7/13/15: ¡I’m in A Coruña!

¡I’m in A Coruña!  Holy cow.  What a week.  I’ll just start from the beginning since I know y’all are curious.

So Tuesday morning, everyone left the CCM real early to get on their trains for Barcelona and Malaga.  So that left me, Elders Tranthum and Plat left to stay here in Madrid and take a “long” walk over to the stake center across the temple grounds.  I had a great talk with President and Hermana Lovell at this time so I was grateful I got to stay an extra couple of hours.

About 9am rolled around and off we went!  The AP’s (Elders’ Ruis and Schwenke) were there to pick us up.  They drove us to the mission home, which is about 25 minutes away from the temple.  We met the Packs, the Larsens (They are all great.  I love em) and just got to know them.  Then we had interviews and orientation stuff and what not.  Later that day, we went back to the stake center to find out who our trainers would be (whoop whoop!)  Elder Ruis let me in on a little secret that one trainer was right there in Madrid at Barrio 1 and the other was up in A Coruña.  I already knew I was going up North.  I just knew.  We met the trainer that was in Madrid, her name is Hermana Dewel.  She is super cute and is incredible.  But my mission “mom” was elsewhere!  And then I saw Hermana Braun’s picture on the big screen with A Coruña beneath it and I couldn’t be more excited or at peace with it!

So Hermana Braun had been staying in Vigo since those were the closest Hermanas to us and her old companion was sent to the islands.  My train wasn’t until early the next morning, so I went back to the mission house with the Pack’s and AP’s.  I stayed with some sisters in Madrid that night and they dropped me off at the train station at 7 the next morning!  Then I was off to Vigo to meet my companion.  (Sorry to inform you this mom.. But yes, I did go alone on the train.)

No need to worry about the train ride though because I had lots to study and a cute family was sitting next to me!  I arrived in Vigo about 2 o clock and met my cute companion, Hermana Braun!  We had a zone conference the next morning so we were staying there the next day for that.  So since we were on splits, I was with Hermana Pilling from Canada!  So a little side note, here is the schedule here in Spain:

7:30-9 exercise, shower, get ready, breakfast

9-10 personal study

10-11 companion study

11-11:30 language study

11:30-12:30 Learn the ropes (which is for 12 weeks)

12:30-2 proselyting time!

2-4 medio día (we either go back to our piso and eat or go with members. This is our big meal and break for the day because we never eat dinner)

4-10 more time to work! And it never gets dark here. Literally ever. I’ve never seen the sun completely down. Haha

So back to Hermana Pilling!  She is great.  Straight from the train station we went over to a members’ house for medio día.  AHHH SPANISH.  I want to understand people so badly.  But it’s just so hard.  And I’ll understand one sentence but then the next 10 I’m still stuck on translating that so I miss everything else.  Well, está bien. Con tiempo, verdad? (It’s ok? With time, right?)  A little 10 year old girl was teaching me all the words for the face and parts of the body on a Barbie doll.  It was hilarious.

Then the next day was zone conference!  I love the Packs!  All the other missionaries were just meeting them for the first time since they had only been there a week.  It was nice to have gained that personal relationship with them.  (And it’s crazy how many connections my family has with them!)  Something that really stood out to me when President Pack interviewed me the day before, was the difference missionaries can have with ward members.  Spain is obviously not the most baptizing place, but there are TONS of menos activos (less active) and tons of youth that I hope to make an impact on.  I may not baptize one person while I’m here but I could help a youth get out on their mission and they baptize 50!  I love how the Lord works.  And so much of it I probably won’t even see, but I have faith that I am doing my little part for his big plan.

Something I loved that Hermana Pack said while talking about obedience was the song, “Keep the Commandments”.  There is a line that says, “with this there is safety and peace”.  I just loved it.  We are safe from obeying the Lord.  And there is so much joy and peace when we are doing what’s right!  That song has just been playing in my head over and over again this week.

