Thursday, October 27, 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 Mieresafter 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.
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!
Monday, 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.
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.
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 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 everymy 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!
Sunday, October 16, 2016
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.
Monday, October 3, 2016
[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 [amazon.es 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.
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!