Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 28, 2012

Hello, again!

Haha, I´m glad you enjoyed my tiny amount of knowledge about fútbol and Xabi Alonso. Am I worthy to wear the jersey? Haha! Wow, I didn´t know that he used to play for Liverpool! That explains why they´re not as good anymore. Just kidding, I have no idea how they are doing. Speaking of soccer I went to my one game of the mission yesterday! It´s actually a really sad story. The game was a complete bust. An investigator who is a season ticket holder had extra seats for Elder Rigtrup and me, but Rigtrup has already been to a game so he couldn´t go. I was planning on going with Elder Pluim, our old piso mate on exchanges, but it turned out the game was last night instead of the 17th like we thought. So our investigator called us last night and then we had rush over there and Elder Fisher ended up coming instead. All of this was fine (although it would have been cool to go on my birthday) and the game was free, the problem is that it was a second division game. So the second string team played. I didn´t get to see anyone I wanted to. They played Modrich, Benzema and Di Maria. They were the only even remotely good players on the field. The game was 0-0 until the last 20 minutes. Basically it sucked and I´m pretty upset that I wasted my one game on that. I didn´t even get to see Alsono play!! Oh, well, I´m sure I´ll get over it, but right now I´m pretty bummed.
So it turns out paella is pretty expensive (and hard to spell), but Elder Fisher and I did end up splitting one. We went near Sol to go to this cool Toledo shop that has swords and armor and ceramic stuff. They had some of the Lord of Rings weapons there and I bought some Christmas presents for people, so it was good. We´re planning on going to Toledo and the main shop there next week, but that´s a different story. Anyways, we got done at the shop and then we wanted to eat, but we were in Sol so everything was super expensive. We were also running out of time. So we ended up eating at this swanky restaurant and I spent 14 euros for a meal and to split a paella.The meal was small, but the paella was pretty big and it was good. It had chicken, mussels, and four giant shrimp in it. Whole shrimp. We had to peel off all their little legs and everything. It was good fun. It was pretty tasty though, and there was a lot of it. So that was our Thanksgiving. :) I´m glad that you got to spend Thanksgiving with some of the family (after all that). Just from what you made it sounds delicious!

Yeah, we had to do the YMCA again, but it wasn´t so bad. The talent show was actually a lot of fun! There were some great performances. My personal favorites were a cover of Pete Townsend´s ¨Let My Love Open the Door¨ (which is probably not the actual title), but with missionary lyrics and a Dear John version of ¨Hey Jude,¨ both all in Spanish of course. They were pretty hilarious, especially the Hey Jude one. After that Hna. Jackson brought out a ton of American Thanksgiving desserts that she made. That was incredible! I got to have pumpkin and apple pie, so it felt a little like home. :) It was a good time.
We e-mail from places called Locutorios. They are just a room full of computers and some phones.

That´s awesome that we have so many more missionaries leaving from our ward. And all Spanish speaking too! Haha, thanks, but they will probably just make fun of my Spanish. Luckily I will use all kinds of words that are swear words to them, but are just fine in Spain.
Birthday and Christmas package?! My family loves me! Thanks Mommy, that sounds awesome! Especially the warm stuff, it´s getting pretty freezing here. I just have to find a present for Dad (any ideas?) and then I will send your presents. So if you get a box from Spain, don´t open it until Christmas!
Thanks for your advice and encouragement. I promise to do better about being the example and not waste any time. I know how important it is. Thanks also for reminding me how important it is to plant seeds. I know you are right about that and it takes time. I have been feeling down about the work lately. Albert fired us (didn´t show) for the first time this week. I want so badly to help him, but I can´t if we can´t meet with him and talk to him. I don´t mind it taking time, it´s just that I feel like all the people we have aren´t progressing, or are even going the other way. But I know you are right. Who knows what will happen later on in their lives? Maybe now is not the time, but when the time comes they will remember what we have taught. I know the Lord has a purpose in me being here. And I have a long time ahead of me to teach lots of different types of people. I know if I stay faithful and obedient He will bless me with success and with the ability to bless other people. Anyway, thank you for your support and encouragement. It means a lot to me. I´m so grateful to have the blessings of the gospel and a family in the gospel. I love you. Thanks for your prayers. I promise to continue forward and do better.
I hope everyone has a great week! Do something fun and stay safe! I love you all!

