Sunday, February 27, 2011

Arrival in Madrid - Friday, February 25

(Note from the 'editor'. From the number of spelling errors in this last email, we're assuming Amber's very jet lagged. I cleaned it up a bit.)

I get to write you just to let you know that I made it here OK. I did get some sleep on the plane, but not a lot. There were five elders who ended up traveling with us to Spain. Three of them had been reassigned to state-side missions, so we picked them up along the way. One came to the MTC Wednesday night, we met one in Salt Lake
and the other in Georgia. Our flight wasn't very full, so most people didn't have to sit next to somebody. It was nice to be able to spread out.

We are having a great time here. The MTC building is right next to the temple, and the temple is big. We can see it from just about every window; it's gorgeous. Actually, what I've seen of Spain has been pretty beautiful.

My P-day is now on Thursday, so I will be emailing then. At the MTC in Provo, we got to practice our missionary skills on volunteers from the community. Here though, we just go to the park and practice on real people, who know real Spanish. It's a little scary.

I'm super tired now, but we aren't allowed to go to sleep for a few more hours.
They need to keep us awake to help us with the jet lag. That is our assignment for the afternoon.

The MTC President (President Earl) and his wife are from Moses Lake. I mentioned that my family was from Wenatchee and then we discovered that he knows Grandpa. You'll have to see how well Grandpa remembers him.

There are only two other missionaries in our District - two Elders from England. They came into Provo the same day we did, but flew out on time. We have a new companion. She is a native Spaniard going to Los Angeles. She finished her time at the MTC in Provo, but is waiting for her Visa to come through, so they flew her back to Spain to wait for her Visa. We will practice our Spanish on her, and she will practice her English on us.

There is a group of missionaries from Africa going to Portugal here, but they are native speakers, so I don't think they go to the MTC in Provo. But kinda fun to have other people here.

Well, just thought I'd let you know that I made it here OK!

Hermana Lewis

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Look out Madrid!

Jen just got a phone call from Amber. Her visa arrived today, and after a quick trip to UVU to meet with a representative of the Spanish Consulate, she's cleared to go to Spain. She'll be flying out Thursday morning, with another Sister (Barcelona mission) and 3 Elders for company.

Great news, especially after hearing the stories about how missionaries destined for Spain would spend 8+ weeks at the MTC in Provo.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First email/letter

My p-day isn't until Wednesday, so I'm sorry that you had to wait a whole week for this letter. It's good to hear that Mrs. Cooper's son finally received his visa to Spain, because everyone laughs when we say that we are going to Spain, and that we are only supposed to be here for three weeks. Our branch president said that he hasn't seen missionaries leave for Spain before 8 weeks in the MTC. But other than that, things are going great.

I have two companions, Hermanas Greer and Soderquist. Hermana Greer is going to Madrid with me, and Hermama Soderquist is going to Barcelona. Don't worry, we aren't in a trio because a companion didn't show up. We were always assigned to be in a group of three. Our roommates however, never made it to our room. We were supposed to have six sisters in our room, but the other three never made it. We are excited that we get to keep the room to ourselves for at least another week. It is about the nicest dorm room I have ever seen. Its waaaaayyy nicer than what I was living in at SUU.

My district is great! All of our Elders are going to spanish speaking missions in the States. We are quickly learning to be good friends with each other. I am learning so much; I already feel like I've learned more Spanish than i did in a year of French Class, I guess that's the gift of tongues. We can already pray and bear our testimonies in Spanish.

The first day was great. We had a few meetings, and started learning pretty much right away. It has all sort of blended in together since then. It feels like I've been here forever, and only since yesterday at the same time. Our zone is getting a new district of Elders this week, and we are excited to no longer be the new missionaries. We run into the Norwegian Elders all the time, they are on our same schedule. So we all have the same meal times, gym, and large meetings together. I was wondering if you could send me some stuff for my feet, my shoes are starting to smell a little.

We had our first devotional last night. Elder Gavarret of the seventy came to speak to us. It was so cool. My companions both love to sing, so we sang in the choir. But it's not something that I mind. It was actually really fun. We don't have much email time, so I will have to write you a letter with more.

Love you!

We only get 30 minutes of email, so this is a sort of a continuation. I definitely got the package on Wednesday; thank you so much! I cannot believe that I forgot to grab it. I think I remembered once, but then forgot again. Oh well, I'm glad that you found them.

My companions were both excited to hear about Mrs. Cooper's son. We all really want to get to Spain! Hermana Soderquist turned her paperwork in just like I did; she's from Layton. Hermana Greer was a few weeks late; she's from Arizona, but was at school at BYU-Hawaii. We hope our visas get here on the same day! I am the oldest of my companions; they have both been wanting to serve missions for a while. I'm not that much older though, just a few months.

My classroom is in the building next door, but is on the fifth floor. I thought that after I graduated from SUU, I wouldn't have to climb to the top floor anymore, but I would be wrong. It is a lot of stairs! It is a good workout, I guess.

Missionary time is different than regular time, it all sort of blends together. Mostly because it's very repetitive and scheduled. But I am loving it so far. My companions are great, and we get along really well.

The Elders in my district are so funny! They go from being deep and spiritual to being 19 year old boys very quickly. It's so funny!

I see Elder Dowd everywhere. Well, not everywhere, but a lot. It's weird to have to call him Elder Dowd. I passed him in the laundry today. But passing him in the hall is like a little reality check; because there is the MTC world, and there is the rest of the world.

Love you lots!
Hermana Lewis

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The big day finally arrived! Amber's at the MTC, her first full day under her belt. We spent a few hours Wednesday morning picking up a few last minute items and finishing packing. We checked the kids out of school and Sarah came over so we could all be together as we drove her down to the MTC. She was so excited (and a little nervous) to finally get started! We gave her a little bit of last minute advice on the drive down to Provo, and Brenna put in her request for Amber to bring her back a cute Spanish boy (or a blanket). It was fun driving into the MTC and seeing all the missionaries out on the curb helping the new arrivals. Brenna even recognized several of them. We all gave Amber one last big hug and kiss, and watched her head up the sidewalk, Elders towing her luggage behind.

It was a little strange and quiet after we got back home, knowing that we'd be missing her for the next 18 months. Then we found her blanket and a few items of clothing that she left behind in the dryer! So we drove back down and delivered her first 'care package' to the front desk.

We're so excited for her and the great experiences that await!

Here's her address while she is at the MTC:
Sister Amber Nicole Lewis
MTC Mailbox #265
SPA-MAD 0406
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Write her a note and keep her in your prayers!

(Thanks to Jamie Blaisdell for the great picture!)