Monday, February 23, 2015

Week Five in La Línea

Wow, this week has been crazy. The weather here in La Línea seems absolutely bipolar. It doesn´t want to decide on what it wants to be. Sometimes it´s very warm and sunny and the next day it´s stormy and rainy. Right now, we´ve got a relatively cool temperature outside. It´s been a nice day today. We just had a fantastic lunch with an older couple named the Guffeys who made us American style hamburgers and gave us brownies and ice cream. I don´t think I have ever missed American food so much. But it made it all the better to have it.

News from Alicante!!! So I have a friend named Denis in Alicante who is basically one of my heroes. He sent me over some pictures of the baptism of Luis! Luis is the boy from the Dominican Republic that we were teaching there in Alicante. I´m so, so happy for him. He´s great. I wish I could´ve been there for his baptism, but I´m super happy for him.

This last week has been as crazy as the weather. We had interviews with President Deere. Our bus left pretty soon after our interviews were over, and unfortunately, we left a little bit late and ended up missing our bus. Which would have been fine, except for the news that the next bus leaving for La Linea was coming in about 4 hours. We ended up having to stay in San Fernando and wait for the next bus. We got back pretty late. It was cool. There were some interesting buildings to see in San Fernando, but it got pretty cold.

A really cool miracle that happened this week. We contacted a guy named Pepe on the street the other day, and he told us to come by his house a little bit later. We passed by and invited him to church. We were not really sure if he was going to show, but when we walked into the bus station to go to church he was already there! He had brought his son who actually drove us to church, which cut our travel time down by a lot. It was amazing. What was even better was hearing him say how much he enjoyed church. Being here, so far away from the church. has really made me decide that I will never drive to church in Utah again. I don´t think I ever realized how blessed I was to have a church (well actually about 10 churches) really close to my house.

Gibraltar news. So, our goal in Gibraltar has been to locate all of the members. Having done that, we decided to move on to step two which was to have a family night. We have two really amazing members out there named Daniel and Estrellita. They provided the flat where we could have the meeting, and we brought the people. It turned out well, we had two inactive members and one investigator show up. We have been talking with the stake president, and he wants to come to one of the family nights to see if we can start a sacrament meeting out in Gibraltar which would be AMAZING.

Speaking of Gibraltar. I love Gibraltarians. They speak a mix of Spanish and English that I thought was only possible among missionaries. It´s fantastic. We have an investigator there named Denise. She knew the missionaries way back when missionaries were here about 10 to 15 years ago. She told us to meet her at Burger King last Friday. When we got there, she told us to go and order. I asked her if they took Euros, because we didn´t have any pounds, and she looked at me and said ¨You try and pay and I will leave and never come back!¨ I love Denise. she is fantastic. We are praying that we will somehow be able to get her to church so that she can progress to baptism.

We have had a really good week. One thing that I have learned this week is a lot about letting God take control of our lives. It´s something that I am learning on the mission. Before the mission, I felt like I had everything figured out. But the more time I spend on the mission, the more time that I recognize how little I actually know, and how much more I have to grow. The mission is great. It really, really shows the truthfulness of Ether 12 27, where it talks about weaknesses becoming strengths. I have a lot of weaknesses, more than most people that I know. What really comforts me is that God knows exactly where we need to be refined, and will give us trials specifically for that refinement. It will be a painful process, really, it won´t be fun. When we are passing through a difficult ´refiner´s fire´ we are never saying how enjoyably warm it is. We´re often just thinking of how quickly we want out. But one thing I know is that if we just keep pushing, that´s when we will see the blessing of the trial.

Anyway, thank you all so much for your love and support. you all are fantastic. I love you all so much..

It´s a great day to be a missionary!

Elder Weenig

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's a Great Day to be a Missionary :)

Well, wow. I can't believe it is p-day again.  The weeks go by so, so, so fast. La Linea is great.

We work a lot through contacting here. We have two active member households in our area so we don't get many referrals. Actually, almost all our work comes from contacting, so it´s something we are becoming quite good at. Which is a blessing, I needed to improve my ability to contact people. I am starting to really enjoy it. We get to meet a lot of different people from a lot of different backgrounds. Today I got my haircut and the guy cutting my hair is from Morocco. As we talked, it turns out that someone had given him a Book of Mormon a long time ago. He doesn´t have it any more, so I asked if we could pass by and give him another. He said yes, and invited us over to have some kuz kuz (moroccan dish).

We work a lot with our branch president. He is a stud. We also have interviews with President Deere this week.

