Thursday, December 10, 2015

Its the most wonderful time of the year!!!!

Hello everyone!! I am quite sorry for not writing as frequently or as
well as I once did, but I shall try to catch you all up on the amazing
things that have been going on here in Jerez de la Frontera, España.
First of all, as the subject line says, it really is the most
wonderful time of the year! Christmas has always been my favorite
holiday and time of the year for as long as I can remember. The music,
the lights, the people, but most importantly, the birth of our Lord
and Savior, Jesus Christ. I don't know if you all have seen the two
new Christmas videos the church has released this year, but if you
haven't, I encourage you strongly to do so. It is so sad to talk to so
many people here that aren't happy or excited for Christmas. They're
lost in discouragement because they don't have money, will not be with
family this Christmas,  or their dearest family members have passed
on. I am filled with joy every time I open my mouth to share with
these beloved children of God, that this is the MOST wonderful time of
the year. The time we have to give thanks for the things that we do
have, especially our family members that are still with us and most
especially for Jesus Christ. He came to this world to save us "from
our sins, from our sadness." Rejoice! A savior is born! That is
exactly the message that we have to share this Christmas and we ALL
can do it! The church has provided us with so many ways and
opportunities to help others find this joy and this knowledge also. We
can be the examples and the lights in this world so full of darkness
and gloom. Share with others the CHRISTmas spirit!
This week was also a really special week. We had our mission council
and also zone conference with Elder Leimer an Area Seventy for Europe.
Both meetings were absolutely wonderful and I have really been
learning a lot. This transfer I've really been trying to be a more
consecrated missionary and do exactly what I was called out here to
do. These conferences were a huge help in that aspect. I received a
lot of revelation and have been trying my best to act on that
revelation to help me become better and to also help to strengthen
those around me.
Currently we have one really good investigator, Maria Louisa. She is
super sweet and we met her on the street about two weeks ago and we've
met with her a few times and she just absolutely loves to talk. She
came to church yesterday which was amazing. We had met with her the
night before and she's been having pains in her legs so she said she
didn't know if she could come and then she decided that she was going
to do it, for Jesus Christ. She was going to take her pain medicine so
that she could walk to the church with us, and she did! She loved
everything at church too. We have also been trying to work more with
the members here and this week we have a lot of plans to go see these
members, so we're really excited! This Ward is amazing and it really
feels like a big family. I'm definitely going to miss it when I leave,
but I don't have to worry about that for at least another 8 weeks.
This past transfer was only a 4 week transfer or else the ones going
home this transfer would be going home the 23-24th, so they changed
this one to 4 weeks and so the next one will be 8 weeks to make up for
the two weeks lost this transfer.
The weather here is finally starting to cool down! A couple of weeks
ago it was still almost hitting 80°, but know it's around 70°. I'm
finding out that I really miss the Idaho weather. I miss snow and dry
cold, but it's been a great adventure for now.
Thank you all for your support and everything you do for the
missionaries all over the world! Love you all and I hope you all are
off to a wonderful Christmas season!
Con mucho amor, Hermana Rowley

Monday, November 9, 2015

Transfers

This week was another wonderful week full of amazing experiences! We
were able to go to Consejo de la Misión Monday and Tuesday. It was
super good. I love all of the opportunities that I have to learn and
grow here in the mission. We talked a lot about planning and using our
time wisely. We have a lot of plans to apply what we learned there in
our area and it should help a lot.
We had intercambios with the San Fernando Hermanas this week too,
which actually was pretty funny. I went to San Fernando while Hermana
Peters came to Jerez to be with my companion. As I was walking to
their piso with Hermana Hansen I was about to tell her about the crazy
week we had last week and then she suddenly stopped and started
freaking out. Turns out that hermana Peters had the keys to their
apartment with her and she was in Jerez...we just went about our day
normal, but then they had to come to San Fernando for the night. The
next day had zone meeting. I gave a little class about weekly planning
to our whole zone, which is actually pretty big. Right now we have the
biggest zone in the mission.
We also got transfer calls this week. My companion is leaving...:( but
she'll do great in the Sevilla Zone opening an area. My new companion
will be Hermana Garcia. I've met her before and I'm super excited to
be companions with her.
We had an investigator come to church yesterday!! His name is Richard
and he's from the Dominican Republic. He's really interested in
everything so keep him in your prayers. Also, keep Isabel in your
prayers. She's the lady from last week who's friend gave her the Book
of Mormon.
Well, not much this week, but I hope you all have a great week and I
hope to hear back soon from you all!
Con amor, Hermana Rowley

