Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 28, 2014


So, if last week´s email was boring, I´m thinking that this one will make up for it. I´ll start with the bad news. Basically we got robbed. Again. Here´s the story:

So we were helping out a member move some stuff from the bishop´s house to her house at the end of the day, around 9. We loaded everything up and then rode in the car over to the member´s house. We got there and unloaded everything just fine but when we left we couldn´t find our backpacks. Turns out my companion forgot that we aren´t in the middle of nowhere Colorado anymore and he left both of our backpacks sitting on the side of the road unattended while we carried the stuff inside. Of course they were gone when we came out. So I lost my scriptures that I´ve used my whole mission, my camera and all the photos from this area and . . . my passport. Yeah. . . It kinda sucks. Don´t freak out about the passport or anything, we´re going to the embassy right after this to see what we can do and we should be able to get things sorted out. I´m not the first one to have this happen, I´m sure. I do feel pretty bad about the camera though. I know it was a gift from you guys and it was super nice (I really loved it honestly) and I feel bad for losing it. It just sucks, I´ve taken good care of my stuff for 2 years and then through really no fault of my own, it´s all gone. 

But, as with everything in life, I´ve learned from it. First of all, it´s all just stuff and in the end we lose it all anyway. Second, I was upset for awhile the day after, I´ll admit. While we were searching for the police station to file a report, I was thinking about how nice it would be to be home and not have to be responsible for someone else, just me. Then suddenly I realized that was dumb. My biggest goal is have my own family, to be a father, and I know for sure that my kids will do a lot stupider things than that. When my kid totals my car at 16 I´ll remember this and what I´ve learned from it. I´ll be spending the rest of my life being responsible for someone in some way. (Is it weird that my mind thinks like that?) Finally, the worst thing for me was losing my scriptures. They were full of notes and marks from 2 years of district meetings and studies. It´s like a journal of all I learned from my mission. But then I realized that if I´d really learned it would show in my character. And that at that moment it wasn´t. So I stopped my companion and made him cry right there in the middle of the street (in a good way). I apologized for being upset with him, and he said he was sorry too and why was it always him that does stupid stuff. I realized he´d just been beating himself up about it. I was able to explain to him all the things that I´ve just explained to you and help him feel better. Poor kid. sigh.

So that was my exciting story from the week. Sorry, I know that´s not the kind of thing you want to hear about. Everything should turn out fine with the passport (Meaning I should be able to come home. I told Sister Jackson that if not that was fine by me, as long as they can release me and I can just spend some time touring Spain. She laughed but said that was definitely not going to happen). I´ll let you know if I need anything from you guys to help in getting a new one. We´ll see. So the plan for today is to go to the embassy and to go shopping for some kind of bag to carry our stuff in (once we get new stuff). I think I´m going to be rocking the shoulder bag. I get more and more European every day :) I want to wait until I get home to get a new backpack for school so I get a nice one that will last me.

In other news Alex and his family came to church on Sunday! Yay! It was super cool to see the whole family there. But Alex did say that he had to force the kids to come and one of the teachers later commented that they weren´t super into it. Alex said that it´s a big change for them. They are used to having Sunday to rest. Heck, at 13 I wouldn´t want to go to some boring meetings at 9:30 in the morning either. I´m hoping that as they get to know the other kids their age they will be more excited about coming. For now Alex says that his plan is to come every other week so that they can adapt little by little. He doesn´t want them to go rebel on him. We´ll keep pushing them to come, but it looks like they are a long term project for us. But almost certainly they will get there. I think Alex is already convinced that the church is true. He is always so excited about it, I don´t know why else he would put so much effort into getting his family to be involved as well. He is amazing.

Also cool from Sunday was that Patricia gave her first talk ever in sacrament meeting! She did so good! On Saturday we went over so that she could practice on us. She was super nervous, but she did so good! What´s more, she had it all memorized. She didn´t use notes or anything! Her testimony actually blew me away. Patricia is pretty timid and quiet so she doesn´t say everything that she feels. So when she gave her testimony it really opened my eyes to how much she really has learned and how strong her testimony really is. She said some stuff that I would not expect a convert of 2 months to say. It was awesome! I love her, she is so great! So that was a really great experience to see her overcome her fear and have success in that. Plus on Saturday after giving us her talk we all cooked hamburgers together and had a great time cooking and eating. :D

That´s about all the news for this week. I feel like last week we hit bottom and this week things have been working slowly upward. So this week should be even better. 

