Monday, May 26, 2014

If We're United, We All Things Can Do

     This is going to be short because I need time to download Mormon Messages. Sorry. Also not a whole lot of exciting things happened.
     I ate a few super gross things this week actually. We do visiting teaching for the ward. Don't ask me why, not exactly my favorite thing ever and it takes up a ton of proselyting time. But this week we went to visit this little old lady that lives in one of the spiraling alleyways underneath the Alhambra so I was actually sort of excited for this one. We go there and sit down and she asked us if we wanted anything, we said no but she is old and from southern Spain so she put us out these ridiculously stale cookies. Like I had a hard time chewing and swallowing them so then she asked if we wanted anything to drink. I asked for water but that just wasn't good enough I guess and she brought us out some soy milk. Like basically everyone here drinks soy milk instead of real milk so I have almost gotten used to it, but this wasn't even refrigerated. So we just sat there eating stale cookies with warm soy milk. Every time one of us emptied a glass she would automatically feel it until the entire carton was gone. It was just such a ridiculous situation that I had a hard time not giggling as she is forcing us to chug warm soy milk. I have felt sick since.
     And then a few days later one of our investigators fed us Morcilla. Hermana Clark made the mistake of asking what Morcilla actually is. And we both almost threw up right then. Then we were forced to eat seconds. If I don't come home with some crazy disease I will be lucky. For those of who do not know, Morcilla is basically straight up fried pigs blood mixed. Our investigator mixed it with pears, because what is more appetizing than pears covered in pigs blood? Nothing according to spaniards.
     We (the missionaries in Granada) organized a ward talent show for this weekend and it was a smash. Apparently talent shows are really just an Amercian thing because nobody had really heard of one before but it really pulled together. We even did a singing skit thing with the song "Ye Elders of Israel." I will try to figure out how to get you the video eventually. Such a blast.
     It's starting to be tourist season so we are getting all kinds of Americans at church and it's fun to talk to them and explain what is going on in lessons and stuff for them. There are actually people out there in the world who understand less Spanish than me. Woot!
And that is pretty much it.
I love you!
Hermana Ashby

Monday, May 19, 2014

Somos Tres

Querido todo,
     This was a long week. A lot happened but I don´t have a ton of fun stories.
     Well I have officially eaten the grossest thing in my life now. We have this feeling that the members here don't really like the hermanas very much so we have been trying hard to work with them and gain their respect. So on Tuesday we finally received an invitation to eat with this one family that usually only likes it when the elders go over. So we go over and we are on our absolute best behavior and we offer to help and they won't let us so we sit at the table and wait for them to bring out the food.
District Numero Dos
They set this bowl of soup in front of Hna Muse. My first thought is, "yay I like soup," but then I look closer and saw the tentacles. This soup had octopus, squid, shrimp, some kind of shell fish and who knows what else in it. Mom, you would have probably enjoyed it. But I do NOT like sea food. Of any kind. And so I go into a panic. We have been trying to get an eating cita with this family for forever, and the first thing I do can't be refuse to eat their food that they obviously worked hard to make. Or worse, throw it up. They asked me to say the blessing and I asked that we would all be able to enjoy the food. Probably seemed like weird wording to them, but that is what I needed. I don't know how, but I ate it. Barely even chewed at all, which let me tell you, is difficult when you are eating animals whole. Eww. It was worth it though when they gave us cake at church on Sunday. Woot!
     So lets see..... Tuesday we got our new companion! Her name is Hermana Clark. She is from Heber City, Utah. She goes home one transfer after Hna Muse. She is great. Hermana Muse and I were super worried that it would be not fun, and teaching as a trio would not work very well, but it is actually working out just fine. We had to pull in another bed into our bedroom and now the whole room is just one big bed. We call it mega bed.
"So this is supposed to be like a 12th century building with an "animal fountain" inside of it. We walk by it all of the time and we didn't realize that it was anything special until we walked by this morning and there was a huge crowd taking pictures of it. so we stopped and asked what it was and then some man told us. I don´t know how reliable this information is."
     We stopped by a members house the other day just to check in on her because she had been to the hospital and then when we were about to leave we asked if we could close with a prayer and she got upset and realized that we hadn't started with a prayer. So then she made us do two! We decided you probably can't pray too much so we just went along with it.
     If you can, putting some beef jerky in the package might be nice. There is this family here that every time we go over they talk about these missionaries that brought them beef jerky from America. At least we think that's what they are are talking about. They call it dry Texas beef because the missionary was from Texas. So yeah if I brought them some they would probs love me forever.
Statue of Christopher Columbus
     We had a crazy amount a appointments cancel on us this week. Which means we did a LOT of knocking doors and just trying to talk to to people in the streets. Not the most fruitful of activities but, what else is a missionary supposed to do?
     By the way, I am officially a real missionary now! Training is over! Go me!
I am sorry I can't think of anything else that happened. This week was snail slow for all of the people we teach because we could hardly meet with any of them. But the work is still going. The church is still true.