Monday, November 2, 2015

It's showering blessings here in Spain!! ☔️

Hello everyone!! Sorry I haven't written a good letter in a while.
It's been a crazy few weeks here. I'll try to catch you all up on
what's been happening the best that I can. Well, as you can probably
tell from the subject line that it has been raining here off and on
for about three weeks now. Sometimes a bit more than other times, but
then there are sometimes that it begins to rain and we are completely
soaked in about five minutes. Last week we had to go and buy boots
because we didn't have any and our shoes were completely soaked from
the rain. Both of them. They didn't dry for about three days. It's
been quite adventurous, but the boots work a lot better.
The works been going quite slow, and we've been knocking on lots of
doors and talking to people, but nothing has been working too well, so
we're working on what else we can do to find the elect. We have a few
ideas and I think we've got it figured out what's going to be the best
way for now, but I'll talk about it later. To lead up to it, I'll
explain this crazy past week that we've had...
So, we changed our p-day to Tuesday to go to Gibraltar with the senior
couple in our zone that is going home this coming month. We had a
blast up there at Gibraltar and enjoyed seeing the monkeys. We took
lots of pictures. The monkeys are nice and all, unless you have
food...then they might attack you. One of them almost attacked me and
stole my peach, another one stole and Elders name tag and tried eating
it, along with Hermana Knowles' Book of Mormon. It was quite an
adventure. After our time up there, we had intercambios (exchanges)
with the Hermanas there in Algeciras and the zone leaders had them
also with the elders there in La Linea, so my companion went back with
Hermana Gale and Elder Martín went back with Elder Andrus to Jerez to
have exchanges there. Hermana Stradling and I had a great intercambio.
We were able to go serve at the soup kitchen there in Algeciras and it
was so fun! I want to find one in Jerez to go help at. We also ate
octopus/squid soup at this lady's house. I'm not sure what it was
actually. It was quite an interesting meal, especially considering the
fact that neither I or Hermana Stradling like seafood...the potatoes
were good though... :) anywho, it turns out that on the way back to
pick us up, the Elder's car broke down...it's about a 1 1/2 hour drive
from Jerez to Algeciras, so we ended up having to stay the night again
there in Algeciras and we didn't know how we were going to get back to
Jerez. We ended up taking a Taxi back to Jerez because the car wasn't
fixed yet. The elders had to go back in bus a few days later to pick
it up from Algeciras. As soon as we got back in taxi, at about two
thirty, we had about twenty minutes in piso (apartment) to change my
stuff and rush to an appointment to eat with a member at 3:00, which
was really good, and then afterwards we ran to the train station to
catch the train at 4:30 to go have intercambios with the Hermanas in
Puerto de Santa María. I finally got back home for good Friday at
about two thirty.
That night we were going to go visit an elderly member in the nursing
home that a member had asked us to go with him to visit her, but he
ended up not being able to come with us, but we went and visited with
her anyway. She is such a sweet lady and was only baptized about 4 or
5 years ago with her husband, but her husband was killed about two
years ago and she has a disease where she can't move her hands or feet
or anything, so after he was killed they had to put her in a nursing
home. We visited her again on yesterday. We happened to visit when it
was almost dinner time, so we ended up feeding her too. She kept
telling us about the missionaries that always came to her house. She
remembers a lot of things really well, so there's nothing really wrong
with her mind or anything, she just can't move by herself and she's
elderly. She's e sweetest lady though. They were such good visits
thogugh and it got a lot of wheels turnings in my head. We definitely
want to go Christmas caroling to the nursing homes in December, but we
want to go visit her one day of the week and maybe other elderly
people that just need a lot of love. We also want to get a group
together to just go every Sunday afternoon and sing hymns to the
elderly people and just visit with them. We have decided as a
companionship that we want to do more service, which is hard to find
here. No one has any yards or anything, and so for most people it's
just cleaning or housework, if they let us do it, which most don't, so
we've thought about once a week we could go help at the soup kitchen,
once we find it, and then also go visit the elderly and sing to them.
We figured this might be the way to find right now because nothing
else seems to be working. I'm so excited to start it though. Just
these few experiences I've had this past week have made me really
excited to do it and nothing brings more joy than serving people.
That's a gospel truth.
We do see other miracles though, and one actually happened last week.
We were on intercambios and I was with Hermana Nelson here in Jerez.
We did a lot of street contacting because we didn't have set citas and
all our plans fell through, but on our way to go try and see a Menos
Activo (less-active), we stopped to talk to this woman, and she kind
of stopped at the same time to talk to us. We introduced ourselves and
I had a Book of Mormon in my hand and she says, "I have that book, and
I'm reading it." What!?!? It turns out she works with a member in
Chiclana and this member gave it to her and told her that it would
give her peace and hope, so she's been reading it, so she willingly
gave us her information to meet with her, and so we met with her on
Monday and it was sooo amazing. She thinks led us that her dad died
about three years ago and from that moment, she kind of drew herself
away from God, and she doesn't feel peace inside herself and she knows
that it's for that reason, so we talked about how this message really
does bring peace and that families are eternal. We weren't able to see
her again during the week, although we had a cita set because we were
stranded in Algeciras, but she came to church yesterday!! Afterwards
she said that she had come with doubts, but after sacrament meeting
she felt full and that she wants to go home and think and read and she
also wants to go tell her mom about her experience and invite her to
come too. She's so amazing! He Lord really does bless us with miracles
in the moments when we think that we can't handle anymore rejections
or do anything right. Her name's Isabel, so pray for her!
This week was also crazy and really sad in the fact that two members
of the ward here passed away and they had one funeral on Tuesday and
the other one yesterday at 9:00 before church, so we only had
Sacrament Meeting yesterday and it was changed to 12:00. Also, a
recent convert teenager got hit by a car on her way to the church
Halloween dance.
A less active member is also teaching us how to knit...so eventually
we are going to make scarves with her. She is the sweetest lady ever
and some things are finally happening right now that might put her
back on the right track to start going to church again. We were so
happy yesterday after visiting the elderly lady, Rosario, in the
nursing home, and then Nani, the less active. My heart was absolutely
full of love and joy.
So it's been a crazy week absolutely full of traveling and adventures.
In fact, I'm writing this as we are traveling to Málaga, which is a
three hour drive, for Consejo de la Misión (Mission council), but I
think we're going to take a pit stop in this really cool pueblo on the
way that dates back to the time before Christ. It's called Ronda and
I've heard that it's really pretty, so we'll see.
It has been an absolutely amazing week full of many learning
experiences and I can't even explain all that has happened these past
few weeks, especially this past week, but I hope these words for now
are enough. I hope you all have an amazing week and that you look for
opportunities to serve those around you. Love you all and thank you so
much for your support!
Yo sé que vive mi Señor y que está iglesia es el reino de dios en la
tierra y que Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador y Redentor y por medio de
él podemos hacer todo. Que tengan una buena semana!
Con mucho amor, Hermana Rowley

P.s. I'll send some pictures in another email.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Jerez de la Frontera!

Hello everyone! I am doing absolutely wonderful here in Jerez. This
week was a little crazy, but really great. Well, starting with General
Conference last weekend. I loved all of the talks and I'm glad that
they have them out to read and to watch so quickly after the
conference. We did a lot of traveling with watching conference in San
Fernando and Cádiz, going to Málaga Monday to Tuesday, having
exchanges with the Chiclana Hermanas, and Zone Meeting in Cádiz, and
it was all super crazy, but amazing at the same time. We've seen a lot
of miracles this week with how much traveling we've done. Well, the
Hermanas and Elders here switched areas a couple of weeks ago, so
we're working a lot on finding and then the work here should pick up a
bit. Well, I will write more next week, but don't have much more time
today. Look for opportunities to share the gospel with everyone! Love
you all!
Con amor, Hermana Rowley



Monday, September 28, 2015

and apparently it's going to be a big change.

Hello everyone! How has you're week been? Mine has been absolutely
wonderful. We have contacted and talked with a lot of people on the
street this week because we're trying to find new investigators. It's
been fun. I love talking to people. It's so interesting to hear about
the many different lives of the people and where their from and
everything. We found a few people that gave us their numbers. One of
them was a girl named Sandra. She was walking home from work and we
stopped her to talk to her. She's super nice. She's evangelist and her
boyfriend is atheist, but she WANTS us to come to her house when her
boyfriends there so that we can share what we know. We have an
appointment set up for tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes. I'm excited
for her.
Well, as far as transfers go, I was expecting to stay here, but I
guess the lord works in mysterious ways. ;) on Friday, I received a
call from President Andersen and he said that the lord has put these
experiences here for me to be prepared for my next area. I'm getting
transferred to San Fernanado to be a Sister Training Leader! I was
quite shocked, it I'm excited to be able to serve in this way.
Although I'll miss Elche and all of the people here, I'm excited for
what this change will bring and all of the things that I'm going to
learn from it. The down side...I have to prepare everything for two
new missionaries here...poor Hermanas. They're not going to know
anything about the area, Ward, members, people, nothing. I was talking
to president in having them come here Tuesday while I'm still here so
that it would be a little better for all of us.
I love the mission and the many edifying experiences that we have
here. I hope you all have a fantastic week! Love you all!
Con amor, Hermana Rowley


With a recent convert and member.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

At times, we need a little change.

hola a todos!!!! This week was really great. It flew by fast as does most of the weeks here. On Tuesday we went to Murcia, about an hour away, for our Tri-Zone Conference. It was really good. We truly have inspired leaders called of God. They talked about the importance of working with the members and the importance of teaching from the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is so important in this work, in this Gospel. It literally is the key to knowing the truth. At one point during the conference I was translating for my companion because they were talking in English and she was the only one that couldn´t understand. It was an interesting experience and really helped me realize how much I really need to improve and work on my Spanish. 
On Friday, I received my new companion for a week and a half. She´s a returned missionary from the 2nd ward here in Elche. She finished her mission in March, so it really is a pleasure to work with her and to learn from her. Friday we were also able to meet with a lot of inactives and they all said that they were going to start coming to church again and we were really excited for them. One of them is Fran, the son of our bishop. I was really wanted to meet him and know his story, why he stopped going, his life, etc. He is really nice and super fuerte(strong) with his testimony. He says that it has nothing to do with his testimony why he stopped going. Only that he gradually just stopped. He says though that Natalia, his sister, calls him every Sunday morning to invite him to come to church. He wants to start going to church again too. He said that the other day he was praying for consuelo and just things and then we called him to meet with him so he knew that was an answer to his prayer and basically the reason for why he met with us. He's super ready to come back to church and said that he was going to come. I'm super excited for him to come back to church and start participating in things again and to also be a huge help for the ward. It was a super good lesson with him. He hasn't stopped praying every day, so that's really good, but he's kind of slacked off on his reading of the Book of Mormon so he's going to start reading it again. He mentioned how ironic it was that on his mission he was teaching the Menos activos and couldn't really understand why they were less actives, but now it's him in that position. Pray for him though and for our other menos activo, Carlos. We had a cita with Carlso the same day and he was so excited when we got there, there was just joy radiating of his face and basically the first thing he said was "I read Hermana!" The last time we had assigned him to read Alma 34-36 and he said that he read more, that he read all of Alma! He was super excited about it too. He shared a little bit with us some of the parts that he thought were important. It made me super happy too! He also said that he was still planning on coming to church with us on Sunday. So for some reason or another both of them weren´t able to make it on Sunday so pray for them please that they´ll have the courage to take that first step to come back into the fold. 
Sasha is doing good. He tried dropping us again, but we had a cita with him and really talked about the importance of asking god for answers and letting him respond, so we´ll see how this week goes for him. 
Thank you so much everyone for your support and for your testimonies. You are all amazing examples to me. I hope you all have an amazing week and look for opportunities to share the gospel with others. 
Love, Hermana Rowley

Monday, September 14, 2015

No life is like the mission life...

