My name is Hannah Griffin, or for the next 18 months, Hermana Griffin! I am serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Madrid, Spain and I will be serving from October 2014- April/May 2016.
MY transfer...Not by phone call... but in person!I
was just in shock. I was kind of expecting it, but at the same time, I felt
blindsided. So I spent Sunday saying goodbye to everyone I loved.
Investigators, Members, Missionaries... SO DIFFICULT!
I felt like I was being
ripped away from my home. I don’t think I’ve cried so much in so long. Anyway,
goodbyes are soooo HARD, and packing is miserable! I have so much stuff! And I
don’t even know how because I don’t even have anything!
I had to say goodbye to Hermana Ross. It was so hard to say
goodbye to her... Shes been with me the whole mission, from Frankfurt to now
and now she’s not with me. It's devastating. It was all just so sad. I already
really hate transfers. What the heck.
morning, we left at 8 to metro to the temple to meet my new companion. I felt
bad because we met up with the Elders heading there too and they ended up
taking my suitcases for me. Im just a helpless little Hermana, but I was so
We got there and we waited a little and then came Hermana Sykes.
I got off the Metro and literally all I
thought of was…The Wizard of Oz, and how poor Dorothy must have felt, and
that's what I was living. I’m trying not to be hard on this area, and be open-minded,
but it's pretty clear so far that it’s no Alcobendas.
Anyway, they are splitting the
companionship here in B3, so we're starting from scratch. It'll be a lot of
That’s pretty much it. Sorry. I’m
still shocked about leaving. I love you all though!
So we had transfers today! Hermana Fuller left to go back home, and
Hermana Clements came to Alcobendas to be my next trainer. She seems
great so far. She is from, Utah. and 9 months in the mission. She seems really
animated, which seems good so far. I´ve literally only known her for an
hour now, so not much else to report there!
This week was good! I had some really good experiences.
Monday, me and Hermana Fuller went thrift shopping. I bought a cute
yellow jacket and a scarf. After, we met up with the other Hermanas and
we got lunch at this sandwich shop. They have .50 cent sandwiches on
Mondays. It was fun to just hang out and kind of relax.
Second, when we got bocadillos from the scketchy warehouse by the
office... those are legs of jamon behind us. dont let my smile fool you.
Im not a huge fan of jamon as of right now, and also, my bocadillo was
churizo, because it is 3178042358934780430856 times better!
we had our last district meeting with Hermana Fuller and our district
leader Elder Cahoon. We knew for sure that the two of them were leaving.
It was a nice little meeting. After, we went to get bocadillos. There
is this shop that the office elders are always talking about. For 2
euros you get a drink and a bocadillo. So we thought we´d give it a try.
It was soooooo sketchy! It was in this warehouse... Anyway. Long story
short, pretty good! I got a chorizo bocadillo. Yum. Chorizo is easily
one of my favorite things here!
ward mission leader had a lunch with all the missionaries as a farewell
for Hermana Fuller and Elder Cahoon (who had been here for 6 months).
Super yummy! He made paella with chicken for me, since I cant have it
with shellfish. SO GOOD! After that, Hermana Fuller went to see the Lion
King with another hermana (Hermana Crandall) and the Jacksons for her
one cultural event that we get. She left and Hermana Crandall´s
companion, Hermana Turina, came to Alcobendas! It was great. Hermana
Turina was the one from Tahiti that I was companions with in the CCM for
about 2 weeks. She´s such a sweetheart. We had two dynamite lessons and
it was so strange being "in charge". It was a little taste of my life
for the next few weeks since Im area training now! I had to introduce
the investigators, direct their lessons since I knew their needs and
such and then also know the area! Fun and scary. Really great experience
though and such a fun day with Hermana Turina. She´s so funny. One of
our investigators, N, just loved Hermana Turina. She asked if we´d
start coming more often to teach her and her son, so now we have two
lessons a week with them. Her son, is dyslexic and has been held
back because of it. They told him if he doesnt pass English, they´re
going to hold him back again. So we help him with English and teach him
about the gospel. It´s easily one of my favorite parts of the week. They
are just such sweet people.
