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Monday, February 29, 2016

Transfers. Again.

Hola Familiares y Amigos!

Well, once again, the Lord has thrust me outside of my comfort zone and given me more than I can handle just to make sure that I'm humble and willing to rely on Him. I think I've actually hit a stress level this week. It's a weird experience. I've never experienced this much stress in my life, and it's not even that much! I'm kind of clueless. Adjusting to Missionary Life has become my best friend. Anyway... As for the rest of this week, here's your run down!

Monday: P-day! We picked up Hermanas Blackmer and Hansen from Chelan and brought them down to Wenatchee so that Hermana Blackmer could catch her ride to Yakima and to home. Hermana Hansen tri-paned with us until Wednesday until her greenie came. We even got to have an awesome lesson with Claudius! I learned that his favorite color is green. Fun fun.

Tuesday: Had a long day. Service. Packing. Stressing. Dying. Ate dinner. Had an awesome lesson with an investigator that we had to pass off to the YSA sisters and slept.

Wednesday: Studies. I said goodbye to Hermana Harston. Even though I still see her every day. But, Hermana Hansen and I had an awesome day. We did some online reports that I needed to do, talked with some members, talked to a new person, and might have vomitted a couple times at the thought of training a new missionary. And ate ice cream. That's always good, right? And then, around 4, we got our new greenies! My new baby is Hermana Torrez. She's a Georgia peach and new my first zone leader, Elder Walton. Life is crazy. We saw Natalya and taught her the Word of Wisdom. It was her birthday, so we got her some birthday presents, too.

Thursday: Studies. Hermana Harston and I did our leadership planning over froyo, did some service, had dinner, saw Claudius again, and the rest of our plans fell through. Asi es.

Friday: The most stressful weekly planning of my life. 1. I had to plan by myself because Hermana Torrez doesn't know anything yet. 2. We have meetings pretty much every day this week and I won't be with Hermana Torrez for 3/4s of them. It's great. All of our plans fell through, but we were able to see a less active and have another lesson.

Saturday: Had lunch with a less active. Tracted. Had a miracle lesson with some investigators that we never get to see. Had dinner at 5:30 and went to a baptism at 6. It was a wonderful time. The woman that got baptized invited us over for pozole after, and so we had 2nd dinner! It was totally worth it. She is a bomb cook and can't wait to come out with us. :)

Sunday: Studies. Church. Dinner. 2nd dinner at Natalya's for her birthday party. Miracle lesson with Jorge and Dulce who we are never able to see. We set up a return appointment for today, so that should be fun.

Hermana Torrez is awesome. I love her. She's pretty sassy and is always willing to put up with me and my lack of knowledge. Preparation for motherhood, right there. Definitely outside of my comfort zone. I've decided that I'm probably the worst trainer ever, but God makes up for my lack of everything...

In other news, I think I finally understand the Sabbath Day. I've been pondering the Sabbath Day for a long time--typically everything I learn and talk to you about comes from sacrament meeting. Well, yesterday, I was sitting on the stand for the sacrament (I'm the ward organist) and I looked out at the crowd. I saw Maria and Alex Chavez (they were baptized Saturday) renew their covenants for the first time. They were glowing. I saw Shayla help her little sister, Ruth, take the sacrament. And then I looked out and saw the less active part-member family cry over the fact that they could take the sacrament again. And then I realized--the Sabbath is a day of rest. We have hard days, hard weeks, hard lives in general, and we can go to church every Sunday to forget about ourselves and remember our Savior. We go to church broken, hopeless, and exhausted. We leave healed and with a strengthened faith to endure the challenges of the next week. I'm very thankful for the sacrament and for the chance to renew my covenants every week. I'm grateful for the Atonement and that I can be healed because Christ suffered everything for me. And I share that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I think that's about it. Have a miraculous week! Paz afuera!

Hermana Kennedy

Hermana Harston, Hermana Hansen, y yo.

Shayla with her gifts.

Shayla with her gifts.

Hermana Torrez y yo.

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Fateful February

Hermana Harston y yo being silly.
So, here's what happened this week:

We really tried to have a ton of member present lessons this week. We had members out with us, but no fish were biting. So, we only had 4. :( It's ok. Things will change. We took a member out that I had never taken out before, and she's so awesome! She's preparing to go to the temple to be sealed to her husband. :) They'll get sealed in December in the Salt Lake temple, so I can be there!!!

