Monday, March 31, 2014

No Pasa Na

Buenos Dias,
     This was probably one of the most challenging weeks OF MY LIFE. No big deal. Next week will probs be worse but I will tell you more about that later. I wish I could update you more often so I didnt feel like I had to give you all the old information before I can get to what is really on my mind right now. Oh well.
     I'll start with Wednesday. Wednesday Hna Parrilla and I organized a Noche de Diversión because this ward doesn't really do any activities outside of sunday and we wanted something to invite our investigators to and less actives. It was a super success. We invented a Mormon Pictionary game and tons of people showed up and one inactive lady that we invited even brought pizza and soda without even telling us. I actually think it helped bring the ward together. Everyone had a lot of fun.
Then on Thursday we had our tri-zone conference in Málaga. One of the APs called us a couple of weeks ago and asked us to teach a little lesson from the Missionary Handbook. I was absolutely terrified because I dont actually know Spanish. Normally for these conferences they have the new missionaries sit in the back with translators. Not teach!! So every companionship study we practiced what we(mostly I) was going to say. I had it all memorized so I stopped sressing out about it. But then wednesday night we went over it again and it just didn't feel right so we prayed about it and we both felt like we should actually teach something else. Terror struck once again. And then we didn't have any more time to practice the new thing that we wanted to teach because we had to go to  bed and wake up super early to get on the bus to Málaga. We talked about it a little on the bus and decided the subject and everything but we really werent super prepared. I was desperately praying and we stood up and just started teaching and I bore my testimony (because thats one of the only things I know how to do in spanish) and then President stood up to give his lesson and he joked that my spanish was better than a native Élder sitting on the front row and he didn't need to give his lesson anymore because we already bore our testimonies about everything that was planning. He even qouted something that I said during part of his lesson. It was honestly kind of perfect. Heavenly Father loves me.
      Friday was stressful because it was transfer weekend. Transfers are every six weeks. I didn't want to leave Granada and I was even more worried that Hna Parrilla would leave because I don't know how to get anywhere without her. I wasn't super worried because usually companionships stay together for 2 transfers--especially when they are training. So all friday I jumped every time the phone rang. But then we didnt recieve a call so I thought we were safe. I slept peacefully for probably the last time for a while now. But sure enough during Personal study Presidente Deere called. Hna Parrilla is going to serve in Málaga three. She is leaving me. I will have a new trainer se llama Hna Muse. She only has three transfers left until she goes home and she has trained before. I have never met her but everyone says she is awesome. She comes Wednsday. Honestly we are going to get sooooo lost this week. Hopefully I can figure out how to get home from the bus station. Oh what am I going to do? People keep tellling me that this must mean President and Heavenly Father must have a lot of faith in me but I really think that they are just trying to force me to learn faster than I would normally let myself learn. They know better than me.
      Actually all of the companionships are changing in Granada. It is CRAZY. I think all of our numbers must be really low lately and Presidente is bringing in the special forces. Because everyones favorite missionaries are coming. Really something needed to change. So I guess it makes sense. I am both terrified and excited. Mostly terrified. Jajaja. (Hahaha)
Well wish me luck. Actually better-pray for me. And send me letters. Letters will give me comfort :)

Hey I was on the blog a few times this week! Woot! Go me!

