Friday, September 6, 2013

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Seville

Today I had the opportunity to go to a stake dance opening social for seminary.  I had an amazing time despite how nervous I felt before coming.  They remind me of my home ward Barrio 3 back in Utah.  They love to dance too!  We all danced the night away.  Bachatas, Salsa, Danza Kuduro, Gangnem Style, just like home.  I made new friends and met many people already.  I will explain the details of the party later but before I fall asleep from jet lag I wanted to talk about the experience I had tonight.

The stake in Sevilla is smaller than any ward in Utah.
At first glance you could already tell that every single person in that building had a testimony, you could see it in their eyes, you could feel the Spirit testifying that truth.
I was surprised by the amount of youth that attended.  Some were not members but they were happy to be there!  I think that is pretty cool, considering the amount of Mormons in Spain is like 1%.
The stake president showed a video for the seminary opening, this year we will be learning about the Book of Mormon!  I could feel the spirit even during the video.
After the video we played a game, kind of like scripture mastery.  If you knew the answer you had to stand up doing a signal representing either an elephant, bird, tree, or rabbit, and the people on the right and left next to you had to complete the signal in order to answer the question.  Everyone got really into it, which was really fun to see the desire to show their scripture knowledge.
The stake presidency expressed their gratitude for the effort the parents and the youth had made to come to the social on a Friday night, some having to travel more than 2 hours away.  To me, it was normal seeing everyone there I didn't think of it, but until the president said that it never occurred to me how much effort some youth had to put into being there.
Another talk was given testifying about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  Most of the members in the stake are converts, and they love the gospel very much.  It's changed their lives and when I  heard one of the presidents talk about the love of the gospel and of The Book of Mormon you could not deny the Holy Ghost was testifying that this was true.
He shared a scripture found in D&C 50:19-25
 (It was more meaningful to me in Spanish so that's why I chose Spanish)

19  Y además, el que recibe la palabra de verdad, ¿la recibe por el Espíritu d
e verdad o de alguna otra manera? 

 20  Si es de alguna otra manera, no es de Dios.
 21  Por tanto, ¿cómo es que no podéis comprender y saber que el que recibe la palabra por el Espíritu de verdad, la recibe como la predica el Espíritu de verdad?
 22  De manera que, el que la predica y el que la recibe se comprenden el uno al otro, y ambos son aedificados y se bregocijan juntamente.
 23  Y lo que no edifica no es de Dios, y es atinieblas.
 24  Lo que es de Dios es aluz; y el que recibe luz y bpersevera en Dios, recibe cmás luz, y esa luz se hace más y más resplandeciente hasta el día perfecto.
 25  Y además, de cierto os digo, y lo digo para que sepáis la averdad, a fin de que desechéis las tinieblas de entre vosotros:

This scripture is saying HOW?  How does someone who comes to know the gospel not feel that this church is true?  It is impossible because the Holy Ghost testifies so strongly whenever someone opens that Book of Mormon.  (the stake president referred it as a magic book from where magic opens when you open it.)  The Spirit will testify to all who is willing to open their heart and listen and have the desire to.

I have never felt such a sweet and tender yet bold spirit testify to me that this church is true & it has only been one day.  I know my testimony will grow much much more from the example of these saints here in Sevilla.  I know the Book of Mormon is true and can't wait to study, understand, and love it even more. I know that seminary does make a difference, and what we learn in there and at church will edify and help us become more like Christ.   I know we have a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson.  The members light up when I tell them I'm from Utah, "Where the prophet lives?". We take everything for granted in Utah.  How blessed we really are to live in such proximity to the center, Salt Lake City, of the true Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Living in a place far away from home is hard, & even more so when you are the only Latter Day Saint within miles.  I am blessed to have a host family, Manuel, Isabel, and Jared that love the gospel. 
I cannot wait for the rest of the year I will be spending with these members in Sevilla.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Here's a link to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.

I don't know who reads this blog yet but I love comments & I love questions!  Facebook me, email me if you don't have blog spot.

Carla y yo! Las dos Peruanas! At the stake dance!

Destination: Seville

I wrote last night but my phone died because I couldn't figure out the electricity converter. That is just one of the many little things that is different here in Spain so far.
I live in a little neighborhood called Mairena del Aljarafe.  I feel like I'm living in a postcard!  The city is so colorful and beautiful, full of artisan.  There is a lot of Arabic influence here in Sevilla.  The vibrant ceramic tiles, the red clay rooftops, curtains covering the patio, & narrow streets.  Everything is within walking distance.  The school and the mall are only 20 minutes away.  Everybody walks more, the city is more alive with people laughing, conversing, drinking un café.  The lifestyle here is much more relaxed, one of my favorite parts of the day is sitting around the table for El Almuerzo (like lunch time) around 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  Spaniards care a lot about their food, they take their time.  The olives are very strong but delicious, & the melons are the sweetest things I have ever tasted! The grapes and tomatoes are huge!  The meat is delicious and you can tell they feed me very well here!
My room is cozy, I have a wardrobe, a desk, a comfy daybed,  and lots of shelves.  My fan is currently my best friend.  I even have an American flag hanging on my wall as a touch of home.
There is something special about my room, it leads out onto the balcony/patio.  It's the best part about the house!  Because of the Arabic influence the houses are built close together and on the inside courtyard all the neighbors share a pool!  I can see it from my balcony.  The courtyard is where everyone gathers around to watch a game of soccer (very important here) and cook and visit.  My neighbors are very sweet.
 My family here is the sweetest kind of people I have ever met, I already feel like a part of their family.  We cook, we dance, we sing, we eat, and we laugh all day!  Jared is my new little brother, he is 12 years old.  He is super mischievous and playful and very guapo!  He can also be very sweet.  So far we've had a long talk next to the pool, he's saved me from the cat Celeste several times (she hates me because I 'stole' her room) and have had many laughs.  He treats me like I'm his sister.
Today I taught him how to play ninja destruction, & now I have a feeling we will be playing that very often..  I also taught him how to wear a snapback correctly.
 I could go on, and on but the time difference is 7 hours apart and I am still jetlagged.  I have to wake up early tomorrow to go to the beach in Huelva!  Wooohoo!

I wanna give a shutout to all my friends back in Utah and especially to my family.  Mom, Dad, Cassidy, and Ixchel!  I miss you guys so much but I want you to know that I am doing just great over here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Happy Goodbyes

The world has made it a custom for goodbyes to be sad, but I believe that doesn't always have to be the case. Goodbyes can be happy too! They are a time to wish farewell, safe travels, & good luck. They are a time to tell the people you care about most how much they really mean to you. I believe goodbyes bring people closer together, they make friendships last forever  & family stronger. Goodbyes make people braver, closer to their own hearts. They make hearts flutter and beat in anticipation to tell someone what you really meant, or how you really feel before it's too late. Goodbyes are when people are their most genuine and honest self. Goodbyes can be sad or they can be happy. If everyone lived their lives as if they were leaving tomorrow then the world would be much, much different; we would be more genuine, fearless & lovely. Goodbyes bring out the best in people. It is not a time to be remorseful, it is a time to rejoice and celebrate! Nothing is infinite not even lost. Goodbyes are not forever.
I want to live my everyday like it's a goodbye because I know I am my better self.
Goodbyes mean leaving people you love behind, but everyone you encounter finds a place in your heart and you carry your heart with you everywhere you go so they never leave you! Goodbyes are the hardest part, but with every goodbye there is a new hello. So here is my hello to my new life in España! Let the journey begin.