Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Week When Everything Fell Through

Hello everyone! Merry Christmas!
This has been one of my hardest weeks in the mission, maybe except for the first one. A trial of faith and of perseverance. Last week I mentioned that the mission had a goal of finding 800 new investigators (meaning 8 per companionship) just this last week. I knew we could do it, we are in Málaga after all! We hadn´t had much set up at the beginning of the week but we set a goal to contact and knock as many doors as possible. We talked to more people this week than I ever had, we filled up our future investigator page and set up appointments with enough people to reach the goal. And then one by one each plan fell through. Not only investigator lessons but even ones with converts and less actives. People weren´t home, some had given us fake addresses, some were "busy". But I was determined that we would get a miracle because we were trying to show faith and we were working our hardest. Every time plans fell through we knocked more doors, we talked to more people on the streets and buses and got more plans, that later fell through as well. It didn´t help that my back has been killing me everyday and we were exhausted and discouraged.
It seemed like everyone was having success and seeing miracles except for us. (It doesn´t help that there has been a baptism in this area every transfer before I got here). Saturday night was the ward Christmas dinner. We invited people who said they were coming for sure for sure and so we waited expectantly. Investigators and less actives showed up but none of them were ours. I couldn´t understand it. I was obedient when some of those having success weren´t, I was trying more than ever, and yet nothing whatsoever was coming out of it. I knew it was a trial while I was in it, but that doesn´t lessen the effect of it while it´s happening. I was going through my own spiritual/emotional/physical crisis. They even sent our district leader to work in our area and one of our sister training leaders as well thinking it would change things. The plans still fell through. We even taught a whole restoration lesson on the street to a man and didn´t get a return appt so he couldn´t count either. Sunday night we were pressing the call buttons outside a building trying to get in to knock doors, no one was answering, then finally a lady let us in. We went up to her door and she claimed she was busy cooking and had talked to Mormons before anyway. There was an African man in the back and we tried to talk to him since they are always friendly to us, but rarely he was Muslim so I was thinking it was a lost cause. Hna Ramsey (our sister training leader) started to ask if we could come back another time and they just let us right in. We taught the lesson and she agreed to let us come back today. Miracle. That was actually the first time so far that someone has let me just come in right there on the spot and teach. We got one new investigator for the whole finding week and the mission as a whole reached 847. In case you are wondering that is a TON.
I am still learning the lesson from this last week, I still have things I need to work out. But mostly the Lord wants me to learn patience and faith even when I don´t see the results of that manifestation of patience and faith. That is the hard part. Submitting to the Lord´s will happily and patiently. Some days we see successes but apparently right now that is not the will of the Lord. So we wait. And we continue in obedience. I don´t understand why things are the way they are but they are that way for a reason. The mission is a refining fire, and now I am more comfortable with street contacting and knocking doors, something I have been praying for help with. So, nunca se sabe. I met many people this week, some wonderfully nice and friendly and others who claim that the Book of Mormon is fantasy and a lie- but I am happy with our efforts this week because in all cases we were able to testify with certainty that this gospel is true and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
The more trials and rejection we face the closer we come to our Savior and are able to feel a little more acutely what he felt when he gave his life for us. Our small daily afflictions are nothing in comparison. So this Christmas season give your all to the Lord Jesus Christ and spread the good news of His birth. He lives and he loves us with a perfect love!
¡Feliz Navidad!
Loving you all from afar, 
Hermana Thompson
ps- sorry everyone for not sending anyone anything for Christmas you´ll have to forgive me! 
Audg and Dan, got your wonderful package. Highlight: audio of Ginny singing Let it Be. Cutest thing on the planet I´m pretty sure, you are teaching her well. Say hi to the new baby for me! I heard the water just broke!

photos!
last pday we went ice skating and no one was injured or died! (i have no photos of the Christmas party as of yet because other missionaries have yet to send them to me, but if you head over to the mission blog http://thespainmalagamission.blogspot.com there are pics of us singing at the Granada Christmas concert!)

more photos!
the missionaries in our ward in the seat of the Rey mago (they have a three kings day here as tradition to celebrate Christmas)
and us missionaries banished to the hallway to eat since more people showed up than expected




Monday, December 16, 2013

Romanians, Granada, and a Christmas Concert!

Hey all! This week a lot happened so get ready for lots of pictures! But investigators-wise like nothing happened soooo this email won´t be too exciting on that front. Monday after I emailed all of you beautiful people we went bowling for one of the hermana´s birthdays, then we went to the park near our place that has kangaroos, and finished off the day with a small market that one of our members works at. And today we are supposedly going ice skating so hopefully no one gets hurt like Ashley did recently...haha. But we got permission so we´ll be careful.
Monday evening was Lucas´ birthday, one of the sons of my beloved Romanian family. He just turned 12 and missed the temple trip by like 1 day because he had to wait until Sunday to get the priesthood :/ All their extended family was there and then us. It was kind of awkward in the beginning but they all warmed up to us in the end. I felt bad because they asked if we could listen to music and we said no and so they wouldn´t put anything on for his party haha, kind of sad. All the lights in the whole building went out too at one point since there are people that steal electricity, so that was fun...at least we weren´t stuck in the elevator at the time!
Tuesday we did a FHE with this family from Cordoba and holy cow I have never heard so much noise in one house in my life. I´m pretty sure they don´t know to talk without yelling at the top of their lungs. Keeps things interesting though I suppose, and the lesson went well. This week we were committing all the members to pray for missionary experiences and for our mission wide goal of 800+ new investigators for this week starting today. So pray for that! It means 8 investigators per companionship. We had special training with Pres Deere on Friday and Saturday we went to Granada!
Granada is about 2 hours or so away from here on bus and so we were there all sat to sing for the Christmas concert. It was a bigger deal than I thought it was going to be. Us Málaga missionaries along with the zone that belongs to Granada all had been practicing for it. We sang three hymns, there were two special musical numbers and then they had this band play 2 songs. And then combined we sang Battle Hymn Of the Republic and White Christmas. The conductor of the band was one very classy Spaniard who basically wanted us to be the Tabernacle choir. Which was awkward when we missed his cue to come in on the battle hymn in front of everyone. But in our defense we never practiced with the band and he didn´t really cue us very clearly...awkward. But it turned out well enough and Pres Deere´s face during it was priceless. His mouth was open in awe and I think maybe the thought of us marching out on Spain could´ve crossed his mind. There were a lot of people there since it was a community event and I am hoping the missionaries over there will see some fruit from it. The whole way home we sang Christmas's carols on the bus :) I don´t have any pictures from it. I know Hna Deere took some but they aren´t on the blog yet. Also I was told by Hna Martin that she saw videos from it so perhaps it could be on you tube somewhere, who knows.
Well I´ll let you all know what happens with this finding week! 
Love you all and Happy Holidays!
Hermana Thompson

ps- photos!
1. bowling!
2. me in the park with the statue holding a Book of Mormon haha
3. us in the market with the elders





more photos! 
1. us and the patar family! (romanians) Lucas, Lorena, Florina, Alina, and Romeo. missing the oldest son elvis and the little girl in the front is just a cousin.
2. Me and Hna Ramsay from exchanges last week in the station/mall in málaga






Monday, December 9, 2013

A week of challenges....

