Thursday, January 30, 2014

¡Soy Mujer Bat!

I never know how to start these emails/future blog entries. Or how to title them obviously.
This is week three in the MTC! We are half way through! Time is finally starting to pass quickly. The days individually feel long and so much has happened but I can´t believe it's Thursday again! My cards still work even though my cash was stolen, but for some reason I can´t check the balance in my account so I really have no idea how much is in there. I say a little prayer every time I use it in hopes that theres enough.
So last thursday we visited the Real Madrid Stadium. For those of you who don´t know anything about futbol, it is kind of a big deal. I have been told. It seemed pretty much like an american football stadium with a slightly smaller field. hopefully i will be able to include pictures. Then we went through a museum type thing with the history of futbol in Spain and it goes back pretty far. We even walked through the locker rooms and shower rooms for the players. Woot. The bummer thing about there being a lot more Elders than sisters is that we do things like visiting sports arenas instead of art museums. But thats okay. It was pretty impressive.

  Saturday was probably the worst park experience yet. Although I did learn a lot. So this week Hermana Read and I paired and we were super excited. Partly because the sisters from Russia barely speak English let alone Spanish and we weren't quite ready for that but also because We work awesome together. Like seriously every time I don't know what to say she says something and every time she doesn't know what to say I do. Its the best . So we got on the metro and literally no one would even look at us. This one guy even pretended he was asleep when we approached him but we just laughed it off and waited for the parque.
Then at the parque we saw this man watching us and we just assumed he would want to know what we were doing. Boy were we wrong. We just walked up to him and I introduced us and asked if we could share a message with him (in spanish) and he replied very bluntly that we could not. Lets just say he included a few words that turned the conversation from being rated G straight to R. In English. We just stared at him in shock and finally I said good day and we turned and walked away as fast as possible. Both of us were almost in tears. It was kind of ridiculous. Then we just talked to as many people as possible and nobody would listen. I just felt like I was trying to offer the
 most valuable item in the world to this special park in Madrid and these children of God just scoffed at us trying to give them eternal peace. So frustrating.
Maria was the only one we were able to touch just a little. She had gone to school in cali for a few year so we were able to use spanglish with her. She wanted to know who we were and what we were doing and we just bore our testimonies about missionary work and how we were willing to give up our lives because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Herman Read started crying and Maria even started crying and she thanked us for reminding her about God and his love for his children and she thanked us for trying to bring more spirituality into Spain. of course she wouldn't give us her number but she did promise to go on So thats better than nothing.
On Sunday we had a devotional by one of the first members in Spain. He has a doctorate (I'm not sure in what) but his thesis was on the history of the church in Spain and he just told us what he thought we should know about spaniards and the church and life and it was just way cool.
Oh! There is an Elder that is from Gilbert and his family sent him a pamphlet from the open house of the Gilbert Temple! So it must be open or something! I was really excited to see it. Looks beuatiful.
I know I am forgetting a lot but I only have 15 minutes and I want get to individual emails. Send me letters! Letters are the best things ever! I would probably cry from joy if someone were to send me a packae. Just saying. And soon. Mail is so slow but it is definitely worth it.
I love everything about Spain! I dont think I have ever wanted anything as badly as to be right were I am now doing what am doing! Being a missionary is amazing!
I love you! I miss you!
Hermana (Hannah) Ashby

Thursday, January 23, 2014

All For the Good, of Course!

Here is Hannah's latest letter! She also begged for letters, so get writing! Two ways to write:

Pouch Mailing Address:
Spain MTC
P.O. Box 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150
Calle de Templo No. 2, planta 4a.
¡Hola familia!
Wow. I can´t believe it has only been a week since I emailed you last. Some crazy things have happened. All for the good of course! 
I´ll just start with last Thursday after I emailed you. We went to Peurte del Sol. I don´t really know what it is because the teacher that took us is from Barcelona but it is beautiful and old. I´m pretty sure Samantha Brown went in that episode of Madrid that I watched. Then we went to this amazing Cathedral. I don´t even know the name of it. I we just walked down these narrow streets lined with shops and it was just so surreal! I AM IN SPAIN! We ate chocolate with churros. Yummm.

