Monday, November 14, 2011

Positive development

Some good news to share. After a couple visits to the doctor, they have a positive test result for a bacteria that they are now treating. The little fellow goes by the name of H. Pylori. Amber was prescribed a few different medications that she will be taking for a couple of weeks, at which point the doctor will see her again and determine how well she has reacted to the medicine.

We're grateful that we now know what was causing her so much trouble, and we're hopeful for a good result from the medicines. She's really excited for the opportunity to return to her mission. Keep those happy thoughts and prayers coming!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Breaking News...

We found out this weekend that Sister Lewis will be coming home from Madrid a bit early due to illness. She is expected to arrive home late in the evening of November 1. We only found out that she had been sick on October 19, but apparently she had been sick for at least a month before she told us.

We are sad she is coming home early, but excited to see her. We hope to get her well and back on her mission very soon!

Thanks so much for all of your love, prayers and support for Sister Lewis and our family!

October 27

Well, today, (the 27th) is a very rainy day in Madrid.

I actually got the Webb family newsletter yesterday...I was fairly surprised. We went to the mission home for an activity of hermanas, (we carved pumpkins) and Hna. Watkins had to make a quick trip to the office for some Book of Mormons for some of the other hermanas, and there was the letter waiting for me...It must have gotten there yesterday.

And yes, I do get the pictures from the blog of gramma and grampa
Sounds like the family is super busy!

Things are going great here! We are still teaching our family, and the lessons are going really well. We are working on fixing a baptismal date with her, but she wants to be really sure that if she changes religion, that she's going to be making the right change, but is willing to make the change when she gets there...We're going to help her get there faster than the thinks!

We also started teaching another man, he's about 60 yrs. old. And our first lesson with him was amazing. When he didn't show up we gave him a call, and he told us to come back later that evening. We didn't think he'd show up the second time around, but there he was. We were pretty much blown away by the answers he gave to our questions. He told us that his Catholic baptism wasn't really a baptism because he was a baby and doesn't remember a thing...not many people say that. We have another appointment with him tonight.

I'm so excited to hear where Jake is going on his mission! A new elder entered the field last week, and right now is with the elders in our ward. Our district leader told us that there is going to be a new elder in the district, and that he happens to be Elder Lewis...And for a minute a thought! Hey, maybe it's my cousin, but then I thought no, my family would've told me, and I'm pretty sure his birthday is in January. Everybody keeps asking if we're related...especially the members in our ward.

This week is the last week of the transfer, but things being what they are, we're pretty sure that I'm staying here with Hna. Pulgar (although there are 4 hermanas who are entering the field this transfer, and no body ever knows what's going to happen.)

I think that Rootbeer happens to be a very American thing (like maple syrup) I can't find rootbeer anywhere, or maple syrup, and what do you put on a pancake if you don't have maple syrup...sometimes the small things are the things you miss the most, or the things that you notice the most.

Well, I think that's about it...
Love you lots!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A New Investigator!

Hello for reals!

Well this week we found a new investigator! She is actually a reference from a member, and is really amazing. She has a 7 yr old son, who turns 8 in November (It may be a two for one) She is really open to listening, and is looking for a church that can really fill her soul. She came to church this last week, and got up and bore her testimony. (This week was fast and testimony meeting, after gen. conf. and our stake conf.) It was really great to listen to what she said. We are both pretty excited to be able to keep teaching her.

We may have found some future investigators in the house of a member...but we're still working on that.

We ate in the homes of a member a few times this week, along with our elders. I'm always amazed at how much food elders can eat. It's incredible.

We had intercambios this week, but did them in our piso. Hna. Pérez came to Barrio 2 with me, and Hna. Pulgar went to Barrio 4. It was nice not to have to lug our luggage around. This week was our temple trip, and afterwards we went to the park and had a pic-nick, and played some uno. It was a pretty good way to spend a p-day, and we are enjoying the last bits of summer. This week it has really started to cool off. The last few weeks were cold in the morning and at night, but hot during the day. The changes in temperature gave just about all the missionaries colds and/or the flu.

I didn't realize that Ryan is taking piano lessons. I guess it gives him something to do. And I guess now is the time for recitals and performances, which really just means that we (or you) get to eat a lot of ice cream and yummy treats!

-And don't worry, we all get along great in the piso! We're actually hoping that nobody gets transferred next week. It's pretty unusual to have so many natives in one apartment that it's really fun for them...and they all tell me that I'm great to have around as well, since I'm not the typical Utah missionary-

Last year I had heard about the "witch's night out" parties that some people had, they sounded really fun. And I love the idea for a hat...I'd love to see a pic!

How fun for the girls soccer team!

Holy cow! It sounds like Gramma and Grampa are busier than I am! I didn't think they had so many things to do! I guess it's good that they are keeping busy!

And just a thought-I have officially hit (more or less) the half way point of my mission! It's really weird to think about! I can't believe that it's almost been nine months.

I can't think of anything else to say...
Love you lots!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October 12


First, I guess some happy birthday wishes are HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!

I was thinking the other day that it was probably time for a change in the bishopric. That's exciting, and I'm sure that it will be great.

I hope that nobody gets too bored on Sundays! (Although Sundays are great days for writing letters to your favorite missionary!)

I guess it's good to have some "normal" weeks at home. And birthday shopping is always great!

We are still looking for more people to teach, but we have a couple of good references from the other Madrid missionaries, and a few more people that we are starting to teach, so things are starting to look a little bit better.

There is absolutely no English in the piso. We speak Spanish all the time (which is why my Spanish is so good!) The native speakers learn and practice their English more when they are in piso with Americans.

Hna. Pulgar is from Valencia. Her dad is a Spaniard, and her mom is from the Philippines. Her family joined the church when she was about 8, so they are all members.

Today, we are going Ice Skating! Should be lots of fun.

Just so you know, we usually do our email in the afternoon because the locutorios are about the only things open during mediodía, but sometimes the activities that we want to do require a different email schedule.

The week before General Conference was the Ward Conference, and last week was our Stake Conference, so we've been sitting in Conference a lot these past few weeks.

Also, I loved reading about the trip (Grandma and Grandpa's) to the Opera. It's a little sad that we (the young missionaries) can't participate in stuff like that, but it sounds like it all depends on your mission president. I've heard stories about missionaries that could go to approved opera performances, or plays, and even missonaries that had permission to choose between a bull fight or a soccer game. But right now we don't have that privilege. I'll just have to learn about the Spanish culture through the members and my companions!

Well, I think that's about it for now, maybe I'll send some pictures!
Love, Amber

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wasn't Conference Great!


Wasn't conference great! I sure loved it! And I have a few more conference tidbits for everyone!

First, We watch the exact same broadcast as you, only we have the translators. We can hear a little bit of English before the Spanish kicks in, and they don't subtitle the music. So unless you happen to know the song, or have a hymnbook of your language handy, you are kinda out of luck. But that is why they sing the same "basic" songs every year. Because everybody has "We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet" and what not, so yes we sing-along only we do it in English.

Second, and way more cool, is that those general authorities who know and speak Spanish pre-record their talk in Spanish! So when a seventy from South America gets the opportunity to speak, we get to hear him in his native tongue. (I noticed that when we listened to Sis. Allred during the Relief Society Meeting, that the Spanish version sounded just like her English, only it was in Spanish. And after the recording ended, we finished listening in English.) And did you know that Elder Scott speaks Spanish? He pre-recorded his talk as well. It was really cool!

Plus, it was way fun to watch conference in the Stake Center. Lots of people brought food and had picnics between sessions on Sunday. And we got to see lots of the missionaries in Madrid, and it's suburbs. Almost like going to the conference center...almost.