Hi guys! How are you all? Freezing? 

Well, this last week included A LOT of walking because of a lot of plans falling through but that´s ok because at least I was somewhat warm in all my new winter stuff. Nothing too exciting happened this week. We had two exchanges and a zone meeting so the week went by really quickly. 

We taught Lina again finally (the Ukrainian) but we still can´t get her to come to church, she always seems to be with family every Sunday and can´t make time. Frustrating. I seriously am going blank on what to tell you all from this week. 

One of the recent converts, Hayat, had to give a talk this week. She is from Morocco and is a young single mother. We helped her prepare for it all week long. And when Sunday came it went really well! And it was so touching to hear her testimony. She is really strong despite her circumstances and past. It´s rare to find members from her country because they are usually Muslim and it is hard to change religion and culture even if you live outside of Morocco. 

We came in contact with a lot of less active members this week, they all seemed to be at home. One of which lives in a smelly apartment with dying cats. She straight out told us that Joseph Smith´s experience is a lie and that he just had a dream and made it all up. It was hard to hold back and be patient in that lesson but I managed it. Some other ones slammed their doors in our faces, one was dead as well, but one actually said he wants us to come back and that it was a miracle to find him at home, so we´ll see what happens there. Always surprises with meeting people, members or not. 

I am also using my weird talents for our benefit. Sparing the details, for those of you who know me well, remember my one talent that isn´t very lady-like? Well if my district leader finds us 5 street contacts this week in our area I told him I´d do it. Which will come in handy because next week we are supposed to find 800+ new investigators all in one week, meaning 8 per companionship. It´s a tall order so pray for our efforts! 

The gospel is true and Christ lives!
Love you all and happy holidays!
Hermana Thompson

photos!
1. we passed by these spray paint murals this week (it´s seriously the coolest graffiti I've seen in my life) and one of the tags said Las Hermanas so we took a picture with it. 
2. and the other photo is us at a Chinese restaurant with some of the other Hermanas after zone meeting. it´s at an awkward angle and i was looking at the other camera but whatever.
(also if you go on the mission blog there is a picture in there of me at the big thanksgiving dinner)



Monday, December 2, 2013

THANKSGIVING! And some extremely happy news!

Buenas! 

I am overjoyed right now. Because...guess what! I just got an email from Hermana Martin telling me that Vicente got his endowment out in Madrid and she was there in the session! I really don´t have words to describe it but I couldn´t be happier. I can´t believe it finally happened! I was working towards that goal with him for 6 months and there were many times where I never thought it would come to pass. So today is a good day. Seriously, all my work in Benidorm is worth it for that. When we first got there he was mostly inactive, very confused on doctrine, had picked up problems with the word of wisdom again, and was always so nervous. Around 8 months later he is endowed in the temple! Hermana Martin said his face is different and that his eyes shine. I saw that before I left and I can only imagine how much more light comes from his countenance. The Atonement is incredible. To those who allow it to enter into their lives it works miracles in every aspect of their being. Same with the Book of Mormon, it wroughts incredible changes in a person. Vicente is the biggest miracle I have see so far in my life and I am convinced I will not see a greater one, but then again God brings to pass amazing things so who knows. 

Anyway, Málaga! We had a big Thanksgiving meal on Thursday during mediodía at the chapel with all the missionaries from the zone and Pres and Sis Deere as well. All the different companionships brought food and it was great. I love America. Oh man there is also this American food store here downtown and I about died. Super expensive but they have root beer and wonderful things. 

This week we taught a man named Curo (Francisco) that know more about religion and the bible than we do I think. He has read the entire Koran too and was going to be a Catholic priest at one point. He promised to read the Book of Mormon before we even committed him so we will see what happens there. He has some weird ideas about the origin of man though and giants in the bible sooo who knows. We still are teaching Nigerians all the time haha. Silvia wants to get baptized but had to get permission from her husband and he said no until he comes back into town. Dislike that but that is how the culture is. So we wait. Antonio, the elderly man who is married to a long time member, has been reading the BOM so we are getting in slowly. A member, Nuria, who has been going out on lessons with us got up to bear her testimony this Sunday. She said how impressed she was with us being so young and with the gifts we have as missionaries, like patience and understanding. So that was a nice reward, but I was sitting there like, really? Having more patience is one of my goals hahaha.

We also ate with some members this week, the Lugones family, and the father told us the most amazing conversion story I´ve ever heard. It´s too bad you all can´t meet him and hear it. But basically he was a evangelical priest and felt like his church wasn´t the true one and prayed about it like Joseph Smith, went looking for the true one. He had a dream he was teaching a temple prep class (along with a lot of other things) and a friend later introduced him to the church. He had many other miracles happen along the way too. I love conversion stories they are my favorite. By the way Carola and Phil I think I asked for the whole back story before but I´d still like to hear all the details!

Well, got to go everyone. But have a good week and sign up to feed the missionaries for Christmas for me! ;)

Love you all,
Hermana Thompson

photos- me and hna Andrew eating thanksgiving and the table of fooood



Monday, November 25, 2013

New Transfer! and 8 months!

So, sorry all for the email not going through last week...weird, it was just waiting for me in my drafts and apparently never got sent. Well we have started a new transfer and no changes here. Except that it is getting more cold. The coldest it´s been was the 30s for a little while but with the humidity and wind it feels worse. Who knew Southern Spain was cold? I didn´t. This last week was a good one! But as I told my district leader, it wasn´t because of anything we did really. 

Monday started out with a Nigerian dinner/FHE. Aka we ate "fu fu" if I am spelling it right. Which could definitely not be the case. It is a mixture of potatoes and rice flour with hot water so it looks like mashed potatoes. You roll it up in your fingers and then scoop out of the other liquidy dish like it´s a spoon. The dish we ate was fish based and spicy. Good too, I liked it and the other Nigerian foods quite a bit actually. Nigerians seems to be our life recently. Once you start to know one or two you end up meeting more. Speaking of Nigerians we stopped by a less active recent convert who is Nigerian to drop off her baptismal photos but only her sister Silvia was home. I asked if we could come in and talk. We taught her the restoration and watched the Joseph Smith video and she said she thought it was true. I asked her to be baptized in December and she said yes! But apparently she has to ask her husband permission to go to our church since they already go to their own. But she has already been once with her sister and also attended the baptism so we will see what happens. 

This week we have also had a lot of random people start conversations with us and some of them were extra strange. But I like people talking to us, makes life interesting and you never know what will come out of it. The whole blonde american thing never seems to get old either apparently haha. 

