Monday, October 31, 2016

Skibby sent the following email and photos on Monday, October 31, 2016.  I have done my best to translate some of the Spanish words she throws in.  My translation attempts are in italics.

Date:  October 31, 2016 at 8:27 AM
Subject:  Halloween is taking over the world

Dear fam,

Today is Halloween. I am in the house of Rocio and David. We are cooking sugar cookies. Later we will go to visit Carmen because it is her birthday and all of her kids are going to celebrate. They are going to eat fufu [?]. I am not using contractions because I cannot find the button for apostrophes on this keyboard.

This week was great. All of the kids who go to a bilingual school (Spanish and American) celebrate Halloween. But the kids who go to a bilingual school (Spanish and British) do not. So it is really sad for them. Obviously. My companion does not like Halloween. I love Halloween. Little by little it is becoming more popular. Tomorrow is the Day of the Saints, or the Day of the Dead. It is what hna Mendoza celebrates for Halloween. I think it is more of a South American tradition, and even though it is at the same time as Halloween, the... aura (?idk) is really different.  We ended up going to the Halloween party because Luz and Jose went. I dressed as Pippy Longstocking, as promised, to the joy of all the members. I got third place for the costume. I was going for first, but I guess I will have to settle for third. Anyway, there were lots of members dressed up, and we ate a lot of food and just had a good time.

Here is the story of Luz .... I will send the story of Luz when I am in the capilla [church] !! hasta pronto [I’ll get back to you soon]

Date:  October 31, 2016 at 10:32 AM
Subject:  Continuation…..

The story of Luz.
She is amazing. We have met with her a couple of times. We explained the importance of OLA. Orar [pray], leer [read], y asistir [attend] (a la capilla [attend church]). She only works on Saturdays and Sundays. All of her money goes to pay for her parents’ food in Colombia. Her husband is atheist and she has 2 kids. Anyway, we met with her on Tuesday. She wanted to make arepas [arepas are corn tortillas filled with whatever] and chocolate with us and some members. We hadn't been able to find any members to help us that morning, but we decided to try Hna Salud, who didn't pick up. Our last chance was Hna Jessica. Who didn't pick up. But she called us a little later and said she could come! We met with them at 11:15. Luz told us she quit her job to come to church. This is really a miracle because we hadn't met with her very much, and we never hinted at anything even close to that. But she really knows the importance of coming. So she quit her job. Then, we were going to make arepas, but the stove at the church only works with specific pans, which we forgot. So we ended up going to Jessica's house, making arepas and chocolate, while Jessica picked her kids up from school, and then we all ate together. 2 giant arepas with cheese and eggs and hot chocolate. Then my companion and I had to run to our lunch appointment with the bishop where we ate a ton of beans and rice, and they kept trying to give us more food, but we were sooo full. I thought I was going to die. The point is that Luz is amazing, and Hna Jessica shared a really strong testimony with her, and demonstrated that when we need help, the ward members are there.

I'm sorry that I'm terrible at emailing. I hope all of this makes sense. 

Well, I'm not sure what else I can share right now. Things in Mostoles are getting little by little colder. But it's not too cold for futbol [soccer]. Kids are playing futbol all the time. They play Saturday mornings here at the capilla [church]. Lots of people come. We have a friend named Miguel Angel who comes every Saturday to play. I told Elian he should try to be friends with Miguel Angel because he feels a little left out. Elian has hence recruited Miguel Angel to the Herbal Life life. I hope this will be an improvement.

I love all of you. Everyone have a good safe and scary week. I hope life is full of
jack-o-lanterns, heffalumps and woozles.

Love, your favorite sister missionary currently serving in the Mostoles Barrio of the Madrid Oeste [West] Stake, of the Madrid, Spain Mission.
Skibby & her companion, Hermana Mendoza

This picture and the following two are of Skibby practicing to be Pippy Longstocking
for her ward's Halloween party!  She suggested that I might not want to
put them on her blog.  I decided to do otherwise. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Skibby sent us the following email on Monday, October 24, 2016:

Date:  October 24, 2016 at 10:31 AM
Subject:  Well, the rain in spain clearly doesn't fall mainly in the plains because we've got loads of it here.

Hello Family.

I love and miss you.

We’re having a Halloween party this Friday as a ward, but if we don't have investigators there, we can't go. So I might just celebrate Halloween alone. I don't know if people here haven't seen Little Mermaid or Brave or some other movie that's a little more flattering for redheads, but everyone here thinks I am Pippy Longstocking. They like to show me pictures and compare the two of us. It's great. So maybe I'll dress up as Pippy Longstocking and take pictures for them.