It was cool to hear about the new temple in Provo, what a great way to use the land, and whatever happens to be left of the tabernacle! I was about the only one who laughed, or chuckled, at the temple in Star Valley - nobody else knew why Pres. Monson would go there and fish. But we, or those in Madrid, were way excited for the temple in Paris. We had actually heard some rumors about a temple in Paris. It sounded like the members in Paris knew the temple was coming from the newspaper articles that they were reading. There was, or is, a law in France that says that every building has to be completely open and available to government officials, even religious buildings. Basically they couldn't build a temple before because the government officials can't enter all the rooms of the temple. I'm not quite sure what happened to that law. But still pretty cool.

I'm glad that Sophie is looking forward to Halloween, I'm kinda excited to see what they do for Halloween in Spain.

It's been starting to cool down at night, but in the day it still gets pretty hot.

For first p-day here we just chilled in the piso, last week we went to the mall, and today we went to the Zoo. It was really fun! And while we were sitting there waiting for the Sea Lion show to start, we were watching the penguins, and I couldn't but help to think of Ryan. First, because he was a penguin (for Halloween) last year, and Second, because I think that Ryan would make a great Dolphin Trainer! Can't you see him running the Dolphin Shows at Sea World or somewhere! I think he's got the personality for it!

I'm still getting used to the new area. Not that it's bigger, it's just different. So many more people, buses, the metro. And the streets are all about the same. But I love the new area, and I have a great companion. Hna. Pulgar and her trainer (who I replaced) actually opened the area....well, maybe not opened, because there have been elders here for about forever (It's hard to pull all the missionaries from the ward that happens to have the APs) But there weren't hermanas here for about two years. It's tough to open a new area, and we are always looking for new people to teach! But there are a lot of people I'm sure we'll find some!

Love you lots,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

People Everywhere!

I'm super excited to be in the city...and I was ready for a change from Guadalajara.

I bet we will do a few temple tours, but we don't actually meet in the stake center (which is the building at temple square).

Our chapel is pretty close to our piso, but we are about 30min. from the temple. We pretty much run by metro stops. Our metro is Ventas, and the temple is at Pavones. (Just in case you wanted to look and see.) We live in Calle Colomer.

We have quite a few less actives, and recent converts that we are working with, but we don't have too many investigators...we are still looking.

The main difference between Guadalajara and Madrid is that there are people everywhere! So many more people here...and they all have some place to be. In Guadalajara, the people would stop and talk to us for the most part, but here everyone has somewhere to be and something to makes contacting a little bit more difficult. We do most of our contacting in the street. There are several main streets in our area, so there are a lot of people around. We seem to be more centrally located than I thought last week.

We were talking about learning to drive the other day, the differences between here and home, so I was thinking about Ryan in driver's ed. And I had to explain a little bit about the ranging process.

I'm glad that Brenna has a calling, sounds like it will be fun. And she will definitely learn a lot more from conference at's just to easy to do other things at college, or throw a conference party and miss out on all the talks, even though the T.V. is tuned to conference.

I can't imagine Sophie not loving dance, choir, and violin. It sounds just like her!

I had heard about MagicJack, I think, but maybe the name just sounds familiar. But its great that you can talk with the senior missionaries, although I can't really imagine the senior missionaries living the same rules that we just doesn't seem right.

Have lots of fun at the family party this weekend!
Love, Amber

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Greetings from...Madrid-Barrio 2 to be exact. That's right, transfers happened.

They actually pulled the Hermanas from Guadalajara, now there are Elders.
For a couple of reason I think. 1st, because it's what the Lord wants. 2nd, because 5 hermanas went home this transfer, and none entered the field. And 3rd, because there just aren't sisters there to help us out.

The sisters that helped the most were pregnant, and gave birth this past weekend, or spend a lot of time on bed rest for a troublesome pregnancy. And there are 3 boys preparing to serve missions who can help the elders a ton. And because we didn't have sisters to come with us, we had to cancel lessons, or teach lessons in the street.

So I'm here in Barrio 2 (2nd Ward)...we live behind the Plaza de Toros, but other than that, I'm not exactlly sure where I am...North east part of Madrid (I think).

My new companion is Hna. Pulgar...that is my third Spaniard for a companion. That's right 3...And we share a piso with Hna. Pérez, and her new companion, Hna. Farías, who is from Argentina. So I live with 3 native Spanish speakers...Still can't believe my luck...I think The Lord really wants me to learn Spanish.

Didn't even realize that it is football season...I'm so lost here. But I guess that's good.

I felt kinda bad to leave the elders with an area with no investigators. We were still looking for people, and the investigator that was progressing most, will not continue with the elders...but I'm sure the elders will run into him and help him along, even if its just a little bit.

Ward conference, sounds like fun...I have yet to experience a ward/stake conference here...but I think that Guadalajara had its ward conference before I got there, and I think stake conference was a month or so before general day I'll get to go to one. But General Conference is coming up...Yay!

Sounds like school is going great for Sophie...Choir and dance classes sound just like her! (And planning what teachers she wants in the future too!)

I didn't really think that you would be able to come get me...after hearing the stories about the mattresses, the washing machine, and the wall repairs, I didn't think it was going to happen...and to be honest, if I start law school next year, I don't really want you to come...I'd rather spend a week or two at home before we head out east. And I think a trip out east would be fun!

I'll start thinking about Christmas things...But it feels a little bit early to be thinking about Christmas...(although I guess that you can buy Christmas stuff already)...and you know how I feel about thinking about Christmas early...but I'll get around to it and let you know.

Love you all lots!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pictures Sent Sept 7

Hna McMurray and Hna Lewis in Guadalajara

Hna Wilson and Hna Lewis

The Hermanas!

Pres. Silva, Jenny, Hna Perez and Hna Lewis
at Jenny's Baptism

Hna Perez and Hna Lewis with Jenny at her Baptsim

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sept 14, 2011

Hello Everybody!

Glad to hear that everybody is finally where they belong, and that everyone has started to develop a routine.

We did spend some time in Marchamalo last week, one of the towns, and finally found a less active. She was looking for the church when we were having the good-bye party for Hna. Marín.
So we exchanged numbers, but something happened with her phone. And we finally got in contact. We had a lesson with her, learned that her mom is also a less active, and that her two children aren't members.We have some work there.

We had some good contacts in Marchamalo. I don't know that last time that the missionaries from Guadalajara ventured out there...And unless they work in Guadalajara, the people don't really need to come into town.

And yes, there are buses...Let's think of it like a Cashmere-Wenatchee difference.

In my personal study, I'm working on becoming better acquainted with the lessons that we teach, and am working my way through the Bible. Finished the Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants (in English) And am reading a few chapters in the Book of Mormon, in Spanish.

And companion study, we have to read from the missionary handbook, share what we learned in personal study, and finish planning our lessons for the day. We also watch clips from the training
videos. And the Spanish is mostly there...still lacking in vocab. But its definitely better. I find myself thinking a lot in Spanish.

And next week is transfers!!!! Who knows what will happen. I'll let you know when I can.
(I can't believe how fast these last six weeks have gone by...Its incredible!)
But things are still going great!
Love, Amber

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Great Week in Guadalajara!

It was a great week in Guadalajara. The baptism of Jenny was great! The spirit was really strong, and it was great to hear her testimony. You could tell that she was really
grateful for what we had done, and was really excited for her baptism.

We have spent a lot of time ¨knocking doors¨ and we do spend most of the time pushing buttons until someone lets us in. But sometimes we get references that way. We are going to start working in the small towns just outside of Guadalajara. We are having a hard time
finding people, so we are thinking about trying something a little bit different. I think that there are a lot of people who live in these towns that have never heard of the church. I hope that we'll find people there!

Hna. Pérez is from Málaga. Her parents are members, but her siblings aren't. And she got baptized with her parents when she was 9. So she's been a member for just as long as
other missionaries, but in a little bit different way.

But it sounds like you have had a busy week. With all the out and about. I sure hope that everything goes well. I'm sure that Brenna will have everything packed and ready to go when its time to leave, even if she finishes just when time runs out. Hopefully everybody can get plenty of rest this weekend. I'm sure that everyone will need it.

