Well hi everybody!! This week has been pretty good! My Spanish is definitely improving!! I know because, well I understood all of what a guy said to me when contacting! Let's just say, I wish I didn't understand it...gotta love the experiences of the mission!
However there have been some positives! I got to get a taste of what I imagine Spain will be like during the world cup! Yesterday was "El Classico," for those of you who don't follow soccer to the point of obsession (like me) that is what they call the game when Real Madrid and Barcelona play each other. Literally every bar we passed by had the game on and was packed full of people watching the game intently! Even the weird Chinese restaurante across from our apartment had it on!! It was awesome for me!!
Anyway on to the Work! Last week was a little rough, all of our 3 fechas fell and so we aren't baptizing anyone this week...but there was a miracle we were blessed with. The miracle we were blessed with this week had to deal with our Recent Convert of about 4 months who has not been coming to church. We've had weekly contact with him but he's been drinking and talking to Jehovah's Witnesses apparently. We had been inviting him to church for the entire time I've been here and he's never come. Elder Jennings and I were fasting so that our fecha could come to church so he could be baptized but he didn't come. We were sitting in Sacrament Meeting sadly, when all of a sudden, I looked over and saw Paco trying to get the door open!! Elder Jennings and I basically ran over to the door and greeted him!! It was one of the best feelings I have ever felt!!
Honestly, reactivation of people was not what I expected when I came on a mission but there is so much joy in it! It was a perfect sacrament meeting for him to go to because all the missionaries sang "Mas Cerca Dios, de Ti" (Nearer My God, to Thee) and the spirit was SO strong!!
Well tomorrow I have to wake up at like 4 so I can be obediente and be at the airport 2 hours early for my flight to Barcelona at 7 am. I finally get to pick up my Spanish ID! I'm super excited for it! I will probably get to see people from my group so that will be so much fun!! Well like always I don't have a lot of time so love you all!!
Also here is a list of some mission vocab that I use in letters so you can interpret my odd inglés now:
Fired=Canceled an appointment of some sort
Fecha=Investigator with a planned baptismal date
apostate=anything to do with disobedience
dying= (in reference to a missionary) a missionary in his or her last transfer in the field
Dad= (in reference to a missionary) your trainer as a missionary
¡Hola everyone! How are you all? I'm doing great! This past week we had a freaking awesome Monday night. We finished up email at 7 and went out contacting until 10. We ended up getting SIX lessons in three hours!! 4 of those lessons where in the street and had a return visit set up (called new investigators). One of those visits was with an investigator who missed church last week (and this week...) but the other was a little more interesting...Two weeks ago we were passing one of our investigators and we met her friend and set up a visit with this girl. We were passing her address and so we knocked on the door. Well long story short, that friend is working as a prostitute and we taught a short lesson about the Book of Mormon in the lobby of a whore-house...so ya! The mission brings interesting experiences...
Now onto Zone Conference. We flew out to Bilbao for Zone Conference and it was a blast!! When you put about 30 missionaries on the same plane it gets funny! Anyway, Bilbao is such a beautiful city!!! It was so green!! I loved it!! I hope I serve there at some point in my mission! For Zone Conference, Elder Kearon, who is in the European Mission Presidency and is a member of the First Quorum of the 70 and gave that talk with the story about the scorpion. He has a British accent which just made every thing he said sound even better. He isn't a large man, but when he was speaking he seemed to fill the entire stand because he had so much power to testify. It was amazing!!
In other news, Elder Jennings and I made brownies for some of our investigators, the missionaries in my district (myself included) sang at Zone Conference and a Funeral this past week and are singing again in Church next Sunday. We sing a lot here...I enjoy it!! Love you all!
Wow typing "Week 9" in the subject box of this email was really weird...anyway, how are you all?! I'm doing great, a little sore from playing basketball against the other district in Palma but great overall! Levante district (my district) won by the way. I guess I'll dive right into it!
So this week has been rather hard, my companion, Elder Jennings, has been sick since last Tuesday so it has been hard to get as much done as we did the week before. But no pasa nada, we still got to see miracles that make a mission so great! On a down note, all of our investigators who we invited to church this week, didn't come. But we got fed by the members THREE TIMES this week!! I had my first experience with weird food....Elder Jennings and I ate "Conejo con Cebolla," which translates to "Rabbit with Onion." The meat wasn't bad but there were bones everywhere and I did find some organs, and a rib cage. Honestly I probably ate some organs without realizing it...ah well its a good thing I'm not picky!
