Monday, June 12, 2017

June 7, 2017 ~ Transfer 7 Week 6/Transfers

Hi everyone!

This week has been pretty busy with my companion preparing to go home. And two days ago (Saturday) we found out about transfers (where and if we will be moving to a different area in Spain). Our district (the 8 total missionaries in this area of Madrid and Cuenca) got changed around a ton. Every companionship had a change. I found out I'm staying in Barrio 6. My companion goes home this week and my new companion is named Elder Irene from Wyoming. I'm excited to continue working hard this new transfer =)

So this week in the work was pretty normal. But one notable event was that we went to lunch with an investigator of the other Elders and with that investigator's mom. She's super thankful for what we are doing and really likes the values that we have. She cares a ton for her son and only wants the best for him. It's super cool to see that (even when he thinks she's a little too dramatic, haha). We ate Chinese food with them (it's been a while since I have had Chinese food, it was super good).

And finally our ward mission leader is back from vacations (he's the one who coordinates with the church congregation leaders about our efforts). It was difficult when he was gone because no one else was able to fill his spot, there was a leadership change and the person who was asked to fill the role no longer could. But I'm glad he's back. And he brought us all ties from Perú!

Some notable food items this week =)
-We ate cheese filled Bratwursts from the store - I have not had those in over a year
-my companion taught we how to make morir soñando (a sweet Dominican drink with ice, milk, lemon juice and lots of sugar), super good and great for summer
-and eith Raúl the ward mission leader we had chicha morada and ate arroz chofa y papa a la huancaina

The weather here is getting terribly hot. We had to buy some new fans this week. It's getting to the 100's and it doesn't cool down much at night (around mid 70s and 80s, but the heat stays trapped in the apartment). Right now it is a constant fight to stay cool. And it's only supposed to get worse haha. This is just the beginning. And the worst part is that when it's cooler and if we open the windows, bugs and mosquitoes get in (they don't have screens here). 
It's a struggle.

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Openshaw

June 7, 2017 ~ Transfer 7 Week 5

Hi all!

It's been a long but great week filled with a lot of ups and a lot of downs. On the upside, I have a loaner tablet to use now until I get a new one.

The work is going well. We found some new people to teach this week which was a miracle in itself. Another miracle we had is that I was telling another missionary that I wanted someone new to teach and just in that same moment after I had said that, we received a call. It was the front desk of the temple and they told us that someone had come to the temple and asked for more information about what the church is. We've met once and it was quite the blessing. Maybe I should ask more often =) 

We also taught a family on Friday who are super prepared. A member family invited us over for pizza and this other family (their friends who are actually their next door neighbors). It was great. We will probably meet with them again this coming weekend. Lately it's been pretty difficult to find new people and to have those two things happen it helped a ton. 

And then we also had a lot more success talking to people. I haven't gotten people to stop in a while and much less get a real number and while we were talking with people we found two who wanted to meet. One was a youth who I invited to play soccer with us. And another was an elderly man who was carrying grocery bags. They looked heavy because I saw them over filling and I saw him struggling. And I asked if we could help. And he said yes! Which doesn't happen very often. We helped him and the bags were super heavy! I don't know how he was doing it by himself. He invited us in for water and told us if we ever need a break we can pass by his house haha =)

Other things:
Champion's League was this past Saturday and it's basically like the Super Bowl for soccer. Real Madrid won and you can hear when goals are scored because the whole neighborhood watches the games and makes a ton of noise. It was 4 to 1 from the screams I heard and with the firecrackers and celebrating I figure Real Madrid won =) haha I got some videos (it's more the audio that counts).
We also ended up locking ourselves out of piso. Thank goodness the lady who lives underneath our piso has a key for us (apparently this isn't the first time haha).

Food: we had domino's ordered to our piso (which here is free to have it delivered, super nice)
We had some great Gelato and some kebab. The kebab was a tin filled to the top with kebab meat and it was sooo good. A ton of food.

We also had 2 district meetings before the last time I emailed. We talked about learning the language and about how to teaching better. And my favorite part of the week was yesterday. We had a zone conference (a training meeting) with Elder Gay. It was super good, I'll share some of my notes. He talked about so many different things that we needed (and that I needed to hear personally). It was amazing.

Here's what I enjoyed:
There is always a solution. (My mom says that a lot too =) and now I understand even better what she means)

Don't beat yourself up about whether you did something wrong or right. Heavenly Father does His own work. As long as we are trying our best Heavenly Father can use our mistakes for His benefits also.

Have a great week!

Elder Openshaw



May 29, 2017 ~ Transfer 7 Week 4

Hi all!

This week went by very fast. We had a zone conference (where all the missionaries in an area get together for a training, there were about 60ish of us) and interviews with our mission president. And I also got sick towards the end of the week which didn't help much.

