Thursday, February 19, 2015

February 19, 2015

Hola Family and Friends!!!
So first off, I am on a computer that I can't format, so I will try to put lots of spaces between my paragraphs.  haha.  Also, many people have wanted to hear about Spain, p-days, culture, food, differences of MTCs, spiritual learning, investigators, etc... so I'll try to cover as much as possible.  This may be a novel email.
So first off, I am not allowed to take pictures in the MTC until the last week, so you will get some from p-days but can't show you anything from in the MTC yet.
Also, every Thursday we have p-day.  We get to go to the temple in the morning.  The session is in English, not Spanish, so that is really nice.  It is a small temple, fits 40 people in each session.  After emailing and studying, we get to choose between two or three p-day activities. We have a member of the 70 coming today so we did our p-day activity Tuesday.  So I have two to tell you about.
Last Thursday, I went to a modern Cathedral and an Egyptian temple.  Both were really cool.  So different from LDS temples, but still beautiful.  It was also nice because I was able to walk through downtown Madrid a little bit.  We take the metro, and on our way back a few of us missionaries started talking to these two adorable kids that were learning English at their school but wanted us to practice our Spanish with them.  Apparently they could tell we needed help.  haha.  But we were able to talk a little about Christ as well in the short time we had.  It was cool.
The second p-day activity I had this week was on Tuesday.  I went to the Prado Museum.  A lot of really cool artwork - paintings and sculptures.  After the Prado we went in a Cathedral behind it.  Hermana Suarez also walked with a few of us and showed us the area and few buildings that are left from the palace that use to be there.  I have a pic of one I will try to send if the internet lets me.
On Saturdays, we go to a park in Madrid.  It is HUGE.  And really pretty.  We are paired with a companion other than our own and we go and proselyte.  Beforehand, we set goals of how many contacts, Bood of Mormons, pamphlets, and referrals we want.  The goals really help when it gets hard.  My companion was Hermana Hansen.  She was great and taught me lots.  At first, it was super hard.  We got on the metro and right away starting talking to people.  After Hermana Hansen took initiative on the first few, she looked at me and said "your turn".  And after contacting a few people it was way easier.  We were at the park proselyting for about an hour to an hour and a half.  In that time, we placed 7 Book of Mormons and got 3 referrals for the missionaries.  It was a really exciting experience, it makes me even more exciting to leave the MTC and get to do that more!  I had a really neat experience with one girl we talked to, I could just see in her face that she truly had the desire to learn more.  We got her info so I hope she has a great experience with the missionaries.
The MTC here in Madrid is much different than the one in Provo.  Mainly because there are only about 40-50 missionaries so we are able to do everything (eat, sports, p-day, temple, etc) all together.  Most teachers here have 6 month contracts, but a few are full time.  The food here is actually pretty similar, nothing too weird.  Mostly it is just seasoned differently.  Lots of meat and veggies, pasta, soups, etc.  I was able to try the paella and churros with hot cocoa, both dishes I had heard lots about.  Both were great.  They have delicious rolls about every lunch and dinner, and nutella..which is even better than US nutella and we go through it so fast.  The bread with nutella is definitely my current struggle.  haha.  But in general the food seems to be fairly healthy, and fresh.  I'm still not sure if the food will be the same outside of the MTC because it seems to be pretty americanized.  I guess I will find out.  Also, their lunch is the main meal so we get a whole hour for lunch.  During that time we are allowed to go to the little Chineese shop across the street.  It is basically a mini Walmart with a little of everything and packed.  It's nice to get a little down time in the middle of the day.
This week in Sacrament meeting, I learned that being obedient is taking the choice to allow the Atonement to be applied in my life.  I like the idea of thinking of obedience this way.. even more that just a choice.  I also learned that it is important for me to push myself when I most want to resist - that is when Satan is really trying and I will learn and grow the most from those experiences.
As far as my teaching is going, it is improving.  I currently have two investigators (both teachers).  We are trying to focus on increasing Antonia's faith - she believes she doesn't need God or BOM or Christ or prayer because her meditation keeps her perfectly happy.  And Ana was taking the lessons to learn more about Christ for her art exhibit, but this last lesson she started asking questions about the importance of our message in her life and making it more of a personal thing so that was a great turn.
Well, I hope I answered questions.  And didn't ramble too much.  I know this church is true and I am soooo grateful to be serving a mission and sharing the gospel.
Love you all lots!!!
Hermana Bingham
Hermana Bingham at Madrid MTC
Madrid MTC District
Downtown madrid.  if you look close, there is a McDonalds in the center of pic
One of the buildings of old palace
Hermana Handy and I

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