Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas!

This last week has been one of the best of my mission. So many amazing things have happened these past couple of days that have made this last week incredible.

Yesterday was Jhizel's baptism, and it was one of the best experiences of my mission. To start off though, I have to tell you a little bit about how teaching Jhizel was. Our main focus was to ensure that she had a lot of friends at church and that she was doing well with keeping her commitments. But we felt like we could add in another element, which would help her conversion even more. When we were talking about it, both Elder Black and I decided almost instantly on what, or better said, who that extra element would be. We have both served in the Algeciras branch. It's actually where we first met. While we were there, we would joke about being companions in Granada -- here we are. It's really cool how things turned out. Anyway, while we served there, we met a recently returned missionary named Claudia. She is kind of the same person as Jhizel, and we thought it would be a great idea to introduce them. It turned out so well, and they get along really, really well. It was great. Anyway, Algeciras is a long way from Granada. So we'd kind of ruled out the option of Claudia coming to the baptism. But on Saturday, we went to Jhizel's house to give her the baptismal clothing and she told us that she had a surprise for us. We knocked on her front door, and Claudia answered! It was one of those moments where you're not entirely sure what to do so you just kind of stand there and stare. Also, my Spanish momentarily failed me, so the first thing I said was "What? Claudia?" Fortunately, she understands a little bit of English. Anyway, it just made us all the more excited about the baptism. It was like seeing family after a really long time, and it was fantastic.

Anyway, the day of the baptism was fantastic. Jhizel was so excited and we could hardly wait till 7:30 pm when the baptism started. The baptism went really well. Jhizel had asked Elder Black and I to do a musical number for her baptism. She told us that she really liked the song "Asombro me da" (I stand all amazed). So we decided to do a violin-piano duet. It turned out really well, but it's been those lyrics that have really been in my mind lately. It could be because I really have been amazed at the miracle of Jhizel's baptism. After her baptism, she came up and told us that when she went into the water she didn't want to leave. She felt so calm and at peace that she just wanted to stay down there forever. Because of a rather unfortunate risk of drowning, it couldn't be like that. But I really did like the feelings that she expressed. She talked about how calm she felt, and when she gave her testimony, it was incredible because she hadn't just been baptized, she had been converted. Her brother also got up and gave a short testimony for Jhizel. He said that he really enjoyed what he felt during the baptism and wanted to eventually, for himself, take the same step. We've actually never spoken with the brother, but we have our first appointment with him tomorrow.

So many miracles. I love this. I don't really know how to explain what it is like to see someone change their life. To see someone become a 'new creature in Christ'.  I don't know how to say how glad I am to be out here. It can get very difficult at times, but to see someone dressed in white for the first time makes it worth it. The hymn says it better than I can. I do stand all amazed. This work really is wonderful. Wonderful to me!

What a great day to be a missionary!

I love you and we will talk to you on Friday.

Elder Weenig

Jhizel's baptism

With Claudia

Churros and Chocolate with the Garcia family.
This is a typical Spanish treat.  You have a cup of melted chocolate in front of you and then you dip the churro in.

Monday, December 14, 2015

La Sierra Nevada

This last week has been great. Jhizel (we found out that´s how you spell her name. We were really surprised and a little embarrassed. But yes, Gisel is actually spelled Jhizel) She passed her baptismal interview. We were not really worried to be honest, but we were really happy with her when she came out. The missionary that did the interview was really impressed as well. The interview took place right before the annual Granada Christmas concert. In the Granada ward, they hold a Christmas concert where the Granada band comes to perform. It was packed. There were so many people that we did not fit inside the sacrament room. We had arrived a little bit late because the interview went long, so we ended up talking with Jhizel in one of the back rooms, waiting to help clean up the concert. While we were waiting, we started talking with one of her friends that had come with her. Her friend is not a member, and is not familiar with the church. But as we were talking with her, Jhizel was able to bear a really powerful testimony about the church and the benefits that she has had in her life from living the standards that she has learned. It´s been a really incredible, to see her change. She will be baptized a week from yesterday. She is so excited, and I can´t wait for her.

So Elder Black and I have decided to sing ´White Christmas´ for the mission talent show. Although the south of Spain gets about no snow, we are blessed to be one of the only parts of our mission that might get the chance of seeing at least a part of a white Christmas. Hence, the song choice.

Today was one of the best p-days I´ve had on my mission. We decided to take the elders from Motril and head up to the Sierra Nevada. It was incredible. It was literally like walking into the Sundance Ski Resort, because there was snow!  It was pretty great. Granted, a lot of the snow was artificial, because we have been having a really dry year here in Granada, which is a little disappointing, but at least today we got to go on a Russian sled and finish off the day eating churros and chocolate. (I think I´ve mentioned this before, but it´s basically this amazing Spanish dessert. It´s a lot of plain churros that you dip in chocolate. Then you drink the chocolate afterwards. Delicious.)  Anyway, it was a really fun p-day. We´re not allowed to go skiing, so seeing all of the skiing gear and people going skiing was really hard for all of us, who had all skied or snowboarded before the mission. We are hoping to take the rest of the zone up with us this upcoming p-day to go sledding. So today was great. Really, really fun.