We had a combined ward party this week that everyone from their countries brought food and presented, some even danced. I think the Flamenco from the Spaniards won though. Us American missionaries represented well though with brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and hot dog bites. We also sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" which was pretty awful haha and I´m pretty sure no one knew what we were singing but oh well. Argentina had the best food. Sorry again Phil and Carola...but we have this member from Argentina, Estela who has basically adopted us and loves to feed us delicious foods. She is like my favorite woman. There were a ton of countries represented, it´s incredible how many people immigrate here. And so many people attended too, I felt like I was on an episode from the District. 

Lina and her family said they would show up but they didn´t come :/ but she is still progressing and working on quitting smoking and coffee. Pray for her! It doesn´t help that the last lesson her husband was in there smoking the majority of the time. If I get lung cancer we will all know why. Everyone here smokes basically. 

We are also in the process of working on a miracle. One of the women in the ward, Soledad, who is from Málaga and was one of the early members when it was still a branch has a husband who never joined the church named Antonio. We always go over to eat with them and he is a very sweet and friendly man, he just doesn´t like religion too much. Well the last time we taught we decided to teach about the first vision. He doesn´t actually have too much knowledge about our church or doctrine so we are planning to teach him all the lessons and he basically agreed. Anyway, the spirit during the lesson was incredibly strong, his wife has tears in her eyes and I know he could feel the spirit as well. We committed him to read the Book of Mormon, reluctantly but he is a good man and I believe that he will. It takes some time to say yes after you have said no for over 20 years but his family has been praying forever and I am hoping this is his time. And less active son of a member that we are trying to work with also came to church on Sunday with his two sons after many years. Miracles happen! 

Well got to go! Love you all and have a great Thanksgiving! We will be eating as a zone with Pres Deere and his wife on Thursday :)

Hermana Thompson

photos!
us with Michael, Daniel, and Oliver 
eating fu fu



more photos! of the ward party! us and our american platter and also some flamenco dancers




Hace FRÍOOOO!

I THINK THIS DIDN´T GET SENT FROM LAST WEEK...SORRY EVERYONE! :(



¡Buenos Días!
I am no longer sickkk! Life is good. But I do think I might have gotten half the ward sick...ya never know. I tell them all I´m sick and not to give me besos but they don´t care and kiss me anyway...what can you do.

It´s cold. I don´t have a coat and our apt doesn´t have heat soooo I´m freezing but that´s okay I´m going to buy a bunch of warm things today. And by cold I mean like low 50s but it feels colder with the humidity and all the wind. Seriously, who knew that Málaga was so windy.
Remember how I said we are teaching a woman from Ukrainian name Lina? Well we set a baptismal date with her for January 18th. It´s far away because she seems a bit nervous about it and wants to be sure, but once we get her to come to church and be more comfortable maybe we can move it up. She has a ton of faith but also smokes so shes trying to quit. It doesn´t help that her husband always comes in and out of the lessons smoking. But we have the sweetest Ukrainian woman that helps us in the lessons from the ward and she even took us to a Russian/Ukrainian store and bought us food afterwards. Anyway pray for Lina! We also are teaching another woman named Teresa from Málaga whose daughter actually got baptized once upon a time and we just found that out. She doesn´t want to commit because of her husband but even though her mouth didn´t say yes her eyes definitely did, so we´ll see where that goes.
The Romanian part-member family are still my favorite people ever. We ate Romanian soup with them this week and played Bible charades. Good stuff. I love the other members here too they are so strong, it´s great. We kind of got stuck in one of our pueblos (small towns) because the bus never came...twice and then we ended up getting hot chocolate, cake, and a ride home. They have a daughter serving in California so they can sympathize.
Anyway, not much else is new. A member family invited us and the four elders over for thanksgiving and they are going to try and make it authentic so we´ll see! And no pictures this week, sorry for being lame.

Got to go buy a coat now. Don´t forget to feed the missionaries during the holidays ;)
Love you all, 
Hermana Thompson

Monday, November 11, 2013

Estoy resfriadaaaa :(

Apparently my body doesn´t respond well to mission life, because I am sick again! This time it´s a cold that is still going strong...It started on Thursday. But I´ll survive of course, people keep telling me to rest so I´ve started to listen to them. But the whole medicine thing is too much bother to worry about here. 

Anyway, I still love Málaga and our ward. It´s just great. We even had ward council yesterday so life doesn´t get much better than this haha. So as for the Romanians...I have no idea what is going on exactly. On Tuesday we paid a surprise visit in the morning since the Sunday visit fell through. It was just Andrea there and so I was like well she doesn´t understand enough Spanish for us to teach the Plan of Salvation so we might as well just talk about baptism. So I asked her if she knew the word and she said no. Ok. I tried explaining it with my hands in other words. She thought I was talking about fishing. Perfect. I finally got her to understand what it was and then asked her if she would be baptized when she knows what we´ve taught her is true, and she said "creo, creo" (I believe, I believe) while pointing to the BOM. So we committed her to the 30th of November and set up a return appointment. We walked away hoping she actually understood haha but also amazed are her willingness despite the language and reading barrier. When we went back for the return appointment with Lorena (a 10 yr old member) the family members wouldn´t answer...umm yeah. So we are going to try and go back when only Andrea is there in the mornings and see what happens. We´ve also started teaching a woman from the Ukraine named Lina so we´ll see what happens with her! Again, we seem to only teach people from other non-Spanish speaking countries here oddly enough. 

Let´s see, not a lot of interesting things happened this week. Oh wait, I almost forgot our lesson with the jehovah´s witness, Marcelo! I told you about him last time but we taught him again with the help of a member and this time the topic was the Plan of Salvation. First of all you have to understand that he a bit on the older side and has some health problems and that I made sure we had really good scriptural references to back us up. So when we showed him certain verses in the Bible that he didn´t know existed about the spirit world and baptisms for the dead he started getting a bit sweaty and nervous and was holding his heart. And I was sitting there like uhhh I really hope he doesn´t die right here in front of us while talking about the plan of salvation. We stopped short for his benefit without getting to talk about the 3 kingdoms of glory, but I don´t think we´ll be going back again. He wouldn´t let us pray again but this time his excuse was because we are women...yeahhh.

So last Pday we went to the Catholic Cathedral in central Málaga. It was funny because they weren´t going to let us in for free at first because we technically aren´t what they recognize as "priests" or "clergy", but one of the elders from our group was like, well in our church we are priests sooo...and then we got in for free. The architecture was gorgeous of course, like all of them are, but the absence of the spirit was definitely notable. 

Anyway, today we won´t do much since I am sick but I do have a request from any of you wonderful family members who wants to do research for me! I wanna go to the Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga and another art museum with the initials MAUS to see a Shepard Fairey exhibit if I can get permission...so will someone email me the addresses, entrance fees, and phone numbers please?? ¡Gracías!