Hermana Hannah Ashby

Monday, March 24, 2014

La Vida es Loca

     P-Days are the best. Nothing seems hard on P-Days.
This week was a lot less successful than last week. But that happens I guess. The sister training leaders told us that when we have a bad week it just means that the Lord is preparing us for more miracles the next week. I am ready for it!
     I will start with last Monday. Almost as soon as we woke up our district leader called to ask us if it would be okay if we had our district meeting on that day instead of on tuesday so that the Motril elders could come and pend the whole day in Granada with us. We were a little frustrated but we called and moved all of our appointments to Tuesday and cleared our whole Monday. Then we went to the church and had district meeting which was a little out of control because everyone felt like it was pday. Then we all went to the computer lab and emailed together which was just weird and then we went back to the chapel and we played monopoly España version. Super super fun. I want to buy it someday. I was in the last three winners so, like, go me. I think the elders were subconsciously letting me win because they felt bad for me until Hna Parrilla got frustrated, pointed it out to them, and then suddenly I did a lot worse. I need more practice with monopoly. So then we all went bowling. We even invited some ward missionaries so there was just a crazy amount of us. Waaay fun. But then the missionary secretary called Hna Parrilla y yo that I had to go to Malága early Tuesday morning to get residency and I wouldn't be back until Wednesday evening. That is two more days of canceled appointments. I still want to just groan thinking about it.
     But then Tuesday I got to go to Malága(well really Fuengirola)! It was scary navigating the bus/train system by myself but I figured that out but then when I actually arrived to Fuengirola no one was there to meet me. I was told before that the mission office was right across the street from the train station so I wondered around the streets until I ran into Elder Fisher! From the CCM! His trainer had given him instructions on how to get to the mission office so then we found it no problem. And then the elders there drove us to the mission home and Hna Read and Elder Ward were there! Elder Ward had been met at the train station and Apparently Elders had met Hna Read all the way in Malaga and guided her through the train and took her all the way to the Mission office because they were worried she would get lost. It's fine. I don't need elders. psh.
     I was soooooooo happy to see Hna Read. I didn't realized how much I missed her until I saw her again. I am pretty sure we just laughed and talked and cried with each other straight for the whole like 24 hours we had together. I mean even when we were trying to sleep we kept remember stories we had to tell each other. It was really bad and apparently our room was right below Presidente Deeres room and in the morning his wife told us she heard laughter all night and we felt soooo bad and we just kept apologizing and I'm pretty sure our faces were bright red and she just laughed at us told told us that they like that sound, and if all of our stories of the past five weeks include that much laughter we must be doing good. Bullet dodged. I think for me it was just nice being with someone that has going through the exact same thing as me. And she is American. And then we relived all of our inside jokes from the MTC with the elders. I really needed that I think. I wish we could do a reunion every six weeks.
     So I got back home to Granada on Wednesday. We were only able to do a little bit of contacting that night. And Then on Thursday started the fiesta de primevera. It seemed like everybody in the whole city was on the streets drinking and partying from Thursday to Sunday. Almost everyone we had appointments with canceled on us. And it felt the the only really safe thing we could do was knock doors but of course no one was home.
     Including yesterday, we only had 5 lessons all week. Count them: 5. For those of you who don´t know, 5 is really low even for Spain. I think in the district they had over 40. I think we had 13 the last week and that felt low even though they were beneficial lessons. And it felt like we just worked so hard all week. That's okay, next week will be better!!!
I am done for now. You are all amazing. Thank you for your support!
Hermana Hannah Ashby
PS I am in the mission blog this week!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Una Semana de Milagros

Hola. ¿Que tal? Soy la Hermana Ashby.
     Wow a ton has happened this week. Hopefully I have time to write it all.
     Last Monday I was sick. Well not really sick, I just had a fever. Of 102.1 but no other symptoms. It was seriously the weirdest thing. My throat felt fine and I didn't even feel nauseous at all and so we called the mission nurse and she made us cancel all of our appointments and told me that if I still had a fever in the morning that I had to go to the doctor whether I had other symptoms or not. I was sort of really upset. And then I still had a fever in the morning but it was only at 101 and we had a district meeting and Hna Parrilla and I were supposed to teach a lesson and the mission nurse wouldn't answer the phone and so we just decided to go anyways. But then on the bus I began to feel worse so I asked Hna Parrilla if she could teach more than we were planning and so she did. But then we got to the chapel and I didn't want anyone to know I was sick so I acted fine and then we taught. I started out the lesson but I didn't do anything else. And I could tell that everyone thought it was reaaaallyy bad that I wasn't participating and our zoner leader even asked me specifically a really obvious question THAT I WAS ABLE TO ANSWER BTW. (this all happened in Spanish) And I was  really upset and we got home and I just felt sick and like I was the most useless missionary ever. And then our zone leader called. He asked us to read chapter seven in preach my gospel  about learning my mission language and really try to apply it this week. I just started crying. I had already read that stupid chapter about fifty times. sigh. And so I told Hermana Parrilla that we had to work really had this week to find new investigators and find futures and have investigators in church on Sunday so that the elders can see that we actually work. And I just prayed for success and for the gift of tongues. And that is when the miracles came in.

     So on Wednesday we were searching for an old investigator from our area book and the phone number we had was wrong so we decided to visit the piso. We knocked on the door and this eleven year old girl answered. Her name is Yasmine. She was not the old investigator but we asked if we could teach her and her parents anyways and she just got really excited and asked us to come in. We were a little worried because her mom wasn't there but we started teaching her and she was weirdly receptive. And then we brought out The Book of Mormon and she was just excited and she told us her friend Nayeli has that book and reads it with her family every night and her friend told her how amazing it was.We were like who is this Nayeli that is teaching people about the Book of Mormon? Becasue she isnt a member and nobody in the ward has ever heard of her. We have plans to visit her this week don´t worry. And so then the mom came home. Diana. And we were terrified at first because she was like who are you and what are you teaching my eleven year old but then we said we were missionaries of the church of Jesus Christ and she was like, "oh, okay" and she sat down and asked us to preach to her. Then we taught a whole lesson and they just agreed with everything we said and asked if they could come to church with us and they wanted to read the Book of Mormon and they were so happy and we kept thinking they were joking when they were excited to know more but they were not joking and we were just overjoyed. We visited again on Friday and they agreed to prepare themselves to be baptized the 12th of April. They are Brazilian so go figure. Those people come pre prepared to hear the truth.

