Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 27, 2013

Dear Family and Everyone,

Hello again! How´s everyone doing?

Whoa, weird I didn´t even realize it was memorial day. I hope you enjoy it and have good weather.

So, news from the week. Tuesday morning we dropped Elder Winkelkotter off at the bus station in Madrid, and I drove us back in our car which was. . . interesting. I´ve been the designated driver ever since (funny story about that later) and at first it was a little rough, but I´m a pro now. :) Tuesday was a really long, stressful day. We drove all over Madrid to meet various missionaries for various reasons. Driving in Madrid is insane! The streets don´t make any sense, we got lost a million times, but we´re alive and we didn´t hit anything, so it´s all good. I was exhausted at the end of the day, though. Stressful. That night we had a noche de hogar with Marcos and Maria and their 8 year old son "Markito" (I don´t remember if I´ve written about them before). His parents are less active, but they have come to church 2 weeks in a row now! Markito is the greatest little kid. He is always helping out his mom with the baby, and he loves listening to us teach. He wants to be baptized and on Tuesday we set a date for him. It doesn´t count as a baptism for us, but that´s OK. It´ll help the ward and it´s so cool to see his parents start to get involved with the church again after so many years.

On Wednesday we had a lesson with Mayte, the first time in a while. I don´t understand her. She is golden! She comes to church and young women´s every week, by herself. She reads everyday. She´s going to EFY for heaven´s sake! But she doesn´t want to get baptized. I don´t know what to do for her. It´s hard to know what to teach, too. This week we´re going to try to really talk with her and understand. That night we ate with Aurelio, this cool old Spanish guy who teaches Gospel Principles. He´s the only guy I´ve ever visited with his own house. It´s cause he lives a good way outside of Madrid. It´s a beautiful drive, though. 

On Saturday I did exchanges in Alcalá again. It was good, I love Alcalá, but we only had a couple of lessons. We taught another young girl who is in a hard spot. Her parents are Muslim and against her getting baptized, but she is so ready and wants to be baptized so badly. It was really sad to see this terrible situation she is in. We talked about trusting the Lord and that He will provide the way. 
On Sunday we finally saw Belén again, at church. She told us she doesn´t have to work for a few days so we are going to teach her a lot and get her progressing. We have a lesson tonight and we are going to set a fecha with her for the 15th. 

Elder Stephens and I have the goal of leaving the office at 6 every night, even if we have no lessons, which is awesome. So we´ve gotten some contacting in, which is good. We desperately need to find people to teach. We really only have Belén right now. So we are looking and we´ll find, it just takes time. But we really have a focus on the missionary work, which is how it should be. 

Elder Stephens is awesome! He is such a great companion. He is the nicest, humblest guy ever. He is from Spanish Fork. He´s got about a year and 4 or 5 months. He´s taken over in office without any trouble and works hard and effectively. He really has a love for the people too. There is a real power and spirit when we teach. It´s awesome! 

So, things are going pretty good here. We don´t have much work, but are working to get more and with time we´ll get it. I´m happy and working hard, which is good.

Thanks for the pictures you sent! That´s what I was looking for. It´s too bad that now that I´m in Spain I can´t have the Spanish look :P Haha! Thanks so much for all you do! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! I love you all sooooooooooo much! :D 

Elder Cousins

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013

Good morning family and friends!

Another week gone by. The longer I am in the mission the faster time seems to go! I can´t believe I´ve already gotten to talk with you guys twice. It only happens 4 times. That´s nuts. It was awesome, though, I´m glad we have the chance. Sorry I didn´t write anything last Monday. We didn´t have much time, and I figured we did get to see each other and talk for awhile. We did go to Toledo last week, which was a good time, but I came back empty handed. I just can´t quite bring myself to spend that much money. At least not yet. I will have to buy something there before I go home, even if it´s just a little dagger. 