Love you all and have a good week! Also if you want longer responses to your emails, send me handwritten letters instead ;)

Hna Thompson

ps photos!
1. and 2. inside and outside of the cathedral
3. and Michael (recent convert) and I on the exercise equipment they have out in the public parks here haha. 





Monday, November 4, 2013

Busy week in Malaga....

So this week had a ton of interesting things all packed into one. Castle for Pday, Halloween, special training with President, exchanges, and stake conference in Granada. So this week went by super fast.
First of all, remember how we got 11 new investigators last week? Well all the the follow-up appointments with them this week went through. So we will try again this week and see what happens. For pday we went to the Málaga castle with a bunch of missionaries so that was fun, I´ll include some photos :) And I got Halloween here after all! We tried inviting all the people we teach to come to the combined ward activity but apparently in Romania and Nigeria it´s more of a bad thing sooo I left out the part that it´s my favorite holiday. They are more under the impression that it´s evil or something. Spaniards still haven´t figured out the whole costume thing yet either haha, they all dress up as the same things...witches, devils, or dead people. But the activity was actually pretty good considering.
We also ate with the Romanian part-member family this week! And the appt wasn´t at the normal time so us being stupid ate lunch beforehand and then when I got there I was already full. Every bite was painful. But they made THE best bread, but the food was pretty strong (but good) and there was a lot of it so it was so hard to keep eating, I felt so bad. And then after that we had another meal scheduled...I wanted to die. It´s funny because all the members here think we are like the elders and can eat a lot and so when we say we are full they think we are lying...
In other news, we taught a lesson with a Jehovah´s Witness man from Africa this week...who doesn´t even let us pray or give him a Book of Mormon, that was actually the first lesson I´ve brought out the Bible to teach. But we had a super awesome member to help us with the lesson. We´ll see what happens with him. Oh and Dan- we keep eating with a Brazilian member who has a super thick accent and I have the hardest time understanding her but she is so good to us and always feeds us :) Speaking of food...Phil and Carola- the Argentinians are winning...sorry but overall I always get better food with them than the Chileans but there is still time left for them to change my mind.
Friday we had a special training meeting from President Deere and the APs and after that I went on exchanges with our sister leaders in the area. Which reminded me how much more I need to contact people on the street, so that´s what we are focusing on this week. Let´s see if I pluck up more courage. I have no time left but Stake Conf was awesome! The Granada chapel is HUGE and gorgeous, even better than ours at home. Well love you all and send me letters if you can instead of emails so I can respond with more ;)
Love
Hna Thompson
photos!
1. us and some elders from our district, one of which is Elder Chumbipuma, best name ever right?
2. hna Andrew and I at the castle
3. view of Malaga







the halloween party, elder england bobbing for apples

us and all the ward 1 and 2 missionaries (missing the APs though)
and another pic of the castle




Monday, October 28, 2013

¡La Semana de MILAGROS!

Man, I love Málaga! It´s a great place, you guys should definitely come visit. So for those of you don´t know Spanish, the title of this email is Week of Miracles! I loved these past 7 days, little miracles keep popping up everywhere! First of all we found 11 new investigators all in this week and it would´ve been even more if some of the people we taught agreed to a return appointment. But get this they are all either from Africa or Romania...this week my Spanish didn´t help anything haha. English did though since all the Nigerians speak English. It seemed like every person we passed by let us in without a prior appointment and a lot of our backup plans turned into actual teaching opportunities. Which is definitely not the norm even in Málaga. My face probably showed my surprise every time someone said "come in" to us. And then even more surprise by the amount of people who were there when we did come in.
I want to share about one experience in particular. There is a Romanian family in our ward called the Patars. The four children are all baptized and the parents would like to be but are saving up money to make a trip back to Romania to get married first. The missionaries first started teaching them over a year ago and they have been actively coming to church ever since. Florina, the mother, barely knew any Spanish and also didn´t even know how to read in Romanian. But in order to attend church and read the Book of Mormon she has been learning. The family is incredible. I have never seen people like them. They live in poor, humble circumstances, but have extremely strong testimonies. They children (ages 8 to 14) are always eager to learn and pray and sing and are so sweet. They read the Book of Mormon on their own everyday and always ask us for more pamphlets to fill out the questions in the back. They literally melt my heart.
Anyway, we passed by an old reference from that family to see if they were home so we could meet them. Her friend´s name is Andrea ironically enough. She was home and let us in. We talked about the Book of Mormon and the gospel. She brought out her BOM that she already had in Romanian but told us she didn´t know how to read. She also barely understood what we were saying in Spanish. But we setup a return appt for Sunday evening and asked Florina and two of her daughters to accompany us. When we showed up they let us in and there were a ton of people. The sister, mother, husband, brother-in-law, her 3 kids, and her 3 nephews. There were also other people coming in and out of back rooms...I think I counted around 13 or 14 people in that small apartment. So I was sitting there like "holy cow...what do we do...I´ve never seen this many people in one place and they all speak Romanian..." Florina explained who we were a little bit better and some basics. I tried to watch the Restoration DVD since it was in Romanian and there were a lot of kids, but as always, it didn´t work. I swear Satan controls all technology in every investigator house we enter haha. Anyway, Florina summarized the story of the Restoration for us in her own words and then I asked her to explain the book of Mormon. She was like...I already did it. So I asked her to share her experience finding out it was true and her testimony, and she was like...I already did it. She is seriously so great. We read a little in the Book of Mormon and invited them all to read and pray and come to church. And I just wish you could´ve seen their faces- full of hope and welcome to our message. I wanted so badly to be able to communicate more fully to all of them in the moment but I knew they understood and at least the children can understand and read. But here I was listening to this woman, who is not even baptized but has been actively coming to church for a year, share her testimony in Romanian and feeling the spirit so strongly. At the end she said "we could all talk forever! when I talk about God my heart feels warm" and all the Romanian women were smiling back at me. She has incredible faith and they are all such good examples to me. I´ll let you know what happens from here!
Nigerians are interesting. They are also very receptive and humble. It´s definitely weird teaching so many lessons in English. Plus they are all men too so that makes our life difficult. Oh, there is also a recent convert here from Haiti! She has family in Florida and so we talk about that sometimes. She is so sweet and has such a great testimony. They let us stay to eat last time we visited :) Well there are other things but I´ve got to go! We are going to the castle today! And apparently we are supposed to be having a Halloween party in the chapel so we´ll see how that goes haha.
Love you all!
Hna Thompson

ps-photos!
one member, Patricia, had a turtle and a cat so we were playing with them after FHE. That´s Michael by the way, a recent convert from Nigeria. 




Monday, October 21, 2013

First week in Málaga 2!

