Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Wash The Walls Before You Paint 3/30/2015

Dear Family,

 Awhile ago I found out all the missionaries title their letters in the subject box. I realized that I never do that. So last week, I tried to get crazy and just wrote "letter" up in the subject box. Well, my district thought that was a pretty great title and now make fun of me..."Hermana Kelemen titled her letter home 'letter'." They laugh every time someone says it...Yeah you learn to laugh at the lamest things on the mission. Like, the more you watch "The District" (missionary training videos) they get 'funnier' aka...you just find so much joy in the weirdest of things. (Everyone who served a mission with The District videos, gets it. Gets all the lame jokes. For example, "And, and, yeah he broke it..." Best line in both District videos.)

 Anyway enough of that. My title for this letter is "wash the walls before you paint".  Don't think too hard about it. Because it doesn't have a deeper meaning. Really like when you want to paint a wall in your house, wash the wall first. People in Spain don't get that. 
 This Saturday we went and painted this abandoned piso. Our investigators bought it and are going to move into it, and asked for our help. We are here to serve, so we and one set of Elders went to help. This was an icky house (Julia)...okay it was much worse actually. I'm positive it was built before Christopher Columbus discovered America. They asked us to come help paint. Although Josephine and I learned last summer with the Dahneke's, when someone comes and asks you to help paint, you're not really just going to go over and paint. With painting comes lots of other fun jobs. We first had to move all the junk out of the room-yes it was junk, when you have a bunch of stuff that was made before America was discovered, I feel okay calling it junk. We then stripped the walls. They were covered in two layers of wallpaper. Okay, so we actually took off more wall than we did wallpaper. I'm sure of it. You don't have to wait for a natural disaster to knock down theses walls, all you need to do is lean up against them. This place has been abandon for 20 years. The walls were SUPER dirty, there was dirt everywhere. Did we wash anything? Nope. I kept trying to offer, but they just said it didn't matter, and said to just sweep it with the broom? Wondering what that does? Pretty much what it sounds like-nothing. So we just painted over it. Pretty sure the paint was supposed to be white, not cream, but there's not much you can do when you mix paint with dirt. Not going to lie though, it was SUPER fun! The people we are teaching are SO funny and it was fun to have an opportunity to serve. Afterwards, my hands were black and I was so dirty, so many germs. I wouldn't be surprised if the plague was still alive in that piso. But it was so much fun, I really loved it. It was just interesting to me that they wouldn't let us wash the walls first.
This week was really good. Guess who came to speak to us? Brad Wilcox. He gave a talk about the 12 tribes. I don't know if you have heard it. I think this was my thrid time hearing it. Once at girls camp, and once at a PHS morning side. Ask Aaron...Anyway it was so good! He spoke in Spanish and I was following and understanding everything! Mostly because I had heard it before, but still it was nice. It was cool because Daniel came :) As I was listening to the talk, all of a sudden I had a flash back to when I was sitting in the Church for the PHS morning side. I thought about that time when I was still a youngin'...never did I think that in a couple of years I would be hearing the same talk, but as a missionary, in Spain, with a man I got to help teach and baptize. :) It was a really cool though. Like normal, I loved his talk and got so much out of it. 

Something I have learned a lot about this week is HOPE.
 What is esperanza? 
- firme confianza
- optimismo
- entusiasmo
- paciente
- ceer
- esperar
- tranquilidad 
Having confidence in the Lord and looking forward with a perfect brightness of HOPE. I love that. I love hope. The Savior has asked us to have faith, hope and charity. Hope is being happy, expecting the best. I like that commandment. This whole week I have been really trying to be more hopeful. 

I have seen the Lord's hand so much this week. I have two examples: 

We had a great lesson set up one morning. When we got to the house and the lady wasn't there. She then called us and said she was not interested in meeting with us anymore, ever again. At first I wanted to be frustrated. But that was not my goal, so instead I prayed to be happy, and my companion and I went contacting. It was weird, but I was in the best mood after she called and cancelled. I kept smiling and I didn't know why. Our investigator not only failed us, but said she never wanted to meet with us again. I had the thought, "Her canceling was an answer to prayer". As we were contacting NO one would listen-and man, I was in a rockin' good mood. Really, I felt like I was walking on sunshine all morning-and no one was listening to us. Then all of a sudden this man came up to us and said in English, "I FOUND YOU!" 