Juancito had surgery on his eyes, so now I play the piano for sacrament. Except yesterday I played the organ. We're lucky to have an organ, but the cover doesn't go all the way up, so it's hard to choose the stops. I'm not really sure how it sounded. I chose the wrong and decided to follow the congregation because they weren't following me. Also, they changed the last hymn rapidly to a Spanish hymn that I'd never heard and the sight reading was a little bit rough. I thought it sounded fine and figured the congregation wouldn't notice because they're not music scholars. However, several people came up to me and told me they were a little lost in the music.... whoopsie:) I am convinced that my piano skills are rapidly going down hill. It's like if you don't go to church or read the scriptures every day, you fall into apostasy. Except with the ability to play the piano.  But lots of people really enjoyed the organ, so I'm just going to press forward and do better next week.

I have learned some things -- mucho inteligente and mas mejor doesn't sound the goodest.  I think I have selective speaking. It's like selective hearing, only it's not selective. Sometimes I can understand everything and speak really well, and sometimes I can't understand or say anything. But more than the on and off switch, it's usually on a dim where I recognize that I know the words, but they don't make sense in my brain.

Recently I made a poem of my Spanish. I call it Snowy Cottage on a Winter's Day. This is the shortened version:
Who's streets these are I think I know
His house is in cielo though
My horse begins to question why
we've stopped to see the snow so bleak
And I've got miles to go before I speak,
and miles to go before I speak.

Honestly, I think my Spanish has improved a lot, but there is a long long way too go. My companion helps me a lot and I'm really grateful for her. She's really awesome and caring and care free and happy. We have a lot of fun, and we speak a lot of Spanish.

Lessons we've had:
The biggest miracle of last week was our lesson with Andrew. He is from Nigeria and really loves God, but we've felt like he hasn't really understood all of our lessons. Monday night we had a lesson with him, and he brought his friend, Stan. Stan started to talk a little bit rudely about the church and the Book of Mormon. He said, "Do you believe in this Book of Mormon!?" and Andrew said, "I believe in God. And Mormon was a prophet for God..." and he went on to loosely explain the background of the Book of Mormon. It was really intense. It was amazing to see him defend the Book of Mormon and our beliefs. I think we set Stan straight. After he had his fit and we explained the Book of Mormon a little better, he accepted a Book of Mormon and left. It was like one of the parts in the Book of Mormon where it says people will scoff and scorn and try to make the believers feel stupid. If Andrew didn't work every Sunday, I think he would come to church.

We also had a lesson with Luz. She is a luz [translation: light]. She is really accepting and willing to listen to us. She told us, "I feel really good when I'm around both of you; we all get along really well. I feel peace and tranquility." This is the same thing Elian says about the church. I have decided that if everyone were a little bit more like Elian, the world would be a much better, healthier place.

Well, that's about all I have for now. I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween!!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Skibby sent us the following email on Wednesday, October 19, 2016:

Date:  October 19, 2016 at 8:17 AM

Hola from Europe!

This was a great week people! I hope it went well for all of you!

Last Wednesday we had a dia de Espanidad. Apparently it’s a holiday in Spain. We had an activity in the church, and everyone brought different food from their paises. Then they danced, and talked and it was a really fun time. It was raining all day long that day, and everyone in the streets had umbrellas. I love umbrellas. Rosa came and ate two plates full of food. Honduras, Ecuador, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Guinea, Spain, and more. I have pictures, but they're on my camera and I don`t have time to switch them over to here.

As lessons go, I'm going to write down everything that happened this week very carefully and send it next week.

We had a capacitacion de zona on Tuesday. Mostoles is relatively small, but, if you look on the map, our area covers a bazillion puebles south and west of this little city. We talked about having to cover all of those pueblos. So basically, we’re trying to spread our area of influence because my companion and I spend too much time in just a few streets. There are always people, but we need to reach the pueblos too. So, I’ll let you know how that goes. We take buses to the pueblos. The drivers are generous on the brakes. But I love the pueblos. When we’re not lost there without water.

We also talked about Helaman 5:12. I’ve recently realized the importance of this scripture a whole lot more. I realized that my rock definitely needs to be Christ (what an insight, huh?). But, Jesus Christ is the center of everything. I’ve been noticing how important he is to every single thing we teach, and how important it is that I carry his name over my heart. I love you all. Jesus Christ is the reason we are here, and the reason we can celebrate for eternal life to come.  What are the three most beautiful words in the English language?... Dad, you nailed it..