Hello everyone!!!! This week was really good. We were able to go to a leader´s training meeting this weekend for the stake because we were asked to speak to the relief society leader´s for about 5 min. Before they were split up according to the callings, the Stake President and one of his counselors talked to everyone. They asked us all what qualities a good leader needs. After receiving feedback they proceeded to tell us that to be a good leader we have to have regular temple attendance and pay our tithing. Something they said that I really liked was when they were talking about tithing they said that paying our tithing shows in what place we put our Heavenly Father in our lives. In not paying tithing, we put the world before God. They also mentioned that when we don´t have desires to fulfill our responsibilities in our callings it´s because we are spiritually sick. If we are in a position to where we don´t fulfill our callings, when we don´t go to the temple, when we don´t pay our tithing, we need to do all that we can to "heal" ourselves. This is my challenge to you all too. If you are spiritually sick, read the scriptures, pray, serve, have Family Home Evening, go to the temple. Do all that you can to heal yourself. There is a huge difference in being a member of the church and being converted to the Lord. 
I´m still working with Hermana Benitez until this Friday and then a different girl will come for the last week of the transfer and then we´ll see what happens. I might stay, I might leave. It´s all in the Lord´s hands. This week I officially hit my halfway mark. The time flies by so fast in the mission, but it is worth every single second. 
Our investigators are doing well. Sasha is doing great. Last week we didn´t really have a lesson with him. It seemed as if he was kind of avoiding us, so one night we saw him and stopped to talk to him and he said that we´re wasting our time and that he´s not going to change. He can´t and he doesn´t want to. We had a lesson with him the next day and he had the same mind frame and the next day too, but the same day that we had a lesson with him in the morning, later on he called us and told us that he had been reading a little bit in the Book of Mormon and "looking in the mirror" and didn´t like what he saw and so he really does want to change. One of his major difficulties is believing in God. He doesn´t have a belief or faith in God, but that´s changing little by little. Although he can´t see it, we can see a change in him every time and that he really is starting to believe. 
It was a fabulous week and I hope that yours was just as wonderful. Thank you all for the support that you give me and for the prayers on my behalf. Love you all and have a fantastic week! 
Con mucho amor, Hermana Rowley

Monday, August 31, 2015

There´s always something new to learn.

This week was full of adventures. With a mini missionary and new investigators, we just had an amazing and uplifting week. 
Sasha is doing great. He´s basically completely changed as a person from the first moment we met him. His whole being is different and its a good thing. In less than one week, he´s gone from being a strong alcoholic that is constantly drinking to only a little bit every day and on Friday he didn´t have a single drink! He said that he felt super great too! He´s still a little unsure about the religion, but he´s so grateful for us to help him change and to realize that it´s time to change. Not only for his sake, but for the sake of his daughter too. I can´t even describe how important having the spirit is in lessons, especially with him. He´s very smart and very scientific, but when he feels the spirit, that´s when he rethinks things. He came to church yesterday too! He really loved the classes, but he had a struggle with Sacrament Meeting. He says that he gets bored easily and yesterday, it just didn´t go well for him, but we had a cita with him later and after talking for a little bit, he said that he would come with us again. The only thing is, is that he´s going out of town this week for business and if things go well, he´ll be gone for about a month and then afterwards, move back to England. If things don´t go well, he´ll be back in about a week and continue on here. We told him that there´s missionaries in England and the church is everywhere, so it´ll be fine. It´s all in the hands of the Lord. 
I learned something new while explaining to an investigator that I try to get to know the person and understand their circumstances and situations so that I can help them realize the importance of the basic principles of the gospel and take the first steps on their own. Mas o Menos that's what I learned. For example, more in this past week than anything, I've really been trying with every lesson to ask the people for questions that they have and be guided by the spirit to answer them and it has definitely made the lessons more meaningful because we are talking more as people and not just as "teacher" and "student" which is really good. I think it helps them feel that we actually care about them. It´s also true that when you´re teaching, you learn just as much or more than the person that you are teaching. 
The missionary work here is picking up a little bit. Diligence and obedience are key in this work. Thank you all so much for your love and support. Have a wonderful week!
Love, Hermana Rowley

Monday, August 24, 2015

The start of a new transfer.

Hola a todos! Well, this was transfer week and now I´m with...a mini missionary (member)! Her name is Hermana Benitez and she lives in Alicante. I will be with her for three weeks and then for the next three weeks afterwards, I will be with a different mini missionary, but I don´t know who that will be. Hermana Cook was transferred to a different area and this transfer there´s an odd number of Sister Missionaries, so President Andersen is having me be with mini missionaries until next transfer. 
This week was pretty good. We showed one of our investigators the church building because she doesn´t want to come to church yet, and she really liked it. She was really surprised that we don´t have any crosses in the church. I explained to her that it´s because although we recognize that Jesus Christ suffered and died for us, we celebrate more that he lives today. Every time I bear my testimony like that to someone, my testimony strengthens even more. I am so grateful for the gospel in my life and the many blessings that I have received. Many people have asked about my family and if all of them are members and when I say yes, they proceed to ask if all of them are active members and with pride I tell them that every single one is active in the church. It´s so true that we take the things for granted that we don´t realize we are so blessed to have. Just seeing all of the families here in Spain or all the people who are the only members in their families is really humbling for myself. I´m so grateful to have faithful parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that are truly converted to the gospel and to our Heavenly Father. 
We were able to have a few lessons with Sasha this week. It´s really different teaching him and I absolutely love it. Instead of teaching someone the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, or  just because they need to know that, we really teach him according to his needs. He really wants to change his life and to stop smoking and drinking, but he´s lacking faith and confidence in himself that he can really change. He told us the other day that he doesn´t think that we should meet with him anymore because he doesn´t want us wasting our time because he doesn´t think that he can really change. Please pray for him. He doesn´t understand how we can have so much faith in him that he really can change and he lacks so much faith himself. 
Thank you everyone for the amazing examples you´ve set to me all my life and especially here in the mission. I love you all and hope you all have an amazing and fantastic week!
Love, Hermana Rowley

Monday, August 17, 2015

let the festivals begin! and end...

