Monday, April 27, 2015

Hello All

So wow. We are emailing again. This week has been insane. 

I guess I can start off with this morning. I was getting dressed and put on my shoes. I walked into our front room, and felt what I thought was my socks bunched up at the tip of my shoe. I took it off to fix it, and when I did, a large cockroach jumped out of the shoe as well. Well, that will wake you up in the morning. 

Second experience that was slightly out of the normal that happened this week was walking down the rock of Gibraltar some monkeys were blocking the path. I did not have a way to get around and I was in the front of the line and so I decided to climb along the side of the wall and then get down on the other side of the monkeys. One of them was not happy at all with that decision and started to chase after me. I had a little bit of deja vu from the game temple run. It was actually pretty funny.

So La Linea. We´ve had a really good last week. Antonio came to church again. We gave him a tie. He´s fantastic. President Deere actually came down to La Línea to meet with him. We´re looking forward to his baptism which is planned for this coming Saturday, so stay tuned. We´re really praying for him and he´s doing really well. The day with President Deere was very fun as well. It´s quite hard to get around in La Línea in a car, because normally we don´t use a car to get around and there are a lot of one way streets. 

In terms of the work here, we have been working really hard and have been able to see some miracles. We have been working with a man who used to belong to the church in Gibraltar. He´s no longer a member, but he still has a very strong testimony. He asked us this last week to prepare a talk on the atonement. We´re excited. I really want to reactivate him. He has such an incredible knowledge of the gospel and such a strong testimony. It´s actually pretty interesting how we found him. We were trying to locate all of the old members of the Gibraltar branch, but couldn´t find this man´s house. We found his old address, but it was obvious that nobody had lived there for years. So we decided to go the old fashioned way and try and find him through the phone book. We did. Very cool miracle. He has some crazy stories about what used to happen when the missionaries were here in Gibraltar over a decade ago. Apparently, the missionaries accidentally left an iron on in their apartment which actually escalated into a large fire. Every time we talk with a person that knew the church from long ago, they remind us of the fire that happened there. 

Another cool miracle that happened on Thursday. We were walking through Gib and we heard a lady yell "Elders". Bear in mind that there is only one active member pair in all of Gibraltar, so we immediately thought ¨We don´t recognize that voice. Who is this?¨ This lady approached us and was very enthusiastic. apparently she used to belong to the Gibraltar branch way back when it existed. Very cool, right? She told us that she was just visiting from Great Britain and would only be here for a couple of days. She asked us where the chapel was and told us that she would be coming to church with her husband who is not a member. They came, which was a miracle. I don´t know if I´ve mentioned this before, but I translate our church meetings into English for our Gibraltarian members. So this time, we had a little bit more people to translate for, and so I had to speak a little bit louder. During this particular sacrament meeting, one of the speakers told me she would be sharing a story, and to save me the trouble of having to translate it, she had printed it off in English. So as she gave her talk, I read the story. Bear in mind, that with the increased number of people, I had to speak a little bit louder, and without knowing it, I got a little ahead of the speaker. One of the elders in my district came up to me when the meeting was done and told me ¨I was listening to your translation and you were saying things before she did. How´d you do that?¨ Now, I was very tempted to talk about the gift of prophecy in this situation, but I decided it was probably better to be honest. 

Anyway, La Línea is doing well. This week will be very packed because we will travel to San Fernando to have interviews with President Deere. We may see some changes pretty soon in La Línea. Stay tuned. We´ll find out more about it tomorrow. 

Anyway, this last week has taught me a LOT about how God knows so much better than we do. Although sometimes it´s very hard to accept, we have got to try and be doing our best to do what we can wherever we are. I´m learning a lot about that on my mission. Sometimes we can´t see the reason for why we are in a specific situation or why we are going to be placed in a difficult circumstance, but one thing that we can be sure of is that God knows us and wants us to be able to succeed and is going to give us the tools wherever we are. 

It's a great day to be a missionary.

Elder Weenig

Avoiding the monkeys

 La iglesia de la inmaculada (A Church)

Semana Santa

Monday, April 20, 2015

Under (water) Pressure

This last week has been amazing. The weather of La Línea decides that it does not want to stay at a steady temperature. We have had summer one day, and the next we have winter. It has been an interesting week. We have been able to see a lot of miracles. I´m very glad that we have the opportunity to work here.