     Another miracle happened too, but I think I only have time to share what happened last night. But it really started in Principles of the gospel lesson during Sunday school. The lesson was about eternal families. I was helping Carmela ( the same women we teach every Sunday night how to read) follow along in the lesson manual and I just felt so sad and I couldn't figure out why. But then I realized that while everyone else in the class was sharing happy experiences about being sealed with their families Carmela doesn't know whether her family will be eternal. Her husband isn't a member and he doesn't even let her stay for all three hours of church. I honestly almost started crying right then and there for her. I mad it my personal goal to get that family to the temple. I was obsessed all Sunday and I kept telling Hna Parrilla all day that we have to get Julio baptized and she was just like "okay Hermana we will ask him if he wants to listen to our lessons but don't get your hopes up other missionaries have tried and he never wants anything to do with us." But I honestly didn't care. This was sooo important to me.      So we got to their apartment and we sat down and Carmela went to the kitchen and Julio walked so I just started nudging Hna Parrilla and she rolled her eyes and was like, "Julio you want us to teach you about out church?" and of course his answer was no. I was really frustrated with her and with the whole situation and and so I turned to him and in the clearest slowest español I could muster I just started asking him if he believes in God and how he feels about our church and whether or not his family is important to him.
     Everyone was in shock because normally I am pretty much a mute when we go to their house because they neeevvveeerrr understand me. But he understood me this time, I made sure of it. All of his answers were really positive so I decided to just go for it and challenge him to be baptized on the 12th of April. I explained to him that if he wants to be with his family for eternity he is going to have to be baptized and then be sealed with them in the temple of the Lord. Now everyone was really in shock. They seriously all just stared at me and then at Julio. AND HE AGREED!!!!!!!!!!!! I grinned and high fived him. I think Hna Parrilla is still in shock. We start teaching him the lessons on Thursday. I really hope that everything goes well with him.
Entonces, ¡tenemos tres fechas bautismals!

So thats it for right now. I have 20 minutes left but I will use them later today. We are going bowling with our whole district. Woot!!

Love you all!
Hermana Hannah Ashby

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hay No Chinos en America

Queridos familia y amigos,
      So on like every street corner here there are these stores owned by chinese people that sell absolutely everything for super cheap. They are like miniature Walmarts. And eveyone calls them Chinos, which would totally not fly in the U.S. And until this week I had no idea what anyone was talking about when they were telling me to go to the Chino to buy things. So I finally asked Hna Parrilla what a Chino is and she thought I was crazy for not knowing so I told her that we don't really have them in America and she was incredulous so she called our Zone Leader immediately for confirmation and he was confused so he told her that of course there are Chinese people living in America. So now Hna thinks she won the argument but she is mistaken. Unless I have forgotten everything, we only have Walmarts to buy random cheap supplies. Also, I told her bakeries are not as common as Panaderias are here and she was like "You are wrong. How would people eat breakfast without panaderias?" I laughed for like five minutes straight. Spain is the best.
      This week passed crazy fast which I am going to take as a good sign. And I have been in Spain for two months officially now. Life as a misisonary is good, even though I can never understand people when they speak to me. Oh I realized I never told anyone my new schedule. Are you ready?
I wake up at... drum roll please...
7!! Thats right a half hour later han the rest of the missions in the world and the MTC. In summer it will be 7:30 because Spain is just that awesome.
then we exercise for 30 minutes
7:30 a 8:30 we get ready and eat breakfast
8.30 a 9.30 estudiar personal
9.30 a 11.30 companionship study
11.30 Salir
Now are you ready for the best part?
¡Medio Dia!
2.00 a 5.00 we return to the piso and eat and language study and update our area book and baisically sleep. This is how I know Spain is the best.
Then a las 5 salir otro vez and we don't have to be back in our apartments until 9.45 when we plan for half an hour then eat if we didn't eat at a members house and get ready for bed and
11.00 is lights out!
If you couldnt tell already I love our schedule.
     Thursday I went to my first Zone Meeting. I understood very little of it but it was nice to meet all of the missionaries in our zone. our district is by far the largest because we also include the two companionships in Motril. There are two other hermana companionships in  our zone but honestly I don't know exactly where they are serving. Maybe Jaen.
     Yesterday the elders had a baptism and we invited all of our investigators but only the crazy one showed up without his normal father. It was soo beautiful. And afterwards our investigator was asking me if I had been baptized and so we taught him all about baptism and he was just crazy excited so I asked him if he wanted to be baptized and he just stopped and said "NO nononononono" we just stared at him and Hermana Parrilla asked him why and he said baptism wasn't good and we just stared at him some more and finally I asked him how he felt when this other man was baptized and he described to me exactly how he felt as the man came out of the water (muy bien, like the man was perfectly clean) and basically  bore his testimony about baptism to us. But he himself refuses to consider baptism. Spaniards are crazy.
     This morning was my first real PDay when we actually did something exciting. We had to get special permission to go with just two elders to the cathedral because the rest of our district decided at the last minute they wanted to go to the mountains and see the snow and there wasn't room for us in the Zone Leaders car. I am still a little bitter, but I loved the cathedral. Sooooo cool. Somebody should look up how old it is or something and tell me because I have know idea. I will try to send pictures. I love history and old things.
"maybe a tiny sacrilegious"

