Saturday, August 23, 2014

State of the Mission

View from Mijas
 Every week at the beginning of our office staff meeting we have a "State of the Mission" report, going over how many baptisms, baptismal dates, "rescues", new investigators, etc. we've had for the week, month, and year so far. Well, this is kind of my "State of My Mission" report.  I say kind of, because my mission isn't really measureable by numbers (except perhaps by the number of referrals that have been coming in and going out, which fluctuates).  It's more of a "Sense of the State of my Mission" and this will probably amount to random thoughts.
"Burro Taxi"
Right now (written a couple days ago) I'm pretty tired. Which in a way is a good thing! It means I'm keeping quite busy, which I love. I just wish there were a few more hours in the day! It often becomes quite late without my even noticing, which isn't unusual for me when I'm immersed in a good book, but I don't even have any fiction here. But there's always facebook ...
Hermana Castillo and me
I'm always trying to think of ways to increase the number of referrals coming into the mission, and also ways to encourage my Spanish speaking missionaries to keep plugging away learning English.  I'm regularly filled to overflowing for gratitude. So MANY blessings!   The only thing that would make it even better would be if I had a "best friend" to come with me on my mission. You couples have it made - so get on out here! It's great going on adventures, but it's a hundred times better when I have someone to share them with, which I did today on P-day. Thanks Hermana Castillo! Check out my "addendum" at the end for details, and the pictures are almost all from today. :)

Mijas shop
Okay, back to the "State of the Mission". In case you were curious, right now the number of referrals our missionaries usually give me hovers around the mid 30's for the week (a good part of which are for other, usually South American missions). This week we had a great week, though, and got in about 50! The number that comes into our mission (from within the mission to other zones, and from other missions and is usually in the mid 20's. This is quite a bit better than when we started, but we're always looking to improve. If you have any ideas I'd love to hear them!
I try to make the missionaries that call me with a referral feel glad that they called. And I try really hard to not make them feel guilty if they haven't called the person when I call (after 2 days) to check and see how it went, but to just gently remind them. Most of them are REALLY good at calling though. One fun thing about the call backs is when I get a Spanish speaker. One of the hardest times to understand a foreign language is on the phone. Usually between their limited English and my limited Spanish we figure things out, but there have been a few times I was left being not quite sure if I really got what they were trying to tell me. It makes life interesting! And it's so funny..  even the Americans will often speak Spanish to me without even realizing they are doing it, until I ask them to repeat. And it's really funny when they speak half Spanish and half English. I can usually figure it out though. But there are some letter pairs (or even triples) in Spanish that sound exactly the same, which can be pretty tricky over the phone when I'm trying to get the names of cities and streets. Thank heavens for google maps! And the Spanish i is our long "e" sound, and etc., which makes when they spell things out REALLY interesting when I'm not sure if it's the Spanish or English they're trying to say/spell!
Not today, but loved it!
Sometimes I just plain get tired! Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I went to the beach the other night and found a fairly quiet spot off the walkway (there are LOTS of people on the walkway) to calm my spirit a bit, which helped. Life can be kind of hard sometimes!   A mission can be hard!  The Lord tends to stretch you in ways that can be uncomfortable sometimes - but love and faith gets me through. This is not a job where you clock in, check off your list of responsibilities, and then clock out to go on about your life. The Lord tends to stretch one in sometimes totally unexpected ways, and sometimes it hurts, but the Lord is always there. As well as some pretty awesome people who become His hands and feet to help me out when I need it!
Hna Castillo told me to
look at her (while drinking),
so I got a face full of water!
I feel God's love so often and strongly here! I still miss the temple, but mission perks are pretty darn nice, too. And the knowledge that I'm doing what the Lord wants me to do is very sweet.
Material things become less important (and you realize that if you have done without it for a year or two, you probably don't need it!) .... A mission tends to focus one on the truly important things in life - The Lord, family, friends, and helping those family and friends we don't even know yet find the joy that the gospel brings.
I love the scriptures. I read them pretty much totally in Spanish now and I love it!
I am happy, fairly healthy, and  constantly amazed at God's grace and the power of His atonement. There's no better life!
Addendum:   Thanks for sharing the day with me today, Hermana Castillo! Today for P-day we went up to a little pueblo called Mijas that has burro taxies, beautiful views, and very fun little shops. It was a GREAT day! We bought each other cute necklaces, and then I found an awesome hand-made silver necklace from a little shop that I couldn't resist, so I got TWO necklaces today!  Pretty much unheard of. We shared some hand-made icecream and candied almonds, and wandered through lots of little shops.
There were original ceramics, photographs, and paintings in addition to jewelry, and of coarse lots of touristy stuff. We also went to the "Museo de Minaturas" (Miniatures museum), which was totally not what I was expecting, but still very fun. They had very tiny (some the size of maybe a dime, some on the head or even point of a pin or along a toothpick or hair) paintings and carvings. Very fascinating!  They had to have multiple magnifying glasses or a microscope to be able to see them.
Then on the way home I got to drive for the first time in Spain (no problem), so watch out, world! I'm on the loose!  ;)


  1. Thank you for saving me from a day of housework. I so enjoy hanging out with you. I, personally, am so grateful you decided to come to Spain to serve a mission. I so admire your patience, hard work, and positive attitude. You are an amazing example to me. I hope your family knows they will now have to share you with us after we get home....

    1. Anytime! Housework look daunting? We can rescue each other from it's dastardlly clutches! Just have to remember that it's kind of nice to have clean clothes to wear.... ;) And it'd be a thrill and an honor to be included in Castillo Clan doings. And you need to come enjoy some Southern Oregon adventures. It really is beautiful there! :)