Love you, and hope you have a great half a week till we can talk again on Monday!!

your fav

(Note:  Skibby’s question at the end of the second to last paragraph, “What are the three most beautiful words in the English language?” is a reference to something that happened more than 25 years ago when Peter and I were dating.  One Sunday at church, he handed me a little homemade card with that question printed on the front.  I fully expected to open the card and find the words, “I Love You” written inside—a tender profession of his feelings for me.  But instead, he had written, “He Is Risen.”  I have to be honest.  It was a bit of a letdown for me at the time.  But Peter actually did "nail it" with his answer and, after a few years, I got over it.  :) 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Skibby sent us the following email and photos on Monday, October 10, 2016:

Date:  Monday, October 10, 2016 at 9:18 AM
Subject:  Hola Hola

     Well it’s been another week here in Mostoles. Carmen was baptized on Saturday and Elian, the amigo of the Elders, was baptized on Sunday. Carmen is a pearl. She was sooo excited for her baptism. I went with a member of our ward to prepare Carmen while my companion waited for an investigator who didn’t show up. But on the way to the elevator, we ran into Juan, Carmen’s son. I asked him if he was going to come to the baptism this evening. He said, "who’s baptism??" Carmen hadn't told him anything about her being baptized, which is a miracle because she really likes to talk. But in the end, Juan put on a nice shirt and came to her baptism. This was the biggest miracle of all for Carmen, and she was on cloud nine. We will continue to visit Carmen and reteach her all of the lessons. 
      Elian is a funny guy. He works for Herbal Life. He basically does what we do, except he’s selling stuff. We had a free exam or something with him. He examined my health and tried to sell his product to us. He pretty much explained the Great Apostasy using cells and a lack of vitamins rather than generations and a lack of truth. Both of them are a great addition to the ward.
      Mostoles is special. The members are amazing. We eat at a member’s house almost every day. It’s different for me to be in a place where literally everyone is a convert to the church. The members are really strong. The only problem is- lots of them live in pueblos 30 minutes away by bus, so it’s hard to have members at lessons. Which is essential. But anyway, I’m increasingly impressed by the strength and dedication of the members.
     I have definitely seen the Lord manifesting that this is his work. God answers prayers in mysterious ways. They are usually small, but they always come. One day, Hna Mendoza was talking to Carmen about "pequeno milagros" (small miracles) and Carmen said, "No miracle is small!" And she’s right. Although things that are answers to prayers sometimes seem really small, they are miracles, and evidence of the Lord's hand. I'm going to keep looking for the small details, but Big Miracles that happen every day.
Love you all!!
Have a great week!


Carmen was baptized!

The view from our pisa (apartment)

We were the only ones in the metro

Monday, October 3, 2016

Skibby sent the following email on Monday, October 3, 2016:

Date:  October 3, 2016 at 10:32 AM
Subject:  End of my first transfer???

Amada Familia Mia,

What?!?!? How did that happen? I've entered my second transfer in the field. It's really weird how time passes.

We were able to listen to 3 of the 4 sessions of conference, and the women’s session. We watched them in the church on the big screen. I watched it on the ipad with earphones so I could hear it in English. We watched 2 of them real time. 6:00 pm here was morning sessions at home. I really love conference. There isn't a time I've loved it or valued it more. I really wanted to bring lots of investigators to watch it, but nobody ended up coming. It was hard for me to walk on the streets and look at all the people who have no idea what an amazing opportunity there is to hear the words of true apostles and prophets who teach the words of God! There can't be anything more important than that. I'm having a hard time deciding how to impress upon our investigators the importance of what we're telling them. I don't want to scare them away, but it's also a big deal, and I don't want to tell them it's fine when it's important!!

The things that stood out for me during conference were: 1- we need to have a rock solid knowledge of the doctrine 2- how to increase/keep the faith 3- The incredible importance of prayer (and what you can do with the will of God) and 4- how sacred and important the sacrament is. I think all of us (well at least I do) fall into the groove of things and are comfortable with where we are and what we're doing, and don't have the desire to improve. So these things feel repetitive. I'm really going to work on putting more thought into my prayers and the sacrament.

Other ideas for aspiring cooks:
1- princess pasta sauce on potatoes (I know- it sounds weird)
2- cinnamon roasted/candied peanuts -- I've only ever had it with almonds. cr peanuts have changed my life.

Other facts about Spain-
1- Everyone has a dog or two, and there are constantly people walking their dogs in the streets. I have yet to come across a dog more happy, cuter, or better looking than Cubby. Please send him my regards.
2- Spanish people really like bread. There's a joke here about Latin America always eating rice, so they say they eat "rice upon rice." Well, there are a lot of people here who are from South America, but they've also adapted to how they eat here in Spain. So when we eat meals we eat rice upon rice, bread upon bread, and potatoes upon potatoes...

We've had some good lessons this week.
We talked to Edgar again. He feels like we are obligating him to read. But I really like Edgar because he's very sincere and honest. Adriana is 19, and evangelist. We've taught her the first 2 lessons and she is reading the bom. We saw her on the street the other day and she was "gospelizing" with her friends. I really hope she will come to know the truthfulness of our message, because she is already really religious and loves God.
Rosa- Her mother died in August and she feels a lot of remorse. I'm hoping we can help bring joy back into her life!!!

Ok, that's all I've got for now. Love and miss you all. Have a great week. Thank you for your continual support and love.

Hna skib