Monday, April 28, 2014

Wedding! Fiestas!

This week was crazy! Spain is crazy. So the holidays in the city of Murcia are finally over! I thought they´d never end. Tuesday was Bando de la Huerta, celebrating people who work out in the country. Everyone, literally, was dressed up in typical clothing from the time period and almost every living soul hit the streets and parks to eat, drink, and be merry. I have never seen anything like it. It was impressive and also a bit depressive (for all of the drunk people and their shenanigans of course). It was basically impossible to get anything done that day, the buses were a joke, and we had to come home early for our own well-being haha. After the huge parade it looked like a tornado had gone through the town, but amazingly the next morning it was all cleaned up. I imagine that´s how the end of the world might look. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday there were more parades. Thursday they put up the giant sardine (it looked like a mixture between a Disney ride and a float...) hanging on a structure with little plastic elves (sardineros) for the burning. On Saturday night they supposedly burned it but we were asleep haha. Spain loves their holidays. 

On Thursday MariCarmen and Juan got married! We went with the bishop and a few other members to go see in in Alcantarilla (one of our towns we visit) in the Justice of the Peace. The man said some words, the signed papers, exchanged rings, and now they are married! Finally! Maricarmen works all Sundays but Juan is now ready to be baptized so we are trying to set a date for him! He doesn´t like commitment so he keeps telling us he will decided later...but if all goes well they will have a reception and his baptism in the church on the 7th :) Pray for it please!

Mari still wants to get baptized and she finally got to church yesterday with her youngest daughter Selena but with all their family and personal problems we still have yet to pick a firm date. 

Saturday morning we stopped by a referral we got from an American woman that had served a mission here 11 years ago. She talked to a man named Antonio in a Buddhist shop about the church and told him we´d go by. When we got there we met Antonio and his friend Paulino. They had both already had contact with the church, one 20 years ago. He still remembered the Joseph Smith pamphlet they give him. I love finding little seeds that others have planted. 

Well that´s about all for this week! I´ll try attaching pictures, because there are a TON, but this computer isn´t having it, maybe I can later today. Sorry! Love you all!

Hermana Thompson

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter!

I hope you all had a great Easter in the wonderful United States of America because Easter is basically non-existent here. We didn´t even sing one Easter hymn in church on Sunday! Sad. But we sang one later that night in an FHE so it´s okay haha. The Semana Santa craziness is over (thank goodness!) But the festivities continue for another week. (yay... :/ ) Tomorrow is called Bando de la Huerta (something specific to Murcia and apparently by the end of it everyone is drunk) and later there is some holiday with flowers and another one that involves the burning of a fish statue called Entierro de la Sardina. I haven´t been sending pics because I lost my camera charger so until I get a new one I´ll take pics from my comp. 

This week we had a cool primary activity. It was a bit unorganized and crazy but the idea was sweet. We missionaries went on splits with the primary children Saturday morning. They all wore little fake tags and their parents accompanied since they can´t be alone with us. Some went to appointments to rescue inactive children and invite them back to church and they others that couldn´t went and street contacted with the missionaries. It was sooo cute and they were all so excited to be missionaries for a few hours handing out cards and teaching people. We even got a new less active family to teach out of it :) 

On "Viernes Santo" this week (or holy Friday) all our lesson fell through and no one was out since everyone was busy with their holiday. We called and called and called people to try and find someone to teach. I racked my brain forever until finally I remembered last minute one less active man named Jose Maria who has come to church for the first time a couple weeks ago. We hadn´t met with him yet since he lives alone and seemed a little odd. We called him and went to go meet with him in a park. He talked to us about his past and why he was inactive but how we wanted to return. It was such a tender mercy to get to know him. He was so kind and genuinely desirous to change. He is very lonely and I know that our visit made a huge difference to him. I am so grateful our plans fell through. If not we never would have been able to help him. It strengthened both our testimonies and his. God works in mysterious ways and I love it. 

Juan and Maricarmen get married this Thursday so we will go! After that he should get baptized if he´ll commit to the date. Valeria went to the temple for the first time this week and has almost everything done for her mission papers! Mari wasn´t able to go to church this Sunday so her date will be pushed back a little more. But everything is good and I am happy to be here with all of these wonderful people. 

Have a wonderful week everyone. It´s weird to think that just this time last year I was in the MTC in Provo celebrating Easter. I know Christ lives and is our Savior and will be forever grateful!

Love you all!

Hermana Thompson

photo- Hna Cerna and I a few weeks ago with Veronica, the best and strongest recent convert I have ever met :D


Andrea's mission photos

Monday, April 14, 2014

Semana Santa...

