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 Sebastián 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 Sebastián and had a fantastic time with our District all day, then we got permission from President to go to a Premier league Fútbol game! So we went and saw Real Sociedad against some team from Gijón? 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 Españoles 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 Sebastián, 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 Sebastián 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 jóvenes 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 Fútbol game in San Sebastián 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 Dupré 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