Today is also one of those days where I really wish I had a little bit more time. This week has been great. I will probably just sum it up in highlights:
  • We did an exchanges with the elders up in Jaén, because they had a candidate ready for baptism and needed a baptismal interview. 
  • The Venezuelan family that lives next to us is playing secret Santa. 
  • The Granada Kebap, which is the best Kebap (kabob) in the entire mission.
  • Guitar sessions in our apartment, which probably keep the neighbors alert. 
It really has been a great week. We have been very blessed. We have also had a lot of people fail us this last week, but after the trials come the blessings. So we are sure that a lot of blessings are waiting around the corner. We have been blessed with a lot of success in our area in the past, but a number of investigators have stopped wanting to listen. So we start again. That´s what I love about a mission. It applies directly to our lives. When things don´t go exactly how we want them to, we can change and begin again. It really has been a great week. It's a great day to be a missionary. 

Love you,
Elder Weenig

Zone Conference
From Alicante District. Elder Fisher and Hermana Garcia


Monday, December 7, 2015


So the week of transfers is here again. It´s a really great thing to receive transfer plans instead of having to make them. It´s a huge relief. I love being in Granada. Elder Black and I will be staying together this transfer. We´re happy about it, and we will actually be together until February, because this transfer will be pretty unusual. It will be an eight week transfer rather than the normal six weeks. We´re really glad because it means we will be in Granada for Christmas and also for Gisel's baptism.
Oddly enough though, it is still really warm. It is pretty different to walk outside with a short sleeved shirt on and be perfectly fine. We are hoping to get at least some snow up here because we have plans to go sledding on the p-day before Christmas. We were able to set up a Christmas tree in our apartment, which is really nice. The Bishop gave us some advent calendars. It´s a good way to start off your morning by eating a little chocolate. We´re getting excited about Christmas. The members are great, and we are really excited about being able to spend Christmas with them.

This last week we had a really good conference in Málaga. We had an area seventy come down from Germany and he gave a talk on how our mission is doing. One thing stuck out as he was talking: "You´re pretty good at what you do. But now we´re asking you to make it even better." It really struck me when he said that. It made me think about how sometimes we can get complacent with where we are in life or in the mission. What I want to make sure is that I don't get complacent with where I am.

Yesterday was one of the best Sundays in my mission. Gisel came to fast and testimony meeting. She not only asked us about what it was, why we do it and all of that, but she actually got up and bore her testimony to the congregation. It was amazing. She gave a really strong testimony about how she came to know the church and that she was very excited to be baptized. She talked about how she had come to know the missionaries in a really critical time in her life and that she was really excited to be able to be a part of this church. The rest of the congregation became pretty motivated after hearing her testimony. Many got up after her and talked about how they had felt inspired by someone who wasn't even a member giving their testimony. It was a really great testimony meeting.

The work here in Granada is going very well. We are seeing a lot of miracles in regards to being able to teach people and being able to find people to teach. We've been very blessed. This next week we hope to be able to teach Gisel's family. She told us that she has the vision of getting her whole family baptized and active in the church.

It's been a great week. and it really is a great day to be a missionary.

Love you all,
Elder Weenig

We found this elevator and used it to get to a person we are teaching.

Monday, November 30, 2015


Happy Thanksgiving!

It´s the end of November and sunny outside. I really can´t believe it. The members tell us that it is actually pretty unusual. But we are not complaining. For our p-day today, we played soccer as a district. It was really fun. Supposedly though, the cold starts in December. So we will see how the temperature is in about a month.
This last week flew by. It was also one of those weeks where you can´t believe that it all happened in one week. It´s been a pretty great week.

Big news: We spoke with Nelly this week! She called Gisel and while we were there we were able to speak with her. She is doing well. She says that when she goes to church that she looks for us. We miss her a lot. But hopefully, I will still be here in Granada when she comes back in March.

Other big news: Martins and his family moved to Italy (close to Rome). They actually originally lived in Italy and had only moved to Spain temporarily. They sent us an email and asked for the Italy missionaries' phone number so they could get in contact with them. They are doing well. Before they moved, Martins had received the priesthood.

Gisel is doing so well. My companion and I feel kind of useless sometimes as we teach her because she has such a great knowledge of the gospel. In fact, she has been taking her cousin to church for about three weeks now. Her cousin is 7 years old and has been attending primary. We had the primary program on Sunday, Her cousin participated. It was crazy, because at first I thought she was just a daughter of one of the members. I did a double take when I realized that it was Gisel´s cousin. It got even better when she recited her line for the program: ´When I am baptized, I choose to follow Jesus´. Which made my companion and I look at each other and smile. I really hope that we are able to begin to teach the rest of Gisel´s family. It´s Gisel´s goal as well. We had a really cool lesson with her a couple of days ago. We were in our usual cafeteria, teaching a lesson, but this time we were teaching with a member from Algeciras! Her name is Claudia and she´s pretty fantastic. The day that we began teaching Gisel, Elder Black (who also served in Algeciras) and I talked about how Gisel reminded us a lot of Claudia. So we put the two of them in contact and have been really happy about how well they have gotten along. Gisel has told us many times that she wants to serve a mission, and Claudia finished her mission about a year ago, so it was a perfect situation to teach. We got permission from President Andersen, and we were able to teach with her. It was great.

