Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Novel email.. Because the week was so great!‏

Family and friends!!

It has been a great week. Last Monday we left the piso with it being hot and clouds in the far distance. By 7:30, it was pouring. And all our lessons failed. No one would let us in their houses. Everyone fled from the streets except for us. We were freezing and soaked. Then our ward mission leader called us to let us know we could stop by and visit his family - they are some less actives that we visit. Simon, his dad, was the cutest. He hung our sweaters by the heater to dry (dryers don't exist here). Made us hot cocoa and snacks. Simon and Mercedes are like my parents here in Spain, I love them so much!! While talking about less actives, we had another awesome lesson with a less active and she opened up to us. Her and Simon were at church yesterday! I'm always just as excited to see them in church as I am to see investigators.

Random input: I read Hermana Clements version of our great Monday story and it it WAY more interesting, so I had to send it. Remember, she like writing plays and stuff so she's way better at this kind of stuff. Sorry my stories are lame compared to hers. Okay so in the eyes of Hermana Clements:

So, my favorite part of the week is the following true story about out returning memos active, Simon. 

When we left the apartment this afternoon to go save the world from the devil, the sky looked perfectly normal. A couple clouds, but nothing to be too concerned about. We had even debated on whether or not to bring a sweater. As the warm afternoon wore on, a few slightly heavy looking clouds made me a little nervous, but I was far from preoccupied about it. I would completely change my mind within the hour.
Frantically shoving the Book of Mormon in my backpack to keep it as dry as possible, we trudge through the flooded streets of Alcobendas. We are literally the only people crazy enough to brave the sudden downpour. Everyone else has managed to find refuge in their homes, and the rest have all fled the flood by seeking shelter in the metro. A tempting idea, but we have lessons to get to. 
Dripping and chattering, we arrive at Ricardo's place. Silently praying with all my heart that he will be somehow crazy enough to let in two dripping sister missionaries, I ring the bell and wait. Nothing. My heart sinking, I ring again. More silence confirms my worst fears, as my shaking hands fumble for the phone. All I get is his voice mail. My companion and I lock eyes.... All of our backup plans involve a lot of walking. A spark of hope flashes across my mind, almost corresponding exactly with the most recent flash of lightning across the sky. Nancy answers my phone call almost immediately.
"Hey Nancy!" I say cheerfully, trying my best to drown out the chattering of my teeth with an excessive amount of perkiness.
"Hello dear." She answers in the usual fashion. "Dear" accompanies almost all of Nancy's opening lines.
I give the classic how-are-you-doing spiel for as long as I can before cutting to the chase.
"So we were wondering if it would be possible to pass by a little earlier tonight. Are you and Roger home right now by chance?" 
I had obviously pinned way too much hope on the idea of them being able to rescue us from the storm, because I about die as I hear the negative response fall from her lips. Not only is she not home now, but she is not going to arrive in time to see us at all that night. Great. With all the energy I could muster, I confirm our appointment for the following Wednesday, and bid her farewell. Both Hermana Bingham and I feel like sitting down right there on the sidewalk and having a two-minute cry. Rationalizing that such a moment would do very little good, and only make us dirtier, we set off to pass by for a few more people. Surely one of them would have it in them to let us in. We were dead wrong. 
Completely out of options, we make our way to the metro to make a few phone calls. This quickly proves to be an ineffective use of our time, as the abundance of rain avoiders made it impossible to hear anyone on the other line. We are in the middle of making what seemed to be a less than fun game plan for the rest of the evening, we gat a call from Mission Leader Andy. 
"Simon is at home, and so are Alexi and Mercedes." He suggests after hearing of our miserable predicament. 
Chuckling at his reference to his father as "Simon", I thank him profusely. We are on the very next metro to the Vera home. 
Simon lets us in the very moment he realizes it was us who rang the doorbell. The look of concern-meets-pure-love on his face just melts me as he takes in the sight of our soaking wet clothes and hair. He shuts down our protests for getting his house wet as he rushes to set up the space heater. He sets us up nice and cozy on the best plastic chairs in the house, carefully lacing up our sweaters to dry, burying us up to our necks in a blanket, and emerging from the kitchen with steaming hot chocolate with cheese and crackers on the side. The evening grows old as we chat it up with him and his wife, Mercedes, and my heart is at the point of bursting with love for this man when I look at the time. I hold the worlds quickest debate in my mind as Obedience clobbers Desire, and I announce that we have to go. We share a spiritual though, which, despite my best attempts, could not convey the gratitude I felt. But while my efforts are insufficient, the spirit manages to get my message across. Simon in soon in tears, and so am I. It hurts him to let us go back out into the storm to get home, but I don't feel cold at all as I step back into the rain.

Yup, her version wins! Haha. We LOVE the Veras!

Anyway, I've learned a lot this week basically about using my time wisely. In district meeting, we watched the talk by Elder Randall Ridd about using technology wisely. He talked about how we live in a time with many more choices to make, but that also means that we have more responsibility. He talked about 4 points that were great (you can go read them :) ) but one of my favorite things he said was that we must be proactive. I know the times I've used technology poorly, even just wasting time, is when I'm bored. My mission leader also said this week that "if we are hoping for something, we better work for it and do something about it". It's easy for me to think of things that I want/desire but I need to be proactive in making goals and actually working towards making my 'righteous desires' happen.

President and Hermana Jackson leave in a week, then the Packs will be here. I had an interview with President Jackson this week. He is a great man with a lot of helpful advice, I am going to miss him a lot. We also asked Hermana Jackson to help us in a lesson this week. Last minute, president peeked his head in the door and asked if he could join. I was a little freaked out at first, having my mission president in my lesson, but it turned out to be a great lesson and awesome experience. They both had great feedback and suggestions on how we could help this investigator progress more to be ready for baptism.

On Saturday we went out to one of the pueblos in search of an old address of someone, an investigator who lives there and we haven't been able to reach, and an inactive member. It started out looking like a waste of time with doors not being answered. BUT we ended up getting the number of the person living at the random address, a powerful lesson with the inactive, and waiting for the bus I saw our old investigator with her kids playing outside across the street! A blessings-filled day.

Yesterday in church Karen (our recent convert) gave an awesome talk on the sacrament! She made it personal and everyone felt the Spirit! I was so proud of her! :) Also, Sarah gave her farewell. She leaves this week for the Barcelona Spain Mission. She was such a great help for us in lessons. I'm going to miss her! She's going to be an awesome missionary!

I hope you all have a great week! The church is true! I'm so grateful to get to be sharing the gospel as a full-time missionary, it makes me so happy! Love you all!

Hermana Bingham

It POURED! Hermana Clements and I loving the rainstorm!
Our favorite 100 random mini sandwich place again.
Sarah leaves for the Madrid MTC then the Barcelona Mission on Wednesday!  (Sorry these ones are blurry)
Hermana Staker, me (not sure why I'm so cheesy..but oh well), Sarah, H Clements, H Harper

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