So Friday I was sick. Like really sick. Just stress and everything else was getting to me and I felt like I was going to pass out. But I was so afraid of missing out on something that I didn´t tell anyone (bad idea). So then I was in class and I had to run out to the bathroom to go throw up. SO embarrassing. And we were studying future tense and now i´ll never be able to speak in future tense. I slept for a few hours and then felt better. Not great but better. Hermana Read said she prayed to have more time to study and that’s what she had to do while I slept so im pretty sure it was her fault. :P
 And then it was Saturday. I still felt a little sick but I wanted to go to the park sooo badly so I didn’t eat anything and went anyways. I was paired with Sister Silva, the sister from Brazil. That was a major challenge because she doesn´t speak any English at all and only a few words in Spanish. But she was a go getter. She was not afraid to approach anyone, the only problem is is that she only knows how to say hello and introduce us in Spanish so I had to take the conversation from there. Most people didn’t want to listen of course. But we actually ran into to a lot of people that would rather speak English with me! This couple from Britain asked me where they could get a copy of the Book of Mormon and I was so excited I baisically threw it at them. Gosh my grammar is becoming awful in English. Its worse in Spanish of course but I can´t tell as well. Anyways, I did find one Spanish girl who said she wanted to learn more. She kept making sure I understood that she doesn’t believe in God, she just wanted to learn more. That’s what they all say. I love going to the park because I feel more like a reall missionary and like I´m acutally doing something productive, And I don´t have to sit inside all day. Oh the president took a picture of me with the British couple. Hopefully he sent it to you?
Sunday was good. I had to say the closing prayer for sacrament meeting. In Spanish. Super stressful. Afterwards one of the senior couples asked me if I came already speaking Spanish.  I just don’t understand. I really don’t know as much Spanish as the rest of my district.
And then it was Monday. I geuss I will just tell you all of MondayMonday I decided to fast. So of course we had my favorites for breakfast. Then we had to teach my most difficult teacher. I felt like the lesson went pretty well but then she told me I shouldn’t be afraid of saying everything I want to in Spanish. The problem is is that I don´t know how to say everything I want to in Spainish. I felt so frustrated. The for lunch we had pasta and pinapple upside down cake. That’s right like my two favorites from home that we have never been served before on the day I was fasting. More blessings to me right? Before we left for physical activity I left all of my stuff in the classroom. This is important for later. Then for physical activity we decided to be brave and go play soccer with the elders. The got to the field and saw them playing and ran straight back to the CCM. Just you watch a group of people all bigger then you running and yelling. It looked too dangerous for us. I ended my fast woth the pizza party. It tasted like home. Dominos Pizza. With coke (sin caffeine). Mmm. It was to say goodbye to both the portugese missionaries and the MTC president. So then we went back to the classroom and my things were everywhere. My American money was dumped on Hermana Reeds desk , my purse was upside down on the floor and my wallet was underneath the computer desk. I had about 50-80 euros stolen. Elder Nickerl, an Elder in my district, had over 150 taken. Right from the MTC. They didn’t take my cards but it was still sort of devastating. Apparently Security had chased out a group of teenagers earlier but hadn’t realized they had taken anything. Its difficult because we are in the same building as the distribution center and The apartments for senior missionaries and a few other things.While they called the police our district(hermans read and I and 3 elders) sat in our classroom and sang hymns. It was exasctly what I needed, super peaceful.
Tuesday the Portuguese missionaries left and the Sitteruds. It was actually kind of heartbreaking. We sang God Be With You Till We Met Again to them. Then we gpot our new President, President Lovell. I love them already. And Tuesday was the day we braved the soccer field. It was a lot less terrifying without the Portuguese Elders to be honest. I almost participated a little. Mostly laughed.
Wednessday I actually played for real. That’s right I have becaome a soccer player. Or futbol as the locals call it. No I am not any good. Its kind of hilarious watching the difference between how the elders play with us versus how they play with eachother. We told them how terrified we were to play with them and begged them not to injure us so now everytime one of us goes near the ball they all back up. They are super afraid of hurting us. One the other hand two of the Elders received bloody noses yesterday from balls in the face. Hahahaha.
And today is Thursday. Two Sisters from Russia came this morning. And we had orientaion from President Lovell. He was one of the frirst missionaries here in Spain in the 70´s. I like him a lot.
Thats all I can think of right now and I have to go to lunch!
I love you!
Hannah and Hermana Read

The coolest picture ever.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Singing Surprise!