Hey everyone! I´m in Málaga, the promised land, and I´m loving it. Not that I got here with a lot of work since there is only like one investigator and not much else...but hey we´ll fix that. So the ward here is huge. And the members are incredible. See a correlation? Because I sure do. Like I said before there are 4 wards here and two of them meet in our building. Our area is split between us and the elders so it´s actually not very big but it seems huge because Málaga is huge and it could be that our small chunk of Málaga is bigger than Benidorm but maybe that´s just me. And we keep getting lost ALL the time. My trainee Hna Andrew still doesn´t know the area very well and our map is actually in book form so I keep getting confused haha. We´ll figure it out soon though. I still can´t get over how great some of the members are here, it literally feels like I am in the states in some of the houses. And of course when I tell people I am from Florida they always ask about Alligators and the beach haha. 

You wanna know my favorite part so far? And please don´t think I am bragging but I am just so happy about it...but I´ve had people ask where I´m from because they thought I was American but I sound Spanish so they get confused! And these are people from Spain that ask. So if I just looked a little bit more española I could pass! Heh. When I come home you´ll all think I sound funny and speak with a lisp but I actually love the general Spanish accent. The Málaga accent not so much. They drop the s on words, shorten the endings, and use the "theta" on the s´s as well...they are a bit harder to understand in the beginning but I am getting used to it. And people here are so nice! I heard that Andalucia was more friendly but seriously, people actually say hello back and I´ve had people come up to us to help us when we are lost without asking. The demographics here are different as well. Less south Americans, more Africans, and A LOT more people that are actually from Spain. In the Benidorm area everyone was from somewhere else and so I was used to asking and here when I ask they say Málaga...of course...sorry for asking. 

The area has been in the hands of fairly new missionaries for a while so I am trying to change things and get everything reorganized...including finding all the information out for 6 MONTH OLD baptismal records that weren´t ever turned in...poor people still don´t count as actual members haha. Oh hey, and yesterday was my 7th month mark! Weirdddd. Time passes by differently in the mission. 

Leaving Benidorm was weird...so incredibly weird. It kind of felt like I was starting a new mission or something. It was sad too of course but I needed a change. And Málaga is the complete opposite. On Sunday we were almost like a side note...I didn´t get called up to introduce myself, I didn´t have to teach any classes, and I couldn´t even count the number of people. So different! But it is so nice to see a ward that actually functions! I´ll let you all know how things go! Oh and Hna Andrew know Spanish! So that is a nice break. Obviously she still has a lot to learn but she gets by really well and contributes well to lessons already. She is 20, from Ohio, and went to BYU. People are always surprised when neither one of us is from Utah (or the factory as they call it haha). 

Love you all and keep praying for missionary work!
Hna Thompson

my new address: 
Avenida Manuel Torres 6, 1ºB
29003 Málaga, Spain

ps- photos!
1. Last Monday in Benidorm- Mario (an investigator who has a baptismal date...fingers crossed!), Carlos and Griselda (members from Uruguay)
2. My new piso in Málaga! It has a CAT pillow. It was a great welcome and I new I was at home. 
3. Hna Andrew and I in the internet place. We didn´t get the chance to get a good quality one earlier so we just did this selfie right now for yáll




Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I´m being transferred to the PROMISED LAND!

OKAY. So I am finally leaving Benidorm! It still hasn´t sunk in completely. I know nothing else...I now associate my mission with Benidorm so it´ll be weird leaving. And any guesses as to where I will be going? MÁLAGA! Yep! Exactly where I wanted to be transferred to. Funny how that works out huh? There are four wards there with 6 missionaries in each ward. I will be serving in the 2nd ward with 4 elders and Hermana Andrew. She has only been out 6 weeks so I will be finishing up her training. Foreverrrr training. Haha but no it´s good, at least it´s not the first 6 weeks again ;) I leave Wednesday morning to head down there by bus (8.5 hours ughhh) and next Monday I´ll let you all know m new address!

Sunday was bitter-sweet. Oh and funny too. Funny thing first. So when the meeting started there were only like 18 people there and while we were singing the opening hymn one of the families came in late and their 11 year old son just starting throwing up right next to us in the aisle! So gross. I was trying not to laugh at the whole situation as the members kept singing and staring in disgust. That´s when you breathe through your mouth. The father came in during the opening prayer and started to mop it up but the smell lingered. Poor child, he looked green. In total there only ended up being 28 people there in church which is the lowest I have ever seen :( But it was fast and testimony meeting so I went up and said my goodbyes and bore testimony. It was hard to get through. I really am going to miss the people so much and I will always remember the experiences I had here. I can´t believe how much I´ve changed in the last 6 months in Benidorm. It seems like forever ago that I arrived and felt overwhelmed with the language and useless. It makes me nervous to leave the area behind to other missionaries but it has to be done. Saying goodbye to the members and the chapel was sad but I´m sure I´ll return someday...well I better since I promised certain people that I would haha. 

This week we had a meeting with all the missionaries from our stake, the stake presidency, and the mission president. Oh it was so good! The topic was the work of salvation in the stake and their vision for the specific areas. The stake president and his counselors are such incredible men. And young too, two of them in their early 30s. They´ve all served missions as well and so their counsel to us was specific and particularly meaningful. I learned so much from them and felt the spirit so strongly. It´s just too bad that I am now leaving right after hearing all of that. 

Today we barely have any pday, we had an appt with an investigator this morning, right now we are going to go eat for the last time with a member family, and then later tonight another appt. But it´s okay, I´m almost done packing anyway. The weather is nice right now too! There is a breeze and at night time it actually feels a little chilly. 

Oh and last Monday I totally got to play Settler´s of Catan in Spanish! Are you reading this Dan and Audrey? One of the elders in my district splurged and bought the game with an extension. I was close to winning but was short a point in the end. Still fun.

Well love you all and I will send news from Málaga next Monday! I still can´t believe how lucky I am to be going there! I´ve always wanted to serve in Málaga and to be so close to the other missionaries and Pres during Halloween and most likely Christmas? Score! Oh and I ´ve tried contacting Miri a million times with no luck, we even had an appt set up with her and she failed on us. I have no idea what´s going on...but thanks for your prayers!

Take care!
Hermana Thompson

ps- photos!
1. us and Vicente, our favorite person on the planet
2. my district! Elder Dansie, Elder Day, Hna Camacho, Elder Tudela, Elder Orr, Hna Parrilla, me, and Hna Noriega. The photo kind of stinks but oh well...and elder Orr is 6´10 i think if anyone was wondering haha


Monday, October 7, 2013

The Lord is aware of us!

Happy conference weekend everyone! Didn´t you just love it? And if you have not watched all the sessions, repent and go watch them online. It was kind of a fiasco being able to watch conference for us. Our branch only broad casted one session in the chapel on Sunday night (the Sunday am session for you guys) and we didn´t find out about it until late Friday night so we couldn´t tell our investigators or members any concrete details. Lame. But Saturday we went to the chapel by ourselves to watch the relief society broadcast in the morning and the sat am session live that evening at 6pm. Sunday we went to the chapel after they had finished showing priesthood and found the branch pres on the computer ugh so we ended up having to watch the sat pm session in an Internet cafe. Not ideal but oh well. Sunday evening we watched the sun am sesh in English on the computer and the others on a TV and two investigators came so that was nice. We later had a FHE and dinner at a members house with the two investigators, Estela and Angela. They come to all the activities and things but the father doesn´t like religion so we can´t do much. Angela is an angel, she is 10 years old knows the BOM is true and wants to serve a mission...I hope one day she can get baptized. 

