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 

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