Thursday, December 1, 2016

November 28, 2016

Hi all!

A little history of the week...This week we had a zone meeting in León and traveled there in bus. We past up in the mountains heading that way...and there was snow!! I didn't realized I missed snow until I saw it again =) I attempted to take pictures but they didn't work very well. 

The zone training was great, I learned a lot about how I can be a better missionary. One companionship of sisters has given out 56 Books of Mormon in the past week and last transfer they gave out 140+ Books of Mormon! I had to ask them what the secret was and try it out haha I haven't had as much success but am doing better before. =) 

For thanksgiving we had kebab chickens  (rotisserie chicken from a kebab restaurant) with onion rings and French fries. Some of the best chicken I have ever had surprisingly. Some other updates this week...we have an investigator who we have taught a few lessons who has read 326 pages of the book of Mormon! We didn't know if he still had been reading because we hadn't met with him in a while but he was! That hasn't happened before, I didn't know what to say! 

And a few miracles happened this week but the biggest one so far was when we were contacting people in the street. We contacted a lady who we  learned was from the US! That in itself was a miracle. And to top it, she is from Grand Rapids, Michigan - Grandville to be exact, about 25mins from where I lived =) and she is here nannying a family and teaching them English. And even better is that her dad used to work for Herman Miller like my dad =) Her name is Melissa and we found her when she was on her way to get her Thanksgiving Turkey (you have to order them here in Spain, they aren't in stores). Quite the miracle and a tender mercy.

Something I really liked that I learned this week is in Luke 14:15-24 (but 25-27 are also very applicable). 

Luke 14: 15-24 says:
15 ¶And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
25 ¶And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them

As in this scripture, sometimes we aren't willing to do the things God has asked us to do. We have excuses (and good ones too). One just got married, one had to tend to his animals, one had to fix up their land. But they all passed up the blessings of obedience. God has already given us everything we have. Are we using our time as effectively and wisely as possible to do good in the world? Is there something we should change so that we can better serve or do what God has asked of us? Some questions to ponder. Heavenly Father loves us sooo much. He really does want to bless us. He's prepared and ready to give blessings, He just needs us to show up, to go to the feast He has prepared for us.

This December, starting Dec. 1st, there is an invitation I would like to extend to you.
On, there is a Christmas Initiative for all to try so that we can all feel the spirit of the season better this Christmas - 25 days of simple service. 

There is a beautiful video about Christ to explain the initiative about sharing the light of Christ. Sharing goodness in the world =) everyday is a new theme of how Christ shared His light and how we can too (there is a new short video clip everyday on the theme). 

The service examples are very simple and I promise you that if you give it a try and strive the serve people this Christmas season, you will feel the spirit of Christmas more. I challenge you to invite friends to join in with you, they don't have to share your same beliefs. Help share happiness this Christmas.

I know that service will help us feel the love of Christ more in our lives and help others (those we serve) feel it too. Use as a guide, there are great examples of simple, quick service we can offer. I challenge you to serve everyday this coming December and I promise that you will feel God's love as you serve.

I love you all =) Have a great week!
Elder Openshaw

First Talk in Spanish - Sunday, November 20, 2016

Talk on profetas. 

Hola, soy Elder Openshaw y soy de Michigan en los Estados Unidos.

Hoy, voy a hablar sobre los profetas. Quiero empezar por explicando que significa un profeta. Un profeta es un hombre que ha sido llamado por Dios y habla por Él. Como un mensajero por Dios, un profeta recibe mandamientos, profecías y revelación por la gente en el mundo. Primariamente, su responsabilidad es testificar de Cristo.

En Amos 3:7 dice: "Porque no hará nada Jehová el Señor sin que revele su secreto a sus siervos los profetas." Y esta escritura es verdad, Jesucristo es el líder de Su iglesia restaurada y él revela Su voluntad a los profetas quien revelan su palabra a nosotros.

A lo largo de historia, habían profetas a guiar la gente. Moisés, Abraham, Pedro, Nefi, y Mormón son ejemplos. Ellos testificaban de Jesucristo y sus enseñanzas. Y ahora tenemos profetas a guiarnos también. José Smith era un profeta que ayudó Dios a restaurar Su iglesia otra vez en el mundo.

Dios le guió José a encontrar las planchas que fueron escondido por un profeta se llama Moroni. Y por el poder de Dios, José tradució las planchas cuál es el Libro de Mormón. La historia que las planchas contuvieron fue la historia de las personas en las Américas y los profetas allí. Aún en las Américas profetas eran importante aunque no estaban los mismos registros de estaban en Jerusalén.

José Smith era un profeta muy importante porque él ayudó Dios a restaurar la igelsia de Cristo otra vez con toda la autoridad como anteriormente. Hay doce apóstoles y un profeta, la misma organización como la iglesia de Jesucristo cuando Él la estableció.

