Thursday, October 30, 2014


MOM, DAD, RYAN, AND ANYONE ELSE WHO IS CURIOUS TO KNOW ABOUT ME...Holy smokes I am a real missionary out in the real field!!! So this is what happened. Tuesday morning we packed up and headed out of Madrid to the train station at 5 in the morning. We had a 3 hour train ride straight to Barcelona. When we arrived our mission pres and his wife were there to pick us all up, and oh my goodness they are amazing!! We spent the day at the mission home and pres took us out to see Barcelona for a bit. Then we were assigned a temporary companion for the night to stay with and spend the night in their piso. Wednesday was the day I was waiting for. It was when we were finally introduced to our new companion slash trainer and we finally found out where we would be serving. It was nerve racking just waiting around to find who and where we would be.... and then we found out.... anyone want to guess where I am.... I AM IN VALENCIA!!!!

I am in the area that EVERYONE wanted to be in. The best city to serve in out of the whole Barcelona mission!!! It is absolutely amazing out here!!! Oh and by the way, my trainer is a rock star!! She is exactly what I needed. Just goes to show that the Lord does answer prayers!!!! Her name is Hermana Gillette, she is perfect in every single way!!!!!! I will send pictures next time. She is incredible, I could talk for hours about her... and it turns out we went to high school together for a year. We have similar friends, and know the same people, but just never knew each other. It's such a small world. She is showing me the ropes and roads of the mission. It is going to be one great transfer and a half with her before she goes home. But hey, I only have a min today to let y'all know where I am and that I made it safe, I will be on next Tuesday to email. Our normal p-days are Mondays, but because of transfer week, it was a little messed up. 

I love you all so much. Mom, dad, don't forget to email me next Tuesday. Love you so mucho mucho. I am doing great, and I honestly have the best trainer for me. She is not girlie at all, she is down to earth, she is helping me with the language, and basically everything in between. I have been blessed. Oh and my piso is SO nice!! I'll take pictures of it and send it to you guys. I love you!!

Love Hermana Stilson

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sharing the Gospel in the Park

Hi everyone, to start this email off I just want to give a HUGE shout out to all the missionary moms!! That package saved me and it couldn't have come at a better time!! Thank you all so much for all the love and work you pile into those boxes. I have watched you all put several of them together, but I never could have imagined the feeling of actually receiving them. You moms are absolutely amazing, and just know that I love each and every single one of you. I wouldn't have been able to make it though the week without your guys love. Well this week was one of stress, confusion, frustration, nerves, and Spanish... but seeing as those are all things that NO ONE likes, we are just not going to focus on them, I'll just skip to the good and happy parts. I am just going to tell you about the best part of my week, other than receiving my amazing package. So for those of you who don't know what happens every Saturday here at the Spain MTC, we have the opportunity to go to a HUGE park and try to talk to as many people as we can, place a few copies of the Book of Mormon, hand out some pass along cards, share a warm smile, say a cheerful Hola and bear testimonies with those we come in contact with. We basically get to proselyte. I love going to the park, there is always an amazing experience to get out of it. This last week was probably my favorite time that I have gone. So when I went to the park I was fortunate enough to talk and meet with one of the most cold hearted, stubborn, anti religious man I have ever met. He was all about talking with us and willing to hear us out just so that he could try to argue with us. I made enough small talk with the man (in English) to learn that he is a "religious parody" movie critic, who is from Brazil. He travels to other countries to watch their films and
this week he was working in Spain. Yay for us! He started off by asking who we were and what our purpose was to be walking around a park all dressed up talking to strangers. We thought that that was the perfect opportunity to share a quick message with him. So we introduced ourselves as missionaries of the Church and briefly explained that we are here to share our message of joy and happiness with those who desire to hear it. Well our short introduction was enough to get this man going. He proceeded to tell us that we were foolish for believing in such things and that religion is something that the desperate and arrogant make up to fulfill their/our selfish needs. He went on for a while and told us that we are terrible people and the only truly humble people in the whole world are Brazilians and ended by telling us that what we believe in. It is a lie and is wrong and false and made up, and that we are idiots for believing those things. He expressed how sorry he felt that such beautiful girls are stupid enough to make up and think we believe in something that never has and never will be true. At that point my comp was ready to bolt. The whole time he talked to us, I just felt this horrible feeling inside me and it just got worse as he talked. I realized that what I was feeling was pure sorrow and heart ache for this man. I so desperately wanted him to be able to find the happiness and joy in this life that I have found but he was just so cold hearted and not willing to budge on anything. Before my comp could run off crying, I shared a simple testimony with him
just letting him know that regardless of his opinion, I have happiness in knowing for myself that what I believe in is true. I told him that no one can tell me that I don't believe in something unless I don't believe for myself. I told him I was not ashamed of sharing my happiness with others or in declaring the word of Christ, because I know for myself that it is true. I finished by telling him that he won't ever know of these things unless he asks for himself. Then I grabbed his hand, thanked him for his time, and wished him the best. The look on his face as I turned to leave gave me hope that one day he will invite the missionaries into his life. I had never had my beliefs tested before, and because it was, I can now proudly say that I have a stronger testimony of this restored Gospel and Gods love for each and every one of us. Meeting that man was a huge blessing in my life. When I got back from the park I opened my scriptures and the first verse I read was Romans 1:16. it says "for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth." I am not ashamed of this Gospel. I will not be afraid to share its amazing message with all those I meet. I can do all things through Christ. I love you all. p.s. wish me luck, I head out for Barcelona on Tuesday!! I am so excited! I will also be on and emailing on Monday if any of you guys want to send me an email before then.


