Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 22

We  had some cool stuff happen this week, A.. and S.. sent the money to Argentina and they should be getting the papers from his mom on Friday so then all they have to do is go to the townhall and ask for a date!!!! THEY ARE GETTING MARRIED SO SOON!! They called his mom while we were there and we all cried when she said that she was getting the papers this week and sending them out tomorrow. It is so ridiculously exciting! The ward is already planning their reception:) I AM SO HAPPY.

R.., the man from the kiosk, is beginning to progress again! He loves us, he´s like our cute little old grandpa here in Fuen. He said he can´t put the book of Mormon down and he received an answer that its true! The only thing holding him back right now is that he works every Sunday. He said the day it rains, he´ll come to church. Well we prayed all week and it rained on Sunday... and he didn´t come:( I´m actually pretty bummed. But he is really feeling the excitement and learning so much right now. ITs cool to see him progress again. Just gotta make it rain next Sunday too I guess!
Since I invited you all to share something from your studies this week with me, I thought I would share something as well. I have the goal to finish the Book of Mormon before December and as I am going through it, my love for this book grows so much. I love how often the first authors of the book, Nephi, Jacob and Enos all speak about how it is for a wise purpose and that they are writing it so that we may not forget that they believed in Christ, that they followed Him and they taught their children of Him. It is so incredible that the whole book was written for their brothers, teh Lamanites, and while they are writing this great work for them out of love so that one day they may come to the truth, the lamanites persecute and try to kill the nephites! That is some pure love of Christ right there! I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, written for our days and that by living the principles we find in it, we can be worthy to return and live with God again!
RANDOM THINGS (gleanings from her paragraphs to individual family members)

I definitely agree with what you said about teaching them to recognize the spirit is the most important thing they can learn. We´ve been studying that a lot this week in training and its so true. To know that what we are teaching is true, all they have to do is read some of the Book of Mormon, and pray to know if its true. The hard part is so often they wait for an experience like Joseph Smith, when many times is just a feeling. ITs the hardest thing getting people to recognize their answers, but when they do, thats when conversion happen. There is a phrase that I love in Lesson 1 of PMG, "As we begin to feel that what we are learning is true, we will desire to know all that we can about the Restoration." And its so true!!

You should read "the Continuous Atonement" by Brad Wilcox. His daughter served in our mission and gifted it to all her comps and I took her place in Dos Hermanas when she finished her mission, so I read it while I was there. ITs really good!

Don´t be too sure that being on my feet for 13 hours is normal. I actually prefer sitting because it means we are TEACHING! The weeks when my tan begins to fade are my favorite weeks cause it means that we were inside most of the day teaching. But yeah I do also have days when we just WALK AND WALK AND WALK and nobody loves us. Haha then we go to members and ask referrals and they give us water and let us use their bathroom.
My favorite part of being a missionary is that EVERYTHING that I do has a purpose: Invite others to come unto Christ. My life is simple because all that I do connects to this. Every moment of my day is planned and I have an entire manual, the scriptures and the Lord telling me what I should be doing. Being a missionary is actually easy in that aspect because you don´t have to second-guess. This is the salvation of His children, so the Lord makes things pretty clear on what to do!
I miss Dad´s cooking, just in general. HE cooks really well (PORK ROAST AND MASHED POTATOES). I will most miss the culture and the history here. The US doesn´t have as much of that. Actually we don´t really have history like they have it here in Europe.
I love you all so much and hope you have excellent weeks!

