Monday, September 29, 2014

The Rain in Spain stays mainly in....Alicante

This week has been AMAZING. So amazing. Alicante is a beautiful city, and we have had a crazy busy week. We've been teaching every day, and trying to contact people in the streets. The language is a lot different than from what I've ever learned. The Spanish accent has a slight 'th' for c's and z's, which makes a lot of words hard to understand. But, if you just smile and listen more than you talk, you can generally get a feel for what the conversation is all about. The Spanish food is amazing. The members are great and feed us some of the best food on earth. If you ever get a chance to visit Spain, the Tortilla de Patatas is incredible. 

But this week has been different. We had exchanges with the zone leaders, and I had the opportunity to work in a different area for a day. It was great. Later today, we're actually heading over with the Zone leaders and a member to see the start of an international boat race that starts here in Alicante. We hope it still goes on because there have been a lot of rain here. Way more than usual, because generally, Alicante is a very dry part of Spain, but the past week we have had so much rain, which is a relief, because it cools down the day and makes it a lot easier to be walking around, especially in suits. 

With investigators, it's been a little hard, because we had two baptisms that didn't work out. But, we are going to find new investigators, and keep working until we find those ready to receive the message of the Restoration. That's one thing that I've noticed on my mission is that a lot of the time, your initial plan doesn't work out, and a lot of the time, neither does plan B, C, or D. But we have to keep on trying. And that's what we've been teaching a lot this week is about never giving up or enduring to the end. It's probably one of the hardest principles of the Gospel, never giving up. We have to every day be doing the things that make us better. We have to be constantly asking for help, because we can't reach our potential or what Heavenly Father really wants us to be without His help. If we want His help, we need to ask. That's literally all we need to do: hold on faithfully and ask for help from our Father when we need it and He will answer. He wants to help, but a lot of the times, we are too stubborn and believe that we can do it by ourselves. I know a lot of the times in my life, I've struggled with relying too much on my own strength, and not allowing Christ to step in and help me. 

Thank you all so very much for all of your love and support. I love it out here, it is hard, very, very hard but also very, very rewarding. 


Elder Weenig

Tracting at night in the rain the piso (apartment) after rain

 Alicante Castle at night

Monday, September 22, 2014

First Week in Spain

Wow. This is awesome. Really though, I feel so blessed to be here in Spain, it is an amazing country. We left the MTC, and traveling up the Airport was just me, Hermana Garcia and Elder Fillmore. It was sad saying goodbye to Elder Voss, he is such a great guy and will do such great things, but we are actually going to different missions in Spain, he will serve in Madrid.  We got to the airport, got on a plane and flew to NYC. We were hoping to see a bit more of the city, but ended up not being able to, because it was at night, and we didn´t have much time in our layover anyway. It was very cool being there, a few people asked us about the Book of Mormon musical, if we had seen it. We told them that we hadn´t, but we were sure that the book was MUCH better. From NYC, we flew to Paris. That was cool, although we couldn´t leave the airport, we ended up walking around the Chas de Gaulle airport. It is MASSIVE. We had a slight problem where our tickets would not print because of baggage problems, but other than that, it went pretty smoothly. Finally, we got on the plane going to Malaga. On the ride there, all of our travel group fell asleep, we were exhausted because we had been traveling for a really crazy long time (almost 24 hours in total).

We got to Malaga, and met out mission president and wife, President and Hermana Deere, who are pretty much two of the best people I have ever met in my life. Actually, we met them through glass because we were pretty confused on what to do, and then we saw them, and they gave us instructions by typing them on their phone and showing us. We were driven to the mission home, where we found out who our trainers are. They call it the ´sorting ceremony´and we are brought up in front of a map, and then they announce our trainer. Mine will be Elder Flint. He is awesome, this is actually his last transfer, so he knows the mission and how to be a missionary really well, so I am very lucky. We are assigned to the Alicante 2nd ward. we have an awesome view of the Alicante castle right outside our piso (apartment) window. To get here from the mission home was a eight hour bus ride throughout Spain, where we got to see a lot of the countryside and see a lot of new sites. Apparently, olive trees are abundant here- which reminds me a lot of Jacob 5 with the parable of the Lord´s vineyard and His olive trees. I like to think that we are in that parable, laboring alongside God.

It has definitely been a crazy, crazy week, but a great one. With a LOT of miracles. We have been teaching lots of lessons and contacting tons. I have made it a personal goal to try and talk to everyone. It´s difficult, and sometimes you say the wrong thing. For example, I accidentally asked a woman if she was married to the man waiting in line, and she gave me the strangest look and said no and then proceeded to stare at her phone until we left.  Well. The language is definitely coming, slowly but surely.