This week we had intercambios. I stayed in Guadalajara with Hna. McMurray. (The hermana who is friends with the elder who served in Wenatchee. Somebody was telling me about her a while back) She was serving in Guadalajara before I was, so we visited her converts and the less actives that she worked with while she was here. It was fun for everybody to get to see her again, and was fun for her to get to see them. But she loved visiting with our converts and investigators as well. The intercambios can be a logistics nightmare, especially since we are so far away from all of the other hermanas, but in the end I do enjoy them. I enjoy working with the other hermanas, even if I don't get to leave my area.

Today was temple day! I love going to the temple! And then we ate lunch with some of the hermanas who are leaving next week, and then we went to visit a convert of Hna. Pérez.
It was fun to see all of the other missionaries at the temple, and to be able to spend some more time with them. Next week are the changes, well next week is the last week of the transfer. And I have a feeling that I might be leaving, but I also feel like I might be staying for one more transfer. But my time in Guadalajara definitely feels like it's running out.

Glad to see that Gramma and Grampa made it to Russia alright. I was thinking about them all weekend. I'm sure they'll have a great experience.

Well, I can't think of anything else to say, and I have pictures to send!

Love, Amber

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Out of order...

(This was the letter from the week of August 17 - I forgot to put it in before I added last week's email. Plus more pictures coming soon!!!)

Hello Family!!!
Sounds like everyone had a great time in Yellowstone. A good way to spend some time with Gramma and Grampa before they leave. And nothing wrong with a few fresh fish! And I love hearing stories about moose. Everytime I hear one, I think about the day the moose rammed the baseball fence at the high school. Good memories. And moose are so neat to look at. Must have been cool to have one right there every day. And sounds like a really interesting way sacrament meeting. That is definitely a lot of people!

Hope that mom and Brenna start to feel better quickly...and just an FYI, you can not tell me that my mom had a "little" operation, and then not tell me anything else. I was a little freaked when I read gramma's email, but then everything was better when I got to dad's...

Well, I guess that everyone needs a few days of down time before school starts, after all the vacations and whatnot (Pres. Watkins says that my family is pretty active.)

Yay for the MTC! I am so excited for gramma and grampa. I know that they will have a great time. The MTC is a really neat experience. And then its off to Russia! Wahoo!

This week is Patricia's baptism. (You really need to work on your dates over Saturday does not mean this upcoming Saturday, it is the Saturday after that. The upcoming Saturday is this Saturday) But everything is going great. She had her interview last weekend, and we are finalizing the details. Yesterday during our lesson, Hna. Marín called her to see how things are going. Patricia told her that she's getting baptized, and now Hna. Marín is going to do everything she can to be at the baptism, and I'm sure we'll see her there. We have spent a lot of time looking for people to teach, we don't have too many investigators right now. So we have spent a lot of time knocking doors (or rather, pressing the buttons to call up to their pisos.) and have spent a lot of time in the office calling the old investigators. We have been working pretty hard.

In crazy news from Spain...Tomorrow, the Pope is coming to Spain, and he has invited the youth (they look to be about high school-college aged) of the world to come to Spain for a type of youth conference. Anyway there are about 1 million more people in the country right now, and there are youth everywhere! It is insane. Yesterday, on our way to district meeting, a bunch of people from Hong Kong boarded our train. And then we ran into people from Italy and Portugal, we saw people from Switzerland on our way back.

Today we are in Madrid for P-day. And the metro station was packed with people here to see the Pope. We had to grab hold of one another to get through the crowd of people. It is absolutely insane, and we feel a little awkward to be so close to it all. Things aren't like this at all in Guadalajara, so I guess I should count my blessings that I don't have to spend my day in the streets of downtown Madrid tomorrow.

Friday, is Hna. Pérez's birthday. So today we are celebrating with a few of her converts and members from her old ward, which is why we are in Madrid with all the people. But I think that we are going to have a great time here.

Everyone is telling me how much my Spanish has improved. The members in the ward, other missionaries I've met, and Pres. Watkins. He came to our district meeting yesterday. And we have two greenies in our district, and as a bit of encouragement, Pres. Watkins told everyone just how much my Spanish has improved. It's good that everyone else can see it. I know that it's gotten better because I can remember when I didn't understand a thing, but it's hard to see the improvement as a whole, because I hear myself speak (and think!) in Spanish all the time.

One thing I've learned since I've been on the mission, is that you really don't need to bring your entire wardrobe. It was really funny to watch Hna. Marín pack up all the clothing she had accumulated while she was here. The stuff she brought with her, the stuff she bought in the mission, and the stuff she got when other missionaries got home. And she had a lot of clothes. We move around more than Gramma and Grampa will, but it is really nice to be able to fit everything into two suitcases. And not have to worry about how you are going to get everything there.

Well, I can't think of anything else...we are working hard in Guadalajara!
Love, Amber

We've just been working hard...

Sounds like the MTC is great! I sure loved it there. And I'm sure that you will have a great time. The Tuesday devotionals are the best, and if you get lucky, an apostle will come. It's always a general authority, but every once in a while, an apostle comes. But they are always good. And yes, the cafeteria is huge, but you will get to know it pretty quickly. When I was at the MTC, they were working on one of the buildings that is used for the senior missionaries, I don't know if they're still working on it, or if they really are just too full.

We are still in the middle of a hot summer. I guess summer doesn't actually end until the middle of September here. But we do what we can to get out of the heat. We actually had a couple of good days this week...not to hot, and some rain the other day.

And I didn't even realize that this is the first week of school. School doesn't start until September here, so I haven't really been thinking about it. But it sounds like it was a good first day.

I bet that Brenna is ready to head off to school, I know that I sure was.
I can't even remember the things I needed to take. Just that if there are clothes that you haven't worn in over a year, you're not going to wear them at school, and it's best not to bring them. And shopping for school stuff is super fun, especially when you get to buy all the stuff for the apartment. By the way, Brenna is more than welcome to use the stuff I've got, at least for this year...I might need them next year.

Hope you have fun with Keith and Val this weekend. You sure have seen everybody a lot this summer. new calling. I don't really have much to tell you about a YSA adviser, except that I imagine that you will have to work a lot with the local singles ward, and make sure that the YSA attending your ward know about all their activities...but other than that, I don't really know what a YSA adviser does, I was always in the singles/student wards...but I'm sure it will be a lot of fun...I do remember getting a bunch of emails from Scotty Halls, so there may or may not be an email list...

To clear things up...I wasn't too worried about the procedure, it's just that gramma wrote that "your mom is recovering from some minor surgery she had today" and didn't tell me anything else, so what was I supposed to think. Once I read dad's email it was all good. I just read that there had been some surgery and nothing else...but it was good of everybody not to say anything until after the fact...I probably would have been too worried if I had known ahead of time.

Things sure were interesting this week with all the people. Being in Guadalajara, away from Madrid, we didn't have too much interaction with everything. We saw all the people that were there when we went to Madrid for P-day, but it wasn't a problem for us. I do imagine it was a problem for the missionaries actually in Madrid. The other Elders in our district (who are in the province of Madrid,) asked to change their P-day, so that they didn't have to be out working the day the Pope was here. But there were a ton of people here. From everywhere. It was pretty amazing, and super difficult to maneuver in the metro.

The mini-missionary left this week, but it was fun to have her around. We are still looking for more people, and going through the old investigators, lists of less-actives, and knocking doors to find people.
Saturday, was Patricia's baptism. It was super cool. And a really great experience. She has been talking with Hna. Marín, and told her about the baptism, so Hna. Marín made a suprise visit this weekend. Which was fun too.

Next week (which is September 3) is the baptism of Jenny, the miracle of intercambios. An old investigator of the elders, we contacted her in the street the day I left for Mardid for intercambios. That night, the hnas. talked with her about baptism and everything. Hna. Pérez and I have been working with her to get her ready for baptism. It has been really cool to watch her progress.