I did receive my Easter package, thank you so much! That was really nice, I wasn´t expecting it. Heck, I can barely remember what month it is. But thank you for thinking of me. Thanks for keeping me up to date. I definitely want to hear Erin´s talk, I´m sure it was super good! I´ve noticed some changes in her as well, I´m not sure I´m going to recognize her when I get back! Honestly, I´m so impressed with how Sarah and Erin have grown and progressed in the time I´ve been away. I can tell that they have just blossomed in their talents and abilities and most important in their testimonies. They amazing me, truthfully. I have the best family ever :D

On that note it´s time to go. Remember that I love you all so much! Be safe, be good, be happy. Thanks for everything. Know that I feel you guys and your love close to me. Until next week.

Elder Cousins

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April 21, 2014

Hola familia!! Y Feliz Pascua! :D

Así se dice. Man, there are SO many religious holidays here! It´s crazy. But I like it, better to enjoy life, no? 

So I´m a little worried you guys are going apostate. Sunrise Easter Service and Bekah went to Easter Mass? What is this? Haha, no I´m kidding, that´s cool. Did you know we aren´t allowed to attend other church´s services? Like never. 

Well it sounds everyone is super busy! Holding out till summer no? 

So, I´m sorry that this e-mail is so boring. The thing is there really isn´t much to tell. Alex and his family came to the baptisms on Saturday, but not to church yesterday and we haven´t talked to them since so I´m not too sure what´s happening there. He was so sure too. I don´t know, but I´m sure there is some reason. This will only be a minor setback. As for Andrea we hope to see her tomorrow, she´s been crazy busy working all this week so we haven´t seen her. I´m a little worried though because she seems really different, talking to her on the phone. Hopefully we can visit her again and help to start keeping her commitments again. She is so great! And super prepared. But everyone faces trials in this. Marco Antonio has disappeared. We haven´t had contact with him for over a week now. But we´ll keep praying for a miracle. I hope we can find him again.

Other than that we´ve been out talking with the peeps in the streets. It´s been nice weather so that´s good. It´s really hard for my companion to stop people in the street so we are working on that, and I´m going to work to be a better example for him this week. Soon we should have new people to teach. We always find people. 

One cool thing that happened this week is that I got to go back to B6 for a day on intercambios! And I got to teach Bea and Kancho again after more than a year! It was super cool, but also kind of hard. We talked about casting out doubt and having faith. I shared what I had written in my journal the day of Kancho´s baptism, about the joy I felt and the love that I know they have for each other. I basically told them that they weren´t going to find someone better and they should act. It was funny actually, it was almost exactly the same as the "fuerte" lesson we had with them right before they got baptized. I hope this gives similar results. I know you pray for them, but please do so even more, that they can make the right choice. Honestly I´m pretty sure that in the end they will get married. I have faith that the Lord will perform yet another miracle for them. I know if we keep praying for them it will happen. 

Sorry this is short but that´s all I have for this week. Here´s a couple of pictures, the temple again and the plaza de toros right by the church. Thank you as always for being the best family ever. Thank you for your endless support and love for almost 2 years now (scary!). You guys are the world to me, I hope you know that. Be safe and be good. I love you.

Elder Cousins

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014


Well, we are officially in Semana Santa (Holy Week) here in Madrid! Yesterday was Domingo de las Ramas. There were little stands set up all over the place selling olive branches. I was actually wondering if you guys know what those are for. I get the significance of it, palms in the streets for the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, but what exactly do they do with them? Also, my companion and I were talking, isn´t there something special for every day this week in Catholicism? I guess we´ll see if we see any fancy parades or anything. Everyone is off work and school for most of the week, which hopefully means we´ll be able to find and teach more people. Something else cool is that the corridas (bullfights) have begun! Madrid´s Plaza de Toros (bullfighting ring) is right in front of our church so we pass it all the time. Last night there was a small crowd and a bunch of stands selling candy and drinks outside the ring. It was a festive, summer spirit. I´m excited to see in the summer how it is. Supposedly the big corridas attract a ton of people! Since I know you´re wondering, yes, I would be interested in seeing it, just once. Actually my companion and I are talking seriously about going to one. Until now they´ve only been on Sunday so we´ll see. 