I don´t have much time today. But I just want to say how grateful I am to be out here. I really am grateful. It´s a great day to be a missionary.

Elder Weenig

Celebrating Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Goodbye to Nelly

I know I have mentioned this before, but I´m really not fond of goodbyes. They are not fun. Especially when you know that you may never see that person again. But like my MTC teacher once told us, ´That´s what you´ll be doing for the next year and a half to two years of your lives. Saying goodbye to people.´ So, we get used to it I guess, but this last week was especially difficult.

Nelly left on Wednesday. We had a goodbye dinner with her, Gisel, and Pepe. It was a bittersweet goodbye, because even though we would not be able to teach her anymore, we knew that she would be well taken care of. She also told us something that really stuck with me. She told us she wanted us to know that if we ever thought that our mission´s were not worth it or that we were wasting our time, to not think it, because she had found the truth. She wanted us to know that she, a daughter of God, had recognized who she is, and that was what made all of the difference. It was a really special experience. She called us right before she boarded her plane for Peru, and it was one of the hardest things to hang up. She really is a great woman, and told us that she as going to try and bring the rest of her family into the church.

It´s been a great week. Really. Church yesterday was proof of that. We were sitting in priesthood, getting ready to start the meeting, when all of a sudden walks in one of our investigators, whose name is Antonio. Antonio´s a middle aged Spanish man, who we had invited to church, but really didn´t have much faith in him turning up. Thankfully, God is able to work miracles regardless, and Antonio told us that he just had a feeling to come to church that day, even though it was really cold outside. (It actually has become quite cold outside now. Granada has snow on the mountains.) Anyway, Antonio sits down, and leans over to me and says ´You didn´t call me.´ Now, this is one of those moments where you remember that you were supposed to do something but it slipped your mind and someone catches you for it. I was supposed to call him that morning to remind him to come to church, but he came on his own accord. Very cool.

In terms of other news, we did an exchange with the Elders of Jaén. As zone leaders we do exchanges with every district leader each transfer, and this transfer is a only four weeks, so we are a little pressed for time. Anyway, Elder Black is our assigned driver, but we wanted him to be able to travel to an exchange, so we made arrangements for one of the new missionaries to come and be with me so that we could still use the car. It was an adventure teaching someone to drive in Spain. Especially someone who has never driven in Europe before. He did well, We avoided most cars, and we got to where we needed to go. But I did gain an appreciation of Elder Black´s parallel parking skills. We ended up teaching Gisel on that exchange. The first time since Nelly had left. We were a little bit worried about Gisel, with Nelly leaving. We were not sure if she was going to want to keep coming to church or whether she would start to lose the desire with her friend gone. But Gisel is not like that at all. Instead, she has done the opposite. Now with her friend gone, she has begun to invite her friends to come and learn about the Gospel. It was incredible, because when we sat down to start teaching, she told us that she had invited a friend to come and listen to us. We were about to start the lesson when her friend showed up. We started teaching the lesson, and were going pretty well, but then Gisel jumped in and did an incredible job of testifying and teaching. She has a desire to serve a mission, and I can already tell that she will be an incredible missionary. She just needs to get baptized first -- December 20. It has never seemed so far away. But we are praying for her, and the ward has really taken her under their wing. There is a family from Venezuela who live here and they are really helping out a lot. They had us over for dinner yesterday and they told us that they were very, very impressed with Gisel. They talked about her powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. Elder Black and I joke that she´s not really even an investigator anymore. She is a ´dry member´ (someone who lives the Gospel without having been baptized).

Things are going really well. We are seeing a lot of miracles. I am very lucky to be here.  It really is a great day to be a missionary!

Love you,
Elder Weenig

Goodbye dinner with Nelly -- Elder Black, Pepe, Nelly, Gisel and I

Monday, November 16, 2015

A little Bit More of God's Love

Today I am writing you from outside the Alhambra, an ancient Islamic fortress in the mountains of Granada. We have had to get up really early to be able to get tickets to see the Alhambra as part of our p-day. Supposedly they run out very quickly. But I can't help but be excited. The Alhambra is one of the most famous castles in Spain. It was the key point in the siege of Granada during the Reconquista of Spain by the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella. Needless to say, I'm very excited to go inside today.

It has been quite the miraculous week. Granada is seeing a lot of miracles. Elder Black and I are also sympathizing with Timon and Pumba, as 'our trio's down to two'. Elder McConnaughey finished his mission this last week. He finished really strong and was a great example of how to finish a mission.

As I told you last week, Nelly and Gisel came to stake conference and to the baptism that night. They both loved it. Nelly especially. I told Nelly that if she wanted to get baptized this last week, we would need to have the decision made on Tuesday in order to get everything ready for the baptism. So on Tuesday morning, I am on the phone with Nelly. She told me that she could hardly sleep because of the decision that she had to make. She told us that she would tell us her decision at our appointment that night.