José Smith era el primero profeta de nuestro día y ahora el profeta es Thomas S. Monson. Sé que los dos fueron llamado de Dios. Me gusta una escritura en Doctrina y Convenios 1:38 que dice:

" Lo que yo, el Señor, he dicho, yo lo he dicho, y no me disculpo; y aunque pasaren los cielos y la tierra, mi palabra no pasará, sino que toda será cumplida, sea por mi propia voz o por la voz de mis siervos, es lo mismo."

Me gusta esta escritura porque la explica la confianza que el Señor tiene en ellos quienes están llamando de Dios. No importe si la voz es de siervos de Dios o su propia voz, es lo mismo. 😑

Sé que los profetas son llamado de Dios en el día anteriormente y en hoy día. Hay una escritura en Mateo 7: 16-20 que me gusta.
Lo dice:

"16 Por sus frutos los conoceréis. ¿Se recogen uvas de los espinos o higos de los abrojos?
17 Así, todo buen árbol da buenos frutos, mas el árbol malo da malos frutos.
18 No puede el árbol bueno dar malos frutos, ni el árbol malo dar buenos frutos.
19 Todo árbol que no da buen fruto es cortado y echado en el fuego.
20 Así que, por sus frutos los conoceréis."

A mi, esta escritura es importante por que explica como podemos saber si profetas son llamado de Nuestro Padre Celestial. "Porque por sus frutos los conoceréis". Un fruto de José Smith es el Libro de Mormón. Este libro es evidencia de la restauración de la iglesia verdadera. Si no tiene un testimonio de José Smith o la iglesia restaurada les invito a leer el libro de Mormón. Si leemos teniendo fe en Jesucristo, con la intención a actuar en la repuesta, y con un corazón sincero y después oramos a Dios si este Libro es verdadero les prometo que recibirán una repuesta. No importa cuántas veces leímos el Libro de Mormón, la promesa de Moroni todavía funciona por todos.

Sé que...
Elder Openshaw

November 21, 2016

Hi all!

I had quite a cool week. This week we started teaching some different part member families and invited a brother of one JAS (YSA) who is less active to take the lessons. The brother and the sister are awesome and the brother remembered so many details of the intro to the LdM (including the names of some of the witnesses haha). 

English class was amazing and we even had to split the group the teach the more advanced and the beginners. One investigator we are teaching is honestly searching for the answer as to whether the Book of Mormon is true or not but she hasn't read the Book yet (nor has she received as answer). It's just a reminder to all that we need to read the Book of Mormon and then ponder it in our hearts and then pray if it is true. Read, ponder then pray, if we just pray about it without showing God we really want to answer it's a little difficult to recieve the answer. But we are working with her and helping her find her answer.

The pictures from this week are hilarious. I did take from pictures from my comp again (the ones with the horse and Oviedo and the video of the Austurian parade). I also took a picture of Austurian houses (maybe old/orignial houses?) that are for decoration =) and then a picture of the trees that they trim (they trim almost all things with leaves to a point). Also, I found signs that say "Dental POO" en tu sonrisa And dental POO especialistas. I definitely want to go there when I need help with my teeth =) I also gave my first talk in Spanish and it went quite well (better than I thought it might haha).

This week I have learned how the spirit is in charge. We don't use the spirit, we strive to have the spirit use us as tools to teach. This week I had to use some faith. In Spanish, it is difficult for me to listen instead of thinking of what to say next because I haven't had the faith before to just listen and hope words came to mind. But the promise is true, that when we take no thought before hand what we shall say, words will be given in the very hour ans moment we need it. And I know this because I believed in the promise and had to try it out. And it worked. We had 3-4 lessons that day. I listened to everything the person said and then opened my mouth. And I said the words they needed to hear, and not what I wanted to tell them. It was really cool. 

I also had an experience where we needed to leave the lesson for getting to English class but I had a scripture come to mind 2-3 times and I knew I had to say it. And I shared it as well with an experience from my life and it was exactly what she needed. It was cool to be a tool in the Lord's hands.

I know that Book of Mormon is true. I know it because I have lived it's principles and have seen the good fruits in my life (Matt 7:16-20) (by their fruits ye shall know them). I know that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored on this earth today. And I know that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are both the word of God. Literally the words of God written by prophets who received them. We can recieve a testimony of Jesus Christ and that He lives as we read, pray and after pray.

Have a great week!
Elder Openshaw

Monday, November 14, 2016

November 14, 2016

Hi all!

This week was transfers but I'm staying for probably another 3 months in this area. We had one Elder from the other companionship who left today to Madrid but my companion will finish another transfer  (6 weeks) here.

The work it moving along. Every week we are trying to make better goals to push us and we keep having more and more progress which is great. We have a baptismal service on Dec 3 and have one person committed to this date but not sure if we will need to push it back or not. We will see.

