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 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  :)