Elder Cousins

Friday, November 23, 2012

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone is enjoying a day of good American food, family and friends. My companion and I as well as our piso-mates have decided to put a Spanish spin on our Thanksgiving. After this we are going downtown into Madrid to a café to eat as much paella as we can (afford). We are still going to the mission activity tonight for desert though. I wish we were going to watch a cheesy movie like you, Dad! Our activity is going to be a talent show and I have to dance the freaking YMCA again. Not fun. But other than that it should be a good holiday/p-day.
We´ve all become pretty close as a piso now. In fact we stayed up a little past 11 the other night playing Risk. It reminded me of when we used to play. I´m a lot better now, in fact I think I´m winning as of now (we only played about 2 turns each, so by the end of the transfer we may have finished a game). I´m glad that we have a fun time together.
Actually, I have felt a little worried lately. I feel like recently we´ve just been going through the motions in our lessons. I feel like I need to improve my teaching a lot and teach with more power. I guess that just comes through prayer and from focusing on the people and the work always. Anyways, just a feeling I´m having. Any advice or encouragement you have would be great. And of course your prayers always help, thank you for that.
I would like Mom to know that I paid an extra 18 euros to get my jersey printed specifically with Xavi Alonso´s name and number, that he plays midfield, can score a goal from the midline, and that I will be growing a beard like his as soon as I get home. Also I have the ultimate Real Madrid/Spain/fútbol in general fan as a companion, so if you ever have any questions, just ask me and I'll find out the answer from him. It is a pretty amazing jersey though, isn´t it? I love it.
The riot/strike didn´t bother us too much since it was p-day. The worst thing was that we had to walk an hour and half home at 10 at night because the metro was shut down. The funny thing was that all the demonstrators had to do the exact same thing because they shut the metro down. Serves them right. Also fun fact we learned about Spain after that: apparently after Franco was removed from power the people created a law that they can have strikes whenever they want and, get this, that there is an annual salary from the government for organizing strikes. Also, this is a law that can never be taken away.
That picture of the tree makes me want to cry! That´s so sad. That is a ton of snow! Has it continued to snow or was that just a freak storm? I love the girl´s costumes, haha! That is one happy nerd. Was Sarah silent all night then? Haha, that looks like it was way fun!
I´m not sure how you guys run things, but if you could make sure the following goes on the blog: "A shout out to Grandma and Grandpa: thank you so much for your card and for the pictures! Those really took me back, haha! Sorry that you haven´t heard from me, I tried to respond to your e-mail, but maybe it didn´t work. I have gotten your letters and I have been meaning to write one back, but I haven´t done it yet. I promise I will. Thanks for all the letters, I love hearing from you." Yeah. . . need I say more?
A funny story for you all from this week. We got a call from a group of college students who were doing some sort of project on the Mormon church and they wanted to know if they could interview us. We said okay and set up a time to meet at the temple. We get there and turns out they are film students. So they have this huge camera and a boom mike, the whole nine yards, right? It wasn´t a very long interview, but they were all very Spanish and I could not understand the questions hardly at all, but they wanted both of us to talk, so I tried my best and then Elder Rigtrup answered what they were actually asking. It was super embarrassing and now in some Spanish college there is a video of me rambling about the Word of Wisdom and sealing in the temple in terrible Spanish, and probably with subtitles so they can understand me.
Other than that the work is going pretty well. We have a recent convert who was practically inactive, who has completely changed this past week. He came to all of church and was super happy, talking to everyone. We have had a couple good lessons with him since and he has really opened up and showed desires to learn and continue forward.
Albert is pretty much our only investigator right now, and I´m little worried about him. He only came to one hour of church and he fired us for a Noche de Hogar with a member family. I think he is getting nervous, but I´m not sure why. But he is still a great guy and we want him to have the blessings of the Gospel too bad to lose hope. Other than that just pray that we can find some new people, we need more people and the excitement of someone new.
Well, I have to go now. Thank you all for everything. Thanks for love and support. Thanks for writing me every week and telling me about life in the outside world. I love you guys sooooooo much! I hope all is well and you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Remember how much the Lord has blessed us. Until next week.