We had another meeting for trainers and trainees and we didn't want to go to Madrid so we Skyped in. I wrote down a question at the start of the meeting and it was cool how the meeting answered exactly that question. The spirit is quite amazing. I learned a lot from the meeting with President, his wife and the Assistants.

Clarification, I don't have a zone conference every month, it's every transfer that we switch between zone conference with President and Assistants teaching or we have a meeting with the zone leaders who teach. So it's about every 3 months. We haven't had a zone conference quite yet. Will have it near christmas.

This week was Elder Bataller's bday so we went to an Asturiano restaurant. For 9€ we had 3 courses and too much food haha. It was great. And here in Europe you don't have to pay for a tip or tax , tax is already in the price. It is so NICE! I love it =) I like knowing the price up front. We ate Fabada (the red soup with blood sausage and chorizo) which is great and cochopo (meat with beef, Jamon Serrano, and then another thing of beef with cheese too, all fried). Some of those pictures are not from this week, from my comp that I thought were cool (picture of the "lego" buildings). And Asturiano parade from months ago that my comp had a picture of. 

We had a primary program this week and the primary president made those little pictures, quite the work put in. I included a picture of the buttons for "knocking doors". If we aren't contacting in the street that is what ends up happening, pressing buttons and hoping someone answers. One of us is usually on window duty to watch them poke their heads out haha. It's kind of fun but at the same time it's not.

I've been learning a lot. Another great week. 

This week I learned I need to work on directions because I got the district leader and I lost on intercambios haha. It was not fun for me in the moment but we laughed about it =)

I have learned to study the scriptures with a purpose to share. And that when you do that God will give you the opportunity to share. I try to start each study with a question and it helps drive the purpose. Try it sometime. 

I know that if you excerise faith and believe you can answer your question and start looking for the answer, either you find it or the spirit teaches you or you find it later. Keep fighting to find the answer. I've seen answers to my prayers. I have had concerns answered and in just the way I needed them, not the way I wanted them. We can't expect answers or blessings like a text message, you send a message and it is answered briefly after. Prayer works a little differently. Sometimes you have to wait months or years for answers and sometimes it only takes a day or two (or sooner). But I know that we can recieve answers to prayer. It is such a blessing we can communicate with our loving Heavenly Father and recieve His guidance in our lives. And sometimes the answer is yes (maybe a soft gentle but present prompting of the Spirit), or maybe it is no, or maybe it is "not now". 

God knows us perfectly and has a perfect plan for us, that means His answers to pray also are perfect - they come exactly how we need them best, which can be hard to understand. It's necessary to have faith. =)
Have a great week!

Elder Openshaw

Pictures ~ Oct 31, Nov 7 & 14, 2016

November 7, 2016

This week I have seen quite the miracles. Some have been big and some small.

Let's start with the less inspirational stuff =) I got a haircut this past week and am glad my companion cuts his hair the same because I don't have the Spanish to say differently =)

Halloween is a thing here...but not really. People just have parties but no candy! Haha or random joven will wear costumes and walk the streets but that is it.

We got a area book planner app to do our work now which is new this week. Keeps record of all the members and lessons, it's really cool.

Now for the Mieres (a pueblo) we had three. 

The first was that a man who we have been trying to reach forever answered his phone. 
2nd, we were looking for a house and didn't have a number for this person. But the address would show up on our map. So I reminded she explained where her house/Piso was and we headed in the direction and miraculously found the street and in the end the Piso. It was crazy how we found it. 
3rd, a man came up to us and told us he was coming to church with us and we didn't have to do anything haha =) we explained we would meet up at the bus station and show him where the chapel was. Of course the lady whose Piso we found wasn't home and the man who contacted us in the street never answered his phone but we have potential for coming weeks =)

Later in the week we had more miracles. 
We found two more people to teach as well as another family of less actives. One of the investigators also told us that he was going to get baptized without asking him (he had takes all the lesson a year before) and so we are working with him on that. But my favorite miracle was finding a man to teach who was carrying his groceries beside me. It was a stop light so I knew he couldn't run =) and I asked him if I could help and he said it wasn't heavy, but then we started talking and came to the topic of the Gospel. Long story short he is trying to find a job.

During our first lesson with him, he received 3 calls, two of which were for new work. And only moments before my companion prayed for him to find work. It was cool. And it was also a miracle we were at that same stop light. Only 30 mins before we stopped to get chuches (candy) and it put us at the same stop light on the way back home! The miracle came when I was wondering if we would find anyone to teach. I wasn't sure and I knew my faith was being tried. But we kept going and we were blessed with the miracles after the trial of our faith.

I also had a few inspirational things come this week. One was this...."train with the intention of performing". I think it applies to sports or music or the Gospel, really anything. Training or practicing with the intent (or purpose) of performing helps you to recognize the significance to practice and not just doing it becuase you have to.

Another was this... if Christ came today, would we be prepared? What would we do if He were to see us as we are, who we have become? Would we avoid Him and shy away from His gaze? Or would we embrace Him and thank Him, and listen to Him say "well done"? Something to think about. 