A cool miracle that happened this past week. We were walking through a park and a man shouted out ´´Elders!´´ We turned and saw a Brazilian guy walking towards us. He told us that he was here with his family and that they were looking for the church here in La Linea. We told them that there wasn´t one here, but there was one in Algeciras. He was really, really friendly and told us to pass by his house this coming week. We´re hoping that a miracle comes out of that relatively soon. 

We passed by the house of a contact that we got in the street the other day. He let us in, and was acting a little weird. We weren´t sure what was wrong, until we noticed that the cigarette he was smoking was marijuana. Gradually, as the lesson we were trying to share went on, sense left the conversation. Eventually, we just had to leave the house, and left him a pamphlet. It was an interesting lesson. 

We had a fantastic Saturday. We went to Algeciras to play soccer, and one of our investigators showed up! It was AWESOME. He plays really, really, well. It seems like almost all of the Spanish and Latin American people here can play soccer really well. I was way out of my league. But hey, it was fun. 

The area is moving slow but we will continue to work and work and pray that God will do the rest. President Deere told us not to be discourage and that we´re not doing the wrong things, we´re just haven´t done the right things long enough. It´s true. We just have to keep going. Keep doing the little things that will eventually bring about the results that we want. We can really do anything through Christ, and that´s something that I´m learning to treasure. The knowledge that we have someone who loves us. Regardless of how weak we are personally, He can make us strong. I am so, so very far from being a perfect missionary. That´s why I´m so glad that we have the opportunity to be better, and change. 

I love you all. You all are fantastic examples to me in my life. Thanks for all of the support and love that you have given me. 

It´s a great day to be a missionary!

Elder Weenig

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Gibraltar Life

Wow. I am tired. This week´s been great though.

This week has been very interesting. I think it would be good to give a little bit of an update on what the life of what it´s like to work in Gib and La Linea. 

La Linea is really just a fantastic little town. It really is, I think the Spanish architecture and buildings are fun to walk around in. The people here have an incredibly strong Andalucian accent. Let me explain. There are Spanish accents, and then there are Andalucian accents. The Spanish accent, is the classic theta used on all z´s ci´s and ce´s. It is generally pretty clear. But the Andalucian accent is distinctly different. They clip a lot of words when they speak and generally don´t have a lot of pronunciation. Coming here from Alicante was pretty difficult, with the transition. But they say if you can understand the Spanish of Andalucia you can understand the Spanish of anywhere. The members here are very friendly. We have a really nice lady that we visit, named Ana who tells us stories about Spain as it has been for the past forty to fifty years. She´s awesome, and always gives us traditional Spanish food. We visit a lot of the members here because most of them are unable to attend church because of how far away the chapel is, about forty-five minutes on a bus. It´s actually in Algeciras. The buildings here are generally really nice. We had so much luck with our apartment. It has central heating!!!! And windows that shut out the cold, which is an added bonus. Unfortunately, these past couple of weeks has been full of us trying to refurbish our apartment, because we haven´t had very many household items. We had to go buy a microwave, a toaster, pots, and such. But now, we have everything we need.

In Gibraltar it is a completely different world. I think I talked about this the last week, but it is so true. It is completely different from Spain, and from anywhere else I´ve been. Gibraltarians literally speak Spanglish. We were speaking with a woman last night, and every so often she would slip in a ´porque´or a ´te digo´ into her English sentences. It´s a very cool culture. But I think we get a bit of culture shock walking between the two. Hearing everyone speak English is just odd. But we love visiting out there. There is a member couple that lives out there who are just fantastic and fix us yorkshire puddings, and take us out for fish and chips. I love it.

This last week has been a week of growing. I remember the instructors telling us in the MTC that there is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone. I have really felt that this last week. Starting an area is an AMAZING experience. I am so grateful to be here, because I´ve learned a lot. It´s a little bit difficult because there are no former investigators, or any other work from missionaries that we have to build upon. It´s difficult. Sometimes I really feel under qualified. But it´s given me a lot of time to think of why we actually do missionary work and why I am actually here in Spain. I know that God gives us specific challenges so that we can become stronger, and that is something that really has helped me this past week. We may not know why we have a specific trial or why we are passing through something difficult. I know that God knows us better. Although it may seem too difficult He can help us do all things.

Just a couple of miracles that happened this last week. We were knocking doors, looking for a man we spoke to in the street named Fernando. He´d told us his address and when he´d be home, but when we went searching, he wasn´t there. We knocked his neighbor´s houses to see if they knew where he was or if he lived there, and an old man answered. He was a little confused and thought we were looking for his son, Francisco. He told us that he wasn´t home, but to come back a little bit later. We came back the next day, and they let us in. We were able to teach them about the plan of Salvation, and how they would be able to see their mother again, she recently passed away. They were so, so friendly and very open to us coming back. We set up a return appointment and will be visiting them the next week.

