Thursday, January 1, 2015

Week 1 in field

Hola Familia!
   Wow. Week one in the field was crazy! First of all, I will have 2 hours each Monday to email now. Starting at 4:30 my time, in case you´re wondering. Let me start with my last week in the CCM since I didn´t really get to talk about it. 
   The palace was GORGEOUS! It was super ornate and just such a sight. I got to see where the current King was inaugurated and I got to see the throne room and the royal crown and so much more. You weren´´t allowed to take pictures past a certain point in the palace, so some of you should expect postcards of the different rooms. It was great and I got to spend one last day alone with Hermana F. Im gonna miss her so much.
   Saying goodbye to my district and teachers and Presidente y Hermana Lovell was the hardest thing Ive ever done. Friends and Presidente Lovell were not as bad as saying goodbye to my teachers because I dont know if I´ll ever see them again and thats a really sad and scary thought. Im so thankful for all of them and everything they did for me. They have had such an impact on my life and I love them all dearly.
   Tuesday morning we woke up early and said goodbye to the district as they got on buses for Malaga and Barcelona. Me and Hermana J. were the only ones left in the district. We left at 9:30 am for the mission home. We had a devotional, went over rules and then had the most delicious lunch I´ve eaten in 6 weeks, all made by Hermana Jackson! After, Presidente Jackson played accordian for us and we sang Christmas songs. After, we headed back to the Stake Center by the CCM and got our suitcases and found out who our companions were.
   My companion is Hermana F! She is a sweetheart. She is 21 and from Utah, but went to U of M for harp! She is the 2nd of 4 kids and the first to serve a mission. She leaves after this transfer, which means I´ll have 2 transfers, but after these 6 weeks, I´ll be area training! Scary! So there is a lot of pressure to make sure I know everyone and the area.
   I´ve been assigned to Alcobendas, which is north of Madrid. About 20-30 minutes away by car (but like 1 1/2 hours by metro). Alcobendas is the area, I love it here. It´s a little sketchy, honestly, but so safe for missionaries. No one here dares mess with anyone affiliated with Jesus or God, so having a nametag is great.
   My district is pretty great! We have the office elders, Elders B. and C., the district leaders, Elders W. and G., the office couple, Elder and Hermana C., and then 3 Hermanas who live across the street from us, Hermana G., Hermana P. and Hermana R. (the one who flew to Spain with me!). We´re all in the same little ward building, but the ward is pretty strong. We over flow into two other rooms so we have to broadcast the meetings to those rooms too. It´s great! They are currently building a new building for us, but it won’t be done for a few years because building moves super slowly here.
   When I got here basically all of our investigators dropped off the face of the earth, so we are starting from scratch, which is good but hard too. We have done tons of street contacting and have even had a street lesson every day this week! No one here ever answers there phone, EVER! Which is so incredibly frustrating. One of our street lessons was with a guy named C, who is a Spaniard. He´s probably mid to late 60s. He was really respectful when we first met him, but alittle negative, but we have since convinced him to come to see the chapel (where we snuck in a small lesson) and then also got him to come to the Christmas devotional yesterday. He really seemed to like it and said he´d meet with us this week again! It´s amazing.
 I understand Spanish! Mostly. I understand a lot, but I can barely speak. It´´s frustrating. I´ve been able to distinguish accents though! So a lot of people here aren´t actually from Spain! Most are Dominican. But I can tell people´s accents and usually can tell where they´re from based on their looks. It´s strange, but kind of cool too. Anyway, yesterday at church, I understood everything except for Relief Society, which amazed me! I´m hoping the language will come sooner rather than later.
   Food here is strange. Not taste wise, everything tastes delicious! But nothing ever goes bad. EVER! It´s really sketchy. Things are supposed to go bad! Which makes me question what is going on with the food, but at the same time, I just don’t think about it. I had these really good Christmas cookies, which are powder and you have to squish them to compact them to be able to eat them. I’ve also had Turron. Tons and tons of Turron! It´s delicious. I don’t really know how to explain it, so look it up, but they only have it at Christmas here. I´m going to see about sending some home to you all because its so good! Everyone feeds us snacks. Usually breads or muffins, which I’m totally not against! We only eat breakfast and lunch here because of our schedule.
   We wake up at 7:00 am, 8:30-12:00 is studies (personal, companion, language and infield training), 12:00-2:00 is teaching/contacting on the streets, 2:00-4:00 is Medio Dia (Siesta) and so we cook lunch, hang out and study some more, usually study the language), 4:00-9:30 is more teaching. It´s a crazy schedule, but I love it. We teach English classes Tuesday nights that are open to the public which is fun and on Thursday (maybe Friday, I don’t remember), we have ward Family Home Evenings (Noche de Hogar). It´s great!
   This area has tons of potential and really great people! Pray for us as we try to start new. I love being a missionary and there is nothing more rewarding than knowing that you spent all day serving the Lord. I hope you´re all doing well! It sounds like you are! I love you all and pray for you always! I´ll talk to you all soon! I don’t have p-day next Monday because we will be Skyping on Christmas/Thursday. Know that I love you all and hope you all have the best Christmas possible and remember that Christ is the reason we celebrate!
Hermana Griffin

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