Friday, July 31, 2015

Gizzard Guts 7/20/2015

Dear Family and Friends,

First, something I hope people can learn, there are blessings, yes, that come from the Sabbath, but don't forget the biggest one...the Sabbath itself. The Sabbath its self is a blessing, not a burden. Don't get tricked.

This week we had a big mission conference and met our new president. He has two kids and wow I just felt so bad for them. They looked so, so...scared. I don't feel bad for them. It's scary at first. It was really good though and they are an amazing family.

This week we taught this lady named Juliet. She is from Ghana and is so great. But she now always wants to feed us Ghana food.... Not so great. I don't think my American body can handle that kind of stuff. Boy. When they left the room, I quickly wrapped the gizzard guts in
napkins and shoved them in my comps bag. Don't worry she still loves me. 😀 We made it out alive, but next time she wants to make us fu pray for me. After we ran out of napkins...I may or may not have thrown the last gizzard gut out the window. But all is well. She has a fecha and is amazing. 😀

We are also teaching this super cute family. It's a mom and her two boys. The one little boys name is Daniel and although he is only 10, he is amazing. He has amazing questions and really wants to be prepared for his baptism. They are just amazing. The moms name is Antonia and then there's Daniel and Dennis. And they already have so many friends in the ward, and make my day every time we see them.

This week I re-read one of my favorite conference talks. It's one most of you know called Come What May and Love It, by Joseph B Worthlin. Often I think...maybe I am laughing too hard in the mission. But whenever I think of that, I think of this quote... "The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable." Often when things go wrong in the mission, I have to just laugh. My comps really good with that. And man it makes the mission so much better. So here's my goal for you. Laugh more. Learn to laugh and enjoy the journey. People don't laugh enough. Yours a guy in our ward, yes, his name is Yours....anyways he told me and my comp he liked us because we are always happy. Although it's not true about us, I know his statement is true. People like happy people.
So re-read this talk, and laugh more when you want to groan.

Love, Hermana Kelemen

The Body Guard 7/13/2015

Dear family.....and friends

First, thank you grandma for letting me know about Jared's mission call--Africa, Ghana. That is by far the second best mission in the world. This week I have been thinking a lot about the missionaries in Africa, they are so lucky. Why? Because Africans are really my favorite kind of people. My new area and new ward has a bunch. I love them because they love people so easily and they are just so nice to everyone. For example....

Aunt Katharine sent me a talk awhile ago, which really has changed my mission. (Ask her if you want the whole story.) Anyways long story short, the talk is about when a lesson fails, look for someone else. Because if that person can't meet, that means someone else is waiting for you. So all my companions think I'm a little crazy when the lesson fails and I say, "keep your eyes out someone's close and ready...Ready or not here we come..."

This week we met this guy in the street and had an amazing lesson. He didn't have a phone but gave us an address, he wanted a Book of Mormon and everything. So we were so excited to pass by. The first time no one was home. The second time...We learned it was false. A different, guy named Luis lived there, and really kindly explained that the person we were looking for, did not live there. As he was about to close the gate, I suddenly yelled out, "wait this is for you!!" He then turned around and I awkwardly forced our card in his hand. I said something a long the lines of "well although we are looking for someone else, we're the missionaries, here's our card. We have Church, Wanna come?" 30 seconds later we were walking a way with his number and a time to go pick him up.  After we were both a little shocked and thought maybe he gave us a false number just to get rid of us. But when we called to confirm, he sounded so happy and excited and said of course.

Still we were not sure. We kept asking each other the whole way morning, "why on earth is he going with strangers (he has talked to for only less than a minute) to a Church he knows nothing about. As we got there, we rang his timbre and he came down, and we stared walking and talking and then suddenly moments later he stops and says, "wait you're Mormons?" As we said yes he stopped and said, "sorry I can't go with you. I can't go to the Mormons. I'm sorry but I believe in Jesus Christ." We pointed to our name tags that in bold reads CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, and explained that actually we do believe in Jesus Christ. He told us he was planning to go to the Jehovah's Witnesses church. He thought we were them...not the first time this has happened. But somehow he agreed to just come. And he loved it. Turned out he knows half the ward, because he is
African, and so is half the ward...And they all know their 'country men'...Like really, it blows my mind...but they ALL know each other. (It makes me wonder why they don't share the gospel with each other?)

