I don't have a lot of time, so this is going to be short! Today was my first Dia de Preparacion in the field. It was nice! Elder Jennings and I went to the store and did some shopping and stuff. I bought a wallet because I was sick of folding Euros in half to get them to fit...Anyway my first couple days here have had ups and downs. We'll start with some of the downs. First the baptism we were supposed to have fell through and then none of our investigators, who were said they were coming to sacrament meeting, came. The way I look at it though is if we go through the bad the good seems so much better. Anyway, on Saturday we had an awesome day! We went out street contacting in the morning and we got a ton of numbers!! We taught short 5 minute lessons to 4 people and set up a follow up visit with three of them! We set up a great week for this week!!! I'm so excited for it!! Well I love you all and hope you're all doing well!
Well I get to email for a bit today because I'm new!
Ok starting off, Saturday was a little rough at the park but Elder Ward and I gave out a Book of Mormon on the Metro!! So that brightened my entire day!
Sunday was good as usual, but Monday was great!! We packed, ate pizza for dinner, had a testimony meeting and had a devotional with President and Sister Lovell! It was fantastic!
Now on to the more recent stuff, Tuesday morning we left the MTC and got on a high speed train to Barcelona!! It was such a cool experience going on that. At one point I looked up and saw that we were going 295 km/h!! It was crazy!! We got to Barcelona and met Presidente and Hermana Pace in the train station! We then got in a bus and went to the chapel for Barrio Dos in Barcelona and dropped off my luggage. I then took my overnight bag (backpack) and we went to the Mission home. There they fed us, interviewed us, and then took us on a brief tour of Barcelona. It was so amazing!! I love Barcelona already!! We then came back to the mission home and got our "temporary companions." My companion was Elder Wilkinson! We then rode the Metro over to the Badalona area where we stopped at his Piso (apartment) and dropped my stuff off. We then went out street contacting! We talked to everyone and Elder Wilkinson was awesome!! We then went and had a Family Home Evening with a member family. It was so much fun and they fed us!! After that we went back out street contacting and we met a Jehova's Witness, that was interesting....Afterward we went back to the piso and sat in on planning for Elder Wilkinson and his real companion. Then went to bed.
The next morning, we woke up early and went with an Elder in that piso, who was going to be training someone in that area, to a stake center. We then went and got our fingerprints done at the police station so we could get our Spanish ID's, I'll get that in a month or two. Afterwards we took a bus back to Barrio Dos' capilla and studied for awhile. We then had a devotional with President and Sister Pace and at the end we got to find out where we were going! I was the second to last missionary assigned out of my group so that was kind of nerve wracking!! On a side note, Elder Stapleton, my MTC friend happens to be going to the area where I slept for my first night....anyway, I got up there and President announced that I was going to the PALMA MALLORCA area!! For those of you who don't know where that is, Palma Mallorca is the largest of three islands in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain! So immediately after the meeting my new companion and I grabbed my bags and went to the airport! My new companion is Elder Jennings from Mesa, Arizona!! I'm his first missionary to be trained! He has been in the field for 7 months and in Mallorca for a transfer (6 weeks). He is so awesome and way nice! I can't wait to get to know him better!
Anyway, on the 40 minute flight from Barcelona to Palma I sat next to a guy who was reading a rock climbing magazine and I would like to thank Taylor Watkins and Josh Schmidt for teaching me a little bit about climbing so I could try and communicate with him. I gave him a pass along card and hope he looks to find more. On the flight they managed to lose one of my bags...but while I was typing this email, they airline called Elder Jennings and said they were at our piso to drop it off! I saved this draft and we ran back to our piso and picked it up!! The thing I was most excited for that I didn't have in my other bag was my sweaters!! I am so sick of my suit jacket right now...anyway all is great here in Palma Mallorca! Next week we have Enfoque, so we meeting with everyone in our zone and hear what the President told the Zone Leaders to tell us. I'll write again on Monday I believe, who knows... I love the Barcelona Mission already!
Parker Skousen you are so lucky to be going to this mission!!! It is the best mission in the world!
I love you all and hope you are doing well!!
My New Address:
C/Nicolao de Pacs 23, 2A
Palma de Mallorca 07006
Letters take about a week to get here from the US and packages take about a week and half to two weeks to get here! Write me!!
Well I got assigned my first area and my first companion and I made it there safe and sound! My companion is Elder Jennings from Mesa, AZ and my area is Palma de Mallorca!! I think I'm going to get to email tomorrow for longer, but this email is just to say I made it safe. Athens will be happy to know that I lost one of my bags on the flight from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca, but I'm supposed to get it tomorrow or tonight, who knows...ah well! This is awesome! It was a little sad to see all my friends go but I've made a new one in Elder Jennings. He is fantastic and I'm his first missionary he's trained! I'm so excited!! Love you all! I'll write more about my first day in Barcelona tomorrow!
