Saturday, November 25, 2017

November 22 ~ Transfer 11 Week 5

Happy thanksgiving!

So this week I realized just how quickly the time is flying by while here in Spain...two years goes by fast! 

So it's been about a week and a half since the last time I could write but here's the update:

On last Monday we went to Sol, the center of Madrid and checked out the cool places there. We found the oldest standing restaurant in Europe. We also found an American store and stocked up on A&W cream soda, (almost grabbed Jones soda but I put it back haha), hot tamales, pop tarts, marshmallow fluff from Boston, sweet tarts, Pringles, Snyder pretzels, Mac & cheese, nerds, nerd rope, Reeses, syrup. Just some really really good stuff. I say stocked up but we really didn't haha.

Ya so...i don't really remember much of what has happened since I last wrote. I'm trying to remember the good stuff...

This week we bought christmas lights to make the Light the World poster more attractive. It looks really really good at night and people love coming up to it to see what It is. It was such an engineer designed project. It was hilarious trying to do the math and measure where all the lights go because it took way too long to do the mental math than it should have. But it worked out really really well.

As for the missionary work we don't have many new people we are working with. Things have been quite slow. Lets just say that of our 3 friends we are working with, none of them have been able to meet with us for this past month. But we have been working a lot with the members and trying to help them to get excited about doing the Christmas initiative! I'll explain more next week. And I'll probably post something to Facebook about it this week.

He of my favorite lessons this week was with the new assistant to the ward mission leader. He is a boss. We went to family's home and had a family home evening with them. We assigned him the lesson and we followed up but he already had everything prepared. He taught it really well and prepared really really well for it. He was the key to helping the family out tonight. They really were touched by the message. It seems like we are making progress with them.

Also at church I found a missionary of Grandpa Openshaw's! He was the office secretary.

Monday, we tried to organize a soccer game in the afternoon but it didn't work out so well. We invited 16-18 people and only 1 showed up. And 30mins late hahahaha. We also tried to invite Eduardo (Elder Snyder's family friend) but we told him not to come because literally no one was there. So Elder Snyder and I kicked the ball around a bit waiting for the people to come who confirmed with us - we made the best of the situation. When our friend did show up we played a quick game with him and teach him a bit, follow up on what we've been talking to him about.

Yesterday I made arepas for the first time haha and they turned out pretty good. I know most of you have no clue what arepas are but they are like fried corn tortillas more or less.

And today we went to the temple and that was much needed. And then afterwards we playing football and soccer. It was quite fun. Well I'm sorry this is kind of a boring email this week haha. Have a great week and enjoy your thanksgiving!

Elder Openshaw 

1)a sign in the metro - the top part translates to "don't let anyone take your stuff" but they translated it to "don't get groped". #fail
2)the light the world poster!
3)the Guinness world record restaurant 
4)the American food we got our hands on haha

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

November 13, 2017 ~ Transfer 11 Week 4

Here's a not so quick update haha:

Hi all!

So this week was pretty eventful.

We went to Alcala de Hernares, the land of Don Quixote (or at least Miguel Cervantes the author). We went out there on a whim and none of the other missionaries happened to be there so we called up Davis's (the senior couple). They had just gotten out of working for the day and Elder Davis offered to show us around. He took us on a nice little tour and we saw more stuff than we would have just wondering around aimlessly on our own. We were very thankful. Pretty cool little place.

Then Pday ends and we have a great lesson with the Oliva family for a Noche de Hogar. We waited for the mom to get home so Luis (the 6 year-old) brought out nerf guns and we had a little Nerf war while the dog ran around eating all the bullets hahaha. So the wife gets there, we eat and we share a quick message about how we need to have faith (we used a can of food and slammed it on elder Snyder's finger - really hard - and he didn't feel anything, it's a cool lesson). They were pretty impressed and wondered if it really didn't hurt Elder Snyder hahaha.

Intercambios/exchanges with the zone leaders. It went well.
We had a lesson with Helen and she moved here from Africa (the zone leaders are teaching her). We did the lesson in mostly English. Her English sometimes was very hard for me to understand haha. But basically we went to her bar and it's this little walk-in bar, no lights on. It looks like there just never is any business. And we go to the back and have our lesson at some tables. Her two kids were there and were super excited about the lesson and the teachings. The lesson went well and I felt the spirit testify to me of the love that God has for each of his children. Helen is awesome, she has known missionaries for about 17 years (we don't think she was ever taught) and she always refers people to the church and some people have actually went to church from her referrals and invitations. What a boss.

And then Elder Waters and I put up English class posters on the telephone poles. Apparently it actually works! We had one guy chase us down and say (in spanish) "are you the guys who teach English class?, what time is it at, I'm interested." It was pretty cool to see that we were doing something that people actually noticed (because many times it feels like what we do just gets ignored).

Wednesday/Thursday: for the sake of time I'm not going to explain these days because they were fairly normal.

Friday: we had zone conference! We talked about the Christmas initiative we are going to do and we watched the new Christmas video. And we also talked about working better with the members and helping them out more. It was a great conference. I had to miss part of it to do my residency which was pretty sad but the part I was there for was really really good. haha it's hard  to explain what I learned.