The next week we hope to have another baptism. Simon, who is from Peru, is sharing an apartment with one of the members, so is actually a reference from a member. He too, is really progressing well, he came to Patricia's baptism, and then on Sunday we took him, and the member, to a baptism in Madrid and then to the temple for a tour. It was really cool, we could really feel the spirit, and have had some amazing lessons with him. He is really quiet, and doesn't say too much, but does tell a lot of things to the member, who then tells us. For example, his daughter called him (his family lives in Peru) to tell him that she and her mom have been meeting with the elders in Peru, and that she has been reading the Book of Mormon. Kinda cool to think that the family, in two different parts of the world, and learning the same thing and have been visiting with the missionaries at the same time. We've talked a lot about baptism with Simon, and if everything goes well, he will get baptized the week after Jenny. But we are still looking for more people to teach.
We've just been working hard, and things are going really well, and trying not to stay in the sun...
Love, Amber

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A new Companion!

Greetings from.....Guadalajara!

I'm staying in Guadalajara for at least another transfer.

But, I have a new companion, Hna. Peréz.
She is from Málaga, so I have another Spaniard for a companion...most missionaries don't get this's pretty rare to have two native Spaniards as companions back to back...but on the bright side, my Spanish is going to be fantastic when I get back!
I'm not the Sr. Companion yet, it's very possible that Hna. Perez will finish her mission here in Guadalajara, so she has more time in the mission than I do, and I still feel very inexperienced, but I think that will change pretty quickly.

Everyone tells me that she is a great missionary, and in the few days she's been here, I can see it! She's different than Hna. Marín, and has a different way of working, so things will be different, but I am positive that they will be great!

It must be pretty exciting for Gramma and Grampa to be here, and spending more time at the MTC. I'm sure that the Russian is really coming along...(but just a little heads-up, when you get to Russia, you won't be able to understand a thing...I just don't want you to get discouraged when you get there )

Sounds like the movie (17 Miracles) was the past few months we've been able to buy the Joseph Smith movie in the distribution center here in Madrid, it has a couple of good little shorts about a few of the pioneers, and they are really great stories...You should look into buying the movie if you can...

Yay for Tyler and Janae! I'm so excited for them, and what a fun way to tell everyone about it. I bet that the new baby will be just as cute as Harrison!

School really is coming up quickly isn't it. School doesn't start until September here, so I kinda forget that you all start pretty soon.

Glad to hear everyone likes the pictures! And I better be getting tan, we spend a lot of time in the fact, I have to tell a lot of people that I'm not actually blond. The highlights from last year are still pretty strong, and with all the sun we get, my roots and the top layer of my hair has lightened up quite a bit.

We do have a lot of fun in the mission, I think we would go crazy if we couldn't have fun, and it's super easy to laugh at the little things that happen during the day.

A mini-missionary is a lot what it sounds like, she gets to be a missionary for a few weeks or a few months, whatever they choose. And people can start to be mini-missionaries after they turn 16...if you think about the 16 yr. old boys can go on splits with the missionaries. It's not something that we have at home, can you imagine how many people would want to go on a mini-mission?

She lives with us, and is a missionary just like us. Mini-missionaries don't normally teach a lot, but do share their testimony in our lessons. It's an opportunity to get to work with the missionaries, and to see what it is to be a missionary. One of the Italian sisters in the MTC told us that she had been a mini-missionary, and that it was a big reason that she decided to serve a mission. So it is definitely a good thing.

I hope that you all enjoy Yellowstone this week. And I hope there isn't too much rain I'm sure everyone will have a great time.

Who gets to keep the cat? And now that it no longer lives with Gramma, do you get to call it Mouse again?

Anyway, back to the work here. It is going good so far. Hna. Perez and I get along pretty good. It's a little bit weird to have a different companion, but in a day or two it will be normal. And I can tell that my Spanish is improving, I can know follow a conversation, and most importantly, I can mostly follow a phone conversation! Yay! It's harder to understand the people when we are talking on the phone, but now it is much easier.

Yesterday, we fixed a baptismal date with Patricia, our pregnant investigator. She had some problems with one of the commandments, and what turned out to be a sad situation for her personal life turned out to be a great one for her spiritually.

She is going to get baptized next Saturday! It is super exciting. She is fantastic, and I have really been able to see her grow and progress in the gospel. We have had some super spiritual experiences with her, especially when she talks about the difference the gospel, and we, have made in her life. This baptism is going to be different than the one we had with Brayan. Patricia is at a different point in her life, and I think that the gospel means a little bit more to her.

Today, we had a couple of visitors from Barrio 1, the last area of Hna. Perez. We tried to rent some bikes for the day, but it turns out that you have to rent the bikes for at least a week ( you can leave them at bike stations in various spots throughout the city) and that you have to go the bank and get a money order, because the city hall can't actually accept money...and a bunch of other things.

In the end we went to McDonald's, had lunch and just chilled waiting for the bus. Because it's August, the buses are running their summer schedule, and the buses come by less frequently. So, if you miss the bus, you have to wait for 20 min. for the next one. We spent a lot of time waiting for the bus today, but in the end it was pretty fun.

Love, Amber

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Mini-Missionary!


The big news is that Monday we received our Mini-missionary! Her name is Hna. Mendoza, she is 16, originally from Peru, but lives in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. We are super excited to have her here. She has given us a bit of a jump start, and is helping us to just keep working this last week.
This is indeed the last week of Hna. Marín, and a bunch of other missionaries. So there will definitely be changes this week. We will know later this week, probably Friday or Saturday, and we will change companions on Monday. So you will know next week about everything!
Today, for our P-day we went to Madrid. We first met up with some of the elders in our district in the train to Madrid. We played an "assassination" game in the train to pass the time, and had a blast! We then met up with a bunch of other missionaries, and rode a "gondola" across a huge park in Madrid. We got to see the city from the sky, which was pretty cool, and we took some pretty cool pictures. The trip was pretty short, and afterward, we played a little game of soccer. With the three teams we created, and a triangle-ish shaped field. In the end my team won (yay!), but only because we scored the final point! And then we took the return trip back across the park. We then ate at Taco Bell, and headed home. It was a pretty good P-day, and I good final P-day for Hna. Marín.
Tomorrow, we have Zone Conferece! I'm super excited. Between the Zone Conference, the fiestas, and dinner appointments, we don't have much time to actually work, but we are making it count! But the visits with the members sure are great!
I guess it would be a little strange to go from having a demanding calling to not having one at all...but at least Sophie will have a new "friend" for Wednesday fun-day!
Glad to hear that everything got all packed up at Gramma's house, it sounded a little sketchy there at the end. I bet they are super excited for the new adventure! I know that I am!
Yay for Tricia! That must be so exciting for her, and for her family! I can't wait to see pictures. Be sure to tell her that I said congratulations, and that I wish the best for her!
I don't think that we will be able to get that last baptism before Hna. Marín leaves, but if we only postpone it one week, she said that she would definitely come back for it! More than one week, and Hna. Marín begins her vacations, but I think that one week is all that we need.
Toledo did remind me a bit of Cashmere and Chelan, but the hills we pass when we travel to Alcalá sure do remind me of home. And today, as we rode over the park, we saw plenty of green trees, especially evergreens, with grass as brown and dry as brown and dry could be! And I couldn't help but think of all the dry, brown grass that we get at home sometimes.
I remember that when my friends started coming home I noticed that they had changed a lot, but not a lot at the same time. It was a little weird and a little bit fun to figure out what had changed and what hadn't. It must be very exciting fro Bro. and Sis. Coleman to have Garret home with them. And the Polynesian languages do sound funny. In the MTC, we lived next to sisters headed to the Phillipines. It was fun to listen to them practice!
And I want to see pictures of Will! I know that I can't Facebook stalk him, or even meet him yet, but pictures is as good as it is going to get. And to be "Facebook Official" is pretty exciting. I'm super stoked for Brenna!

Love you lots, and hope that everyone is having a great summer!
Love, Amber

Monday, August 1, 2011

Photos of Barrio 6 Intercambios

Hna. Neilsen and Hna. Lewis

Hna. Hernandez, Hna. Long, Hna. Nielsen, and Hna. Lewis
being silly

Hna. Hernandez, Hna. Long, Hna. Nielsen, and Hna. Lewis

Random Photos!

