Monday, April 25, 2011

Almeria 04/25/11

This week was pretty much good except for one sad news: Elder Lignell is being transfered out of Almería. We're both very sad... But, Iḿ sure elder Lignell will rip up over there in Algeciras.

This week we taught Javier again, and he is so ready for Baptism and so is Lola. She will be baptized on the 7th of May. We have had many oppurtunities to find people this week. We had a lot of interesting experiences and cool stories.

Processions crossed our paths and people are absolutely nuts. We got some pictures with the Ku Klux Klan people. We were thrilled.

This week we had to go without money. We have been eating whatever we can find in our appartement. Hopefully we get paid soon...(lol). We have a lot of flour in the apartment, maybe I could use it somehow.

The mission office Easter wasnt very exciting at all. It was just a normal day. Lola, our invesigator fed us some true local spanish food and it made Elder Lignell very sick.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Almeria 04/19/11

We´ve had a good week this week. We did a lot of findings. We had one really good experience. We had this "menos activo" lady named Soledad come to Church with her husband who is not a member. It was her first time going to church in Almería after many years.

We visited them yesterday (Monday) and It was probably one of the most spiritual lessons I´ve ever taught. She is from Peru, and she has a really powerful experience of how she and her mom found the church in Peru. She was under 8, and the missionaries taught and converted the family but somehow they couldn´t be baptized. So the family, with time lost contact with the church. Later on, they moved to Lima in hope of finding the church. After years of searching and by some miracle, they finally found the church and were baptized. This lady Soledad, went on a mission in northern Peru. After she came back home from her mission, she became a teacher for the MTC in Peru. Then she came to Spain and became distanced from God and the church. While in Spain, she met her husband Javier (which is another long and crazy story.) But, Javier has always been curious about the church and has asked her questions about it. He really wanted to know. She showed him the Temple when they used to live in Madrid.

I´ve never met a man more prepared and ready to receive the gospel than this man. Javier understands everything, and his goal is to be baptized and be sealed to his wife in the Temple. His first week coming to church, we talked about tithing and fast offerings. He liked it, and participated more than the whole class. He works at El Corte Ingles (I call it the great and spacious building). He´s so good, I almost wonder if the ward is pranking us with this golden investigator.

Javier said he felt so good when he was at church or when talking to us. He wished he had the gospel in his life before, then he felt bad that everyone in the world wasn´t feeling the same feelings he felt. He´s gold but the only problem is that he lives far away, and he can only meet with us in the mornings.

We have so much work as well in other cities that it feels like we spend a big quantity of our time riding the busses!! Anyway, I don't want to complain, we´re happy and feel very grateful for everything the Lord has blessed us with.

My companion and I helping Fransico Angel out of his house so he can attend Church.

This picture was taken at 2 children's (8 years old) baptisms. The famillies had a get together after. It felt like being at a wedding ceremony than at a batism. There were so many people and lots of food to eat. Everyone devoured the food!!

This week, we expect to see the streets filled of people celebrating "Semana Santa" which means "Holy Week". Everyone said "Semana Santa" would be crazy. This is one of the largest celebration or processions (religious parade) in Spain.

Tens of thousands of visitors from Spain and all over the world will crowd the streets of Malaga during the entire week of "Semana Santa" to experience this exhibition of the Catholic Faith.

There will be parades of large flotillas and decorated tronos (thrones) that carry images of Saints or depict scenes from the Passion and Death of Christ.

It has been normal thus far. We haven't seen any crowd yet. Also, we weren´t given any special guidance or rules by our mission President, so we´re treating "Semana Santa" like a normal week.

The ward will be going to the Temple during "Jueves Santo" on Saturday. I haven´t seen any processiones yet, but I´ve seen some people with their idols. It's really a big deal here. I´ll probably see more idols this upcoming week than anytime.

We visited a spanish refuge that was built during the War (see pics below). It was awsome!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Almeria 04/11/11

Elder Hamilton left and so did Elder Beck. So now it's just me and Elder Lignel. We´re getting along fine. This week, we cleaned the house!! It's all good.

