Monday, October 27, 2014

A Week of Finding

This week has been amazing. A crazy, exhausting week, but we have seen so many miracles this week. This last week our mission had a goal to find new investigators, so my companion and I prayed hard and worked incredibly hard to be able to find new people to teach, which was something we needed. I am just amazed by what we've seen this last week. We received a reference from our Zone Leaders this week to meet with a man named Antonio. Antonio is amazing. In our first lesson with him, we challenged him to be baptized and he accepted. He will be baptized November 22. We are so excited, because that is one week after another one of our investigator's baptism, whose name is Tekki. She is ten years old, and I think I may have mentioned her in one of my previous emails. Both of them are just amazing. But that really was just the beginning of the miracles that we have seen this week.

I think the biggest miracle we had was finding a new family. This family is amazing, and their story that put them in contact with us is even more amazing. They used to live in Pleasant Grove, UT, but moved here because of VISA problems. They live in San Juan Playa, which is in our area, but outside of Alicante, so normally, we would have probably never have had the opportunity to meet them. So, story time about how we come in. We got a text message from the referral system from one day, and after having some of our appointments fall through one night, we decided to call them. When we called them, they were so happy, which in itself was a miracle because we never get that reaction on the phone. Then we set up a time to meet with them the next day, and when we went over, we talked for a very long time, and found out that they are some of the coolest people I know. They LOVE Utah. They love the culture and how kind and accepting everyone is there, and when they moved here, they wanted to have the same feeling. They mentioned that they missed the culture of Utah to one of their friends who was visiting them out here in Alicante, and this amazing, heaven sent friend thought, "Well, I know two guys who I am sure will bring the same sort of Spirit." and submitted the reference to :)  I've never met this friend, but I am so grateful for him. This family is amazing, we actually just went with them for an activity on p-day and they kept saying that they feel the same spirit that they did as they felt in Utah. Thanks to all of you who set examples for others. I cannot describe to you how big of an impact that it makes, keep it up! You may never know who you can impact, but if you are trying your hardest to follow our Savior, then that is what counts. You will make a difference if you try. That's all it takes. A little bit of effort and you will change lives! 

On Saturday, we had a Halloween party put on by the Sister Training Leaders of our Zone, and it was fantastic. We had so many people attend who got to know the church and were introduced to members of the church. Elder Flint and I ran the donut eating competition which was very, very entertaining.

This week has been great, it is Elder Flint's last, so I will get a new companion this week, whose name is Elder Sharp.

I cannot describe to you how grateful I am to have this opportunity to share the gospel, I love it so much. I really am just sorry that we only have two years to dedicate to the Lord. It really is the best two years because all we do is serve, all day, every day.  I love this opportunity. I know that Christ lives, and that He loves us. Keep it up. If you ever feel alone, remember that Christ is always there to help you through the trials of life, because He has been here before and knows us perfectly and how to help us.
Thank you for all of your love, support and prayers. It means a lot.


Elder Weenig
Halloween Party

One of the families that came to the party! They are awesome.

My kebaptism. It is pretty intense. Kebap is just this mysterious meat sandwich-tortilla thing that every missionary tries when they come out here.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Finding, Finding, Finding

This week has been just incredible. A really busy week, but amazing. We had stake conference yesterday.  This week our mission is having a "Semana de Encontrar," or Finding Week.  Our goal is to find 888 people who have been prepared by the spirit to receive the gospel. We have been trying to find new investigators. Stopping people in the street, asking for references, all sorts of ways just to find more investigators. What we are going to try and do this coming week is find all of the old investigators from former missionaries in our area and get them to start investigating the church again. We went through our entire area book, found every old teaching register and compiled the information into a small little book that we can take out tracking. With all of the futures that we have and all of the old investigators that we are trying to recontact, we will have almost one hundred people to visit this week. We´ve organized it so that we will be able to reach them, but it´s going to be a process. We have been praying like crazy to be able to find those who have been prepared for receive our message.

Already, we have found someone who is just incredibly prepared. Her name is Andrea, and she is a friend of the old Bishop of our ward. We met with her yesterday, and she has already read parts of the Book of Mormon and wants us to help her understand it better. We are very excited to start teaching her, because she is just so incredibly prepared. 

Also, almost seemingly random experiences have given us the ability to meet with people is just putting ourselves out there so that God has the chance to work through us. I know that everything that we do is for a reason, and that God gives us the chance to change lives if we let Him work through us. We were sitting down, taking down numbers for the week when a man just stopped and asked us if he could talk to us about God. We talked for a few minutes and then he asked us if we would be able to stop by his home and there we could exchange ideas about God. We cannot wait to teach him, he is very spiritual and we hope that we can share with him the good news.

I love this opportunity, I love being out here in Spain, I feel so lucky every day to be here in this beautiful country with its beautiful people. 

I know that God loves us. I know that He is in the details of our lives, and even when it feels like we can´t keep going, he picks us up so that we have the strength to keep it up, and I have felt that so much this last week. He helps us keep the faith until the end, and I know that he will help and love anyone who asks for it. Remember how much hope we have in Christ. He is literally the source of every blessing to where we can look for hope and comfort, if we are open to let Him in.

Thank you all so much for your love and support, I hope that everything is going well with you!

Elder Weenig

Elder Fint and I

On our way up to the Castle Santa Barbara

We had a birthday party for Hermana Miller on top.