Friday, we went to
Wok (this chinese food restaurant) during Medio Dia (the
assistant to our ward mission leader), and the other Hermanas. It was
really good! I had tons of delicious sushi too! Anyway, I made it all
the way through this lunch without eating anything with shellfish...
until the very end. I tried these chips and then A.told me that
they were made with shrimp. Shrimp Chips!? That is not a real thing...
who makes chips out of shrimp!? Well anyway, not a huge reaction, just
hives. I popped some benadryl and was fine, just really drowsy the rest
of the day.
Saturday, we got pizza.
So much fun! We shared mission stories and stories from home and such.
Just a way good time! I also found out that night that my companion was
Hermana Clements. The Hermanas came over for one last sleepover before
Hermana Fuller left. We just hung out and talked. I love having the
other Hermanas so close.
Sunday, T came to
church! And so did C. It was a nice Sunday. And it snowed! Just a
little, but still! I took a picture, but you cant really tell. After
church, all of the missionaries went to a member´s house.
We had the most delicious and spanish meal ever. We had this codfish and
garbonzo bean soup with homemade bread. Then we had jamon... Ok people.
Jamon is interesting. It´s legitimately just a pig leg, that is like...
dried? I dont really know. Anyway, it dries and it gets like moldy on
the outside. Anyway, you cut off the outside and slice really thin the
meat. It´s not salty or anything. It´s so weird. Im not a huge fan, but
it´s slowly growing on me, I think. J let all of the missionaries
that wanted to, slice off some of the jamon. I declined. Maybe next
time. I hear he always lets the missionaries do it. After, we had arroz
con leche. YUM! such an awesome and delicious meal. The rest of the day,
we just stopped by member´s and investigator´s houses so Hermana Fuller
could say goodbye.
Last night and this morning
it snowed again! It´s just a little, but I love it. It´s super windy
though, which Im not a fan of! I took a picture.
I said, such a good week! Saying goodbye to Hermana Fuller this morning
was harder than I anticipated. But Im excited to start this next
transfer with Hermana Clements. We are emailing early today because we have some shopping and unpacking to do.
Im glad to hear you´re all doing well! I love you all!
talk a lot. A lot, a lot. Seriously. You´re lucky if your conversation
in less than an hour and you havent said anything. They just go and go
and go! Also, they are very animated talkers, they talk a lot with their
hands, or touch your arm or something when they talk.
Fuller convinced me to cut my bangs again, so once again, I have bangs!
I dont know how I feel about them this time, but everyone here loves
them. Also, everyone thinks I´m German! It´s ridiculous!
got lots of mail this week! Devin´s Christmas package, which was the
best ever, complete with Reese´s, more chocolate and a Bing Crosby cd!
What a guy! Also, a packet of cards from the ward. Tell everyone thank
you so much for me. I wish I could respond to them all, but I only have
so much time in the day. NOTE: (PLEASE DON'T SEND packages for every package I get I have to pay double for it!)
I forgot to tell you
about my New Years theory. So, on the 1st, a lot of our appointments
cancelled, so we decided to contact. We were in the streets trying to
stop people and get them to talk to us and no one would! So many people
said they didn´t believe or whatever. So this is my theory. At some
point in 2014, people tested God. They said, ok, "give me a sign or an
answer before next year"... but that´s not how God works people! So
then, when 2015 rolled around, and God didn´t do what they´d asked, they
determined, well, God´s not real then, or God only cares about himself
or any one of the many answers we heard lately. Anyway. That´s my
We met this Evangelist lady this week.
She told us we could stop by her piso and talk to her and her husband.