Nelly and Gisel live in a pueblo (small city) called Santa Fe. It's  about thirty minutes away from Granada by bus, but thankfully, we have a car. (A note on Santa Fe. It's called the Pure City, because it was built by the Catholic monarchs to lay siege to Granada during the Reconquista of Spain. Supposedly it has never had the Islamic influence in its structure or building. Completely created from the Catholic tradition.) Man. I love how much history is here. But anyway, back to the story. We went out to Santa Fe on Tuesday and met with Nelly and Gisel. We generally meet in a cafe in one of the main plazas of Santa Fe. This lesson was going to be the three major commandments that we teach before baptism (tithing, word of wisdom, and law of chastity) so we were all silently praying that neither Gisel or Nelly ordered a coffee. It was a huge miracle that they didn't and they ended up getting an warm infusion. (We ordered a cola cao, which is generally for children but it tastes good and reminds me of hot chocolate). Anyway, as the lesson progresses, Nelly began to get a little withdrawn. She finally told us that she had reached her decision. She told us about how she hadn't been able to sleep all night, when she had the thought to open the Book of Mormon and she opened randomly to Mosiah 18. There she read Alma's challenge to the people in that time to be baptized. She told us she felt that it was true. She was silent for a minute then told us she would be baptized on Saturday. Gisel was so happy, she told us she wanted to cry. We told her she should get baptized as well, but she told us she would need a little longer. Anyway, we taught the rest of the lesson, and Nelly, when she heard that she couldn't drink coffee anymore, she protested, "I can't give up coffee!" Then she stopped for a second and said "but if I need to, I will". Incredible. We met his lady my second week in this area and now she has been baptized. In just three short weeks she came to know the Gospel is true, and has desires to live it the rest of her life. We spent the rest of the day on cloud nine, but the rest of the week proved to have a lot more miracles waiting.

Gisel told us that she still was still waiting for an answer until we talked to her a couple of days before the baptism. She told us that she really wanted to get baptized, and then set a baptismal date for herself for the 20th of December! 

So the day of the baptism arrives, and we had everything well planned out. Gisel was going to give a talk about their conversion story. Pepe, the member that had helped fellowship them into the church, was going to talk about baptism, while Elder Black and I had the musical number. We were a little concerned because last week the font didn´t work, and we ended up having to boil water and take it manually to the font, but thankfully, this time it worked. When Nelly got there, it was incredible. Gisele had requested that we play ´We Thank Thee, O God for a Prophet´ as the special musical number, and although I had never thought of that as a baptismal hymn, it set the perfect spirit for the baptism. Everything went as planned. Gisele´s talk was amazing. She really is a great example of being converted. In fact, when she came to church the next day, a lot of the members thought that she was already a member of the church. She is incredible. Nelly gave her testimony at the end of the service which really sealed the deal with how strong her testimony is. I really love her story. She came to Spain only five weeks ago to work on some legal papers. Two weeks into her time here, we met her at the internet cafe. Three weeks from that date she was baptized. Amazing. Really, honestly, I feel so blessed to have been a part of her story. To be her ´Spiritual son´ (which is her nickname for me). She really is an incredible lady, and so prepared for the Gospel. The night before her baptism, she told us she had a doubt/question. She wanted to know what happens to people who have never had the chance to get to know the Gospel. It hit us right there that we had not taught her adequately about the temple. We had a great lesson, and amidst Cola Cao and warm infusions, we all really felt the Spirit.

So this week I just want to say thanks. To my family for all the support that they give me. To my companion for putting up with my horrible attempts at a Scottish accent. To Nelly and Gisele for really showing me what true conversion is, and for helping me see a little bit more of God´s love in my life.

I love this opportunity to serve as a missionary. I do feel it a pleasure to serve Him, and I really do love to obey His command to share this love with all my brothers and sisters. What a wondrous love. What a great day to be a missionary.

Elder Weenig
Elder Black, Nelly, and I
Nelly's Baptism


Detail inside Alhambra

Monday, November 9, 2015

Stake Conference

Things are going very well in Granada, but things have also started to cool off. Up in the Sierra Nevada things can get pretty cold. So out with the winter coats and sweaters and break out the colacao (something very similar to hot chocolate). Supposedly there is even a chance of snow as the month cools off.

So, big news! Transfer calls came around. We actually call the missionaries within zone to let them know if there are changes. The only change with us is that Elder McConnaughey will finish his mission on Wednesday and Elder Black and I will stay together in Granada. We´re very excited about the way that things are going.

