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 portugués 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 ¿Qué 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 Sebastián, 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 Sebastián 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 ☹️😭and I'll be heading over to Barcelona later to...... (drum roll please) pick up my trainee! I'm training again!😅 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! 

🇪🇸¡El Reino De Dios o Nada!