Saturday: it was the baptism of Keyla! (An investagator of the hermanas). The baptism went really really well but it let you know the opposition that we went through before, here's what I wrote in my journal:
Then we went to set up for the baptism of Keyla. Basically we had to clean the font out and then fill it up. Thing is we went to go practice a musical number and while we practiced the font we thought well...we can't really unplug it because we would have to enter with missionary clothes on. Next option? Using buckets. We used huge buckets and spooning out the water until it was at a good height. We had a fire line of buckets going to the bathroom where I dumped the water down the toilet. I missed the toilet twice and that made a mini flood haha. And then as I tried to take one bucket, I didn't pick it up enough and it tipped and ran all down my legs and the stairs. It was chaos. But I was wearing my black suit so at least you couldn't tell that I was soaked. Haha

But after that everything went well. And everyone showed up at 6:30pm instead of 6pm when it was supposed to start haha.

Sunday: It was the primary program this week and so the little kids shared what they learned throughout the year in primary and sang a bunch of songs. Lots of kids running around and chaos but it was a normal primary program. The kids were so cute getting up to the mic and reading scriptures and what not.

Funny moments: basically everyday here in B4 I've gotten a spider web to the face while walking in the street. Like everyday. And I try to avoid areas that it might happen and I still happen to find one haha.

Alright, so bear with me because I know I didn't pick small quotes to share this week and I know this is already the length of an essay. I wanted to share some thoughts I had while studying the scriptures.  The following talks about Jesus Christ and how He was treated so terribly but yet because of Him comes everything that is good. Christ suffered for us so that we can return to live with Him and Heavenly Father forever. But He didn't suffer for us so that our lives could be easy, He suffered so that our lives could be possible. Without Him, we would have no hope, no second chances, no life. He is completely necessary. I know that if we will turn to Him in prayer that He can offer us the relief that we need. I know that because I have experienced it. And so I invite you to turn to God in prayer and ask for help and guidance in your life and I promise you will receive it.

(Christ - how he was treated)
Mosiah 14: 3-7
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth.

(Without Him we all would perish without any hope)
Mosiah 15:19 For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have perished.

(Because Christ overcame death, everyone will be resurrected again. Death has no sting)
Mosiah 16:7-9
7 And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.
8 But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
9 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.

If you have any questions about any of this I'm happy to answer them!

Love ya all! I hope you got something out of this.
Have an awesome week!
Elder Openshaw

November 6, 2017 ~ Transfer 11 Week 3

Hi all!

So this week was fairly normal. A lot of trying to get ahold of people to meet with and a lot of texts and calls that weren't returned haha. Oh well.  A lot of uncompleted thoughts but here you go =)

Some miracles this week:
We found Andres! (Sort of). We were looking for a dude named Andres that I lost. From Venezuela and got here recently. Well we were on the metro and we were trying to walk down to get a better spot and there were a ton of people in the way so we stayed where we were. And then we say down and started talking with Andres. He's not the same Andres from 2 weeks ago but he's from the same city in Venezuela as the other Andres. Our prayers were answered to find "Andres" but not quite the answer we were looking for hahaha. But how many days do you find a young man named Andres from the same place and has been here for the same amount of time and that it wasn't the same person. Not often.


After a lesson with some members we rushed over to Parque Berlin to meet with Maria Ines. Super cool experience. We were planning our lesson for her and we originally planned "How to begin teaching" and the restoration but we didn't feel right about it. So in the end we decided just to talk about Jesus and so we used 2 Nefi 2. We got there a bit late and we didn't see her there. We called her and no answer. Then we waited a bit longer and she showed up! And while talking with her she said, "I talked to my pastor and he said I could meet with you guys as long as you talk about Jesus". And we said perfect, that's the message we have for you today! And we started how to begin teaching and she brought up some questions/comments that were right there in 2 Nefi 2. And she even noticed and said, "there are no coincidences, God knew what I needed today". Here's one of my favorite scriptures out of that chapter:

2 nephi 2: 27" Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."
It really just explains how because of Christ, we have the opportunity to choose what we want. We can choose good or evil. Good choices lead us to more freedom and closer to our Heavenly Father, bad/evil choices lead us away from God and causes more and more misery/unhappiness.


We got to do serve this week! (Quite uncommon here). We were helping in a shelter that helps young moms in bad situations. So we were sorting diaper sizes and moving food around and it was super easy but it meant a lot to them. We actually didn't have anything to do that day so it was a blessing that we got the call inviting us to help go serve.


Also it's seems that everyone we talk to doesn't live in our area or they decide to move the week or two after we meet. We are still having a hard time finding more people to teach. Super frustrating but I guess we are just helping a lot of other areas find more friends to teach haha. Literally, 3-4 people have moved right after we started teaching them haha. And the rest have been super lazy or don't respond.

And a funny story or two:
After Pday we went to the Oliva family and we taught them OLA using the rice and golf balls. And we ate Peruvian food (the dish that has the name "gallina" in it, I can't remember right now). It was a ton of food. And then we had flan (and we were super full already). And my companion tried to suck it up in one go because they challenged him to it and I did the same and it was surprisingly easy haha. I got it on my first try slurping it whole haha.

When trying to get ahold of some friends some young men were daring each other to do things. And one got dared to come up to us and talk to us. He asked if we had seen any keys around on the ground (as if he had lost them). Hahaha. But..then we finish calling people and the young men are still hanging around the park so my companion asks tries the same thing on them and they all laughed. It was pretty funny. Also at that same park and during making the calls there was this pitbull that came and sat under my legs. And it was super calm until it saw another dog and then it would jolt out unexpectly and try to bite the other dogs hahaha. A little crazy. And then the owner would come running and cursing at it.