He made a lot of jokes all during Church (which I kept telling him to save his jokes for the Jehovah Witness church), but he REALLY liked it. After he told me... "Kelemen, I am really going to miss you when you go back to America... How long is your mission, cuz man I'm going to miss you." I wanted to say...." Miss me? We have known each other for three hours and not too long ago you thought I was a Jehovah Witness." He kept calling me his body guard at the church. I told him he was not allowed to call me that, so then he changed it to
'personal assistant'. I then had to tell him that was not cool either. He also told me my Spanish was really good.... Ha ha ha ha ha, so you how little he knows.

There is also an old recent convert Spaniard who also has become my friend.... Well, we're getting there. He won't call me Hermana Kelemen. He told me I am Mary Carmen, and will refuse to call me by my name. They're calling me all kinds of things here in Spain. This ward is so funny. I love this area already so much. And my companion, we get a long so well. We are always laughing, I don't know if it's because my companion is so funny or because after five hours in blazing sun you start to get a little loopy. Both, a little both. Really me and my companion get a long so well... At times she reminds me of Julia and then it makes me sad. But really I couldn't find another companion that is so much like me. Tall, lanky and likes to
laugh and enjoy the little things in life. I am just praying I will be with her for another transfer.

But back to the story, the moral is you never know. Even if you are two tall, lanky awkward American girls, who knows what can happen. There is a power with faith. A lot of time we underestimate this simple truth. It's something I think really everyone needs more of. No matter how much you have I think there is always room for more. So my challenge for you is to pick something you have a hard time having faith in, and work on that. God doesn't expect us to have perfect faith as we know from the scriptures, but with the faith we do have he expects us to nourish it. And with his help it will grow. Also this week a lot of our recent converts and less actives are worried that they will lose faith one day. People. You can't if you do the three primary answers. Study daily the scriptures. Pray morning and night. And prepare yourself for Church and attend every week. I know it's impossible to lose the faith if we do our part, because we have God helping us.

Mary Carmen, The Body Guard, Hermana Kelemen

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Small World 7/6/2015

Dear family, and others,

I'm now in Trorajon. New area. So really right now I just am...Okay, let's be honest I'm really
sad. After six long months in B8 I have left. I feel like B8 is my home. I didn't realize how much I love the weirdos. We had a Noche De Hogar at a members house last night And after Edison (the one that gave that prayer about how women are the hardest to get) started
crying. And oh Daniel. I asked him how he was yesterday and he told me "my heart is very troubled. If it was my wish I would have you stay in B8 for the rest of your mission. I have to keep reminding myself that God knows best. 😕 A lot of people kept saying too, "Oh Hermana Kelemen, our crazy girl, what are we going to do without her." Like I can't even tell you how many people said that. I guess I was a weirdo to them. But they kept telling me a good way. Don't know what to think. It blew my mind that people even cared I was leaving. The cave man talk touched their hearts I guess. Don't really know how...

In my last week we found an amazing guy. He saw us talking to another guy and after he called us over, in English. At first we were weirded out, he asked us, "hey did that guy listen to your message?" (Creepily watching us from across the street.) When we said no, he said,
"Spain people have hard hearts and are close minded, so don't get down." He is a Spaniard, let me add this. Anyways I then asked him how he knows English, and he then asked where I was from. I said Utah. And he said, "oh I lived in Utah for a year. I lived in Provo." 😮😮😮😮😮 My jaw dropped. I was so happy and we began talking about good old Provo Utah. He wants to meet again and hear more, he said he has questions. Man. So bummed I can't teach him. Provo, I like people who have lived there. Small world. Well actually the world is getting smaller. My new companion is Hermana Baxter. Loran Baxter. Ring a bell...Dad?? She had you as a teacher. She is 6'1" and she said that you always told her she reminded you of Julia. She thinks she has talked to Julia before. Because she ran track and went to Timpview. Anyways weird. This is going to be a new adventure. Two big white giants in the streets of Spain. If I were the people of Spain, I would give my number out of fear of two big monsters talking to me. Ha ha ha.