Hna. Lewis and Hna. Marin waiting for the bus

Hna. Lewis and Hna. Marin in the piso

Hna. Lewis and Hna. Marin

Hna. Lewis teaching her first Sunday School Lesson "Faith in Jesus Christ"

District Photo (a bit blurry)

Missionaries at a BBQ in Leganes

Brayan's Baptism

Anibal, Brayan, Gabriel, Rafael, Fredina, and Gabriella

Pres. Ribeiro, Brayan, Hna. Marín, and Hna. Lewis

Pres. Ribeiro, Brayan, Gabriel, Rafael, Anibal, Fredina, Gabriella, Hna. Marín, and Hna. Lewis

Pictures from P-day in Toledo

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Intercambio!

Hello everybody!

I hope that nobody feels too lame about last week, I had guessed that it was because people were traveling, or up at Gramma's.

Sounds like Gramma's house was a party...and then some! Super busy, I wonder how anyone got the chance to sleep!

I bet Tricia's baby will be super cute! I also think that Tricia has to be super cute right now! I also can't believe that Shaylene is getting married! That's a little wierd to think about, but I'm sure that her fíancee has to be a really great guy! If you send a card or gift or something, make sure to say that I wish them the best, and am sad that I can't be there!

I can't believe that Brenna has been dating a guy! Actually, let's be honest here, of couse I can! It just kinda took me by surprise when I read about it! I hope that she gets to have some good college experiences too! But I'm sure that her good college experience will involve a lot more dates than mine did!

I do think I'll get around to baking the cake. It will just take awhile to do in our apartment because we have to bake two smaller cakes instead of one big one...Maybe I will find a way to bake a big one and take it to our district meeting...But then again, I kinda just want to eat the frosting! And I'm fairly certain that I will want some thermals...It sounds like it gets to be pretty cold, and we are always in the street!

As for things here...It's going pretty good. We had kinda a slow week last week, but I think things are going to get better. I had a good time during the intercambios. Barrio 6 does include the temple. So I learned how to give a tour of the temple grounds, even though we didn't actually have a lesson there. It's always fun to meet more people, get to be in a different area, and to be able to learn from another sister. And it was fun to have other sisters in the piso, (Hna. Hernandez and Hna. Long), and kinda weird to run into the Elders in the street. And then this morning we went to the temple, and ate lunch with all of the Hermanas. It was sort of a goodbye party because so many are leaving so soon. It was a lot of fun to get to talk to the other hermanas and just kinda hang out at the temple.

We contacted a lady in the street Monday before we went to Madrid. She is actually an old investigator, and so we fixed a lesson with her. I didn't get to go to the lesson, but Hna. Marín fixed a baptismal date with her. Maybe we will have a baptism the last week of Hna. Marín's mission! That's kinda exciting.

Saturday we had an activity at a campground nearby. That was kinda fun. And good for the investigators to get to interact with the members in a totally chill setting...especially one of our "investigators." We haven't started teaching him yet, but he is sharing an apartment with one of the members, and we have been invited to pass by this house quite often. So, we are laying some ground work.

Our calendar is starting to fill up fast with dinner appointments and such...Everyone wants to say goodbye to Hna. Marín!

The work just keeps on going in Guadalajara!

I got a birthday card from Gramma Gerrie this week. Today, actually, it came with our Liahonas and stuff. Love the birthday wishes! Don't know what I'm going to do witht the 20 dollar bill she sent me!

I hope that everyone is having a great time with all of the vacations! (And I hope that there is no family member who sends a curse to Yellowstone, and that there is a lot of sun and very little rain!)

Love, Amber

Busy Working and Teaching

Hope everyone is doing good...

Everything is going great here in Guadalajara. We spent last week focusing on contacts, and I definitely feel more confident with my contacting than before...but I still don't feel very comfortable with them.

We also found some new investigators this week. A young couple from Peru, (who are actually married! After finding so many prospective investigators who aren't married, we were pretty excited.) They had some really good questions and comments in our lesson when we taught the restoration. We are really excited to see them progress. We have just been busy working and teaching.

This past week I have really noticed, or I have been paying attention at least, at how my Spanish has improved. I am no where near perfect, and am definitely not fluent, but it is definitely getting better. I can usually understand what people are saying, and I don't take as long to translate things in my head, if I need to translate at all. It is really amazing at how fast and how much the missionaries are able to learn.

As you can see from the pictures...Spain reminds me a lot of home. The deserty mountains and stuff...the landscape is really similar. Sometimes when we are riding the train it is really easy to forget that I'm in Spain. The mountains, and the freeway nearby, it all reminds me a little of home.

This week hasn't been as hot as before. We had some rain last week (the week before?) and it has been cooling down at night. We haven't had to use a fan to sleep in a while, and only use the ceiling fan during the day. I guess it has been a summer a little crazy this year, and I hope it stays like it is, hot but good. I hope we don't get much more of the crazy hot weather.

I imagine that everyone is super it this week or next that everyone is headed to Washington? I hope that everyone has a blast! I'm sure it will be so much fun to be together with everybody one last time before Gramma and Grampa leave.

This week our P-day is more shopping!

Next week we have intercambios again. I'm going to Barrio 6, the other barrio that is right near the temple. (I actually think that the temple is in the boundaries of Barrio 6.) Anyway, I think it will be a lot of fun, and it is always good to mix things up a little bit. I hope I am going to learn a lot. After the intercambios we always go to the temple, which will be fun, and next week or the week after, we have a "meeting" with all of the hermanas, because half of them are going home this transfer or the next. We are going to eat, and do other stuff I imagine, but we still don't know much.

Which brings me to another exciting point! We are going to get a mini-missionary in Guadalajara! She's only going to be with us for a few weeks, and is coming from the Canary Islands. We're not quite sure when she'll get here, but are super excited to have one more missionary with us!

I want to see lots of photos of the vacations in Washington!
And because there aren't any questions of things for me to respond to...I don't have anything else to say!

Love you lots!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Hermana Lewis!

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

I did get the package! Friday we had interviews with the President, and he and Hna. Watkins brought all the mail.

Thanks for everything! I LOVE the shirts! And the only thing that melted was the Junior Mints, but they weren't too bad, and you could pick a few off the big pile of Junior mints and eat just a few at a time.

Still have the cake. We only have a toaster oven, so we will see what happens with the cake, and when we get around to baking it.

I did have a good birthday, full of wonderful missionary contacts actually. We planned a day of contacting, so we ended up having quite a few.

Several of the members and investigators wished my happy birthday, and yesterday we celebrated my birthday in our district meeting. The elders, and Hna. Marín, sang to me at least twice, in both Spanish and English, and our district leader and his companion bought a cake.
So it ended up being a pretty good birthday. But next year my birthday will be even better! I finally picked a release date. July 10, 2012.

Everything depends on flights, but I should be arriving home on July 11, 2012! (That is if you don't come get me!) The release date is official, its in the system and everything. Start making your plans now...

Glad to hear that Girls camp was good, I think it's kinda hard to have a Girls camp that isn't good. But kinda want to hear more...and see some photos!

It's good to hear that Cristian's baptism was a good experience, and I'm sure it was extra special for Brenna. When Brayan got baptized, it was a really cool experience for his family, and for the youth in the branch, especially since Brayan has become such good friends with one of the youth. I know it was really cool for him and his family to be so involved in the baptism, and to be involved in the entire process.

Since I've been on my mission, I've learned just how important the members are to missionary work. We don't really have many opportunities to help the missionaries, or go with them to lessons, but when you get the chance you should help out all you can. These experience aren't just good for the missionaries and the investigators, but they are good for the members as well. The members grow a lot, and learn a lot of good things from these experiences, and if the members have children, their children get to be around and interact with the missionaries. So I know that it must have been a great experience for Brenna, and for everybody, to be part of Cristian's baptism and conversion.