Hermana Folsom

Thursday, September 18, 2014

September 15th

This week was nuts. Yesterday at church, I saw a girl and thought, "Wow, she must have just gone to the bathroom and taken her bun out. Pity, it was really cute." Then I realized SHE WORE THE BUN TO CHURCH LAST SUNDAY!! This week went by so fast I am confusing the weeks at church.
Cool story of the week: On Thursdays, we offer service at a soup kitchen until lunchtime and always leave STARVING and as we were walking home, this REALLY GOOD bakery that is on the walk home came to my mind. BUT we were planning on taking the bus home and the bakery is beyond the bus stop, so I was like, "well if nobody is at the bus stop it means we missed the bus so we will keep walking and go by the bakery on the way home. SO if nobody is at the bus stop, we can go to the bakery, but if there are people there, we´ll wait for the bus and just not eat donuts." When we got to the bus stop, there were no people to be found, so we kept walking. I said nothing about the bakery to my companion, but I really could NOT get it out of my head! I was thinking about how ridiculous I am and how food driven I am and almost didn´t suggest going to the bakery, but right as we passed it, my feet took me into it. Seriously. I know you are all laughing right now but it was so odd. Here I am, standing at the counter, feeling like a total fatty whose feet lead her to chocolatey goodness when the lady working at the counter looks at my nametag, looks at my face and with shock in her eyes goes, "Where is that church?? I have been looking for it since I moved here to Fuengirola. I´m from Mexico and I´m baptized and everything!" THE LORD LED MY STOMACH TO THIS LESS ACTIVE MEMBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Weirdest revelation I have ever received in my life. We got her number and are meeting with her now! We just laughed afterwards when we realized what happened!

Sad news: N.. did NOT give permission for C.. to be baptized this Saturday:( She wants to do it all together, but she´s not ready at all to be baptized and recognizes it but she wants C.. to wait for her, even though C.. just wants to do it NOW. She cried during the lesson when her mom said no.  I know the day she comes to church, she will be jumping up and down begging for us to baptize C.., but she´s pretty depressed and refuses to go to church until she feels better. I don´t know what to do to help this woman because she really is clinically depressed, but has no money to see a doctor or anything. BUT neither she nor C.. can progress until she gets better.
We did a musical number in church yesterday, "Savior, Redeemer of my soul" and it was BEAUTIFUL. One of the elders in our ward was first chair violinist in all his orchestras and the other is an incredible tenor, so it was the perfect combination and I loved being able to accompany them. I love music.
I have a sad story for you. We watched "only a stonecutter" with a less active this week and there is a scene where the son is reunited with his family for the first time in years and as they hugged, i started to cry. It was too close to home. This week you would be happy to know we were fed everyday but Saturday and Sunday! The members are taking good care of us and really making sure I don´t look skinny when I get home!! hahaha but it's okay cause I LOVE south american cooking. So much rice.
 A story that happened at church actually happened saturday at church. a 70 came to Malaga to give a fireside for missionaries and investigators and we thought it started at 630, so all of us from fuen got there at 630. Turns out it started at 730, BUT right as we got there, there was a woman standing outside the church and she went up to us and asked if she could go in. We said of course and went in a gave her a tour of the church. She said that she has passed by the church before, but it was all closed up but that she wanted to go in and she had been standing outside and was about to leave when we pulled up and she felt she needed to talk to us. As we showed her the baptismal font, she said that she is looking for a church to be baptized in and that she wants to do it like Jesus Christ. We invited her to baptism and she said yes!! She lives in the area of the Assistants to President, but man this woman is incredible. She stayed for the fireside and loved it. If we hadn´t gotten the time wrong, she would have left and we might not have ever met her.

 My funny story for the week is that we were walking to a lesson and were turning the corner around a building when a man on a bicicycle coming from the other direction was doing the same thing and SLAMMED on his brakes right before plowing me down. As he stops, he looks up saying sorry and then really looks at us and goes, "WOW!! QUE GUAPASSSSSSSSSSSS (How good looking)!! Una morena (brown) y una blanquita (white)!!" it was hilarious and all we could do was just laugh and walk away. One really nice thing about spain is that you never have to worry about your self image because all the men in the street will remind you that you look good. I have just become accustomed to being called guapa (good looking) or preciosa (precious) or bonita (pretty). Its really nice.
LOVE, hermana folsom

September 8th

Sunday dinner!!