Thanks for the pictures you sent. I´m glad you picked the one from Graduation where I look like a total dork. Haha, I´m kidding. If you check on my Facebook page there may be some photos of me from school with my beard. Also I wanted to ask for some pictures from my farewell, just of me and my friends and you guys. Thanks for always fulfilling my various little requests. 

Well, let´s talk about this week. Monday night after getting back from Toledo our trio pulled off what may be the first ever recorded instance of 3 way missionary splits. And now we know why it´s never been done. It was insane! But we pulled it off and had 3 lessons that night. 

We all got sick this week, so that was fun. I got over it pretty quickly, just a fever one night and then I was fine. The other two had a harder time of it. Elder Winkelkotter is still sniffling. Our weather has been absolutely nuts. Like worse than Utah: I got sunburned on Monday and then yesterday there was slush and sleet on our car. It gets really, really cold in our piso, too. I´m just praying for it to be summer already. 

I went driving for my first time in Madrid itself on Wednesday. In President´s car. That was exciting. Actually it was pretty easy because his car is a manual. We´ll see how I do with our car. I need some more practice I think. We were driving a new senior couple around, and they were talking about how they are not excited to drive here. I decided not to tell them it was my first time until we dropped them off at their hotel. 

Our English classes have really grown since the APs moved into our area. We now have 2 classes and we teach the advanced. Thursday was the second day and they all brought pictures of their families and presented them to the class. It was a really fun activity. One woman´s family is from Galicia and she told us that her sister plays the bagpipes in festivals there, because the bagpipes are a traditional instrument of Galicia. Basically I´m dying to go there now. 

We taught the ward "Noche de Hogar" this week and everyone who showed up was a non-member. We gave a really good lesson about the Good Samaritan and I found a great little talk by a Seventy that I shared part of. He talks about how the Savior not only did huge things like miracles and the Atonement, but that he also did the little things. He always had a kind word to share and a helping hand to give. He related that to the scripture that talks about how through small and simple things are great things brought to pass and that we should not tire of doing good things. I really liked it. Here´s the link if you´d like to read it:
I shared the last 2 paragraphs in our lesson.

On Saturday we got to play soccer with some of the young men. It was great to get out and move around again. I´ve missed playing fútbol.

Yesterday we finally met with Belén again, our investigator who showed up to church all on her own. We taught her about the Book of Mormon, how important it is and what it is about. She understood everything well and said she was going to read it. Then at the end we were just chatting and talking about how Elder Winkelkotter is going home soon and she surprised us all by asking if we were going to be able to baptize her before he goes home. We were all just like, yeah, if you want to, we will make it happen. So we set up to meet with her a lot more often and we´ll see how things go. It was really cool because we haven´t talked about baptism at all yet. The only thing was she asked us what happens after the discussions and we said, baptism. And she said ok, and then later this happened. So I guess she really is in this to get baptized, which is awesome. 

Unfortunately she probably won´t get to have Elder Winkelkotter at her baptism. We found out last night he is going to Cuenca Tuesday morning. I´m thoroughly surprised. I was sure he was going to stay here, I mean it´s only 3 weeks. But President decided to send him out into the field. He´s a little bit excited. And it will a good opportunity for Elder Stephens and I. Elder Stephens wants to be out in the street and teaching people as much as I do, so I think we´ll be able to find a good balance between office work and missionary work. It should be good.

That´s the news here and it sounds like you all have some news as well. Be sure to tell Bishop  Elsey and Jess and Ryan congratulations from me. I´m sure he´s super excited! What´s the baby´s name? 

I don´t think I´ve ever seen a mosquito here so I wouldn´t worry too much. 

Erin! What happened? How did she face-plant? Is she getting better? I hope she doesn´t have to use any of that scar medicine that I do. I still use it everyday, but it doesn´t seem to be making a difference anymore. Oh well.

Sarah, I hope you enjoy your dinner and congrats on getting into the Productions group. Will you find out there what play you will do next year? 

Tell Bekah I said hi and good luck with finding place to live. I know a little what that´s like now. If you have any questions, tell me and I´ll ask my companion. 

