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.

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

March 13, 2017 ~ Transfer 5 Week 5

Hi all!

There was an emergency transfer and Elder Baide from Honduras was sent to the Canary Islands (we share an apartment with him and his companion). And then Elder Whither was sent to serve here in Barrio 6. I will miss Elder Baide, we all thought he would be here for at least another transfer (he was only here for a month).

The work here in Barrio 6 (the 6th ward of Madrid) is going great. Last week we had an older lady from the ward invite us to her home and she is teaching English class to a 7 year old girl. And the lady was telling the girl "if you want to know anything about Jesus they can tell you everything you want to know". And this little girl is super excited to hear about Jesus. She loves all the pictures of Jesus and is was a super fun lesson. After the initial awkwardness it went very well haha. The lady had her sing "Nephi's Courage" (the primary song, in English) and dance to it and the little girl was super shy in front of three strangers so it was pretty awkward. The lady was singing with all her heart (with her eyes closed) and the girl was super timid and was kind of hiding behind the lady but kind of dancing. It was quite funny.

We are also teaching a small family of a mom and her twin girls. Super awesome family. Today there is a bday in their home so we will pass by with brownies later today. We found them through English class and a miracle of knocking on the wrong door when passing by members' homes (I think I already explained it in a previous email). Also we showed up at a member's home yesterday and the cousin of the mom (and did the brother in law) were there and so we thought them and answered the questions they had. The members here definitely help us quite a bit.

I heard from my last area (Oviedo) and Elder Hale told me that Katy is getting baptized! Which is a super amazing miracle. She knew the Gospel and the Book of Mormon are true and she was fighting it. But she had a super special experience and knew she had to act and be baptized. I'm so excited for her because I know she is ready. Also another person I was teaching with Elder Hale is on date for a baptism too which is awesome. It's great to see the work move along.

A side note: I never knew I was going to sing so much during my mission. We sang a musical number for a missionary farewell (which wasn't part of the sacrament meeting) and it went really well. A lot better than I expected. So now I've used my little bit of piano skills and voice skills. I have yet to be able to play the bass. I've seen two basses in the past 6 months.

I also got to see some youth from Oviedo! They were here for a EFY (FSY in Spain) counselor training so that was super cool.

This week's food: we had some wonderful Honduran enchiladas and some French food (chicken topped with egg plant and cheese, it was super good). I also made a smoothie for breakfast that had ice cream in it and topped it with whipped cream. Also had a gofre (a mini waffle covered in sugar) and those are usually quite good. We get fed well and it's starting to show a bit.

Funny moment: at English class we have all sorts of experiences. We have a basic class and and conversation class. I was teaching the conversation class amd someone named Anthony was talking with me and he speaks very loud English. And he randomly shouted something that sounded like "you look fetching". Apparently he was trying to say "flashy" but both those instances made me chuckle haha. English classes are pretty funny.

I know that our Heavenly Father loves every one of His children. He really does care about us individually. That's why He's given us His words from prophets who speak for Him. We have these words and we find them in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, conference talks and other books of scriptures. I like this scripture that talks about how the words from Christ will teach us all things that we must do. It says: "Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." (2 Nephi 32:3). It is so true. When we read the scriptures we can receive the inspiration that we need to guide our lives. I know this because I am telling you from experience throughout my life of reading the scriptures and receiving answers to prayers and unspoken concerns. 

Have a great week! 
Love you all!

Elder Openshaw

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

Pictures ~ March 8, 2017

March 8, 2017 ~ Transfer 5 Week 4

This week was GREAT! 

On Preparation day we went to the Real Madrid stadium which was super cool. It's amazing how well manicured the grass is on professional fields.

I didn't read my journal before writing this and I have trouble remember this week without it...so we shall see what I remember.

