Friday, October 24, 2014

Oct 23, 2014

Dearest Family,

As of Monday of this week we are  half way through the mission. It has sped by at an unbelievable pace. We have had nine 
months of such joy in service, seeing a beautiful part of the world, meeting amazing people from all different areas of the globe, and learning, learning, learning. What a fabulous opportunity it has been to study /The Book of Mormon/, and /Preach My Gospel/ together everyday and share our thoughts with each other. We actually were asked at the end of August to read the /Book of Mormon/, as a mission, from start to finish by Dec. 23rd so we started from the beginning again but have caught back up to where we left off and are once again studying with the book  /Verse by Verse in the Book of Mormon/.

Saturday there was a branch baptism for two investigators. The sweet lady that struggled with smoking was baptized and a young girl of 16 whose parents are members but she and her older sister aren't. She made the decision to be baptized over a week ago but told only the missionaries and branch leaders so the Sunday before, when the baptism was announced, and they read her name her parents had no idea until then. They were so surprised and thrilled with her decision. Since it was Fast and Testimony meeting both of them bore such sweet testimonies of their love for her and happiness with her decision. Her sister is JAS age and comes to church all the time now and even came to our JAS activity for the first time this past Tuesday. It would be so joyful to have the whole family baptized and the daughters sealed. I didn't make it to the  baptism because I was having terrible back pain for three days and just stayed home and rested. I was able to lend the other lady my temple dress for her baptism. She is so tiny and short so the sister missionaries bought a white ribbon and tied it around her waist and pulled the top of the dress over the ribbon a couple of inches so it wasn't too long on her. Can you imagine being that much shorter than me!

We'll be saying goodbye to one of our sister missionaries this Sunday night and the other sister will stay with us until her companion gets here either Monday, or Wednesday if it a new sister just out of the MTC. The branch always holds a special FHE farewell when a missionary is leaving the mission from Vigo to go home. We had that  last night for hermana Braithwait. There was a great crowd, good food, wonderful lesson and games, so it was a nice send off for her. They always give the missionaries a Spanish flag and a Galician flag and everyone signs it that wants to. It was a fun night. Sunday is transfers so there could be a lot more changes coming  in our district. We took pictures after district meeting Wednesday because it is the last time we'll be together as this particular group. Changes are good and it's always great to meet more young missionaries but it is also hard to say goodbye.

We had a torrential rain storm with high winds last week. At times it looked like the rain was falling horizontally. We had to drive in it to get missionaries to and from some places in the city and the traffic was a nightmare. A normal 10 minute drive took an hour. There was flooding throughout the city but I only saw pictures on facebook since it wasn't anywhere near us. These kind of rainstorms are very typical during the winter months here in northern Spain so we are told. What has been really surprising is since then we have had clear blue skies and warm temperatures. I don't look forward to more storms like that but we aren't out in it like the young missionaries. They have it much tougher.

We had a great JAS activity Tuesday night. We met at Monte Castro, an old celtic ruin  that is a park on a hill in the middle of Vigo. It is beautiful with gardens, fountains, monuments, trails and gorgeous views once you make it to the top. We enjoyed the park a while and were supposed to play games but it got dark so we went to a little cafeteria at the bottom of the hill, ordered drinks and snacks for everyone and celebrated one of our JAS  girlfriend's birthday. She comes to our activities quite often so we know her quite well and everyone really likes her. I had made cupcakes and brought candles and the restaurant manager said it would be fine to sing Happy Birthday so we had a little party. She came up to me after and kissed me on the cheek and thanked me. I get kissed a lot on the cheek here and hugged all the time. Fun night!!!

We're just living the mission dream and counting our blessings everyday to be having this wonderful experience. Love to all of you.

Mom and Dad

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