In other news, this week was a blur, so I'm just going to give you the general gist of everything.

1. We hiked Saddlerock this morning at 5:30. It was super steep and my legs will be jellyfish tentacles tomorrow. But, the view was totally worth it. We went with the missionaries serving in our ward--Elders Turley, Tanner, Mendoza, and Kiser, and Hermanas Campbell, Dungan, Harston, y yo. Pics to come later.

2. Sundays. Everybody listens to hard core rap music on Sundays? Don't their mothers make them listen to MoTab?

3. Interviews. We had interviews this past week with President Lewis. They were super awesome, as usual. Sister Lewis talked to us a lot about our strengths, talents, and spiritual gifts. She encouraed each of us to study our patriachal blessings looking for 4 things:
Blessings (if/then statements)
Admonitions/ Counsel/ Advice (do something)
Warnings (don't do something)
Strengths, Talents, and Spiritual gifts (Study D&C 46, Moroni 7 and 1 Corinthians to know them or just read "Spiritual gifts" in true to the faith. Every blessing has at least one spiritual gift!)
4. We played human foozball for a ward activity on Saturday. It was super fun and we had a less active part member family come! And, a woman who's preparing to be baptized on Saturday brought snacks for everyone! She is SO SOLID.

5. Transfers. This transfer is a little more stressful than normal. Lots of changes happened. President called us at 3 on Saturday to inform us that both Hermana Harston and I are training! Yay. Companion #14! BUT, he didn't release us from being Sister Training Leaders. In fact, we are both still STL companions. She's hopping over the river to finish training Hermana Dungan because Hermana Campbell got called to train again. So, I'm staying in East Wenatchee receiving a brand new missionary! Hopefully I'll keep this companion for 2 transfers. If I don't, I'll be very sad. These are the last 2 transfers of my mission, and I'd love to get to know at least one companion...

Anyway, cool experience I want to share: Something I've learned from Hermana Harston this transfer is that she's always so encouraging. She always is there saying: "you're a beast" when we're running. She can run circles around me. So, Elders Turley, Tanner, Mendoza, and Kiser and Hermanas Harston, Dungan, Campbell, and I had a crazy idea to hike Saddlerock this morning. Hermana Campbell hates hiking, but she wanted to let Hermana Dungan have some fun, so she came anyway. She was pretty slow, and I stayed with her the whole time. I found that I was using Hermana Harston's words of encouragement to help her get up the super steep hill. And she made it with time to spare to watch the sunrise and take pictures. :) Lesson learned? I think so. :)

Also, I had a pretty cool testimony building experience of the Atonement this week. I went to church with a specific question in mind which was: "What can I change to be more charitable?". As I was eating the sacrament bread, I felt a dull pain in my mouth. I thought of the pain that Christ's physical body was put through--the nails, the scourgings, everything. I thought of myself and all the physical pain I'm experiencing--my knees, my hips, my head, my back, my shoulders, my teeth--and it hit me that he suffered all of it!!!! ALL OF IT. That's a lot of pain. Because it wasn't just me. It was everyone. That's a TON of pain!!!! (If you can't tell, I still haven't gotten over my shock...) Anyway, then I drank the sacramental water. As the liquid fell down my throat, I became aware of all my spiritual anguish--my sorrow, my self-pity, my exhaustion, my anxiety, my pride--and it hit me once again that he suffered all of it!!!! ALL OF IT!!!  HE'S SUFFERED ALL OF IT. Why? BECAUSE HE LOVES US. HE HAD ENOUGH COMPASSION FOR US TO GO THROUGH ALL OF THAT FOR US. As I was pondering this important spiritual lesson, the thought came to mind "be more compassionate". The final stab to the heart. My question was answered, and a powerful lesson learned, all from preparing for the sacrament. It's pretty crazy how that works, right?

Anyway. This transfer will be really unique. It's a 7 week transfer to account for the native speaker change in the MTC, so we'll see how that goes. Have a miraculous week! I love you all!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Kennedy

We got donuts on my 15 month mark and for weekly planning. They make gluten free donuts.

Hermana Harston y yo being silly.