So Monday my companion and I went to Fuenlabrada, an old area of his to say goodbye to people (he finishes his mission in 2 weeks), today we went to Leganés, another one of his old areas. After P-Day was finished we went to an activity with some members in their home and we made 5 things of tortilla de patata for them and the other elders tried to make brownies (it ended up tasting like cake but it was still good). My companion and I are getting a lot better at our tortilla de patata, a very Spanish dish - he has it down and taught me, I'm the one still working on it haha.

On Tuesday was the zone conference. On Wednesday, one of my companion's old companions (who is Peruvian but lives in Sweden) got permission to take us out with his family to eat. We went to a Peruvian restaurant and we had inca cola, arroz chofa, rotisserie chicken with French fries, ceviche and papa a la huancaina. It was super good food. And this family who took us out to eat are amazing.

What happened is the restaurant hadn't opened up yet so they talked to the store owner and convinced them to set some plates out for them, and while the restaurant was preparing the return missionary contacted with us! It was awesome. And then the family very naturally invited
the store owners to meet with us. I learned so much from their family and they really helped me to recognize how blessed I am. It was a blessing to get to spend a morning with them.

Thursday was a normal day, Friday we had interviews and I got sick in the evening until Sunday. It's pretty boring when you are sick in the mission, you stay at home and sleep although you want to keep working.
(Thankfully I am feeling a lot better).

Some funny moments:
On Wednesday we had some extra elders staying in our piso and so to minimize how much food was lost (although somewhat in vain), I made French toast. And I invited everyone to have some and apparently my companion didn't hear and so he was the only one who didn't get any haha :) and then he made French toast for himself :)

Then on Friday we had interviews like I said. The thing is we thought our interviews were at 2pm and we knew there was a bus that left every two hours at 12:30pm. So we knew we had to take it at 12:30pm or we would be late. We hopped on the bus thinking that it was weird that there were not any other missionaries. And we continued to the mission home and got there okay. The funny thing is that we learned later that night that our interviews really were at 4:00pm! And that there were 6
missionaries who had missed the bus that we had made. Our mission president was not expecting us to be there so early, but in the end it all worked out.

I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Openshaw

May 22, 2017 ~ Transfer 7 Week 3

Hi all!

Well this week was quite the week. I'm going to let you in on all the highlights of this week. Overall it was a pretty normal week but with some significant events.

Tuesday we played volleyball with some less actives and recent converts and it was a lot of fun. Someone from the Canary Islands was visiting the temple and they played with us too. It was really funny because the canarian kept calling me "tramposo"(cheater) like 100 times because I kept scoring haha :) She also kept saying "come lentejas"(eat lentils) if someone didn't hit the ball hard enough because apparently Spaniard think lentils make you stronger.

Wednesday was district meeting and it went quite well. I'm starting to get the hang of it a little better :) Also I got my shoes fixed by a cobbler for quite cheap which was nice. The heel on one of my shoes didn't have any more leather on the back because my heel had rubbed through it. So he fixed it up and it's good as new :)

Friday, we ate lunch at the Kimballs apartment. They are a matrimony couple in charge of self-reliance for all of Spain. Some of the best food in a long time. We had BBQ pork sandwiches, seafood paella, shrimp (here you have to take off the legs and head and such, they aren't shelled), and to top it off we had brownies and whipped cream with strawberries. It was super super good.

Then Sunday was a sad day. 
At about 4:45pm yesterday my tablet died. 
Rest in Pieces. 

We were leaving the church and it was at my side, I tried to change how I was holding it and it dropped. Face down. I thought, it's fine nothing will be wrong. Well...two pebbles had cracked the screen. And I then thought, maybe it's still going to work fine, it just looks bad. Nope, wrong again. I tried to turn it on and the screen only flickered. So now I get to figure out what to do haha. 

Thankfully there was a tender mercy. I had just written the report I have to send to the zone leaders about how everyone is doing in our district and I thought it was lost. Thank goodness we found it in my drafts when I logged in to another device. I can now sympathize with those who have broken their screens before...this is my first and I did a good job haha :) 

I'm pretty bummed but maybe it's a blessing in disguise, now I get to learn how to do things differently and not depend so much on my tablet :) 

And to end, Thursday and Saturday were quite normal days. 

Well, have a great week!!
Elder Openshaw


May 15, 2017 ~ Transfer 7 Week 2

Hi all!

So this week in the work it got pretty interesting because many of our lessons failed like last week. And most of our current investigators were busy. So we were in the streets a lot more talking with people. We also attempted to play basketball but nobody showed up... so we got volleyball going and we had some less actives and recent converts show up. It was a lot of fun. We also finally met with Adriana, the girl I accidentally called when trying to call Andrea and we found out she was interested in meeting but that she lives in a different area. The bad part about your area being so small in Madrid.