Well I don't know. I now only live with my companion. I liked living with other Hermanas. But we will see how it goes. Here, things are a lot slower and smaller. I've heard there are a lot more Africans. More Daniels, Kassis, and Josephs. Boy oh boy.

We'll pray for my companion, she's gunna need it. Enjoy Tahoe for me. I often think about jumping in the ice cold water as I wake up in the middle of the night with my hair soaked because I'm sweating so much. In the night I have to go soak my t-shirt in ice water and wear it wet or I can't fall asleep. So enjoy it.

Love, Hermana Kelemen 😀

Mary Carmen 6/29/2015

Dear family and friends,

This week was bomb. I love barrio ocho. I love it here. I could live this forever. We had the activity I talked about last time, "the cena international". Boy oh boy. It was a hit and a half. So many people came and we had food from many different countries. Our investigator from New York came! Miracle. And he loved it. He keeps telling me he is home sick and all he wants to do is go back to the USA. So seeing all us Americans decked out in red white and blue made him happy. We also made American apple pie, rice crispy treats, brownies, and peanut butter cookies. The pie made him so happy. Go Merica. We also did a talent show. People sang songs and danced dances from their country. So of course because it was our activity we shared some American talent. Cotton Eye Joe. The ward loved our talent a little too much, and afterwards, everyone wanted to share talents. So it turned into karaoke party. Karaoke in Spain is a thousand times better, because everyone here is tone deaf. Oh this
ward.... No ward like it. This was on Saturday and on Sunday the whole ward kept talking about it. It really was so good because we had a lot of non members there! It's good for them to see that we are normal people. 😀

(Sad thing. My legs are dead. I am soooo sore from Cotton Eye Joe. And we did it for what? 2 minutes? Man I haven't moved like that in a long time.)

Also everyone after the activity kept telling me I had the longest legs they had ever seen. Also they told me when I cheered for the other talents I scream like a pig. 😐 I don't know what to think of that. After, they explained that it was in a good way. But, is there a good way to scream like a pig? The first counselor told me I was a great dancer, because my legs are so long and I make funny faces. ? .......

We also found an amazing guy to teach this week! He is so prepared. During the lesson his phone kept ringing and every time he would look at us and say, "Sorry, Satan is trying to stop me from hearing the word of God." Also before we began the lesson, he asked if we could make a following appointment, and right as we sat down to talk, he asked if we could first start with a prayer. In my head I was like "hold up, are you sure the haven't seen missionaries before?" Man he is so been prepared. I'm super excited to meet with him again. He also told us 40 different ways people have tried to kill him, but God keeps preserving his life. That was beyond interesting.

Okay sorry I seem to always tell you the crazy side of my mission, but it's quite a big side. The truth of it all is...I love the mission. I know that God has a timing for everything. I
know I needed to serve a mission not a week sooner or later. I needed to come here and meet and these people from all over the world to become the person God wants me to become. They never will ever quite understand the influence they have in my life. Before my mission, as many as you know, I struggled with the question with whether to go to a semester of college first or a mission. Both good things. But sometimes there are a good, better, and best. I know although I didn't feel quite ready at the time, I know that I needed to come at the time I did. I wish I could explain the things I have, learned, heard and seen. Serving a mission is not a sacrifice. You aren't giving up two years, or a year and a half of your life. People seem to say that all the time. But it's a lie. You ain't giving up anything...but rather gaining so much. Serving a mission is joy.

Love, Hermana Kelemen

P.S. Oh yes, why Mary Carmen in the title of this letter. Whenever I introduce myself to anyone and say, "Hola, soy Hermana Kelemen." They look at me and say, "Oh! Mary Carmen, mucho gusto!" Like everyone thinks I am Mary Carmen. No...people read my tag! Sorry my accent must be hard to understand.

It's hard to sleep at night when your sweating bullets. Madrid is getting roasty toasty. Like really, really hot. And AC is not a thing.Only cheap little plastic hand fans.