We´ve been able to see a lot of great progress in our area, especially with Nelly and Gisele. This last week, we really wanted to focus on baptism with them, and what we could teach that would develop that desire for them to get baptized. We prayed a lot to find a way to bring about their baptism quickly, because Nelly will be returning to Peru within a few days and we want her to be able to go to Peru a baptized member ready to share it with her family there. She is incredible. She keeps telling us about how much she loves the church and how welcomed she feels. She really loves the doctrine. Gisele´s a great help. About every lesson that we have with her, Gisele turns to Nelly and says, ´Bautízate,  Nelly´ (Get baptized Nelly). Which, isn´t necessarily the best invitation we might use, but I must say, for not even being a member, Gisel sure knows how to be a great missionary. But our focus really has been that this whole week. Getting them to come to church, to read in the Book of Mormon, and to really develop the faith to get baptized

Yesterday was stake conference. The Granada Stake encompasses Malaga, Granada, Jaen, Almeria, Motril, and last but not least....Fuengirola!, (I´m not sure that will mean anything to you, but it´s a really large amount of territory that it covers, so a lot of people have to travel for a while). It was really great to be able to see a lot of old friends from Fuengirola and from Malaga. The Idahoans unfortunately were not able to attend, but I was able to talk with my old Mijas branch president. The benefit of living in Granada is that we didn't have to travel at all. The stake center is actually our chapel, so it took us about ten minutes to get to the conference. The conference was great. I really love how universal the church is, and how similar it is throughout the world. Really, the only difference between our meetings in Granada and the ones in Utah is that the ones here are conducted in Spanish. It was a great conference. Nelly and Gisele both came and really enjoyed the conference, but I think what touched them even more was the baptism that happened that night. The sisters in our ward had been teaching a young woman, and she was baptized yesterday. Unfortunately, something went wrong with the font, and it didn´t fill with hot water. The mother would not let her get baptized in cold water, so we only had one option -- heat up the water on the stove and run it to the baptismal font. It´s amazing how much the ward can come together on something like that, after a rousing speech by our young single adult representative, everyone there jumped to help fill pots, pans, and anything that we could in order for her to be baptized. It was quite the experience. The baptism went really well. The sisters had actually asked Elder Black (violin) and I (piano) to do a special musical number at the baptism.

After the baptism, we talked with Nelly and Gisel. We´ve been asking a lot about their possible baptism this Saturday. Gisel came up and told me that she has a lot of desire to get baptized, but she has a couple of things holding her back. So, now we have got to pray and really hope that she gets the answer that she needs. Nelly, on the other hand, felt really strongly about baptism. She felt so good at the service and told us that she wants to be able to take this feeling that she has with her home to her family. In fact, she called us the night before asking for the address to the chapel to be able to invite some of her friends. She actually asked Gisel if she would speak at her baptism. So we are praying very hard that she decides to get baptized this Saturday. Please keep her in your prayers.

It really has been a great week. I was able to go on exchanges with the missionaries of Almeria on Wednesday, and was able to see the sunniest city in our mission. Supposedly, Almeria, gets the most amount of sun in our mission per year. It´s a great city, and the missionaries there are doing really well. We also, held our first zone meeting here in Granada.

I really love it here. Granada is a great place to serve. I love the people. I have two great companions, and we are working really hard here. It really is a great day to be a missionary.

Love you, 
Elder Weenig

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

On the Road

In our mission, there are a number of large cities, but the largest by far is Sevilla, the capital of Andalucia. It's often said about Sevilla that it was the city built for a queen. When I first got the news that I was going to Granada, I heard a saying: "While Sevilla was the city built for a queen, Granada was the city built for a king." Yes. I agree completely. I love this place. To explain a little bit better about our area, you have to understand the geography for Granada. Granada is more or less the center of a number of pueblos or small towns that surround Granada. We don't work a lot in the city of Granada, because our the majority of our work is in the small towns. For that reason, we have a car. Which is actually from where I am writing you. We are on our way down to Fuengirola for mission leadership council. For that reason, this email may be a little bit shorter, but I will try and describe how this last week has been.

First off, we have seen a lot of miracles working with two investigators named Gisel and Nelly, I believe that I spoke to you about them last week, but they are both progressing so well. Gisel, who is about 19 years old, talked to her parents about her interest in the church. She told us that both her parents were very much against it. Her mother supposedly told her that the church of the Mormons was evil and other anti-Mormon doctrine. But Gisel, rather than backing down, told her mother that she believed that this is the church of Jesus Christ. However, She still feels like she needs a little bit more time before she gets baptized. So keep her in your prayers. She is reading the Book of Mormon and loves it. She told us that the picture of Christ appearing to the people of the Americas after his resurrection really touched her heart. She told us that it looked as though they had found something. How grateful I am that Gisel has found something.

Nelly really has progressed so well. When she found out that it was okay for Mormons to celebrate Halloween, she jokingly told us that it was time for her to be baptized. She still is progressing.

I love it here. I love Granada and I love my companions. Thank you all for all that you do. It really is a great day to be a missionary.

Elder Weenig

Monday, October 26, 2015

Granada Week Two

What an incredible last week.