Are we living like we would like? If not, today is the day to change. If so, kept going and getting better. We won't be perfect and God doesn't expect perfection, He only expects us to be better than we were the day before.
Have a great week!

Elder Openshaw

October 31, 2016

A lot happened this week.

A little bit about piso life: 
I made buttermilk syrup and we got churros =) and we got a new washing machine (we have had to wring out clothes for the past 4 weeks).

Remind me to get a picture of the Lego block pisos here I keep forgetting to get the pictures from my companion. And the schedule here is an hour behind the original missionary schedule but it goes back a half hour in winter (so instead of going to bed at 11:30pm like we were it is now 11pm).

Tuesday we taught a lesson to a less active family about repentance. We may get to baptize the mom in a few weeks, she say she was baptized before in her country (Ecuador I think) but they cant find the record. And in the past I have talked about taking bused to pueblos but that is false. The correct word is train =) buses are only in the cities and for some reason I was thinking buses were the same as trains haha. We take trains to the pueblos.

Tuesday we went to Grado (a smaller pueblo than Mieres) and it was so cool, the experience we had there. For a while we didn't feel we were guided and just couldn't find anybody who would talk to us, but we kept going. And then 1 hour - 30 minutes before we were going to catch the train I saw a street and knew it was where we needed to be. And we knocked doors which is really strange for set up of buildings here. The pisos were shorter like houses but one floor and all connected side by side. And we didn't have much success. And then this lady Maria opens the door and she has a more or less a scowl on her face as if to say "what do you want?" And we started talking with her and she says she doesn't believe in God and isn't interested. And we were about to walk away, we gave her a card with a picture of Jesus and her face lit up. And little by little she lightened up. She asked us more questions. And we saw the spirit change her heart. She told us she used to believe but she didn't anymore, but that she wanted to believe. And then we testified of the Book of MORMON and she promised she would read it. It was so cool to see her heart change when we told her about why we were there and that we only are trying to help everyone feel happiness and joy in their lives that comes from the gospel.

Rejection hurt a lot more this week because I understand a lot better what people are saying and feel their emotions better. My Spanish is definitely improving =)

A little from my journal because we were on a train... 
Oct 30 2016 - Today we had a District Conference for León District with Elder Pilz as the general authority. President Pack was also there and spoke. We led the meeting in a monastery/hotel called Paradores Hostal San Marcos. It was really cool. It was a very old Spain cathedral made into a hotel but I think they may have mass in there still, I'm not sure. My notes from the meeting are in my Grey journal. To get to León, we rode a bus with the members of Oviedo and Gijon branches to León. There were two sessions of conference, one at 10am and another at noon (probably because it is so difficult for members to come to León, it's a 2-3 hour drive). And after we eat at the chapel in León. And then we had entrevistas con Presidente Pack (and Sister Pack brought my package =)).

Thankful for the food we received from the members, we were supposed to bring food but didn't have any to bring (that wouldn't spoil) so we had faith that we could find member who had enough food for us too. And there were plenty. We ate very well and all we had to do was ask =) I'm thankful that they helped us out.

This week I learned about happiness and how to live after the "manner of happiness" like Nephi. There is a great talk by Elder Holland called " The quest for happiness" from, a BYU-I talk. It explains 4 ways to be happier. I suggest looking it up because his words are a lot better than mine haha.

At the conference this week in Leon, Elder Pilz talked about two analogies. 

One is about the Manhattan NY Temple. It was built by taking out the top two floors of an existing chapel to create the temple, using the existing walls as a buffer for the noise. The temple was built inside this outside shell and needed supports between the temple walls and the outside walls for support but not to many because the vibrations and noise from outside would come thru. And this is an analogy for our lives. We need to have some connections to what is going on in the world but we need to have as few as possible so that the vibrations from the world don't distract us from our life's purpose.

The 2nd, about rock climbing. And about how it's safer to follow the path others have already followed even though it is still fun and has its difficulties. When we do it properly and have a belayer to catch us, we have someone to catch us when we fall. And the Savior is the one who catches us. The man slips and falls and the belayer must use all His strength and power to catch us. Will we remember the name of the one who saved us? Will we be grateful? Will we serve him? How is our relationship with the Savior? It should be very similar to those same feelings as one who saves our lives. He has saved us from spiritual death if we repent.
I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Openshaw

I also saw Maddie Cheslers friend Darell Merrill, you will have to let her know.

How to Better Prepare for a Mission ~ Elder Randy Openshaw

Words of Wisdom from Elder Randy Openshaw to his Brother Nathaniel and which he wanted to share with others...

To prepare better for a mission:

1. Learn how to do 30 minutes of excerise by yourself (no workout app) and with minimal equipment (we have a workout app and two 6 kg dumbells but not sure what you might get).