Every week when we write the President, we have to write about our family, how they're doing, things like that. He tells me frequently that he loves to read about the adventures of my family. And he's commented several times how great it is that Gramma and Grampa will be serving missions the same time as me. Thought that you might like to know.

Don't really know what we are going to do for P-day. I think we are going to the mall to go shopping with some of the members. I think it will be more of a relaxing P-day. After our trip to Toledo, and our other traveling P-days, I think it will be good to take it easy for just one day. We will go to the temple in a few weeks, to end our intercambios, and I'm fairly sure that our last P-day of the transfer will be in Madrid with other missionaries.

One of the elders in our district is finishing his mission as well, and since he and Hna. Marín only have a few more P-days, they are kinda deciding what we will do, especially for the last one. And they want to spend more time with the other missionaries, and say good-bye and all that stuff. So this week will be a little bit more relaxed.

Well, we are going to head out in just a few minutes, but we will be coming back to email a little bit later...maybe I will have more to say...

Love, Amber

Email Amber!

Sorry, no pictures today, I can't hook my camera up to this computer...I can't plug my cord
into the USB slot... you'll just have to wait for next week.

We had some extra time this afternoon in Toledo, so we started our email, but we didn't have time to finish. We had to catch our train. So we are finishing right now.
But, I can't really think of anything else to say.

Also, I think I may have said this before, but I think I am going to tell the mission office that I want the July release date rather than the August one. This way I won't have problems if I get into law school, and if do come to get me, the vacation days will work out better for you. (Which is mostly just a benefit, and not really one of the deciding factors in this decision.) Plus I just feel good about it.

I think that's all for now.

Oh! I just remembered. They redid the rulebook for the Spain Madrid Mission. And we have permission to email immediate family. Parents, Grandparents, and Siblings. Any and all are more than welcome to write emails, and I can respond in individual emails.

Ok, I really do think that is all...

Love you lots,

Busy P-Days

July 6.
I have just about a year left. It's a little weird when I think about how much time is left rather than how long I have been here.

This weekend started the festivals, or celebrations of something, ( I think it is of Guadalajara, or Castilla-La Mancha) So there was a firework show in the park, which is just a few streets away from ours. We could hear the fireworks, but couldn't see them...So it was almost like the Fourth of July.

I didn't think you would be too worried, but I know that you expect emails on Wednesday. And our P-days get really busy because we are far away from the other elders in our district, and all the cool things to see. It takes us about 20 min. on the train to get to Alcalá (where we have our district meetings, and went bowling) but we also have to account for time in the bus, time waiting for the train, and all that stuff. And so when we have lessons a little bit earlier in the afternoon, our P-days get really crowded.

My hair is super long, at least for me. It does get really hot, but if it's strait its not quite as hot. And much easier to put in a ponytail. It is hot here, but I think that I'm adjusting to it. And its a dry heat, just like home, so its not too different, just a little bit hotter.

Still no news on the package, but once it gets to Spain, it sits in the air conditioned mission office until it gets to me...We have interviews with Pres. Watkins on Friday, maybe he will bring it with him.

So excited to hear about Ben! I'm glad he got to go, and that he got to have all his family there with him.

Funny experience of the week: We contacted a man in the street, and set up an appointment for the next day, during our mediodía. But that day was Tuesday, and we were in Alcalá for our district meeting, and got back to Guadalajara later than we expected, so we rescheduled for that evening. When we got to his house, with a pregnant member to accompany us, we were quietly ushered in to find other investigators, and a lot of people in the piso. And then we listened to a sales pitch for a health product company that uses a pyramid scheme to push its product. And when it was over, the representatives, and our investigator kept asking us about the company, about what we thought...and because I'm American, they wanted to know my opinion on this American-based company. It was really funny, and I felt so bad for the member we brought with us.

Today for P-day we went to Toledo. The city is gorgeous, and has way more history than Guadalajara. Apparently the Jews, Muslims, and Catholics all lived in this town, in peace for about 700 years. It has some cool cathedrals, synagogs, and mosques. You'll have to do a little more research on the internet, but the town is just beautiful. It has more of a feel of what you would picture Spain to be...I think. I have some pictures that I will send you. We are doing our email session in two trips today, so I'll work on pictures later. To get to Toledo we had to take the train to the station in Madrid, where we bought tickets for another train.
Its like the difference between commuter light rail, and the Amtrax. (I think...I've never been on the Amtrax, but from what I know that is how I am going to describe it.)
Anyway, if you do come to get me next year, we will have to make a trip to Toledo.

Love you lots!

Brayan's Baptism

Hello from...Guadalajara!

Hna. Marín and I are going to be in Guadalajara for one more transfer. There actually weren't any changes for the Hermanas. It's not what people were expecting, but now we know that there will many lots the next time around.

Sorry that this letter came a little late, we had another crazy p-day and weren't able to finish our emails yesterday.

Brayan's baptism was great! We have to have the baptisms in Azuqueca (it is the closest chapel with a baptismal font, but only about ten minutes away) There was some coordinating problems, but in the end it all worked out just fine. The service was incredible. The spirit was so strong, and it was so amazing! This family is great, and I think that one day, all of them will get baptized.

I'm glad that Ryan had such a great time at EFY! I know that everyone does. We are teaching a part-member family, and their two boys are going to EFY the first week of August. I think that this will be a great opportunity for them. This weekend we helped them finalize their registrations.

It was SUPER hot this weekend. We took a picture of Hna. Marín with the thermometer that read 46. This was Sunday afternoon. We think it was a little high, but it was most likely about 42 or 43. Even though we are really close to the mountains here, it doesn't really cool down at night. That was been the weirdest thing for me. I can handle the heat in the day, but at night it is still hot. And the sun doesn't set until 9:30 or 10:00, so we have a lot of sun. I have quite an impressive tan line from my sandals.

I think that the YSA changes will be good. One of my favorite things was my student wards. They were so different from the YSA ward. Everyone was about the same age, everyone was studying, and everyone was, more or less, moving in the same direction. After they built those apartments and townhomes, the YSA ward changed drastically. It went from being kids living at home going to UVU, to being a ward with YSA who had finished school, worked full time, are were starting their lives. I enjoyed it way more when everyone was in the same point in their lives. But it was still fun.

I got birthday cards from Sophie and from Gramma and Grampa this week. That was kinda fun. We get our mail about every other week at district meetings, or when we go to Madrid for temple trips or zone conferences. So basically we get the mail when we get the mail.

Yesterday was the birthday of one of the elders in our district, so we went to Alcalá for a bit of a birthday party. But first, we had to clean our piso, go grocery shopping, shop for capris. And by the time we everyone got to Alcalá, we started about an hour later than we had planned. We ate lunch and then went bowling. We had a pretty good time. With all the traveling, and things we needed to do, we just didn't have time to finish our emails. Hope you weren't too worried.

Hope that Girl's camp is good, and that everyone manages to get along without mom.

Love, Amber

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Spanish is Coming Along...

Hello again!
Yesterday was pretty crazy, and we are lucky that we had any time to email at all. We had a Family Home Evening last night with Bryan and his family, and one of the families in the branch. The members live in a town about 10 minutes outside of Guadalajara, so we had to plan for travel time and all that stuff. But it was fun, and everyone had a good time. Tomorrow is the baptismal interview, and Saturday morning is the baptism!

This week is the last week of the transfer, and nobody has any idea about what is going to happen, except we are all expecting a lot of changes, at least for the hermanas. Because half of the hermanas are going home in the next few transfer, and we are getting about ten new ones, we think that there will be a lot of changes to get ready for when all the new hermanas come in. So this weekend, I could be going somewhere else, or I could be staying in Guadalajara, I'll let you know next week!

Our P-Day yesterday was great. The mission home is in a sort of gated community on the outskirts of Madrid. There are tennis courts, soccer courts, Uno, Go fish, and food! It was super fun, and I think everyone had a great time.

