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