2. Food - learn how to cook regular, simple stuff and make it taste good with spices. Rice, chicken, noodles, ground beef and chicken Alfredo sauce are all great starting places.

3. Learn how to sew a button and iron, and practice it before. I knew how to but didn't practice much so it took a little longer to figure it out again and time is quite valuable. Also tip: the less pleats in your clothes the easier it is to iron =)

4. Learn to shower and get ready for bed or get ready for the day as fast as possible. One hour goes by quick for food, getting ready and  (which is the only time you really have to get stuff done like sewing or ironing, besides Día de Preparación ). Often you need this time for doing stuff like filling out paperwork or projects like sewing or fixing something up and you want to make sure to be quick with the things that don't need to take much time.

5. Learn how to do object lessons for FHE/teaching. Look under Gospel Library and search "FHE Object Lessons" and the New Era has quite a few ideas. Try some out, figure out which you like or could do easily =) something I would like to do better but don't have much time to try out or even see which could be worthwhile.

6. Learn to study the scriptures and not just read them. Study them with the intent of sharing what you are learning, how would this scripture apply to me? But also how would this scripture apply to someone... who had a loved one died? Who is burdened by three jobs? Who is struggling with family member relationships? 
20-30 minutes is a great starting place to get some great studies in. And if you want (this helps me), start your study with a question. And pray before studying that you can find the answer to the question. And I know if you do this you can have a testimony that God answers prayers. And thank God for the insights He does give you. It's harder for me to study when I don't have much of a purpose to study, so I ask wrestling and look for the answer.

7. Learn to be teachable (willing to take advice from others). This one was difficult (still is) for me. To ask what you could do better and opening up to your companion can be difficult (especially when their feedback comes out a little too harshly). Look to recognize that they are telling you out of love or concern and that because you have weakness it isn't a bad thing. Just another opportunity to serve and do better. So (Nathaniel) ask for feedback from mom, dad, and Olivia often and see what you can do to help them more. Mom, how can I serve you better? What more can I do to help? And be willing to listen and do what they ask, not fighting it or getting defensive.

8. Learn/ be familiar with Preach my Gospel. Read it once through (you dont have to do all the activities) and even though you won't understand it all, understand the purpose of each chapter and be familiar with the basic principles.

9. Do missionary work. Probably the best way to prepare. Go on splits with the Elders (maybe 3-4 times a month?). Ask the elders questions (some will do a good job at answering and others ...not so much), but if you keep asking questions you will get them answered by someone =) Going on splits helped me realize that missionary work is just like doing home teaching and helped we understand the missionary life better. Also, find ways to share the Gospel. Doesn't have to be big but just inviting a friend over to come eat when the missionaries are coming. Or inviting a friend to go to an activity with you or to church or to seminary. Some say yes and some say no. But the answer is always no if you never ask =) 

Also, get really good at teaching the lessons in chapter 3 of Preach my Gospel. First start with the restoration. Do your best to be able to teach it in 1-2 mins. Practice with mom and dad. At first it may seem really hard but it doesn't need to be, you don't need to explain the whole restoration in detail with everything you know. Explain it simply and powerfully, that way when someone asks a question you have an answer. And then do the same with Plan of Salvation. And keep going. =)

10. Remember that it probably isn't possible to do all of these before going out but the more that you do the better prepared you will be. Pick the ones that you think will help you the most. In my opinion 6, 7, and 9 will get you the most prepared spiritually. The other ones are great but you will figure them out if you don't get to them. You do have two years to develop these skills =) and you won't likely ever be perfect at them, so keep trying to develop them and get better. Getting better each day is all that Heavenly Father asks of us.

11. And to add a little more purpose to life, set goals that you are willing to achieve for doing these goals (ie. By next Friday I will invite a friend to seminary, by this day I will invite a friend to eat dinner at my house on the 23th of Nov., whatever you want to accomplish, set a goal and stick to it, put it somewhere in the open that will remind you of your goal, and review it often).

Elder Openshaw

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Pictures - October 17 & 24, 2016

October 24, 2016


A ton has happened this past week.

Last P-day we went bowling with some members and that was quite fun, I wrote my emails that whole time and tried to send them before running out of time, it was a little rushed =)

Tuesday, we went to a pueblo called Mieres and took the bus 30 mins South to get there. We tried so many ways to find people and we learned a ton. We knocked doors in the mountains, ring bells to the pisos only to have angry old people wonder what we were doing, contacting in the street and contacting in the park around the center of the small town. We gave out 5 Libros de Mormon (usually give 2 ish in a day but we are running out quick). And we found some amazing people. 

The people in Mieres are more friendly. when we say hi in the street they say hi and smile back (in Oviedo, it's a little different, more little Boston where they aren't quite as friendly in the streets until you get to know them). 

