First let me say that I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That is the actual and proper name for our church. Our church is often referred to as the LDS Church, or the Mormon Church. This series of posts was at the request of some of my friends on Facebook. You can read more about that here–on my Landing Page or introduction for the Write 31 Days Challenge.
I thought it might be easier to share about my mission if I answered the same series of ten questions that I asked Gary yesterday. So I will post my question, and then my response. It worked so well yesterday, I couldn’t see trying to recreate the wheel. Though I kind of have to laugh, because some of my answers are very similar to Gary’s. It just goes to show that though you may serve very different missions, there are some things that are the same no matter where you serve.
Where did you serve your mission?
I served in the Espana Sevilla Mission, which was changed to the Espana Malaga Mission about 6 months before I came home. The mission office changed locations, so the name of the mission changed. My mission took in the Southern part of Spain, also known as Andalusia. It also took in part of Morocco.
When did you serve your mission?
I served from October 1991 through April 1993.
How many areas did you serve in and where were they?
I technically served in 4 different areas, though the very last one was just for a week. I had to leave my 3rd area a week before the end of my mission in order to make it to the mission home in time. Something to do with trains. If I didn’t leave then, I wouldn’t make it home in time. It was a weird and last minute thing. But it let me see one more area for a couple of days.
I served in Seville, Cadiz, and Huelva. Then the last week, I served in Malaga.
How many companions did you have? Are you still in contact with any of them today?
Including my MTC companion, I had 9 companions. However, my 9th was only for a week since I was going home! But she still counts.
My MTC companion was Hermana Williamson. She was a psychology major and liked to analyze everyone. We had an interesting companionship. I probably had more fun at her expense than I should have. I hated being analyzed, and I’m afraid my sarcastic self came to the forefront a few times and she thought I was serious. Bless her heart. We are not in contact and honestly, I am fine with that.
My trainer was Hermana Buswell. We quickly became besties. In fact, she was my Maid of Honor at my wedding, and I was her Matron of Honor at her wedding after our missions. I am not currently in direct contact with her as she doesn’t do social media and I tend to live there. However, I am friends with her younger sister in Facebook. I get updates through her.
My next companion was Hermana Boloix. She was my first native companion. We were together for 2 months. She learned a lot of English and I learned a heck of a lot of Spanish. She was a lot of fun and I love her dearly. We had my first 2 baptisms together. It was a special experience. We are friends on Facebook.
Next was Hermana Garcia. She was my 2nd native companion, and my first in Cadiz. I was only with her for a month. I didn’t get to know her extremely well as she was distraught about our transfers and missed her former companion. She cried about it every single day. At one point, her former companion came back for some medical appointments. I ended up spending a lot of time on splits with members. I did like her well enough when she talked to me. We even laughed a few times together. I haven’t had any contact with her since our time together.
My next companion was Hermana Stephens. We had SOOO much fun together. I needed her fun self after my month with my former companion. We did a lot of work together and even had a baptism. We also made up lots of songs. She would have been one of the companions I did Youtube videos with if it had been a thing back then. I haven’t had any contact with her since our time together. I wish I could find her.
I only had Hermana Liljenquist or Pagina (her name is Paige), as we called her for a month. No one could say her last name in Spain. That’s why we all called her Hermana Pagina. She also taught me to spell her name by singing it to the Mickey Mouse Club song. I’ve never forgotten. When she entered my life as a companion, she only had 2 months left. I ended up transferring finally to Huelva. She had been there and told me all about it. I adored that month with Pagina. We had enough fun together in that short month, that it seemed like we had been together much longer. It was a blast and she was one of my very favorite companions. We are friends on facebook.
Hermana Sharp was my first companion in Huelva. We had some ups and downs, but learned to love each other a lot. We worked hard together. She was a vegetarian and only ate macaroni and cheese, because she hated most vegetables. She had managed to offend a lot of the church members there by not eating their food. So I went on a “rebuild relationships of trust spree” and ate anything they put in front of me. This is the area I ate the most weird things, including a fish head. I was fine with it until the eyes popped in my mouth, and I imagined them looking at the inside of my mouth. The members laughed and offered me water to wash it down. I explained what the issue was and they laughed and laughed. My efforts did not go unrewarded and I managed to develop some great relationships with the members there. Whew! Anyway, I haven’t been in contact with her since my mission, though I have looked for her on social media before.
I had a brand new missionary for my second companion in Huelva. Her name was Hermana Kemp. We had a lot of fun together and worked really hard together. I was sad to leave her. I stayed in touch with her briefly after my mission, and then lost contact with her. I would like to find her again someday.
My last companion for a week, was Hermana Heslop. She was really, really cool and I enjoyed our week together. I had met her before somewhere during my mission. We would have been awesome together if we had had more time. I have not kept in contact with her and that makes me sad.
What was your favorite thing about your mission?
The people and the food. Hands down. I miss walking along the seawall in Cadiz.
What was the hardest thing about your mission?
Learning the language. I had a hard time and honestly, I was lost. Having my family half way around the world didn’t help.
How did your mission change you?
I learned that I could do hard things as long as I relied on the Lord to help me.
What do you miss the most about your mission?
The people and the food. HA! I have managed to find a few treats from Spain at World Market and that has helped a bit with the food I miss. I also miss getting to spend all my time talking to people about the gospel and Jesus Christ. I also miss some of the different sights.
If you could do anything on your mission over, would you?
I would definitely keep the mission rules better and be more obedient. Also if I could have started where I was the last six months of so, I think my mission would have been oh so different and for the better. Some of that was having a better handle on the language. I also would have worked harder all throughout my mission. There were a few times I didn’t work as hard as I probably should have. Of course, I am my own worst critic, so keep that in mind.
What did you learn about yourself while serving your mission?
That I could do hard things and that the Lord would help me if I asked Him and relied on Him. I also learned to listen to my body on my mission. I had some health issues and had to learn to only run as fast as I had strength. It’s ok to be a bit slower when you need to physically. Too bad I tend to forget that lesson off and on these days.
Share your testimony about serving a mission…
I am so grateful I decided to serve a mission. I loved getting to serve in Spain. I loved my time there. I didn’t love learning the language. That part was painful, but I’m glad I did it anyway. I loved being able to share my testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and then seeing how learning about Him changed the lives of so many people. The time I served was precious and I am forever changed and blessed by it.