Every week we have a preparation day usually on Monday, to do something fun and to focus on cleaning, buying food, etc to be able to focus on the work the rest of the week. Last week we went to Parque Europa - a park that has a mini version of the monuments around Europe. It was pretty cool, the mini Effiel Tower was cool (it was 1/10th the original size) =) Today we went to Toledo which is known for its swords. There are swords from Lord of the Rings, a sword of Moroni, a sword of Laban and many other cool swords. There were also a ton of daggers and knifes. My companion has bought a ton of stuff from one store earlier in his mission and the store owner recognized him. She let us take a ton of pictures and hold some really nice knifes (which usually they don't let you do). 

I also got to talk with my family for Mother’s Day! That was super awesome =) it was definitely the highlight of my week.

Food moments:
One day we didn't feel like cooking at all so we went to a Peruivan restaurant and bought Arroz chofa, Inca cola and roasted chicken. It was really good.

Funny moments:
This week I tried getting the stains out of my clothes. And as a missionary your white shirts can get pretty dirty since you wear them everyday and so I had to scrub quite a bit to get some of the stains out. But I had the wonderful idea to use bleach to perhaps not have to scrub as much. Let's just say I tried my idea out and it didn't work as expected. I ended up giving myself a few little chemical burns on my fingers. Nothing too bad but I definitely will not try that idea again without wearing gloves!

Another funny moment, the Hermanas (the sister missionaries) got locked out of their Piso when they forgot their keys. This was early in the morning during our scripture studies. We heard someone ring our timbre (the door bell, but it was the one to the main door downstairs). And sometimes when you don't know who it is you don't do anything. So we didn't answer. Then 10 min later we heard them at our front door. And then we were weirded out because we had no clue who it was and for Spaniards it was still really early in the morning. It was the Hermanas! Somehow they had gotten in and guessed correctly which door was ours (after few tries, they really didn't know). So my companion and I had to pick their piso (apartment) door open for them (because it can be very expensive to have the locksmith come). After a lot of struggling and about an hour of work we got in!

I've been learning quite a lot. This week I really focused on improving my teaching skills. I practiced a ton trying to teach/explain different principles I explain too complicated and I'm trying to simplify everything. I'm already starting to notice the difference, it's really helped to practice. 

Here's a scripture I really liked this week. Our Heavenly Father gives us commandments for our benefit to help us to be happy. They are loving instructions that we can either ignore or follow. If we ignore them, we miss out on the blessings that could be ours. If we follow them, we can realize they come from a loving Heavenly Father and obey them, receiving the blessings and joy.

Here's the scripture:
Mosiah 2:41 "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

I know that Heavenly Father blesses us for our obedience to His counsels. He wants to help us to be happy. He knows our weaknesses, is patient with us and wants us to succeed. And through prayer we can grow closer to Him - thanking Him for our blessings and asking for the help that we and do others need.

Have a great week!

Elder Openshaw

May 8, 2017 ~ Transfer 7 Week 1

So I'm going to hopefully spare you the boredom but this week in the work wasn't very exciting. I would compare this week to an oasis, from far away it looked very promising. We had lots of lessons and activities planned out. But as we got closer we found out there really wasn't much - much of it fell through. We had a ton of failed lessons and so we did normal thing to do when you don't have lessons, try to set up more and talk to people to see if they are interested. Sometimes it can get interesting when talking with people but nothing too crazy this week. I'm just thankful for the few lessons that didn't fall through. 

We had a tender mercy when someone we contacted in the street called us to set up a lesson. That very rarely happens, it's happened maybe once before for me. The only issue is he speaks french (better said, Haitian creole, he's from Haiti) and all our 3 french members were busy at that moment. So we will meet the coming week. But, this week we were able to get a lot of less actives and investigators together to play volleyball and that was a ton of fun =)

We celebrated the birthday of a recent convert of ours. It was a ton of fun because we went to a Brazilian steak house and got to eat all we wanted. My favorite meats were "cadera" (the meat from the hip of a cow) and "las entrañas" (which I probably shouldn't translate but it's the entrails and surprisingly was really good). There also was a grilled pineapple covered with cinnamon that they brought around and it was super good. I probably ate 2-3 pounds of meat. I knew it would be a very long time before I ate meat that amazing, so I took advantage of the opportunity. =)

I learned a lot this week. 
I'm learning how to be a better leader and teacher. 
From my daily scripture studies I learned something that just hit me. It's a simple detail that's hard to explain but for me it makes a world of difference. Every week at church we partake of the sacrament, bread and water that represents Christ and His sacrifice for us. And here is part of the sacrament prayer that I saw a little differently: 
"...that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen."