My favorite experience was finding a Chinese family in the mountains. The security system was a little intimidating but I said what the heck and rang the bell =) And we are going to teach their whole family =) we gave them the Book of Mormon and they said "my kids can read this" and asked for a Chinese one. It was really cool. 

And a funny thing that happened when knocking doors in the mountains was this.... a woman was walking a horse by us and Elder Cabot mentioned how cool horses were. And she said "you don't have horses?". Hahaha it was great.

We had our weekly district meeting the next day and after we usually go to Domino's pizza. And that day we had a lesson with a woman from Dominican Republic who was baptized years ago in her youth! Her family isn't members but they are such a great family. We found her on the way home last week when Elder Cabot said, looking across the street, we need to talk to her. And she greeted us with "Elders!". It was so cool.

We also went to Mieres on Saturday after fútbol  (which a lot more people showed up which was nice). We went to a members home and gave a little service and helped commit to strengthening the branch. They have a dog that is probably the biggest dog I have petted. We call him Scooby =) he is past eye level when he jumps up haha.
Sunday I taught priesthood which went well, I'm glad teaching skills stay the same when you change languages. It was only the language barrier holding me back =).

I've seen my Spanish improving so much. I can feel emotions and understand some jokes now which is nice. I understand fairly well but I don't catch the details well.

I was reading a talk from Oct. 2001 - Elder Maxwell - 7TH Commandment, A shield. I learned quite a few cool things. I enjoyed how he talks about starving the natural man in order to get rid of him. If we "give the natural man what he wants he insists on getting his ticket punched at every stop on the temptation train." I just really liked that analogy because it is exactly how Satan works on us.

I have learned this week that God works in His own time, He has eternal perspective. We don't receive blessings right away like doing something and in response expecting blessings with the speed of a text message. It doesn't work that way. He must trust us.

Also I learned this...the successful do what works, then they do what they want. The poor do what they want whenever they want. (Thinking studying for a test to get a great grade vs. Watching TV because you don't want to study, etc). We have to turn to Christ and ask for help in order to become more like Him, just putting in more work won't get us to where He wants us to be.

Have a great week!
Elder Openshaw

Monday, October 17, 2016

October 17, 2016


This week has been kind of crazy but a good crazy for the most part =)

We have had some miracles this week. 
We have been trying really hard to find more people to teach and to help without much success. But this week it all came together for us. 

Tuesday we found a man who we had seen 3 days in a row. I decided to talk with him and he asked us if we could teach him something and asked about what we do. He's a college student. To get to him I had to awkwardly go backwards about 15 meters to where he was waiting from the bus but it worked out =).

I have been blessed with a stronger resolution to help this work along. I truly saw God's hand in our lives this week. When we have faith and expect miracles in the work, we can see miracles. Expect none, get none. 

Thursday we had a zone conference where all the missionaries in the area (in Leon District in this case) get together for a meeting. I wasn't sure if it would be worth it but it was. It changed my whole mindset. In only 15 minutes.The zone leaders prepared an activity where we would go in different companionship than our usual ones and give out 2 Books of Mormon before the end of 15 minutes. The week before all I had given out myself was a couple books of Mormon and mostly pass-along cards. But in 15 minutes we were to find 2 people to give the Book of Mormon to? I wanted to believe but I wasn't sure. But I acted in faith. And it changed everything. Not only did me and my companion (from Battle Creek, MI) give out 2 books we also got some solid references. My companion and I got another 7 references that day because after the meeting we expected miracles.
Expect miracles, get miracles.
Expect none, get none.

Miracle #2. I have gotten to use every word I learned in the MTC in different languages. I have used Russian (which I know the most little phrases) and French this past week. We found a Russian man who spoke little English and it was cool to make a connection with him in his native language.

I'm doing way better with the language.
Heavenly Father is helping with this work. 
I see every Sunday my Spanish getting better because I can understand people's better and get more details out of what they are saying. I'm at the point where I can speak what I want to say but not usually how I want to say it. But it's getting there.

Also, sorry no pictures this week. I didn't have time to upload them. The computers here at the chapel are a bit on the prehistoric side of things. But the pictures will be great. For the zone activity, we went to the Christus statue at the top of the mountain. You can't tell from the pictures but that was the steepest road and paths I have ever climbed. It was a bit dangerous going up. And it started to pour so you can imagine how it was going down haha. And at the level of the statue we were in the clouds. It was weird to be in the clouds as it was raining haha. And it was a bit cold because I only wore a t-shirt and shorts. But I'm learning to expect everything could happen =).

I took a picture of the town sign. Someone changed the "Oviedo" to the native language way of saying it here in this part of Asturias. Every region has their own dialect which is cool.
Until next week!

Elder Openshaw

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pictures - October 10, 2016

View from Randy's Piso (apartment)

October 10, 2016

Hi all!

I left the CCM on Tuesday. It was a regular day of study and then we headed over to the stake center [church building]. President Pack and Sister Pack took us to a nice view of the city of Madrid and gave a devotional. And then we went to the mission home and had a great meal. I forgot my journal at the Piso so it's a little difficult to remember all that I have learned.