I learned a lot this week but a lot of it is hard to explain over email. But I know that God answers prayers and answers the questions we have. We just have to seek earnestly. During one of my studies I had a specific question and the answer I got was as specific as that question. Try it some time. Study and really think about the scriptures that you read. And ask questions. And I know that you can find the answers you seek.

Well, have a great week! Love you guys!

Elder Openshaw

October 30, 2017 ~ Transfer 11 Week 2

Hey all!

We had quite a few miracles and blessings that happened this week. For example:

From Monday: We headed back home from the park, and we were waiting for the metro. We were responding to a message sent from a set of missionaries earlier that day. And then we hop on the train and right in front of us on the same car and same train were these two elders. I hadn't seen them in about a year. How awesome. It was not a coincidence. For some reason we were supposed to find them. But we took them back to piso and one of the elders (who served here before) enjoyed remembering everything about the piso (he served here about a year ago).

Tuesday: This morning we went to the Registro civil (a government building) and thankfully this time they were open (huge blessing, we've passed by quite a few times) And the people at the security were really really nice! The lady asked if we were Jws and we said no, we are Mormons and she was commenting on how sharp we looked haha. We got the papers so that Angie (investagator) and Luis Angel can get married. So now they are super excited about get the process done! 

Wednesday: We went to talk to people in the ghetto called "la Uva" (the grape haha). It's a gypsy town and it's just trashed. We got some hard rejections and then we came across an old lady named Maria Jesus and she was super super nice and let us in. And so we gave her a Book of Mormon and talked about it a little bit. She told us a ton of stories. And then we tried to get her number to talk with her another time and it took probably 20 mins because she kept getting side tracked. And then she shows us all her sons' numbers as if we were able to get to know her sons better through their numbers hahaha. We found out that for one of the sons we already have his number! He is a future investagator (not sure how long along). But how many times do you go to the middle of-no-where and you find a random Spanish lady who let's you in and the missionaries have already talked with her son before...not by chance that's for sure. A miracle.

Thursday: we were talking with people near the airport and we say hi to this older lady and her grandson and she stops us. We find out she's from Honduras and has a relative that is serving a mission. She showed us where they live and invited us to come back one day. And we had lessons. That's a blessing.

Friday: background: last Friday I lost a number of a man that was super awesome. Basically I learned that you can't dial the number without service or it erases...super lame. I was ticked and sad at the same time. But this Friday we went at the same time on the same metro and the same stop and everything- expecting to find him. Nothing. But we did find a Dominican man who met with the missionaries about 2 years ago.  

Saturday: We ate Peruvian food with some members. Chicha morada, lomo saltado, papa a la huacuaina. Super good. Blesings.

Sunday: we had a noche de hogar (a bonding activity with friends and family) in hermana Maria's home. She made some morir soñando which is a Dominican drink with milk, ice, lemon & orange juice and tons of sugar. Really good. But we were able to get a good amount of friends there so that was a lot of fun. And it was good to help our friends get to know some of the members.

So all of those were a ton of blessings and miracles. Now for the funny parts:

We passed by a Dominican bar and we made friends with a DR dude named Monkey (his nickname). 

While talking with people in the street we found a dude who plays American football here in madrid! Quite cool! He plays for the team out of Coslada I think.

One of the funniest conversations was with a Peruvian on a bench. My companion told me to talk to him and so I went up to him. The conversation wasn't all that funny but as we were talking there was this really short Spaniard man who walked right by us and stuck his cane in the bush behind the bench. He pulls out a crate and a wooden fold up chair. And then he leaves haha. It was super wierd but funny =) like a little leprechaun. And to add to it I started the conversations by saying "Hey, where is the street...oh no...i forgot the name...oh no..." and then I asked him where he was from hahaha. It was great. I had no intention of asking the street name, I couldn't think of a way to start the conversation. And I found out he is from Peru and lives in our area! What a blessing.

In the metro a girl walks buy with a sign and a big smile that says: "regalo abrazos" (I give free hugs). I thought that was cool.

And then there is this young girl in the ward here named Cristina (not the real name) who is in love with my companion. She was sneaking pictures of him during lunch with her family and at the end when waiting for the elevator she comes out and takes a selfie with him. I tried to get in the picture but she angled it away from me hahaha.

And a quick thought:
These two scriptures I've really come to like this past week or so. This first one talks about God preparing His children to hear his word.

Alma 16: 16-17
16 And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming—
17 That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a branch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God.

Heavenly Father really does know his children and what they need. He prepares each of them to hear His guidance if they want it. I know that He can guide us today in whatever it is. Sometimes it's easy to think "wow, the prophets are so ancient how would they know anything I'm going through when they wrote the scriptures so long ago?". But I'm here to tell you that the prophets of the scriptures really did see our day. They wrote the scriptures for our benefit and enjoyment. They wrote to scriptures as the words of God because they were guided in what to write.

2 Nephi 4:15 And upon these I write the things of my soul, and many of the scriptures which are engraven upon the plates of brass. For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children. the scriptures so you can get the guide from Heavenly Father that you want in your life. =) I know it work. That if we read and pray, searching for our answers to even normal questions or questions we don't think have an application from the scriptures - that the answer will come. Sometimes it takes time. Sometimes the answers don't come how or when we want them. But they come.

Have a great week!

Elder Openshaw

1) turtles!
2) a wierd donut shaped thing
3) morir soñando - noche de hogar activity 
4) more morir soñando

Monday, October 23, 2017

October 23, 2017 ~ Transfer 11 Week 1

Hi all! (So I'm copying and pasting stuff from my journal and so I hope it all makes sense cognitively haha).