This week's update on new food: We ate pepitas (I think that's the name), a Venasulan food that is French bread sliced in half and stuffed with meat and lettuce, avocado and tomatoes. And they put cheese on top and toasted them. Super good! I also made a home made pizza and the first one turned but quite good and the second one was super gross. And then I tried making cookies and they did not turn out (I was missing a few ingredients and they turned out super flat). Thankfully the other Elders didn't mind haha.

One really awesome experience this week:
I was at a member's home and they were thanking us for doing all that we do and the mother used to work cleaning (like as a janitor) in the MTC while I was there. She remembered me and told me exactly why. I would say hi every time I saw her and thank you for cleaning. And she told me how much it meant. It was cool to see how much of a difference it made because I had no clue. You never know what difference small acts of kindness make.

Also, there were members here visiting from Hawaii. They know my Grandpa and grandma who are serving there as missionaries! It was a cool experience because I met them before sacrament meeting but I had to leave to help with something and I thought when I came back they probably would be gone. But right when I was getting back we saw them leaving and I got to say hi and get a picture to send to my grandparents! It was a tender mercy.

I know that Heavenly Father loves us. I know He cares about the details in our lives and is always listening to our prayers. He knows our every feeling, sacrafice, and difficulty - He knows our hearts. He knows and loves you.

Have a great week!
Elder Openshaw

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

Pictures ~ February 27, 2017

February 27, 2017 ~ Transfer 5 Week 3

Quite a busy week this past week.

My companion, Elder Weiss, and I ended up changing our Preparation day to Wednesday so that we could help the mission president with some errands (I think we were asked to do it because Elder Weiss has a European drivers license and used to serve in the office). One of the errands we did is we drove 28 boxes of pizza from the store to a Mission Zone Conference where Elder Soares talked to the Eastern Madrid missionaries and the missionaries from the North (Galicia and Asturias areas). So we brought the pizza to fed the missionaries and it was funny because everyone was asking why we were in Pday clothes =) Let me tell you, we cranked the AC in the car because it turned into an oven with all the heat from the pizzas which was amazing. My last zone was at the zone conference so it was great to talk with the Elders from Oviedo and see how all the work is going up there.

Thursday was a pretty miraculous day. I realized I hadn't given a blessing in Spanish before because I have been too nervous. On Thursday I said a prayer asking for an opportunity to give a blessing in Spanish. Only 4 hours later that prayer was answered when we visited a member's home and gave a blessing to a brother who needed one and hadn't received one for probably 4-5 years. I felt the spirit very strong during that blessing and it definitely guided my words. The words flowed which I couldn't do myself, but God used me as His instrument to do His work.

This week I have learned a lot about how God works through us to do His work. As missionaries we are the instruments He uses. 

We ran into a less actively involved member rushing on the way to a lesson, I said "Hi" and he stopped us saying "Élderes!". He told us he wants to serve a mission but doesn't know how, so we invited him to come to church this past Sunday. He talked to the bishop and has the information he needs now. The miracle is that he leaves to go back to his country today. There's no way if we hadn't found him in that exact moment he would have gotten to help he needed. 

There is no way by chance alone that we run into the people who we run into who need our help, those who the members haven't seen in years. Or knocking on a completely wrong door on accident and finding someone who you have been teaching in English class who wants to hear about the Gospel (yes that did happen this week).  It just doesn't happen by chance and it happens so often in the work of a missionary. The Lord only expects us to be worthy so that we can receive the inspiration that we need. It doesn't matter how much experience you do or don't have. It doesn't matter which missionary shares what in the lessons even if one doesn't know Spanish very well. The power comes from personal worthiness and the reliance we put on the Lord. We have to listen to the Spirit and trust that God will fulfill all His promises. And He will and He does. I know He answers our prayers and keeps His every promise.

Some funny moments: 
yesterday we were at a member's home and she started singing the US National Anthem (she's from Colombia and speaks pretty decent English) and so of course I joined in! Although she stopped at one part and I was trying to follow her lead in singing and I totally lost the words haha =) 

This week we also had a bunch of different food - from Peruvian to Honduran. We ate some cookies from Peru (doña pepa, which I ate while there in Peru), Peruvian papa relleno (fried potatoes filled with meat and cheese), fajitas (which really hit the spot), and baleadas (kind of like Honduran tortillas/burritos).