This week's letter won't be very long but I do want to talk about one of our lessons we had this week. Elder Jennings and I went to teach Collins and Veronica on Wednesday, (They are from Nigeria and speak English) and originally we had planned to teach about the Plan of Salvation but it didn't feel right. So we decided to talk about baptism, hard. It really shows that when we follow the guidance of the spirit, the Lord blesses us. That lesson was the best lesson I have ever been a part of, the Spirit was so strong and we committed both of them to be baptized! It is one of the best feelings in the world when someone accepts a baptismal invitation!! This experience really brightened my day and helped me press forward through the hard times!
Well tomorrow evening, we fly out for Bilbao and stay for the night and most of the next day! I am really excited to see a different part of Spain! Well I'm off to contact and pass investigators tonight, which is starting to become a Monday night routine but I enjoy it because amazing experiences always seem to happen. Also we always happen to see some pretty weird stuff, so that's stupendous as well! Well hope you all are doing well and having fun, love you all!
So last week was rough and I wasn't too cheery but now I am loving it! The Lord finds ways to make us happy, for example, right after I sent that last email, Elder Jennings and I went out to do pass-by's of our recent converts. Anyway the visit fired and fell through so we decided to knock the rest of the doors in the building! My first true knocking session...so we started and nobody answered. Then Elder Jennings told me, "You've got this one," so I knocked and a very tired looking lady came to the door! I asked her if she believed in God and if we could share a message about him. And SHE LET US IN!! I was so surprised! I didn't think that door knocking actually worked! We had a solid lesson and now we are having trouble contacting her....but it was still a huge testimony builder!!
One of our investigator families speaks some African language and English so we teach in English. And let me tell you, after only praying and teaching in Spanish for almost two months, teaching in English is a nightmare. I was literally translating my prayers and testimony back into English from Spanish!!! But overall the lesson went well!
We have a perfect investigator family, they are from Bolivia and they are litterally GOLDEN!! They have two boys and they don't drink or smoke, don't like coffee, and only drink herbal tea!! It is perfect! The one issue is that the mom is going to Switzerland for a month so we may have to wait to baptize them. But the dad and two sons came to church last week and they aren't as on board with the church as the mom is!! It makes me so happy!! It was a miracle we got to meet with them during the week, we stopped by on a pass-by and only the boys were home so we couldn't go in. So I stopped to tie my shoe and Elder Jennings told me to stay down tying my shoes because the parents were coming! It was perfect! We got in and taught them the first lesson and they ate it up!! They are going to be baptized in like a month and a half is my guess!
Food: Food here is pretty normal, we make most of our food because the members feed us about once a week if that. So that both positive and negative. We got food from a restaurante for lunch one day and its this thing called a Kebab. It has lamb and a whole bunch of vegetables in a sandwich with a spicy sauce put on it. There are a billion shops that sell them here, all run by Arabs. It was delicious!
I got to set my first baptismal date with an Investigator so if everything works out, he will be baptized on the 22nd!!! I am so excited!!!! His name is Byron and he is really smart. He can speak like 5 different languages!
We missed a thing called "Pautas" this week by only a couple things. When achieved, you and your companion get your names on the mission wide note email. It is a big deal. You have to get three of the following in a week: 1 Baptism and Confirmation, 3 Baptismal dates with investigators, 12 lessons with a member present, 6 investigators in Sacrament Meeting, and 6 new investigators. We got 0/1, 1/3, 7/12, 5/6, and 6/6. We were so close, but we are going to get it this week!
Found out something really of cool this week, we get to go to Bilbao for Zone Conference next week!! They are flying our zone out to the conference for two days! I'm excited to see another part of Spain!!
I want to close this email this week with one of my new favorite hymns for you all to look up. In Spanish it is called, "Brillan Rayos de Clemencia." In English it is Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy. It talks about a light house which is the nickname of the Barcelona Mission so its our mission song. It is great, you should all go read the lyrics! [See Blog post below] Anyway I love you all and hope you are doing well!! Remember Filipenses 4:13!
[Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.]