It has been a long time since we have posted any of Kathleen's emails due to the fact that we (her parents) have been out of town, so this post is going to try to update everyone on what she has been doing for the last month!
01/19/15 - Transfers (the Unthinkable)
I have a lot to tell you guys about this week, and I never feel like I have time! First off, I´ll need to explain the title of this email. So I was pretty sure that Hermana Sánchez was going to get transferred out of the area this transfer (five transfers in one area is strange enough let alone three with the same companion). What I wasn't expecting was me getting transferred too! Unfortunately the president had been thinking of closing the area for one companionship of missionaries for a while, but there just wasn't sufficient work in Segovia for four missionaries. (It´s a one companionship area). I have one request though, PLEASE PRAY FOR THE AREA, BRANCH and ELDERS.
A few days before we got transferred, we committed Jennifer and Angel and their friend Blanca to baptism. I had been praying pretty hard that I would learn how to listen to the Spirit better in lessons, and this lesson was wonderful. The spirit really guided the lessons.
One thing I´m realizing in my mission is that it doesn't really matter what good qualities or skills you have, if you aren't listening to or following the Spirit, you are not going to teach much. As missionaries it´s not our job to teach doctrine and ask people to be baptized. It´s not our job to dictate which path to take. The Spirit is a much better teacher. When our investigators hear and listen to the Spirit, they progress. It´s our job to provide earthly words to the Spirit and help people recognize the path before them, and that it´s the only path to lasting happiness. In this lesson with Jenifer, Angel and Blanca, I noticed that we were saying things so clearly and that we were asking great questions that helped them resolve their own concerns. When we asked them if they would be baptized, their answer was a resounding "Yes!"
Right now I´m in Barrio 3 (It´s in the Carabanchel area of Madrid). The awesome thing is about being in this area, is that I get to go to the temple! It´s going to be a fun few transfers here. I´m with Hermana La who is from Ecuador. She´s super nice and we have a ton of common interests like fashion. The Elders and Hermana Sánchez told me that she´s AWESOME. She can only say a few phrases in English, so I´ll have to work super hard to make sure we can communicate. She wants to learn more English, so I´ll help her practice. Luckily, we´ve been able to talk all day without many problems.
I´m in an area with six other missionaries. I have only met a few so far. One of which is Elder Weixler. Does this name sound familiar to you, Mom? It should. He´s the cousin of Garret, someone I went to Elementary and High school with. He´s a really good missionary and he´s hilarious! It´s his last transfer, so I´m excited that I actually get to work with him!
01/26/15 - I Dreamed in Spanish and I Learned A Lot About Teaching
I had a pretty interesting first week in Barrio 3! First off my Spanish has gotten A LOT better. My Spanish was pretty good with Hermana Sánchez, but we would always hold conversations where we were both speaking in our native language, so I mostly only practiced my Spanish with other missionaries and the people we taught, so I had no idea how good my Spanish was. (Fun fact, most of the other missionaries thought I was Hna. Sánchez when I was on the phone until I asked what a word meant or something like that). I even had a dream in Spanish! A few of the members were surprised when I said I've only been out for four months. Most had guessed I´d been out for over a year.
1. New area is great. We have lots of investigators and 8 missionaries in this area. I miss Segovia (please keep them in your prayers), but I like this area too.
2. The ward is HUGE. Something like 200 people or more. It´s a lot of fun!
3. We have an investigator-slash-less-active, N, from Buenos Aires. (His baptismal record got lost somewhere, so technically speaking, he´s not actually a member, and will probably have to get re-baptized. He didn't even really know he was a member until recently). He peppered me with questions yesterday about why I decided to go on a mission. I felt like the conversation was being led by the Spirit. I think he really has a desire to go himself.
4. I learned a lot about teaching this week. The Savior was an incredible example of a teacher. The three things that stuck out to me is that He did three basic things: He asked questions to help people understand and know for themselves (in addition to using scriptures, explaining, and testifying). The goal is to help people know for themselves, not to blindly believe us. He taught with love. Despite the number of accusers he had, he always taught them and served them. He always forgot his own ego and sought to bring others to repentance and lasting happiness. He taught with the spirit. I've learned that it doesn´t really matter how smart, talented or skillful you are as a missionary. If you can´t teach with the spirit, the message will not be received or turn into lasting conversion.
02/02/15 - Seeing Miracles
This week was hard, but it went by really fast. Hermana L is an incredibly hard worker and has a gift for finding people to teach. This last week we had 27 lessons, which felt like a lot! We've been talking about it a bit, and we've realized that we have a lot of investigators, but not a lot of people who are excited to make changes in their lives. We really want to pray and focus on helping our investigators progress this week.
Our usual day is different than in Segovia. We usually have lessons all day, but if something falls through we generally pass by houses or try to have lessons in the street.
This week we had a lesson with a man whose faith in Jesus Christ is just developing. He has had an incredibly hard life and has many things to repent of, but he has a humble heart and wants to change and follow the Savior.
[We were told by some one] that repentance is not necessary in order to obtain eternal life. Our objective as missionaries is to preach repentance. Repentance is not a punishment and it´s not just a commandment. Rather, it´s a tool to help us heal from the stains of sin we have in our life.
There was a distinct difference in the room as we attempted to teach and as he raged on, it was clear to us that we had the power and authority to teach, as we had been commissioned to serve the Lord. Sadly, we could see that he that he did not want to listen to us, and we were unable to say much. As missionaries, but especially as followers of Jesus Christ, we can´t yell, scream or force people to have faith. We could only bear our testimonies, but we knew that was all we needed to do to be heard.
We have another investigator, who is 20 years old, and had just lost a baby. She has an unbelievable amount of faith, and although we haven´t been teaching her for a long time, she knows she can be with her baby, Dn, again. She´s very willing to keep the commandments and move forward with her life. (I should mention, she is also a heavy smoker and is trying to quit. It´s really hard for her right now and she really needs prayers and help to move through this).
We have a lot of work to do here, but we´re seeing a lot of miracles! :)