The other was something that I wasn´t expecting at all. We were searching for a less active, and couldn´t figure out his address. We were wondering if it didn´t exist until we found a lady who told us where it was. When we got there, we were told that he didn´t live there anymore, but we got a phone number to call. When we finally got a hold of him, he told us that he would love to have us pass by. When we did, he was really, really happy to see missionaries. About fifteen years ago, there were missionaries here, but for some reason, they were taken out, and the branch was added to the Algeciras branch. He has two daughters that were there and actually participated in the lesson. They are great, and we are excited to see if we can find a way to get them to church.

This past week has been great. I really have learned so much. I think what I´ve really come to appreciate this last week has been my Savior, more than anything. One night this last week, I was praying. I wanted to know that what I was doing was sufficient, and that what we were doing was something that would help bring others to Him.  I´m not going to say that it was the first prayer of its kind and that the answer came right away, but I know that He answers. He always does. That night, where I was really down on myself, worried, and not sure where to go, I really felt that someone was there and that someone really was listening and cared about me. I´ve always heard that in the hardest circumstances come the greatest miracles. It´s so true. We may not be very comfortable, but it means we´re growing. That´s all we need to know. We just have to keep doing the little things that bring us closer to God. Do the things that we know will give us the strength to keep going.

I really do love being a missionary. I love, love, love it. It´s not easy. At all. But it´s one of the best experiences of my life. Thanks for all that you do. You all are fantastic. I love you all so much, and more than ever being out here. I miss you a lot, and I hope you all know how much of an impact you have all made on my life.

It´s a great day to be a missionary!


Elder Weenig

Monday, February 2, 2015

This is Awesome.

Today, a monkey was on my shoulder and it was fantastic.

We just got back from climbing the Rock of Gibraltar. Pretty amazing. We saw Africa, played with monkeys, and got some awesome views of the Mediterranean. I would love to send pictures....but this computer doesn´t have an input. 

La Linea and Gibraltar. They are two completely different worlds. Completely. The Spanish side, La Linea, is very, very Spanish. A lot of Spanish people, and typical Spanish houses all throughout the streets. It´s a cool city, the church here, La Iglesia de la Inmaculada, is beautiful. The city really is just a very good looking city. I am very grateful to serve here. 

Gibraltar, is completely different. It is very, very British. Very, very British. They use pounds and have red telephone booths all throughout the streets. It´s fantastic. The member family that lives there, a young couple, took us out for fish and chips the other day. It was quite good, old chap.

This last week for us was different. We are building our area and we´ve definitely seen progress. We are working with our branch president to help get more people out to church. It´s hard, because La Linea is a forty-five minute bus ride to the church, but I know we will see miracles.

This last week has taught me a lot. I´ve learned and grown a lot. It has not been easy. But I am grateful. We´re trying our hardest. One thing that I have learned is that God doesn´t necessarily give us immediate relief. One of the attributes that he wants us to cultivate is patience. Patience takes time. So we´ve just got to do what we can and not worry about the things that we can´t control.

We walk a lot here in La Linea. It´s a large city and we have to go and find addresses of people, so we walk a lot. We were joking one night that we already had our running done for the next morning, but had the intention to get up and run up to the bull ring and back. But waking up the next day, our feet ached, and we decided to stay inside the apartment for exercise that morning.  But I do want you to know how much this experience is teaching me. It´s hard sometimes, and sometimes we are discouraged. but I want you to know that Christ is in the details of our lives. He really, really is. No matter what. I have come to rely on Him when I haven´t felt like I could walk another step, or if I just wanted to go in for the night. Because thanks to Him, we can have new starts, blank pages, and become better people. This is my time to serve him with all of my might, mind and strength. I´ve realized that this mission isn´t about me at all. It´s about helping others come to Christ. That´s what we´re going to do. Throughout all the hard times, throughout all of the difficulties that we have to go through, He will be walking with us step by step. That´s why I´m so grateful to be a missionary. That is why I´m so grateful for this church. I know that I have a best friend who wants me to succeed and who will never leave me alone. He will give us the strength to do ALL things, because sometimes we are asked to do the impossible. 

I love being a missionary. So much. I can´t believe I´ve already been out for six months. It makes me a little sad to think that a fourth of my mission is already done. But it´s been a great six months. The next eighteen will be even better. Thank you all for everything that you do for me. I love you all so much. I really, really do. 

It´s a great day to be a missionary!

Elder Weenig