We promise when baptized that we will take the name of Christ upon us, always remember Him and keep His commandments and we are promised in return that we may always have the Spirit with us. But the promise is NOT that we will always will FEEL the influence of the Spirit. The Spirit is the 3rd member of the Godhead and has a lot more roles than just to help us to feel good. So after realizing that this week it helped me see better that the Spirit is still guiding my life for the good whether I feel it or not. For this reason, we should cherish those special moments when we do feel the Spirit testifying to us personally. 

We don't need to know whether an idea is the spirit or from ourselves, if it's good it comes from God. And here's a scripture that backs that up.
Moroni 7:13 (13-17)" But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God."
As long as we are doing what is right and keeping our side of the promise, I know that Heavenly Father keeps His end of the promise.

Funny moments:
We made some calls Sunday to set up for today and I tried calling our investigator Andrea who we haven't had contact with for weeks because she is caring for an old person and lives there. So I called what I thought was Andrea's number and was talking with the person. I thought she sounded different but I continued and invited her to an activity we are doing tonight night. I kept saying things like "How's your family in Peru?, we can meet at the church" and she was confused and I was too. After she told me she didn't know how to get to the church I realized I probably had not been talking to Andrea...I hung up and realized the name was Adriana! Andrea didn't answer. =/ But Adriana is coming to the activity haha =) 

During calls, one of the Elders here likes to end his calls in this way:
"Hey, what sound does a microwave make? Can you imitate that sound?" And then he hangs up the phone and leaves them hearing the same sound =) it's pretty funny especially when someone isn't expecting it =)

Additional food moments:
I love being in Barrio 6 because we get fed to a lot of Peruvians and Peruvian food is amazing. This week we had Lomo saltado (I don't know how to explain it) and Ceviche (fish with lemon juice and onions, very sour and spicy). My companion and I have been eating Jamon Serrano the past week, we bought a kilo (2.2 lbs) and have been buying fresh bread to go with it. We make sandwiches of it and put on tomatos and alioli. It's amazing. (I've sent pictures of the Jamon Serrano legs, they are cured pig legs, really salty and flavorful). I also learned how to prepare a coconut and tell if it is ripe or not (thanks to a member). Coconut (to me) doesn't taste like much without being sweetened haha =) I also got creative and made fresh strawberry lemonade and then made frozen strawberry lemonade too. It was quite good.

Have a great week!

Elder Openshaw



May 1, 2017 ~ Transfer 6/Transfer Week

Hi everybody!

So this week was pretty busy. You already heard from me on the past Wednesday when we had our temple day. Thursday through Sunday was quite busy, we were rushing around a lot. 

Thursday was a normal day. 

Friday we were running around lesson to lesson. We did studies in the morning and then all the time after that were we running around. We got late when we couldn't find an apartment number and it set everything off haha =) the struggles of planning a filled day. But we had a lot of tender mercies, we got to help a family move some furniture up from a moving truck to the 4th floor with no elevator (we got there right when they needed help), although it was unplanned it worked out really well (we did have a lesson planned with them just not moving furniture). 

We also needed to find a someone to help us with a lesson very last minute and we called and called people to see if anyone could help. After probably 5-6 "no's" we found someone to help and it was perfect. Then we helped a family move who we helped a couple weeks ago and they've had trouble finding an apartment. They had been living with family but there were 12 people in one small apartment so they needed to leave. And the ironic thing is that they found a piso right across from the previous one. =) I laughed when we found that out. Another tender mercy is that the family fed us pizza for helping them and they make really good pizza =)

Saturday - we ran around but weren't as late as before. =) We had English class, then ran over to a home where we help the daughter with her English homework occasionally. What happened is after finishing up and getting ready to leave they invited us to eat - papa de guacaina. It was great but we also had planned a comida  (a big meal that they eat here in the middle of the day, Mediodía). We ate and then we went and ate again, back to back (we had roast beef and rice at the next house). It was manageable but it was difficult trying to run around for the rest of the days activities with your stomach feeling ready to explode =)

Saturday was also when we found out about transfers and whether or not we leave to a different area on Monday. Me and my companion weren't sure if we both were staying and we are low on food (because that's what happens towards the end of a transfer). The worse thing is that transfers fell on the weekend of a holiday here in Spain (what they call a bridge, when the holidays fall next to each other and they have 3-4 days of holidays). All the stores are closed except the bakeries and the Chinos (small stores ran by people from China). So... with finding out about transfers on Saturday night at 9:30pm and all the stores closing at 9pm...we were left with no food. And they were no changes so we were (and are) left with little food. Struggles of transfers haha =) thankfully the zone leaders still have food in piso... =)

Funny moment: 
Yesterday we were at a member's home and they have a ton of leftover candy from their 1-year-olds birthday party. And so me and my companion told the mom that the sisters (girl missionaries) wanted candy. "Hermana White really wants more candy, she says she doesn't but she's just saying it to be polite". We ended up leaving with quite a bit of candy ÷) (especially because they don't want it). The Hermanas weren't happy with us but it was funny =) the members played along with us.