Sounds like Mom is super busy, it sounds like you all are. But busy can be good, and it sounds like everyone is having good time.

I'm glad that Ryan had such a good time at Scout Camp, it definitely sounds like more of a vacation than scout camp. It kinda reminds me of my last year at Girl's camp. I'd been so used to Camp Shalom, that the whole camping at the lake thing was so different, and more like a vacation. (One night, we ate dinner at the golf course club house)

It has been super hot here. The humidity isn't too bad, actually I don't think that there is much of any humidity. It's just really hot. I think it was Tuesday that we got up to 42 degrees. Our piso gets nice and toasty because we don't have an air conditioner. We have some fans though, and I think that they will work just fine.

The sun sets really late here. When we return to our piso at 10:00 p.m. it is still sunny out. You would never think that it is 10:00, more like 7:00. And it doesn't really cool down at night. Every once in a while we get a cool mountainy breeze, but not too often. But we are adapting to the heat, and attempting to plan our day better so that we have fixed lessons during the hottest parts of the day.

It also sounds like Gramma, Grampa and Sophie are pretty busy, with trips to the lake and all the packing that needs to get done. I hope that everyone has a good time up there! It also sounds like there are some good vacations and family gatherings planned! I hope that everyone enjoys them.

My Spanish is coming along. Last week we had intercambios, and I had the same companion, but this time she came to me. And she told me that my Spanish has really improved. I can definitely understand more now than I could when I first got here, but I still feel a little lost, especially when people direct the conversation at me more or ask me a question. Understanding is definitely easier than speaking. I don't have to think about how to conjugate the verbs, or how to structure my sentence when I'm listening. But my speaking is definitely easier. I don't have to think about how to conjugate some verbs, especially the ones we use often.

I think the package will get to the mission office in 1 or 2 weeks. When the mission office can get it to me is another story. But I have always been a fan of late birthday gifts. It always feels like I get to stretch out my birthday!

I love the pictures! Please send more! (One day soon I will send some more to you...sometimes we email in other cities, and sometimes I forget my cord, or run out of time. But I will send you some!)
Love, Amber

Happy Birthday Dad

First off:
Hope you had a great birthday, and a great father's day too!

Everything has been good here. For our P-Day we went to the mission home with most of the missionaries in our zone, as well as the Madrid South zone. (Be sure to look for pictures on the mission blog!) It was really fun, but because the mission home is kinda far away, and we have a lesson a little bit earlier tonight, I will finish my email tomorrow, but wanted to get it started and send off something so that you don't worry too much.
Everything is going really well, and we have a baptism the Saturday! Bryan, who is 11 years old. We have been teaching his family, and we are super excited for the baptism! And I am way more excited for this than for our almost baptism of Jorge, because I have been teaching this family the whole time, and I have been able to see them progress. Everybody, even the family thought that the older brother would get baptized first, but nope. It's the younger one. The older needs a little bit more time, a little bit of understanding, and we need to help him realize that he doesn't need to be perfect to be baptized.
I just about died (of laughter) last week when I read that Sophie won the game of Settlers, and have been thinking about it all week long. In a kind of I-can't-believe-she-won way, and only when something reminds me of her.
I will finish it off tomorrow!
Love, Amber

Definitely Hotter this Week!

I hope that everyone is doing great! And I hope that Sophie will have a great time with Gramma and Grampa this summer. I finally sent some letters to Brenna and Sophie...but now Sophie is in Washington. I guess you will be able to get it to her. I expect letters and pics of New York (Brenna can email the pics) I also expect that Sophie will polish her Settlers skills up at Gramma's house.

It is weird to realize just how much shuffling the missionary department does. You think that it would be simple, you get your call and you go where they send you. I didn't really think about it until we got to Spain, there are a lot of missionaries here to had to do some visa waiting in another mission, and had their reporting dates changed and stuff. One of the new hermanas is from Argentina, and had to wait seven months for her visa. And the Spaniards who go to America have to visa wait as well, so they start off here in Madrid. I had never thought about all of the logistics of the missionary department, but there are a lot of things they have to deal with.
And I am excited for Tragen, I know he'll do great! (I love reading about this kinda stuff!)

I can't think about Ryan and High Adventure camp without laughing. I'm sure that he will have a great time...and I expect to read about ALL of his adventures next when he gets back.

It has definitely gotten hotter this week. And Monday we had our intercambios. Hna. Marín went to Madrid and told me that it is hotter here than in Madrid. Yep, it's hot. You'll have to check the internet for weather reports, because I have no idea what temperature it is. Because they use Celsius here, I have no idea what 35, 38 degrees is, I just know that it is hot. (I don't think I really want to know what the conversion is.)

We have been having some good lessons. Yesterday, we were able to fix a baptismal date with Bryan, the younger of the two boys. Anibal wants to wait a little bit longer to better know the church, but I think he will come around really soon. Their parents are divorced, and they only need the permission of their mom. Monday, before we went to Madrid for intercambios, we talked with her. She had a lot of good questions, and told us that she would talk with both of them and think it over. Yesterday, she told us that if they want to they can, but they need to really feel that this is the right thing, and they have to be committed to it. Which is why I think Anibal wants to wait, but with a little bit of time and some good discussions with us, and the youth, I know that he will want to, and I think it won't be very long.

We have another investigator, Patricia, who is amazing. Sunday, the Relief Society class was on obedience, but they ended up talking a lot about the word of wisdom, so yesterday we taught Patricia the word of wisdom. It was a great lesson, and she agreed to live it, which isn't too hard because she doesn't drink, doesn't really like coffee, and has already given up smoking. She is becoming good friends with the member who is also pregnant. They are definitely going to be friends for a while.

Yesterday, we went to visit an investigator, but he wasn't home, so we tried to visit some old investigators in the same neighborhood. We found one who still lives in their piso, (these investigators are several years old) and had a good lesson with her.

For our P-Day today, we went to the Parque Europa. It was kinda cool. It has miniature attractions of all the things you would want to see in Europe - the Eiffel Tower, the London Bridge, windmill, Greek Statues, cool stuff like that.

Love you lots!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Busy with Missionary Work


Glad to hear that the weekend was great! Sounds like it was a bunch of fun. And I'm sure that everyone is glad that it is over and that you all have a chance to relax a little bit. I'm a little bit sad that I couldn't be there, but only a little bit! I hope that Brenna and Gramma and Grampa are enjoying their time in New York.

Things are going good with our investigators. We think that we can fix baptismal dates with the nephews sometime this week. The couple isn't married, and they have to wait for their Spanish residency in order to be married here. Sometimes the South American countries will let couples get married in the Embassy, and their marriage is legal in their country. But this family is from Venezuela, and the relationship between Venezuela and Spain isn't all that we won't be seeing the baptism of the couple, but I'm sure that once all the paperwork is in order that some other missionaries will. The only problem we might have with the nephews is that they need parental permission to be baptized, because both are under 18. We met their mom while we were painting, and she wants to introduce us to her boyfriend, but she still hasn't been to church, and we haven't had a real lesson with her, so we will see what happens there. But the nephews are awesome! They came to church bythemselves these past two weeks, and Monday night they were invited to an FHE with one of the families in the branch. This family has kids the same age, and the younger ones are in the same class in school (if not they are definitely in the same grade and knew each other before.)

We had a good "lesson" last night with Josetty (a recent convert) about her husband and her daughters. The daughters want to get baptized, but their dad won't let them. But it sounds like there is some progress in their house. We are hoping that we will get to see their baptism, but who knows what is going to happen. We started teaching a woman from Peru, Patricia, who is pregnant. So we asked one of the members who is from Peru, and pregnant to come to the lessons with us. And they have the same due date! It was kinda funny when we figured it out. But they are already friends, and she came to the Visiting Teaching workshop on Saturday. She is really great, but isn't married. (We have run into this problem quite a few times.) And next week the YW are having a 60's dance for their camp fundraiser, so we are inviting everybody. I think it will be a lot of fun...I don't know how long we will be there or our plans for the dance, but we will most likely have investigators there.