We went by and started lesson 1. It went well until we talked about the
Book of Mormon. The lady said she didn´t need any more scripture because
she had the Bible and it was literally like she´d read 2 Nephi 29 and
was quoting it back to us... I wanted to read it to her, but I
refrained. Anyway, it was basically the most frustrating lesson ever,
but she told me and my companion, and our member, Andres, that if we
ever wanted to come back and talk about just Christ or about the Bible,
we were more than welcome. They kept saying they had an open mind, but
when we´d just ask them to pray or read a page of the Book of Mormon or
anything, they said no. Anyway.
We had some
really awesome points this week too. We were contacting in the streets
on our way back to the piso at the end of the night, and no one would
even stop and talk to us for a second. And this lady was clearly waiting
for us after we stopped a couple who turned us away. She asked if we
were trying to talk about Jesus and if everyone was saying no. We
explained that we were and that we were missionaries, etc. She was so
sweet and we talked to her for at least 45 minutes. She is really open
minded, and everything she talked about is something we teach in the
church. It´s amazing to see how the Lord is preparing people for the
message of the gospel. We were doing everything we could and that´s when
he helped us. That´s how the Lord works in this life. When we´re doing
all we can, he will do all he can to help us be successful.
we met this really great lady named K. She has 2 kids who are 8 and
6 and she´s a single mom. She talked to sister missionaries 4 years ago
in Madrid, but somehow they lost touch. When we met her, she was really
kind and offered to let us sit and talk to her. We invited her to the
ward Family Home Evening that night, and SHE CAME! She´s wonderful! I
know the gospel will bless her life and her children. We´re trying to
meet with her this week too.
We found some treasures in our
piso this week too! This awesome mix CD with disney music, kind of
cheesy 80´s church music and this other music... this is the best I can
describe it- think garage band, spanish, singing about missionary life.
It´s the best CD ever. It has The Bear Necessities on it and I feel like
that is my theme song right now on the mission. Also, we found a CD
labeled, Praise to the Man, and we thought it would be music, but it was
a movie. Pretty much the best movie ever, actually. It is about Joseph
Smith and his life, from the perspective of WW Phelps. It´s great. See
if you can get your hands on it.
had my first meal appointment yesterday. The appointment was actually
for one of the sets of Elders, but they couldn´t go, so they offered it
to us. It was with a member and his wife. We of course accepted. When we
walked in, all I could smell was mariscos... I can´t eat mariscos! I
felt terrible! They had made this really great soup with shrimp and
scallops and muscles and all sorts of stuff and I couldnt eat any of it.
They made me chicken instead. I felt so bad, they had gone through so
much work to make that and then I couldnt have it. Ugh. It was not a
favorite moment of mine.
Also, I´ve had fresh
milk from a cow now! Last night, we went to a member´s house and they
have a bunch of cows. It was great! Better than the gross milk here.
Just kidding, it´s not gross, it´s just not the best.
leaves this week. I'm a nervous to find out who my new companion will
be. I´ll find out Saturday and meet her Monday. I´ll be sure to let you
know all about her! I love you all!
Please take care of yourselves! I don't want any more terrible emails.(Dad had a heart attack And my old college roommate had a car accident) That was good for 1 1/2 years. I love you!
For New Years, we had a sleepover with the other Hermanas. We had
to be in bed at 11:00 pm like our usual schedule, but we set an alarm
for 11:58 pm and then counted (is that how you spell that?) down the
last 12 seconds like they do here. You count down the last 12 seconds,
one for each month of the new year, and every second, you eat a grape.
If you do it all, the next year is supposed to be a good year, if not, a
year of bad luck... we´ll see! It was fun though, amd then we went back
to bed. Everyone does firecrackers for new years here, so all day there
were just like mini explosions everywhere. It scared me every time.
miss American milk... you have no idea. The milk isnt bad here, it´s
just different. You can leave the milk out, or you can refrigerate it,
and it´s exactly the same. Most people here cant afford being able to
refrigerate milk, so you dont have to. Its not creamy like american milk
either, it´s just kind of watery! Anyway, I tried to make potato soup
yesterday with it, and it didnt work like I´d hoped. Not bad, but not
good like normal... and you all know how much I love potato soup!
have been working with some investigators and we´ve been trying so hard
to get any of them to church... and no one comes! It is so frustrating!
