It has been quite the week. Quite the week, quite the week.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Monday, January 12, 2015
First off, Happy Birthday this week to the best Dad in the world! I love you Dad, thanks for your example.
This has been quite the week. It´s been a very cool week to see God´s hand helping us with our work, but it´s also been a hard week physically, I´ve been pretty sick. But we´ve been able to keep working and have been able to see some really cool miracles in the area.
Today´s p-day and it´s been a pretty great p-day. We got to go and play tennis with a tennis teacher who is a recent convert of the hermanas in our district. The scoring of tennis in Spanish is almost the exact same as in English, but I think that that comes mostly from the fact that most of the words used come from French. Well, actually only one word, but regardless, it has been a really fun day. There is a foreign exchange student here from Utah who came and played with us, and she is amazing at tennis, she was number one varsity at her school, so it was cool to get to play against and with her in a doubles match. The teacher that we go with, Mateo, is fantastic. He is always giving us helpful hints on how we can improve our serve, how we can get more spin on the ball. He´s great.
I think that the most important thing that I´ve learned this past week is how much we need to accept what we can´t control. As a missionary, we completely realize that other people´s decisions completely affect our day to day lives, but we have to learn to be happy regardless of other people´s decisions. For example, we were talking with one of our investigators, who told us that he just would not get baptized. It was very hard, especially because I had grown to love the guy, but we stopped meeting with him for a time, because he refused to make progress.
It´s hard sometimes, being a missionary. Sometimes we just have to keep pushing on, and God eventually does bless us. Like this last week, I was teaching English class on splits, and we had exactly one student: a fourteen year old kid named Luis from the Dominican Republic. He knew how to speak a little bit of English and the class was going really well. I kept teaching with the Elder I was with when my companion shows up in the window of the door to the classroom. He starts waving at me, and pointing at Luis and acting really excited. I had to go and talk to him, because really, I had no idea what he was trying to tell me. It turns out that Luis was a reference of GOLD that we hadn´t been able to contact before. A member from the other ward in Alicante knows his father and had invited him to the English class. Luis is fantastic. Every time he prays he tells us that he is going to talk with God. He really prays with meaning and it´s really cool to hear him pray. He is great at coming to church, which is always a good sign. He also loves playing soccer, and we were actually going to play with him this last Saturday, but unfortunately I was sick, and we ended up just being the super supportive Elders that showed up at the soccer game.
But we really do see God in our lives daily here. Our lives are really hectic and sometimes we feel like we´re just riding a really steep and random emotional roller coaster. But it´s awesome. Elder Sharp and I were talking about it the other day, how you feel some of the most extreme emotions you will ever feel on your mission. That is what is what is so tiring about missionary work. But, you get to appreciate the moments that are great. I really, really love being a missionary. I realized that about a week ago, I hit my five month mark in the mission. The time is going by so fast. I can´t believe that I am about to leave my first area. Alicante has been amazing. I have so many good memories here, and I am going to miss it. I really am very grateful I was able to start my mission here. The mission, I honestly believe, is a place to change. That´s why people are always saying it is so hard, because change is hardly ever easy. That´s why the mission feels difficult at times. We are changing, growing and just becoming better people. It´s like what they told us in the MTC: "There is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone." But I cannot describe how much I love being a missionary. I really do treasure every second of this experience. It sounds corny, but it really makes me sad to think that I have already gone through five months of my mission. The time FLIES out here. That´s why we really have got to make the most of every moment.
Thank you all so much for all of your love, support, and letters. It means a lot. Thanks especially to mom and dad for letting me be out here, it is such a great experience. It´s hard. Very, very, hard. It stretches you in every way possible, but I love it. So thank you.
It´s a great day to be a missionary!
Monday, January 5, 2015
Happy New Year!
Spain welcomes in the New Year with grapes. Traditionally, as the bells are sounding in the last twelve seconds of the old year, you eat a grape each time that the bell sounds. So for the last bit of 2014, we were eating twelve grapes with a bell keeping time. It was fantastic.
A couple of cool miracles from this week. Almost a month ago, we stopped a woman in the street, and asked her if she would like to hear a message about Jesus Christ. She said yes, gave us her address and phone number, but ever since then, we haven´t been able to get in contact with her. We have passed by a number of times, but she´s never been able to meet. One day last week, I was on an exchange with another elder in our district, and we knocked on her door, and her husband answered. He let us in, and we started talking about what we do as missionaries and talked about how families can be eternal. The son and the father listened and at the end told us that we could definitely come back. They seem like they have a LOT of potential.
This last week was fast and testimony meeting for our ward. One recent convert and one less active girl that we have been working with got up to bear their testimonies. One, Dana, is from Romania, and is a CHAMPION. She is the only member in her family and has to shoulder a lot of the responsibility that a sixteen year old girl should never have to deal with. She is inspiring. She got up and bore her testimony and it was so simple and sincere that you could just feel the love that she felt for the gospel and how much it has changed her life. The other girl, Valentina, is great. She stopped us in a locutorio (telephone/internet store) about two months ago and asked if we were from the Mormon church. We told her that we were missionaries, and she told us that she was a member! We were a little shocked, but it turns out that she had gotten baptized when she was nine, but she hadn´t come to church since. We´ve been meeting with her since and have been encouraging her to come back to church. She really is amazing. Her mom doesn´t think much of the church, but she comes anyway. She was really afraid to bear her testimony, but I told her that it would be my last testimony meeting in Alicante, and that she needed to, and thankfully she did. Really powerful experience to hear someone that has been away from the church testify about how much happiness the church really does bring.
It´s been a very good week. I´ve learned a lot about perseverance. Sometimes it seems impossible to keep going with a smile on our face and a really cheery attitude. But the important thing that we always need to remember to is keep going. To endure to the end, even though it may seem impossible. God asks us to do impossible things at times. But through him, all things become possible. And if we keep that in mind, our trials and obstacles that we have to confront become more bearable. The problems that we have seem smaller. We just have to keep an eternal perspective. It´s hard, but when we have that mindset, we become so much more capable and so much more ready to confront life´s challenges. The mission has taught me that more than anything. We may never know why we have a specific set of challenges, but if we do our best to overcome them, God will help the impossible become possible.
I love you all. Thanks for all of the support that you give to me. I love and miss you all a lot, but I love being a missionary and I love Spain, the Spanish language, and the culture that it here. I am so lucky to be serving in Spain.
It´s a great day to be a missionary!
|New proselyting clothes :) These were cool. Traditional Spanish suits. Each of them about $1000 each. (No worries, just looking, no buying) :D|
|Us just about to eat the grapes on New Years.|
|This was Christmas Eve night, the family we ate with are awesome. They are from Brazil.|
|Aaaand this was on our way up to the castle on our last pday.|