Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Happy Halloween!

(Since Hermana Hauber didn't have time to write a group email this week, here are some highlights from the family email)

Como esta en casa esta semana? Because here in Badajoz it has been RAINNNNNY! And. I still haven't bought a rain jacket. Working on it though! What fun plans do you have for Halloween this week? I think Dia de Los Muertos is more of a Latin America thing.... But in our little Rama here we are having a Halloween activity on Saturday! Hermana Watson and I are supposed to teach people how to carve pumpkins so that will be interesting.... We might be moving pesos soon, if we do that would be awesome because ours frequently s,Ella like cigarette smoke. #worstthingever
Christmas stuff is out here too! But at least here in Spain they don't really celebrate Halloween or thanksgiving so I guess that is acceptable. (; I can't believe November is already here just next week! What's the weather been like out there?
This week, on Saturday, we had a Dia de rescates where we visited tons of menos activos in the branch. We did not teach one lesson and we walked almost 13 miles!! It was something we did as a zone, and I hope we will get some people coming back to church because of it. It was a long day, and we obviously didn't see immediate results, but it's not our work, it's the Lord's so he's gotta have something in mind. Also, we have two main investigators right now. Borja and Azu. We met with their families this week and made plans and set goals for them and how we can help them and then decided on days to fast for them. It has made a huge difference. Both of them are progressing and learning and it is so beautiful! I love seeing how this gospel changes lives.
Okay, fast quick a couple things. So my comp and I used the Brother of Jared for a lesson and I learned that when we face things in life, God handles them usually on three ways. 1- he just takes care of it for us (like tender mercies) 2- he tells us what to do/how to do it and then it is up to us to ACT on it. Or 3- he tells us to come up with a plan and bring it to him and then he will help us. The brother of Jared took three concerns to the Lord and had to face them in these three ways... I just thought that was awesome!!
 We found out we have interviews today so that means 6 hours on a bus and pretty much our whole p day is gone. I had interview with my mission president and he is amazing and so is his wife. I pretty much just cried because I do that all the time here and I'm so grateful they are here for us. They really are called of God.
I love you guys tons and hope you have a fun Halloween!!
Xoxoxo Hermana Hauber

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week Three: Two Months Old!

Hola y'all!!
Well, this week has been strange. I don't know really what a normal week in the mission is but I don't think this was it! Haha. So many good things to tell you about, but I'll just touch on a few.
 I can't decide which has been more prevalent in my life this week... Food or rain! It literally has been pouring buckets here and while I love the rain, let's just say that it is a completely different experience as a missionary. (: We spent 2 1/2 hours walking around last night because our appointment failed us and nobody wanted to let us in. While it wasn't my favorite thing to do, I was grateful because my companion and I were able to talk to many people and also stayed super positive, singing and laughing.
And food.... Pues. I came to Spain, expecting to cook a lot of my own food. And I have! But this week, we ate with people almost every single day! Also, on Saturday, we were fed three times between 2 and 10 pm!! Ayayay. And they feed us so much and I love it, but my body probably shouldn't love it so much. Hahaha.
Lots of other great things happened this week also! It was a crazy week, but so much happened. First of all, I met my district! Since we are so far out from our zone in Sevilla, we are just in a baby district of us here in Badajoz, 2 elders in Caceres, and an elderly couple in Caceres. I love it! My district leader asked me to give a taller (like a short little 5-10 minute talk/workshop thing) in our meeting so that was cool and I learned so much! Which always happen when you are assigned to teach others right?
Also, this SUPER COOL chain of events happened this week... we met with our branch president this week to talk about our Day of Rescue for Menos Activos that we have coming up and he gave us so much good advice! We literally went home and discussed and came up with a revised mission plan for our branch and are so excited! So we are focusing a lot on helping less actives come back to church, right and trying to get the members super involved? Well then a menos activo from the branch calls us and wants to take us to lunch. Fast forward a couple days and we go to lunch, he talks about how we need to get members more involved but also how we need to get the name of the church more out there because people tend to think we are weirdies. A few hours later... A lady from our English class that we teach wants us to be in her interview that a TV station is doing about her life so that she can show people that even though she is not Mormon, she loves us and we really aren't that weird! WOW. It literally was just like everything just worked out and I KNOW the Lords hand is I everything we do when we involve Him in our work. We are calling our new plan of action Project Badajoz.... The work here is going but hopefully soon it will grow and we will have a better way of sharing the gospel and helping others realize this wonderful restored gospel can work miracles in our lives.
Yesterday was my two month mark as a missionary! I can't believe that. Sometimes it seems like I've been out here forever and others I can't believe that I have already come two months. Time is weird, but if I've learned anything, it's that I need to just live in the moment. There is just way too much to tell you guys every awesome thing that happens in The life of a missionary, but just know that they make the hard and challenging times that much rewarding and bearable.
One last thought.... As I was studying general conference this week, this was something I learned. As we come to have. Ire trust in  God, we will have more love for Him and for His children. QUE FUERTE. I know that trusting in God brings ,Ira les and that through him, we can better love those around us and therefore be better. Holden and servants to Him. Have a great week y'all!
Xoxoxo Hermana Hauber