We still have yet to be able to watch the last session of conference but we will succeed, I am not going to miss it that´s for sure. Well I know everyone says conference is just for them but this time it really was. All of my questions were answered and all of my concerns were addressed rapidly, as soon as it started. This conference was very focused on trials, the atonement, covenants, and missionary work. All the things I think about and talk about everyday. It´s because they are the most important and most prevalent. I also noticed how every topic and scripture addressed was something I had just studied for personal study. That happened last conference as well. It confirmed to me that if we are in tune with the spirit and are seeking for guidance and revelation that we can receive it- the same revelation that apostles and prophets of the Lord receive, but for our own personal instruction. 

Favorites? Well obviously always Elder Holland, Elder Bednar, Pres Uctdorf, Pres Eyring, and Pres Monson. But also Elder Ballard, Dyches, and Soares. Ok I don´t mean to list them all. Also from Relief society, Sister Reeves. I think one of the things that struck me the most is what Pres Eyring said: that there is not one person in this world that God does not desire to save, and there isn´t one person that he hasn´t made a plan to save. That spoke directly to one of my concerns. Many times I get discouraged at the amount of people who need the Gospel and despair for the overwhelmingness of it all, but that helps to remind me to trust in the Lord and His divine design. There is so much more I would love to share but I lack time.

This week was one of learning. To make a long story very short, I felt awful on Tuesday. Completely discouraged and hopeless for a few hours of time. I couldn´t feel the spirit and I didn´t want to communicate. I doubted myself and what I was doing. We then had a lesson with investigator family. I had tried so hard, so hard, to get a member to come to the lesson because I knew they weren´t progressing and that was why. Nobody could come. Every other time the lessons were distracted, a baby was screaming, people were in and out, and it wasn´t the best teaching I´ve ever done either. But Tuesday was different. The baby was asleep, both Liliana and Johnny were there and waiting and ready. The change in the lesson and spirit was remarkable and we didn´t even have a member present. They were receptive and more engaged and we walked away filled with gratitude and amazement. I then realized how aware the Lord was of me. I no longer felt the despair and self-criticism, I felt the gloom lift and saw clearer. I had tried my hardest to do what was out of my control and on top of that I was feeling bad for other reasons but the Lord saw fit to give me a tender mercy and I am so grateful. I add my testimony to those of the apostles and prophet this weekend that the Lord loves us and knows our circumstances. He is always aware of us and with His atonement will come to our rescue just when we feel like we can´t carry our own personal crosses. I love this Gospel and I love this wonderful church.

Love you all!
Hermana Thompson

Monday, September 30, 2013

Zone conference and South Africans!

So this week went by incredibly fast! Last Monday feels like a couple of weeks  ago already. That´s what 2 days out of your area does to you. Tuesday we had Zone Conference with 2 other zones so there were a lot of missionaries in one place along with Pres and Sis Deere and the APs. The focus was on finding new investigators and reaching our goal of 555 baptisms this year. There is a photo of our zone on the blog (http://thespainmalagamission.blogspot.com). I got a lot of personal self-instruction on what I need to change to be better and what we should start applying. And for lunch a HUGE paella made by one of the stake presidents, who by the way is an incredible man with a strong testimony who has been here since the beggining of the church in Spain. People like him are such good examples of patience, perseverance, and faith. 

This week we had a ton of lessons and plans fall through which was disappointing but on Friday we got a wonderful surprise. Since I´ve arrived here in May I have tried to get people to come to English class. We have put up a ton of flyers and passed out cards and done it by word of mouth as well. And nothing. No one barely ever came...except some members or our own investigators sometimes but even then not steadily. But Friday a good number of random people just walked into the chapel for English class and now we are teaching two classes and have some good prospects of future investigators from the group. After class on Friday 2 people came up to me and were asking questions about the BOM and if we were normal people or if we were like the polygamists they´ve seen on TV. One man, Carlos, stayed after and let us teach him. And boy is he ever a talker. The lesson went on and on and on breaking off into tangents I never knew were possible. All I wanted to do was introduce the Book of Mormon. That´s it. But I would say a few words and boom, cut off. It wins as the most frustrating teaching experience I´ve had. I should win a prize for overwhelming patience or something. And at the end he critiqued our teaching English and our Spanish abilities as well. What a man. But we will be teaching him again this week...wish us luck that his tongue will be bound? Haha. 

So Thursday we met our new mission leader, Joan Millán. He just returned home from the Madrid mission on Tuesday (after being an AP, so you know he´s a good missionary). Well, we are incredibly overjoyed to have his help. We ate with his family and another family from the branch and he basically directed the message afterwards for us and then told us when he was free to help and went in to all the branch and area details. At that point he didn´t even know he would be mission leader. I can´t express the happiness, I just wish he was here earlier, because now I´m leaving and don´t get the blessing for long...Sunday he went around talking to leaders for us and gave out mission prep books to the youth (who already had them haha) and talked to our investigators and helped out the in the class I had to teach. One helpful member seriously does makes a whole world of difference to the missionaries. Even a little support helps us so much. So remember that please! 

Sunday was really cool. 2 our older investigators, a mother and daughter (Estela and Angela) came to church with a member family and then the boyfriend of one of the youth as well. His name is Daniel and he is from South Africa. We met him last Sunday and yesterday ate at the member family´s house with him and his parents and brother. The members, are half British and Spanish, and the investigators half south African and half Spanish. So everyone in that house spoke both English and Spanish and it was soooo weird. I was confused a lot of the time trying to get my head straight. And like I´ve said before talking and teaching in English is super strange for me now. The family is incredibly cool and have a lot of the same morals so I am hoping to be able to teach them all. Daniel, the boyfriend, is already going to seminary, activities, and church, and is super spiritual and mature so it´s just a matter of setting up teaching appointments and I´m sure he´ll get baptised. My favorite part was when they couldn´t figure out my accent. They thought my English accent was from Norway (I still don´t understand that since I sound American) and then after I said the prayer they were like ¨whoa, how well you speak Spanish! you have no accent at all and that´s really hard to do!¨ so not to brag, but I was sooo happy to hear that, since I try really hard to speak well. And of course I still make a ton of mistakes especially when I am speaking fast or am nervous, but hey it´s progress. 

That experience was such a blessing though. That is the way missionary work should be and needs to be. That was honestly the first time that has happened since I´ve been out, where a member family invited over their non-member friends just to meet us during a meal. That is how the work progresses and how families are blessed! So I encourage you all to do it too! I know it seems scary and awkward but trust in the Lord and have faith that it will work out! Pray to know who to invite and then do it!