Hello everyone! How are you all doing? I hope it is great because this is definitely the best time to be living in! This week has been fantastic! There are always the ups and downs but overall there are always more ups than downs. One of the downs of this week was our service project. We literally mopped the parking garage for the temple…I guess whatever helps… Anyway last P-Day we went to the mall, kind of a waste but we got to come back and rest for a bit afterwards! The best part of P-Days is definitely the MTC devotional at night. We watched a devotional from Elder Holland and those are always amazing. This one was on Missionaries who come home after their missions and go inactive. He said that we have to have at least one convert on our missions, and it better be us! I have definitely been changed just in the month I’ve been here it is so crazy!
Oh by the way I leave the MTC for the Spain Barcelona Mission on TUESDAY!!!! I leave at 6 AM (10 PM on Monday Utah time) from the MTC and catch a high speed train to BARCELONA at 7!! I am so excited and nervous at the same time!!
The greatest experience I had this week was giving out my first ever copy of the Book of Mormon in the Parque Retiro!!!! My companion for this week was Elder Del Amo, who is from the south of Spain and is only here in the MTC for two weeks before he goes to the Madrid Mission. He didn’t speak a lot of English but I spoke enough Spanish and we were good enough at charades that we could communicate. We were going around the park not having a lot of success and so Elder Del Amo suggested that we say a prayer. So we said a prayer and not 5 minutes later, we decided to stop and talk to this lady who was taking pictures. We waited for her to finish and then went up and started talking to her. She was from Brazil and so she spoke Portuguese, but she also spoke a little bit of English. So with a combination of my English and broken Spanish and Elder Del Amo’s perfect Spainish we taught her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and she accepted a Book of Mormon in Spanish because we didn’t have one in Portuguese. The best moment of the day was when we got back to the MTC and heard that Elder Sadler and his companion had found the same lady after we did and were able to trade her Spanish Book of Mormon for a Portuguese one! The Lord always finds a way to get his work done! I am seeing that more and more! Also on a side note, one of the new native Spanish Elders here is Elder Narcizo. He is the funniest guy and everything he does is ten times funnier because he’s a dwarf (midget)! On Thursday he was running around with this little black poncho on acting like Harry Potter! It was hilarious!
One of the best things that has started happening here in the MTC since we got all of the Native Spanish speakers is singing. Every night after we all finish eating dinner Elder Ward sits down at the piano in the cafeteria and plays a couple hymns and we all sing as loud as we possibly can in Spanish or Russian! It is amazing the power that comes from music!
My experience here at the MTC has been amazing but it’s coming to a close. One of the funniest things I see was the “Teachers Archive of Wrong Spanish Phrases.” In this the teachers kept some of the funniest phrases new missionaries have said and mixed up words in. For example one missionary said, “Adán y Eva se caigaron.” The sentence is supposed to say Adam and Eve fell. The word for Fell in Spanish is cayeron. So the phrase the Missionary said actually meant: Adam and Eve pooped themselves. It was awesome to be able to laugh at the mistakes others have made and realize that although I don’t think I’m doing well with Spanish, I’m doing a lot better than some other missionaries!
I can’t wait to continue learning the Spanish language and Serve the Lord. I love the Lord and know that I am where I am supposed to be at this time in my life. The Lord said to Peter, If ye love me, feed my sheep. And that is what I am doing. I have a testimony of this Gospel and of the authenticity of this church. Yo sé que la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días es la verdad. If you don’t have a testimony of this church and all of its parts, go get one. It will bless you more than you could ever imagine! I love you all and hope you are all having a wonderful time reading this!
Hello everyone!! Happy Thursday! This week has been pretty great! Last Thursday we went to the Museo del Prado, and for those who know me know that is a hard thing for me to do because I HATE museums! But I enjoyed my time there because Elders Stapleton, Christopherson and I just tried to avoid all the naked people....Anyway we got back in time after going to the museum to go play soccer against some Spanish teenagers and I was pretty proud of myself, I "burned" one of them SO bad! It was fun! The best part of the day though was getting to watch a MTC devotional from Elder Bednar. The topic was "How can I tell the difference between the promptings of the spirit and my own thoughts." I thought this topic was really applicable for me!! The most interesting and helpful part of this talk was Elder Bednar's response to the question: "Quit worrying about it!! Be a good boy and just do what you are supposed to do and you will be fine!!" It was really nice to hear that from an apostle of the Lord!
On Saturday we went to the Parque del Retiro in the center of Madrid as usual, but this time I was paired with an American Elder who was learning Russian. This meant that I had to do all the talking to the people if we wanted to try to talk to anyone, or so I thought. Elder Sealock (My Companion) and I walked around the park and got rejected all day, but gave out quite a few pass along cards! Then as we were riding the Metro back to the CCM, I got an idea. I am always scared to talk to people in the Metro and so I told Elder Sealock to, "Throw me under the bus." For us that meant he would walk up to someone and say, "HOLA!" and then I would have to finish the conversation! It actually worked out really well because we actually talked to some people but they still rejected us. The best part about that experience was that everyone was nice to us! Although when looking back, that may just have been because some guy yelled something at us when he got off the train. I'm honestly not sure what he said, but I assume he swore at us. :) Its all good, nothing so little is going to stop the work of the Lord!
