Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013


Sorry this is going to be short again, seeing as there are 5 of us here in the office and only 4 computers. 

I´m glad you were not worried, I was afraid you would be. So yes, I am now serving in the mission office. My official title is the Mission Historian and basically I do everything else that the other 3 don´t do. My main jobs are entering baptismal records into imos, sending out references and ordering and delivering supplies and chappas to the missionaries. I also do the weekly bulletin that goes out to all the missionaries. As Elder Levorsen says I´m getting plenty of preparation for my future calling as ward clerk. I don´t know if my Spanish is that good, but being in the office definitely involves doing some translation. I´m totally scared to drive, but I haven´t started yet, so I´m just not thinking about it until it´s time. We still do some proselyting work (when it´s not transfers week). We leave the office between 5 and 7 everyday and go out to work and we normally don´t come in on weekends, so it gives us a decent amount of time to do missionary work. Alcobendas (my area) is actually one of the highest baptizing areas in the mission. We have more progressing investigators here than we did in B6. So far I really like the area. Our ward has about 100-120 active members and they are very involved and excited about missionary work. About half the ward is recent converts. My address is just the mission office address. 

Elder Winkelkotter was raised in Texas but lives in South Jordan. His name is from Germany and it means something akin to ¨farmer.¨ The people actually have an easier time pronouncing his name than mine. The ¨ou¨ is impossible for Spanish speakers. 

I got to meet some of our investigators this week. Marcelo is our main guy. He has a date for the 13th of April and is super prepared! I haven´t met anyone so far in the mission who is so excited about the gospel. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and how to recognize the spirit and he was describing the spirit before we even taught anything. There is good work to be done here.

We are not very far outside Madrid, but this town is a lot prettier than the area I was in before. There are cool monuments in every roundabout and several really cool tile murals I´ve seen. I like it here. 
So this week is ¨Semana Santa¨ or Holy Week. They take the entire week off leading up to Easter. I´m not sure what kind of partying they do, but I guess I´ll see. 

That´s awesome that Bekah presented her thesis at Utah State! Did she fall in love with the campus and decide to go there? Just talking about it trunks me out. I love Logan. So it´s between west coast or east coast eh? Whatever happened to DC? I was sure she was going to go there. 

Congrats to Erin on her track meet! That sounds awesome! Apart from the bleachers. 

The Tardis is wonderful. Sorry it´s not bigger on the inside though. At least you´re safe inside it. 

Gotta run. Thanks for everything, sorry I can´t write more. We´ll see if I have more time next week. 
I love you guys!

Elder Cousins

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 19, 2013

Hey Family!

Sorry I´m a day late, I have had the most nuts weekend ever! I´m just writing you this quick note to let you know I´m alive. I´m not sure when I´ll have time to write again. Maybe next week. .  . 

So, I suppose you´ve figured out that I was transferred. I am now serving in Alcobendas, a suburb of Madrid, or as it is more commonly known here, the Mission Office. Yep, that´s right. I am now an office elder. For this reason I have not found time to write, sorry. Our busiest time is during transfers as well. As such I spent most of the day yesterday in Cuenca which is a 2 hour drive from Madrid (yes we have a car, and yes, I will be learning how to drive. Scary!) Today we are going down to Toledo to open another piso. I´m not actually in charge of pisos, my companion Elder Winkelcotter is. I am . . . still not sure what I´m in charge of. The elder I´m replacing is training me for the next 3 weeks, so I guess I´ll find out. So far I mostly answer the phone and people´s questions a lot. I´ve done some data entry (baptism records) so basically my summer job was great training for the mission.

Also, Daniela did get baptized and it was awesome! I´ll send you pictures next week. I love you all and I´m sorry if I´ve made you worry! It has been nuts. I went to bed at 1 last night! And was at the mission home until midnight. Yeah, things are a little different now. Gotta run! 

Love you guys!!

Elder Cousins

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 11, 2013

Hello Familia! 

I´ve been waiting all week to see your response to the news about Beatriz and Kancho. I´m glad you enjoyed it as much as I did! I wish you could have been there to see it! No, they are not married yet. In fact Kancho told us it can take up to 6 months for all the paperwork and to get an appointment and everything. I don´t know how since apparently no one around here gets married, but that´s just the way it is. Is it one year after baptism or one after marriage that you can enter the temple to be sealed? Either way my prayer is that I will be able to see them sealed, like Kyle with his family. I´ve always known that that is the greatest experience you can have in the mission and the fact that it may be possible for me is something special.

That is so nice that people are asking about me. I´m glad they liked the Bea and Kancho story too :) Tell Mrs Walker hi from me and she is a wonderful person! How is Jeff doing in his mission? I think that´s great that you and Mrs Otterstrom share mission stories! 

That seems so weird that Kyle is home. It doesn´t seem like he´s been gone that long. That´s great though and it sounds like he had an awesome mission. Don´t worry, I´m looking forward to sharing my testimony in Spanish and weirding out even the Spanish-speakers because of my MadrileƱo accent. That´s good quote, I´m going to write it down in my agenda for next transfer. It´s true that the Lord knows where I need to be and I´m so grateful that he gives me the opportunity to make a difference in people´s lives and at the same time experience a difference in mine. There is a scripture in D+C that says that when we teach by the spirit both the teacher and the student are edified together (D+C 58 something I think). It´s so true. I´m learning so much on my mission as well as teaching other people. It´s amazing isn´t it, how God works so that all of His children are blessed and that those blessings come through other people. 