Have a great week!!

Elder Openshaw

April 26, 2017 ~ Transfer 6 Week 5/6

Well this week was a busy one =)

On the investigator side of things, we have been trying really hard to find new people to teach. We had a ton of failed lessons but we met with the regulars like our investigator that reminds me of a Kong Fu master. We also had intercambios (exchanges) in Cuenca this week with the companionship there. Cuenca is quite far to the east over by Valencia. It is a city that is super old and is super cool. I tried to take pictures of the view from the bus but the camera didn't do any justice. We also played basketball to help fellowship some people and did a little lesson after about Easter.

Food moments: we had some gelato (I had dulce de Leche and Ferrero Rocher, that really expensive truffle brand -flavor). It was pretty good. I was definitely disappointed on the size (everything here is smaller). And you probably don't know this about Europe but NOBODY walks around eating food. You have to sit down to eat. So as you can imagine we got some pretty weird looks walking around with ice cream in our hands. This week we also made brownies and we didn't have chocolate chips so we put in a Galaxy bar (super good English chocolate bar). Totally worth it. We also had Honduran tamales, pizza (homemade from a member in Cuenca - a perfect day to do intercambios), and frozen lemonade from someone in our ward.

Having done two District Meetings this past week and a half I've learned quite a bit. I've learned a lot of what not to do when leading them and a lot of ways to improve haha =) but it's good to notice those things and note the changes that I'm able to make. We talked about working better with members to share the gospel with their friends and yesterday we talked about using the Book of Mormon more in lessons, conversations, and in answering people's questions.

Funny moments: 
This week I also got to translate again for a French person. I was translating in the last hour for elders quorum and it was very funny translating. It was a lesson on the Word of Wisdom but the teacher didn't prepare at all and the comment from the class were very very off topic. Sometimes i had to fill in with my own thoughts because what of being said was so far off topic.

Another funny moment, we were having an activity with the ward here and two member came up to us during the lesson part (this is the weekly activity that they do where we usually play volleyball after). They told us someone outside had some questions about the church. And so we went out to check out what was going on. We were led to a man who just wanted to ask about why he couldn't go in the temple (which happens a lot). So we set up a time to meet (which unfortunately he didn't show up). It was a funny experience.

Another, there were ducks swimming in the water fountains on the temple grounds haha ÷) I got a video.

Also, there was a party for a one year old that was the biggest one year old party I have ever seen. Tons of candy, food (like actual food) and a clown haha.

On the Spiritual Side:
I learned a lot from the scriptures this week but I can't find just one part to share. I learned even more that the experiences in the scriptures apply to us in the situations that we have. I was reading in Mosiah 26 and Alma was presented with a problem he had never dealt with before. His soul was troubled and he feared making a poor choice in the sight of the Lord. So he prayed with all his effort and after was when he received the guidance he needed.

Mosiah 26
13 And now the spirit of Alma was again troubled; and he went and inquired of the Lord what he should do concerning this matter, for he feared that he should do wrong in the sight of God.
14 And it came to pass that after he had poured out his whole soul to God, the voice of the Lord came to him,

I know that when we pray we can receive the specific inspiration and answers that we need. Heavenly Father knows everything and can help us out a ton. We just need to ask Him for the answers, help or whatever it is that we need. Sometimes all we need to do is ask for those blessings He is already willing to give us.

I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Openshaw

April 17, 2017 ~ Transfer 6 Week 4

Hi all!

With this week being Easter and Holy Week (or Semana Santa as it is called here), there weren't many people in the streets (many people go on vacation) so the fact that we found one person while walking around who wants to know more about our church was quite a blessing. We also ended up finding a member that we had been wanting to meet while in the grocery store and an old investigator who was at the park with her kid who somehow remembered my insanely difficult name (at least in Spanish it's difficult). Those encounters were all blessings. Finding the member was by chance, we went in to the grocery store to use the restroom and we saw some kids from the other ward and said hi and this member happened to be there too. A lot of our work this week was making calls and trying to set up lessons for the coming weeks. We also got to meet with quite a few new people too. One of them is from Myanmar/Burma and he is the most humble man ever. He reminds me of the Kong Fu Panda master (shifu?), very respectful and wise.