Antonio came to church again! So great. He loved the experience. Incredible, really just incredible the amount of dedication he has. It´s the best feeling when you get to see those people that you have worked to find and to teach change. Ah man. It´s the best. Also, it´s not bad at all when he explains the book of Mormon to the rest of the class in Gospel Principles. He is amazing. Such a great guy. We are going to keep praying for him and watching him progress.

Today as pday was a very relaxed pday. Well, sort of. To begin, I have to start at the beginnings of our problems with our water. So because this apartment is new, no other missionaries have lived here. We have had to sort out some problems with the water and electricity bills. Fortunately, we´ve been able to fix everything with the electricity, but when we got something changed with the water, the water pressure in our apartment went away. Almost completely. This was two weeks ago. We have been calling to get things changed in our apartment, and today the man was able to come....but tomorrow he will be coming to fix the problem. So, result is that I have become very adept at being able to heat up water and use a cup for a shower. It´s been a growing experience.

So Maribel. Really cool story, we were walking down the street and I saw this woman walking her dog and I had a very sudden feeling that I needed to talk with her. When we asked her if we could share a message with her about the gospel, she accepted and the next day we were teaching her. She´s Gibraltarian, so we teach her in English. She has two dogs that are very loud and love to run around while we´re teaching. Pretty fun. We´re praying that she progresses. She has a car. Which is kinda the equivalent of gold in our area. She wants to come to church, but was not able to this last Sunday. But she was able to come to our family night in Gibraltar which went perfectly. We were able to see a lot of people come and a friend of one of our members came again. So good.

Funny story about our neighbors. We have these two older men who live down the hall from us in our apartment building. When we walk past their door and they are cooking, we get this heavenly smell of deliciousness. We have been able to talk with them a couple of times and they have been really friendly. So one morning, we get done with singing a hymn to start off companion study, and we hear a knock at our door. We open it to see our two neighbors with a tortilla de patatas in their hands. They told us that they heard us singing and wanted to come down and let us try some of their cooking. The tortilla was delicious, but we realized that they live DOWN the hall, not just right next door. We have resolved to be a little bit more quiet.

I´m sorry this email is pretty short. But I do want you all to know how much I love you all! I cannot believe it is almost May. That is crazy. I love La Línea. It´s a fantastic place, we are finding people here and there are so many people here that are prepared. We just have to find them. I am praying that we are going to be able to see even more miracles this coming week. We already have been able to see a lot. We were blessed to be able to teach a lot this last week, so we are hoping that we can see progress within our area.

It´s been a great week. God has really been good to us. We´re so lucky to be here. My companion and I were talking about how amazing it is that we get to see the rock of Gibraltar from our area....and on clear days, Africa. In fact, when people ask us what qualifies us to be full time representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we tell them ¨We can see Africa from our house!´ =)

Anyway, I love you all a lot! Have a fantastic week. Always remember that it is a great day to be a missionary!

Elder Weenig

Monday, April 13, 2015

Transfer Number Three in La Linea

I can´t believe we are emailing again. This week has flown by. Really, it just seems like we have been running from place to place. It has been very fun. I love La Línea and Gibraltar, the people here are amazing.

Transfer calls came this week. Drum roll please..... I will be.....staying in La Línea and Gibraltar! We were expecting it, because I will be finishing Elder Holman´s training, but the other two companionships in our district will be changing. I cannot believe it has been three months since I arrived in La Linea. it seems like just a couple of weeks ago. Ah, I love being a missionary. We had a senior couple come down from Rota, the American military base here in Spain. They gave us Mexican food. On the base, they get authentic American style food. Oh, sweet mercy it was good.

But really, time goes by too fast not to enjoy every moment in the mission. And speaking of time going fast, I don´t have much time.