The month of August here in Elche is the time for festivities. They celebrated from the 1st of the month until the 15th and everyday people are playing with fireworks, and there´s parties here and there in all of Elche. The 13th was a really special day and they did a huge fireworks show that lasted for about an hour and then for the finale, they shut off all of the power in the city center and shoot off this huge firework that lights up the whole sky and if you´re watching, all of Elche can see it. It was really cool to see. I´ve attached one of the pictures from that. It was a long two weeks and a little tough to set citas and teach people, but considering how much everyone was partying, it wasn´t too bad. I´ll tell you though, Spain sure does know how to party. 
Right now we are actually teaching this guy from England, Sasha, that is very very intelligent and very scientific. It´s always interesting to have lessons with him because he has so much questions. We started off teaching him with basically nothing to base off for him, because he doesn´t really have faith in anything, so we´ve talked a lot about that and he´s actually changed a lot since the first time we met with him. The other day the cita we had with him was amazing. He offered the first prayer and asked for humility and then we were able to teach with the Spirit and he said that he´s 100% sure that this "mormon" thing is for him. The main problem he has right now is the smoking and drinking, which he wants to stop! He told us the other day that when he´s with us, he doesn´t have the desire to do those things and doesn´t even think about it either. Yesterday we had a lesson with him and the Bishop and it went so well. The bishop was able to answer basically all of his questions using the gospel and the work and plan of God and it was a super good lesson. He says he´s going to come to church next week, and we also have an appointment with him tomorrow, so pray for him!
Yesterday we had an amazing sacrament meeting yesterday. One of the area Seventy, Elder Moreira came and talked to us and he talked about the importance of the Sacrament. Also, the same Sunday, two of the original missionaries here in Elche were here on vacation and were asked to bear their testimonies. They said that when they were here in Elche about 40 years ago, there were only 5 members. It was a really neat experience to see how amazed they were by the growth that has happened in these years that now there´s two wards here in Elche. Being on the mission has helped me see the bigger picture of missionary work. It´s not just something that we all should do, it´s what we´re here to do in this life. It´s our test. I love missionary work. 
This week is transfers. We´re not sure what´s happening yet, but we´ll see. I´ve been in Elche for three transfers now, so everyone´s expecting me to leave, but it´s all in the Lord´s hands. 
Also, this past week, us missionaries here in Elche were able to see our beloved MTC president, President Lovell and his wife. They came here to Elche for the fiestas because he´s always wanted to come, so they came and visited some friends here and were able to see us. He also talked to the YSA and we were able to go to that too. 
Overall it was a great week and it´s going to be another great week. Love you all and thanks so much for the support you all give me! Have a fantastic week!
Love, Hermana Rowley


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Hopefully it's on the downhill...the weather, that is.

How is everyone doing this week? There was some long moments his past
week, but it was still such a great week. We saw a few miracles
actually.
On Monday, Hermana Brown, from Ward 2, was with us because her
companion had to go to Malaga to do residency. We were out going to
some of our back up plans and we went to try and go see this future
that lived in this one building. A couple of days before this, my
companion and I had also gone to try and see this person, and someone
answers the bell (you have to ring the bell outside to open the door
to get to the apartments inside) and let's us in. We then tried the
apartment that we thought he lived in (I think it was the 6th floor
and some of the bells are messed up here, so it's hard to tell exactly
where they live from the bells) and no one answered. We then went and
tried the fifth floor and again no one answered. After that we decided
to try the seventh floor, so we got in the elevator and Hermana Cook
pushed the button for seven and the two lit up and it went down to
floor two. That was super strange. We both were a little "weirded"
out, so we pushed the seven again and it went up to floor seven and no
one was there either. We then left figuring that no one was home or
anything. So this happened a couple of days before Hermana Brown was
with us, so we went to try and see the same person with Hermana Brown,
and the same exact process. Someone answers the bell, we go up to the
sixth floor, fifth floor, seventh floor, and nobody answers. After
that we just decided to try all the doors, so we tried the fourth
floor and someone answered, but they didn't know who the person was we
were looking for, and the same happened with the third floor, and then
we get to the lowest floor, the second floor and we ring the doorbell,
and this really nice lady answers and tells us that they've only been
here in Elche for about a week and they're from Italy, her husband was
born in New York, and she told us to come back to talk to her! This
was the same exact floor that the elevator randomly took us to the
other day. It literally was a miracle. We're going to go and meet with
her and her family tomorrow, so pray for her!
On another occasion, we were walking around in the city center and no
one was answering their doors, or if they did, they didn't want
anything, so we decided to say a pray to be guided on where to go.
After the prayer I just started walking and when we got to the end of
the street Hermana Cook chose the direction, and then when we got to
another intersection, Hermana Brown chose the direction, and this
happened for about four minutes we were just walking, and then the
first person that kind of walks close to us that wasn't working or
anything we start to talk to. He told us that he was Atheist and he
didn't want to give us his phone number at first because he didn't
want anything, but we just got to talking and we ended up talking with
him for about an hour! It was a super good discussion too. We talked
about a number of subjects and he asked us a lot of questions about
the mission and all the stuff we left behind and why we're here and he
was really surprised by how firm we were and that we really knew our
purpose here. In the end he told us to write down his number. The only
thing is, is that he's going to be working out of town for 25 days, so
we won't be able to meet with him for a while, but it was literally an
answer to our prayers. It takes less than five minutes for Him to
answer.
We had interviews with the president on Wednesday and they went really
well. I am so grateful for the leaders that we have to help and guide
us to do our best. Not only as a missionary, but as a person too, and
I want to be able to help others gain this testimony too, and that's
why I love the mission so much, because that's what I do every day.
Help others grow their testimonies.
Overall, it was a hard week with amazing moments. Thank you all for
your amazing examples to me and I can't wait to hear back from you
all.
Love, Hermana Rowley


Monday, July 27, 2015

Can anyone enjoy the heat more??

Well, maybe not the heat, but the experiences that we have although it's hot. The mission is the best and I wouldn't change the experiences I've had here to help me learn and grow for anything in this life. 
Our miracle for the week...
The other day at 9:30, we had a cita with our investigator, Jean Carlos. It was awesome! We started off talking about faith and repentance and eventually led to baptism. We proceeded to ask him to be baptized, and really, he does want to be baptized. He knows he's going to be baptized, he just doesn't feel prepared for it right now, but he's going to pray of the 8 of August is the day the lord had prepared for him to be baptized and he understands everything really well about the importance of baptism and all, and I am super excited for him to receive his answer. When we were done talking to him it was about 10:30, so we really needed to go, so we started to walk quickly away, but standing a little behind us had been a guy and when we started to walk he said, "I have a question." He then proceeded to ask if we were testigos (Jehovah's witnesses), and of course, we told him no and explained who we were. He then asked about our beliefs and we told him a little about the restoration and explained the Book of Mormon a little bit. Hermana cook then had him read the invitation in the introduction to the book and immediately after he said, " where can I get this book?" I quickly snatched it out of Hermana Cook's hands and gave it to him and said it was a present for him. He was a little surprised, and we asked him if we could visit with him another time and share more with him. He gave us his phone number to meet with him again. His name is Steven and he's evangelist, and they have a lot of the same beliefs, so we'll see how it goes. It was literally a miracle though. Afterwards I voiced "I wonder how long he was waiting there," and Hermana Cook said that she saw him when he first got there and it was at least half an hour that he was standing there listening to us, so he heard us talking all about baptism and everything. It was super cool to talk to him. It was really cool though too, that all day long I only had one more invitation left to the Joseph Smith musical for Saturday and I almost gave it away to a few people, but I just couldn't. I wanted it to be the right person. Steven was that person. I didn't even have a thought of hesitation in giving it to him as I had with the others. I really hope and pray that he reads the book and has desires to learn more about it. 
Yesterday, we had Ward Conference and it was really good. The stake president talked about an experience he had with his son on the your camp out that they were walking in the middle of the road with the cliff on one side and the mountain on the other, and his son pulled him towards the mountain and told him to walk over there. He then proceeded to explain that we need to walk as close to safety as we can. Yes, maybe we're safe walking in the middle, but we can gradually drift to the cliff. We need to be anchored in Christ always and trust in him. That with a few other things were really good. 
It was a great week full of great moments, and I hope that you all also have wonderfully fantastic moments this week and that you enjoy the life that our Heavenly Father has given us. Love you all! 