So transfers took a bit of time this past week. We basically didn't get a good sleep until Wednesday night because we had to get up early to go to Madrid and to help other missionaries get to their trains to Asturias.

So it all started walking up the huge hill in Lugo with my 80 kilos of stuff (I got rid of a bit of stuff but definitely not enough). It weighs as much as I do. By the time we got up the hill I was sweating a ton. And we got on the bus just fine. Woke up early, went to Madrid. Fairly simple. That first night we had two new missionaries in the area and so we had a little bit of time to go to the streets and talk to people. It was a little wierd because I had only been in my area for a total of 3 hours and had to act as if I knew where we were (and how to get home). We didn't get too lost haha.

Wednesday, a neighbour knocked on the door asking for help with getting a couch up the stairs (they live on the 3rd floor, we live on the 1st). We helped them move the couch when it arrived and a Romanian man was helping us (named Sebastian). We talked to him about the restoration when he gave us a chance and we gave him a Book of Mormon. He told us he would read it and was pretty thankful. He's looking for something else in his life.

Thursday: it's super cold outside! Okay not that bad but it's cold, and we somehow left the window cracked open last night when we thought it was closed.. kind of funny.

We finished studies and everything and we went out to go talk to people. We used our "prayer map" - we have 8 sections of our area numbered on a map and we prayed about where to go. We got 4 numbers today! It was amazing! I can do this =) I was super nervous going out to the street but my companion's energy and positivity really helped me out. He had me set the goal and I said we could find 3 people (and that was pushing my faith a ton).

Something we have been doing is called toasting...basically one of us says "toast, him/her" and then the other companion has to go talk to them. It makes it fun haha you never know when to expect it. Talking with people today gave me a ton of ánimo (encouragement). People actually listened and we were able to approach them quite normally. If we felt like we needed to talk to them, we did it.

And I met a guy with a Detroit Tigers tattoo on his neck, I got a kick out of that. From the Dominican republic.

Saturday: We taught Andres (an investagator) and set a plan with him to read, pray and come to church. At the start a whole family of 6 showed up (the brother's family who are members) and so I wasn't sure how things would turn out. But it went well. We got on our knees and prayed personally to know if the Book of Mormon was true. And Andres took a long time and he felt the spirit. He really wants to continue praying and has a good direction for what he wants. He explained that he wasn't done praying and that he want to continue praying more. Great desires.

Sunday: There was a man named Felix (Nigerian) who came to church and I'm pretty sure I tried calling him in B6 (an old area) to see if we could meet... haha but he failed us that day 4 months ago. And today he wouldn't give us his number either. Haha

Funny moments:
The hermanas called us to break into their piso because they were locked out. Literally they had their keys but it just wouldn't turn in the door. So we tried breaking in. And we spent 30-45mins with a coke bottle (cut out of course), a old visa gift card of mine and we couldn't get it to work. Then Moises comes and opens it in like 2 mins haha. The trick is you must push it all the way in and then pull it out one notch before turning it. We spent too long kicking and pulling at the door and trying to slip the plastic in the door.

It always sounds like people are in our house because the walls are thin and there is a bar underneath us. So we hear when our neighbours open up a drawer and we hear that we also have a neighbour who one day practices for 3 hours playing and singing the ukulele.

This week I've learned a lot but it's always hard to verbalize the lessons I have learned. Something I was thinking about is how "perfect love casteth out fear" ( 1 John 4:18). And then with some more thought I wondered "how do I really show others that I love/care about them?" I don't think there is a specific right answer but here are some thoughts.
-service is one way to show that you care, offer your help to others
-tell them verbally that you care and that you are there for them
-a hug doesn't hurt haha

Okay, not very extensive on the notes I wrote down but the bottom line is that if you really care, you need to show that you care by doing something. So if you really care about your family, do something about it. Send a kind note to a family member, grandparent, friend, etc. 
" And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17).

Have a great week and do something to show someone you care!
Elder Openshaw 

1)elder Snyder and I
2) metro selfies
3) a huge truck we found

Sunday, October 22, 2017

October 16, 2017 ~ Transfer 10 Week 6

Hi all!

I'm getting transferred to Barrio 4 which is in Madrid and is quite close to Barrio 6 where I served before. My companion is staying here in Lugo and he will be training a new missionary and will be the district leader. Right after his training haha =) he will do great.

This week was fairly normal besides the trip to Madrid on Monday and the fact that I am making that same exact trip today back to Madrid hahaha. Oh well. And the change took me by surprise but I'm excited to be able to serve in Barrio 4.

So this week after returning from Madrid we had a couple of good lessons with Isidoro and Jose, both who are progressing a ton. It's too bad I won't be around for Jose's baptism but at least elder Gil will be. And Isidoro is preparing for the temple and it would be cool if I could see him while he's there. I will just have to hope it all works out =)

Also this week the festivals were finishing and we had a really good week. We got to meet with a friend of Isidoro who is looking for something more in his life and so we are trying to help him out. He's super awesome and we started teaching him a bit, we shall see how it goes.

Also we did a bit of service for some members on their farm picking corn.  Super simple. Pick the corn cob, shuck it, and throw it in the bucket. Then we stomped over the corn plant to mark where we were/which ones were done.

I'm not really sure what to include this week. Basically a little sad I'm leaving but also excited for the change. I was so sure I was staying that I bought food this week haha so basically the new missionary will have a good amount of food.