Our hike. :)






Monday, February 15, 2016

Dia de San Valentin


Hola a todos vosotros extremos de la tierra!

Well, this week has been a roller coaster. Here's what went down:

Monday: Contacted some referrals, found a new family to teach, ate chocolate.

Tuesday: Had an awesome district council. See the end of the email for a take-away. Found some new people to teach, got our oil changed, taught Claudius, and tried to contact a referral that doesn't exist... Awkward...

Wednesday: We got to go on exchanges with Hermana Dungan and Hermana Campbell today. I was with Hermana Campbell in her area. Their area is thriving! We did a lot of finding, and did our best to kill it, so to speak. I got to participate in every aspect of the work with her, which was awesome. So funny story about Sister Campbell, she's terrified of exchanges for forever. She said that she had a curse--that something went wrong every exchange she had, but nothing went wrong with this one! In fact, it was awesome. We exceeded all of their daily goals, and had a wonderful, joyful time! During the last 20 minutes of the night, we needed 2 more OYMs to achieve all our goals. So, we started walking. She looked at this one house, said "it's white" and as we were about to leave (because it's an only Spanish area), she turned around and said "let's knock on it!". So we knocked on it. 1 OYM. Not interested, but we asked them for a Spanish referral. We received one. Knocked on the Spanish door. OYM. Other lesson. A new investigating family. MIRACLE!!! Pretty great exchange. Plus, I got to be reunited with one of my MTC companions! :)

Thursday: Service. Got down and dirty with some sawdust. Dusted some pianos too. I just couldn't touch them. :( Taught Claudius again. He's slowly getting all of his questions answered, but we're going to give him some time to find the desire in his heart to start acting and coming to church again. Saddest lesson ever. :(

Friday: We finished our weekly planning in 3 hours. Miracle! Other story: this week we've been finding a lot and focusing on less-active work. We made a goal to have 8 RC/LA lessons this week, and we had 7. So, not too bad. We had a lot of miracles pop up of less actives we had never been able to see before suddenly letting us in. One, for instance, was a woman, V Hernandez. She's a mom of 6 kids and is the only member of her family. #PMF. She let us in and told us her crazy life story. Since the missionaries have last been able to see her, she's had vertigo severe enough to hospitalize her, had a baby, and had a hemorrhage. Crazy, right? But she let us in this week and told us that she's missed us and she wants to come back to church. We even set up a family home evening with her and her whole family! We also found a less-active who actually saved us from being eaten by his dogs. Turns out he's trying to recover from drugs and his wife isn't a member. She's a former actually. They normally don't let us in because they live with her mother who's super Catholic and hates missionaries. Well, we stopped by around 8:40, and the mother wasn't there, so they let us right in and agreed to take the lessons together AT THE CHURCH so that her mom wouldn't get offended.

Saturday: We tracted. And found 2 super golden people! We had also made cookies for Valentine's Day, so we dropped them off for some members, recent converts, and less actives. Speaking of less actives, we found a less active that we had never met before. She knows needs to come back to church. And, she is the cousin of a less active/ part member family we're teaching who are cousins with another less active family that we met on Sunday. (We'll talk about them when Sunday comes). All of our other lessons fell through, but we did get to see Natalya and find out why her mom doesn't want to come to church. Concerns are totally being answered, and she should be coming to church soon!

Sunday: We met a less active family that lives down the stairs from their cousins who are also less active. The mom was covering strawberries in chocolate, and she gave us some. Valentine's Day miracle! But yeah, it turns out that all our less actives are related. Reactivate one family and you've got them all. That's the beauty of Hispanic work. Oh, and the person we ate dinner with gave us a referral for a less active member that she used to visit teach that lives just down the street from her. #miracles We also taught that family of 7. We met the mom, and she was like "I'm Catholic and I worship Mary. You guys don't." So, we asked her if we could teach her kids the 10 Commandments with hand signs. It was really fun, and the mom was completely softened and let us set up a return appointment. :)

So, things that I've learned this week:

District Council: Something that our district leader, Elder Wilde, said was that if we're not 100% committed to our investigators, then they can't be 100% committed to what we invite them to do. So, I'm going to work on that this week!