Have you seen Alice and Wonderland? Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dumb? The man looked just like one of those guys. Anyway, turns out he knows EVERYTHING about the Church. I was inviting him to conference and he said "Oh yes conference, it's in April right? The next one is in 6 months." When he said that, Hermana Toone and I just looked at each other in awe. Hermana Toone then said, "Our profeta will be talking to all of us, and you can come listen here in Spain". He then said, "You can't trick me, I know Thomas S. Monson lives in Salt Lake." It actually really scared us how much he knows. He was super nice and then his friend came up and was asking all these negative questions and trying to fight with us. This man from Alice and Wonderland (his name's Miguel) said, "Hey, you need to listen the the missionaries they have the truth". He was helping us, and taking our side. We then pulled out a Plan of Salvation pamphlet to show his friend, and Miguel looked at me and said, "Yes, lesson #2".  FREAKY. We then got his number and asked if he had ever met with the missionaries and he said "No". ???

We met with him just the other day. First off, he is SUPER weird. He acts like an Alice and Wonderland character, laughing every five seconds, and has the attention span of a five year old. I mean but he is SUPER nice; he just has a different personality. He jokes all the time. But he asks really good questions and is respectful, but weirdish.

He has just googled the Church. Everything he has learned about us has been over the internet. He said he has a friend that lives in Salt Lake so it made him wonder. We taught him the lesson and then at the end, this is what he said. "I know the Book of Mormon is true. I have read a lot. I'm just confused because there are 12 other churches that believe in the Book of Mormon. I want to be baptized, I just need to know which one is the right one." Is that not the weirdest thing ever? 

Anyway, I know our first appointment failed because we needed to find this other guy. I mean, I don't know if this guy is really seeking for the truth, but I know for some reason we needed to find him. 

Other hand of God experience:

Saturday night we finished a great lesson. We then both looked at the time and it was 8:30. We both felt like we needed to stop by this less active family. We left our paper at home with the number of their piso. So when we got there, we guessed and they buzzed us in!? That doesn't happen, ever. You don't just let people in. You first ask who it is. We got so excited and we ran up the stairs and knocked at the door. This girl had a big smile, and quickly her smiled dropped. She told us it was her birthday. I looked inside, and in the kitchen they had trays and trays of food. It then hit me. They thought we where party guests. They did let us in, to be nice. And then pretty soon they LOVED us. I don't know what we did, but somehow they wanted us to come back, and they gave us food to take home. We really where only there for like ten minutes, just getting to know them. We also got references from their friends. As we left, our minds were blown, it was a miracle we got in! 

We then looked at our phones--12 missed calls; 3 from the hermanas we live with; 3 from our district leader; 2 from the zone leaders; 4 from members in our ward. We were so confused. My companion looked at me and asked, "Is something wrong?" I didn't know. So we called the hermanas and they yelled. "Where are you!" We were so confused, and were like chill, we will be home soon, whats up?" They then asked, "Do you know what time it is?" We then looked at the time, 10 minutes to 11:00. In this mission, we have to be home by 9:30, unless you're in a lesson, then you can be home at 10:00. If you are going to be late, you have to call your district leader. When we looked at the time originally at 8:30, we read it wrong, it was actually 9:30! We booked it home, and we were far away. As we were running home, the President called us. Gulp. He told us the whole district was looking for us. Double gulp. We felt so bad. We had everyone freaked out. That's not like us. We always check our phone. 

But the more I think about it- that was the hand of God. The fact that BOTH of us read the time wrong, and that we got into the house, and just how everything fell into place. I know we were where we needed to be.

Okay, so I still feel a little bad that everyone was freaking out. Like, we had everyone freaking out. And now we are known as the missionaries that can't tell time.  We saw President the other day, and he said he's nervous with daylight savings for us. He asked if we would be coming home at midnight. Even the President is cracking the jokes. I guess we deserve it for freaking everyone out. 