Sunday was fast sunday, and I want to announce a big moment in my life. I participated in a Musical Number in our Fireside! Not just participated as in playing the piano, I sang with three other Elders!! We sang one of my favorite Hymns in English because it doesn't exist in Spanish...it was If You Could Hie To Kolob. It was awesome! Singing here is a huge part of what we do and I love it!!
Now to Monday, it snowed here in Madrid!! It didn't stick or anything but I loved it! It reminded me of home! Snow or not we still went to play soccer for Physical Activity and so I decided to bring my Lehi Soccer Hoodie naturally. However, when we left to go back to the MTC I left it there. I was so sad because I loved that hoodie and all the memories that were attached to it. I figured it was gone because there was a big group of gypsies that were going to play on the court after us...but lo and behold the next day when we went back to the court it was still there!! I was so happy!! And I remembered to bring it back this time!! It was a little wet because it had been raining but otherwise untouched! Prayer is a powerful thing for something even as simple as a grey nike sweatshirt, but I'm so glad I can ask anything of our Father in Heaven.
We just got a bunch of native apanish speakers and they are all hilarious! I love spending time with them even if I don't understand everything they are saying...One of the native spanish speakers is a midget, and he is the funniest of them all!! He is so cool and I have so much respect for him!
One of my major accomplishments (in my mind) this week was that I finally figured out how to correctly pronounce the "GLI" sound in Italian!! I can now say all the names of the missionaries in my district correctly now...I guess thats a product of the Gift of Tongues? Today we are going to the Mall, and for all those reading this who have watched How I Met Your Mother, everytime someone says "the Mall" we all breakout into the "Let's go to the Mall" song Robin sings.
Anyway I am getting short on time as always but I love you all, the church is true, and Spain is the best!
Hello everyone!! As always please excuse my spelling errors, my English is getting worse…This past week has been fantastic! There of course have been the standard ups and downs, but definitely more ups than downs. The CCM (MTC) here is so amazing!!
This week I had some great experiences, the first was the opportunity to go on a tour of the Real Madrid Stadium! It was SO cool!!! It was literally a dream come true for any soccer player! We got to walk around the entire stadium, see the locker room, see the giant trophy room, see the Ballon D’Or that Cristiano Ronaldo just won, go pitch-side and sit on the bench! I was giddy the entire time! I loved it and hope I get to do the same when I am in Barcelona!
On Saturday we got to go to the park again, and I got paired up with Elder Gill again! That almost never happens but I think the Lord was giving us a second chance at the park, because the first week we were together we struggled. So this week, to get over our fear of talking to random people we decided to look at talking to people as a chance to get the best rejection story! It worked better, but we only gave out a couple of pass-a-long cards. However we had a much better time, mostly because we saw several odd things whilst proselyting. The first was we were walking up to this guy to try to talk to them and a Police car drove by and he all but dove into the bushes!! It was so bizarre! Another thing I’ve noticed since being here, is that couples in Spain (and possibly the rest of Europe) have no inhibitions with their Public Display of Affection…It is rather odd. Honestly it could also be a tactic to get the missionaries not to talk to them, but who knows… Overall it was a good learning experience at the park!
Throughout the week we have been teaching our “investigators” and because I have two companions who basically already speak Spanish, I don’t feel the need to talk very much. My teachers noticed this and got on our District about teaching in unity and have been focusing most of their teaching efforts on me. This tactic bugs the crap out of me because I don’t like being the slow learner in a class. However it has improved my Spanish and I have started talking more in the lessons. I can now share poorly conjugated stories to aid my companions in the lesson! I guess my input was much needed because yesterday after teaching an extremely bad lesson with an investigator, we had two literally PERFECT lessons in a row!!! Our teachers/investigators said quote, “That is exactly how you want to teach.” (Besides the fact that that phrase was in all Spanish…) It really shows me how inspired Preach My Gospel is and how we teach people not lessons.
Another great opportunity we have in the Madrid MTC is singing on the Temple steps every Sunday. Elder Sullivan and his wife, Sister Sullivan, are here serving a mission working with the Young Single Adults and they were both in the Tabernacle Choir. They have helped all of us poor singers along and we sound fantastic when together! It is literally one of the coolest things I have been a part of.
This week has been so good for my testimony and has helped me grow as a member of this wonderful church. I’ve only been out for 24 days (I only know that because I keep track in my Journal) and I know it has been the best decision I have ever made in my life! I love you all and hope all goes well this week!
P.S. The land mark moment this week was when Elder Adam Nickerl scored his first goal when we were playing soccer. He has literally never played soccer in his life and isn’t the most coordinated of people. He has been praying ever since we got here that he would score, and as he said, “the power of prayer is real!!” All the missionaries here love soccer now and for physical activity there is absolutely no question about what we are doing now. I love it.