Hang in there for the last week of school, everyone and then make the most of summertime! Take lots of pictures. I love you guys! Take care. Thank you for everything you do for me! Talk to you next week.


Elder Cousins

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6, 2013

So how was everyone´s week? Mine was super busy the first few days and then pretty normal (a little boring really) the rest of the time (lots of time in the office). But. . . we managed to bring in 28 new missionaries to our mission and they all have somewhere to live! Monday and Tuesday were insane! President says he thinks that this is the most missionaries to come into a mission ever, anywhere. And it´s happening all over the world. They estimate 3 years before things even out again. In July we have 22 coming in, in September 37 and only about 16 go home between now and then. It´s crazy how much missionary work is growing and it´s so cool that everyone can feel it. Even the members here can feel it. Big things are coming. 

One of those 28 was a girl who lives in Lindon and went to high school with me, Courtney King. When we presented ourselves to the new missionaries, she asked me where I was from and then asked if I had a younger brother named Quinn. I said, "I am Quinn" and everyone laughed. She said I looked a lot different, so I guess I have grown on the mission (though mostly sideways I imagine). 

Well, on to what´s really important. . . Mother´s Day on Sunday! I´m pretty excited to see you all, see if I still recognize the girls and of course blow Mom a huge Mother´s Day kiss through the internet. All the computers here in the office are hooked up with Skype so we will be able to see AND hear each other (isn´t technology wonderful). In fact I´m downloading it right. . . now! Hopefully all goes better this time. OK, I have my account all set up and I sent a contact request to Dad (based on the picture of the Oregon Coast, I'm pretty sure that´s him). So you just have to add me and then I´ll give you a call as soon as I get on. We are thinking about doing it at 4 here, which would be at 8 in the morning your time. I don´t remember when you have church. If that absolutely doesn´t work, email me back and I'll check that morning before I call you. We can do it pretty much whenever.
They do have "Día de la Madre" in Spain, but it´s the first Sunday of May. So the native missionaries have already talked with their families. 

That´s super cool that Erin is going to try out for soccer again! Is she excited or more interested in track now? I hope it all goes well and she can enjoy playing again. Good luck Erin!!

Thank you for that scripture you sent. I really like it. It applies especially to life in the mission. Our thoughts and affections have to be placed in the Lord in order to have the Spirit and the power to do this work. I´ve learned that many times, the hard way and the easy way. I´ve been struggling a little lately, being in the office. It´s hard not being out teaching (we had almost no lessons last week) and it´s really easy to lose control of things like the schedule and really giving all to the work. Plus, I just abhor being inside in front of a computer all day. So, it´s been a little rough, but I want to tell you about something cool that happened. I decided to read the other day 1 Nephi 4 because it´s one the most powerful chapters in the Book of Mormon to me, especially when I need help. I was reading in there and thinking about how God lets us pass through trials (I mean He placed me here) so that we can grow, so that we can be better, and the thought came to me that if this is what I need to go through so that I can be the man God needs me to be in the future, as a husband, as a father, as a leader, then it´s totally worth it. In fact it would be worth it to suffer throughout this whole life if it was what I needed to be who He needs me to be. God has a plan and a purpose for my life. Every experience has a reason and something to be learned. It´s a lot harder in practice, in an actual situation that is hard for us, but if we keep that in mind maybe we can start to reach the potential that we have. God knows what is coming and He prepares us if we can be humble. It´s still not easy, but I have that to lean back on and to give me strength to do the right thing. I just wanted to share that thought with everybody. The mission is the best, I´m learning so much.

I love you all so, so much and I cannot wait to see you and talk with you on Sunday! Start thinking of some good stories to tell me! Ha ha, just kidding. Take care! Thanks for everything you do, you´re the best!!


Elder Cousins      

PS Pictures are from today. We went to El Escorial where all the Spanish kings are buried. Unfortunately, it was all closed, so we only saw the outside. It´s purty though, innit? :)