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!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pictures - September 1, 2016

September 15, 2016

I hope all is well. I hope dad and Olivia had a very happy BIRTHDAY! This past week has been quite eventful. The Portuguese, Russian and French missionaries left this Tuesday. We got native Italians, Russians and one Portuguese native now. It's fun but the only common link language is broken English. Sometimes Spanish is better understood.

When I went to the park this week I was with Elder Duersch. His father died about 3 years ago I think. President Packer felt today that at the park everyone would feel the presence of angels (D&C 84 88) on our right and our left bearing us up. And Elder Duersch and I felt the presence of our loved ones. I believe Uncle Randy was in the metro and the park with us that day. I felt the spirit strongly and although it didn't guide me where to go as much as it had the times before we acted in faith and found the people we needed to. Every time Elder Duersch bore his Testimony of how much God loved each person they had tears in their eyes. It was so cool. Every time we stopped we felt such a strong peace come over us.

Towards the end of our park experience Elder Duersch felt strongly about giving thanks to God for the loving, friendly people we got to meet. Before we started that prayer I felt strongly that a sister needed to talk to a lady with groceries at the end of a bench in the metro about 100 yards away. So I asked a sister from my district to do so (it was Hermana Ober and her companion was Hermana Black) and they said she was super prepared to hear the Gosepl. I'm glad for their faith to act on my prompting. And mom, Hermana Blacks mom says hi.

My Walmart watch is destroyed. I tried to be an engineer and fix it but right now it is on like it's 9th life. I need to send a picture. The strap came off so we (I've had some help, it's been a group effort) sewed the strap back on. Then the metal bar came off. I found put of a nail on the ground and ended up cutting that with a Leatherman and sewing it to that piece which worked pretty well. And then I found a pin to go across it and that has worked the best because it actually fit the holes. But now I'm losing hope for it haha. Oh and the back light broke and come back on for a couple times but it's broken again. It's been an adventure. I'm borrowing someone's watch now haha. But this adventure gave me faith I can fix my luggage! If I had the right tools it would be an easy fix but we shall see what I can do. [He wanted to take a cheap watch so he wouldn't get mugged for his nice one, the valuable life lesson's of a mission].

This week my companion also felt strongly that we needed to try the companion study in the back of chapter 6. Our companion studies had been solely planning lessons up to this point or additional personal study. Never had we done one together really. But when we prayed before starting I felt the spirit the most I had in probably three days. It just hit me. And I read the things I needed to hear. Afterwards we had a great discussion. Elder Haines found in D&C 58:26-28 that we have the power within ourselves to do great things. It is within ourselves that we have the power to grow and learn Spanish but we need to call on God so we can exercise that power. And we found in Moroni 9 6 a gem. You need to read it. Talks about having a work to do in this tabernacle of clay... which the CCM [MTC in Spanish] is covered in brick. It changed my view of the work here and I realized I need to keep in mind that we are training to fight against the enemy of all righteousness, that we are using our Spanish skills for good things.

Up until that point I struggled with the pains in my back. I have some exercises I'm doing now and it is feeling quite a bit better. Not perfect but the more I focus on the work the less I feel those pains. The other night I prayed because it was hurting me a lot. I asked if I could be strengthened and if God was still going to keep His promise that my back would not interfere with my service. And I have verse 3 of How Firm A Foundation come into my mind : " 3.Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand "

Those were the exact words I needed. And then God told me that I needed to stopped worrying, that if I forget about myself in the work, He will bless me with the miracles that I need. I know He is watching over me and my family and friends also. The peace and comfort from the Spirit is so amazing. I know God cares about all of His children and loves each of us so personally and so much.

I thought about Olivia on her birthday and Dad on his. On Olivia's birthday I was reminded of how much she helped shape my Testimony.

Also, I had a really uncomfortable feeling yesterday  (Sept 14). And others had the feeling too. Was there something really bad that happened in the world that we missed? It was weird to feel so off. Not sure what the cause was. [Not sure if there was something missed in the news, but there was a Real Madrid soccer game not far from them]

I hope Thaniel has a great b-day! 
Love you all so much!
Elder Openshaw

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pictures - September 8, 2016

September 8, 2016

I have gotten a little better at spelling.

What do you want to know about Madrid and my mission? I forget what I haven't told you yet.
I've loved having the Russian, Portuguese and French missionaries here. It's great to pick up little bits of language here and there. It makes soccer a whole lot more fun too.

Today we went to Puerta del Sol. Really cool. It's like a mini times square but in the 1500s. Check for my pictures, I got them uploaded today.

It's amazing to me how gentle, but powerful the Spirit can be. I have had so many promptings that I wasn't sure if there were just my thoughts or not but they were good things so I have acted on them. One night before bed I felt the need to tell two of our sisters to hold a Testimony meeting in their room before bed. I didn't know at the time, it felt really awkward to ask them to do it, but it was a prompting so I acted on it. The next morning was fast Sunday and someone bore their Testimony of how an Elder Openshaw told the sisters in their room to hold a Testimony meeting. And it was just what they needed because they felt prompted to share earlier in the day but didn't take the chance and don't get another chance until that night. It was such a gentle prompting but I could not deny it was there.

Also, thank you for your prayers. They have definitely been felt. I pray for you every night too. My back has been hurting quite a bit because I took a nice spill in soccer that shifted my hip the way it usually goes and now my back is out. Heavenly Father told me he would provide and that I needed to stop worrying about it and start helping the other Elders more. I guess that's what happens when you are more in tune with the spirit, you get more frank, clear conversation.

