Tuesday, September 28, 2010

TRANSFER - 2nd Companion Elder Basurto - Dos Hermanas Sevilla 09/28/10

I learned a cool statistic the other day. There are currently about 500,000 Mormons age available to serve a mission. and about 52000 are serving.
Elder Bennett & Elder Larsen

Now about my shoes, the landlord lady Isabell helped me out. She took me to a shoe repair shop and I brought both pairs of shoes. Looking at the first pair, the shoe repair guy offered to throw them away cuz they were completely destroyed. As for the second pair of shoes, he saw that only the soles were destroyed and for 22 euroes he was able to repair them. He showed me why my shoes broke and taught me how to take care of them. He said that the cool designer shoes have hollowed soles, making an air bubble to give more comfort to the feet, but unfortunately they are way way less durable. He showed me the inside of my soles and they were absolutely smashed. But, now they feel just as good as new. He put in solid soles that will last a long time.

But Thank you for sending me new shoes. I am looking forward to receiving your package. Every shoe brand is different. I also looked for some shoes online and found that Kolh carries the same brand name shoes that I am wearing right now. The brand is called "Deer Stag". I ordered a pair with a size slightly bigger (13w) simply because the ones that I have now (size 12w) were a little tight and took a while to break-in. Don't worry, the ones that you sent me should be fine. While I'm waiting for both pair of shoes to come, I'm grateful Isabelle helped me find a shoe repair shop and the guy was able to fix one of my two pair of shoes. My shoes feel so good now and my feet don't hurt anymore. The stress about shoes is now gone.

Elder Basurto, my new & 2nd companion.

Transfer happened. Elder Larsen is no longer my companion. I am now paired with Elder Basurto. He is from Spain, but was born in Ecuador. He is cool, nice and way short. He´ll help me with my spanish. Both the Mission President and his wife said I needed to better my Spanish. Coincidence? I think not! But anyhow I´m excited. They said he´s super erecto and plays by the book, which will be different from Elder Larsen. So I´m excited to see how things roll out. He´ll be the perfect person for this area at this time. Our key investigators are from Ecuador or they are Evangelists (which he used to be one) and he has all the right resources to help this area. Me and Elder Larsen got a Muslim guy to go to church, which is very rare. Cool, hein? The bishop's son is now the Ward Mission Leader. He just returned from Bilbao and is way good friends with our Mission President Clegg.
Elder Larsen & Elder Birnhaumer getting on the bus and on their way to their new assigned area.

Monday, September 20, 2010

BAPTISMS - Dos Hermanas Sevilla 09/20/10

We had everything well planned for Top & Samuel's baptisms. A couple of priesthood leaders offered to give us a ride to the Stake Center & to bring the baptismal pants with them. Top & Samuel arrived at our house at 7 as planned to leave at 7. The baptism was scheduled to start at 8. But of course our ride showed up at 8:15, and both seprately forgot the baptismal pants. To make the matter worse, we got a call from the mission president asking where we were. He randomly decided to show up, which I learned is very rare. Once we made it in downtown Sevilla, there was a giagantic procession fiesta going on and our Stake Center being in the middle made it impossible to park by it. We had to park at least a mile away. The mission president seemed slightly annoyed by the situation. Anyway, all went well and it was an awesome event. Samuel and top are really happy & they both bore incredible testimonies.
Their interviews were intense, cuz top had a hard time understanding but overall it was an amazing experience. Because we started the baptism late, we missed the last train home, but yeah it was worth it. Yesterday we attended a meeting that took all day.
Elder Larsen, Bishop Rondaln, Samuel, Top & Elder Bennett.

The Baptism of these two young men Samuel & Top went forward last Saturday night (Sept. 18th) as scheduled. Elder Larsen & Elder Bennett had taught them & worked very hard to make this special event happens. The baptism was held in the new Stake Center in Sevilla. These two were the first in the new font. I garantee they won't be the last. Great work Elders.