Have an amazing week!

Elder Openshaw

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

February 22, 2017 ~ Transfer 5 Week 2

Hi all!

This week a lot has happened! It's kind of been a blur because so much was going on. I'm not really sure what to tell you about my week. I met a ton of people that know my Grandpa and Grandma Openshaw because of their time living in Peru.

So many great things happened this past week. Yesterday we had a wonderful mission conference with Elder Soares from the Presidency of the Seventy. We talked about so many things. I wrote a ton of questions down at the start of the meeting and I thought they were unrelated but every question was answered. It was cool.

I want to share what I've learned. I know God is in the details of our life. He loves us so much and He loves you. Individually. Personally. He wants the best for you in your life. He knows how you feel and what you sacrifice. He knows your every thought and here your every prayer. Trust in His promises, trust Him and He will help you so much more then if you just try to do things on your own.

I also learned that positivity is one of the keys to a happy life. How can we expect to be negative and stay happy? Those are opposite feelings.

Have an amazing week!
Elder Openshaw

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

February 13, 2017 ~ Transfer 5 Week 1

Hi all!

I got transferred to Barrio 6 (Madrid). Now I wake up and get to see the temple right outside my Piso (apartment) window everyday. It's such a beautiful building. It's such a privilege to have it so close too.

Tuesday, on our way to a lesson we ran into some members who had just arrived to Madrid only 5 days or so early. We got off the metro and the Father shouted "¡Élderes!" It startled me a bit but it was an answer to prayers for them, they had been trying to find anyone that might be able to help them and in the past week or so they hadn't seen anyone who might be able to offer them some "refuge". So we let them know they could call us if they needed more help/directions in the area. This same day we also passed by a family who the élderes had been trying to visit all last transfer and we got in the door and have started talking with them a lot more now =) We have a family home evening (like a family night) with them tonight.

Also on Tuesday, we ate with a French family who are here working. We talked in a mix of Spanish, English and French during dinner haha (my companion speaks German, a little French,  English (learned it on the mission) and Spanish. It was interesting hearing so many different languages. And here in the ward many of the members are from Peru.

It's an amazing feeling when you finding people in the streets who are excited to see you =) most people don't say hi back when you say hi to them but it's cool when people know us and say "¡Élderes!". It's a little different than Oviedo, that rarely happened there.

Funny moment: 
we were running to catch the metro. And the subway whistle sounded which means the doors are closing. And of course I ran faster. And I ran too fast, lost traction and fell flat on my face in front of everyone on the metro and the other Elders. It was pretty funny. I at least helped everyone have a better day. That was right after eating "American" food at a restaurant called Hollywood. It was the best American food I've had outside of the country but still...not up to par.

Saturday we had a family history activity. And I may or may not have gotten bored of listening to them just talk about Family history (it was one of those typical activities) that I went ahead and tried to follow a line of ancestors all the way back to Adam and Eve. I made it after I found a king on the Dalton line. So I took a screenshot of it. I was pretty psyched because I've never been able to go back further than 1500s before.

I'm really enjoying Madrid. It's super fun being back where I started.

I want you to know that I know God lives and that He loves you. He loves me. He loves each of us in our weaknesses. He wants us to improve and as long as we are trying He will be there helping us along the way. Maybe the help doesn't come immediately but it comes. I promise that God answers our prayers because He has answered mine. And many times our answers come through other people. 

Sometimes we expect our answer to be some super strong feeling or some thing that will make us know it is the answer. It usually doesn't happen that way. Usually answers come through our thoughts or feelings. Sometimes they seem like the logical choice that makes sense. I've been praying more to have my desires changed so that I can desire what the Lord wants for my life and I have noticed a difference. 