We received a great surprise today! The Madrid MTC sent us some pictures and even a video of Hannah singing and proselyting! Enjoy!
Contacting in the park

Singing in the park with her MTC group

Singing in front of the Madrid Temple

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ain't That The VER-dad

Life here at the MTC (or CCM) is great! The first couple of days they kept us really busy and I was just in a daze but I think I am getting into the swing of things. There are only 18 missionarys here! total! And I am one of four sisters! There is me and Hermana Read (from Michigan going to Málaga) Hermana Costagriola (from Italy going to Madrid) and Sister Sylvia (from Brazil going to Portugal) and then14 elders with three of them from pPortugal going to Portugal. They said this is the smallest group they have had in a long time.
We wake  up at 6:30, get ready, and go eat breakfast. Breakfast is always good. Potato de Patata is my favorite. Then we have personal study then compainon study the we teach a lesson to one of our teachers pretending to be an investigator.
Then we do language study. Gosh it is difficult to learn a language.
Then its usually lunch then more language study and then a Physical actitie. Usually Hermana Read and I take this oppurtunity to go for a walk. The Elders got us to play volley ball with them once and we spent most of the time making are teams lose and laughing at eachother so walking is where it is at. We get to walk around the city and it is my favorite part of the day.
The we have Dinner. So um the food is interesting. We have a ton of fish. Let me rephrase that everyone else eats a ton a fish and Hermana Read and I have a ton of oranges and bread. sometimes salads or rice or something but um yeah. I will work on eating seafood poco a poco.
Then more language study then we teach another "investagator" and more language study then snack and then bed.
 On Fridays we have a service activity. Last friday we cleaned the marble in front of the templo and that was cool.
Sorry I am trying to type fast.
Saturdays are the best! On Saturday we went to the parque and did some contacting. I think the name of it is Parque del Retiro or something like that but you should google it because it is breathe taking. (here is a link) Gardens and statues and this pond thing with row boats and a giant fountain. I love España! The actual contacing was super difficult. I was put with Hermaña Costagriola(Costa-yolla) who thankfully speaks english very well. She is still learning spanish but she is way better than I am.
The main person we talked to was Miguel. Miguel was an old man sitting on a park nech and he was very willing and grateful to talk to us. He lives in a pobre house and has had a lot of trials. He asked us how old we were and why we were so happy. We tried to explain to him (in very broken spanish) about the gospel. We gave him  a Book of  Mormon and invited him to curch. He was excited and said he would come and we were excited and then he asked if we were going to be there and we had to telll him no because we just go to church in the ccm but other missionaries would be there so then he seemed a lot less willing to come. He gave us his phone number and we gave it to the ,mission office. It was just exciting to converse with a real spaniard in spanish about the church. We also talked to the little old lady who kissed the pass along card we gave her because it was a picture of Jesus and it made my heart melt. She wouldnt give us he number or take anything else from us but she asked if we could come back next saturday because she just like talking with us. I think at at one point she was making fun of me but I couldnt tell exactly what she was saying and she kept calling me the American but she sincerely thanked me for talking to her when we left and showed me a picture of her neice and said we reminded her of her.
Thursdays are P-days! We start off the day by going to the temple and it is amazing. The Madrird temple is huge. We've been twice now and they did the sessions in English and it is just so calming.
Teaching are teachers is soo stressful to me. We are required to use Spanish and I am struggling. It is so frustrating to have the perct answer to a question and not know how to say it. And Hermana Read has learned so much faster than anyone else at the ccm so she always does most of the talking. I was feeling like I was waaaay behind until last night. A teacher was giving us feedback after our lesson adn he just told us how impressed he was with us and I apologized to him for my poor language abilities and he just looked really suprised and told me my Spanish is at the point he sees most missionaries get to in week three. Of course then he told Herman Reed her's is at week 6 but hey., Ive only been here a week. I just need to stop comparing myself lol.
Oh! The MTC president told us this hilarious joke yesterday and I´ll translate it for you:
There are two boys. They went to the river. One got in the water and started swimming. He turned to the other and said: "don´t you swim at all?" and the other said "I didn´t bring my swim suit!" hahahahaha. Get it?!? Oh good times.
I can´t figure out how to get my pictures to load so sorry if those never come.
 My hair  dryer works! And my straightener hasn´t melted yet!
Im almost out of time.
Tell Dad I said go Seahawks!!!
and tell everyone else that Im sorry and their emails were very comforting to me.
I love you!
Hermana Ashby