Summary of Top & Samuel's conversion by Elder Bennett
08/02/10: "We had another noche hogar with two Africans, and it was incredible! One of them name Samuel gets the gospel, he understands it and he's pretty much golden, but his buddy Top unfortunately just doesn't get it. He asks weird questions that aren't questions at all but are his mixed doctrines of evangelical teachings and stuff. At the end of the noche hogar, he changed. He started to accept more of our teachings.
We taught both of them about the Book of Mormon, modern day prophets and asked them to pray about it and be baptized. I think there's a chance for a baptism but not quite sure yet. HOPEFULLY!! They both were like: "can I be baptized again? I was already baptized in another faith, can you baptize me again?"

o8/10/10: "We asked Samuel and Top our nigerian investigators to be baptized this week. They agreed to be baptized this saturday. Unfortunately, we may have to cancel the baptism and postpone it to another day cuz we have nowhere to perform the ordinance."

08/17/10: "We canceled the baptism of Samuel and Top and it's gonna be on september 25th. We made them realize that they have to be clean before they enter the water, not repent afterwards. So they gave us that date and told us that they'd be ready by then"

08/30/10: "Our 2 Nigerians investigators Top & Samuel are getting baptized on the 18th of September and hopefully at our new stake center in downtown Sevilla."

09/07/10: "Our two investigators Samuel and Top are golden. Their baptisms are still scheduled for the 18th of September. Unfortunately the font at our Stake is still broken. We are hoping we can do the baptisms at our new Stake."

09/13/10: "Samuel and Top are super excited about their baptisms. The bishop will be the one baptizing them. We are so happy for the two of them."

09/18/10 Samuel & Top's BAPTISM
Elder Larsen, Bishop Rondaln, Samuel, Top & Elder Bennett

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dos Hermanas Sevilla 09/13/10

That's cool Josesph received his mission call to serve in Brazil. I'm happy for him. My residency problem is no longer an immediate concern. The Church legal team is currently working on the residency situation for all the missionaries, so I'll try not to worry about anything til then. Besides, going back to Madrid just to have my fingerprints taken would be money & time wasted. We'll see where this is going!

By the way, don't worry about my shoes, I'll work something out. Samuel and Top are super excited about their baptisms. The bishop will be the one baptizing them. We are so happy for the two of them.

We've been so overwhelmed with contacts, investigators and work that sometime it seems hard to accomplish them all in one week.

The Stake conference was yesterday. We attended Stake Conference in the new Stake building. It was so cool seeing so many mormons again in an actual church building, with the gym opened as overflow, as the english guy said, it feels like we're going to Church again, even though the gospel is the same world wide.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dos Hermanas Sevilla 09/06/10

Now my other pair of shoes died as well. They both kinda still function but the outside look destroyed. I will do my best wearing them for as long as I could.
Elder Vaninetti & Elder Bennett

The days are getting shorter so it gets darker earlier. It gets dark by like 9:30pm. The weather is a lot cooler too. Last week was like 120 every day and now it's around 100.

The temporary companion (see pic below) assigned to me and for whom I was his senior companion for a few days was actually from my group when we were serving in the Provo MTC. He simply left way later than I did cuz of his visa. He and I did pretty good. We taught lessons and did other missionary stuff. We do have language rules over here too but they are just poorly enforced. We only speak spanish when talking to someone local. Most locals do not wanna speak english.

Our two Nigerian investigators Samuel and Top are golden. Their baptisms are scheduled for the 18th of September. Unfortunately the font at our Stake is still broken. We are hoping we can do the baptisms at our new Stake. It is bigger and the building is also much needed for all kinds of Church activities.
The new Stake Center in Sevilla

For this coming Saturday, we are planninng a huge activity and it should be cool. We are right now in alcala doing exchanges. This place is like a mansion. This is the second nicest place next to the mission home. We have so much to do which is really good. Having Elder larsen and I being on the front page of sister Glegg's missionary blog doesn't suprise me. We are just fantastic missionaries.

I am having horrific problems with my residency and nobody seems to know what to do. The Spain government wants me to go to Madrid just to have my fingerprints taken. It should be cool to travel back to Madrid. Hasta luego.