Nelson's talk
about Joy. We fixed a visit with her for this thursday, so we'll get
to see her again soon!
-I just love this gospel so much, you know? Sometimes it hits me just
how amazing the Plan of Salvation and the Restoration and the Doctrine
I think I probably shared it already, but I was thinking about the
conference that we had with Elder Kearon and he reminded us that it
really is very significant that investigators and members always talk
about the "peace" that we receive from the gospel, because we live in
a world where it's actually a feeling that's pretty hard to come by!
It literally CANNOT come from an evil source, it can't be forged, and
it's one of the surest signs from the Holy Ghost that we're on the
right track. Peace! I think it's pretty easy to forget that it comes
with the gospel, because sometimes we grow accustomed and take it for
granted, but it is one of the greatest gifts that comes by the spirit.
A peace that defies all understanding - HIS peace!
I love you all, Have a fantastic week! Talk to you all in March! ;)

Hermana Larson
We love heart attacking!!!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Happiness is found here!

Eyyyyy ¿Qu├ę pasa familia? 

This week again, passed by very very very quickly. (Have I managed to say that in every email so far?) It's true. 
Last week we spent a very relaxing preparation day doing little chores and just relaxing on the Magdalena, which I'm pretty sure I already talked about, and did some contacting for the rest of the day. On tuesday, Valentine's Day, my poor companion woke up super ill, and had to spend the day resting, so I got some phone calls done and worked on some paperwork and tidied piso up a bit. Nothing super exciting to report there. 
Oh wait! Actually, yes! So, I don't know if you remember this, but exactly a year ago, on Valentine's Day, I was in Badalona with Hermana Perkins and our beloved piso-mates and to celebrate the day of love, we made chocolate covered strawberries and watched a District episode. Well, I relived it! 

My Valentine's Day treat... too bad Hermana Dinkelman doesn't like strawberries...

My poor companion was still resting, and she's not particularly fond of strawberries, so I kinda celebrated quietly by myself, but it was good, nonetheless. :) that's crazy to think that that was over a year ago! On Wednesday we headed to one of our pueblos, Colindres, to visit our cute little Peruvian family. They were nice enough to feed us some really yummy and super spicy Peruvian food, and we had a nice lesson with them. On Thursday we did some pass-by's, and then we had a lesson with a new investigator, pilar, who is a friend of one of our members! We talked about a little bit of everything as an introduction, but focused mostly on the fact that this gospel brings happiness and peace, which is one of my favorite things to explain. We then watched part of the Restoration, and paused it after the first vision, and she asked if we could find a time to continue watching it! She's so sweet, she brought hermana Dinkelman and I bracelets as a get-to-know-you gift. So cute! We look forward to meeting with her again hopefully sometime this week. 
On Friday we had Zone meeting which is always super fun and uplifting, and we learned about finding happiness in the work and being ourselves as missionaries; not robots preaching a memorized script. I love being in a gospel that thrives in adversity and that embraces diversity; we weren't sent to this earth to become the same person, but to become the best version of ourselves that we can be. And we came to this world with the intent to have joy! 

Zone Meeting

On Saturday we saw a great example of this when we were able to see and help a bit with the Baptism of one of the Elder's investigators, Jorge. He told us the story of how he found the church and how he gained his testimony, and bore witness that none of it would have been possible without some of the most difficult circumstances that he is having to pass through right now in his life. It's thanks to the adversity, he said, that he is able to see and feel the joy of the spirit! He's a great example to me of a true disciple of Jesus Christ. On Sunday we saw ANOTHER miracle, as a flood of unexpected investigators made it to church! People have started inviting and bringing their friends and it's an incredible miracle to see the progress of the church here in Santander. 

Preparation Day is San Sebastian

This morning we got up SUPER early to take the bus to San Sebasti├ín, which is about 3 hours away, to spend preparation day with our district. We're going to stay the night here and go to district meeting tomorrow, then head back to home, sweet home. :) 

A scripture that keeps coming to mind with everything lately  is Matthew 11:28-30, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." 
The gospel really is like wings for us to get through the difficult days, the worst times, the most lonely moments! That doesn't mean that if we choose to follow our savior that we don't have to work or that everything suddenly gets super easy, but it does mean that the impossible things become possible, the pain becomes consecrated for our benefit, and the most difficult times become a blessing. Happiness is found here! The church is true! ¡Cristo vive! 
Have a great week, all, love you so much! 

Hermana Larson 

Hermana Burkinshaw... One of my mission besties!

