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