I don't have a lot of time today, so I think that I will focus on one miracle that we were able to see this last week. We work, aside from just inside Granada, in the surrounding towns. We were in one of them this last Friday teaching in an Internet cafe. We decided to do splits with the member that had come with us. I stayed with the member in the cafe while my companions went to teach another investigator in another part of town. The woman that we were there to teach was very busy tending to customers, but she wanted to talk with us, so we sat down, and spoke with her for a few minutes. But we kept getting interrupted and she had to keep leaving. She ended up inviting her friend to come and sit with us and start listening. The friend sat down and started to listen to our message and was immediately interested. She told us that she had been looking for something like this her whole life. She told us that she was disappointed in her religion, and was looking for something that had all of the answers. As we talked, she told us about how she would like to know more, so we invited her to church. On Sunday, we called to see how she was coming along and she told us that she was at the bus stop with our other investigator ready to come to church. They arrived and absolutely loved it. At the end of gospel principles class, she stood up and thanked the teacher and bore her testimony about how she had felt and that she wanted to continue in this church. It was an incredible miracle bearing in mind that the first time that she had heard of the church was just two days before.

This last week has been great. Full of exchanges with the district leaders from around the Granada Zone. I had the opportunity to travel to Jaen and meet with a lot of members up there. It was also a really good learning experience for me to learn from the missionaries there.

It's pretty crazy, our days our packed, but I love every single minute. I love my companions and I love this area. We are seeing a lot of miracles and I know that a lot more are going to come. It will keep being a great day to be a missionary.

I love you all!
Elder Weenig

With Elders Fife (Hyde Park, UT) and Gantner (Switzerland) -- Last Transfer

Elder Black's Birthday
Elder McConnaughey (So. California), Me and Elder Black (Scotland) with Shirley, who made the cake for him.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

¡Viva Granada!

Fall is finally upon us here in Andalucia. We are finally having to put on sweaters, the leaves are starting to fall off the trees, the rain in Spain is coming in off of the plain, the residency situation is going well for the Spain Malaga Mission, and there is a new zone leader here in Granada.

Yup, you may have noticed that I am now writing to you on Monday, because I have left the office. President told me last Monday that I would be leaving on Wednesday. It was pretty crazy to get ready to leave in about 24 hours. It was sad to say goodbye to Martins and his family, but I was really glad that they will still be in my stake and I will see them soon at stake conference.

Granada. There are so many things that I could say about this city. I have wanted to serve here my entire mission. Granada means 'pomegranate' which I think is something everyone likes (unless your name is Persephone). Really though, Granada is the cultural center of Southern Spain. Home to the Alhambra, and nestled in Sierra Nevada mountains, it's the site where Ferdinand and Isabel expelled the Moors from Spain. It was actually the capital of the old Moorish empire here. For me, it is literally the perfect place.  My companions are already annoyed with me getting super excited about seeing the Alhambra every day. (Also, our apartment has a drier! A real clothes drier! I'm so excited! I haven't had one my whole mission and now I will be able to finish my whole load of laundry in one go. I'm quite excited.) My first night here was one of the most memorable in my mission. My companions thought it would be funny to play a prank with some of the members. They did it very well. We went to visit a member family, and when we walked through the door, the mom was shouting in very Andalusian Spanish, and the father was complaining about the food she had prepared. During the dinner, the mother kept throwing her leftover food on my plate and the father kept making crazy remarks and jokes. The entire family seemed absolutely crazy, with the shouting and food throwing, and I was just about to leave the house running when the dad broke down and told me it had all been an elaborate joke. Welcome to Granada, Elder Weenig.

Yes, companions in the plural. We are a trio of zone leaders which is pretty unusual. But President felt pretty good about it. I am now with Elder McConnaughey from Southern California and Elder Black from Scotland. Elder McConnaughey will be heading home at the end of this transfer, so afterwards it will be just Elder Black and I.  They are awesome, and we are going to be seeing a lot of miracles together. A couple of really great guys. They came down with me to Malaga to retake my driving test. Unfortunately, after the hour and a little bit of driving, we find out that my ID has had some problems in renovation and we had to turn right back and drive back to Granada. (Elder Black has a UK drivers license which is valid in Spain). This driving test has turned into a very large problem. To the point of discouragement. Well. Like F Scott Fitzgerald once said, "Trouble has no necessary correlation with discouragement, discouragement has a germ of its own." Which is the key. We can't let ourselves focus too much on what we are not able to do. We trust that God has a perfect plan for us. Sometimes our vision of what perfection is is not at all what God's view of perfection is. So we smile, recognize that yes, there are times of trouble, but we don't have to let them become times of discouragement.

We saw a lot of miracles this past week. A recently reactivated member named Pepe has been coming on splits with us so we are able to cover a lot more ground and speak with a lot of people about the gospel. We have a great new friend, named Antonio that was actually found almost by mistake. We were calling old investigators in our phone when we found Antonio. He agreed to meet with us, so we set a baptismal date on the first lesson, and he is progressing very well. It's really great. The ward here is incredibly strong. We are going to be seeing a lot of miracles. We have a great zone, and I'm really excited to be able to serve the missionaries here. It's going to be a great experience. Even in the rain. I can honestly say that it is a great day to be a missionary.