Have a great week! 
Love you all!
Elder Openshaw

Madrid, Spain Temple

Saturday, March 11, 2017

February 6, 2017 ~ Transfer 4 Week 6 ~ Last Week in Oveido

Hi all!

This week was a great week. We ended up eating a lot of meals with people this week because we were pretty sure I was leaving this transfer. And... it was true. I'm heading to Madrid (Pavones area) and I have the Spain Madrid Temple in my area (as well as parque de retiro where we talked to people every Saturday in the MTC/CCM). I'm sad to leave Oviedo and the awesome people I met here, but I'm also excited for the change and the new area. My biggest fear is that I'm going to get chubby because I hear the church members in Madrid feed the missionaries super well. =) haha

So this week for food we had quite the mixture. 
We had homemade pizza (my favorite), pica pollo and morir soñando (both from the Dominican Republic), and last P-day I had mini-gofres for breakfast. (I will explain all of them =) ). Gofres are basically sugar coated waffles and are super good. The problem with ordering almost anything here in Europe is that the portion sizes are quite a bit smaller and the fact that they were mini-gofres...they ended up being the size of girl scout cookies with a dollop of ice cream the size of a truffle for 1€ more. Not very filling haha =) morir soñando (means "to die dreaming") is basically a sweet milk with chunks of ice and has a lemony flavor to it. It has to be prepared in such a careful way because if you aren't careful the milk and lemon curdle. The Dominican member made it perfectly, it was sooo good. It's usually drank during the hot summers to stay cool (or its made for missionaries because we just love trying new things =) ). Pica pollo is chicken with different spices, quite good. And the pizza was my favorite. The crust ended up tasting like a biscuit and it was super good. It was like being at home =) at Piso (the apartment) we eat "completos" which ended up being hot dogs on French bread as a bun, with avocado, onion and tomato. Really good.

I hope you aren't hungry now =)

This week had its ups and downs but it's amazing how the good stuff sticks so much better in the memory. 

Last transfer Elder Chabot and I prayed specifically that we would find a lady named Mercedes on the same corner that we found her. It didnt happen as we expected it that day but I kept believing that God would answer our prayer and maybe the time just wasn't then. And then we had a miracle happen this last Thursday. I contacted Mercedes in the street without recognizing her and we were able to talk for a bit. It wasn't the same exact corner but it was quite close (only a street or two away). It was amazing to see how our specific prayer was answered in God's own time and in His own way. I know that Heavenly Father loves us individually and that He knows us personally. I know that He is listening to our prayers and that He will answer them. Sometimes the answer is "yes", "no" or "not right now", but he will answer your prayers.

I have felt Heavenly Father's love for me this week when I recognized that He loves us even with all our imperfections. He knows our potential and what and who we can become if we let Him lead us. He doesn't expect us to be perfect so that we can reach that potential. He only expects that we do our best, that we keeping on trying. We just need to be better than the day before and that it good enough. One step at a time. I know He will help us succeed because our loving Heavenly Father wants the best for us.

Funny moments:
Wednesday, we were a little late coming home from a JAS activity (young single adults, there are about 8-10 in the branch). And so we ran a 30 minute walk in 12 minutes so that we could get home on time. The worst part was that we had intercambios so I had all my stuff with me =) the last stretch up the hill was the hardest.

We missed the train going back to Oviedo when we had our pizza with the Núñez family. We were two minutes late and we watched as it arrived.... and then left. We had a nice hour to wait for the next one. Thank goodness for the change I schedule this passt week because we ended up doing companion study while waiting. =)

On Saturday, we passed by an investigator named Bruno who we met last week. We've been calling him and haven't really gotten a straight answer on when he wants to meet. Funny thing is that he wasn't home when we passed by but we saw him arrive home as we left and were down the street. I waved.

Saturday night there was a ton of wind. It blew so hard that it went through our blinds (which are metal slats) and pushed open our window while it was latched. Not only that the wind was blowing in our faces but the heater went out too. Yeah, it was a little cold.