Thanks for all of the support!
Hermana Hannah Ashby

Monday, May 5, 2014

By Their Faith They Wrought Mighty Miracles

¡Buenas Dias!
     I think I learned more this week than I have ever learned in my life. This week of consecration was really something. Through faith and prayer we saw miracles.
     Last Monday after Pday (well I guess it was during the end of pday) we went to the American's house and taught a lesson to their 8 year old daughter Claire who is about to get baptized. And I had a realization. The mom (Nicole) was telling us about her study abroad she did in India before her mission and I realized that exactly a year ago I was still in high school. Like this is crazy that I am out here doing what I am doing fresh out of high school. I made the mistake of saying that out load to this family and they all just burst into laughter. Like really? You were in high school last year?! They didn't talk about anything else all night. By the time we left I was feeling a little inadequate. Like I am too young to be doing this. But that's not really true. Whom the Lord calls he qualifies, because this week was spectacular.
     I think I am going to do this a little out of order to make it flow a little better. Friday night we were finally able to meet with Yasmin again. We brought Nicole and her twelve year old daughter with us because Nicole is Primary president and we really kind of wanted a mom's opinion on whether or not we were going to offend Diana by baptizing Yasmin without her. So we started the lesson (Gospel of Jesus Christ=Faith,repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) and it was going great and Yasmin and Addy (Nicole's daughter) were really hitting it off and Yasmin kept bearing her testimony of the things that we were teaching before we even taught them and it was great and then we got to baptism and Diana walks in. Diana pulled us way off topic and suddenly everything was crazy and she tells us all these stories about her job and things that have happened since we saw her last and everything and we were worried we were never going to get to challenge Yasmin to baptism until finally Hermana Muse asked Diana how she would feel if Yasmin wanted to get baptized into our church. It was a miracle. She said she would be really happy for her because baptism is really important and she is eleven so she is old enough to make her own decision about it now. I think even Nicole was shocked. So we turned back to Yasmin and kind of told her why we are baptized and asked if that is what she wanted. She said yes. Then we told her that we are going to have a baptismal service the 11 of May and then we pulled out a baptismal calendar we had made for her and told her the qualifications for baptism and we promised that if she did all of these things she would be ready. She seemed really excited and Diana seemes happy. It was amazing. It is really going to happen.
     Remember Alejandra? I think I must have mentioned her last week. But we basically didn't find her until last Sunday. We have been teaching her almost every day since and she is amazing. There was a ward barbecue on Thursday and we brought her with us. The members were absolutely amazing. All of the young adults (there is an odd amount of young adults in this ward) just kind of gathered her up with them and got her to play football and jump rope then they made her eat with them and they all traded numbers and facebook info and Hermana Muse and I were just bouncing with excitement watching it all unfold. So then we prayed about wether we should challenge her to be baptized on the 11th too and we decided she was ready. So Friday we went to her house and just started asking her about how she has felt about everything so far and she was just glowing with happiness and telling us how she agrees with everything we have said and so we did it. She seemed a little surprised about how soon we wanted to do it but she accepted. But then she asked if she wasn't ready by then if she could do it another day. We decided that that is a good sign because she wants to be ready and she wants to be baptized. It's the day that is the problem not anything else and I totally understand that. So uh.. yeah that makes two of our incredible investigators getting baptized.
    And then it was Saturday night. Keep in mind these two girls have to got to church both on the 4th and on the 11th to be baptized on the Dia de Blanco. So first we call Yasmin. Nicole had offered to give her a ride but we just wanted to make sure everythng was still going smooth. But Yasmin doesn't answer the phone. Then we call Alejandra. We were more worried about her because she had told us she might not be able to because she might have to babysit her three year old brother. We told her to bring her brother but she said she would have to talk with her parents. Alejandra did not answer her phone either. Needless to say, we were more than a little nervous. We got home and we started half heartedly planning for the next day when Yasmin finally calls us back. SHE CAN COME! Woot! Then when we got off the phone with her we saw we had a missed call from Alejandra. She does have to babysit her little brother and her dad is very very catholic and doesn't want her bring him to a Mormon church. Poor girl could totally hear the disappointment in my voice when I asked her if she had any other options. She said normally she would leave him with a cousin but the cousin can't this week but  she will def be there next week. We hung up and Hna Muse and I just stared at each other about