One of the Assistants to the President is from Nashua Stake [Nashua New Hampshire area] - Sam Gustafson who I remembered from youth conference 5 years ago. And I met a Sister Larson who James Gebler knows too.

I enjoyed my time in the CCM [Missionary Training Center]. It has been quite different to adjust to the field but it is good. Lots of studying and then we get to go outside proselyting which is one of my favorite things to do because I get to share what I love with other people while also helping them understand how much we care about them. We want what's best for them but they don't always know that.

A little bit about culture. Everything here is fun sized. Garbage bags, mops, etc. The water actually comes out of the faucet in the kitchen sink way better than at home in the USA. There just isn't any air bubbles in it.

I've learned that I can survive on the meals that I cook haha.

I'm in Oviedo which is a cool little city. It's one of the cleanest cities in Spain if not Europe from what I've heard.

The adjustment is a little different but good coming from the MTC. No more having people prepare all my food. 

We have one investigator that we are working with who is super cool. I had my first lesson with her. If you can imagine listening to the scriptures or the radio in Spanish and then put it on 3x or 4x that is how fast she speaks. Even the Spaniards here have a difficult time understanding her at times because she speaks so fast. That was my first lesson, and I understood next to nothing haha. With other people I understand mostly what they are saying but don't always catch the details. But I'm working through it. Our branch [church congregation] here has about 40 people who attend. I sent a picture of the sign (next week I will hopefully have more pictures of the area), the church looks like a store front and just blends right in.

The cereals taste great and there is some really good granola. I'm starting to get a little chubby from the food haha. Yesterday we ate at a members home and they cooked an Ecuador style meal (very close to the same meals we ate in Peru). I'm enjoying myself and am safe =) The pisos (apartments) are super nice and the last companionship kept ours quite clean.

Last Saturday we played soccer which was nice. Not many showed up but there were some niños who played with us (probably all around 5-9 years old). They already had better footwork and teamwork than my varsity team in Ashland, they were insanely good and some times they would kick the ball so hard I would wonder how someone that small and young could kick so hard haha.

And we teach an English class which is cool. One of the kids asked me to go over the verb "to be" and I wasn't sure if I could teach that. But I figured it out pretty quickly.

Elder Openshaw

Monday, October 3, 2016

Spain Madrid Mission Map

Mission is highlighted at the top of the map and also includes the Canary Islands to the southwest

October 3, 2016 - Leaving the MTC (CCM) to the Mission Field

[A quick note on a very busy day as he packs his bags and prepares to depart the Madrid Spain MTC (CCM) and heads out to the mission field. We don't know where is first assignment is, but we will keep you posted]

Gracias por the packages [ is a blessing]

I have 10mins now to email you to say I'm walking across the temple grounds to the stake center in the morning. One Elder is going to the Canary Islands. Not sure who. I feel I'm staying close to Madrid but I'm preparing for anything.

And I'm learning a lot and my mistakes make for funny stories.
Elder Openshaw

Pictures - September 29, 2016

September 29, 2016

Hi everyone!

This week has been pretty eventful but also it has been pretty similar to the last 5 weeks. Last Thursday we got to play soccer and I have some great pictures from that game. I also have learned a lot of vocab as everyday I made a goal for 50 words and hit 101 on one of the days! I also got my luggage fixed! I may not have explained fully but the handle was completely disconnected and the wheel fell off. But thankfully the mechanic here in the CCM fixed it and saved me the $300 for a new one. =) The wheels will fall off from the wieght before the structure of that suitcase breaks again.

We have been attempting to speak only in spanish now, it has been a difficult transistion but I have learned a lot of new words.

This Saturday in the park I was with a Native Ukranian. He knows pretty good English so that was good, we actually ended up talking a lot in English and sometimes I would have to translate some words. But he had the faith that we would find Russians and so did I. There are not very many Russians but they are out there. 

This week we found  3 Russian Speakers. 2 were native Ukranians too! And one was a Spaniard who had learned Russian. It was insane. We found the native because I spoke Spanish and they kind of ingored me. And my comanion heard them speak Russian to each other and he hopped in the conversation. Elder Sol´Loviov taught the natives the Resturation and right when he finished it was their stop. And I got to teach the First Vision from memory to someone on the Metro which was really cool but I havent reviewed it entirely in a while. But I have definately picked up some common Russian words that the Elders always say. 

Sunday I got to meet President and Sister Pack and their kids. They are great loving people. President Pack kind of reminds me of Elder Bednar in the way he speaks. Sister Pack makes great cookies too =)

This week we´ve had some great lessons too. Ive been trying to learn how to give more engaging lessons and my friend Elder Bristol showed me a pretty awesome one that we tried out yesterday that was great which involved drawing the straight and narrow way and the wide gate that leads to destruction. It is perfect for helping people understand what they need to do to progress.