Con amor, Hermana Rowley

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Semana de Milagros!!!

Hello everyone! How are we all doing? I am doing absolutely fantastic. This week was amazing. There's been a lot of learning and growing experiences. This week started off great with Carmen, the lady from last week and all that day, I just had a feeling that this week was going to be really really great, and it was even more so.
Tuesday was a day of "milagros." We had a cita to meet with Sasha, the guy from England and it was very interesting, but very cool at the same time. Well, he's had a lot of experience with religions and just so many different things. He knows about seven different languages and has traveled a lot and he's only 33 years old, so he's had a lot of life experience. He said he started drinking when he was 12 and he was just asking a lot of questions. We basically taught all of the lessons in one with him. Seriously though, from the Book of Mormon to the restoration, the plan of salvation, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Ten Commandments, the word of wisdom, deep doctrine, and quite a few other things too. It was pretty crazy, but it was really cool because he said that he's even surprised himself because he's actually interested in what we have. He came to the cita not expecting much, but he says that he's going to read the Book of Mormon, and he's going to come to church to learn more and we're also going to meet with him again. Although it was a crazy lesson, it was a super good lesson. He also said the closing prayer and he said that our faith entices others to believe too. It was super cool.
We went to try Paula, a future of ours, and she was home and invited us in!! She's from Argentina and she's a non practicing catholic because she doesn't quite believe in everything in the Catholic Church, but we had a lesson zero with her and explained the Book of Mormon and she was very accepting to our message and she says that she's going to read it, because she loves to read, and she's going to pray about it. She's super nice and it's cool because after we were there for a few minutes, her daughter opened up her door and was just sitting in her room, but was definitely listening to what we were saying. It was....wow. Amazing. The spirit was super strong there and she agreed to meet with us again and even told us to just toc(let it ring once and then hang up) her phone and then she'll call us back so that it doesn't cost us. She really is super amazing and super prepared by the Lord in this time. 
We had an amazing zone meeting on Friday. The workshops were about putting all of our effort into the work ALL of the time and to "launch out into the deep," go a little bit farther and we will see the rewards for our work. (Story of Jesus with the fishermen to cast the nets on the other side) we set a goal as a zone to receive 60 new investigators this week and at zone meeting we had about 30, so we needed to get about 30 more before Sunday (about a day and a half), and the zone leaders send out texts at night to tell everyone how much we have, and they sent their message on Saturday and we had received 60 new investigators! It was super cool to see that as we're united in purpose, we will see the miracles. As he lord says, "if ye are not one, ye are not mine." It is so true. We have to all be united in this work. As a companionship, our goal for the week to receive new investigators was 6 and we received 7! It was one of the only times so far in my mission that we've reached that specific goal as a companionship. It's really amazing the miracles we can see as we're obedient to our heavenly Fathers will and not focused on our own. 
On Sunday I gave a talk in sacrament meeting and it was supposed to be 5-10 min. long and it ended up being about 20... I guess I take after my brother Devin...;) someone afterwards though said that it seemed like I'm really accustomed to talking and that it was really natural, so that's something I've never heard before. My companion left yesterday to go to Málaga for the day and so I've been staying with the other Hermanas from ward 2 and it's been really fun staying with them and getting to know them more. 

So, as you can see, we've had an amazing week, and that's not even all of it, but that's all for now. I hope everyone has a fantastic week full of many missionary opportunities! Love you all! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Joys of the Mission

hello everyone!!! How is everything going???? I am doing just absolutely fantastic here in Elche! This week was really really great. 
Yesterday we had two of our investigators at church! One of them was a young man that´s been investigating the church for about 3 months and this was the first time he came to church. We´ve been asking him every week if he could come, but the thing is that his parents work every day except for Sundays and on Sundays they most the time do little family vacations and just go somewhere and do something for the day, but he was able to come this week. We´ve been asking him to meet with his parents too, but not much has happened with that at this point. We did go with him to the church on Friday to start his Family History and he´s filling out the papers with his parents so that´s super exciting and maybe we´ll be able to meet with them this week! Our other investigator at church was a lady from Romania that we´ve been meeting with for a couple of weeks. She´s super sweet and she hasn´t been able to make it to church the past couple of weeks, but she did this week and everyone was really welcoming to her and she kind of just fit right in to everything. 
We has transfers this past week, and everyone´s companionships changed but ours, so we have a completely new district and as a companionship, we´ve been doing a lot of changing in everything to improve the area and the work here. Especially now that we have a phone, we can start new and fresh. I´m really excited for what this new transfer is going to bring. I can feel that it´s going to be a really awesome transfer and just from this week it already has been.
Yesterday we had an amazing experience while contacting. We were on our way to the church for choir and on the way we saw this cute little old man that always stops and talks to us and gives us candy, so we talked to him for about a minute or so and then continued on our way. While we were walking there was this lady walking right next to us at about our same pace and we both new that we needed to talk to her, but we were trying to figure out how to start the conversation, then by divine intervention, my companion dropped her candy while trying to open it, and this lady commented on now she has to continue without candy, and that was the start of the conversation. We ended up walking and talking with her for about 10-15 minutes. She´s really nice and she was really curious as to what the mission is, so we explained it to her a little bit and we shared a brief version of the Restoration with her and she didn´t object to anything we said she just commented that it was really interesting. She was really impressed that we were so young and that´s what striked her the most about us, because she´s a strong believer in Jesus Christ and God and she said something about how she wished that she found what we had before she got confused or mistaken about everything. It was a really cool experience, the only down side about it is that she lives in the area of the other Hermanas, so they´d be the ones teaching her, but that really doesn´t matter. What matters is that were helping others come unto Christ and to take the steps necessary to return back to the presence of our Father in Heaven one day. We got her contact information though and passed it on to the other Hermanas right away and they´re going to call her today and set up an appointment to meet with her. I´m really excited to see how it goes though. 
Right now in the summer is the time for vacations and that´s exactly what´s happening here in Elche and Spain. We meet so many people all the time from different places around the world. Yesterday at church there was a family visiting from France and the dad is from England so we were able to talk English with them a little bit and it´s really cool to meet such a variety of people everyday and every week. It´s definitely not something that you experience everyday in Idaho. 
Ohhhhh...I just don´t have enough words to tell everything and to describe the joy that I have to be out here in Spain serving a mission for my Heavenly Father. This really is the best two years/1 1/2 years of the life, up until this point. I hope and pray that you all are sharing the gospel in your own way and that you´re experiencing the joy that it brings into our lives when we really do put others needs before our own. I love you all and hope that you all have a fantastic week, and don´t forget to write me!!! :) 
Love, Hermana Rowley

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hot weather here in Elche

Hola a todos!!!
Sorry that I haven´t written a general letter in a while. This transfer and everything has been pretty busy, sobusy that I´ve gotten behind on my journal a lot, many times, so then it´s hard to know exactly what to write to you all. I´ll try my best to update you. 

A couple of weeks ago, we had our last meeting with President and Hermana Deere. Hermana Deere gave a really good workshop about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-29. We talked about how we are all the middle man or at least need to be the middle man. He had some, not a lot like the third man, but he treasured his talents and developed more without the envy of the one with more, but also not choosing to hide his talents. I think that´s something that we can all apply to our lives; that sometimes we may not have everything that other people have, but we have what our Heavenly Father knows we need and we can be grateful and choose to act to gain more. 

The 20th, we had Fatima´s baptism. We´re super happy for her. She really acted upon what she felt. We only met her for the first time and started teaching her the lessons in May and one Sunday she told us that she wanted to be baptized because she felt good at the church. She´s a sweetheart and she seems so much more happier now with the gospel in her life. I´ve attached a picture from her baptism to this e-mail. 