Hermana Stilson

Thursday, October 16, 2014

One month down, 17 to go!!!

One month down, 17 to go!!! The time is already flying by. It truly does not feel like I have been away from home for a whole month. It's crazy how fast the time flies. But this week has been uneventful to say the least. Just the same schedule as usual at the MTC. But I can proudly say that I have developed a new skill. I am able to make my bed with me still tucked into it until the very last possible moment, and then I finish it while still on top of it in the dark! I am a champ!! Definitely a lifelong skill right there!

Oh my goodness, I just remembered, last week I had the opportunity to go to the Prado Museum!!! I was beyond thrilled!! Ever since my art history class, I have made it one of my dreams to go there, and I did! It was incredible. It was amazing to see how religious people were thousands of years ago, and how they depicted the stories of the bible through art. Almost every painting in there was religious. And 90 percent of them were of Christ. It was so cool to read what the artist was expressing in their work, and how they viewed the life of Christ. Simply amazing and beautiful. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Prado, I highly suggest it!! It is worth it on every level.

Well, the Russians finally peaced out to hit the field. And guess what. The scary Russian elder who tried to kill me last week in the soccer game, actually had a little bit of a crush on me. I would walk into my class to find paper folded roses scattered across my desk, and notes in Russian asking me to add him on facebook and write and email him.... I guess if a Russian man likes you he will tell you by body slamming you to the ground. Who knew. But as tender as his actions were, I am slightly glad that he is now serving in the field. Hopefully he will now be able to focus on serving the Lord.  

The weather here went from summer weather one day to dark and dreary the next and I love it! It has been pouring rain all week long but the air is bitter cold, it feels like winter air, with straight rain. It's amazing! So one night you better believe that I snuck out of my prison cell before bed time with my companion, and we danced in the rain in front of the temple. We were soaked to the bone within a minute of standing out there... then a teacher walked out and saw us as he was leaving for the night. I thought we would be busted for sure, but all he said to me was, you're not supposed to be out here... I won't tell, your secret, it's safe with me. Then he walked away. haha i have some great teachers and I am loving this Spanish weather.

I apologize for the short and lame letter this week, I will try to be a little more enthusiastic next week. But I do have a spiritual thought for you all this week, and it's about the power of faith. In this church we believe that the first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is the principle on which ALL gospel growth is built. Hoping for things not seen is the perfect definition of faith. We all know the saying seeing is believing but if we switch the order of the words around just a little bit we can apply it to faith a little better. Believing is seeing. Faith is what allowed the brother of Jared to seek and see the Lord. It was faith that allowed lepers to be healed and the blind to see. Through Moses's great faith the waters of the red sea were parted to save the children of Israel. It was only through faith that allowed Abraham to lay his son Isaac on the altar. Because of their faith in the Lord, the stripling warriors lives were saved as they fought for their fathers. Because of faith Joseph Smith he saw and heard God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. And it is faith that will guide my life and bless my efforts as I search for the courage to open my mouth and share the wonderful message of Christ's restored gospel.

