Monday, June 23, 2014

My Last Week in Granada!

     So nothing crazy happened this week and I have used all my time sending pictures. So  I am just going to talk about transfer calls!
     President called Saturday morning, and sure enough I am leaving. I am going to Puertollano. Never heard of it? Me neither! I am just picturing wide open plains with lots of windmills because, guess what it is in La Mancha! Don Quijote country! President said it is the fastest growing branch in the mission- they just increased their Sacrament Meeting attendance from something like 12 or 15 to 18. Which is a pretty good percentage. Hermana Hoffman is going to be my companion. Everyone says she is awesome. She just opened Puertollano last transfer. Okay going to be honest here, I am sort of terrified. But I am excited to. Every time  I tell someone where  I am going they tell me I am going to learn a lot. Which is a good thing, right? Right? It is definitely going to be an adventure. This is as close to Toledo as I could get, mom. I am sad to leave Granada but I feel ready for something new. I need a change before I get into a rut. Okay breathe.

And thats it! Love ya!
H. Ashby

Here are lots of pictures!

American flag outside of the hotel next to the Alhambra that Jose Rafael took us to. Don't worry I remember where I came from


Jose Rafael himself
Hermana Clark and I

Hermana Muse and I in our sweet new hoodies

Us and Yasmin and Nayeli
Claire Whitby at her baptism

More with Claire

Us waiting for the bus
This is what the bus looks like


Alhambra Group


Amphitheater (I think)

My chapa in the Court of the Lions

I am a fan of chapa pictures...

Goodbye to Carmela, Julio, and Manu
Saying goodbye to Yasmin
Jose Rafael threw me a party! Complete with honey!  Zach is right, Morcilla is usually in sausage form like here on the toast things. But the first time he fed it to us it was just fried with pears.
The Alhambra outside Jose Rafael's apartment

Peter! He is my favorite! Okay maybe his real name is Pedro but I call him Peter because he always tries to speak english with me. He is like the only member that we can get to come to lessons with us.
Here is Violet! I like teaching her because our lessons are in English. She is from Nigeria.
Araceli! She doesn't come to church because of good ol´Chico here. She insisted that Chico be in the picture. 

Fireworks went off outside of our piso! We started singing the Star Spangled Banner in honor off independence day that is coming up! Woo hoo!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Si No Has Visto Granada, No Has Visto Nada

     Wow a lot happened this week! Last monday we went to the church and played futbol with chairs. Hard to explain, but it was fun.
     I can't believe this was all this week.
     Tuesday morning we interviews with president. Nothing terribly exciting there. He said I look like a real missionary now, not just someone following around a missionary. Woot! Goal made.
     Then we had district meeting. Told everyone that it is important to be a diligent missionary.
Then I left for Málaga. These members came up to us at the bus station and were crazy excited to see us and took pictures with us like we were celebrities and then they boarded the same bus as me and they sat by me and literally talked to me the entire hour and a half there. It was this old couple and now I know their entire life story. I was pretty proud of myself because I was able to hold my own in a conversation in Spanish. Maybe I will get this someday.
     Then I did intercambios with Hna Brown. She trained Hna Reed and I just had a blast with her. She had a note for me from Hna Reed. She is doing great.
     Thursday we had 8 lessons. In one day. Oh yeah. Things have definitely started to pick up. This is awesome.
     Friday we went and ate lunch with Jose Rafael (he fed us morcilla AGAIN) and we told him that I am probably going to be transferred this next week and I have still never been to the Alhambra and so he drove us up right then to make us go buy tickets. But they were sold out. So then he took us to the hotel and bought us drinks (my drink of choice: fanta naranja) and it was all just kind of ridiculous. I have some super sweet pictures but I left my camera in the piso. Sorry, next week!
     Saturday. Saturday, Claire, the 8 year old daughter of the American family was baptized. She has become pretty good friends with Yasmin so we got Yasmin and her friend Nayeli to come with us. Afterwards Nayeli came up to me and asked me if she could be baptized. My response: "Uh... sure! Can we teach you a few things first?"
     Then it was Sunday. I don't remember much of Sunday but I had a huge headache. Oh right. The Hermanas from Jaen came and stayed the night. Yeah, That was only yesterday. They stayed the night because the guy at the ticket office of the Alhambra said if we got there at 7 Monday morning they might have some extra tickets to sell to us.The Alhambra, for those of you who don't know, is this ancient ginormous muslim palace. It is apparently the most visited monument in Spain. So if you are anywhere close you kind of have to go. So they came in at like 10 last night and we did not get to bed very early and then we woke up at five to get to be able to get there by 6:30 because apparently people start lining up at like 6 but we all got there and stood in line for like two hours. An Elder brought uno so we literally played uno all standing up in line at like 6:30 in the morning. Then this Muslim guy from Singapore asked if he could join us. Just try to imagine it because it all felt like a weird dream to me. But it all paid off because we got in! IT WAS AMAZING! You will get pics next week! But I am soooooo glad I got to go do that before I left. Totally worth it. We spent like 6 hours in total just traveling through and I don't even think we saw it all. And it is up on a mountain and you can look down and see all of Granada and the sight like literally took my breath away. Granada is amazing.
And so that's pretty much it.
I love you all!
Hermana Ashby

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer is a Comin'