Regional Stake Conference: We had a broadcasted stake conference where Elder Renlund, Sister Oscarson, Elder Hannula, and Elder Grow spoke to us. I loved it because it focused a lot on hope. As I was reviewing my notes from stake conference, I felt a confidence that if I gave my soul to the Lord, He would fight for me and be there to support me ever step I take in my life. Miracles can't come until after we act in faith, so better start now! I really loved Elder Renlund's talk. I don't know if I got any of it right because it was in Spanish, but he spoke about the plan of salvation. He said that we need to fight against anything that holds us back from following His plan. We fought against Satan in the pre-existence so that we could have this plan. We need to continue fighting for the plan right now, and we can do that best by living the doctrine of Christ. By so doing, we show our Heavenly Father that we are willing to be obedient to His commandments--to be a disciple of Christ. It's my prayer that I will be able to do so cheerfully, with a smile on my face.

Hymn of the week: True to The Faith
1. Shall the youth of Zion falter
In defending truth and right?
While the enemy assaileth,
Shall we shrink or shun the fight? No!

[Chorus]
True to the faith that our parents have cherished,
True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,
To God's command,
Soul, heart, and hand,
Faithful and true we will ever stand.

2. While we know the pow'rs of darkness
Seek to thwart the work of God,
Shall the children of the promise
Cease to grasp the iron rod? No!

3. We will work out our salvation;
We will cleave unto the truth;
We will watch and pray and labor
With the fervent zeal of youth. Yes!

4. We will strive to be found worthy
Of the kingdom of our Lord,
With the faithful ones redeemed
Who have loved and kept his word. Yes!

But, I love the second verse in Spanish because it talks about exactly what Elder Renlund talked about, so I'll include it para patadas y risitas.

Cuando veamos a los inicuos
atacar el plan de Dios,
¿quedaremos indecisos?
¿Estaremos sin valor? ¡No!

I encourage each of you to keep fighting for the plan of salvation and living in such a way that you support it everywhere you go!

Well, that's about it! Have a miraculous week, y'all!

Hermana Kennedy

Pictures:
1. Yes, mom, I drove a minivan with 6 sisters in it...
2. Our chocolate covered strawberries.
3. Natalya gave us Air Heads.
4. Sister Campbell and I reunited again.

:)




Monday, February 8, 2016

#spiritfountain

Hermana Hansen and Hermana Kennedy
Hola Familia y Amigos! Como estan?

Esta semana... No hay palabras por esta semana. Era bien... extrano? No se como se explique. I really need a Spanish keyboard... Nobody will understand what I'm trying to say...

Well, this week has been thrilling. I can't wait to see what next week has in store. Here's your rundown:

Monday: Remember L from last week? She dropped us. And Claudius stood us up at our lesson. It was a pretty rough night.

Tuesday: Drove down to Yakima for MLC. It was awesome. Spiritually uplifting, etc. Got some gluten free pizza and drove a brand new red Toyota Corolla back up. It wasn't for us, but it was nice to drive in a car separate from the elders...  and listen to a John Bytheway talk. And just talk.

Wednesday: Well, we got to go to the doctor for Hermana Harston. She got her back and neck readjusted, and I got to sit and watch. My back aches for an adjustment now. That's twice that I've had to watch a companion get adjusted while I groaned in pain on the sidelines. After that, we drove to Rock Island and met a few new people. A family let us in because it was snowing, and we taught them part of the Restoration, but they're Catholics. Oh well. One day. Then, we got to go on exchanges with the Manson sisters! I stayed in my area with Hermana Hansen. It turns out that our families know each other, but we don't know each other... Awkward.

Thursday: Had an awesome exchange! Saw a less active, Alfredo, who turned off the TV (which is highly unusual for her) and let us have an actual lesson. It was awesome. We also saw Natalya and her mom and taught them the 10 Commandments. They remembered all of them! #tendermercies Then, after eating dinner, getting gas, using the bathroom, and staying out of the way of an unhappy guy, we drove up to Manson to exchange back. We almost hit 5 deer on the way back. down to Wenatchee after, but all is well. Our Jetta handled nicely. (Thanks dad for teaching me how to drive to avoid deer.)

Friday: After 2 meetings, a trunky call, frozen yogurt, and a weekly planning session with the sisters, we ate dinner and went out to work. And we never finished weekly planning.