The Mediterranean Sea

Monday, October 13, 2014

Living the Dream

I love being a missionary. I love being able to talk to people about the church, and being able to just share about my Savior with anyone and everyone that we meet. Opportunities to share to Gospel pop up at random times in random places. Just yesterday, we were walking through a neighborhood where a lot of Gypsies live. We were going to visit an investigator that my companion found a while back. The appointment fell through, and we ended up walking back to the chapel. On our way back, a group of gypsies stopped us and asked us if we were Jehovah's Witnesses. We replied that no, we were Mormon missionaries. They hadn't heard of us, and wondered if we believed in the Bible, which is when we pulled out our Bibles and showed them that we both believed in the same Christ. We then just started talking about what we believed and it was awesome! They have such a great faith in Christ, it's amazing. Towards the end of the conversation, they offered me some marijuana. I just started laughing and said, no thanks. They insisted, and said that after one smoke you would absolutely love it! I said no again and gave them a pass along card and invited them to church. They said it sounds interesting, but that they already were part of an Evangelical congregation. Regardless, they were really great people and I'm glad I got to meet them. 

I honestly cannot tell you how much of a blessing it is to serve a mission. I could sit here and just list all of the things that have happened this week that have made me appreciate the Gospel more than ever, but I want to share some experiences that have really, genuinely changed my life.

Learning Spanish has been hard, especially when you set high expectations for yourself, which has been lesson number one for me: do the best in what you can, and let the Lord do the rest. Don't compare yourself to other people, because you are not in their situation. Do what you can. I know that God factors in degree of difficulty in our lives. He understands how difficult every one of our trials is for us specifically and will give us strength to overcome those that are tailored to make us the best we can be. Sometimes it's tough, and sometimes it feels like God is asking us to do the impossible. But, it makes us such better people when we endure to end, cheerfully submitting to what God has in store for us. 

Another thing that I have learned: everything happens for a reason. EVERYTHING. This last Thursday, Elder Flint and I were out trying to get to our appointments, and literally every appointment/meeting that we had fell through. We kept going from house to house, trying to find at least one person to teach. Finally, we got to the last back up of our back up. We got to the bottom of the stairs in the apartment building we were in and decided to say a prayer, and we just asked God to lead us to someone who needs us. We then decided to go and visit people that were either old investigators or less active members in our area. This is the part where we expected some miraculous finding of someone who had been fervently praying that we stop by, right? Well, actually no. Even after the prayer, we kept knocking, and kept going for another half hour until finally, we found an investigator that my companion had taught previously that we were able to come into her home and teach her a message. I don't know if our visit did make a huge difference in her life, but what I know is that it made a huge difference in mine. God sometimes gives us a challenge, and afterwards, we expect immediate deliverance from the problems that we have. We expect an instant end of the pain- but I know that God knows us perfectly and when the natural man inside of all of us wants our trials and problems to stop He knows that we are supposed to keep going. In Job 23:10 it says, "But he knoweth the way that take: when he hath tried me, shall come forth as gold." We may not know why we are suffering so badly in the moment, but we can know, through the Gospel, that when we have passed through all of these trials, we will come forth as GOLD. The most precious, most excellent result that can happen to us. 

I know that God lives and is in the details of our lives. I know that He cares about us. He knows our individual struggles. He wants to help us, we just have to let Him in.

Thank you so much for all of your support, letters, and love, it means so much to me to be out here and to have this opportunity.

Elder Weenig

This is one of the most famous buildings in Alicante, really beautiful, but I have no idea what it's called.

Our zone on p-day. We got to go through an international boat race museum. The race starts in Alicante relatively soon, so we got to have some lunch and talk with the members.

Alicante Castle

Monday, October 6, 2014

I Love Spain

This past week has been amazing. We have been so blessed to hear from the apostles, prophet, and other amazing speakers.   We watched conference in the Chapel.  We could only watch two of the sessions live, and only watched four of the five.  We will watch the last one on Friday. We had zone conference as well this week and our mission president spoke to us. It was amazing.  He talked about how the atonement applies to our lives in so many different ways. It's not only a cleansing power it's an enabling power in our lives. I know that's true. I know that God gives us challenges so that we can learn how to rely on him, and so that we can understand how to overcome and persevere even when it gets tough. Rely on him ESPECIALLY when it gets tough. Coming out to Spain has really opened my eyes on how little we can do by ourselves because we can do absolutely NOTHING without God. We can try, but the only true way to reach our full potential is to lean on him completely. I know that that's what I need in order to bring people to Christ in this area of the world.

The Spanish is coming. I thought I knew Spanish, but I was sorely disillusioned;)

Being a missionary is difficult, but I love being a missionary and I love being able to teach other people the good news that they can become better through Christ. Right now we are trying to find people to teach, and it's been pretty difficult.  Everyone thinks we are Testigos de Jehovah (Jehovah's witnesses).  We have to explain calmly that no, we believe in Jesus Christ being Jehovah, in blood transfusions, and in celebrating birthdays.  Hurray for our friends, the Testigos,  There's a lot of misconception that certain missions are more difficult than others, and that people are more receptive to the Gospel in different places in the world and others are not. This is not true. I know that God is equally as powerful in changing the hearts of his children through his servants in any country or city throughout the whole world. The scriptures tell us this exact thing:  The field is not "brown, plowed and ready to be planted", it is "white and ready to harvest". We are not being sent out to sow seeds, we are being sent out to harvest. We see miracles every day that really testify to me that God will provide a way for us to accomplish his work and bring souls unto Him. 

I love being out here. We have had the opportunity to challenge an investigator to baptism, and while she's unsure, we hope that soon she will be baptized. We are also working with a daughter of a member who has never been baptized but has recently decided that she wants to. She's amazing, and we can't wait for her baptism. 

Remember that we have weaknesses so that they can become strengths. Remember that God didn't send anyone of us here to fail, He sent us here so that we can learn, grow, and become better, even when it's painful. Remember that the Atonement is both a cleansing AND an enabling power. We can use it to become better, and realize who we are supposed to be.
Love you all.

Thank you for your love and support,
Elder Weenig