Rain always brings rainbows!

We celebrate everything with ice cream... happy 2 months to me!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week Two: Rainy days!

Hola y'all!
What a week here in Badajoz!! This week has been chuck full of work. We teach lessons and help with activities and practice English and so many things! Literally, I sleep 8 hours every night and it ever seems to be enough.
This week I was able to meet a lot of the people we teach besides our investigators. Like menos activos and recent converts and others who need our love. (: I don't understand all of every conversation, but I'm starting to pick up more things here and there so that is definitely a blessing.
On Monday, we always have noche de hogar with the ranch president and his family and one of our investigators and his family. It was fun to meet them and get to know them in a setting that wasnt church, ya know? Also, I love Wednesdays! So in our area, we have a pueblo called Merida. Basically it's another city almost as big as Badajoz so I have no idea why it's called a pueblo. Ha. But anyways. It's an hourish away by bus and we go and have some people there that we teach, but also have our medio dia meal with a family from the branch. Man. I love eating with members!!
Fun fact about Spain and our schedule. So we wake up at 7:30, do our studies and then we are out teaching and proselyting from 11:30-2. At 2, we come back, eat "lunch" and have more studies. We then go back out and work from 5:30 -10:15 when we need to be back in our piso. Then we plan, eat "dinner" and go to bed at 11:30. It's crazy! My body isn't so much liking this eating schedule, but that's okay. All good things.
On Friday this week we had zone meeting in Sevilla! For us, that means a 3 hour bus ride that leaves at 6:45 in the morning... (: Badajoz is kinda far away, and I kind of love that sometimes. Except not this time. (; Anyways, it was awesome to see other missionaries and meet those in my zone! We talked a lot about how important it is to reach out to those who are less active the church because they have so much potential! Also about how much members can help in the work! I guess I never realized this before, but seriously, members, help your missionaries. See what they need you do, find people or friends or family for them to teach! They call it missionary work, but it is for EVERYONE!
Yesterday was fast Sunday here in the branch and I bore my testimony and kinda introduced myself. Scary but so good. The members here are the sweetest and have so much love for us. It truly is amazing.
Anyways. Things here are going, but the work is hard. I know that I would not be making it through this without my savior walking with me every single step of the way. His love is real, y'all. I promise you. Reach out and he will be there for you in every moment of your lives.
Love you all, thanks for everything!
xoxoxo Hermana Hauber

With Hermanas Martin and Johnson. I was in the CCM with Hermana Martin
so it always good to see her. (:

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tips on Mailing Packages

Hi guys, it's Ashley (Hermana Hauber's sister in law). So a few people have asked how to send Hermana Hauber packages for Christmas, birthdays, just for fun, etc and I've looked around for some advice on how to get your package through to her. It sounds like Spain has a pretty finicky customs system, and it often will return packages back to the sender for weird reasons or delay delivery for months. To help prevent that from happening, I've got a list of tips from the past and current Malaga mission presidents on how to successfully send a package through to Hermana Hauber, I hope it helps! And If I find any more tips, I'll add it to this page.