Saturday: Had an awesome zone training meeting. I wore 4' heels because they're not against mission guidelines. It just says shoes with a low heel are preferred. And then we went out and worked! We found a ton of new people and saw Claudius! It was awesome! Details later.

Sunday: We finally finished weekly planning, had an awesome church. Alfredo and Natalya came. Broke the fast. Found a new investigator FAMILY. Details later. And had a lesson with a less-active part member family. Details later. Pretty cool.

This week was a struggle week for our area. L dropped us on Monday. And we had a member with us too. Ouch. Claudius dropped off the face of the earth all week (meaning he went to Seattle) and wouldn't respond to our calls and texts. And all of our other investigators dropped us. So, on Friday we had 2 investigators--Claudius (who was kind of iffy) and Sariah, a 9 year old from a part-member family that's never home. BUT, we did not despair! We kept searching and praying and working, and we saw a ton of miracles this week.
1. Natalya came to church with her little sister and remembered to fast. She also remembered all the 10 commandments.
2. Claudius met with us on Saturday and opened up about all his concerns. He wants to be baptized, but he won't commit to a date until he can honestly answer all the baptismal interview questions. So, we started reviewing the questions with him. The cool thing was that we had tried to get a member to come out with us. We literally called everyone we knew, and nobody answered. But, if somebody had come with us to that lesson, he wouldn't have opened up about his concerns and doubts. The Lord works in mysterious ways, right?
3. We found a family to teach on Sunday. WITH 7 CHILDREN ABOVE THE AGE OF 8. And they are so humble and ready for the gospel. I know I say that about everyone, but they're so golden!
4. We finally got in with Sariah and her family! And we have a return appointment. And they want to come back to church. And he's going to Tacoma for some alcohol rehab so that he can quit forever! And they gave us Mexican food which we haven't had in months... They're our new favorites. :)

Something I've been thinking a lot about and noticing is when we're speaking our words, and when the Spirit is speaking through us. In our lessons, I've noticed when we're talking and when the Spirit is talking. For instance, our lesson with Claudius on Saturday. One of his concerns is about the Restoration, so I started teaching the Restoration. Then, the Spirit said through Hermana Harston something totally off-topic that allowed him to open up about his real challenges and concerns. Or during our zone training meeting. Elder Turley, one of our zone leaders, was talking about goals and all of a sudden the Spirit started talking about our true measure of success as missionaries, which was a concern that was brought up during ZLC. It was really cool for me to take a step back and actually notice the transition between the two, and it definitely strengthened my testimony that the Holy Ghost is the real teacher, not us.

Well, you're #awka-awkward story this week comes from yours truly! And one of our zone leaders. I won't say who. Here's the conversation:

Me: "Ok. We'll exchange tomorrow."

Elder: "Wait. Cars, right?"

Me: "No. That's ridiculous. We need to exchange companions." *side note: Missionary Handbook says that Elders DO NOT exchange with sister.*

Elder: "Ok... Well, we're really busy right now...."

Me: "You don't understand! I need to be emergency transferred! Hermana Harston proposed to me tonight!" *side note 2: We found a little container with a ring and a quarter in it, and Hermana Harston proposed to me with the ring.*

Elder: "Well, we are really busy... And the assistants are calling! You Elders, I mean sisters, have a good night!"

This is also the same elder that said: "We're flexible. Just not our bodies."

#awka-awkward

Well, I think that's about it for this week. Have a miraculous week y nos vemos muy pronto!

Hermana Kennedy





Monday, February 1, 2016

That One Subject Line That One Elder Decided

My companion. And me. But, I'm not the important one.
Note to self: Never ask Elder Saitman for subject lines. Although, I probably couldn't have come up with a better one... #noimagination

Wow! I can't believe it's already February! It seems like it was just December yesterday! Time sure flies when you're having fun! Here's how this week went:

Monday: Awesome P-day. Saw Claudius with some members and it was such a spirit-filled lesson! Hopefully he'll come to church and be baptized soon. We also got to see a part-member/ less-active family with our ward mission leader and his wife. They remember everything and their little 9 year old daughter really wants to be baptized. We'll get to work on that. :)

Tuesday: Well, I had the privilege to go with the fabulous Sister Torman, and I got to leave our area! Not that I wanted to leave, but Sister Harston hasn't stayed at all... We worked hard all day, did some service, saw a less-active member, and had a wonderful member dinner. Later on at night, all of our plans fell through, and she really didn't want to go tracting, and I didn't really want to go tracting, so we decided to get to know their neighbors and tract their apartment complex! And at 8:45, we found a Spanish less-active that let us in and let us teach her. Miracles happen when we just get out and go to work.