Let´s see what news there is from the week. Daniela (our perfect, golden investigator) is getting baptized this coming Saturday the 16th. It was going to be the 9th, but she missed church last week because of a migraine (stupid Satan), so she had to wait a week. But she has had her interview and is totally prepared. Also, we got the postcards she sent from London this morning, which are super cool. So I´m super excited to end the transfer with one more baptism and to see someone so prepared and so deserving of the blessings enter into baptism. 

We have found some new people this week. Another couple of people who are very prepared for the Gospel, Maribel and her daughter Fatima. They are people who are really looking for the truth. I´ve learned from them that the investigator brings so much to the lesson. Because they were prepared and willing to act to find the truth, the spirit was there so strong and we taught one of the best first lessons I´ve ever been in. I see good things in the future with them. We also taught a man named Eduardo who used to be very active with his church, but a long time ago. In the lesson he told us that he feels an emptiness, a hole that can´t be filled. He said he knows he needs to find God again to fill it. Another person that God has prepared and then blessed us to find. 

Basically things are going very well here and I´m loving the work and life as a missionary. I realized for the first time the other day how hard it is going to be to go home. I feel like I´ve learned so much already how to hear and follow the Spirit and I never want to lose that. 

Thank you so much for writing me every week and telling me about what´s going on at home. Thank you for listening and for making the people here a part of your lives as well. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for always expressing your love. I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week! 


Elder Cousins

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013

Dear Family,

I have some good news for you guys this week. Kancho did go through with his baptism and it was amazing! Not as many people showed up as for Beatriz´s, but his friends were there and Beatriz was there, so I think that was the most important for him. 

Beatriz gave a very sweet talk to start the meeting. She said she had been preparing her talk for the last 2 days, but that now, in front of everybody, her mind was blank. She ended up just talking about how happy she was for Kancho, how proud she was of his desires to share the gospel with his family and how she hopes he will continue to live the commandments throughout his life. She didn´t use any scriptures or anything, it was all from her heart, which was special.

The Bishop gave a good talk about the Spirit and about doing baptisms for the dead. He said today you get baptised for you, tomorrow for 20 or 30 people in the temple who have been waiting for years and years. It was a good talk.

After that I preformed the baptism, which was awesome, even though the water was a little cold. It was awesome to see him dressed all in white with a tie and everything. Haha, he said the baptism clothes were basically what he wears to work, minus the tie.

We went back into the chapel and Ely bore her testimony. And then Kancho got up to give his testimony. I was a little bit worried, he´s a pretty quiet, reserved kind of guy. He started by saying that he was a man of few words, and then he gave a beautiful testimony about how growing up in Bulgaria he never was taught about God and that the first thing he wants to do is share the gospel with his family. He talked about how in the church he has found true friends which is not easy to do and he thanked all the missionaries who have helped him to this point. I got a little emotional, to be honest. He was like a different person. There was new life in him and a light in his eyes, that I´ve never seen in him before. I remember thinking I want to bottle up this moment and keep it forever. He said he´s learned that there are two types of people in the world, those who ask why and those who ask why not. He said that he´s always been one of those who asks why, and that the missionaries especially know that, but that he has learned that sometimes you just have to act. And then he started talking about Beatriz. . . He said that 8 years ago he met someone who has been a support and a guide in his life ever since. He said he knew that their meeting wasn´t coincidence. And then he said: ¨With all of you here as my witnesses I would like to ask her hand in marriage.¨ He walked down from the stand to where Beatriz was sitting in tears, got down on one knee, in between the pews and everything, and asked her if she wanted to marry him. I think she could hardly breathe, but she managed to say yes and he put the ring on her finger and kissed her. Everyone started clapping. I was in complete shock. I didn´t know whether to laugh or cry, and I´m pretty sure I did a little of both. And then, get this, he walked back up to the stand and closed in the name of Jesus Christ and then sat down by his fiancee. 

I don´t know how to explain how I felt. I don´t know if I´ve ever been so happy. I didn´t stop smiling the rest of the night. It was probably a little inappropriate to propose from the pulpit, but I don´t even care, it was perfect and I´m definitely never going to forget it. I called Elder Rigtrup that night to tell him and he said that is probably the greatest story he´s ever heard. I agree. My dreams over the last 5 months are coming true. Now it´s just one year and they can go to the temple together and receive the greatest blessing we can get in this life. Thank you so much for your prayers for them. You´ve never even met either of them, but I know you´ve prayed with love and I know it´s made the difference. I´ve seen it and it´s a miracle. I´m so happy for them!

Other than that it was a normal week. We had to push back Daniela´s baptism to the 16th because she didn´t come to church this week (she was sick). But I think it will be better that day anyway. We need a bit more time. She is so good though, I have no worries, just more time to teach everything more tranquilo. She came back from London on Tuesday and she brought Jelly Bellies and key chains for Elder Berton and me! How cool is that? She´s awesome.

So yes P-days are Mondays and I didn´t realize it but, transfer days as well. Next transfer will be the 17th. Haha, I have no idea if I´m going or not. We were pretty sure last time, but look at what happened. You never know. I´m good with either as well. I love Barrio 6. The members here are awesome and there is so much work. We´ll just see what happens. 

Well that´s all I have for this week. I´m glad it´s starting to get a little warmer. I love you guys and am so so grateful for all you do. Thank you for your love and support and help. It means a lot. I couldn´t serve the mission or see the success I am seeing without you guys. I love you!!


Elder Cousins