 (From the past mission president)
Receiving packages for our missionaries remains a very frustrating task.  Please be aware that we can't predict when your package will arrive without any problems, or when it will be stopped and returned by customs, or even disappear.  Sometimes boxes are delivered but assessed fines.  We've had huge, heavy boxes arrive without customs fines, and we've had small, light boxes arrive with fines.  There is no pattern to what is held and what comes through without a problem. 
Possibly the most frustrating situation is when a missionary's package is stopped by customs.  We receive the notices, and we used to spend many hours both for our own personal packages and for boxes sent to missionaries, only to be told after the paperwork is all done that the package can't be released and must be returned to sender.  Of the hundreds of packages held in customs, only ONE TIME did we get the package released from customs and delivered to the missionary.  That was a new custom-fitted prosthetic leg for one of our elders.  
You can try  My Missionary Shipping  which has the advantages of  1) the sender can track the box all the way to it's destination, and 2) faster delivery at a lower cost.  We have problems with these packages getting stopped in customs too.  
We can't predict when your package will arrive without any problems, or when it will be stopped (and possibly returned) by customs, or even disappear.  We've had huge, heavy boxes arrive without customs fines, and we've had small, light boxes arrive with fines.  But here are a few tips that may help:
  • Small boxes or envelopes are better than big boxes.  Big boxes seem to attract attention of customs agents. 
  • Complete the customs form required by the sender, and underestimate the value of the contents. 
  • Don't use the title "Elder" or "Sister" when you ship--just address it to your missionary's name.
  • Never label your shipment as "medical supplies" or "medication".   Spanish laws prohibit individuals from receiving medication by mail. If you feel you must send some type of meds, label it as "vitamins" or "tablets".  Again, this is unpredictable.  One Elder received a 3-month supply of medication with no problem, and another mother sent a box labeled "medical supplies", which had simple first-aid supplies like bandaids and ointment, and it was returned to the sender. 
  • If you are sending a pair of something, like shoes, consider sending them one at a time.  Then you can honestly state a very low value!
  • Please send mail to the mission office address.  You can mail a package to the mission office also.  Usually packages and mail are delivered to individual  areas within two weeks.  When mailing packages to the mission office, always include the name of the mission, so that if it does get delivered with a fine, someone from the mission can retrieve it without having to get written permission from the missionary.   This is not so important for letters, as they never are assessed fines.  

(from the current mission president)
 Actually, we discourage packages as postage is expensive and they are often held by the "black hole" of Customs in Madrid, at which point we really can't do anything.  Sometimes they do send it through but charge extra postage or "duty" (we've had packages cost 60 to 70 euros in addition to postage). A better idea might be to make sure your missionary has a debit (bank) card that you can put extra money on for birthdays etc. Then if you really need to send a gift, make it something thoughtful that doesn't cost much, sent to the mission office. Missionary mail slots are very small, and in the past, packages that have been left by the door have been stolen. Also, if they are transferred it may be difficult to get their packages to them. Hint - a picture or sticker of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child on the outside seems to help packages get through. :)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week One: Badajoz!