Have a great week!

Elder Openshaw

New companion is from Switzerland, his name is Elder Weiss and he also started his mission in Oviedo. He is 24, just about to go home next transfer (in 6 weeks).

Pictures ~ January 30, 2017

Wallart hanging in the missionaries apartment that each missionary 
who serves in the area signs when they leave.

Church Building in Oveido

Awesome architecture!

Chocolatey goodness with ice cream

Overlooking the City of Oveido

Randy and Elder Hale

Randy and Elder Brock

Overlooking the City

View from the Christus statue

A few more missionary friends

January 30, 2017 ~ Transfer 4 Week 5

Hi all!

Last Monday was hard food-wise. We eat a TON! For lunch we eat at a restaurant which was practically buffet and we were stuffed. And we had forgotten we were eating at a member's house that evening. And these members feed us VERY well. The ride on the bus home was quite miserable. We made sure not to repeat that experience today.

This week we had a worldwide conference of missionaries. There have been changes with the schedule allowing for more choice in when we do studies and lunch or dinner. Also Preparation Day has been extended so we end studies at 8:30 am instead of 11am. It's nice having a little more time to do the day to day stuff like keeping the piso (apartment) clean, etc. 
The changes have been great =)

This week has been pretty normal. A lot of lessons that fell through with new people. But also quite a few people we found to teach. There was one man named Bruno who we found while walking back to the train stop. He was in his car and he asked us to get a wheelchair out of the back of his car. We were able to help him out and he's happy to talk with us. He gave us his number and address to go visit with him. It was quite the miracle. Me and my companion have definitely seen the miracles that come from contacting people everyday (we have a goal as a companionship and as a mission to contact/talk with 25 people each everyday). We have found a lot of people to teach.

I want to share my love for Jesus Christ and what He has done for each one of us. I've been reading the New Testament and the more times I read it the better I understand it. And the the Book of Mormon and the Bible hand-in-hand it really helps to understand the principles that God has given us. I love the Savior and I love what He did for me individually and for you. He loved us so much that He suffered so that He could know how we feel and that we can turn to Him for relief. I know that Christ can help us, because He has definitely helped me. We just have to be humble enough to turn to our loving Heavenly Father in prayer and ask for Christ's help. I know that Christ can strengthen us to do hard things.

Matthew 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.

Have a great week!

Elder Openshaw

And to give you a heads up I think I am leaving next transfer. 
We shall find out next week. 

Pictures ~ January 23, 2017 ~ Birthday Week

Out in the country doing service cleaning debris from the property and petting all the animals ;)

Machate made from a lawn mower blade. I hope he didn't use it, but he 
apparently was quite taken by the engineering of it.

Randy's 19th Birthday

Course 1 of their 7 course meal which ended with several desserts. 

January 23, 2017 ~ Transfer 4 Week 4

January 23rd, 2017 - BIRTHDAY WEEK REPORT

This week went by really fast, but a ton happened.

Monday, there was an emergency transfer and one of the Elders in the other companionship in our area was getting transferred so we were a trio for a day until Elder Ferguson arrived. We saw some miracles that day, one being that we found 2 people to teach. Everyday we have the goal to talk to 25 people each (it's a mission wide goal) and we didn't have much time at all (30 mins). And we did it. We both talked to 25 people each and received 2 numbers to people who might be interested (we shall find out =) ). It was amazing that we talked to so many so quickly.

Tuesday, started with a full grown man sitting in a baby stroller rolling down the hill we take on the way to the church. It was hilarious. There is a wall on one side and trees in the other and he was using his legs so he wouldn't hit anything. Then we went to a lesson with a family that has interesting beliefs in religion and the role of it. The daughter (age in the 30's) was asking how there can be a God if there is so much bad in the world. And so I challenged her to find out for herself by reading a chapter in the Book of Mormon... the one the came to mind was the wrong one! oops
So this week I got to correct my mistake haha. And the chapter I gave on accident was quite long, oh well. Tuesday was also the best meal I have had in Piso followed by lasagna with members which was super good.