Sorry my letter is so long. It has been an AMAZING week. I love the mission. I don't know what else to say other than I am learning so much, and I love it. I love it here. 
This week try to think about Hope, and try to have more of it! :) It makes life better! 
Thank you for your prayers! I love you so much!
Love, Hermana Kelemen 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Spirit Gets The Credit 3/23/2015

Dear Family,

This morning Hermana Seegmiller (one of the Hermanas we live with) turned to me and said, "I wish we could put a little camera on you everywhere you go, so we can see the full adventures of Hermana Kelemen." She laughs at everything I do. Like, even if I am just breathing…

But I liked her comment, I wish I did have a camera so you guys could see my life here. Missions are a weird thing. The more you think about them, the weirder they are. So many weird things happen, and you meet the weirdest people. This week as we were walking to our next appointment I turned to my companion and just said, "You are really the only person who really will ever understand what we are going though." I mean I can write and tell you all about it, but really you will never fully understand. Serving a mission really makes you think about other peoples missions... you really will never know.

Missionary work is amazing. The spirit is so real. I think people think of missionaries as these really great righteous people, like Aaron and Ammon. And yes they were great, but let me tell you really how it is. 

The people here love the missionaries, they look up to the missionaries and they come to us with questions and in times of need. A couple conferences ago one of the seventy gave a talk called "Ask The Missionaries". That talk becomes kinda scary when you actually are a missionary. But people do, people come and ask the missionaries. But WHY? Let's be honest. Were are children. We don't have a lot of experience in life. For half of us it's our first time out of the house, for most it's their first time out in the county. We really don't know much.  

But they trust us. They come to us. These 40 year old people, these adults come to us 19 year old kids with their problems and ask for help. Really when you step back. It doesn't make sense. The only answer I really have for it all is the spirit. The spirit does amazing things. 

For example we were talking to one of my favorite members, Edison, last night. His mom died when he was young and his father and him have never gotten along. He really has had such a hard, hard life; like everyone here in Spain. With the spirit we answered his questions and helped his needs. After it was over I just took a second to think. How did we do it? I don't understand what he is going though, not at all. I think about my life and really the only thing I could have said that would have been kinda similar is, "I am sorry your mom passed away, I know how you feel... one time one of our chickens died." Psych. It's not similar at all. We don't need to know everything, really all we need to do is know how to work with the spirit. I have learned this week that the spirit is a lot more powerful than we give it credit for.

Other adventure for the week:
We taught Fransico our deaf investigator and then his sister came... she too was deaf. As we got going in the lesson Fransico's other friend joined us. And before we knew it we were teaching three deaf people. Honestly, I thought to myself, "where are all these deaf people coming from?" Fransisco's friend and sister belong in some other religion and honestly all they wanted to do was Bible bash. Hermana Toone and I where getting frustrated. Who knew three deaf people could over take a conversation. Anyways, it was a wild lesson and there came a point where I was frazzled, looking up scriptures and then I took a second to think about what was happening and I then started to laugh. I need to learn to control my laughing. As my companion reminds me everyday "Hermana Kelemen laughing is universal. People know when you are laughing even if they don't speak English." But I couldn't help it the whole situation was so bizarre and I thought... of course, this is Kate kind of a thing to happen. Well we can't teach them anymore, not until they will actually want to be taught. But it was a good experience. Not many can say on their mission they taught three deaf people all at once. 

Thanks so much for your prayers! 
I love you! 
Love, Hermana Kelemen
This is what Madrid really looks like. I will send you fancy pictures sometimes,
but this is what it really looks like.
And this... this is the metro. We thought we would take a picture with this guy.
Everyday we get to bond with this fun metro. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

District Picnic 3/16/2015

Our district had a picnic and played frisbee.

Sisters we live with.
Yes that is a random baby head...explains how weird Spain is.

Enjoy the Moments 3/16/2015

Dear Family, 

I have been talking to a lot of missionaries this week who have told me about times in their missions they felt really homesick. When you told me you bought beef brisket home for dinner I remembered why I don't suffer with that problem. LOL. jokes. But really it's because I know my family wants me to be here :) 

Not going to lie, that big long letter about the van not working got me really worried. Don't scare me like that. Woody is going to live, he is NOT giving out when I am gone... that honestly would be the worst thing ever. Which...speaking of the KeleVan can you send me a picture? I try to talk about that guy to people, but it doesn't do it justice. Also, thank you for all the pictures you sent me. Pictures are the BEST. When you hand write me will you send me some pictures? Like of me and Walter, the van, when I dressed up as Shaggy, other fun pictures of the family. Because I don't have any. You don't need to do it soon, but it would be fun to show the families we teach. 

I am glad you sat by new people at church. That made my day. Even if you are a bit creepy with your sliver hair. 