Love you all,
Elder Weenig

Palomo Family

Saying Goodbye

With Elder Black (Scotland)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Conference Week

I love conference week. It´s like a little battery charger for the next six months. We had the opportunity to watch it here in the office. We invited Martins and his family. They came and really enjoyed conference. They really are the best. When Martins walked in, one of the first things that he asked was, ¨Will Thomas S. Monson be speaking today?" They are really just a fantastic family. Yesterday, while we were at their house. Josefina prepared a typical dish from Nigeria, which is fried fish, cleaned, but with everything else on it. I just could not get myself to eat the eyes, but it was really, really good. They are progressing really well. We are talking about the temple in every lesson that we have with them so that they always have it in their mind. 

We have also been working with a Spanish couple that contacted us on the street. Their names are Pili and José. I don´t know if I have mentioned them before. They are progressing pretty well. We are trying to work with them so that they are able to come to church for the entire time. José has got a really interesting story. He actually found the book of Mormon in a library and has studied with some Elders in Málaga. We have been teaching them, and they both have a big desire to be baptized.

It´s been a really good week. We were bringing in a group of missionaries for residency, and when they got here the police station was closed! It was crazy. Even more crazy, Elder Gantner had driven the van all the way out to Alicante to pick them up. When they got here, we decided to keep all of the missionaries in Fuengirola, so we had about seven companionships working in our city at one time. It was pretty amazing. Elders Gantner and Fife took them back to Alicante, and I got to stay here in Fuengirola with one of the missionaries from Malaga.

We have been able to see a lot of miracles this past week. A lot of opportunities to find people, even when we don´t have a lot of time. I may not be here in Fuengirola next week, so if I don´t email until next Monday, that would be why. The expected transfer date for me is this Wednesday, but I don´t know. President may keep me here in Fuengirola for a while more. We will see. I love it here. It´s a great city and we have been able to see a lot of miracles. It´s places like this that make it a great day to be a missionary. 

Love you all,
Elder Weenig

Dominos after district meeting

Mission leadership council

Moving the office

Picasso birthplace (in Malaga)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Two Times in White

The mission, I have decided, has the largest range of experience that someone could ever physically experience. It´s kind of like living a roller coaster.

This last week was transfers. It was also my first week of training in the office. It´s been pretty crazy. I believe that nobody has come as close to true despair as the travel secretary when the night before transfers, the travel credit card fails. So, as Elder Gantner and I worked away at travel plans, we silently prayed that the card would not fail. Which ended up happening anyway, but we were able to make it work. I´m lucky to have Elder Gantner as an office trainee. He is VERY good with computers. Which really helps because I still struggle sometimes trying to make Excel work. Things have been going very well. I am hoping to leave the office within the next week and a half. I still am not sure where I am going. It was quite something to know where everyone in the mission was going except yourself. I guess it´s just one of those things where you have got to accept that it makes the plot to your story a little more interesting and you wait in suspense until you find it out.

I know I have mentioned what it is like to work through a transfer before as an office elder, but I think it is adequately compared to trying to walk on a balance beam while talking on the phone and simultaneously trying to buy tickets. With your feet tied together. Okay, so that might be an over exaggeration, but it can get pretty crazy.

This last transfer we had thirty one new missionaries come in. Which is a huge, huge group. I think the last time that a group this large came in was after the age change about two and a half years ago. So just that everything went well was a little miracle in itself.  But I´m getting ahead of myself. A lot more important things happened this week.

Martins and his family were baptized! They are in total three people. Martins, Josefina, and Getty. They are AMAZING. It was really cool, because each of us were able to baptize one of the members of the family (as we are now a trio in the office). They speak English, so we were able to baptize and confirm them in English. What an incredible experience. Our branch president got up to give some remarks at the end of the baptism, and he told us how remarkable and what a blessing it is that it´s not just Martins getting baptized, or just Josefina, but the whole family. That´s the way it should be. Josefina, as she was walking away from the font, said ´Finally, I´m clean. I´m finally, finally clean.¨ But what´s even more remarkable, is what happened the next time that we went to go visit them. President Andersen was also able to speak at their baptism, and shared about temples, and they received a picture of the temple at their baptism. We walked into their house, and up on their wall was the picture of the Madrid temple. One of the first questions that they asked us was ¨When are we going to the temple?´ Which is really what this is about. It´s not about just getting people baptized and that´s it. It´s about helping people change their lives and come to Christ. That´s what´s so great about the their baptism. They really have changed. I can´t wait to see them for their ´second time in white´. They have become ´new creatures in Christ´ and that´s why I´m so grateful to be here.   I guess I would say that´s why I´m so grateful it´s a great day to be a missionary.

I love you all,
Elder Weenig
Martins, Josefina, and Getty with Elders Gantner, Fife and Weenig

Sunday, September 27, 2015

"To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God"

Elder Christofferson once said "It's amazing that God lets us, with all of our faults and our inabilities, handle the fine china of His work. In fact, it's remarkable that He even lets us in the house." In the case of Elder Weenig it's especially impressive because I think that a lot of the time he must think that it's time to pull out the plastic cups and keep Elder Weenig far distant. I really am very,very lucky to be a part of this work. Even though I make a lot of mistakes.