Monday, February 13, 2017

There and back again

Pues Familia here we are again! 
These last two weeks have been CRAZY on CRAZY with a side of CRAZY. 
Mas o menos, what happened was that we spent all day Sunday and Monday visiting and fixing visits for people who wanted to say goodbye to Hermana Nelson cause she's amazing, and then preparing for her to leave and for a brand new missionary to come in. On Monday Night we went to Bilbao to spend the night with the Hermanas there, which was really fun, but we went to sleep WAY too late and had to wake up WAY too early to see everyone off to the airport and train station. Taking Hermana Nelson to the airport was super not fun.... I'm gonna miss that hermana! After that, the 3 of us remaining hermanas went to a cafe and grabbed some breakfast and wandered around until it was time to pick up the 4th companion from the train station and for Hermana Burkinshaw (who is serving in San Sebasti├ín right now) and I to head off on our own 7 hour train ride to Barcelona. We finally got to Barce at about 10:45 that night.... super tired and hungry and just a little bit stir crazy, but excited to see our friends! We got to spend the night in the piso of the one-and-only Hermana McBride, my last trainee!!!! It was so fun getting to catch up with everyone and meet a couple of new hermanas, and, again, we went to sleep far too late (or, should I say, early in the morning.) The next morning we went to the office accidentally an hour too early for the meeting, so we just talked and ate pastries and waited for the other trainers to come. We had the trainer's meeting and ate lunch with all the trainees and had a meeting with all of us together, and FINALLY we did the El Faro tradition of receiving your new companion! Elder Jones walked in with a briefcase and gloves and handed President a shiny gold envelope, and one by one President read off the names of every trainer and had them come up and point out where they are serving on the map. Then he announces who is going to be serving with that missionary and you try to tackle them and wrap them up in a big bear hug and it's great.  He announced that my new companion is the fantastic Hermana Dinkelman! She's from Washington DC but she's lived in MANY different places (including but not limited to Mexico, Turkey, and Nassau!) It's been super fun getting to know her over the last few days and I can already tell that this transfer is going to be a blast. She's a hard worker and a strong spirit and she's going to be a fantastic missionary! 

We spent the night in the Barcelona piso again and got up early the next morning to catch our train to Santander. This one was super fun because we had the two of us, Hermana Burkinshaw and her new companion, and Elder de Leon (who is also serving in Santander) and his new companion all together. We made it 5 hours into our trip when we stopped and it was announced that there was a problem with our train and we all needed to take our bags over to a big tour bus that was going to take us the final hours to Bilbao. Yay! Traveling! So we did so, finally made it, then made our way across town to the other bus station so that we could take another bus an hour and a half to our area. We were SO TIRED. But hermana Dinkelman's a trooper and we headed out to go do coordination and a couple of pass-by's to end the night. Then, the next morning, we headed BACK TO BILBAO for District meeting. Hahahaha.... you can get a prettty good idea of our week from that. Lots of traveling, yay! But it's been good. :) 
in other news...
Alassana came to church again this week! Yay!!! He's doing great, making some great progress, and we'll be meeting with him on Tuesday to hopefully invite him to be baptized on a specific date! 
 We were in the new Church taking a look around, when all of a sudden the doorbell rang! (Yes... every building has a doorbell here in Spain. Including the church buildings.) There was a couple there who said that they had just been driving by and that they had felt curious about this "beautiful new building" and they were just wondering what it was! Of course, we were more than happy to take them around and show them a little bit of it. ;) and explain a little bit more about what we believe and why we are here. SO MANY BLESSINGS ARE COMING FROM THIS CHURCH BUILDING!!! Have I already told you that that has happened before, about 5 months ago, and that the person who asked about the building was baptized and is now a super faithful and strong member of the Church?? I'm telling you. Miracles. 
Today for preparation day we got all of our chores done and headed over to the Magdalena which is this little island-type thing at the edge of Santander. As we were sitting there, looking around at all the beauty that Santander holds, I came to a great conclusion. 
I love it here. 
I love it I love it! It's just been a blast these last transfers, and I'm so excited to see what my time here still holds!!! 
Well... that's about all for this week. I love you and I miss you and I know that this gospel is true! I know that the Book of Mormon is true, I know that God hears and answers our prayers, I know that He loves us. I know that this life is about having true happiness!!!! 
Have a FANTASTIC week!

Hermana Larson

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Launch yourself off of the Lazyboy and into the unknown!

Hey! I'm so sorry, not much time to write today, I just sent off Hermana Nelson to Palma de Mallorca ☹️­čśşand I'll be heading over to Barcelona later to...... (drum roll please) pick up my trainee! I'm training again!­čśů Which is really humbling and exciting, and I'm so excited to show someone the wonder of such an area as Santander! Super exciting. Quick rundown of the week

We had a conference with Elder Kearon and it was so fun! As we were cycling through greeting him and Los Dayton, he asked if I was "from the Davies" and I said yes and he grabbed my hand and told me all about how much he loves grandma and grandpa. :) I told him that I do, too. After the meeting I got the chance to have a short interview with him and it's clear that he's a true inspired servant of God! 