I love and miss you all. Keep the emails and prayers coming, they help me more than you can imagine.

Love, Hermana Stilson

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The life of a sister in the MTC

Hi everyone,

Our District

This week hasn't been the best week I have had here at the MTC. But another week down, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My MTC stay is almost over!! Yahoo!! Don't get me wrong, I love the MTC, but I am just ready to go roam the streets of Spain searching for those who haven't been blessed with the gospel yet. The only thing that worries me is the language... I was about to tell you all how it is coming, but since Spanish drives me freaking nuts, I just won't even go there. To put it simply, Spanish hates me, and I really,  really,  really am trying so hard to learn to love it. But it will come. I know it will. I wouldn't be here if the Lord didn't think I could learn the language. 

My sick day and by the way, I'm learning to play the ukulele 
Well last weekend was conference weekend, and it was incredible. Conference in the mission field is amplified. It has been one of my favorite experiences out here. But other than conference, my week was rough. A stomach bug decided to make its rounds with some of the missionaries here, and apparently I was the perfect candidate for it. I woke up Tuesday morning puking my guts out with a sky high fever... it was disgusting. So I was locked in my room all day to be deprived of food and human communication. But it was definitely a blessing in disguise. Because I got sick I was able to get some decent sleep and give my body a chance to relax. I was able to study, so that's always a plus. Fortunately my sickness only lasted a day, and no worries I am fully functional now. 

Me and My Best Friend Sister Lee
I know last week I complained about sister missionaries not playing sports passionately enough, but this week I realized that the elders take the game a little too seriously. We have some Russian Elders here that we get to play sports with, so brilliant me decided to play in a game of soccer with them. Well Russians are ruthless and mean. They don't care if you are a girl or a guy, they will play you like a true enemy. So in the midst of a friendly game, I had the ball kicked to me, when out of nowhere a Russian Elder the size of Taeten body slammed me out of nowhere, shoving me to the ground... well I wasn't very happy. He didn't even say sorry! So me being the sweet innocent girl that I am, jumped up, chased the guy down, kicked the ball away from him then proceeded to grab him by the shirt and throw him to the ground. I then ever so politely said, oops, I am so sorry, that was an accident. Everyone was laughing and I was awarded MVP of the game. It was pretty intense, but never again will I play against the Russians. They terrify me! 

The second soccer incident happened yesterday when I was playing with all American missionaries. Me and this other sister, who knows how to play sports right, were on the same team and we went for the ball that one of the elders had. Well all three of us collided pretty hard, and ended up in a pile on the ground. Now imagine this elders reaction when he realized he was on top of two sister missionaries... that was his first physical contact with a girl since he was set apart other than handshakes, and he was completely on top of me and this other sister. The confusion, distress, and pure panic that he experience was hilarious. Me and the sister laughed our hearts out as the poor elder frantically tried to extract himself. Not going to lie, it was the funniest thing I have ever seen. He felt so bad, and felt like the biggest sinner and rule breaker ever. It was great. 

Me & my companion Sister McWhorter

 I will encircle thee in the arms of my love
Other than that my week was boring and the same as it usually is here at the MTC. The same routine every day. But I am slowly becoming a stronger missionary because of it. Well, really quickly I want to share a spiritual thought with you all that I came across this week and it is the Saviors loving arms. In D&C 6:20 we read be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love. There are all kinds of hugs. We have hugs from friends or loved ones. Hugs from your dad that make us feel safe, important and loved beyond description. But the most wonderful hug that we might ever receive is from our loving Heavenly Father. This is an embrace that we should desire above all others. It is a hug that caresses encouragement and eternal love, reminding us that He knows our potential and that He will do everything in his power to help us reach it. His hug is once of pure comfort. In John 14:18 we read that He will not leave us comfortless, He will come to us. He will heal the broken hearted and never leave or forget us. Even though I can't hug my dad, or any of my loved ones out here in Spain, I know that I can always turn to my Heavenly Father for the warm embrace that I desire, and He will comfort my troubled heart and worried mind. 

I love and miss you all! Thanks to those of you who continue to send me letters and emails. I apologize for not responding to those who have sent me emails. I have no time to email here in the MTC, but that doesn't mean that I am not reading what you send to me. I promise that once I am in the field and have more time, I will respond to each and every one of you. Thank you for the support, it means the world to me. until next time.