Teaching Pablo Picasso.
Hello beautiful family, friends and assorted loved ones. How is everybody doing?? Missing me terribly, right?? :)
This week was crazy. So.Much.Rejection. But at the same time, so many really cool miracles and so many great things that have happened as well!
First of all, we teach a 12 year old girl, C... She´s from Argentina and we met her in a really cool way. when I was with Hermana Lionetti still, we were looking up a former investigator and when he wasn´t home, we both felt really strongly that we needed to knock the doors on that floor, taht there was somebody there who needed us. So we knocked and nobody else was home until we got to the last door. We knocked and a woman, Noelia, opened. She is from Argentina and told us taht she has never really had any interest in religion but that something about us itnerests her. So she let us come back and it was a perfect first lesson- the woman even cried with us and told us that she wants to come to know Christ and that she wants to read the Book of Mormon. We came back the next time and her daughter, Candela, was there. We gifted her a copy of the Book of Mormon and the girl can´t get enough! she loves reading it and she loves praying. She told us there was something she ahd to tell us that she felt embarrassed saying in front of her mom, so we came over and chatted while her mom was at work and she told us that she prayed, received an answer and taht she knows that the Book of Mormon is true and that she wants to get baptized. She has a fecha for the 20th of September and she came to church on Sunday and LOVED it. There are 2 other girls her age and they all were laughing and acting like besties by the end. ITS SO COOL!! . I am so excited for C..!!

We met the biggest Paraguayan I´ve met my entire mission this week. This guy isn´t just big, he´s HUGE. And SO STINKING HUMBLE. We taught him on Tuesday and it was perfect. WE told him we wanted to give him something and when he saw the Book of Mormon, he got all excited and said, "I promise i am going to read this. I want to change my life. I want to learn more and do this." He even committed to baptism on teh 27th and gave us referrals!! He´s incredible. Then we got a text on Wednesday saying that he can´t continue, so we called and he told us that there are rthings in his life he can´t change but he knows they are wrong and so he can´t continue. We pleaded with him to rethink the decision and to just pray about it. He told us that he read the book and felt SO GOOD but that he´s made this decision. It was HEARTBREAKING. I just keep praying for Heavenly Father to soften his large heart and for him to call and say that he wants us to come back and that he´s ready to change his life.

We had interviews with President this week and mine was actually pretty long! We talked about everything and anything and he actually told me I need to start planning for after the mission. It was so weird, but he said he prefers for me to do it cause its better to come home to a plan and something set. Also he told me its very likely I will stay in Fuengirola for the rest of my mission. SO WEIRD. It was a great interview, but kinda trunky, talking about my post mission plans.
Things are definitely looking bright for S.. and A.. They asked for how long Hermana Hurtado and I will be together so they can figure out the date for the wedding with the ayuntamiento (uhmm townhall?) and so they know they have to do this thing before the end of October, so they are feeling some good healthy pressure:)
Our prime finding time is the same, 5-10pm, cause people are at home, or coming home from work and whatnto. I would say I do the majority of finding around 7 or 8. With our members we do many different things! Its depended on the area and to what degree the members are involved, cause I´ve had some areas where it was like pulling teeth getting member involvement so we have to get creative, but here they all freely share! One thing that I love to do with members is share a miracle I have seen with my companion that week so they can see that there REALLY IS work in their area. I think a lot of times, members get into their heads that there is no work in their ward, or that they don´t baptize, but its all about attitude, so I like to open their vision and let them see that you can baptize and help people everywhere!
The senior couple in the office fed us yesterday and she made beef roast and mashed potatoes and I was SO HAPPY- a true Sunday dinner for the first time in over a year!
My companion wants to learn English, but she is still learning. She understands a lot, but panicks when she has to speak and no matter how long I spend forcing her to practice lessons in English, when we get to it, she just stares at me and says, "NO PUEDO" but she totally can. She testified BEAUTIFULLY the other day in English using words I haven´t even taught her!  I wrote her a list of things she can testify of, and the last one on the list was "I know that what my companion says is true." Thats become her favorite:) I keep telling her that now she undesrtands how the rest of us feel when we come to Spain!
Christ is everything. Yesterday we were talking to a recent convert who is fighting with his parents and his mom found his Book of Mormon and made him throw it away. I began to cry when I heard that, which surprised me, but as I thought about it, I realized why it affected me so much. The Book of Mormon is our sword. WE are at WAR with satan and it pained me to hear that Se.. was going into teh battle without his sword, unarmed and unprotected. I felt such sorrow and I realized how important the Book of Mormon is. We aer reading it as a mission again and my goal is to finish it before the end of my mission. Spend time everyday in the Book of Mormon, you come closer to God by reading the Book of Mormon than any other book.