-analogy - I was thinking to myself about how someone told us today that they don't have time to go to church. So I thought...if you have to cut (for example) a ton of tomatoes for a salad would you do something (sharpen the knife) that takes little time and that makes a huge difference? Of course. And would it be worth it if you cut the tomatoes and then sharpen the knife? Heck no. You would sharpen it and then cut them and the task would be more manageable. It's the same with prayer, scriptures and church. If we do these things (prayer, reading the scriptures and going to church) they will help us with the rest of life's chores. And if we don't make time for them and leave them for the end, what good will it do to have a sharp knife after cutting the tomatoes? (Besides the fact that next time you have a large task you will have a sharp knife). Basically, we need to continually be sharpening our "spiritual" knife/relationship with God.  

Also yesterday we got to watch a conference for all of Europe where one of the twelve apostles Elder Ballard talked. Heavenly Father knows His children. In all parts of the world. He gave a direct message but very loving about how the members in Europe need to not be scared of sharing the gospel with others. That they should pray for missionary opportunities. That the missionaries can't do this by themselves. And that if they don't do anything to strengthen those around them then they won't see the miracles. That we should believe in miracles and then they will come. I know that if you pray for opportunities to share the gospel with others you will receive an answer. I know this from experience, and it strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father hears our prayers. I know that God has called a prophet in today's day to guide His children just as prophets of old.

I love ya all and hope you have a wonderful week! Make it a great one!

Elder Openshaw 

1)cool taxidermy in a members home
2)Jose and I
3)eating at Kayla' s home
4) corn harvest haha
5) eating with charo and friends (this was a while ago)

October 9, 2017 ~ Transfer 10 Week 5

Hi all!

We saw miracles happen this week but we also had a ton of trials. I want to explain both so you can understand that the mission isn't all daisies and dandelions. But I probably will only have time to explain the miracles. Just understand that the miracles came because of the opposition that we faced (and my patience was being tested this week hahaha).

Okay. Im going to copying and paste a ton from my journal for this week...i hope it makes sense...

So overall this week was quite trying. We faced a lot of rejection. There is a festival here in Lugo for the next 2 weeks and so basically there are a ton of people out but not all are from here. But when we do get a conversation with someone we rock it because they have time to kill =) 

"This week (since Thursday) is the festival of San Froilán (the patron of Lugo) there is Tons of stuff going on! Tons of people in the street, street dancers, stands with lots of goods being sold, Africans with shoes, pirated movies, fake real Madrid and other soccer shirts, with street dancers and singing/concerts (including some not so good rappers) and fireworks. Also, a carnival and cotton candy and a ton of games and stands selling roasted chestnuts. Lots of stuff going on. And lots of pulpo  (octopus) being cooked. Typical of this time and festival."

A cool experience:
"Also, we had a got conversation with a Venezuelan named Julie. I knew we needed to talk to her but I couldn't find a good way because she was behind us. I saw her when at the stoplight out side of the wall. And we crossed the street which made it even more difficult. So we got in a position to talk to her...we crossed the street back to the same side but we were way ahead of her and we needed a way to stall. We got the chance when we were at a stoplight. But then she answers the phone and I was thinking "NOOOOO!!!!!". But she got off it quickly and I asked for directions to the locutorio. She lived over there so she took us there. And we had a good conversation but she spoke too much. We didn't get anywhere. But my companion as she was saying bye said "hey, we want to give you a book!" And she took it happily =) it was great! She wouldn't give her number but we at least got a book of Mormon to her."

And the miracle:
We have an investigator who turned completely away from us. Didn't want any help or to know anything more. We didn't know what to do. So we threw him a lifeline on WhatsApp promising blessings if he will just read the book of mormon and pray. He didn't want anything to do with it. We waited a couple days and we get a text message saying that he wants to talk with us. I thought he wanted to rip into us and blame us but he then sent a message "I've started to read the book Mormon". And he changed his life around. Even though he hit rock bottom, he is now ready to follow through with everything he's got and overcome his weaknesses. It's amazing the change he has had as he as started to read from the beginning. I'm super excited for him =) you have no clue how much of a miracle it was for him to change.

Thankful for Luis the old man that we see everyday and that we shake his hand as we pass by is window (he lives in a bottom floor apartment). Just about the nicest guy in Lugo. Same with Agripitos the homeless man we see every morning. Both are so nice and only take like 2 mins of our time to say hi. Super cool guys. And they are so happy despite their hard circumstances.

Ether 12:6,12 
6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
12 For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.

We had to have faith that everything would work out. And it did. Heavenly Father is in control. We do everything we can do but He is in control. And when we have faith He can bless us with miracles.

This week has been really really hard. I'm glad we survived. Barely haha. But I know that we must have the trial of our faith before the miracles come. I know that if we will just read the book of Mormon and the bible and heed the teachings of God, applying them to our lives that everything will work together for our good. Trials happen when they need to and how they need to. Most of the time trials happen for our growth. I know there is a prophet in today's day who guides us and who listens to God's counsel. We have so many amazing words from our Heavenly Father and such wonderful councel. I promise you that if you read the scriptures and pray to Heavenly Father asking Him for help in your trials, with your questions or worries, that you will receive an answer.

Have a great week!
Elder Openshaw

October 2, 2017 ~ Transfer 10 Week 4

Hi everybody,

This has been a long week with a lot of changes. I'm not sure why it was so long but it was haha.