This week the other Elders had a baptism! It was great to finally to able to be a part of one. My companion and the other Elders taught her and I got to do the interview. It was super awesome, I felt the spirit while we were doing the service and I knew she had made the right choice to be baptized.

For food this week I found some Lucama (a fruit from Peru) but in like a frozen bar and it was really good. We also bought some Maxibon bars and it's basically an ice cream sandwich dipped in chocolate on one side and the actual sandwich part tastes like cookie dough. Maxibon bars are definitely my favorite.

Funny moment: We tried setting up a lesson with a person named Nancy to meet with their family. We ended up not saving the number of Nancy in the phone but we did have a different Nancy listed in our contacts ... I ended up calling the wrong Nancy and setting up an appointment with her haha =) but it all worked out in the end.

This week I learned again how to solve problems. It is important to first recognize or identify our problems that we have, whatever they may be and then to diagnose them - finding a solution and acting on it. That's how we take care of problems - recognize, solve and act. It seems very simple but such a valuable lesson. Sometimes I feel like we choose to sit and complain about our problems when we can choose to see them as problems that are solved with a solution. We don't have to wait for someone to tell us what to do but we can act for ourself, I think the is such a great principle. The following scripture explains an additional lesson that Christ teaches us from the New Testament:

Matt 11:28-30
28 ¶ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

When we are yoked together with Christ, our burdens are made light. We still have to deal with our problems but the promise is that we have help and that the problems with be manageable. I testify that when we work together with Christ that is when we will truly see the miracles in our lives that we need. We will recieve the help that we need when we rely on Him. He wont fix our problems for us but He will help support us and guide us. Often times relief doesn't come immediately but He is always there to hear us and help us along to way, to give us strength to keep moving forward in our trials.

Have a great week!


Elder Openshaw

April 10, 2017 ~ Transfer 6 Week 3

This week has gone by quite slow but it was a great week =)

Tuesday was zone conference with President and Sister Pack. It was very enjoyable and I learned a ton. We talked about finding people by using our personalities more (like talking about stuff you like to talk about, sports, food etc.) and just a lot of great counsel.

We had an amazing experience this week when we got to go give a priesthood blessing to a little kid struggle with a sickness that has put him in and out of the hospital. He hasn't been able to breathe very well and has an oxygen tank when it's especially bad (my companion has been struggling with something similar but not as furious). The doctors couldn't find anything wrong. So we were asked to go give him a blessing by a member who teaches this family's kids English (the family with the sick kid aren't members). And we explained how we would do the blessing, just like it was done by Christ and His apostles by laying our hands on his head. And we also talked about priesthood authority and how the priesthood is Heavenly Father's power given to men to act in His name. And we gave the blessing. They are a super awesome family and I felt such an overwhelming peace when we gave the blessing. We haven't heard directly but what the member told us it that the kid was healed within 2 days and he's fine now. The power of the priesthood is very amazing. 

We also had a ward activity on Saturday. It was about temples and the purpose was to help the members understand that they will receive more blessings if they just go (they live super close!) and for nonmembers to understand what temples are for. It went super well. The missionaries and ward missionaries did a theatrical skit of "Lehi's dream" and I happened to be Lehi. It was a lot of fun and I got some pictures but I need to find someone who took a video of it. We talked about how holding to the iron rod helps us stay firm to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and one way to hold firm is go to the temple.

The zone leaders of B6 (my district, they live in my piso) are having a baptism this next Saturday and I got to do the baptismal interview which was quite a humbling and neat experience. My responsibility was to determine if the person is ready for baptism and she was definitely prepared.

This Sunday I got to help translate with my companion (we took turns) when a dad and son from England came for vacation. It was a great experience and I soon learned how hard it is to translate when your voice is louder than the people speaking...

Funny moments:
The zone leaders were talking me up to Day the young woman who is getting baptized this Saturday and they told her I'm super good at singing and cooking and such. She asked me to sing a solo at her baptism haha and it practice it in front of her and the other Elders to make sure I could actually sing. The other Elders got me good on that joke =)

Talking about singing we sang for the activity (as the elders quorum) "high on the mountain top" and the piano player didn't show up, so...thankfully someone saved us and knew how to play last minute! 

Also someone hid an alarm in our room during an intercambio  (exchanges) and it is set for...3:25am! Everyday for the past 2 weeks we have woken up at 3:25am and could never find it. This week we found IT! It was under a bed, in a plastic container from hummus and in a plastic sack. It was the last place we looked. We searched the closets, everywhere and there was nothing. But thankfully we found it and then we interrogated those we when on exchanges in our piso and we found the culprit =)

Have a wonderful week!


Elder Openshaw

April 3, 2017 ~ Transfer 6 Week 2

Hi all!

