Thursday, March 30, 2017

Skibby sent us the following email and photos on Monday, March 27, 2017.  Last week she was assigned to be a trainer, so she now has one week under her belt.  The package she refers to at the end is the birthday package we mailed to her.  She had to go pick it up from the mail office.

Date:  March 27, 2017 at 9:36 AM
Subject:  Hello from afar

Dear Familia,

Well, you know how they say one year wiser and older too? That just doesn't make any sense. I am really only 1 day older than I was yesterday. Goodness. I hope I have learned a lot though. I sure have met a whole bunch of people in this time. It's been awesome.

Well, to be brief, my companion's name is Hermana Rivera. A typical Spanish name, but she's from Kentucky and doesn't speak a lick of Spanish, even though her parents are from Puerto Rico. She is awesome and ready to work hard. I can appreciate so much how hard the mission was at the beginning. We speak a lot in Spanish. I think it will help her a lot. 

It has been really fun to watch her improve talking to people in just 5ish days. Sometimes we'll be waiting at a stop light, or for the metro, and I'll hand her a card and she'll go and start talking. My favorite experience was while we were taking her suitcases home and in the metro she said "HOLA!" really loudly and the guy she wanted to talk to completely ignored her. I also asked him a direct question, and he completely ignored me. You have to love them anyway:) 

We've had some really good lessons this week. It rained. Have you heard about the flooding in Peru? It's really bad there.

My birthday was awesome! The best thing that happened was a call from the Mostoles Hnas. I got to talk to Luz and Gustavo. They are so happy. 

Yesterday we visited an investigator who made a little cake for us. His birthday was a couple weeks ago and they still had balloons up from his party. So we celebrated there a little bit. 

I'll send more stuff next week. Thanks for everything. I'm going for my package now. Love you all, and have a great week!


Skibby with her companion, Hna. Rivera, on the left (in both pictures :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Skibby sent the following email on Monday, March 20, 2017.  She has her 20th birthday coming up on Saturday, March 25th.  I found a cute picture of her when she was about 2 years old, and I will include it at the end of her email because I think goes with the description she wrote of herself at the end of her letter. :)

Date:  March 20, 2017 at 10:50 AM
Subject:  Fortunately, unfortunately

Hello Folks!
How is everything going?!
This has been a strange week. Oscar is awesome. He is so prepared. The elders told me Victor is doing really well. Here are the haps:

Today, Hna Hinton finishes her mission.

Fortunately tomorrow I will receive my new companion. 

Unfortunately I have to spend the day with Hna Webster.

Fortunately, I actually really like Hna Webster, so it's been a great couple of hours.

Unfortunately we spent those hours taking her companion to the airport.

Fortunately, I also got to see Hna Mendoza there.

Fortunately, today is festivo and the obra misional planned an activity for all of the members that was really sparked from my idea to play futbol.


Fortunately, there were so many people there and so much fun going on, and so many potential investigators and investigators and members and everything.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to go..

Fortunately, our investigators and potentials I'm sure still had a good time and we'll get to see them later.

Unfortunately, right now I am very nervous. This next transfer is going to be one of the best and biggest and probably hardest stepping stones of my mission, because

Fortunately, I am training.

Fortunately, I will get to meet her tomorrow.

And Fortunately, I know we are going to work so hard and kill all routines here.

Fortunately, Barrio 3 is an amazing barrio.

Fortunately, I am really excited to have this opportunity.

Anyway, that's about it for now. If you have any tips or moral advice, I am open to anything and everything you have to offer. I love all you guys. I love God, and I love talking to people who also love God. There are so many people and so few missionaries, and we've got to do our best to find all the people who, like Oscar, are ready and willing to hear the Gospel.

Have a great week, and good luck with everything!!!
your favorite sister missionary serving in madrid spain with red hair, blue eyes, and freckles that is on the brink of leaving the teens. -- if that doesn't narrow down the options, I don't know what will..

ALSO HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOTHER AND FATHER. I guess you guys really are the founders of the dream team because without you guys I wouldn't exist. Love you and am forever grateful for your examples of faith and faithfulness in the gospel. viva the dream team!!
... red hair, blue eyes, freckles ... and absolutely precious!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Skibby sent the following email on Monday, March 13, 2017,  I was confused at first when I read her subject heading, “Continuation….”, followed by the first few sentences of her email.  I thought she must have sent us an earlier email that I hadn’t gotten.  But after reading a little more, I realized that she was just picking up where she left off last week (with no introduction or recap!) on a story she hadn’t had time to finish.  So, for those of us with short memories, here’s the background:  Skibby was riding on a bus, trying to muster up the courage to talk to a man sitting nearby…

Date:  March 13, 2017 at 9:56 AM
Subject:  Continuation….