to give up when we decided that we did not fast for four days out of this week for nothing! (Okay maybe we went a little overboard on fasting but this is really important to us.) So we call our district leader Elder Powell and ask him for advice. He tells us that maybe we can find a member to wait outside of the chapel during Sacrament meeting with the little boy. So we call her back and we tell her his idea and she said that she had to talk to her mom. So she hangs up again and we just stare at the phone. By this time it is like 11:15. She calls again and asks another question then hangs up again. I don't think either of us breathed. We knelt down and prayed that somehow she would be able to come. Then she calledback and guess what? SHE CAN COME! We hung up with her and just started screaming then we called Elder Powell and he said he and his companion and just finished praying for her too. It was so powerful.
    And they actually came too. Alejandra left her brother at her mom's work for an hour while she was at church. Yasmin came with Nicole y familia. It was testimony meeting and all the testimonies were amazing. And perfect for our investigators. We even had an unexpected investigator show up.This old man José Rafael that neither of us really enjoy teaching because he never stops talking but I guess we should really appreciate him more. And they all really seemed to enjoy it.
     So after church we got home and we started counting up our numbers for the week (Sunday is at the end of the week in the Spanish calendar). Our mission has this thing called Standards of Excellence. They are standards of things like how many lessons taught, new investigators acquired, investigators in Sacrament meeting and baptismal dates set during the week to be excellent missionaries. To give you an idea of how hard they are to reach Hermana Muse has never gotten standards of excellence in her entire mission and she goes home in a few months. And we realized that week we were one baptismal fecha (date) away from reaching the standards. We were crazy happy with how well we had done. So we gave our numbers to our district leader and went merrily on our way to visit members perfectly content with ourselves. Then a few hours later our zone leaders call and basically orders us to go make another fecha because we "have to" make standards. We decided to buck up and try. So We basically went by every single one of our investigators and nobody had time for us. Then we went by every single person we had contacted in the street that week and nobody had time for  us. We were kind of disappointed but by that time it was 10:15 and we are supposed to be home at the very latest at 10:45 so we decided to just be happy with what we had and start to make our way home. And then the APs called us. They asked us what we were doing and told us that in the next 30 minutes we had to do everything we could to find somebody to challenge to baptism. We thought they were crazy. And then Hermana Muse asked them if they thought we should try just talking to people in the street or knocking doors. They said we should get on our knees and crawl to them. So that's what we did. We went to an allyway and prayed. After the prayer I turned around and walked to an apartment complex and pushed on the door and by some miracle it was unlocked. So we just started knocking doors. People we kind of angry actually that we were bothering them so late so  we went back to the street and prayed again, and then we just started walking in the direction of our piso and talking about baptism. Needless to say we mostly just talked to a lot of catholics about the "original sin." We were so desperate and about to give up when we stopped this one lady. We broke the ice with her and found out she was cuban and believed strongly in Jesus Christ but she always regretted that she never got baptized. I stopped breathing. Hermana Muse pulled out the restoration pamphlet and we taught the whole lesson right there in the street. We recited the first vision and everything. We got to the part about how our church has the authority of God and asked her how important it would be to be baptized by someone who had the proper authority to baptize. She said it would be really important. So then I asked her if she would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the authority of God on the 18th of May (I just added seven to 11 right there on the spot) her response? "Claro! Bautizarme!" translated baisically she ordered us to baptize her. We did not speak the entire way walking home. When we got home we called the APs back and they started screaming. We started screaming. Elder Walker told us this was going in his journal. It is def going in mine. Then we called the Zone Leaders. A lot more screaming went down. Elder Rojas asked us to share it in our next zone meeting. Then we called our District Leader. More screaming. He told us that finding a cuban means we will have a ton of baptisms. Then the SHES called us and said the APs told them they had to but they wouldn't tell them why so we got to tell the whole story over again and told us that this was the miracle of Semana de Consagración. We went to bed happy.
      This morning President Deere texted us and congratulated us.
And so now here I am on an old computer reliving it all. I hope i was able to communicate how incredible  this all was. Now we just have to work twice as hard this week to make sure Alejandra and Yasmin are ready for baptism. I am crazy excited. Life is good.
Talk to you next week!
Hermana Hannah Ashby