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!

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

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!


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