Love, Hermana Stilson



Friday, October 3, 2014

I Am Not Alone In This Journey

Oh my goodness where is the time going?? The days are passing in a blink of an eye and the weeks are flying by .I am desperately trying to stop the clock. I thought that 6 weeks was going to be way too long of a stay at the MTC but after realizing just how slow I am at learning the language, I am clinging onto every second that I have here. These next 3 and a half weeks are my life line. When the time runs out, I will be thrown into the country with only a few Spanish words to my name. But hey, what's life without a Little adventure?? What's a mission without a few challenges?? I will prepare myself over the next 3 and a half weeks to be ready to hit the ground running.              

This week was different. So much happens in just one day that it is hard to pick and choose the things I want to tell you all about. Maybe I'll just give you all a rundown of a typical day at the MTC and tell you the good stuff as I go. Well my days start at 6 in the morning. I wake up and have to try to remember that I sleep on a top bunk bed, and there is quite a ways to get to the floor… sadly I forget that bit of information in the wee hours of the morning and I more often than not drop from my bed and crumple to the floor. But it wakes me up nicely!! We then pray study and get ready and rush off to breakfast. Next we go to grammar lessons, teaching lessons, study, and preparing to teach 30 min long lessons to fake investigators. In the middle of all that, we get lunch, but its straight back to the classrooms until gym and sports. I CRAVE that short time. It is the only time where I get to leave my prison cell, see the sunlight, and breathe fresh air. It is a time for me to work out and let the stress and frustration go. I'm used to playing sports, but when you play sports with sisters who play like a bunch of girls, it gets boring really fast. I like to take the games seriously and play hard but the other sister would rather run from the balls and go smell flowers or gossip about boyfriends instead…. So now I just work out with Hermana Lee, who by the way is probably my favorite sister out here.
After sports we come back and shower, go to dinner then back to the cell for 2 and a half more hours of lessons. When it's done, I hit the showers one last time, do what I need to do, and lights out by 10:30. There is hardly time in the day to breathe. Fridays we get to do service projects, and Saturdays we get to proselyte at this huge gigantic park for 2 hours and it is a blast. You heard me right, we are set loose with testimonies blazing and Books of Mormon in hand ready to find and teach as many people as we can in our broken Spanish. Last week at the park we started talking to this lady in Spanish and when she saw the book we were carrying and our name tags she was ready to peace out. After I greeted her in Spanish, she said sorry I don't speak any Spanish, so I immediately said, "That's great, NEITHER DO I!!" and then I sat down on the bench next to her put an English Book of Mormon in her lap and said now you are stuck with me for the next ten minutes, let's talk. The poor lady thought that she could get out of talking with us but too bad for her I speak English fairly well. I love going to the park. Thursdays of course are my p-day. They start off with an early morning temple session, emailing time, and then off to explore Madrid. This is my life now, and I love it.

I have one last thing I want to share before I run out of time. The mission is hard. Even at the MTC. You face exhaustion, frustration, stress and a million other emotions in the space of one day. You get beaten down and kicked around every day, and when the day is finally over and you think that you are safe, you have to wake up the next morning to go through it all over again. And anyone who knows me knows that I get extremely frustrated when things get hard for me. So imagine my feelings when I am not learning Spanish as quickly as my companion. It drives me nuts and it is hard. Frustrations on the mission is amplified 10 fold. You start to question yourself and your self motivation and determination disappears quickly. When it gets hard, you learn what it is to doubt, and to be afraid. You feel inadequate , inexperienced and just not good enough, as if you are being set up to fail. These feelings are the storms of life in the mission. When you reach that soaking wet and windblown state, you learn to fall to your knees and approach the Lord. In these moments of my mission where I feel as if I am going to drown, I turn to the Lord and beg him to save me. (Matthew 14: 30) When we have done all that we can, God picks us up and he does all that we can't. I am not alone in this journey. I know I can do hard things. I can overcome ANYTHING because His son overcame EVERYTHING. I will let Christ guide my life and allow him to change me because I know that he will be there to help me. He won't do it for me, and he won't make me do in alone either. But he will do it with me to lighten my load.
The mission is rough, but sometimes the Lord lets the storm rage so that he can comfort His children. I love you all and hope to hear from some of you soon. Talk to you next week!!!


Hermana Stilson