I got my replacement this week! He is a really good guy, his name is Elder Gantner from Switzerland. He's leaning really quickly, so I think I will be leaving the office soon. I still don't know where I am going, but I should know relatively soon.

Every time we have a baptism I think of the words to a song at the end of Les Miserables which says 'to love another person is to see the face of God'. One of my companions started singing it after we had dropped off the baptismal dress for my first baptism and it has stuck with me ever since. You know what? I think that the purest way to love someone is to be able to see them come unto Christ through baptism. In that way we really do 'see the face of God'. It may sound a little cheesy, but I really do honestly believe it. Maybe that's why I love the look on people's face when they come up out of the water. Martins and his family will be baptized this week. Tonight actually. At seven thirty. We have really been blessed to be able to work with them and to help prepare them for baptism. We were going over the baptismal questions with them a couple of days ago, not only did they answer every single one of the questions perfectly, but they talked about how they read the Book of Mormon when they are stressed and Martins told us that he has been reading the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith. They are awesome, I will send you a picture of the baptism next week.

What a great day to be a missionary!

I love you all,
Elder Weenig

Handing the phone off to Elder Gantner

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Driving, Conferences, and Replacements

This last week has been awesome. Tiring, but awesome. Organizing the three zone conferences in our mission takes a lot of time and effort. Translating the local Málaga conference into Spanish for the native Spanish speakers leaves your head feeling mushy afterwards. But it´s been a great week.

So how do I begin to tell you about this last week? Big news: Apparently, the area representatives in Germany have sent out a mandate telling everyone that if they do not have a legal European drivers license, they cannot be driving. Which means us, who are in the process of getting them, do not have a car anymore. Neither do the senior couples or the APs, which has caused a number of difficulties for the mission. But, we are waiting for the blessing which we are sure will follow. Exact obedience sometimes is not easy. But it is worth it. We are praying that this drivers license situation resolves itself. So now we walk everywhere. Maybe us giving up our cars for a time is the solution. (also- I may need a sole- ution to my shoes soon as well :) )

Anyway, in other relatively large news, I now have a replacement! He will be here on Wednesday. My replacement´s name is Elder Gantner. He is from Switzerland. I actually just talked to him on the phone today. I will be honest. I can´t wait to get out and be working again as a normal missionary. I have learned a lot here, and had the opportunity to meet some amazing people.

Fuengirola is finally starting to cool off. We are the key spot of the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) and it has been very hot. Now, it is finally starting to cool off. Fortunately, the work is starting to heat up. We found a new couple named Pili and José. They are quite the pair. José stopped us on the street and told us that he wanted to be baptized, which almost never happens. We asked him how he knew of the church and he told us that years ago someone had given him a Book of Mormon, and he had been visiting with missionaries ever since. He´s been getting to know the church for a long time now, so we are hoping that this time is different. For Pili, however, this is the first time that she has heard about the church and she likes it a lot.

Martins and his family are incredible. There are few times in your mission where you meet someone who is just perfectly prepared, and this is one of those times. They were a little bit concerned about their baptism for a little while, but just this last week, they have decided to commit one hundred percent. We had a lesson yesterday about family history work and temples, and Martins at the end of the lesson told us that he loved the way that our church works. We teach clearly so that people can understand and that he and his family always leave the church understanding the doctrine. We are very excited for them. They are a miracle. Every time we visit with them, I love the spirit they have. They are so willing to do God´s will, even if it´s difficult for them. Which is inspiring to us all, especially with the car situation that we find ourselves in. They have made a lot of sacrifices in order to prepare themselves to be baptized. Just incredible.

Another miracle that we saw this last week was with a less active lady that we have been teaching named Maricarmen. She has been a member for over thirty years, but unfortunately stopped coming to church about 15 to 20 years ago. We have been visiting her these past couple of months inviting her to church. We don´t know what happened, but the last Saturday that we visited her, she accepted the invitation. When she walked into the chapel, it was one of the best feeling that I´ve had. It´s one thing to see someone who hasn´t ever known about the church come into it, but something even stronger when you see someone who hasn´t been for a long time walk back into a place that they used to know. It was incredible.

I love this city. We were walking down one of the streets yesterday, and all I could think about is how lucky I am to be here in Spain. The culture and people are beautiful. I love getting to speak the Spanish language. My being in Gibraltar has proven to be really useful, because I now am the unofficial translator for mission councils and zone conferences. I like it a lot, being able to translate, although it leaves your brain feeling pretty dead afterwards. But being a missionary is the best. There really is nothing to compare.  I can not express how much I love being able to put my name tag on everyday and be out talking to people about the restored gospel. I love it so much. I want to make everyday a great day to be a missionary.

Love you all,
Elder Weenig

Two pics from their trip to Gibraltar two weeks ago:o:

Crossing the Gibraltar airstrip in order to enter the city of Gibraltar with the sister missionaries from Frengirola. 

Another hike up the Rock of Gibraltar and a visit with our monkey friends