But, we think the Lord recognized our efforts and gave us a freebie
yesterday. We were at church, hoping someone would come, and we got a
call from a lady that my companion and the hermana before me had met
about 9 weeks ago and never heard from since. She called us and told us she was in San Sebastian for church
and wanted to know how to get there! We´ve never talked to her! It was
amazing. Her Spanish isnt the greatest, but then again, neither is mine!
She´s super sweet and we´re meeting her this week!
Dia is our "free time" we eat, nap, study scriptures, do language
study, or go shopping. We cant go contacting or meet with people because
it´s everyone´s nap/lunch time and also, most stores are closed. But,
we keep ourselves busy, and it´s nice to have a little time to brush up
on Spanish and prepare for lessons that day.
I had the pensamiento espiritual for
reunion distrito this week. Presidente and Hermana Jackson decided to
come, so it was a little intimidating, but I think it went really well. I
talked about Helaman 5:12 and hope and faith being an anchor for us in
the gospel (there is a scripture, i think it was Hebrews 8:16 about hope
being an anchor for the soul) also I used a quote from a talk from
president Uchtdorf about the purpose of anchors and Christ being our
anchor... I´ll just send you all a copy next week becasue I´m not really
explaining it well in english... oh yeah, it´ll be in spanish, so Eric,
help mom out!
That´s about all I have time for
today, unfortunately. We are about to go to El Escorial for pday. There
is a big parade for la dia de los reyes magos.
Anyway, I love you all! I´ll write again soon! I hope you´re all doing well!
I got to go on intercambios, or
exchanges, and I went to an area called Alcala de Heneres. It was beautiful,
but I had to take a train there and it took forever. I spent a whole day there
and got to teach with another companion, Hermana Chavarria. Hermana Chavarria
is from Spain and doesnt speak English, but understands a lot. She is the
sweetest and helped me so much with my Spanish!
Teaching here in Alcobendas is
difficult right now because of all of the holidays. Everyone is busy and dont
seem to have the time to meet, but that´s ok! We arent teaching Cecilio anymore
because he decided he didnt want to see us anymore. But that´s ok!
David Archuleta came to Madrid. We saw
him perform twice and he also attended church in my ward Sunday. He´s really
quite talented and it was a once in a lifetime experience.
This week, one of our less active
members in the church (Toni, who is learning spanish), took the 9 missionaries
in our ward out to a typical Galician lunch. We ate really good bread, octopus
on potatos, calamari, really good marinated pork over french fries, pigs ear,
and some other really good stuff. I dont remember all of it, or even the names
of them, but it was the best food I´ve ever eaten, minus the pigs ear. Never,
never, never eat pigs ear! YUCK! Today, for Christmas, our ward mission leader
invited us for lunch and he made cows tongue and it was surprisingly good! I´d
probably eat it again!
The language is coming, slowly but
surely! We had a lesson the other day about temples and I realized that I was
speaking in Spanish and saying things without thinking about them and without
even realizing i could say them in spanish! It´s amazing what we can do with
the help of the Lord.
Last night, for Noche Buena
(Christmas Eve) we sang in a really popular square in Alcobendas. We sang
Christmas Carols and I realized during one of the songs, that it really felt
like Christmas. I felt so at home there and I remembered that it didnt matter
that I didnt have Christmas presents or that I was thousands of miles away from
my family, because the reason for this holiday is Christ. Christ is our gift,
the first gift of Christmas. God loves each of us so much, that he sent his only
begotten son for each of us, that through him, we could return to live with our
father in heaven again after this life. Remember that! Im so thankful for this
season and for this opportunity to teach about and come closer to Christ.
I love you all and hope you´re doing
well! Merry Christmas from Spain! I can´t wait to hear from you all!