Hola everybody!!
Warning: this will be long. Feel free to skim or just not read, but my oh my what a week it has been! I LOVE THE MISSION.
But first things first. Not even a week ago, I left the CCM and that was so hard. Six weeks with some of the most amazing people I have ever met! I'm so grateful for each and every one of them and the things that I learned from them.
The Elders in my district were AMAZING. On Sunday, we gave them all ties and little notes just as a thank you and they gave us chocolate. And Maria's with Nutella. Guys Maria's with Nutella = life. They are little round cookies that taste almost like graham crackers and she. You spread Nutella on them. MMMMM. That is what has gotten me through this last week. Thank you Elders of Abinadi. (: It was so hard to say goodbye Monday night. We cried and took pictures and sand hymn number 153 in the Spanish hymn book which was our district favorite. Barcelona is so lucky to be getting these STELLAR elders for 2 years!
Also, if you are going on a mission, just pray that you will get sent to the Spain CCM because that was the best 6 weeks of an MTC experience that I could imagine. The teachers are fabulous and Hermana and President Lovell are amazing!
Tuesday morning, we all went our separate ways and Hermana Stephens and I got on a train to Málaga! #finally We had a bug meeting about rules and stuff but I was so anxious to find out who my trainer would be an where I would be serving. I was the first to find out because oddly enough, mine was the first in alphabetical order of all the Hermanas. This is what I heard....
"Hermana Hauber, you will be serving with...... Hermana Watson in Badajoz!" Wahooooo :)
I was so excited. This was the Hermana that I had been emailing over the summer to find out more about the mission! We both got up and gave each other a big hug,
and got to point on the map where we were heading! Guys, God is so good. She is amazing and we clicked from the very start.  right after we were on a train to Sevilla and stayed the night there with some other hermanas and then Wednesday made the final stretch of our journey! We have had some amazing times together already. We got to our piso, and our water had been shut off. We were so confused so we went knocking on all our neighbors doors to see if somebody else was having the same problem. Somebody was finally home, and answered the door for us and told us it had been off since the day before and there was a problem with the pipes, and there were people working on it to get it fixed. It was a tender mercy to stay in Sevilla the night before, although it wasn't the plan originally, because we were scheduled to travel all the way back to Badajoz that night, I know it was the Lord, even with something so simple like that. we've had
lots of bonding experiences already and are like best friends! I have gotten to meet a lot of the branch members already, thanks to a fun activity we had Friday night. It was a fundraiser for the youth to got to efy this coming summer, and American party! We had hot dogs, and hamburgers, and pizza, and brownies and cheesecake :) Holy smokes talk about a lot of food! we showed
up in red white and blue, just to show some country pride. And of course there was English music playing in the background... That's a little awkward when you're the only one that can understand it, and you're the only one who shouldn't be listening to it... (;  I've also gotten to meet lots of our investigators and people we are teaching! They are all so nice an welcoming. If we are being real, I probably understand like less than half of what they are saying but you know, it will come with time. My speaking is definitely better than my listening skills but that's okay! My sweet trainer is so nice and always reminds me that I've only been here for a week and that things will get better and that I shouldn't be too hard on myself.
Okay, conference. I was so excited! And the. Had to listen to two sessions in Spanish. That was so hard because I sat for four hours and did not get very much out of it. Well.... We finally got to watch one session in English which was a HUGE blessing! I'm so grateful that we have modern day prophets and apostles to lead us and guide us. I can't wait to go back and read all of the talks and study them.
Guys, this has been the hardest week. I'm exhausted from walking and teaching and trying to understand and being frustrated that I can't, and so many things. But I know God is real. I know that his son, Jesus Christ, atoned for our sins and experienced our afflictions so that he could help us. They know what we are going through and I know that when we trust in thm, they will guide us and our lives in the way they need to be.
Final thought that one of my Abinadi elders shared with me on the bus, on the way to the train station Tuesday morning: 1 Nephi 18: 1-2. The lord will show us and guide us from time to time... He is always there watching but sometimes the guidance only comes from time to time. And also, we should be building our lives after the workmanship of the Lord, not of men. The Lord will guide us! He loves you and he loves me and he loves everybody perfectly and wants the best for us. Remember that, okay?
Alright, I'm done for the week. I love you all and sorry this was so long! Also, if you have emailed me and I haven't written back, I'm sorry. I will write back, I promise! Just not this week cuz I'm out of time. (: Love the Lord and love the life you've been given!
Xoxoxo Hermana Hauber

The American party... Notice our patriotic outfits. (;