So this week is Semana Santa (it´s actually a misnomer because it´s like 12 days long or something ridiculous like that). I´m already tired of it. So get this: everyday there is a procession from multiple catholic churches where they parade around with idols of saints, virgins, and Christ. The people who participate wear suits of a different color every day that look like Ku Klux Klan getups and they have to pay to do it to. It´s kind of blowing my mind that this actually exists. Not to mention they hand out candy while doing it. Kind of all would have to look up photos to get the full picture. But yeah we are only a few days in and we both are pretty annoyed with the whole thing since it messes up all our bus schedules and the streets all get blocked off  -__- It´s ironic because just the other day someone in a lesson told us that the Catholic church is the true church...

Anyway. This week has been really humbling, three times. Remember our investigator Mari? The one that is going to get baptized soon? Well we went to go teach her this week and her oldest daughter was there (the one who has a lot of problems). Without going into too many details she was just treating her mother horribly and saying awful things to her. Mari is one of the most patient, tolerant, and faithful people I have ever met. She lives in the worst of conditions and has had an incredibly hard life but yet she loves God and is so grateful for the little she does have. As we taught her this time especially I could just feel the love the Savior has for her and I just felt so sorry for her. It was one of the few occasions that I have had a hard time not crying in a lesson, but I am humbled and grateful that we were able to be the Lord´s messengers for her to transmit his love. 

Number two. Mari´s daughter Selena is friends with a little 9 year old gypsy girl from down the street. She came in during a lesson and we found out that she is deaf and mute. Even though they have been friends for a while no one knew her name and they told us that she didn´t either. Telling me that there was a 9 year girl who didn´t even know her own name broke my heart, and I just couldn´t accept that so we tried multiple time through signing but finally decided to find out through writing to her. She wrote hello on the paper in English in response, which they thought was "pollo" or chicken, saying she doesn´t understand she´s just hungry. But we knew better, eventually she understood and wrote "Paqui". She does have a name after all. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she took pictures of us of a way to communicate to her parents where the book came from. We are now learning how to sign basic things in Spanish so we can communicate with her a little better next time we see her. We are so incredibly blessed to be able to hear, speak, and even know our own names. 

Number three. Remember Juan and Mari Carmen? They are getting married on the 24th! Well yesterday we fasted for Mari Carmen so that she can somehow get a miracle to be able to attend church and get baptized. While we were there last night she was talking about her poor humble childhood and how important her spirituality and testimony are to her. She is so strong and has so much faith in the future. She works way too much and so has many health problems but with the little time she does have she reads the Book of Mormon. They have no money but are currently saving to be able to reach their goals. Her dream is to be sealed as a family one day in the temple and I know they will make it there.

I have to go now but I just have such a strong testimony of God´s love for his children and I know that he is aware of everyone´s trials and difficulties. I am so grateful for the gospel and my many many blessings. Love you all and have a good week!

Hermana Thompson

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy General Conference!

Oh I just absolutely adore General Conference! I hope you all watched all 6 sessions, and if not there is always time to repent and go and watch them this week ;) I actually got to watch everything this time! (Except some priesthood session talks). I even got to watch 2 sessions in English since us missionaries went and used the church computer while everyone one else watched the translated version. Goodness it is so much better in English, we are so blessed to speak the language of the prophets.

So firstly, how great was Elder Oaks talk from the priesthood session?? If you women still haven´t seen it I really encourage you to go watch it! I don´t have lots of time to talk about the other things I loved but just hearing their voices makes me want to cry and seeing the pictures of temples? Don´t get me started, nothing makes me trunkier. Take advantage of the temple for me please!

So this week I got a new companion! Hna Crockett is 24, from Arizona, and is blonde like me! She is really sweet and we are getting along great! I´ll have to send a picture of us next week since we still haven´t taken any together :/

I went back to Mari´s house this week and my eye did swell up sooo good news there! I could feel it itching but I just didn´t touch it and everything was fine haha. In other news I´m pretty sure we had our last appt with the Adventists this week. They invited a "friend" and he came in while we were watching the Restoration video and then when it was done he went to town on Mormons. He knew A TON, from the internet I assume, and just wanted to Bible Bash. We bore testimony and didn´t try and contend with him at all (although the member with us did defend some points) and I felt the spirit really strongly for me personally. I know this Gospel is true and is the only way to find true happiness! Love you all and have a good week!

Hermana Thompson

last district photos and hna cerna and i :)