Well as for Miri, she said she was to busy to come to church on Sunday and that Itzayana was out of town so that she would come this Sunday coming up. We´ll see! I want to see her get confirmed before I leave in 2 weeks and since this week is conference it´s making me nervous. Keep praying! Love you all!

Oh and something funny/embarrassing for the week: The branch pres asked me to translate to a new Norwegian member in English to have him say the opening prayer. So I turned to him and asked him, but in Spanish. So basically I just turned to him and repeated the request in different words and after weird looks from the two, realized that it wasn´t in English and re said it. Haha, and the sad thing is that this isn´t the first time it´s happened. I never understood RMs who would come home and claim to have problems speaking English but I find myself relating to them more and more everyday as i start making more English mistakes and wording things weirdly. 

Anyway, have a good week and enjoy conference! Invite everyone to listen and share links online!

Love, 
Hna Thompson

ps, pictures!
we went to a American style restaurant with Vicente this week (not that authentic but it was cool to see American things and hear oldies music...i mean not that we enjoyed the music...we aren´t allowed.)  i got to eat a real chocolate milkshake! happiness! and we brought home giant gumballs since we can´t chew gum in public and this is what happened...note that it got in my eyelashes haha



Monday, September 23, 2013

HOLAAA! Buenas tardes!

SO, funny things first. Hna Noriega totally ran into a pole this week. Poor thing, she is always spacing out and almost dying (she´s also stepped in poop because of that and almost goes into the street without looking as well) so it´s a good thing I´m alert and warn her...well usually haha. 

Again, not too many eventful things happened this week. We met up with Miri on Wednesday in the church to finally talk to her in person. She looked so incredibly sad and I tried to help the best I could, but in these situations it just takes time. We talked about a conference article on how the Lord never forgets us and then went into the atonement a little. She tells us she will for sure get confirmed but still wasn´t sure she wanted to do it right now. She still wanted to take time and get her life back in order and have time to think. We explained the importance of the gift of the HG especially right now and challenged her to pray and reconsider. I also mentioned fasting and she said she would do it. We left with her saying that we´d see her Sunday...but Sunday came and she didn´t show up. I know she was out of town for most of the day so I´m hoping that´s the reason. We´ll see what happens this week. But thanks for all your prayers and concern! You´re all the best!

We are having a hard time getting people to church. Everyone always says they will come and then...don´t. It´s frustrating, since they obviously won´t progress without church attendance. But Sunday was great because we FINALLY had branch council with the leadership! Yay! We only have had one other since I´ve gotten here and that was in May. So yes, I am finally happy that we have some prospect of progress and unity in the branch. We´ll see what happens! And one of the member´s sons gets back from serving his mission in Madrid this week and he apparently will be our new branch mission leader! I am so excited you have no idea! He will actually do something to help us! Never take for granted a well functioning ward. 

OH AND GUESS WHAT! I bought maple syrup today and Reese´s cups! We are in Alicante for Pday since we have to go to a zone conference tomorrow and they have a store here that is like Nordstrom and they sell American things! Yeahhh best day ever! And we are going to play Monopoly, so yeah. Good stuff. And zone conferences are obviously the best since we get to see President Deere and everyone, so this week will go by fast. And since Elders Oak and Ballard (i think) were in France for a special training we are sure to learn some good things. 

Well that´s all for now! Talk to you all next week!
Love Hermana Thompson

and to end a photo of Hna Noriega and our potatoes. we tried to buy instant potatoes and as you can see they are not American. gross. also i made the brownies from the recipe amber sent me and they were SO DELICIOUS. our district now loves us. 



Monday, September 16, 2013

6 months!!!



On the 20th I will have officially been out 6 months. I still feel like I´m a brand new missionary though. 1/3 of the way through? Weird. 

Well another slow week without much to tell and no pictures...sorry! Hna Noriega went to Málaga to pick up her residency card so while she was gone I staying in Alicante (where our zone is based) with the sisters there. Goodness I love Alicante and the wards they have there. It reminds me that they are strong members and units in Spain, and it´s because they all work together and support the missionaries. It was definitely a nice change of scenery and also nice to feel like I was being of help to the other two sisters since they are newer to the mission and there was a lot I could teach them. But at this point almost everyone is new or training in the mission.

Well Hna Noriega, my companion is a wonderful saint-like person. Our branch pres asked me last minute to give a talk in sacrament meeting again but at the moment I still had to prepare the class I have to give later so Hna Noriega offered herself as a sacrifice. And while she was giving it she seemed fine, obviously struggled with the language a bit but didn´t look nervous...and then when she sat down told me that she almost fainted during her talk! She said everything got black around her eyes and her knees started going weak! Poor thing! But she is just fine now thankfully and never actually fainted. 

Last Monday we taught my favorite member in Benidorm, Vicente, whom I have mentioned previously. He one of the recent converts and is basically like family at this point. He is always so helpful and genuinely kind to us, he even has bought us chocolate multiple times because he knows I love it so much. Well on Monday we met him in the park for the lesson and he seemed down and then went on to explain that he had decided to quit the church permanently. I though he was kidding, but he was serious about his decision. The hard part was that he didn´t have a real concrete reason. I tried everything I could think of. I went to the base of his testimony and up asking him questions, and to every one he responded affirmatively, that yes he new all of it was true. I couldn´t wrap my head around it and Hna Noriega was to shocked to speak. I kept going, thinking of everything possible to try and reason with him, it was so frustrating and I felt like my world was falling down around me. I couldn´t help thinking of Miri too and what was happening to her. And just as I thought we were making progress he said, I haven´t changed my decision Hermana, but you´ll still write me and we´ll still be friends right? I had tried my hardest to keep it together during the whole lesson and that is where I fell apart. The tears came heavily. I have never felt so awful or so let down. We had worked with him multiple times a week since I got to Benidorm and now he was saying that he was giving up without reason. I made him promise to rethink it, pray about it, and to read the Book of Mormon everyday. He said that he would and we both left the park with tears streaming down our faces. I have never cried like that so far, especially not in a lesson. We were literally heartbroken. But I didn´t believe it, I knew he would change his mind. 

As we were walking home, still trying to stop crying, two British guys asked us for directions and when I explained that we were Mormons he said, Mormons? I haven´t heard of Mormons, but I have heard of mermaids. I couldn´t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation we were in. I think it was one way of God giving us a tender mercy to cheer us up a little bit. And just as we entered our apt building Vicente called us back and said that he was praying and God told him that what he was doing was wrong and that he needed to continue being a member. Just like that. I tried to change his mind for 2 hours and God changed his heart within 5 minutes. I was emotionally, spiritually, and physically worn out but so grateful that God answers prayers, especially when they are humble and sincere. 

