Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Semana 3 en la CCM

30 12 2014: I hope everyone had a great Christmas! It was so good to Skype with
you all. After Christmas day though, it was back to missionary work.
Mostly studying. I´m learning lots of spanish and it´s really coming
along. I think I might even finally be able to understand the Spanish
prayers back home in the ward. We pray in spanish, sing hymns in
spanish, it´s great. There´s a hymn not in the English hymn book, it´s
number 88 in the Spanish one. I really like it. You should look it up.
We sing it a lot. I´m glad you guys got to go to Ohio!! That´s so
cool! And thanks for your email Tyler, I loved it!! I wish I had time
to write each of you back individually but I don´t!! So just know that
I love and read all the emails! I had a good learning experience this
week. On Saturday night after we had gone to the Parque, we had a TRC
which is a ´lesson´ with your ´investigator´. We didn´t preprare at
all for it really and just thought we could wing it. And it went
horribly. Our ´investigator´ was not receptive, she was very curt with
us, I couldn´t think of anything to say. I felt so discouraged after.
My spanish had failed me and the Spirit had failed me. But I realized
it was my own fault. I had failed to utilize the Spirit. We hadn´t
prayed before our lesson and we hadn´t prepared so it came out exactly
as it should have. Also this week, I got really sick. It started with
a sore throat and then it just got worse and I lost my voice for 3
days, so that was fun. I asked the Elders for a blessing for the sick
last night and now I´m doing a lot better. I love our Elders and I
love that they use their Priesthood. I took a nap during Sports
yesterday to rest and hopefully I don´t miss out on our P Day today,
we´re going out to the city again today. Last P Day we went to this
sword store and this futbol store in the center of Madrid. It was very
busy because it was the day before Christmas Eve. There were so many
street performers and entertainers, it was insane and so much fun.
It was such a fun Christmas, I mean I missed you guys, but they
treated us so well. I love the European candy and chocolates. They are
sooo good and so much better than American! At the park on Saturday me
and my companion got to talk to a lot of people. It´s always so nerve
wracking talking to people but the Spaniards are very patient with us
and very kind, usually. Haha some people dont give us the time of day
but that´s okay. The night before we go to the Parque they give us
motivational speech, I guess. They tell us not to worry about what
people think, and how to be brave and talk to people and they tell us
things we should say and encourage us to make lots of goals to talk to
a lot of people and give out the pass along cards and Book of Mormons.
One of the guys, is a bishop here, and he only speaks Spanish, so they
translate what he says to english for us, one of the other teachers
does, and he always gets so animated with his motivational speeches.
It´s great. I would follow that guy into a war. He always gets me
super pumped up. And then we get on the metro and we all kind of get a
little scared. But I say a prayer in my heart and I´m able to speak to
people. We always can make them smile if nothing else. And that´s all
that matters. If I can help one person feel just a little bit happier,
then I´ve done my job.
In the back one of the pictures is one of my teachers. Hermano Rissi.
He´s so cool. He´s from Portugal and speaks 3 languages. His English
is so good, he sounds like he could be American. He doesn´t have an
accent. All my other teachers don´t speak English, or they do but very
little. I love it when my teacher Hermano Ponsoda tries to speak
English. It´s so funny, he´s so sweet. People here at the MTC (or CCM)
are so aweosme. They all speak so many languages and they´re so smart
and they´re all RMs. They´re just awesome I love them. Hermano Rissi
is one of my ¨investigators¨ too. He was Hugo. I love teaching him.
Now he´s Renato though. And Renato was someone he taught on his
mission. Renato was obsessed with the sister missionaries so it´s
really funny when we teach him because he winks at us and gives us
chocolate. Haha. It´s great. Missionary work is so great. In my
setting apart blessing it said that I would recognize the magnitude of
my calling on my mission, and not to shrink away from it or be scared
but to embrace it. And I have been thinking alot about that lately. I
do recognize the magnitude of my calling. Also it said that when I get
sick to call upon the priesthood, that´s why I asked for a blessing
from the Elders, or else I might not have. Thanks for your prayers in
my behalf. Thanks for your love! I look forward to writing to you guys
all week! Oh one of the elders, when I couldn´t play futbol yesterday,
said I would be missed and that I am a valuable asset on the team. I
love playing futbol with all the other missionaries here. It´s so much
fun. And natives always come and join us. It´s so fun, they´re so much
better than us. Also we had an audience one time. A bunch of south
americans were sitting on the steps with their radio blasting, eating
their lunches and watching us and cheering and yelling whenever
something happens. It was awesome. I had to go buy contact solution
and shampoo at this little mercado. I wish I would have brought some
from USA everything is so expensive and in Spanish here and I can´t
really read the labels! There has been NOTHING so far of brands that I
recognize from the USA its crazy. When I come back home and speak
Spanish I´ll have the awesome ¨lisp¨. It´s so fun, i love it. Every
´z´´, ´ce´ or ´ci´ is said like a ´th´. It´s the best. The food here
is still really good. Last night for dinner we had noodle soup, egg
casserole/omelet, and egg rolls. yum. also salad. And for breakfast
today I had a croissant with nutella and a banana. We eat really well
:) We also eat a lot of chocolate. We like to go to the mercado and
find new chocolate to try. And so when we go up to our rooms to change
or get something we always eat a piece of chocolate. Haha. The elders
bought matching christmas sweaters at the mall. It was the best thing
ever. They lit up too. They´re so goofy. Ok I gotta go but I love you
all so much!! Love, Hermana Birch