My companion and an hermana sang at a baptism for a little girl in our ward, and I accompanied. Music is an awesome way to share the gospel.

Also, for those of you who know a missionary´s schedule, you would be interested to know that Spain missionaries in Malaga have a significantly different schedule. We wake up at 7:30, study for an hour and a half, then go out and proselyte. At two, Spain has Mediodia, which is essentially a break during the day to eat or take a nap. We go back to our apartment for a couple of hours, finish studying and have lunch. After mediodia, we proselyte until we go to bed or until we come back at either 10:15 or 10:45, depending on our investigators. We go to bed at 11:30.

Anyway, in total, I am really just so glad to be in Spain and to be able to preach the gospel in this language. I still have yet to master the accent, but I love it and hope I will. Spain is on fire, our ward is giving us references, and we are hoping to get a couple of baptisms this coming Saturday.

Remember how much God loves us, no matter who we are and what we´ve done, He loves us and really does help us get back up when we fall down. He gives us our weaknesses not so that we feel bad about ourselves, but so that we can know how improve and grow in this life. being on a mission has definitely shown me how weak I am, but I know that through Him, our weaknesses can become strengths.

I love this Gospel. Tell everyone about it, Elder Bednar just gave a great talk about Social media sharing the gospel. Do it! And help the missionaries out in your area, have them over for dinner. I can PROMISE you they will appreciate it. :)

Thank you all for your love support and prayers, they mean a lot. I love you all so much and am so glad I have this opportunity to be out here, because I know this is what I am supposed to be doing, and I want to challenge every to be a missionary even if you aren´t using words. Just be an example in everything that you do.

Elder Weenig

Travel group -- Me, Elder Fillmore, and Hermana Garcia 

Chas de Gaulle airport
A window pic of Spain

My trainer, Elder Flint, and I.  Assigned to serve in the Alicante 2nd ward

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Last Week at the MTC

Wow. This past week has been insane. And full of miracles. On Thursday, I auditioned to sing at one of the firesides that we have at the MTC. I had some sheet music left over of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" from when I accompanied some of the members of my zone. This time though, I was doing a vocal solo. It was crazy. I auditioned in front of the MTC presidency's wives, and when I finished, the MTC president's wife came up to me and said, "You are in our yes pile, and we will try to get you a performance. But first, a HAIRCUT." My companion and I had actually scheduled one for the next day, so it wasn't a problem. Anyway, the performance that I got scheduled for was on Sunday for one of the Farewell Devotionals. It was crazy! Getting that notification was incredible, because the sister accompanying me, Hermana Leonard, ran up and said, "Elder Weenig! We made it! We are performing!" It was great! But as the performance got closer, I started to get more and more worried, because I had an awful cough that would not go away. My friend here, his dad is CEO of Doterra and gave me some cough medicine oils (which helped a lot), had some cough medicine, and consumed an entire package of cough drops, but after all that I still had a pretty bad cough. Just before the performance, I prayed, asking just to be able to perform at my best. I was really nervous, but was able to sing. God really does answer prayers, I was able to do my best, and I really owe it all to Him. 

Along with the notification that we would be performing, I got another great notification: my VISA has come through! YES! I met with the consulate on Monday, and got to meet with a lot of missionaries heading to Malaga. I cannot wait, it will be awesome. We leave Monday and fly to NYC for a layover, and then onto Paris. We wait in Paris for about three hours before going to MALAGA! I honestly cannot believe it came through. My travel group only consists of three people: a hermana, me, and Elder Fillmore, the other missionary who came with me to the airport. We are really excited to finally get to Spain. And have double checked that we won't be turned back once we get to the airport. :) 

Crazy, crazy week. But awesome. We have been getting ready to head out. We've gotten to teach over Skype, which actually was amazing. Our investigator couldn't do it during the assigned time, so we had to come back after all of our district had finished. So fun- I love teaching. We actually had a really cool experience waiting for the bus to take us from Main Campus back to West Campus. I saw a man sitting on the bench nearby us and kept having this prompting to go and talk to him. I waited for a little while, but then funnily enough, the second I started to talk to him, one of my friends in my district started at the same time. We talked with him for a few minutes, about how he was doing, and eventually started talking about the church. He is a Protestant, and is from NYC. I wanted to give him a Book of Mormon, but when I asked, he said he already had one. Our bus started to pull up right about then, so I told him that the Book of Mormon was amazing and that he should definitely read it. I don't know if he will take it to heart, but it is all about planting seeds. Hopefully sometime in the future, he will read it. On the bus, we were really excited about it, because it was our first time ever talking to someone we for sure knew was a potential investigator. It was great. :)

Anyway, the MTC is hard. Crazy awesome, but still very hard. The Spanish is coming along great- my companion and I start laughing sometimes when we mix up languages. It is such a great experience. BUT I cannot wait to have real food. And I cannot wait to get to Spain. I already have fallen in love with the country, just from hearing about it. I cannot wait to get over there and to get started telling everyone and everything about the Gospel. 

