Familia y amigos-
Estoy AQUI!!!! Yessss. I love Spain. I just love it. The accent is different which is great, but the words they use... are just so different!!! They never use the word frijoles, cause they just don´t even exist. If anything is handsome, sweet, good, great, cool, pretty, awesome is all que quay. ALL THE TIME. Everything, que quay. Yeah my dog just got hit by a car, que guay. Then vale is like the okay, or esta bien or bueno equivalent. We never go to our casa, we only go to our piso. Every swear word possible in mexico is common language here. I met the Family Chinga the other day, so it´s fine. But the thing I probably miss the most is that nobody yells, ´´andale gorditas´´ when we are riding our bikes and walking on the street. I love it though, it just feels so right to be here.
It is so beautiful. The buildings, the streets, the history is amazing. Today we went sight seeing to some castles and stuff, and it was gorgeous because it was raining all day so it just makes everything look so much cleaner and so vibrant. I just love it!!
Man, so much has happened. Seriously, have I been here for 5 years yet, cause it feels like it. So the MTC experience was great. It´s smaller, and you get to leave when you need to and 3 times a week we hopped on the metro to Madrid´s contral park to do a little preaching and teaching. I loved my red headed comp Sister Coakwell, just a sweet little shy girl, but so hilarious! Every week we got to go to the beautiful Madrid temple and the language of the session was decided by majority of people that spoke what ever language. That was fun. I had some amazing experiences in the park and enjoyed myself a lot there. Then it came time for the REAL DEAL, like the REAL one this time.
There were 2 sisters and 8 elders from the MTC going to the Madrid mission. So at 8 am thursday morning President Watkins and his lovely wife came to the MTC to have a little orientation meeting with all of us. He told us what he expects of us and the standards for the mission. Then I got my new comp! My real mom. My real mission mom, no more of the babysitter business. Straight up native from Argentina!!! From some little pueblo Santa Elena. She and her family got baptized 3 years ago. Hermana Gabriela Farías. Such a stinking sweet heart and lucky for me she doesn´t speak a lick of english. She´s been in the mission for 11 months and is just great. I love her lots, just so funny and we really have a great time. We live with two other sisters who are serving in Barrio 1. Hermana Hernandez from Chiwwwaaawwwaaa, Mexico and the other Hermana Wilson from Califonia. We go to bed at 11 and up at 7 in the winter but in a few weeks we are changing to the summer schedule which is out till 1030, bed at 1130 and up at 730.... then sandals are also permitted in summer time.
We are white washing... meaning both are in an area we have never been before. Sisters haven´t been here for a while because there weren´t enough in the mission. We are in Barrio 5... HUGE AREA. We have 44 metro stops that we cover. Seriously, where do we even start?? It´s just been a wild experience trying to find out where people live. We have been working a lot trying to locate the less actives and majority of the time the apartment does not exist! The ward we are in covers a majority of the tourist locations so they tell us people are constantly moving in and out. We have about 25 english speakers in our ward some from the states but a lot from Scottland and England. Everything here is based off metro stops, then the street name (never a number), then the number of their apartments, then what floor they live on and what number it is. It´s nothing like finding a house in America. We never knock doors here, (which is the one thing I learned how to do in Rose Park). Because there are no doors to knock, the only way to possibly knock doors is to ring the doorbell speaker thing out of the street and have them let you in. Every living habitation in Spain is apartments... there are like 10,000,000 people here and a ward covers about 3,000,000 of them. We do a lot of street and metro contacting though, we also get all the referals we can!!! As a mission the goal is to contact 105 people a week, that´s not just talking to them, but telling them about the church, giving them something, and getting their information.
Most of our ward is south americans, tons of ecuadorians and peruvians. They are just the sweetest things in the world. Our first day here we got a call that some other missionaries had met this lady on the metro that lives in our area. So we decided to go visit her. Come to find out her husband was baptized when he was 8 but never went back to church after he was 12. They just moved here from Ecuador a couple years ago and only had enough money to bring their 8 year old daughter. Their 10 year old is living in Ecuador still with her grandmother. So we talked to them and found out that for a while he´s been wanting to come back to church. They came to church on sunday!! They got dressed up so nice, and THEY LOVED IT. Their little daughter loved primary and the dad said it was just like he remembered it.
We also found this family from Republic of Dominican. Their daughter was baptized almost a year ago. We went by and the mom told us she has been reading the book of mornon and has been living the word of wisdom. The daughter in law has been sitting in with us and really wants to learn more and they are both coming to church this sunday.
There have been 10 million other amazing and crazy experiences. Like when I was standing in the metro the other day and all the sudden I felt someone squeeze my arm super tight. I turned around and this tiny old man was just looking at me straight in the face and smelled horrible. He just asked us, where are you going? I think you are going the wrong way! I just asked him how many he had had to drink cause he was obviously the most drunk person I've ever smelled and seen in my life!!! On our way to church the other day we came up out of the metro and there was a marathon going on. There was this black guy on the corner who has a huge box of wine and was cheering for every single person who ran by. When a black person ran by he was like RUN BLACK BROTHER RUN. Then when a blondie would run by he was like RUN BLONDIE RUN!!! On and on and on, cheering for every single person. He came over to us and said, I´m not drunk, I am a good person. Then when a little old lady tried to get mad at him he said, I promise I only have water in this little box of mine. I was super entertained.
I am so grateful to be here. Everytime I study the gospel it all just makes so much sense. It just works together so perfectly. I feel so privlaged to be sharing this message with the world. I just look into every face of everybody I see and think man, if only they knew how much God loved them.
I love you all so much. Thank you for your INSPIRING emails this week. I really needed them. You be good now. Remember that you are of great worth and I hope you each find the true joy living the gospel brings. Nothing is too hard if you always seek the guidance and counsel of Heavenly Father.
Much love from across the atlantic.