     Stuff happened this week, but like honestly nothing happened.
     We went to zone conference and had to give a thing about the missionary handbook. Speaking Spanish in front of other missionaries stresses me out more than anything. But really no pasa na. Tomorrow for district meeting I am giving (by myself) a two minute lesson on diligence in missionary work. And we have interviews with president and then I am going to Malaga for intercambios, so tomorrow is going to be a busy day.
     After we are done emailing we are going to the chapel and are going to watch "The Best Two Years" with the rest of the district. I have heard watching  "The Best Two Years"is different as a missionary so I guess we will see.
     Okay I am sorry this week was really slow.
An investigator called us Friday to invite us to a choir concert and we called and got special permission to go and we were super excited and then we got there and it started and then a bunch of five year olds walk on stage and then their teacher comes on and plays a simple tune on the piano and they start clapping along to the rhythm. Personally, I thought it was awesome. But I guess our investigator was expecting something more... sophisticated... so he made us leave. Sad day.
     We street contacted this lady that works for Herbal Life and she invited us to come over. She gave us her lesson 1- facials and then asked us for references. It all felt very backwards but we left her with a Book of Mormon.. yay?
     This week for personal study I have been reading Jesus the Christ. If you haven't read it, I suggest you do, and if you have, you should read it again. But I know all of you are probably not going to do that so you should at least watch the Because of Him video. (Sorry if that turns out to be in spanish)
     We have been showing that video to absolutely everyone since Easter. It still makes me emotional every time I watch it. I feel so privileged to be allowed to be a part of the Lord's work. Being a missionary is absolutely amazing.
Well, have a good summer everyone!
I love you!
Hermana Ashby

Monday, June 2, 2014

¿Que Haces?

     Another crazy week in the life of a sister missionary. I think what I enjoy most about missionary work is having the opportunity to watch as the gospel changes lives.
     Remember Araceli? I think I've mentioned her before but I am not positive. She is our eternigator. This like 70 year old spanish women who is very stuck in her ways. Most of the time I am not quite sure why we even go back and visit her, but keep going we do. Missionaries have been visiting her on and off for almost 20 years now, but nobody has lost hope yet. When Hna Parrilla and I first visited her she went off on a rant about all of the 'faults' of Joseph Smith. Basically all of the crazy things she had read on the internet. All we could do was bear our simple testimonies and run the heck out of there. I was seriously terrified. So this week we were planning for her and we didn't really know what to teach her. We have run out of 'easy' principles like faith and prayer so I suggested watching a movie with her. But we are all kind of tired of watch Finding Faith in Christ (I seriously have half of it memorized, in Spanish) so we decided to go for Joseph:The Prophet of the Restoration. I did not realize how much she has progressed until this lesson. She was literally crying when Alvin (Joseph´s older brother) died. And afterwards she told us over and over again how much she loved that movie.  We bore our testimonies about Joseph Smith and about God´s love for his children and that is why we have the restored gospel today and she was just like "that is so true." I left there in shock. I still think she might throw us out of the house if we invite her to be baptized but poco a poco.
     Next story: Esperanza e Ivan.
I am pretty sure I have never mentioned them because before this week They had never been that interesting. Ivan is an inactive member. His parents found the church when he was super young, he was baptized at 8 and then he left the church at 14 because he never felt like he received answers to his prayers. He is 28 now, divorced and has a 5 year old kid that lives in Alicante. He is now living with his girlfriend, Esperanza. Ivan´s sister, Vanessa (a very strong member here), called us a few weeks ago and asked us to visit her brother because his girlfriend had just had a miscarriage and they were both taking it hard. So we went and taught them the Plan of Salvation. The whole lesson it just kind of seemed like they were humoring us just because his sister asked them to. Esperanza is very catholic and her only reaction at the end was asking us if we knew where she could get a bible because she had lost hers. Sort of just frustrating. But we kept going because you can´t really drop an inactive member. This week we visited them and suddenly everything was different. They have been competing with each other to see who can read more and understand more out of the Book of Mormon. We read a chapter with them and they were trying so hard to show us that they were understanding and liking it. Ivan told us he never listened to the missionaries before because it wasn't his moment yet but now it is his moment. When we left we called Vanessa because we were just so excited and she told us that she had been at their house the other day and Esperanza had proudly shown her that she had her own copy of The Book of Mormon and was asking her all sorts of gospel questions. I am really excited to see where things go from here with them.
     And to end: JuanJo
JuanJo is crazy. His wife's name is Gema and they live in this tiny piso with like 5(feisimo) cats and their two kids. Just to give you a taste of JuanJo, our last lesson with him he told us that Obama is actually English royalty, England never actually stopped owning the US and Michael Jackson knew that and that is why he was killed. All very interesting. He believes very strongly in the Bible and kept getting mad at us when we tried to teach him out of the Book of Mormon so this past lesson we tried only sharing one scripture, and one out of the Bible. He was like wait isn't that in Peter? we said yeah. He was like But Peter is in the Bible. Yes. JuanJo: You really do believe in the Bible, don´t you? Us: YES. Him: Hmm. Well that's a relief. Maybe I will give this blue book of yours a chance then. Us:  mental eye roll
     Honestly we didn't really believe him and had kind of decided to only visit him once more and then drop him, but then he texted THIS MORNING. He said he would really like to meet with us tomorrow if possible because he had good news to share with us. Well last time his said something like that to us he told us that he had been reading in Isaiah or Revelations or something and was sure that the world is going to end any day now. Actually, now that I think about it he just told us that time that He had read something in the bible and wanted to discuss it with us. Guess we should have seen that coming. Anyways, we scheduled the cita with him but I guess he was just too excited to tell us the news that he sent it through text. Hna Muse read it and started yelling and so I took it from her. Basically (translated) it said: "I have been reading that blue Book of Mormon of yours and I like it a ton. Looks like at the end I am going to end up with you preaching door to door to the Gentiles."
Our response: fetch.
     I am seriously still in shock. I would also like to point out that all of these people are Spaniards. Usually we only get anywhere with South Americans.
     So yeah we had a pretty cool week. Being a missionary is the best. Talk to you next week.
Hermana Ashby