Elder Cousins

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 14, 2012


Hmmm, that sounds like an interesting idea that the Zaldivars have. I guess it could work. I don´t know that I´ll ever serve in her area though. 

Hannah is going on a mission?! That is so cool! And to your homeland, haha! Tell her congrats and good luck from me. That´s awesome. 

That´s super sad about the tree! I love that tree :( I hope it recovers. Are the girls enjoying the snow at least. 

I´m glad the roadshow went well and that people did what they were supposed to, haha. You should e-mail or mail me some pictures from it and of the girls' halloween costumes. 

That should be fun having people over for Thanksgiving! We are having a Thanksgiving activity with all the missionaries in Madrid, so that should be cool. Oh and P-day will be on Thursday next week because of that, just so you know. Don´t freak out if the e-mail doesn´t come right away. Honestly, I don´t really know anything about the Holiday Season here in Spain because it hasn´t happened yet. I think that Christmas is not a big deal but Three Kings Day (I think that´s what it is called) is huge. They give presents for 3 days. That´s honestly all I know. 

I´ll include some pictures of the piso as well. So I guess I´m not really sure what kind of stuff you guys want to hear about. I don´t know if you´re interested in my investigators or more in P-day activities (today is a huge strike so everything is shut down. We´re just going to play soccer) or about culture or food or. . . I don´t know. Anyway, let me know what you´re more interested in and I´ll focus on that in the future. 

Well, on the week´s news! Really crazy week this week. Pretty rough as well. Our fecha with Albert fell through at the last minute. He decided he wasn´t ready and we realized it´s true. We got caught up in how fast he was progressing, but he still doesn´t understand some basic stuff, so we´ll keep working with him and helping him out. He really loves being with us and learning from us. He comes to soccer every Saturday and he was really worried that we wouldn´t want to hang out with him after he said he wasn´t ready to be baptized. We assured him we still loved him and want to see him. He´s such a good guy and he really wants to change. 

Probably the most exciting thing from this week is transfers! I am still here in Barrio 6 with Elder Rigtrup which is exactly what I wanted, so I´m happy. Unfortunately our pisomates have left and we have two new ones: Elders Levorson and Fisher. They seem like good guys, obedient and hard-working, but they are really quiet. Elder Rigtrup and I are. . . not. They are starting to warm up though. 

We ate with members a couple of times this week and had amazing food. We had some Peruvian potatoes with this delicious sauce and we had an Ecuadorian dish that was kind of like fried rice but with a different flavor and a bunch of different meats. It was so good! That´s my cultural spice for the week. Spain is a sweet mission because you get to learn perfect Spanish, but at the same time meet people from all over South America and learn a little about their cultures as well. It´s super cool!
Well, that´s all I can think of for the week. I hope everyone is safe and happy. Thanks for everything. I love you guys!