I think everyone thinks I'm crazy here. Little story about yesterday on our way to chuch. We went to the bus stop for chuch and it was a 15 min wait, but we needed to be there sooner and there is another stop around the corrner. So as we were walking to check out the next stop, we saw that it was coming. Remember last week how I told you this stop is at the top of a very long steep hill, well it was a bit of a flash back of last week. I saw it and I knew we had to make it or else we would be late for church. So I took off. I was wearing black flats and it was hard to run. Hermanas Toone, Seegmiller and Judd (the other Hermanas we live with) were WAY behind and I knew if I didn't make it we would all miss it. So I took off my shoes and booked it. Like honestly the fastest I have ever run in my life. As I reached the top of the hill I saw Daniel (the guy who was just baptized) and another member Diego. (I will have to tell you about Diego sometime, he is a 16 year old kid that just baptized his mom this week, he is so cool) Anyway, as I got to the top they just laughed at me. 

Here is the worst part about it all. Half our ward was on the bus and our whole district. So I have been getting a lot of jokes about being an Olympic runner. Everyone at chuch came up to me at was like "we saw you running, good job!" Awkward. Anytime we are in a hurry with the district now they all joke "Maybe we will go faster if Hermana Kelemen takes off her shoes." Anyways thats just another story.  I may not be able to speak too well but I sure keep everyone laughing. I am a goob here. 

We had a baptism this week. For the lady named Maritha. She is golden. She has been coming to church for a long time, has scriptures, a hymn book, seen all the church videos. When we taught her the lessons honestly it went so fast because she would just sit there and say things like "Yes, I know." or "Yes I have already prayed about that." She really converted herself and then we just helped her set up a day to be baptized. Anyways the service started at 4:30, we told her to be there at 4, but when four rolled around she was no where. Then 4:30 passed and she was no where. We called her and she said she was still at home... she lives 30 minutes away. My companion was freaking out. We got in a members car and had to go pick her up. 
The hermanas kept laughing at how tall I am compared to this lady... BFG for life
She got carried away making hotdogs and sandwiches for her own baptism...There is Spain for you. It turned out to be really good though and Maritha was so happy she kept saying she felt so good inside. (But we are thinking we need to teach her a lesson about priorities:)
Something I have learned this week. Enjoy the moments. Grandpa sent me that poem, "I shall not pass this way again..." Sometimes its hard to enjoy every moment. Like when you are living in a different country and you are a big white giant (the hermanas love it when I call myself that) and you don't understand everything. But I only get this moment for a bit. Before I know it I will be able to speak and I want to enjoy my time of when I can't speak. My other companion in my trio, Hermana Carroll told me after her first 6 months when she was leaving her first area she cried a ton. Everyone thought she was crying because she was sad to go, but it was because she felt like she waisted that time, because she was never happy there. She said she felt like she waisted that time, she could have been happy, but she wasn't. 

So don't wait. We as people always are looking forward for things. STOP. Just try to enjoy the moments we are in. We always tend to be waiting for the future. When you wake up you get ready and you look forward to going to school. Then when you are in your first period class you just wait for the next one and so on. Then you just look at the time and look forward to going home. Then when you are home you look forward for dinner and then at dinner you look forward to being in bed. Then when you are in bed you look forward to the next day, and so on. We as people look forward constantly. Which can be good, but we need to also remember the moment that matters most at that time, which is always the one we are living in...because like that poem says..."we will not pass this ways again."

So my challenge for you this week is to try to enjoy the moments, even the not good moments :) Because before you know it they will be gone. Don't waste time being frustrated but use your energy to enjoy it. It's crazy, because when you try to enjoy the little moments in life, you enjoy life. I know it seems like black magic, an unreal concept, but its true. 

I love you so much!! Really I have the best family, it's true. 
Love, Hermana Kelemen

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pictures with Noemi 3/9/2015

We had lunch with them the other day. This girl is named Noemi Doljina Miugui(to) Bueno. I think that's her full name thats what she wrote down? But I don't know if the Bueno things real. Anyways she is going into the Provo MTC at the end of March I want you to send her some cookies or drop of some fun American treat, homemade :) (only if you have time.)