ME and my comp AT THE CATEDRAL

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Week 1 at the MTC

Hi everyone! Its been a crazy week here at the MTC. so much has
happened. I love my companion and I love my district. The elders in
our district are foreign, one from Austria and one from Finland and
they´re the best, also one from Canada. We teach lessons to our
´´investigators´¨ everyday. Hugo and Juana. They are actually our
teachers. It´s really a good experience and my spanish is improving.
We study all day long and do Spanish study. Its really busy. The days
go by pretty fast though but I feel as if I´ve been here for a month!
I am surrounded by great people. Spain is so different than America. I
had to go to the farmacia to get some toothpaste and it was so
expensive and it was a tiny little pharmacy. Also there was a whole
cow leg, complete with hoof, in the grocery store. The people here in
Spain dress so fashionable all the time. On Saturday we went to the
Parque Retiro and I placed my first Book Of MORMON!! It was great. We
rode the metro there which was cool. I contacted a guy on the metro
and then ended up seeing him again at the parque. He liked the temple
but wasn´t interested in our religion. But he was really nice and
helped me with my Spanish as i was trying to communicate with him. He
spoke very little english. then me and my comp, hermana whittle, went
up to these two girls. we started in spanish but they actually spoke
english, I was so happy!! I gave them a Book of Mormon and they were
really nice and I taught them all about the history of the BOM. One
thing i´ve learned since being here is that it is really hard. It´s
not what I thought it was going to be and it´s mentally and
spiritually draining. But we had a devo yesterday with the MTC
director and he said ´¨that nothing worth doing is every easy, easy
things are devilish¨ I think it´s so true. I had a hard time this week
beause my companion, Hermana Thorpe was crying like all the time. She
wanted to go home so badly. I felt so bad. I didn´t know what to do.
We prayed togehter as a district for her and she received a blessing
from our DL Elder Baumann from Austria and she talked with the mtc
pres. alot and now she has a great attitude and we´re working great
together! I´m really grateful for that because her sadness was rubbing
off on me and i was doubting whether I was going to be able to do this
or not. It´s really different working with a companion. We have
different ideas about how we should teach the lessons and etc. also we
go everywhere together. It´s different. We go to the temple every week
here at the Spain MTC so we went again today and we went last week. It
was good. My teachers here are all native spainards, except for one,
but he´s from portugal. There are so great and have all served
missions and are the bestI love my teachers. I love wearing my name
badge with Christ on it. I love playing soccer with all the
missionaries here everyday for physical activity. . I love you all and
I wish you a Feliz Navidad!! love, Hermana Birch

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I made it!

I made it to the MTC!! It was a really long day but I´m finally here!!
I sat on two planes today and both of the people I sat next to I gave
them the Christmas pass along card that you gave me Mom. One of them
was from New Zealand and the other was from Galicia,Spain. Ok and the
computer keyboards here are really weird so I´m having a hard time
typing but I will keep going! As we flew into Spain we flew
over the Pyreenes Mountains. They are so beautiful. And as we
continued I saw just how beautiful the terrain in Spain is. Lots of
orchards and the Spanish homes and cities are very pretty, much
different than anything I have ever seen. I´m just SOOO happy to be
BTW My next P Day is not until Dec 18th! We just got assigned
comps. and mine is the other one from FL, Sister Thorpe. My first
impression of being here is that, um, my Spanish is really bad. On our
drive up here I could not even remember how to say where are you from
or do you work with the MTC, to the guy who was driving us. eek.
All the sisters that came today seem to be from the USA but there are
some elders from other places like Russia and Scotland. Really cool. I
guess I´m a little overwhelmed right now. I´m really far from home and
with lots of new people but I´m very excited to get my nametag tonight
and wear the name of Jesucristo on my shoulder. I love you all so
much!! Keep me in your prayers, that I will be safe and be an
effective missionary and learn the language without getting
overwhelmed! Ok there is literally a timer counting down how many
minutes I have, so i´ll keep going. I can´t believe i´m actually here.
i´m really happy and i´m safe. I love the gospel. I know i´m going to
grow so much from being here. I love you all so much, te amo!! Y la
iglesia es verdad!! LOVE, HERMANA BIRCH

Saturday, December 6, 2014