Elder Cousins

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7, 2012

Last P-day of transfer one! Can you believe that by next Wednesday I will have a full transfer under my belt? Pretty cool!
Haha, I wish I didn´t have to hear about politics! We just got back from a p-day activity at the mission home, and the topic of discussion was the election. It was basically what Erin says her class will be like. You´d think being a missionary and not even living in the US would make a difference, but I guess not. Nonetheless the mission home activity was a lot of fun. We just hung out, played some soccer and ate a bunch. It was fun to be with a bunch of missionaries (take a little break from the same people all the time) and not have anything to worry about. President and Hermana Jackson are super cool and Hna Jackson makes the most amazing deserts! (Not better than Mom´s, it´s just that anything cooked by someone other than a missionary tastes like heaven).
Ah, roadshow! Such memories. It was actually pretty fun as I remember. That´s so cool that Sarah wrote the script! Is she acting in it as well? How about Erin? I can´t wait to hear about it and to see the video of it (though that might have to wait a little while longer).
Good to hear that people are thinking about me and wishing me well. Say thanks to Jared and the Andersons for me. Also, I´ll keep Chris in my prayers. They actually announced today that we will be having a Thanksgiving activity as well. I´m really lucky to be here in Madrid, close to the mission home and lots of other missionaries. I don´t think other areas have activities like this nearly as often. Hopefully I will get to stay here a little longer. Elder Rigtrup found out today that Barrio 6 is going to change this transfer, but not who. I´m praying I stay right here with him.
Haha, that´s great that Gordan put up that picture! That was some good fried rice. It´s a family tradition of Elder Rigtrup´s. Every Sunday after church they make fried rice. Funny story about teaching me actually. I wanted to try one day so he explained how and then went into the bathroom and I completely messed everything up. It turned out okay though and now I think I´ll remember how.
Well, on to the news of the week. First of all, the baptism for this Saturday is off. We´ve postponed it until further notice. Kancho called us on Monday and told us that Beatriz still hadn´t left, but she was going to move to an apartment in town, but a separate ward. That´s fine, but we were afraid that they would get baptized and then just move back in together. So we had a lesson with them yesterday. It was very intense. We found out that what we were worried about is what would have most likely happened. They share all their money and it just wouldn´t have been possible to maintain 2 separate pisos. So we explained to them how that wouldn´t work and told them to pray about what the right thing to do is. It´s so hard because they know what is right and they want to do what is right so badly, it´s just a financial issue. It was a really intensely spiritual lesson and I was able to bear strong testimony that God would answer their prayers and that no matter what the answer was he would provide a way for them. It is going to be a huge trial of faith for them, but I know they can do it and will be baptized. As of now we are going to meet again tomorrow and hopefully figure out the right thing to do. Please keep them in your prayers, they need as much help as they can get. Thank you for doing so already, too. I know it helps.
Our other main focus is Albert who is doing wonderfully. He is progressing incredibly fast, accepting everything and keeping his commitments. We had a lesson with him this week to make sure that he has a testimony and is ready for baptism. It was really cool. Almost without asking he bore his testimony to us that he knows that God exists and that this is the way He wants. He told us that he would continue after his baptism and keep coming to church and praying. It was an awesome experience when the Spirit testified to me and Elder Rigtrup that he is ready for baptism. I´m so excited for him!
We also had a lesson with Carlos and Jerson, the teenagers. We decided to teach them the first lesson and get them progressing with or without the mom. We were about halfway through the lesson when the mom walks in the door. At first it was super awkward. Here we are, two guys she has never meet before, in her house, teaching her children about God. But it turned out incredibly. She sat down and we explained who we were and what we were doing. She was very interested in what we did as missionaries and asked a lot of questions. She was really impressed with our sacrifices and what we do. Then we quickly recapped the first part of the lesson and finished it with her there. She seemed really interested and asked a lot of questions. The best part is that she asked some question about life after death and we were able to use that to set up a second lesson next Sunday to teach the Plan of Salvation. It was definitely a miracle of the week.
Well I have to run, we an appointment soon. Sorry that I didn´t get pictures of the apartment still, I will post those next week. Also, I bought a Spain jersey last Wednesday with my card, in case you were wondering about the charges (it´s freaking legit! I will put pictures on next week). Thank you for writing me, for thinking about and for praying for me and my investigators. I love you all so much! I hope everything is going well and you are safe and happy. I pray that you are everyday. 
Thanks again. Love,
Elder Cousins