Almeria Zone at training and conference

We had a good week. I gotta tip my hat to the saints of Almeria. David Moraza, the High Priest´s group leader, (I think that's his calling) gave a great lesson last Sunday. He used Jacob 5, and talked about the laborers in the vineyard. He said that we all have the tools, but how are we using these tools? Are we using our pruning hooks to clip our nails or to do work?
The Ward had 99% home teaching again this month, but David was advocating improving the quality of the visits. He shared a great example, 5 free men can do the same work as 50 slaves because the free men actually care about their work. As Saints of the church, we get to care and enjoy the fruits of our work.

I´ve seen so many acts of faith from the members here that it blows me away. For example, a member approached us one day at church and told us she wanted us to go with her to the hospital to visit a man who was badly injured. Since this man didn't have any family, she thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for us to fellowship him. An other example, a recent convert named Jose Miguel has spent a lot of his time doing over 210 names of geneology work! He´s also doing contacts in the street and passing out Book of Mormons to people he knew years ago. I´ve really been moved by the people here. They are always looking out for mission oppurtunities. They understand the gospel. They always go out of their way to help our investigators. It's awesome!!!!

Victor will not be baptise soon because he has some health isue that he didn't talk to us about. We finally met his mom and she strongly forbids him to be baptized. Victor takes anti-depression medication and his mom believes his medication affects his decision making abilities. So we´re holding off on him. And as for Ruslan, he is moving to Granada.

We chanllenged Patricia, an ohter investigator to be baptise but she isn´t ready for it by next week, so we´ll work with her some more. We taught the first lesson to a Bolivian man named Geraldo, and he likes it. He´s never been baptized, and he accepted a fecha for May 1st. Lola, accepted a fecha for May 1rst as well. Some of her children are showing interest in the gospel. We´ve been visiting her with the help of an ecuadorian member, named pablo. He's a RM from the Madrid Mission. He´s 31, but he´s still got the spirit!! We´ve adjusted how to teach with him, and now we teach well together :)

The Romanian family finally understand who we are and what we´re doing in their home. They have no interest in changing religions so we dropped them, but it was alright. They still love us.

I appreciate your letters. Thank you for your love & support.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Almeria 04/04/11

The Almeria District

We just had a very cool mission experience. We fixed an important date to teach someone named Nikolas, but somehow we lost contact with him. We didn't have an address or a phone number to reach him at. So today, as we always do on our P-days, we went to the usual "cafe" to use the internet to write emails but the place was closed (We thought it was odd cause it's never closed). Anyway, we went on to the other side of town to check out the cool computer cafe that offers "Apple" computers. When we arrived at the "Apple" computer place, it would not be open for another 10 mn. So Elder Beck decided that we should go for a walk by the beach. As we walk along the beach, we saw a gigantic sand sculpture of a crocodile and we decided to check it out! And guess who we found standing right next to the sculpture....yess it was Nikolas!!!! He was the creator of this magnificent sand sculpture. We were amazed by the beautiful work of Nikolas but more so that we have found him!!! What a miracle!! Nikolas believes God had bless him with his talent and wanted him to share with others. He's so positive and I'm so impressed with his trust in God. He's been reading the Book of Mormon and had lots of questions for us. What a happy & blessed day.

Nikolas the random miracle and his amazing looking sand dragon.

The baptisms for Rusian and Victor didn't take place but they are rescheduled for a later date. We are thinking April 16th. All of our investigators are doing well. Our Romanians are doing great. I learned how to say the word "baptism" in Romanian. It's Botez! The gospel is very hard to translate in Romanian but we do our best. Conference was good. We had a ton of investigators come. For some of them, it was their first time in a church building. I personally liked Elder Bednard's talk.

Here's a real truck in Spain

We are doing a lot of good work with one family that lives out in a small village. We have like 8 potential baptisms there. And we also started teaching a super awesome family, a less active member, Francisco Angel, his wife, their 5 kids and other relatives as well. They are super interested because the ward has been helping them when Francisco was in the hospital. I can easily see Francisco be like Paco, a valiant member of the Church.

Taking the elevator, it was pretty cramp in there

We had one transfer. Elder Hamilton has been transfered to the North and he'll be with Elder Barsuto. Elder Beck is going home really soon and he's excited about that. I am with Elder Lignell now. I´m super stoked to be working with him. He´s a hard worker. he knows whats what and he studies extremelly well. I am blessed to be with him.

Elder Beck, Elder Bennett, Nikolas & Elder Lignell