Wednesday, we picked up a shipment of Books of Mormon from a shoe store which was apparently a UPS access point, it was a little weird but I guess that's how they do it here. This day, I also recognized the spirit working through me. There was someone I felt I needed to talk to but right when I approached her she put her phone to her ear. I had already said hi and felt super awkward so I started walking away but felt I still needed to talk to her. Thankfully my companion wasn't scared of the awkward moment I created and got her contact information. That's why we have companions.

Thursday, one of our investigators had her baby! So we probably won't be meeting for a little bit. We had 2 of our 3 lessons this day fail but right before the last lesson of the day I was hungry and I said to Elder Hale, "can we pray and receive food?" The answer is yes. Our last lesson of the day invited us to eat dinner with them without previously talking about eating with them or mentioning it during the lesson. It was cool to see how our Heavenly Father looks out for our simplest wants, it wasn't a big thing but it showed me God was listening to my prayers, no matter how silly my pleas may seem.

Friday, we contacted in a pueblo, Grado (little town). I tried seeing if we could meet with María who Elder Chabot and I found while knocking doors but she wasn't home. We had some great lessons, people willing to do what they need to strengthen their relationship with Christ but some who fear what their parents may think.

Saturday, my birthday. It started out a little crazy. I woke up to footsteps in the hall. I thought it was my companion but I heard him breathing deeply. I was terrified. I am told that I said "Elder Hale will you turn on the light, please" and then I got tackled by the other elders who came to surprise me and make breakfast with us. Elder Hale gave them the keys. Thankfully the elders weren't wearing masks like planned because I don't know how I would have reacted haha =).

We went to go do service in the mountains today at a members house. We helped the husband lower trees down his steep hill using two ropes (after he cut them). Ricardo (the husband) has a machete he made himself out of a mower blade and I took pictures of it because it is super cool. I received a call from my trainer (Elder Chabot), the Packs and a few other elders who surprised me. All of our lessons that day failed but it worked out. I ended up getting a picture next to a huge section of the main park here in Oviedo where they cut out letter to form every day of the year. We had to ask 25-30 youth to move out of the way because they were right in front of it but thankfully they did it nicely and quickly =).

I want to share I quote from Jeffery R Holland in a talk about the Atonement ("Do this in Remembrance of Me") that I really liked. He talks about how we can remember the Savior better and how the sacrament should be a time of reflection and spiritual feelings. He talks about the Savior’s plea to His disciples the night of His suffering in Gethsemane:
"One request Christ made of his disciples on that night of deep anguish and grief was that they stand by him, stay with him in his hour of sorrow and pain. “Could ye not watch with me one hour?” he asked longingly (Matt. 26:40). I think he asks that again of us, every Sabbath day when the emblems of his life are broken and blessed and passed."

I think this quote applies very well to my life. Sometimes I get so distracted from the sacrament and think about anything but the Savior.  His plea to us is to remember Him. Remember Him, think of Him during the sacrament. Think of how we can be a better friend to others or making a new friend that we need. Reaching out as He did. Think of His interactions with others, his miracles, His father and mother - their roles in His life. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ we have committed to remember Him always when we were baptized so that we can have the Spirit with us as a constantly companion. 

My invitation is that we strive to remember the Savior more this week and remember those who are struggling. Do one thing to reach out to someone more than you usually would. 
How can you be a better friend? 
How can you help someone in need? 
Maybe it is a text of encouragement. An act of kindness. I promise you that as you act as the Savior would and remember Him just a little more, you will be blessed with more peace and happiness in your life.

Another great scripture to read: 
Luke 18: 9-14. If you feel like you have no need to repent or that you don't want to change, go for it and read it =) it sure helped me.

9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Elder Openshaw