The Sunday right after her baptism, we were on our way to church for choir and we were walking along the Cami del Gato, and it´s a really windy road, and this guy on a motorcycle was passing a car going super fast on a turn and we were walking by and seconds after he passed we heard this huge crashing noise. We quickly turned back around and ran back to see what had happened. The man did not look good at all. His motorcycle was on fire about twenty yards away and he was laying next to a pole with one of his arms and one of his legs completely turned the opposite direction. He hit the pole with his body and broke part of the pole. Someone called the police immediately and the ambulance and firemen came too. We were literally the very last people this guy saw and us and the guy in the car were the only witnesses. It really makes you think how precious life is when you see something like that. We went to the hospital the next day to see a man in our ward that had a stroke a while back and while we were there, we tried asking to find our if this man was alright, but without knowing his name, they didn´t know anything. We hope and pray that he is alright and that his family is doing okay as well. 

On the 27th, we went to the wedding of our investigator, Claudia! It was kind of cool to be there for it. I haven´t been to very many weddings to start off with and so it was very interesting. She was so beautiful and so happy. What made it even more special was that we knew how much this meant to her, that she could finally be baptized, which she´s been waiting on for years! 

This past Saturday, we had a Tri-Zone meeting in Murcia with our new president, President Andersen. Him and Hermana Andersen and their family remind me so much of my own family. They have 7 kids and 18 grandkids. There's nine kids and almost nineteen grandkids in our family. He's really outdoorsy and likes to talk...sounds like my dad. :) They live in Idaho...they have horses and like to go horseback riding. She reminds me a lot of my mom. Her personality and the way she thinks I think is really similar to my mom. Her looks though kind of remind me of my Grandma Rowley. They are really nice people and are definitely called by God to be here as our leaders. This was the same Saturday as the 4th of July, so in the middle of when we were all eating, an Hermana went up and started to play the national anthem on the piano and pretty soon every American missionary (and some others) were standing up singing with pride our national anthem. So even though we may not be in our home U.S.A., we were still able to remember it. Anywho, we heard that President and Hermana Andersen were going to go to our ward on Sunday in Elche, so after the meeting, I asked them when they were going to go to Elche and they had planned on tonight, so I told them and invited them to Claudia´s baptism at 7:00 and they said that they´d love to come, so they even offered for us to ride with them back to Elche in their car, so we did and enjoyed getting to know our new mission president a little bit more. 
Claudia's baptism was the best! Words can't describe how happy I am for her. She was so happy, and when she found out that the mission president was there at her baptism, so was so shocked and I knew she felt even more special. We sang Hija de un Rey (Daughter of a King) for her because that´s her favorite song, and she ended up crying. It wasn't my best performance, but I think the Spirit was there and that helped it sound better. I was super happy for Claudia though, and she was super happy also, you could see it on her face. She's been waiting for this for a long time, and now it finally happened.

So, about three weeks ago, we lost our phone in a park, so we´ve been doing the best we can without one, which is actually super hard to do. We´ve gone to the church a bit and used the phone there, but the work´s been kind of slow without being able to set citas, but we finally got a phone on Saturday, so know the work should pick up a bit. This week is also the start of a new transfer and Hermana Cook and I will both be staying here in Elche for this transfer. As you can see from the title of this letter, it´s really hot here...The bad part about it is that it´s a humid heat, which is a lot worse than dry heat, so you´re basically sweating all day long. I´m kind of a little accustomed to it now though, but it´s still hot. 

Well, I hope that this letter has caught you all up a little bit, and I hope to here back from many of you soon. This really is the work of our Father in Heaven and I hope and pray that you all are having missionary experiences of your own, and when you do, please share them with me! I love to here missionary experiences. I love you all and hope that you have a fantastic week. 
Love, Hermana Shanda Rowley


p.s. the pictures are of a sunset here in palm tree captial, Elche, Fatima´s baptism, and Claudia´s baptism  :) 



Monday, June 8, 2015

Hola a todos!!

Hello everyone! How is everything going?? It´s hot here. The humidity isn´t any help, but we still work our hardest every day. We don´t have many investigators right now, but we have been working a lot with the members to strengthen them more and to help them in any way we can. The members are a really important part in this work. We can´t really do anything without the help of the members. The investigators that we have though are progressing really well. We have two baptisms coming up. The 20th for Fatima and the 4th of July for Claudia. They´re both really special and I´m really excited for them both. Claudia even got up and bore her testimony in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. She´s an example to all, especially me. I love my companions. They´re both really great missionaries and I´m excited to do the work with them.
This is the last month with our current President Deere. Next month we´re going to have a new president, President Anderson. I´m excited to meet our new president, but I´m definitely going to miss President and Hermana Deere. They´ve helped me learn a lot and are really amazing people.
Well, I don´t have much else to say this week, but I´m doing great and I hope that you all have a fantastic week full of moments of peace and joy. I love the mission and I love you all!
Love, Hermana Rowley

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hola a todos!!

This week has been really great! We are now in a trio. Hermana
Meneses, Hermana Cook, and I. We also have iPads now and have been
trying to think of the best possible way to use them in the missionary
work. Right now we are planning for two baptisms. One fore the 14th of
June, and the other for the 4th of July. I'm really super excited for
Claudia, on the 4th of July. She's been an investigator for about two
years now and has been gradually growing her testimony and learning
with the missionaries. I don't know why I'm so privileged to be here
in this time to see her baptism. One of the things that was keeping
her from getting baptized was getting married, but now she's getting
married the 27th of June and getting baptized the next week. She told
us the other day that she's more excited for her baptism the for her
wedding at this time. She really understands the importance of
everything and really puts her trust in our Heavenly Father for
everything. She's amazing. Love you all and have a great week!
Love, Hermana Rowley

Monday, May 18, 2015

I love the mission

Hola a todo! This week was a great learning experience. That´s what I love about the mission so much. I have learned, am learning, and will learn so much more. This week I´ve learned that no matter how hard (or hot) it gets you have to keep going. You have to "forget yourself and go to work." We had intercambios this week with the SHE´s and something that the one I was with told me was what someone told her onetime "Work until it hurts." Many times that´s how it goes, but I think it should be work until after the pain because that´s when we can see the blessings. The blessings come after the trials.
This week we had an eating cita everyday. We didn´t eat lunch/dinner at our piso all week. It was crazy and I´ve never eaten so much food in one week in my life. They feed us here like we´re giants or something. It´s really good food though, it´s just a lot.
It was kind of a slow week, but we did a lot of things with the members that I think´s going to help us have more missionary work in the next few weeks. We talked a lot with the members about friends that they could share the gospel with and to think about and pray for them, so it was really good in that aspect.
Well, I don´t know what else to say at this point. Any questions? I love e-mails! :) Thank you all for the support you´ve all giving me through everything and keep helping the missionaries where you live and praying for all the missionaries, because we definitely need prayers and help in this work. Love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!!
Love, Hermana Shanda Rowley

Monday, May 11, 2015

Another great week, as I predicted.

