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!