Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014

So. This is interesting. . . 

As you so subtly mentioned, this is my last transfer. I now know my last area and my last companion. And they are both new! And you´re going to flip.

I may have mentioned before how much I´ve always wanted to see Galicia. . . I am now living and serving in Santiago de Compostela, the famous end of the pilgrimage Route of Santiago, 8 hours north of Madrid and the capital of absolutely gorgeous Galicia. I am already in love (I don´t know if it was just the 8 hour nighttime train ride or the 2 years without leaving Madrid, but I literally cried at 6:30 this morning when I began to see my first glimpses of the Galician countryside. It is so beautiful!). I got on the train at 10:30 last night, and arrived in Santiago at 7 this morning. Bit of a long day. We did our shopping this morning and then a quick tour of the city. The biggest attraction is the cathedral where Santiago (or James) the apostle is supposedly buried. It was very impressive. They say that Santiago is the second most Catholic city in the world (after the Vatican). I guess we´ll see how that affects our work. My companion (Elder Eskelson) says that we have about 30 members in the branch (much smaller than I´m used to), but that they are very close as a group.  I have the goal of visiting all of them this week if possible. I´m actually really excited to work with a smaller group of members and more closely with them. I´ll have to work quickly. I can´t believe I´ll only be here 6 weeks. I also have the goal to see as much of Galicia as possible in 6 weeks. I still can´t believe I´m here, it doesn´t feel real! I can´t wait to see your reaction next week! Haha!

My companion is Elder Eskelson. He is from a town just north of Logan, also went to USU and also can´t stand BYU, so we´re getting along perfectly. Haha, no but really so far it´s gone great. I´m excited to just go crazy and give my very best this last transfer. New places and people give me excitement and that will help me work. 

Other news. . . It was pretty difficult in the end for me to leave B2. It had it´s challenges, but there are also some very very special people there. We had a tender moment saying goodbye to Patricia and Estefany and later to Joaquín. But perhaps best of all was being with the Bonifaz family one more time and the gift they gave me. I wrote a little letter to them during sacrament mtg, expressing my thanks to each for all they have done and telling them that they are honestly the member family that I have become closest to in my whole mission. They gave each of us a gift and note as well when we left their house. They told me as well that they consider me one of the family, but the very best was the extra note that David put in. He is their 22 year old son who just put in his papers for the mission. He said in his note that I have been one of the people who´s testimony has helped him decide to serve a mission. I can´t tell you how happy I am. I am so excited for him to have this experience. So so happy. Lots of tears in the last 24 hours. The mission is like that. 

So, now it´s dumping rain. Also part of Galicia :) 

As for the World Cup, Spain has just turned their back on the selecion. From what I´ve heard they are just making fun of them. Kinda sad. Do you know if this is true? I heard Xavi Alonso just left the team, like he won´t even play the next game. Wow. All is up in the air right now with the US right? They tied with Portugal so I have no idea what´s going to happen. Meanwhile Germany is powering their way through everyone. I guess we´ll see.

Well fam, I think that´s it. I´ll send along some photos from today as well (now I do wish I had a camera!) We´re in the last leg of the journey now. It´s going to go quick. Let´s finish strong together. Keep praying and I´ll keep working and we´ll see some miracles here. Love you all! Be safe


Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 16, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!! You didn´t even tell me anything about your birthday celebrations! Did you think I´d forgotten? Yours is the easiest to remember because it´s flag day! That being said, I didn´t remember in time to send you a letter, sorry :/ But I hope it was amazing just the same. Also. . . HAPPY FATHER´S DAY! Are they always so close together? I never noticed. I hope you also had an amazing day and that everyone did nice things for you. 

What a great chance to tell you both how much I love you and to thank you for all you´ve done for me. I´ve come to realize so much more on my mission the importance of the family and especially how blessed I have been when it comes to family. It´s thanks to both of you that I have the gospel in my life, that am I person who knows my Heavenly Father and trusts in Him, that I am even here on the mission! I owe all the incredible experience that has been my mission to you as well, because without you I wouldn´t even be here. I don´t say it often enough. Thank you, so much, for everything. I love you guys so much! 

So this week. . . (sorry if I´m a little distracted, they´ve got the Germany Portugal game on the TV in here). Well, speaking of fútbol, what the heck happened to Spain?! We´re all shocked. And nobody can explain to me what happened. 5 goals? Poor Casillas eh? But, I maintain my pride and my hope! I still wore my Spain jersey out to play soccer the next day. There is still hope, but I fear Chile is going to be hard. Goal Germany on a penalty! Dang they´re playing hard. So. . .missionary stuff. . . man this is hard. You have no idea. 

So you´ve got my travel plans already? Dang, I haven´t seen anything yet. Where´s my transfer? It should be a lot better than the first time. Once I can stop crying I should be able to just sleep the rest of the way there. Lord knows I´m tired enough. 