So this week we had Zone conference, a training meeting with all the missionaries here in Galicia. We talked a ton about technology and other changes. We now have Facebook and WhatsApp to use to help us do missionary work. They are just new tools to use in addition to what we already have. We also had a change in how we do our planning so now we focus on the people and their progress and not just filling hours of time. We focus on how to help them and then do it while also planning our other activities to find more people. But the people are the first focus. The changes make it tricky in the sense of training my companion because I don't know what I'm doing either haha. But it's all good.

And we got rid of our nokia (AKA the brick) and we received a new Samsung smartphone. The smartphone is super super nice (compared to what we had haha) and works really well. I'm super excited to use this new technology. And we lunch we had a potato bar made by senior missionary couple who are here in La Coruña. Super super super good. And the homemade pies they also made were amazing! It was coconut pie with vanilla filling and a wonderful homemade pie crust with cinnamon and sugar. They cook so well. I must have repeated on pie like 3 times although I was beyond full. 

We are one of 120ish missions (of about 400) to have Facebook- among the select. But we are one of 7 missions who now will be working with crazy. Heavenly Father has blessed me to serve in a mission that uses so much technology and that now we can use it to our advantage in the missionary work. There is a reason I'm serving here in the Spain Madrid Mission with all this technology, I just got to figure out what that reason is.

We did an intercambio while in La Coruña and thankfully this time nobody threw any eggs at us haha. It all went fairly well. =)

So part of the advantage we have now with the technology is that we can meet with people who have busy schedules or who live far away. We can do lessons over Skype or WhatsApp or Facebook with them. We tried it this week and our friend we were teaching fell asleep on us hahaha. Usually when that happens we can help him stay awake but this time it was harder because we weren't there with him. The hermanas also had a baptism here in Lugo on Friday and it went super well. I was super excited that Isidoro (our recent convert) was the one who got to baptize Jesus. He was very humbled to have the opportunity.

This week we also ran into a former investigator that we didn't have a number of. Absolutely no way of contacting him. And we found him on the street. It was super nice. Definitely a tender mercy.

General Conference was this past week and it was super awesome. Lots of great counsel and wisdom. If I didn't explain what General Conference is, it's an event that occurs every 6 months where we get to listen to the counsel from a modern day prophet and his apostles. We believe in the exact same organization that existed in the church that Jesus Christ established and so we believe that there is a prophet in today's day just like there was in the times of Noah or Moises or Abraham, etc. So that's a little bit about what it is. I learned some wonderful things. I think on of the bigger lessons I learned is that we need to focus on the basics, on the doctrine that is found in the scriptures and really be familiar with it. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants the best for us. I know that there is a prophet today who leads and guides us just as the prophets of old. I'm so thankful for that assurance and guidance. 

Have a great week!
Elder Openshaw

Some random pictures for the week:
One of Jesus' baptism
One of an old motorcycle on Isidoro's farm
One of all the eggs the chickens put out in 2 days, a ton

Sunday, October 1, 2017

September 25, 2017 ~ Transfer 10 Week 3

Hi all!

This week definitely had it's ups and downs. Today the ups and downs happened to be hills because we literally ran to catch the bus to La Coruña, Tuesday we have our zone conference where we are going to receive a training on how to use the new technology we are going to use. We will be learning about how to use Facebook, WhatsApp and various other apps to help us in the missionary work. So no, we have not began using the new apps yet but you will here about it next Monday.

Pretty normal week. Like I was saying, lots of ups and downs. We had one day this week where it was hard. It was just plain hard. No one wanted to talk to us at all no matter how we approached them. But we kept pushing through and the blessings came. After being rejected all morning, in the afternoon we made some progress. In about a 40min time period we were able to have some really good conversations with some great people. The blessings come but after the trial of faith. We even found some former investigators that we couldn't get a hold of by phone and we got to set up an appointment. And we met a really happy 93 year old who looks like he's 73, if that.

Also the hermanas (sisters) are going to have a baptism this week! And our recent convert Isidoro will get to baptize him! I'm super excited for them both =) I asked Isidoro if he would be willing to do it and he was surprised that it was possible that he could. He's so awesome, so learn so much from him.

A cool experience we had is that we passed by some menos activos (who weren't home because nobody is ever home during pass bys haha) and the thought came that we should visit someone named Guillermo. So we went towards his home and right when we were in front of his home is when we saw him walking up the street. It was crazy because he wasn't going home, he was just passing by and we happened to find him. Super super cool. We got there at just the right time.

Awkward moments: 
-when a old Spanish man asks if we are testigos de Jehova (Johova's Witnesses) and uses his cigarette that he was smoking as an excuse to leave the conversation. He crosses the street and walks away. And that was it...haha

-One person that Elder Gil talked to, she was sitting down with her husband and Elder Gil he literally just asked where a locutorio (ciber cafe) was, and the lady said "no" and shook her head like a 3 year old girl that wouldn't give up a toy, until he walked away. It was super weird why she didn't at least tell us to go away. She just said no and tried to avoid eye contact. But these are pretty normal things that happen to us hahaha. People treat us like aliens sometimes. It can be pretty hilarious.

Funny moments:
When two old men lifted a washer into a small car, the washer didn't fit well and so then they proceeded to use a bungee cord connected from the back windshield wiper to the bottom of the car. If the washer were to fall out...the back of the car would be toast...

Something important that I've been learning this week is about the Holy Ghost and how it works. I've had so many little thoughts come to mind about what I needed to do, guiding me in the work and to find the people who are prepared. It's not easy to follow the spirit but when those little thoughts come to do something to least we can do is do it.  Here are some scriptures to maybe help explain what I cannot about the spirit: 

"Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart." - I definitely was led by feelings in my heart and thoughts that so had this week.