I have learned a lot of valuable lessons this week. 
I have always felt that I struggled to feel the spirit. But that hasn´t been the case. I realized that this week when I was in a testimony meeting. I was writting down lots of things on how I could improve, things I wouldnt have thought of myself. And I didnt think I was feeling the Spirit of that meeting, but I was because I was recieving revelation on what to do better. I struggle to recognize the Spirit not to feel it. And sometimes I worry to much about feeling the spirit that I drive it away worrying about it. I have to be more patient with myself and realize that when I am doing my best God will help me and guide me when I ask for it in faith. 

I´ve also learned that when the Spirit comes, just act on it. Even when it seems wierd. Just act on it. Because there is a reason and you could be changing someones life for the better. And dont worry if it is your own thought or from the Spirit, if it is good, act on it. We may never know the differences we make in this life but we will know later. 

Love you all!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Pictures - September 22, 2016

September 22, 2016

Hi Family!

This week has been kind of crazy. Lots of the same stuff as I'm now used to life in the CCM. But a lot of growing experiences. 

Before I forget...Some words of wisdom I have learned that I may or may not have shared yet...

A bad experience is still experience.

Apparently a croissant with lettuce, egg and asparagus makes the table for breakfast (gross!). I suggest pulling out the asparagus. The food is great. I love unlimited Nutella and whipped cream because we can eat that with every meal (the only time its free for the rest of my life haha).

Romans 15:24 - the apostle Paul was in Spain.

Faith is the Power
Obedience is the Price
Love is the Motive
Spirit is the Key
Christ is the Reason

To Him, our direction is more important than our speed.

From David O McKay: It is greater to be trusted than to be loved.

The Savior´s atonement covers everything unfair in life. Everything.

When you start getting down on yourself or down in general, turn outward and serve others. I have definitely seen this one work in my life this week with my back. My back hurts when I think to hard about it but when I turn outward and serve others and strengthen them, God strengthens me that my back doesn't hurt nearly as bad (and of course I must do my part and do the exercises).

I definitely have seen the hand of God in my life this week. When we went to the Park I was with Elder Dargon, I kind of shy Elder from Florida. But when he got a prompting he acted. And he knows Spanish really well which is great. He understands better than I do but for some reason I was able to talk more. He would feel prompted to talk to a family and I would think to myself like´- I'm kind of scared to do that but I will open my mouth. And so I did and we were blessed. We talked to some great Christian family (older couple) who loved the church as fellow Christians and had taken the discussions. I didn't think I could ask more questions and testify more in Spanish but I was able to do that in the park. Also Another man was walking by us, told us we didn't believe in Christ or the Bible and so we testified of both. He asked where our Bible was and of course neither of us had one but Elder Dargon had a Book of Mormon in his hand. The man had a large textbook in his hand and we knew he liked to read. He looked at the Book, took it and started walking away after we told him it was free. I made him give me his word he would read it and it said yes. And he just walked away without yelling at us in Spanish anymore. It was a quick 2 minute interaction. It was quite comical.

This week we got Italians and native Russians and north Americans learning Russian. I've picked up quite a few Russian words. I have the accent down for Italian but the words are too close to Spanish it can get a little difficult. So I just speak Spanish too them. Until the other native Americans came we didn't have a link between the languages except for very broken English. But it is okay now =)

Yesterday I was able to learn a 101 words. This week God told me I wasn't working hard enough in the language. We have switched over to only Spanish but that can be difficult especially when not everyone keeps it.  But my goal has been 50 words a day and that has been achieved every day. Yesterday I doubled it. Its great.

We had a wonderful TRC Lesson this Saturday. It was so powerful. TRC is when you teach real life situations but only have 20 mins and only the one lesson. Its all or nothing. Some missionaries hate them but I love them for how much I feel the spirit.

A cool story with the week was in the Book Of Mormon. Its in Alma 4 (maybe?) when the Nephites had to come to battle against the Lamanites who were described as numerous as the sands of the sea. I can imagine coming over a hill and looking down, seeing these blood thirsty, angry people - with a crazy look in their eyes- all ready to kill you because of your beliefs. And they trusted in the Lord and fought. They had on Breastplates and shield while in Lamanites only a loincloth. And the Nephites were delivered only by the hand of God. It reminded me that we need to do everything we can to prepare and then go to battle. We cant walk out to battle with a loincloth and expect miracles if we haven't prepared. We have to seek out the best protection and weapons before hand and then rely on the Lord. That was a pretty strong lesson this week, especially because of my back.

Sorry I'm all over the place this morning. Not a ton happened but it will be exciting to see what happens this next week =)

Editors Note:
Randy will know on Sunday, September 25th where he will serve for his first mission assignment. He will leave the MTC or CCM on Tuesday, October 4th to go to this first assigned area. Can't wait to hear!