When I went to the Parque del Retiro this past Saturday I didn't have as much success with the language but still a great day. I was with another Russian bound Elder from Utah, Elder Anderson my zone leader. Great, powerful elder. That was his first day without being threatened at the park haha so it was a good day. I learned a lot from him. I learned that often one Elder will receive a promoting of where to go or what to do and that the other Elder must exercise faith to follow that prompting. We sing in the park after prozeletying and Elder Anderson and I were in charge of contacting people who stopped to listen. It was a great experience. Both times I have been with one of the Russian elders. And this past week, actually that morning 4 of the 8 Russian st. Petersburg bound elders had their missions changed to the Baltic states. And both elders in was at the park with were 2 of those 4. They were meant to come to the Madrid Spain CCM. Only their Russian district got sent here from the Provo MTC.  Not many times does that happen. They were here 6 weeks and before here Provo for 3.

My patience has been tested with the Spanish language and my patience tested in general. I have learned that in order to feel closer to God and his guidance I have need to stop being so hard on myself and really focus on helping lift up others. It's been great to be able to serve others. The other missionaries have strengthened my Testimony so much. It's amazing how many people don't know anything about the church out here in Spain. I love it. and they need it. 

The signature move of the Spaniards is the finger wag. I had to use that on some gypsies in the puerta del sol and the gypsies were so aggressive it didn't mean much haha. We went to the official real Madrid store, the Apple store, other cool places. Too bad most of my favorite soccer players are on Barca. And I'm trying to remember to take pictures with me in them, I got some awkward selfies at the end for you haha. 

The temple here is beautiful. It is very well lit up and so in the morning before the sun is up it is gorgeous.

I am having so many great experiences, the food is great, their are nice cars here which I have missed (we saw a jaguar today).

I love you all and miss YOU! 
I hope you are doing well. 

Elder Openshaw

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Randy Made it to Madrid - August 23, 2016

I made it to Spain! I traveled with three other missionaries once I got to Paris. I didn't see the Eiffel Tower but I did get to eat a croissant at Paul which Rachel recommended to me. hay muchos elders de Portugal so I haven't understood much since I left the USA. The Portuguese elders were here today and were picked up with us. 

The lady on my plane to Paris took my pillow haha. excuse my punctuation because this laptop computer is difficult to type on. <in the MTC we had yogurt de mango y maycauya.

September 1, 2016

Excuse my spelling. It's a little stressful to only have an hour to respond so I will not spend time spelling as well. 

When I came I was very well prepared in Spanish. Most of the CCM [Missionary Training Center, in Spanish] is spoken in English but I have been able to translate for other missionaries and teachers. We play soccer a lot. There is a pit we go to the has a bunch of graffiti and broken glass from beer bottles. We just kick the glass aside and play. 

My back has been giving me some trouble but after I got a blessing I am doing a lot better. My first companion is great. He is 22 and is from Houston Texas. Elder Haines, he is very insightful. 

Dad, I saw the person from Madison that you wanted me to see in the temple [Brother Gilgan]. The temple was very spiritual. 

The MTC President Packer is soo loving. Such a great man.

The days are long and yet go by so fast. The food here is really good. We have very authentic Spanish food in the MTC. By Saturday we proselyted in the Parque de Retiro. I was with a Russian bound Elder Eardley. I was scared to contact real people. But the Lord was on our side. I had a 20 min conversation with People from Brazil in Portuguese and they understood my Spanish and me their Portuguese. I don't know how. When coming back to the MTC me and Elder Eardley felt strongly about talking to a lady. By the end of talking to her she had tears and goose bumps because she knew our message was true. It was really cool. I had a strong feeling that she will be baptized. My Spanish is getting a lot better. But when at the park it was very inadequate. But we still were able to get our point across. Elder Eardley only knew very little Spanish but he also wasn't afraid to walk up to talk to people.

Sunday I found Faustinano Lopez and Consuelo Lopez who I was asked to find by Sister Lewis who was serving in Grandville Branch (can you find an email for her?). Sister Lewis was one of the sisters who baptized Consuelo 40 years ago and Consuelo had heard nothing from them, so it was a blessing.

Today we went to a Museo, it was pretty big. 
I have 6 elders I room with. It is totally inspired. The 2nd night I got to give one a blessing. He was very homesick but is doing well. There are native French, Portuguese elders as well as native French sisters. Russian bound Americans.

I was called as a District Leader and that has been going well. I will serve as a DL the next 2 weeks and then we will see. I have been picking up bits of the other languages as I go and can have a simple conversation in French and like 5 words in Russian haha. And Portuguese is  little easier to understand.

There was a talk by Elder Bednar about Christ like attributes. Turning outward instead of inward when things get difficult. Think of Christ when he was going through his hardest times. Natural man is to turn inward in tough times. I challenge you to all turn outward, to love and serve others when things get hard and have the pleasure of helping someone who is struggling more than yourself.

My photos haven't uploaded and it's been an hour....[we will add to blog when we get them]
I love you family! I hope you are all doing WELL! It has been so great to feeling the gentle prompting of the spirit. I forget how gentle the prompting are. Thaniel and Olivia, good luck with school starting up. Love you! I hope Gizmo misses me haha 😀😁
Elder Openshaw