Have an excellent week! LOVE YOUALL!!
Hermana Folsom

September 1st

I made enchiladas.
Holy moly the weeks are just going by faster and faster. I can´t believe its SEPTEMBER already.
Updates on S.. and A.. They continue being our miracle family. S.. earned the money this weekend that they need to send for his papers and as soon as they have those (it can take anywhere from 1 week to 3 months to come) they can GET MARRIED!!!! A.. told me the other day that she "wants to get baptized already!" Haha they are so great. A.. cannot get enough of the Church. She started indexing and doing her family history ON HER OWN! She has seen almost every video on and she is sharing the gospel as well! They opened up their home for us to use to invite investigators in and they are inviting their friends to learn more. I am seriously obsessed with them. I have never met nor had the privilege to teach somebody like this before in my entire mission. They are incredible. They refer to us as "tita folsom y tita hurtado" to the baby even:)
I lost my hija. On Friday we did intercambios and the hermana who I was with got on the train to go to Malaga and Hermana Hurtado was supposed to get off that same train that just came from Malaga. BUT as the train pulled in, everybody got off, everybody got on, and the train left. And Hermana Hurtado was nowhere to be found. Mind you, I´m alone in a train station now. PANICKING. I called the office missionaries, the SHE´s, EVERYBODY and it turns out she had gotten off on the wrong stop, but didn´t know our phone number, but had a passalong card from being in Malaga, so she went to a locoturio nearby and called those hermanas and they called me. So I called the elders and they accompanied me to find her. Probably the most stressful hour of my mission! Haha but the good news is I HAVE MY HIJA AGAIN! I now know what it feels like to lose a child... oh man. I´m keeping a close eye on this one from now on! haha naw she felt so bad for causing so much trouble, so I couldn´t even be mad!

I´m feeling LOADS better now, since like Wednesday I´ve been doing well.
We have a lot of investigators that are really great right now, we have 3 different investigators working towards baptismal dates in September- A.., L.. and C.. (a 12 year old investigator from Argentina). And we are finding still! We are seeing a lot of success right now as we get to know and work better with the members. I have never received so many referrals before in my mission. Its so cool. One of the members commented, saying that she has had some friends prepared as referrals for awhile, but has been waitign for the right missionaries to come and she feels like we are the two that are meant to teach them!. The members love missionary work.
What you wrote about doign family history reminded me of this talk from general conference: I´ve become so obsessed with family history. The apostles have called my generation to do it and when I get home, thats my next mission!
What you said about the art gallery is incredible. Thats how I felt in Madrid when I went to the art museum and saw "Las meninas" and other pieces of art I have only seen pictures of! Sometimes I forget how cool it is that I live in Spain. I´ve noticed throughout my mission that I have phases where we teach people from different regions of the world. Cubans, colombians and ecuatorians, bolivians, spaniards, and right now its paraguay, argentina and uruguay. We are finding so many people from there! Its fun learnign about different cultures!
I was just thinking the other day too about how lucky I´ve been with my companions. I´ve gotten along with all of them.
The funniest story this week was probably Larry. The funniest part is that teaching is in English. There is something so odd about teaching in my own tongue. I really can´t do it. And when I feel impressed to say something, my impressions come in Spanish and I have to translate!! But he said he believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet because he´s seen visions of angels too and so he knows that Joseph Smith is "for real." I love africans.
AHha the first few days of the mission are killer, but now I could run a marathon. I decided I am in prime condition right now to be a tourist or go to disneyland cause i can walk all day and be fine as long as you keep me fed! haha
I love you all so much and hope you have an excellent week! LOVE YOU!!

Hermana FOlsom