This week we had quite a few curve balls thrown our way. Tuesday morning we received a call from the office elders saying that two missionaries would be here in Madrid in our area for the day to receive a patriarchal blessing and that was all they knew. We didn't have what time the actually event would happen but we just knew they would be here. Little did we know that they would spend Tuesday through Thursday with us haha =) We did a couple intercambios (exchanges) and I learned quite a bit from the elders. One of them is from my same group in the MTC and it was really good to see him.

This week in the work was a little tough. 
We set up a ton of lessons and many of them fell through, more than usual. But we learned to manage with two extra missionaries who were ready to work and we learned how to better find new people to teach. We also got to do some service which is quite unusual! We had a 2 moves that we helped with in one day, one was super easy and all it was was moving luggage a couple metro stops down. We finished easily in an hour. The other move was quite intense. 

We definitely were needed for that one because no one else really showed up. We had a total for 4 people (including me and my companion) moving a family of 6 out of the 4th floor of an apartment building with no elevator. Imagine taking a fridge down four flights of stairs and minimal space to turn...it was quite the challenge. The funniest part is that the fridge didn't fit the new home (because they moved in with other family members who already have the kitchen stuffed with appliances, kitchens here are small) and that they may not be staying in that new home for very long. Haha =) The struggle is real. We will probably help again the second time but we are definitely recruiting others.

Funny moments: 
I need to explain some background for this to make any sense. 
So this past week we had General Conference which I explained a little bit in last week's letter but it's a meeting that we have every 6 months and we have the opportunity to listen to the counsel of our modern day prophet and the apostles. In the US normally it can be watched live because the time zones aren't as different. Over here in Spain we watch the sessions on Saturday and Sunday. So Saturday at 11am was the General women's meeting, 6pm was the Saturday morning and that was it. On Sunday at 11am is the Priesthood meeting which is directed for male members of the Church, then at 2pm is Saturday Afternoon, 6pm is Sunday Morning. We don't watch the Sunday Afternoon session at all because live it is showing at 10pm here. I hope that's not confusing but that's the background. Funny part about it is that we didn't know what we were watching when and so we invited a mom and here two twin girls to come to the Priesthood session thinking it was the Saturday afternoon session haha =) oops. It all worked out though.

So to simplify:
Saturday:
11am - women's general meeting
6pm - Saturday morning session

Sunday:
11am-  Priesthood 
2pm: Saturday afternoon
6pm: Sunday morning)

This week was a great week of growing. 
I really loved listening to conference and had quite a few of my questions (both unwritten questions of my heart and written questions) answered. I know Heavenly Father speaks to us through a living day prophet as He had spoken in days of old. I know that what Amos 3:7 says (from the old Testament) is true: "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." 

We still receive revelation today because our Heavenly Father still loves us and wants to guide us to the best possible lives we can have. He is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."(Hebrews 13:8) and He will continue to guide us as those of old if we turn to him in prayer and ask for His help. I know He answers prayers. 

Next week I will try to have some quotes from conference!

Have a great week!

Elder Openshaw

March 27, 2017 ~ Transfer 6 Week 1

Hi all!

This week a lot happened. Food-wise a lot happened too haha. 
I made chicha morada fresh (not from the packet) and it was good but I didn't realize how long it takes. It's takes a while. I might stick with the packets. 

Then we also ate ahí de gallo and cosido madrileño (garbanzo beans, roast beef, chicken and chorizo). Today we also went to a store called "Dealz" that says American and English (Brittish) food and stuff. I have plenty of American food now to last me the next month =)

Elder Weiss went home after serving for two years and now I'm with Elder Wither. The weather is crazy right now. Monday we played soccer in short sleeves and I got sunburned. Then by Thursday it was snowing the biggest snowflakes I've ever seen! 

In the work this week: We found a new person from Peru that we are teaching and it was a miracle how we found her. We had a lesson with one of the recent converts here and she ended up telling us last minute that she couldn't meet but she gave us the Peruvian's number. We called a an hour later we met with Andrea. We also have another friend who is planning on being baptized on the April 15.

Something that I really love is being able to pray and receive answers. Its amazing how personal our Heavenly Father answers us. Often it doesn't come in the way that we expect but it comes in the way that will help us grow the most. I have seen His hand so much in the work here. This coming weekend we have the opportunity to receive more inspiration and answers to prayers or concerns we have. 

This next weekend is General Conference where we get to receive counsel from a latter day prophet. I love watching conference because I also receive answers to questions I didn't even know I had, answers to questions that I couldn't put to words. If you want to watch or listen you are invited to do so on LDS.org. I believe the first session starts on Saturday and Sunday at 10am MDT (here in Spain the broadcast is a lot later in the afternoon, like 6pm). 

I know there is a prophet in today's day because Heavenly Father is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has not left us alone to struggle in this world. Revelation and inspiration from heaven has not stopped.