So Edgar is going to get married, but in September. He and his girlfriend go back to Bolivia in September and they want to get married there while they are with family then come back. He is sure about it though and about getting baptized afterwords so I´m super happy for him, even if I´m not going to be here to see it. Iván and Paula didn´t show to church and we actually haven´t been able to see them again since the first visit. I´m little worried but hopefully we´ll be able to get in touch again and teach them. On the other hand we passed by Andrea this week to say hi and she said she is less busy now and that we can come on Tuesday to visit her, so hopefully we will be able to start teaching her again. That would be awesome! Thank you so much for praying everyday for my investigators. I wish I could express to you how much that means to me. I know without a doubt that it makes a difference. I can feel the love you have for them, even though you´ve never met them, and that´s amazing. Thank you. 

One other thing from the week then I have to go. Yesterday I had a really awesome experience where I was able to teach my companion how to trust in the spirit. We had a lesson with Joaquín (he´s having some troubles right now) and it was really difficult. He was more stressed out than I´ve ever seen him and we just couldn´t seem to calm him down or help him out. It got to the point where I just didn´t know what to say. And so I waited for my companion to say something. And waited. But he didn´t, so we finished up (we were able to help him cheer up a little and he´s doing better today), but we sat down to talk about it afterwords. Turns out that Elder Forsyth had had a scripture in mind, but he didn´t share it because he wasn´t sure it would apply and he was afraid of looking stupid. I explained to him that that was selfish. That he allowed his own pride to get in the way of helping Joaquin and following the spirit. I helped him recognize that that was the spirit, that that is how the spirit speaks to us, but that he hadn´t followed it. I also explained that I am hard on him, because I can see his potential. I think maybe no one has ever really pushed him before. It was a good talk, he said he´s grown a lot in our time together and he understood what I was saying. In fact in the next lesson we had he applied it. He pulled out a scripture that was perfect that I would never have thought of and we taught the best lesson we´ve ever taught together. It just went perfect. Afterword I explained that that was because the spirit was guiding us. (Gooooooooooooooal! Germany again!) That´s what we want in all our lessons. And I think he knows how to do it now. I´m okay with being transferred now if it happens. He´s ready. 

Remember, wanting to be perfect hinders the spirit. Trust in those feelings.

Transfers are next Monday. So next week we´ll know my last area and last companion in the mission. Until then. I love you guys, be safe and be true. 


Thursday, June 12, 2014

June 9, 2014

Hello family! 

Oh, I see. The date is not to remind me how close I am to going home, just to remind me that I´ve been out so long that you´re run out of ideas. ;) But don´t misunderstand, of course I´m excited to see you all again, it´ll just be hard to leave behind my other family that I have here. 

You went to a Peruvian restaurant? What did you have? Do you remember the names of the dishes? Peruvian is by far the best South American food I´ve had here. :) Yum. . . 

Speaking of food. . . today´s P-day adventure was a visit to the oldest restaurant in the world! Not just in Spain, in the world. It has a Guinness World record certificate and everything. It´s called El Botín, if you´d like to look it up. It was AMAZING. It was totally worth the 40 euros for lunch :P. I had (Mom will like this) artichoke hearts with jamón serrano (incredible!) and the house specialty, roast suckling pig. So good! It was really cool, too. It´s been in function for almost 300 years, since 1725. Can you imagine? It was way cool. It was also something that Kinghorn and I had decided to do way back when we together. So he came and finally got to do it. Galeano was there too, so it was way fun to get together with some old friends again. 

Things have been looking up work-wise as well. We have found some new people and we are trying to work with the members a lot more and get more excitement going on. We have our activity planned for the 21st. We are going to re-enact Lehi´s dream of the tree of life. We are going to create an iron rod of string and have people try to follow it to the tree of life while others try to lead them away. We also talked about a kind of block party in the neighborhood of one member. It was her idea and as we talked she got all excited about it, and it sounds like it would be a great way to get to know people and to have fun, so I´m hoping we can pull it off. 

One quick story and then I have to go. We met a new couple who had been taught once before and had a really great lesson. they committed to come to church on Sunday but didn't come, but the wife especially was really touched. She described feeling the spirit very strong. She said that before we came and shared she had felt some sort of anger or frustration, but all of that was taken away. Their names are Paula and Iván. Please pray for them. And keep praying for Edgar. He said he wants to get married and get baptized so we are really excited for him.

All in all things are going really well and I feel better. I feel like I´m focusing on the important things again too. The other day I washed a member´s dishes after they fed us and it felt really good to just serve someone and show love out of no interest of my own. I think the ward needs more of that. 

Thanks for keeping me updated. (you made me laugh with the comment about your class. Are some of them not so smart?) I for one can´t wait to come back and hike with you! As for taping the Spain games the answer is YES! Please do, it´s killing me that I won´t be able to watch it. (an hermana who lives here in Spain said that she almost didn´t come on the mission because she would miss the world cup). Also, Spain will win. Have faith. Remember the champion´s league. . .

I love you guys so much! Be safe! Until next week