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