And although I never want to feel that way ever again, I think that it was good for me, necessary. I think it is the closest I have ever come to feeling what God feels for us. Pure love for someone, and then the devastation that comes when after everything we have done for them, they chose not to accept, not to change. I truly felt the helplessness of not being able to do anything about the situation, because we have our agency, and not matter how much I would like to take it away from people sometimes, we can´t. If it´s that frustrating for me, I can´t even imagine how it must feel for Heavenly Father with his countless numbers of children and the perfect love that he has for each one of them. He gives us everything, he gives us the witness of all the truths of the gospel, but yet we are still so incredibly imperfect, selfish, and rebellious. And while this transfer has been especially tiring and hard for me so far, I know that all of it happens for a reason and that God has a better plan for each one of us, but it is all in his timing. 

Love you all, and continue praying for the work, and Miri!
By the way we finally have an appt with her this Wednesday so hopefully she will get confirmed this Sunday!

Hermana Thompson

 and photos!
from when I was in Alicante with Hermanas Camacho and Parrilla (she is from the canary islands!)


Monday, September 9, 2013

Holaaa!



Well...I am tired. So tired! 5 more weeks in Benidorm, can I do it? Let´s hope so. Our mission has basically just exploded with the amount of new missionaries, changes, and newly opened areas. Check out the mission blog if you´re curious. 

This last week we went on exchanges with the sister training leaders. I stayed in Benidorm and Hna Noriega went to their area in Cartagena. Whew what a change it was to teach with someone that I knew I could stop talking and they would take over just fine. Sometimes we take little things like that for granted. But not me! Haha. It was a good opportunity to see how someone else worked and get to spend time with someone who´s been out longer than me. And this week coming up Hna Noriega is going down to Málaga to pick up her residency card so I will be in Alicante (where our zone is based) for two days to work with the sisters there. 

Honestly not much has happened this past week. We are running out of investigators so that is our focus right now...finding new ones! All the crazy tourists are slowing leaving day by day and we´ve actually had some rain lately which I have been LOVING. I have forgotten the feeling of being cold...and the taste of strawberries in the summer time (Hna Noriega is obsessed with Lord of the Rings too). 

And the sad news last I suppose. Miri still hasn´t been confirmed as a member yet. She hasn´t been answering calls or texts and didn´t show up for church which is extremely unlike her. We were doing a family night with Miguel and Dagmar, and Dagmar´s mom, Ana Maria told me that she just talked with her and that she has been crying all week basically but thought she would come on Sunday. It´s even more sad since Itzayana can´t really come if her mom doesn´t...we will keep trying and thank you for all your prayers!

Well I have no pictures this week...sorry y´all. Love you and keep helping the missionaries where you live!

Hermana Thompson

Monday, September 2, 2013

BAPTISMO 3! (and a flooded chapel)



It has been a crazy roller coaster week. And it all started with the words "I prefer a pool".

So Miri got baptized on Thursday! It was incredible. But let me back up a few steps. Monday we taught Miri and she expressed that she would prefer certain members at her baptism so wanted to push it to Thursday instead, she also expressed she would prefer a pool...So we scheduled the baptism for Thursday in the plastic font. All going well...and then we are told of the complications of putting up the font and filling it with water...it had never been tried out before and there weren´t any instructions. After some choice words with our "mission leader" I decided Hna Noriega and I would just do it ourselves. (I am still working on the Christ-like attribute of patience). But to no avail, we needed tools which we didn´t have. A wonderful miraculous member put the font up the next day and told us everything was fine and it was filling up with water...and then we get a call around 3:30 asking us to bring a broom because the font broke and there was water on the floor. In my mind I was imagining a puddle...and then we got to the chapel and saw it. The entire floor flooded with 1-2 inches of water- we were standing in a font. Apparently the legs of the font weren´t mounted well and it fell just at it had gotten full. Well to make a long story shot we spent all afternoon ridding the church building of water with small buckets, dustpans, and mops. It was a miracle that it dried up in time for our investigator lesson at 6:30 and the baptism at 8. It was such tiring work and such a fiasco, but I was laughing the whole time at what a strange situation it was. Suffice it to say we are probably doing the next one on the beach. 

Miri´s baptism was so incredibly spiritual. I haven´t cried that much my whole mission and afterwards just thinking about it made me cry...she is amazing. Miguel, our first convert, gave a talk, or should I say, two sentences haha. And we sang O my father in Spanish to the tune of Come Thou Fount. Kevin, a member baptized her and the font water was dirty (we may have put some of the water from the floor back into the font ehh hem) and cold, and she had to be dunked twice but she came out shivering, beaming, and crying. She later bore a testimony of how she had been searching and searching and finally that when she had gotten tired the truth came to her. She said that she knew that this was the true church and expressed her gratitude. Watching her baptism and listening to her, I have never felt so happy or so fulfilled. She truly is converted, and I know that this baptism was so special because she is so special. The whole day was so rewarding. Also her two friends, Loli and Johanna, who are also our investigators came so that was great! Seeing our investigators and converts in one place made me want to explode with happiness. 

But then there always is a downside to things isn´t there? Sunday Miri didn´t show up to church for her confirmation as a member. She wasn´t answering texts or calls the whole day either. Which is extremely extremely unlike her. She has never missed a Sunday and she usually is the one that calls us first. The members tried with no luck either. I called Loli, nothing. To make it worse none of our investigators came to church and we only had 33 in attendance. Sunday was rough. I couldn´t sleep at night I was so worried about Miri. This morning we called her again, nothing. But finally she called us back and explained that Antonio called all his and her family and told them that it is the church´s fault they are breaking up...which is not true. So everyone has been calling her and sending her anti-Mormon things. She is being bombarded in a moment where she is already heartbroken. We are going to try and see her as soon as possible but there isn´t much we can do. She wants to wait for things to calm down. Please keep her in your prayers!

Also, remember my miracle story about Javea? Well we went back on Saturday to see Elizabeth! And she was home, but Rebeca wasn´t there. We talked with her and she shared with us all of the problems they have been having lately with the inheritance and the family after the death of her husband. It involved a lot of tears and I wish we could´ve been of more help but I think it was just good for her to talk about it and have someone listen. I shared the scripture Mosiah 27:14 about how God always answers our prayers of faith and told her to have patience during trials. I don´t know if anymore will come from it but we are planting seeds at least! 

Anyway, time to go! Oh also, I am staying here for another 6 weeks to finish training Hna Noriega. I finally get to see what is past week 6 in the training book! Haha. I didn´t want to leave the people here (I actually had been crying about that whenever I would think about getting transferred) but Benidorm is wearing on me. At the end of this transfer I will have spent 1/3 of my mission here and I am definitely ready for a change of scenery but with September more and more of the tourists will finally start to leave.

Love you all!
Hermana Thompson

pictures!
1. Alejandra (branch pres´s wife) and her new baby Sara 
2. Font disaster
3. Us, Miri, Loli, Itzayana




More pictures:  
Hermana Noriega , me, Miri & Kevin
group picture at Miri's Baptism
Elizabeth & Hermana Thompson