Anyway, I hope everything is going great with you all, remember that God really does care about and wants to hear from each of us, no matter how silly or ridiculous the problem may seem. He wants to help us! And I think that that is one of the best messages we can give, is that we have a loving Heavenly Father who wants to help us. 

Thank you all for all of the love, support, and letters. 

Love, Elder Weenig
Spain MALAGA missionaries. My travel groups is the Hermana on the far left, me, and the elder on the right. The other two Hermanas haven't entered the MTC yet, they will be going to the Madrid MTC.

Our District

Elders Lavery and Stirling. Two of the best missionaries I know.

The zone leaders with the Sister Training Leaders. We tried to take a serious picture and it didn't really work out. :)

Brother Rasmussen (my teacher)

West campus missionaries that are leaving on Monday for Spain.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I Love This

Wow. This week has been crazy. Full of ups and downs. And a whole lot of Spanish. My companion and I have been trying so hard to speak in Spanish whenever and wherever we can. I can definitely tell that we are both making great progress in the language. Actually, last week, just before I was going to leave for the Madrid MTC, the branch presidency asked me to give a talk, completely in Spanish. It was great. I know that when I get to Spain, a lot of people won't be able to understand what I am saying, but fortunately, we have the universal language of the Spirit on our side. In almost all of our lessons, we have tried to focus on that aspect of the Spirit, because we don't know the language perfectly, and will be only able to communicate our message through feelings and actions rather than words.  

Currently, we are teaching three different investigators, all of which have their own specific needs and problems that we need to address, which is hard, but the Spirit definitely directs us with what we need to say. For example, yesterday, during my personal study, I had the weirdest prompting to reteach one of our investigators the Restoration, which was weird, because that is lesson one, and we were on lesson three. I decided to study it, a lot more in depth this time, to make sure that we had one hundred percent covered it. I was really intimidated going into our lesson, because our investigator is incredibly intelligent and sees literally any flaw that we have in our lessons. He's a humanities professor and is very, very well read. We decided to go forward with the lesson and it went flawlessly. At the end of the lesson, he just laid back in his chair and said, "Wow. That was a very good lesson, Elders. I didn't understand very much about your church and Joseph Smith during the first lesson so this was a great review and way to help me understand." It was so awesome! I was on cloud nine. God really does let you know what you need to teach in the very moment you are supposed to teach it. 

No word on the VISA. We only have a week and half left in the MTC, but God will send us where we are most needed. I really have understood that with not getting to the Madrid MTC. His ways are higher than our ways, because most of the time, we just want instant gratification, but he knows what will make us grow and eventually make us the most happy. 

That's another thing that I've learned coming to the MTC. God gives us weaknesses and trials so that we can be stronger (see Ether 12:27) So, rather than looking at the bad and the painful experiences that come with life, it's a much, much better idea to look at the positive and try and see what there is to gain out of this experience. 

Our zone is great. We had a zone wide kick ball game, and it was amazing. I don't think I've played kickball since elementary school, but still we had a blast. It started raining so we had to leave a little bit early, but we thought it was a great way to build zone unity. That's what me and my companion are trying to do as zone leaders, and make our zone as unified as it can be. We have meeting with the sister training leaders and district leaders every Friday and Sunday to try and help get ideas how we can prepare our zone, and make it an example to the rest of the West Campus. 

Another amazing experience I had this week was teaching our teacher (posing as an investigator). I shared Ether 12:4, which talks about having hope in a better world through Christ. The Spirit was SO strong. Our object of the lesson was trying to show her the benefits of living the gospel, and I wanted to show her that believing in and having faith in Christ gives you hope for a better world. That scripture has really helped me on the mission by being able to see the positive in life. Actually, just read all of Ether 12. It really is one of the best chapters in all of scripture. 

God answers prayers. I know that more that anything now. We had a fireside at Main Campus on Sunday, and I forgot my scriptures and notebook there. I was pretty worried that I wouldn't find them, or that I they would get taken to an entirely different part of campus. I prayed, and had this feeling not to worry about it, that God would take care of it. The next day, I got called into the main office and they told me that they had found them and eventually returned them. It was awesome. God is in the details of our lives. I know that it a very small thing to get worried about, but it really showed me how much He really does care about, and loves us. 

Love you all, thank you so much for all of the support you have given me. 


Elder Weenig
 Jared (soon to be Elder) Awerkamp at the temple. He comes in in one week.

Our district in our classroom.