"My district leader knocking doors like nobody's business."

Hannah in the Cathedral

And that is about it for this week. I love you all!
Hermana Hannah Ashby

Monday, March 3, 2014


Sorry Mom, I know you don't appreciate fake swear words, but to me fetch is spanish. Apparently it's like the first "english" word any of the spanish missionaries learned and they say it all of the time. And I just giggle. Hermana Parrilla was surprised to hear that nobody actually says fetch except for spanish missionaries. She also doesn't believe me that no english words need an r roll sound. She spent probably half an hour going through my english to spanish dictionary pointing out words with a double r. I say quarry and grill wrong apparently. hahaha.
The view from Hannah's balcony: "yes, we have a balcony"

Don't worry she does speak english, but she doesn't get a lot of american things. Like last night we were at an invesigtators apartment. This investigator somehow has heard some crazy things about the church and of course has a problema with polygamy so we were just kind of trying to salvage the remnants of her almost testimony of The Book of Mormon and things were just kind of going awful and then all the sudden she said she remembered she had a treat for us. Paite. (I don't actually know how to spell that) But it is basically meat paste. and I told her that we didn't really eat paite in the US and she said that we must have faux gras. Uh yup we do. And we have animal liver. So I started panicking when this lady went into her kitchen and Hermana Parrilla was so excited to eat this duck liver paste, and then the investigator brought it out on toast like it was this special treat and I grinned (used my acting skills) and downed it. "¡Mucha gracia!" ( Not muchas gracias because I am in southern Spain and the letter S doesn't exist here) I could not wait to leave and brush my teeth. I almost died, and Hna Parrilla thinks I am absolutely ridiculous. sigh.
So there are 8 missionarys in Granada. For one tiny ward. There were about 93 members in attendance yesterday. I don't know actually how many is normally in wça ward but considering every one of the Relief Society members had to come to kiss my face and give me a pity look yesterday before sacrament meeting it doesn't feel like very many. And 8 missionarys is a lot. We are the only sisters so everyone loves us even though they think I'm a little slow. 
We spend a ton of time all week just tracking down inactive and less active members in our area, because the chapel is on the oppisite side of the city which means a 40 minute bus ride to get to church every Sunday and so many people have just decided it isn't worth it. So the responibility falls to the Hermanas.
Sunday evenings we teach a 70 year old women how to read. It is by far the best part of my week. She gives us hot chocolate and toast and makes me use a blanket and I just feel warm and then we slowly read scriptures together. In spanish so I have no idea what's going on and I cant really help her because i don't know how to read in spanish either but it's just a really comforting time.
I should probably talk about the rest of the week now. Thursday  I went on intercambios. IM PRETTY SURE THAT MEANS EXCHANGES BUT NO ONE HAS EVER TOLD ME. NOT SUPPOSED TO BE IN CAPS BUT I HAVE NO TIME.  Woops. Anyways.... I went to Málaga with one of the sister training leaders. That one night just put everything into perspective for me.  Hna Flake has one of the worst spanish accents I have ever heard so it is okay if I never speak spanish perfectly because she doesn't and people still understand her and she is extremely successful. And it is okay if I think Spain is weird sometimes and that spaniards can be crazy. I mean, really, why is every store randomly closed for like 4 hours in the middle of the day? Don't they lose a  ton of money that way? And it is so not healthy to fry EVERYTHING with olive oil. They don't even refrigerate their eggs. But yeah, I can stop stressing out. So I felt a lot better afer spending some time with an American. Oh a man yelled at us in German! He said we looked German. But... I don't look German....So weird.....
I know that there is more I wanted to write I have forgotten. Stephanie is right and I need to start writing in my planner stuff I want to email about. If anybody wants to know anything they should ask because I really just feel like I am rambling in this email every week. 
"So I got your package! and the letter! This is me this morning with the bear."

I love you so much. 
Hermana Hannah Ashby