The conference was really good, just a big discussion with everyone about how to really carry the message of this gospel to the people and grow as missionaries. How to apply what we're teaching in our own lives and so forth. :) some of my favorite lessons:
"Launch yourself off of the lazy boy and into the unknown!"
"Quit worrying!!! Just work hard and be happy."
"We're a people who above anyone else believe in fresh starts and new beginnings." 
"We do believe we are a hospital for the sick, not a monestary for the perfect."
"We don't define ourselves by the bad things that have happened to us. None of us would get through life properly that way."
We laughed a lot and felt the spirit super strongly and it was a fantastic conference. And I got to see Hermana Stahl! My first trainee! Love her. :) 

The rest of the week was full of despedidas and great lessons with our investigators! And Alassana, our investigator from Guinea Bissau, said that he's seriously considering Baptism and that he thinks that this might be the correct path for him! MIRACLES ARE SO REAL!! 

On Sunday we had a CRAZY STORM with wind and hail and rain and thunder and lightning and SNOW. IN SANTANDER. SNOW. Everyone in the Ward was freaking out because some of them have never seen snow before in their lives! It was so fun, even if it made things a little complicated for the rest of the day. 

So. Hermana Nelson is gone. Tears were definitely shed. These last two transfers have gone by WAY too fast, and it's so tough to say goodbye to her because we don't know when we're going to see each other again! She's going to be in Palma for the next few transfers, so I probably won't see her until after the mission. It's so hard to say goodbye to all these people that you grow so attached to so quickly! But she's a fantastic missionary and she's going to see some great miracles! 

Sorry, that's about all the time I've got right now, but I love you all! Have a good week! 

­č笭čçŞ¡El Reino De Dios o Nada! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Muy buenas, familia! 

Quite the week here in Santander, Spain. Monday we went with one of our members, Lorena, to a couple of the pueblos just outside of Santander to do some sight-seeing and it was GLORIOUS. We saw a pueblo that has been preserved for something like a thousand years, a little bit of a museum of torture, a graveyard, a LOT of really old walls and buildings, and some really rough and OLD cobblestone plazas and roads. Successful day!

 That night we went and had a Family Home Evening with Carolina (I've talked about her and Cesar before, right?) and her sister, Daniela, who we're teaching the charlas to. They're both so great! We love getting to meet with them. We met with them again on Tuesday and again on Friday. They're the best! 

Wednesday was CRAZY! We spent the morning meeting with our friend Yanina who is trying to learn English, and then we ran to the bus station to go to Bilbao for the world-wide Missionary conference. It was SO great and we all loved it, and they made some really amazing changes to the Missionary Schedule and the way we work. We, up until now, have had 9 key indicators that we count every week, things like baptisms and confirmations and new investigators and such, and now we're down to four! (Five if you make Baptism and Confirmation separate things.) And we're planning in the morning instead of at night, and we have an extra hour of Preparation day. All of it is geared to help us become more effective and powerful Missionaries, and I love it!!! The conference lasted until nighttime, and we went right from there into an intercambio with the Sister Training Leaders in Vitoria. I went there to be with the amazing Hermana Martinez, who I have known and looked up to since my Badalona Training days! This intercambio lasted from Wednesday night to Friday morning, and consisted of trying Mate (an Argentinian traditional drink that all the missionaries here are obsessed with), having a jam session on her ukulele, cutting broken Zippers out of coats to help a seamstress of the ward, running from visit to visit, and just having a blast! Friday morning Hermana Nelson and I met up once again in Bilbao so that we could have a quick practice of a quartet that's singing for a conference that we have this upcoming Wednesday. (Elder Kearon is coming back!!!) and we headed back to Santander for our 3° visit with Daniela. And more of the same for the weekend! 
I don't know if I've mentioned it already, but we are blessed to be in an area where the members love to feed the missionaries!! It's an incredible blessing. We usually have at least 5-6 visits a week, with very few exceptions. It's amazing! Love the members here with all my heart. :) 
This week is transfers (unfortunately :() and I'm dreading the day I have to part with Hermana Nelson! These last two transfers have been INCREDIBLE and SO MUCH FUN! But she's been up north all 8 months of her mission so far, so I think she's probably ready to try something new. :) She's a phenomenal missionary and I love her so much! We'll keep you updated on the changes that'll be coming up next preparation day. :) 
Quote of the week comes from Leonardo da Vinci: 
"You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself... the height of a man's success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment... and this law is the expression of eternal justice." 
Wow! ¿Qu├ę fuerte, verdad? I love that idea! Overcoming the natural man being our greatest victory. Still working on that one, but I love it! 

Ok, also, I kind of lost track of the Attributes of Christ thing around Christmas time.... but I'm picking it back up again! This month (February) is, obviously, Christlike Love, or Charity. 

Love you all so much. Take care and talk to you soon! 

Hermana Larson