So after the zone conferences, we took a train back with the other elders that are in our district.  It was about an hour and a half train ride.  Side note, Spain is just beautiful!!! And Galicia, where Vigo and A Coruña are, is even more beautiful!!!  A Coruña is a city right on the coast of northern Spain.  Flowers are everywhere and you can always smell the ocean.  I’m obsessed.  Especially since it’s summer.  Madrid is terribly hot, and in A Coruña it’s perfect.  Like today I had to wear a long sleeve cardigan because I was cold-perfect.  I’m so blessed to be here.  Plus every missionary tells me that miracles just happen in the north.  Hermana Braun is a big advocate on that.  She’s told me so many incredible stories (this is her 3rd transfer here), but I’ll share one.  So every Tuesday and Saturday, the missionaries teach an English class (they are so fun btw- and it’s so humbling and encouraging to listen to these poor Spaniards try and saw words like “grocery store” haha).  Anyways, they were teaching a class one Tuesday night, and a mom and her 18 old daughter just walk into the church and say they want to learn more.  That was 3 weeks ago and now this Saturday, the daughter, named Andrea, is getting baptized and the mom, Amable, will probably in the next 2-3 weeks.  They’re just incredible.  Hermana Braun said that it was one of the stories that you read in the Ensign, or hear in another missionaries farewell talk, but never think it could happen to you.  Andrea is just so pure! In Spain, people just drink all day (and when I say day I mean from 2 until early the next morning when they go to sleep haha).  It’s all about the parties.  Andrea is just this pure little speck that somehow stayed clear of all of it!  Ah she’s great.

So back to the timeline of events.  Now we are back in A Coruña!  Our apartment is super nice.  Hermana Braun thinks it’s because it was an older couples apartment that was serving here before us.  But hey, I’m not complaining!  We even have our own bathrooms!

So the Rama (branch) in A Coruña is a decent size.  I hope to gain a good relationship with all of them even though I can’t understand most of them right now.  Hermana Braun is a great teacher.  She’s been out here for 8-9 months and I would say she is fluent.  She’s been working on my pronunciation with me a lot.  I just can’t wait to be able to understand and respond, it’s driving me crazy!!  But patience.  Oh patience.

Well the mission field is great, I miss my good friends in the CCM, but it is so good to be out here putting in work.  It is lots of walking (btw my nursing shoes are heaven) and lots of teaching lessons.  Lots of cancelled lessons also.  And lots of lessons on the spot too.

So Sunday I had the opportunity to bare my testimony during church since I was new.  I was super nervous because I didn’t want to make a fool out of me, basically.  I probably did, but the spirit was so strong there.  So hopefully the language of the spirit proved its strength was more powerful than the Spanish language once again.

This week I’ve been thinking lots about sacrifice.  I’ve sacrificed so many things to be out here.  Seeing my family, school, and friends.  But to me, it doesn’t even feel like a sacrifice because I just simply want to be serving my Heavenly Father.  The more we sacrifice, the closer we are able to be to God.  I like to think of sacrificing more as an offering.  We can offer things like our time, and our hearts to Him! I studied Abraham this week a lot and was thinking a lot about the sacrifices he made.  And of course when he was asked to sacrifice his own son.  I challenge all of you to study Abraham this week!  After all, he must be pretty important for God to have made such a big covenant that has lasted hundreds of years to fulfill.

Well, I love y’all! Hope everything is going good at home. I miss each of you and Texas.  And Mexican food.  And Marlee.  But I love Spain and all the people in this country!  It’s crazy how much you can love people and not even understand them.  Welp, the church is true! Love y’all!!!

Hermana Dev

PS People struggle with my last name so much here.  It’s ridiculous.  And funny.

2015-0707 Brooke at Mission Home in Madrid
New missionaries getting ready to head out into the field!
Just arriving in Vigo to meet Hermana Braun!
Just arriving in Vigo to meet Hermana Braun!
Making my apartment feel a little more like home :)
Making my apartment feel a little more like home 🙂
All settled in!
All settled in!
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