I challenge you to think of some questions that you have about life and watch general conference, prayerful looking for your answers. I promise you that you will find answers.

Have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Openshaw

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 20, 2017 ~ Transfer 5 Week 6

Hi all!

Last Monday we played soccer with the MTC elders which was pretty fun. They think we are so cool because we've already been in the field and they ask funny questions like if we have hot water (yes) and stuff like that =) Tuesday, we had an intercambio with the zone leaders (and one of them was called to be an AP) and we had a miracle happen. Elder Campbell and I were together and we were passing by member's homes to see if they still live where the directory says they live. And we took a nice detour thinking it was a shortcut and it wasn't. So we found our way to the piso we were searching for and nobody was home. And right then someone walks up to the door to go in and we stopped and asked for directions to the next home. Little did we know that this lady was a member who moved here from Boliva 13 years ago and never had her records moved (so nobody knew she lived her). And we got to invite her to church and the B8 elders will visit her soon. The only reason we found her was because of the detour we took, if we hadn't taken it we would have missed meeting this lady.

Funny moments this week:
Sometimes members don't really understand our purpose as missionaries. We went to someone's home this past week thinking that we were helping with a English class (the lady teaches English to children) and then we thought after maybe 15-20 mins we can teach a quick lesson and go (because the little girl who is learning English really loves talking about Jesus). Little did we realize that the whole reason we were there was just because we are native English speakers and she wanted to use us to teach the class. So after a while we realized what was going on and the lady was going over asking us questions about what we like. And thankfully she said "ask them if they like to pray". And so I was able to say "yes we love to pray and we would like to say a prayer right now because we have to go". Haha =) 

One of the members we ate with yesterday wouldn't let us eat unless we were wearing our pink ties and even though she was joking, we changed our ties to be funny.

Also:
This week I also found another person that knows my Grandpa O, someone else from Peru.

For food this week we had a lot. We had 2 meals with members or investagators everyday because Elder Weiss was leaving. One day we survived 4 meals but that was pretty miserable. The food was great =) We went to a buffet sushi place (and I took pictures, also there was miso soup). We had an amazing homemade pizza and Venasulan arepas. We also had paella, Italian brucheta and so many other great foods. I bought stuff to make chicha morada this coming week.

This week was transfers. 
My companion is going home because he has served for two years and has now finished his mission. My new companion is Elder Wither who actually was already living with us (we have two companionship's and he was in the other one). He didn't have to move far =) And then the Assistant's to the President got moved to the same zone and church building I'm at (they are in the other ward, Barrio 8). And then the other companionship in Piso were called to be zone leaders in Barrio 6. So it's probably a little confusing by now, but in my Piso my companion left and we got one new elder who will be the other zone leader. 

I was called as the District leader. I feel very humbled to serve in this capacity. We have 9 people in the district and have to Skype in 2 elders who live about 1.5 hours away by bus. 7 are serving here in Barrio 6 with 3 Hermanas (Sisters) and 4 Elders.

I know that Heavenly Father does His own work. It's amazing how much He is involved in the work (and sometimes it's hard to notice in the moment but looking back we can see it a lot better). 

We had two moments this week where we couldn't find someone to come with us to a lesson and we couldn't enter without them. The first one worked out a lot easier than the second. The second time we searched and searched and 15 minutes before the lesson we still couldn't find anyone to accompany us. I prayed if it was Heavenly Father's will that we could find someone to help us out and just then some senior missionaries drove by. It was an answer to prayer. They were able to help us out and we even got to the lesson early (we would have been late without the car).

This week I really saw the difference between living the Gospel and just following the Gospel as a checklist of rules.

 As missionaries we see and teach all kinds of people, but in Madrid we teach quite a few more lessons than in Oviedo  (my previous area). Those who really struggle with finding happiness in living the Gospel are the ones who I've seen be upset at the "checklist of rules": Reading scriptures and pray everyday, going to church, not doing drugs, etc. Those who I have seen fight the "rules" are the ones who miss out on the blessings of true happiness. And in contrast I have seen the opposite of the "checklist followers". Those who truly LIVE the Gospel and they recognize the "rules" as standards or guidelines to help us receive the joy our Heavenly Father wants us to enjoy. They don't fight the guidelines but accept them and try their best to stay within them because they know that is where joy is found. They don't push to see how far they can go before they are breaking rules but they LIVE and enjoy their lives within the limits so they can have joy. 

Look for how you can live within the limits of what you know is right. Heavenly Father will bless you so much more. I know that we have the guidelines that we have so that we can truly be happy. The Gospel isn't just a checklist of rules but instead a way of living.

Have a great week! 

Elder Openshaw

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