Wednesday: We had an awesome zone conference. President Lewis asked me to get all the sisters together (on Sunday) and do a musical number. So, we did. And it was awesome. And the rest of zone conference was awesome. I can't even begin to summarize what I learned. But, I'll give you guys a few clues later. After zone conference, we went on some more exchanges! We were able to see Natalya. She fell asleep at the end of our lesson, but it's ok. We all fell asleep during the prayer. #supertired

Thursday: Well, we had a super cool experience. Hermana Harston found a new investigator, L, last week, and I got to go back on exchanges for the return appointment. I was with Sister Holmes, so I was all by myself in my Spanish... But, I have a testimony that the gift of tongues is real! Anyway, L is literally the composite of all the "who do you know who" questions. She recently moved here to the US (6 months ago), she speaks no English, her husband was murdered about 7 months ago, she got remarried in December, and she's pregnant. It's a crazy life. We started teaching her, and her daughter just came home from school and sat in the lesson. And had questions. Which were answered by the gospel. It was amazing!

Friday: We had a great ward activity on Friday. We played volleyball and had cookies. And I didn't slip and fall and dislocate a knee. And I did it all in a skirt. That's what's up.

Saturday: We went to our stake women's conference on Saturday because the Stake Relief Society President asked us to translate. It was insane. We each had a sister to translate for, and we became very aware of how little Spanish we actually knew. But, Hermana Harston endured to the end a lot better than I did! She made it the full 3 hours translating. I could only do two, and then I passed my baton off to Hermana Campbell, who graciously accepted. And then we went out and worked for the rest of the day.

Sunday: One of our recent converts, S, came to church. IN A SUIT!! And got to prepare the sacrament. It was so heart-warming. :)

Your funny experience of the week comes from our fellow missionaries working with us in our ward--Elders Turley and Tanner and Elders Mendoza and Kiser. Elders T and T have a minivan, and Elder K and M catch rides sometimes. After our ward missionary coordination on Thursday, we were driving behind them to go home, and they suddenly stop in the middle of the road and do a Chinese Fire Drill. We just flashed our brights and they got moving.

Some spiritual thoughts: We had an amazing stake women's conference this Saturday. The theme was "brightening our vision", and at the end, the stake president talked a lot about hope and how, as women, we really need to have hope. I was pondering his message as we went about the day, and I was kind of complaining about how tired I was. And then, it hit me. I wasn't properly using the Atonement.  So, I've been focusing my studies lately on the Atonement. I was reading in True to the Faith, and the following stuck out to me: "The Atonement is the supreme expression of our Heavenly Father's love for us. It is also the greatest expression of the Savior's love for the Father and for us." Maybe it's just because it's February and love is on my mind a lot, but I just could not comprehend the fact that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us so much. Which is slightly ironic because my Christlike attribute that I'm focusing  on this month is charity and love. It was just meant to be. Anyway, I made the connection that as we show forth that Christlike love to others, we can have hope in good things to come.

Zone Conference: Repentance is a change of attitude that ultimately leads to a might change of heart. Alma 17. If you're a missionary, read it. Something that stood out to me is verse 23. It says something along the lines of "I desire to dwell here for a time--maybe even until the day I die!". Let me tell you. Ammon served a 14 year long mission. I'm at 14 months, and I don't even have close to the same desires he has. My life needs to change. A lot. Faith is a gift. We have to pray for it everyday, and then we have to act to grow it. It also helps us develop all the other gifts we have. We have to choose faith. See Elder Andersen's talk from the October 2015 General Conference "Faith is not by Chance, but by Choice". And, it all comes down. Everything in the gospel boils down to the fact that God is our Heavenly Father and He LOVES us. That means YOU!

Well, I think that's about it for this week. Have a miraculous week and be on fire with the Spirit!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Kennedy


My companion. And me. But I'm not the important one. 


Plus, some other cool peeps. 

Maybe you know some of them!




Porque no?