So, I thought about it for a while. I decided that I was going to have to do it. There's a whole bunch of scriptures in DyC that says if you open your mouth, the words will just flow out. So, I sat there with my mouth open for about 2 minutes, and then finally got up the nerve to say something. I talked to Victor from Nigeria who is learning Spanish. Just when we had to leave I was explaining about who we were and why we're here. Then the bus doors were opening and I threw him a card and said, "Call us, and we'll give you a Book of Mormon in English!!" and went out. Well, that night or the next night, guess who called? Victor. He was a little distraught that we didn't remember him at first. We set up an appointment, and he called the next day to confirm with us. I don't know what it is about Nigeria, but everyone there loves God. If everybody in Utah loved God as much as everyone in Nigeria, there would be no less actives. So, we met with him and he said he loves to talk about God. He has a whole bunch of friends who like talking about futbol and sports and he says he gets tired of that, but he never gets tired of God. Unfortunately he doesn't live in our area, so we passed him along to the missionaries in Alcobendas. It's amazing to me that he used his agency to call us. It could make the biggest change in his life.

All in all, agency is a great thing. It's so essential to our characteristics as children of God. In Mostoles, we taught someone named Bright, and he always asked us why God allowed bad things to exist. Couldn't he have protected us from everything? But to be able to have albedrio [agency] you have to have both options before you. If there was nothing to choose between, there would exist no agency. I read a talk the other week about agency. It talked about how there is truth. It says:

“To those who believe anything or everything could be true, the declaration of objective, fixed, and universal truth feels like coercion—“I shouldn’t be forced to believe something is true that I don’t like.” But that does not change reality. Resenting the law of gravity won’t keep a person from falling if he steps off a cliff. The same is true for eternal law and justice. Freedom comes not from resisting it but from applying it. That is fundamental to God’s own power. If it were not for the reality of fixed and immutable truths, the gift of agency would be meaningless since we would never be able to foresee and intend the consequences of our actions.”

I'm grateful truth exists. And I'm grateful we have the ability to choose it. 

This week was really good. Ups and downs. But the best thing that happened was finding Oscar. We were walking down a street last week, and we started talking to Oscar. He said our companions had talked to him recently, but he had lost their card. He was really excited and he gave us 2 numbers, just in case one didn't work. We set up an appointment for him last week before church, but he couldn't come. He called us the next week and we set up another appointment. When we talked to him again, he told us we talked to him in the same exact place the Elders had found him and that the Elders had set up an appointment with him that he couldn't go to, but he'd lost their phone number. He is very religious and has been feeling a little bit bad in his church and some people he's around, and he really just wants to follow Jesus Christ. I feel like God really put (the elders and then) us in his path because he's ready to hear the Gospel.

I hope everything is going well back in the US!
Que paséis una buena semana [Have a nice week] !!!

Note:  The two pictures below show Luz and her son, Gustavo, at their baptisms.  Skibby loves them dearly!  She and her former companion, Hermana Quispe (2nd from left), taught them in Mostoles.  Their baptism date was scheduled for about a week after Skibby's transfer to Carabanchel, but Skibby's kind mission president gave her permission to return to Mostoles with her new companion, Hermana Clinton (far right), to attend the baptisms.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Skibby sent us the following email.  The photos following her email were sent to us by the father of a former Spain Madrid missionary who is currently visiting there with his wife and daughter.

Date:  March 6, 2017 at 9:52 AM
Subject:  Albedrio:  the pros and the cons

Well! It's been another week here in Carabanchel. This morning we went to a little pueblo named el Pardo. We walked around in the gardens outside the Palace where Franco lived. Pretty cool. It would have been cooler if he hadn't been such a bad guy.

We also took a little nature walk and found a river. Our district played baseball with sticks and rocks. Luckily there were no snails.

Well, I know we've seen miracles here. Martha and Jimmy and other people we run into on the street. Little things, but that's how God works. The only problem is, these people also have the choice. We've tried several times, unsuccessfully to come in contact with Jimmy who, after we confirmed the night before and he said he would reconfirm with us the following morning, has not answered the phone. Martha quickly hung up on us when we told her we were missionaries. It makes me think about Alma hijo [son—“the Younger”] and the experience he had with the angel. We always talk about this crowning moment, and truly it was one. But how many times did this also happen to Laman and Lemuel? A bazillion. Those were also miracles, but because of the way they chose to use their agency, nothing changed for them. Alma used this experience to become a different person and it completely changed the church too.

Pros: Some people use their agency for good things. It costs me a little bit more to contact on the bus than it does on the metro. If there has been one thing I have learned this week, it has been this: the bus doors do not wait for you. I have been learning this the hard way all week. You have to be there waiting. I always try to give people our cards too late. Last Wednesday I practically swan dived out the door to avoid separation from my companion. On one of these occasions we were sitting in the bus, and a few people climbed in and sat close. Dije [I said] "Buenos Dias" but then I didn't follow it up with anything so it was a little awkward. I knew I needed to be talking to them, but I didn't really want to. 

I will finish this story and letter next week! Love and miss you all!


Skibby is on the far left, wearing the backpack.
These pictures were taken following a ward Family Home Evening activity at the church.

Skib in the center.  The former Madrid missionary is on the right.