The weather´s got way warmer, down to the short sleeves. And we did have a sudden downpour for about 10 minutes the other day. Luckily we were inside the church. It happens pretty often in the spring and summer here. 

Thanks again for your help with the apartment. Anything I need to do let me know. Also, thanks for letting me know about your plans for the end of the mission. I kind of feel bad I´ll be keeping you from the family reunion! :P though we will be having a reunion of our own :) 

As for the work, a bit of a hard week. We´ve been hitting the streets a lot, but getting a lot a people who live in other areas or who aren´t really interested. It´s a little difficult too, because I have to focus more on helping my companion out as well. But if I can help him to be a better missionary and have more success in his mission, it´s worth the cost of having a little less success here. Elder Forsyth has a really hard time with Spanish and a hard time stopping people on the street. But we are working at it and seeing results. This week has gone better than the last one. The good thing is he wants to learn and is making an effort. Sadly, neither Andrea nor Marco Antonio came to church this week. It´s a set back. I´m not too sure we´ll still be able to baptize them on the 3 of May like we had planned. Both are amazing, they read and pray and everything, but church appears to be difficult. We´ll have to see how it goes this week. We´re going through a bit of a rough patch, but we had an amazing miracle this week, one of the coolest things in my mission. But I have to tell you the story from the start. 

About a week or 2 ago we were out contacting. I´ve been trying to rely more on the Lord contacting, by praying in my head in the street to be able to recognize the people who are prepared. That night I was really trying to be a good example for my companion too and show him the success we can have contacting. Anyways, we were walking along and a man caught my eye. He was just standing by the entrance to the metro like he was waiting for someone. But he was a little ways away, we would need to get around some people and it´s a little weird stopping people who aren´t walking and for whatever other reason I didn´t go over to him. We got to the corner and crossed the street and I was still thinking about him. I decided we needed to talk to him, even though it would really be weird now because he´d seen us pass by once. But I knew we had to talk to him. So we went back and talked with him. It was a good contact and a good reference. He said he would have to talk with his wife first, and that we couldn´t come until a couple of weeks later, but he was a nice guy. 2 weeks later, on Friday, we had our first lesson with him. And with his wife and 3 kids. It was amazing! It is so rare to have a lesson with an entire family and especially one as good as we had. They are very open to listening and to coming to church. They have gone to lots of churches, but never felt quite right there. We testified that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and promised that it was what their family needed. It was a good lesson and both Alex and his wife, Mercedes, were very involved. I´ve always, always wanted to teach and baptize a whole family, that´s like every missionary's dream, so you can imagine how much I was flipping after the lesson. 

But it gets better. Last night they came to the special noche de hogar that the Bonifaz (my favorite family in the ward) put on in the church. And they loved it! They got to feel the spirit and some of what we believe (all about Christ) in the lesson part and then later get to know some of the members and have a great time in the game that David did. It was perfect too, because the game split the whole family up so they had to get know some other people. Alex was in my group and he was having a blast. It was obvious that they liked it and afterwords Alex was asking what time church was next week, said they were coming and said that they are coming to the baptisms on Saturday. :D It was amazing! All the kids are old enough to be baptized too, Iker is 13, Natalia 13 and Pablo is 9. The coolest thing about all of it is that Alex told us during the lesson that they do everything as a family. Even if they just go over to the park, they go as a family. Which means they will always come to church and activities as a family, baptized as a family. . . :D So cool!!! It´s just been  a huge miracle for me. I want to so badly to see this family accept the Gospel, be baptized together and later sealed together in the temple. I really feel like it could happen.

It´s amazing how the Lord always blesses us. He always has something amazing waiting when we go though hard times. I think I´m finally starting to remember that too, even when going through the hard times. Even though this transfer has been a little rough, I´ve been trying to remember that things will get better, it´s because the Lord is preparing us to appreciate the blessings He will give us later. But I didn´t expect this :D I´m happy. 

That´s all for this week. I love you all, have a great semana santa ;) and a wonderful Easter. Be safe! I love you!!

Elder Cousins