Aloha everyone!!! I am just doing absolutely fantastic here in Elche. As I was expecting, this was such a great week for us and for me especially.
First off, remember that woman that I told you all about last week? The one that we had to run to catch up with? Well, we had a cita with her on Monday and she was so excited to learn. She says that she doesn´t know what to believe because one religion says this, another says that, and so on. We were talking to her about the Book of Mormon and we were reading Moroni´s promise with her, Moroni 5:3-5 and she was reading it and kept reading until the end of verse 7 and when she finished she was so excited, she started clapping her hands and basically jumping up and down in her seat exclaiming, "It´s true! I know it´s true!!" She was even crying. We could feel the Spirit really strong there and it was such an amazing experience to see a reaction like that. We´ve had another cita with her since, and she even came to a Stake Relief Society with us. She really likes it so far and we´ll continue teaching her and see where it goes. Her name is ....A. (haha some people in my family laugh at me/with me for using only letters and say that all they have to do is say the alphabet in their prayers and they get everyone. :P It is pretty funny.)
Tuesday we started the long trip to Sevilla. We basically spent all day in a bus and stayed the night at a hotel there in Sevilla for the conference the next day with all 201 missionaries in our mission. The conference was a-ma-zing. Many people thought that this conference would be all about getting ipads, which it was, but it was more about principles of the gospel that we need to use in our lives, such as repentance, agency, listening to the Spirit, and so much more. This conference is not only going to help me in the mission, but help me in my life. They talked a lot about is being agents not objects and how we should be in control of our decisions and the things we do daily. The people that came to speak to us were Elder Dyches of the Seventy and Elder Allen of the Missionary Department. Here are a couple of quotes that they shared with us that I really like...
"Are you an agent? or are you an object?" Sometimes we let things control our lives when we should be the ones in control.
"If you always do what you´ve always done, you´ll always get what you´ve always got." and to go along with the first, "If you´re not satisfied, quit doing the same things." Sometimes we´re not happy about some aspects of our lives, but we don´t do anything to change it. Another one..."A bird sitting in a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because it´s trust is in it´s own wings."-unknown
As we strive to have the spiritual strength to overcome all, we won´t ever be afraid of the unknown and unexpected.
I just learned so much there that I want to apply in my life, especially my life when I get home. We spent the rest of the day after that in the bus and we arrived in Alicante at about 1:00 in the morning, so we spent the night in the SHE´s (Sister Training Leaders) piso and went to our area the next morning.
Yesterday was a great day. I was able to Skype home to my family! It was good to see some of them and talk a little bit.
Well, I don´t have much more time to write. I hope all of you are doing well and I appreciate all of the e-mails! Love you all!
Love, Hermana Shanda Rowley



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Finishing a great week and preparing for another...

Hello everyone!!!! How is everything going??? I´m really enjoying Elche. It´s really pretty here and the people are really great. It´s a bit bigger than my previous area and I love it. There are a ton of Palm trees here too. It´s known to be the palm tree capital of Europe, and I believe it. The picture is a view from our window.
This past week in our mission was a "Week of Consegration." We worked hard to really do the Lord´s work and find new investigators that are prepared and we found 6 new investigators. One of the people that we found, that we have a cita with today is a woman, well, I´ll just tell you the story. We had just finished English class and our cita cancelled on us and all of our back-up plans didn´t work out either, so we were on our way home and we walked passed this woman. My head was down because I was writing something in my journal, but I felt a slight impression of something when she walked by, but we kept walking and my companion said that she had a really strong impression that we should talk to this lady, so we walked really fast to catch up with her. By this time, she was about three streets away, so we hurried along and caught up with her. It turns out that she´s met with the missionaries before, but about eight years ago and she´s really nice and we have a cita with her today, so we´ll see how it goes.
We have an investigator, M, that I met for the first time the other day. He´s about 20 years old and from Ecuador. My companion and her companion before me had only talked to him once or twice before. We met with him and talked to him about the Plan of Salvation. For some reason I was really struggling with the language during this lesson, well, more than usual at least. The spirit was there though for sure and he´s very prepared by the Lord in this time. We asked him to baptized and he said yes! We don´t have a baptism date right now, but little by little he´ll understand more. He has a lot of questions though and wants to know for himself, so please pray for him!
The past couple of days were really hard. Basically all of our plans failed on us and so we were walking around a lot to our back-up plans and knocking on doors. In addition to walking around a lot, it´s REALLY hot here right now, and apparently this isn´t usual for this time of year. I hope it cools down a little bit or I´m going to die...well, not literally, but figuratively. ;) My companion and I have decided though, since our plans keep failing on us, it´s God telling us that we need to continue to work hard to find new people that are prepared. We´re continually praying for help to do exactly that, so please pray for us too!
Last Sunday and this Sunday, the choir director asked me to play for choir for those Sundays because they didn´t have a pianist for those days, but yesterday, he asked me to play for the actual thing in June, so now I get to play the piano for this big huge program of singing and narrating. Pray for me that I do well! Just pray for me for everything. :)
This week is going to be a long, but fantastic week. I get to go back to Sevilla!!! Basically an all day trip back there. All of the missionaries in our mission are going and two general authorities are coming to talk to us, so it will be really great. I´m really excited for it!
Well, this is it for this week. Thank you all for everything you do for me. I really appreciate the e-mails that I get from you all. They really mean the world to me. Although it´s hard at times, missionary work is the best and I wouldn´t trade this experience for the world. Continually look for opportunities to do missionary work, because there is no other joy that can replace this one. Love you all and hope you have a great week!!! I know I will!
Love, Hermana Rowley

Monday, April 20, 2015

New Area




hello everyone!!!! How are you?? I am doing great! It was a long, but fantastic week. I spent the first part of my week packing and saying my goodbyes to some people and then Wednesday, took the long trip over to Elche. Elche and Huelva are on complete opposite sides of the mission, so yes it took all day long and I had to switch buses at one point. Huelva was such a great starting point, and I´m excited to learn even more here in Elche. My companion is a native and basically only speaks Spanish. It´s awesome! It´s definitely testing my Spanish skills, and I have already learned so much just the few days that I´ve been here. It´s definitely a help with the language having a native companion. She´s really awesome though and I love her!!
Our district consists of 5 companionships, 10 missionaries. Half of them are native speakers and half of us are foreigners. It´s really great just being surrounded by the language. I understand almost all of it too, and the speaking is coming along slowly, but surely. When people talk really fast though...no way. I understand the concept of what their saying, but there is no way that I could translate it word for word.
The members here are great too. This weekend, we had Stake Conference here in Elche and we went to Alicante because the church is newer there although it´s the Elche Stake. The conference was great and really focused a lot on missionary work. 
I don´t have much else time to write, but I just wanted to let you all know that I love you all and that missionary work is the best!! Please please please involve yourselves in the work wherever you may be. There is no other substitute for the feeling you get when you´re doing missionary work. 
Love you all and I hope that you have a fantastic week!!!!
Love, Hermana Rowley
p.s. the picture is of us missionaries in Huelva our last P-day before transfers

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Transfers

Hello everyone!!!
How is everyone doing?? This week was absolutely fantastic, per usual. We were able to share a lot of the talks from conference with some of our investigators and they really seemed to like it. We had cleaning checks for our pisos this week and it went really well. I really enjoyed the scripture that they shared with us in D&C 109 about the dedication of the Kirland temple and how our homes are like temples and we need to always remember that.
We´re teaching this family here that are from Bulgaria and their really awesome. They´re very accepting of what we have to say and they relate it a lot to what they already know. They´re willing to learn too, which is super cool. Basically they´re whole family lives in that neighborhood, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Almost every time we go over there, we meet someone new. Yesterday we went and there were three new girls and two of them and one of the others that we´ve already met all wanted a Book of Mormon for themselves. It´s a really cool experience and every time after we go over there I just feel so good and I know that all of their family is going to be baptized eventually. It might not be super soon, but I know that it will happen.
So Saturday, we got calls for transfers. It´s official, I´m getting a new companion...and a new area!!! We were all expecting my companion to leave since she´s been here for three transfers already and we´re done with training, so she was telling everyone here that she was leaving, but God works in mysterious waysand now I´m leaving. I´m a little sad because I was all mentally prepared to stay, but it will be good. I´m getting transfered over to Elche, which is on the complete opposite side of the mission than what I´m on now. It´ll take about a whole day to get there with switching buses and everything inbetween. I´m going to have a native companion, so I´ll be speaking a ton of Spanish, which will be good. I´m excited for this new change and all of the new people I´ll meet and everything I´ll learn.
Yesterday was my last day in church here and we had testimony meeting, which was amazing. The Spirit was so strong and I got up and gave my testimony. A lot of the testimonies were centered on missionary work and how important it is. I love missionary work and I hope and pray that all of you are finding ways to share the gospel. I also love hearing about all of the missionary experiences you all are having. Remember, the field is white, ready to harvest.
I hope you all have a fantastic week, I know that I will!!!
Love, Hermana Rowley



Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter/general conference

What a wonderful time of year we have to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Did you all watch the #BecauseHeLives video I talked about last week? If not, I encourage you to watch it and try to share it with as many friends as you can! It truly is beautiful!
This week was a crazy week in Spain with Semana Santa. Every day the centro was packed full of people and there were processionals every day in the centro of Jesus Christ and the Virgen Mary. It´s an interesting thing to see. Some of it´s sad though when they have the processionals of Jesus being crucified and the music is just so haunting. I love that we celebrate His resurrection and that He lives. What a wonderful gift we have with the knowledge of the gospel. 
General Conference was absolutely great! With the time difference, the first session are from 6:00-8:00 at night and then we watched the second sessions the following day, but I was able to watch them all, including the General women´s session, but not the Priesthood session. I heard that it was really good though and I´ll probably go back and read/watch the talks from that later. I loved every talk, but my most favorite talks were by President Uchtdorf, Wilford W. Andersen, and Michael T. Ringwood. I learned so much and I can´t wait to apply it in my life in the mission and my life after the mission. One of the things that really stuck out to me was the saying, "Don´t let the fear of failure overshadow faith." Do we have true faith to do anything and everything the our Father in Heaven asks of us. At times it´s really hard. It´s hard to share the gospel. It´s hard to stop a bad habit. It´s hard to change your life for the better to follow God, but we shouldn´t let the fear of failing to do so overcome our faith. Faith is the first principal of the Gospel. Without faith, we have nothing. I encourage you all, if you missed any session to go back and watch it. There is NOTHING more important than hearing the word of God from the prohets on what we need to do in our lives in these last days. I have really learned to love General Conference and I hope all of you realize the importance of it. 
That was the highlight of my week and not much else out of the ordinary happened. Our investigators are doing good and some of them came to Noche de Hogar and some others came to General Conference. The work is slow, but it´s all in the Lord´s timing. I hope you all have a wonderful week and I can´t wait to hear from you all about how everything is going. I love getting e-mails! ;) Love you all and have a fantabulous week. Make it the best week of your life. 

Love, Hermana Rowley




Monday, March 30, 2015

Happy Easter

Hello everyone! 
How is it going?? Once again, I do not have that much time to write, but I just wanted to write you all and ask you to take advantage of this Easter season to share the gospel with friends and family. Some of you have probably been hearing about or even seeing the new #BecauseHeLives video, but if not, here it is: http://www.mormon.org/easter?cid=HP_FR_3-27-2015_dMIS_fMRMN_xLIDyL1-A_. I encourage you all to watch it and to share it with someone else too. It´s a wonderful thing that we are able to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ this time of year. Also, General Conference!! I´m so excited to listen to our prophets and apostles speak to us and I hope you all are too! It´s not all of the time we get this opportunity and I didn´t really realize it until I was out here on the mission. I hope you all are doing great and I love hearing from everyone and I hope to hear from more people too! I love you all and hope you have a great week!!
Love, Hermana Rowley
P.S. We sometimes get hit on by weird people in the streets, but we heard a pretty funny one the other day from a guy. He said "Oh how beautiful is the word of God." haha Even though he was a weirdo, it´s a pretty good pickup line. ;) Anywho, have a fantastic week!

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Rain in Spain does not stay mainly on the Plains

Hola everyone!!!
As you can probably tell from the subject line, it poured this week. Almost a whole week of nonstop rain. It was a bit hard to do missionary work in, but besides that I loved it. I love the rain so much!! I hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patrick´s Day on Tuesday. This week was fantastic! 
We had a Zone Conference on Thursday and it was wonderful! It was great to meet other missionaries and to see missionaries that I haven´t seen for a long time. A really cool story is that this guy from our ward actually,F, went on a mini-mission with the Zone Leaders in Sevilla. He´s wanting to serve a mission and decided to do this to see how it is. Anyway, we were all there in Sevilla for Zone Conference and the missionary that baptized him a year ago was there and was about to go home. He gave his "dying" testimony and was talking about F and that when they were teaching him the lessons he told them that he wanted to be just like them. He was able to see F as a missionary. It was such a cool experience to witness. 
Funny story: we went to Palos on Tuesday night and the whole night we were trying to get ahold of this reference there, K, that we got from F (see story above ;)). As we were teaching S and A at this park, one of S´s friends comes up and tells us his name is M---, and S tells us that he´s just bringing his friends to us, which is abosolutely awesome. Anywho, we taught M a lesson and then went to get his contact information and it was the same as K, the reference. M is K and the whole time we were teaching him, we had no idea...it was hilarious. Side note: they told me what my name is in Twi (the language in Ghana). It goes off of what day of the week you were born on and your gender. Mine´s Ama. :) 
Every week we have Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) at the church. Up until this point we haven´t had any of our investigators there and only two of them actually came to church. We decided to try and invite everyone that we talked to to this activity. We figured since they couldn´t make it to church because they had work in the mornings, they´d probably be able to make it to Noche de Hogar in the evenings. We tried it and we got three of our investigators there and with them coming this past week and everything, we plan to get a lot more next week. I´m excited to see them all come to church. I know that right now, that´s all that maybe they can do is come Friday´s for NdH, but eventually they´ll come to church on Sundays and have that desire to have this gospel in their lives. My testimony for Family Home Evening has grown a lot, and if you´re not doing it, I would encourage you to do so and even invite friends that aren´t members and introduce them to the church. It´s scary, but so worth it in the end. 
Another cool story, from yesterday actually. We´ve been meeting with this Bulgarian family for a while and just teaching them, but the haven´t really been progressing at all, so they´ve just kind of been a back up plan sometimes or when we don´t have any set citas we go see them. Anywho, we went yesterday and they have basically all of their family leaving in the same house, neighborhood, etc. Mom, Dad, cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents. A lot of people. When we went yesterday, there was a couple of people that we haven´t seen before, but anyway we were talking about how there´s three really important things we need to do: Orar (Pray), Leer las escrituras (Read the Scriptures), and asistir a la iglesia (attend church). We were talking about the church one and they asked about where it was and what times we meet and such and one of the girl´s asked if it was Spanish, other languages, etc. We told her that it was Spanish and we had English. She then said, "Well now you have Bulgarian." They want to come to church on Sunday!! We also talked about Noche de Hogar with them too and they´re planning on coming! They also asked us when we could come back, which doesn´t normally happen with them. It was a great experience.
We had Ward Conference yesterday and us and the Elders and one of the members of the Bishopric sang I Need Thee Ev´ry Hour a capella. It went really well. I´ve having to improve my sight-reading skills in my piano playing. We sometimes sing songs in Sacrament Meeting that I´ve never heard before in my life, not even in English. I haven´t butchered anything completely yet, so that´s good. 
I cannot wait for General Conference and Easter! This is the most excited I´ve ever been for it I think. We want to try and invite all of our investigators to it too. It´s weird though here because It´s at 6:00 to 8:00 and 10:00 to 12:00 at night. I´m so excited though and hope that all of you take the time out of your Saturday and especially Sunday to watch it. 
I´m excited for the coming week and everything about missionary work. I hope you all have fantastic weeks and I can´t wait to hear from you all. Thank you for all of the support and prayers!
Love you all!
Love, Hermana Rowley