Monday, January 26, 2015

Shanda's 1st week out in the field

Hola a todos!! How is everyone doing?!?!? I am just fantastic! This has been a long and exciting week and a half since my last e-mail. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to be in the CCM for six weeks. It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I´m going to miss all the amazing people there, but I´m just as excited to share the gospel in the mission field. Our last day at the park we were able to be with our companions from the MTC, and it was a really good experience. My favorite one from that day is we started talking to this girl, she´s 19 years old, and she just got done teaching a roller-blading class(which everyone does here :) ), and we were just talking to her and she was so happy and smiling and laughing and she had to go, but we ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and she was so excited and said that she was going to go on the Metro right then and look at it. It´s amazing how the Lord just prepares people to hear and accept his Gospel. So that was my favorite experience at the park, though there were many good ones. So on Tuesday, we got up at about 4:45 and prepared to leave the CCM. We took a train to Malaga which took about two and a half hours, but it flew by. The landscape is absolute gorgeous also! I love seeing the rock fences in the fields and trees. They´re so much better looking than barbed-wire. ;) We also saw a castle on a hill off in the distance, which I loved! Seeing old castles and historical things is so cool to me! Malaga is really pretty. I already like it more than Madrid. It´s still a city, but it seems more open and the buildings aren´t as close together as in Madrid. I officially saw the ocean for the first time in my life this week! It was gorgeous! I couldn´t stop looking at it! We went to the church closest to the train station and that´s where our official missions basically started. I went out and proselyted with a Sister Missionary in that area for about an hour and we taught the first lesson to someone. Those whose areas were closer to the mission home received their companions right away and did their orientation and left. Those of us who were a little farther away received our companions a little later on in the day and stayed the night there so that we could apply for residency the next morning. I love my mission President and his wife. They´re awesome! My companion is Hermana Samuelson and she´s from Utah. She´s been out for a year and two months. She´s super fun and super crazy and super awesome! :)  So Wednesday we went to our area, which is Huelva. It´s on the west right next to Portugal. Our piso (house) is actually really nice. We each have our own bathrooms and everything. I heard that it was really warm in the Malaga mission, but where I´m at, I haven´t really warmed up all the way since I got here. All´s well though. I love it! I´ve met quite a few people here, investigators, less active members, and member, etc. Each one is completely different. It´s really sad to see some of these people´s lives. I want to help them so much, but the only way I can is to share the gospel with them and it´s up to them to accept it, but they don´t know how much it can change their lives! It´s so exciting though when people say that we can come see them or that we can come back! I love the people here! I can´t wait to meet more of them. I try to say ¨Hi¨ to everyone on the street and try to always have a smile on my face! Church on Sunday was definitely different than what I´m used to...that´s for sure. We had Relief Society first, Gospel Principles, and then Sacrament Meeting last. I had the opportunity to introduce myself to everyone in the ward during Sacrament Meeting, which was okay. Everyone is so different and interesting. It makes me laugh sometimes. We went to a member´s house for lunch on Saturday and had this soup dish, which was actually pretty good. I was a little scared at first, but I tried it and really liked it. That´s basically the only home-made dish I´ve had since I´ve been in the field. Huelva is kind of big, but not too big. There´s Chino stores everywhere and they´re really handy actually. We walk by the bull fighting ring here occasionally and I´m so tempted to go inside...not. ;) I´m excited to try a lot of new things here in the coming weeks and I´ll try to tell you all about it. There´s just so much to write and not enough time to write it or to remember it all, but I love you all and thank you so much for the many e-mails. I appreciate them! I hope everyone is doing great and I hope you all have a fantastic week!
Con amor, Hermana Rowley

Thursday, January 15, 2015

4 days left at the Mtc

Aloha todos!!! Como estan???? All is good here in España. I can´t
believe it´s almost over though, with only four more days here!! Last
P-Day we went to Estadio Bernabeu here in Madrid, for all of you
fútbol fans out there. :) It was a really cool experience. I love
teaching our "investigators" (teachers) here. It´s a really great
learning experience. The Spirit is so strong here. We always have
amazing devotionals and talks here. It´s really hard to even explain
all of the emotions associated with being here. I´ve been trying to
send pictures more, and they say that a picture says a thousand words.
I really love my district and I´m going to be really sad next week
when we all go our different ways, but I know change is good, even if
in the moment, we don´t like it. While I´ve been out here, I´ve
definitely grown a lot. The scriptures are amazing and I guess I
always took them for granted, but I would encourage all of you to
study, not read, but study them with full intent. You will learn and
grow so much. We also sing quite a bit here, which I absolutely love!!
It´s so fun to be singing all the time, especially songs of Zion!!
Well, I don´t have much time and my thoughts are really scattered
right now. I love you all and thank you so much for all of the
e-mails!! Con amor, Hermana Rowley

Thursday, January 8, 2015

12 days left!!!

Hola Todos!! Feliz año!! How was everyone´s New Year?? It was great
here in el CCM. We did some fun stuff. We watched Miracle on 34th
Street. One of the things that I really enjoyed, was we sang
everyone´s national anthem New Year´s Eve, spontaneously of course. So
we had the U.S., Swiss-Austrian, Finland, Canada, Scotland, Italy,
Spain and Australia all represented. It was super fun and a really
cool experience! On Friday, we watched Meet the Mormons, which I had
never seen before, so that was a really good movie. The park this week
was fantastic!! My companion for the day was Hermana Rathfon, and she
is so sweet!! We were able to hand out 5 Book of Mormons. People here
are awesome! We had a lot of really cool experiences. One of my
favorite experience though, was after we got off of the metro on our
way back to the CCM, I started talking to this girl, R who is only 17,
but she looked a lot older (like most the people here...). Anywho, she
lives close to the temple and she was really nice and I invited here
to come play Fútbol with us everyday. She hasn´t come yet, but I´m
hoping she comes sometime before I leave. Every Sunday we have
¨Singing Hour¨ where we practice some songs, and then go out on the
steps of the temple and sing. It´s really fun every week to just sing
for an hour and a half. Sunday was absolutely fantastic, like
basically every day here...;) The devotionals they have here are so
cool. (I´m running out of adjectives to use to describe my experience
here...) Sunday night, we watched the Joseph Smith movie, which I´m
sure all of you have seen, but I always feel the spirit, especially
this time. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a prophet of God,
and I´ve also learned of the amazing spiritual power of the First
Vision. It´s so powerful in a lesson. Every time we recite it in a
lesson, it brings the Spirit like nothing else. We have about 20 new
missionaries here, the Native Spanish speakers. They seem really nice.
One of them complimented on my horrible Spanish, which made me feel a
little better about it. ;) Well, my time´s up this week. I love you
all and I really love hearing from all of you!! Love, Hermana Rowley

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Shanda's 3rd week on the mission

Hola a todos!! Como estan??? Sorry, but this letter´s going to be kind of short. Around here, with the time given us, it´s basically sent pictures or write, and I sent pictures this week. Christmas here in the CCM was fantastic! We just have amazing devotionals all the time here. Christmas was no different. We watched the live broadcast devotional by Russell M. Nelson from the Provo MTC. If available, I would encourage you all to watch it! We also watched the Christmas video by the church quite a lot here. #SharetheGift :) It was great to be able to skype home on Christmas. I really love the Spain MTC. Right now there´s only about 35 missionaries, but today actually we are getting 8 Russian learners, and then next week, we will get about 20 native spanish speakers, so it´ll be a little more crowded.