Today we went to the temple! It was great. We went to the 9:00 session, so we had to leave kinda early to be able to get there on time. And today we were really early, so we did some initiatories while we waited. But it was fun to see the other missionaries. We both wish that we would have had more of a plan before we went to Madrid. We knew that the elders in our district wanted to play soccer and go eat somewhere, but no one really had a plan, and there was a lot of socializing afterward, so by the time we were ready to go eat the elders were already playing soccer and we didn't have time to wait for them to go eat. So we came back, ate some food on the way, and are going to go rest and write letters. It was a pretty good day.
I can't really think of anything else that has been going on this past week. We've just been busy with missionary work!

Love, Amber

June Already!

Hello Family!

Can you believe that it is June already? I sure can't. Especially with the weather we've been having. Thursday night, it poured! And we walked across town to get to an appointment. We were soaked. That morning had been nice and sunny, so we were wearing summer clothes and sandals, and didn't have our umbrellas. It has been pretty wet all week. Sunday night (or maybe it was Monday) we had a lighting storm, no rain. It was cool to look at. But it has been pretty stormy all week. It doesn't really feel like June yet.

We like to email at the end of the day, but sometimes it works better if we email a little bit earlier. It took us about an hour and a half to get to Leganes for our BBQ last week, so we emailed in the morning.

Yesterday was a holiday here in Guadalajara, but I totally forgot that this weekend is Memorial Day. The holidays are a little weird here. There was nobody in the street, all the shops were closed. Not like home at all, when all the stores are open longer with big sales and all.

I also can't believe that this weekend is the big weekend! Congratulations to both Brenna and Sophie. I am so excited for them. There is a chance that we will get to go to a baptismal service this weekend. We aren't that far from Madrid, and we are encouraged to go to the baptisms of other missionaries if we have investigators to take with us. I think we will try to go.

I think my MTC experience was a little bit different (than most). We never had a Spanish language class. We learned a little Spanish and then practiced teaching. And we almost always learned our Spanish with the goal of improving our teaching. But there were times when we had all of our study time back to back. And five straight hours of study was really difficult. Hard to stay focused for that long, even when we would switch what we were studying.

Our BBQ last week was way fun! It was a bit of a long ride, but totally worth it. We had a great time being with the other missionaries. There was food, soccer, music, and pictures. I have one to send you, but don't have my camera with me, maybe next week.

It's cool to hear about all the missionary stuff! When they redid the Spain missions, the missionaries went with the areas. We have quite a few missionaries who were serving in the Canary Islands, when they redid the missions. So these missionaries got called to Málaga, but will finish in Madrid. I guess there were quite a few changes when they redid the missions here.

The language is definitely getting better. I still have to think about everything more than I would like, but it is definitely coming. Our teaching is going great. Saturday, we helped the family we've been teaching paint their old apartment. (I got a ton of paint on my pants, but all of it came out in the wash today, the laundry pens are AMAZING!!!!) Because we helped them paint, the nephews could go to the YM activity, and they had a great time. We met their mom, and she wants to introduce us to her fiancee when he comes later this week. Afterward, we were invited to eat with them, and had some yummy Venezuelan food. And yesterday, after our lesson with them, we went with them to the house of one of the brothers, and his family. There were like a million people in that apartment, but we ate some yummy Colombian food. I think that I am going to get to experience all the great food of South America without actually having to go!

Our surprise birthday party was fun! We were late getting back from the BBQ, and the buses were running late, so we had to change our strategy, but we got her to the house, and she still had no idea.

President Watkins came to our district meeting yesterday, which was kinda fun, and unexpected. We didn't know that he was going to be there. Especially since the ayudantes (assistants) came to our meeting the week before. But fun nonetheless.

We have started having "fiestas" Sunday afternoons in the homes of some members. It started a couple of weeks ago, when a few of the members got together and invited us to come over for treats. We had a great time with them, and it is good way for investigators, and especially for the less actives, to get to know the members, and socialize away from church. So, we have more or less invited ourselves the past few weeks, but for the less actives it is a great thing!

This P-Day we went shopping here in Guadalajara - kinda relaxing after our crazy P-Day last week, and next week we are going to the temple with most of the missionaries in Madrid.
I can't think of anything else, but I hope that everybody has a blast this weekend!!!
Love, Amber


Hna. Lewis with Sorella Mondugno and Sorella Laratro

Hnas. Marin, Delgado and Lewis with the Don Quixote statue
in front of Cervantes' House

Hnas. Soderburg, Lewis and Greer in the MTC
with the Anzianos

Hna. Lewis and Sorella Silva

More Pictures!

MTC District

The MTC Missionaries

Hermanas and Sorellas

Statue of Bear and Strawberry Tree
Downtown Madrid

At the Plaza del Toro

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Hot and Busy Week


First off, I got an email today from the office. The Hermanas get to pick when they come home. The actual 18 month date is in the middle of transfers, and the let the Hermanas choose to come home before or after their anniversary date. And the office would like to know sooner rather than later, so I would like to know when law school starts. (Just a heads up, can we start working on the law school application in like Sept. or Oct. I think there is an early admission program...) Anyway, I need to know when law school starts so I can tell the office when I would like to come home. The dates I have to choose between are July 10 or August 21 (2012). Just let me know, and then I can let the office know, and you as well. I actually got this same email when I was in the MTC, and told the office that I was applying to law school, and that the law school decision would affect my decision, and that I wouldn't know until April, but I got another email, and the church like to know months in advance so they can take care of all the logistical stuff. So I would like to know when law school starts, and if it is possible, when I would find out about admission decisions if I apply through an early admission program.

We are so excited to be teaching our new family! All of them came to church on Sunday! And this week we are going to invite them to be baptized! We can't set an actual date because the couple isn't married, but I don't think that it will really be a problem. They want to get married but haven't gotten around to it yet is what it sounds like. We can set a date for the nephews, so we will see. They have so many good questions in the lessons, and all of them had a good experience at church. And the nephews are going to the Young Men activity this weekend. We are so excited about this family.

Today is going to be a little bit crazy. We are going to Leganes to a BBQ with other missionaries. And afterwards, we are going to a birthday party for one of the members. The family of Josetty (the member who let me use her computer for the mother's day call) aren't members. The father won't let his daughters get baptized. And they are really good friends with a family in the branch. The kids are about the same age. Anyways, we were invited to the surprise party. So we asked the member to bring her family to a lesson that we are going to teach. I think it will be fun!

Last Sunday, we were invited to the house of one of the members for some treats, and we had a "mini" lesson with one of the less actives he had invited. So this week we asked if we could bring other less actives to their party. We had an interesting little lesson and testimony meeting. We end up spending more time with the members than a normal lesson, but so far we like being able to take the investigators and especially the less actives to the houses of members for a little bit of socializing.

We found three in-actives in the past few weeks. Two of them we contacted in the street. And the other we found through an old investigator. Hna. Marín and started teaching the investigator before I got here, but they could never get another lesson with him. Then one day, we ran into him in the street, and had a lesson on a bench. We called him to set up an appointment, but had a hard time getting in touch with him. His friend answered the phone, and told Hna. Marín that he is a member. We have had a few lessons with all of them, but none of them have come to church yet.

Monday, we went to a member's house for lunch. It was my first real dinner appointment. We ate with an older couple who live in one of the towns. The food was so good! And it was fun to eat with the members. Here in Guadalajara we don't eat with the members very often. But in other areas it happens quite frequently. Some weeks we don't have much socializing after our district meetings because the elders have to leave for dinner appointments.

It has been so hot here the past couple of days. I think that summer is officially here. We are going to have to be really smart with how we plan our days so that we aren't out in the street during the hottest part of the day. We do have mediodía from about 2-4, but we have more time we have to plan for. We've started carrying water in our bags, and I'm going to have to start putting sunscreen on every day.

Glad to hear that everyone is doing great! Even if you are all a little busy!
Love, Amber