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 ( 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!

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


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 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

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