"Inconceivable" 3/9/2015

Dear Family and Amigos, 

Besos. Here and Spain you kiss everyone. Well because we are missionaries we only kiss girls. At first I thought it was strange... okay it still is. But we were telling this lady in our ward you don't do that in America. She then asked what we do... I didn't know. Do we just shake hands? That seems weird… 

Also during english class we were teaching everyone how to say where they were from in English. We were naming places and writing them down. Someone said Washington D.C. so we wrote it down. Then one of the members asked what the D.C. stood for. All four of us couldn't remember. We are bad Americans. What does it stand for? District of Columbia? and if so why? 

If you don't remember or don't read my letters, I am no longer in a trio. The adventures of Hermana Keloone has begun. That is what the other sisters call us in our district. They mushed all our names together. So we are no longer Hermana Kelemen and Toone, but Keloone. 

Its been a wild week. But so much fun. Hermana Toone and I like to work hard. I learned so much in a trio, things I couldn't have learned not being in one. But now I'm am no longer in a trio its a whole different ball game, and I am learning things I couldn't not being in a trio. I feel like I have had the opportunity to talk more. Hermana Toone lets me speak a lot, which is so nice. 

Have you seen the movie Princess Bride? You know that little man that says "inconceivable" (k don't know how to spell it) Well we met him... or his twin. We were actually looking for this address that didn't exist. It was like the Wayside story the 13 floor that wasn't really there... it was really weird, but anyway we got talking to him and taught him the whole first lesson and he wants to meet again!! This was shocking because he is Spaniard. Let me tell you a little something about my mission, there are all kinds of people here, from Peru, Portugal, Ecuador, France, England, Bolivia. One of the first things we ask people is where they are from because really they could be from anywhere. Why they all come here, is something that still is puzzling. Pero, the hardest people to teach are Spaniards, because they are stubborn people. But it was so cool! We have decided now when we contact we are just going to pretend we are looking for an address. It's so funny because Spaniards will drop ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to help you find an address, but anything else they just ignore you. Really the other day we were looking for an address and the guy walked us two blocks to the piso we were trying to find. Anyways so that was exciting.

Heavenly Father is still blessing me and Hermana Toone like crazy. We have another baptism date... actually two more. But really it's not because I am a good missionary. For example, we had been teaching this lady named Monica from Ecuador and she really was not progressing at all, but she would always come to English class. Then the other week she came up and said the other day she was having a really bad day so she picked up the Book of Mormon and found comfort she then asked us to come over and teach her more. Let me remind you we had tried with this Lady thousands of times before. It was not us that got her interested, but the Book of Mormon. We taught her this week and we planned to ask her to be baptized. I was going to ask her. I was so scared. Not because of what she was going to say, but whatIi was going to say! I just wanted her to understand me. Anyways when the time came I opened my mouth and said "Maria, will you follow the example of Jesucristo and be baptized with the authority of God?" (in Spanish of course) I had did it! I said it all right and didn't forget anything! .......well I almost did it. Hermana Toone looked at me and said "You mean Moncia?" Yeah we told the district about that they had a good long laugh. But she said yes. So what this goes to show is God's hand is helping every step of the way. 

Our other lady with a baptism date we met at church. We thought she was a member but she came up and told us she wasn't a member, but she wanted to be, and she asked if maybe we could help her out with that. When people ask that I know I have failed with them understanding our purpose. But we met with her and turns out she has been coming to church for a long time and she already knows a ton about the gospel.

This week we found out our investigator passed away (Jame). It was really sudden and unexpected. When we called to confirm our lesson his wife (that is a member, but not active), she answered and told us. It was so sad. We went over the other day to visit them. They are all inactive and we went over the Plan of Salvation and watched a Mormon message. The best part is when we sang. The Hymns brought such a strong spirit. It really was a different lesson, but the spirit was so strong and really I felt so glad they let us come by. They need to come back to church, its the only thing thats really going to comfort them. I know it. I just pray that they will realize that. 

I am learning so much on the mission I really am. Everyday I just feel grateful that I get to be here. Something I have really learned too is to count your blessings. When you do that you realize you have no reason to complain or be discouraged. Because God is blessing us everyday and just need to realize it. 

Also, I challenge everyone who reads this to sit with someone new in church this next sunday. It has to be someone you don't know. If you know everyone then you are lying and go sit with someone new. :)

I love you! Thank you for you letters and prayers. My family is the best!
Love, Hermana Kelemen