And another scripture I like talks about how when we pray for answers to questions that we have, that Heavenly Father will give us the answer through the Holy Ghost:
 Moroni 10:4-5
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things

I know that Heavenly Father loves us and that we are His children. I know that after centuries of being lost, the same church that Jesus Christ established on the earth has been restored with the same power and truths as before. I know that we have a prophet in today's day who guides us and gives us guidance that we need to follow our Heavenly Father's individual plan for us.

And this weekend (as I'm just remembering) there will be an event that takes place called General Conference. It's where we get to listen and hear counsel and guidance from the prophet and apostles. It's always a wonderful conference and you can even watch it at home =) ask me if you have any questions. Or my mom can do me a favour and post the link to general Conference too =) 

Have a great week!
Elder Openshaw

Pictures (don't get your hopes up):
1)we gathered acorns for a member to feed her pigs =) the member said she would share some of the meat with us when they kill the pigs =)
2) pica pollo - a Dominican dish we are with some investigators, really good
3) my companion and I next to a random statue of a man that we pass basically everyday =)

September 18, 2017 ~ Transfer 10 Week 2

Hi all!

This week was quite normal. It had some ups and some downs and some more ups haha. I'll explain what I think was interesting this week and the blessings we recieved:

so for a while we've been searching for the means to ask for permission to do an activity in a plaza here showing the movie "Meet the Mormons". We've had quite the trouble finding where to ask permission because the government buildings here (there's like 10) kept pointing us over to different buildings. We first walked into the city's Seminary (basically a religious school ran by the government I think) and asked there, I felt super stupid going into there because I knew I was wrong haha, but we had no clue where to go after walking into so many buildings haha. Thankfully they sent us to the right building where we asked for a form. After being bounced around within the office we got a form to fill out to ask for permission and it's all in Galego!!! So we understand parts of it but not all of it. Basically get yet another loop we have to jump through if we really want to do this activity...(Thankfully a member translated the form for me at the branch activity that night). Super complicated.

We were definately guided this week. If I was supposed to learn that this week, I did. For example, we had some time and all our plans and backup plans fell through. We weren't sure what to do so we sat down and prayed. And a thought came to mind that we could pass by a certain future investagator. So we did. And he was home! And we hadn't been able to meet with him and we tried quite a few times. He let us pass by and we talked for a little bit and set up another visit. Then another name came to mind and we visited him and he also was home! And we got a phone number so that we don't have to go all the way out to his house to talk to him (because it is far).

More blessings from Saturday: "Heavenly Father works miracles. I'm amazed at how well He has placed people in our path today and how guided we were. Literally, this morning we went to our recent convert's home, taught him a quick lesson (really he taught us...he has so much faith and never complains). And a quick story from the recent convert...basically a member bought eggs from him for 3€. She told him to give it as a fast offering and to try his faith. He thought, "well it's only 3€, I don't have anything else but I'll try it out". His chickens were putting out between 6-8 eggs a day. Now they are putting out 12 eggs. Double. And because of his faith to pay what he had to offer, no matter how little, he has been blessed tremendously. If he weren't been blessed on the farm he wouldn't still be there, he wouldn't survive. But he's making it by. He's learning a ton. He's sharing the gospel with others. He shared the gospel with a señorita by inviting her to church and she's coming tomorrow! Super cool, a really sweet old lady we met today."

"...Then as part of this miracle we got home and followed the schedule exactly to a "T" as with timing for getting back and doing studies. I had the thought to bring a note that a sister missionary wrote to an inactive member from a while ago. I debated bringing it and I brought it in the end. Then we left and we went to their home to see if he was there. He wasn't, nor the wife. And the front door of his building was left open so I was like "do we go up to the door, do we not..." We rang, nobody answered and so we entered (and found out that the front door doesn't close.) Knocked on the actual door, no answer. So we left the note from the sister missionary in the door. Okay, so that worked out well. We then started talking with people within the wall. We get a hold of Octavio and he tells us he will meet us at the plaza de Santo Domingo. We start walking and Jose fails tonight. But as I was talking on the phone I saw a man with a bicycle sitting on a bench. The thought came to mind "go talk to him". And I walked away because I was on the phone. We crossed the street and I felt an unsettling feeling so we went back. The man was still there. What a miracle because they usually leave. But we went up to him and started talking to him about cycling (my companion loves biking). And we talked for 30mins at least. Well the man talked most the time. We gave him a pamphlet of the plan of salvation because he was talking a ton about his family and he was born on the same street we found him on. He was telling us all kinds of stories. We tried so hard to set up a lesson and to get his number but he wouldn't give it to us hahaha. It was so frustrating. Right after that we searched for Octavio. We didn't find him but we found a band of people playing bag pipes. We watched while waiting for Octavio. And then we left, took a wrong turn outside of the wall and we ran into Ester! Literally she hopped off us the bus on the opposite side of the street right when we were passing. It was great hahaha. Then we talked a bit with the people in the street ( and we found the plan of salvation pamphlet in the street that fell out of the cyclist's pocket while riding his bike). Then we went to the church to see if all the songs were programmed in the electric piano for sacrament meeting tomorrow. They were thankfully. We quickly called all the investagators and recent converts to see if they will be coming tomorrow. We walked out of the church and within 1 min Jose (investagator) saw us while he was driving, he picked us up and drove us home. The timing on everything today was amazing. I don't know what it was but I think the Lord was showing me that He really is in charge and that if we pray with enough faith He can really put the people in our path."