Flying Frenzy

This is Stephanie Murray, Hannah's sister. I just wanted to write a quick post describing Hannah's adventure actually getting to the MTC in Madrid. At the end there is a short email she sent when she arrived.

Hannah's flight from Pasco to Salt Lake was delayed for HOURS. That meant that although she was meant to meet a group of other missionaries heading to Madrid, she would have to travel alone. Delta eventually got her on a flight to Salt Lake that evening, but her connecting flight to JFK would not leave until the next morning. That meant that I got to spend a last few hours with her, and say goodbye for the FOURTH TIME! Oh well, it was fun seeing her.
Standing by the sign announcing her flight was cancelled.

Waiting at the Pasco airport to find out when she would be leaving

She caught her flight from Salt Lake to JFK, and originally had a 4 hour layover at JFK before her flight to Paris (with a 1 hour layover before she caught her last flight to Madrid). While in flight, with no cell phone or computer or anyway of knowing this herself, Hannah's itinerary was changed and she only had 45 minutes at JFK before having to catch her connection.

Going through security in Salt Lake

Needless to say, we were all freaking out. With all the weather cancellations all over the East Coast, Delta was scrambling--and the wait on any telephone number was over an hour when we only had 45 minutes to get her notified! Eventually I got through to an actual person (who spoke in a very heavy Jamaican accent, who told me it was impossible to contact her at that point. Eventually with some calm and assured persuasion I was able to convince him to connect me with someone else, who told me they would have her paged to the Welcome Desk and that if she was in the terminal, she would hear.

10 minutes after her flight was meant to have taken off, we still had not heard from her. Luckily, my place on hold was up and I got a call from Delta. They were able to tell me that she did in fact make her connection! She was on the plane to Paris--and hopefully had her new itinerary.

As she talked to our mom later, she told her that she heard herself paged, but when she went to the desk they didn't know what she was talking about--but they pulled up her information, and were able to tell her her new itinerary. She barely made the flight, (getting lost a few times...) and although it was tricky caught her connection in Paris to Madrid and made it to the MTC.

Here is her email:

I'm here! Im in the MTC and I feel so much better. but exhausted.
My luggage isn't here yet, suprise suprise, but they said it will come in at 6. Hopefully they are right.....
The MTC is great. I have a companion, Hermana Reed. She is from Michigan. Everyone is super nice. I can't firgure out how to read this key board.
Well, I love you! Tell everyone Im safe!
My Pdays are on Thursdays but IDK if they will let me write again tomorrow butill try to get some letters out.
Hermana Ashby
Actually taken when we were in the Provo MTC getting her visa a few days before she flew out--but so iconic I had to put it in here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Here it is!

So this is my blog! My sister, Stephanie, will be keeping it updated with my emails so if you want to keep track of me for the next 18 months this is how you do it!
You can email me at:
Or for the next six weeks send letters (much preferable) to:

Sister Hannah Lovelle Ashby
Spain Málaga Mission
Spain Missionary Training Center
4a. Planta
Calle del Templo No 2
Madrid 28030

God be with you 'till we meet again!