Hilarious moments:
When walking in the street one day a little kid came up to us and asked if we were from the "FBI". It was quite funny. His mom just kind of laughed at him as he did it haha

The other moment that made my week...on Sunday mornings, walking to church is always interesting. We have to pass through the Roman wall in the middle of the city and there are always drunk people who are so drunk they never made it home. So we never really know what it expect because usually someone says nasty things at us for being missionaries but they are too drunk to do more than say a couple mean things. But yesterday here is how one conversation went:
Se are walking down this small road and we see two girls, one dragging the other by the hand.
The girl being dragged: ¿qué vendéis, chicos? = what are you guys selling?
Me: nada = nothing / we aren't selling anything
The girl: oh, es que yo quería comprarlo. Soy consumista. =oh, because I wanted to buy what you are selling. I'm a consumer.

In English, not quite as funny but you get the point. My companion and I were dying. The great thing is we don't sell anything. We gift it. The gospel is free and we actually get back more in blessings than what we put in. 

And some quick words from Helaman 12:1: "...the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him."

Trust in the Lord and He can help us and bless us so much more than if we try to do everything on our own.

Have a wonderful week!

Today we took some random pictures around Lugo and this is what we got...
1)a Roman horse statue that I tested my weight on hahaha
2)a Roman soldier (missing)
3)the Roman wall

Elder Openshaw

Spain Madrid Mission
Calle Fuerteventura 4, 2, Oficina 8B
28703 San Sebastián de los Reyes
Madrid, España

September 11, 2017 ~ Transfer 10 Week 1 ~ Training

Hi all! 

This week has been crazy. So Monday through Wednesday I was still in La Coruña with the zone leaders. Some crazy days in Coruña. And then finally we got home Wednesday night in Lugo.

So, I'm training =) super excited to help my companion learn how to do things and how to be a missionary. He's really teaching me more than I think I'm teaching him. And my new companion's name is Elder Gil and he's from Colombia. So we are talking 99% of the time in Spanish haha. He does speak a little English and is practicing with me during language study. Also, he already has 2 months in the mission (he was visa waiting). I'm really just training him on how to do things here in Spain as a missionary and finishing off what's left of his training.

Thursday we were so tired. After him traveling for 24+ hours and me waiting in Coruña we were beat. And that's right when a member called us to help her gather her potatoes because she needed help. It was a lot of fun and good hard work. They had a tractor that pulled up the potatoes and then we gathered them in buckets. It was pretty cool. I felt bad for my companion because literally on is first day here he is doing some pretty tough work while he's just exhausted haha. But we survived.

Then we had some issues with were the branch had a meeting or broadcast that was going to be shown and we didn't have any equipment or means to make it work...and so it took a while fixing that issue...thankfully the issue was solved when no one showed up to the meeting haha

Saturday we then went to Isidoro's home to help him out but we didn't get to do much service. We also brought Octavio an investagator along because he wanted to come. It seemed odd to me because I didn't think he knew Isidoro but Isidoro was fine with it and it all went well. We cleaned out one of the super dirty rooms in the back of the barn with all these different gears and parts for a tractor I believe. Isidoro is so awesome, he just has so much faith. Right now he's preparing himself to go to the temple.

Okay well I wasn't originally going to share this story but I feel to share it now so I'm going to. I said in La Coruña there were some pretty crazy days we had. Here's the craziest story we had this week from La Coruña (from my journal):

"After P-day we had a lesson in the park near the bridge where the drunk guy slid down the pole last Thursday with a dominicana. She's in her 20s and is super nice. She asked about like how people treat us and we told her the truth, that they treat us not so well. And she was surprised and felt bad for us. And we went on with the lesson. And another investagator came up to us to say hi (by chance he saw us, we didn't plan it) and Elder Maldonaldo started talking to him and teaching him on another bench. Five minutes pass by. And then all of a sudden we hear a huge shatter, almost like a glass bottle broke and it splattered in between our bench and Elder Maldonaldo's. It was an egg that was thrown at us! A man threw an egg at us from the 4th floor of a building (that was a good distance away). The egg splattered all over, it got elder Maldonaldo the worst. But if he hit one of us it would have hurt. The egg didn't splatter, it shattered, it was thrown from so high up. It went everywhere. And I was quite upset but I smiled my way through it. The man was looking at us from the window with binoculars (and obviously it wasn't the first time he had thrown eggs at people). But he looked at us and put a thumbs up like "did I get you?" And then told us to go away. It was super crazy. It was a little scary. And so we went to a different location. After that it was a really really good lesson and she enjoyed it a ton, the restoration made sense to her (this was a first lesson with her). She wondered why we get treated so poorly and then the egg was thrown haha. Quite crazy."

So the biggest emphasis I want to make with this story is that there is opposition to all things. We were doing something good and someone didn't want us to succeed - opposition. But the truth is that in the end good always will win, even if it doesn't seem like it might. Even with the opposition we faced we still taught the lesson and we had the opportunity to help this lady come closer to God.

1 Timothy 4: 10 -For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
11 These things command and teach.
12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Well, besides being super tired and trying to fit in all our studies for training there isn't a whole lot that is new. I guess that's what happens when you are out of your area for the whole week haha.

Have a great week!

1) my companion and I at Isidoro's
2) us and the hermanas after gathering all the potatoes

Elder Openshaw

Spain Madrid Mission
Calle Fuerteventura 4, 2, Oficina 8B
28703 San Sebastián de los Reyes
Madrid, España