So I want to start off talking about the biggest miracle that we have been able to see this week. As I have said in previous emails, getting people to church is our modern day parting of the Red Sea. Literally, it would be really nice just to part the bay of Algeciras so that our investigators could walk through on dry ground to the chapel. But, for now we are using the bus. This miracle may be lacking in Egyptians chasing after us on their chariots, but it really is no less powerful for us. Antonio, the man with whom we´d discussed baptism a couple of weeks ago somehow disappeared. We´d stopped by his house and had tried to put us back in contact with him, but we were consistently unsuccessful. We thought that he had moved or that something had happened to make him lose interest in the church. We really did not understand what had happened. we decided to put him as a backup plan to some of our other investigators that lived nearby. As we got to our appointment, the people told us to come back another day, so we looked into our backup plans. When we saw Antonio as our plan, I will be honest, I thought we were just going to walk by his house, and have nobody answer. Thankfully, God knows a LOT better than a 18 year old missionary, and is preparing His children. When we knocked on his door, Antonio answered. He welcomed us in, and had his Book of Mormon lying on the table. Such a miracle. He told us he had been very, very busy these past couple of weeks, and that he had been unable to meet, but that from here on out, he would be less busy. As it was Friday, we asked him if he would accompany us to church this Sunday. He told us that he would, but that he would probably have to buy some new shoes in order to look presentable. We told him that it did not matter and just to come in whatever he had. So Sunday morning, we get on the bus, and we get to Antonio´s stop. We watch a couple of people get on the bus, and lastly, ANTONIO!!! He came to church! I cannot tell you how happy I was to see him, Book of Mormon in hand wearing his nicely polished shoes walking down the aisle in the bus. BAH!! I´m pretty sure I was jumping up and down in my seat, so although it was not the most professional show of missionary work, it was definitely God showing his hand in the work. He loved church, and has told us that he will be coming back the next week. So amazing. 

Do you remember how I told you about the family night that we do in Gibraltar every week? Well, this last week, our two Gibraltarian members were in Sevilla taking a vacation. They told us, however, that they really wanted us to use their apartment to hold the family night in order to keep the momentum going. They gave us the keys, and told us that they would leave everything ready for us. When we were walking over to Gibraltar from La  Línea, a plane was taking off. To walk to Gibraltar, you have to cross a airplane ramp where planes take off periodically throughout the day. We had to wait there and as we did, we ended up being late for the Family night. When we got to the flat, only one person came, one of the members of the old Gibraltar branch that we meet with often. So... probably not needed to use the members apartment. They did leave us very handy sticky notes all over their apartment telling us what to use and where everything was. So good, so good. We decided as we left the apartment to leave handy sticky notes all around their apartment, so hopefully they appreciated that. =).

Also, big news! Our mission will be getting ipads in May. we will all travel to Sevilla to hear from a couple of seventies who will instruct us on what it means to have the ipads and what we are supposed to do with them. It´s going to change a lot of things about missionary work. It is going to make things a lot more efficient and we are really, really excited about it.

Anyhow, I love being a missionary here. It has been just a great week, and we are really excited to keep it up this next transfer. We´re praying to see even more miracles. We can´t wait. I´m really, really grateful for this opportunity to be here in La Línea. It´s a fantastic city and we are going to be seeing some amazing things in these next couple of weeks.

I love you all so much. Thank you for all of the emails and all that you do. I love you all so much. Be safe and have a fantastic week, and never forget that it is a great day to be a missionary!

Elder Weenig

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Semana Santa Week

Holy cow. This last week has been awesome. Really, honestly, we´ve been able to see a lot of miracles here in La línea. I´ve really come to enjoy being in this area. It was pretty difficult at first, but I´ve really come to love it here. The Catholic church has a really powerful influence in Spain, and even more so in La Línea, so this last week we´ve been able to get an up close and personal look at the Semana Santa (the Holy Week). Basically, Semana Santa corresponds to events that happened the last week of Jesus Christ´s life. It´s a lot of processions and a lot of people wearing costumes walking through the streets. The demonstrations are really just fascinating. The people paint, decorate, and basically adorn these massive statues of saints, Christ, and the virgin Mary and they are taken around the city. Some people have told us that this tradition started so that the church would be able to visibly show the people scenes from the Bible, which is cool. It does show how powerful the Catholic church is here in Spain. It also makes me really happy to see that people do have faith in Christ. Even if they just demonstrate it differently than we do.

This last week, we got blessed with the miracle to get back in contact with Reme. She is doing well, her family situation has gotten better, so we have been able to meet with her more often. She is such a great lady. She has a lot of faith in God. While we were in a lesson with her, her son came in and she was actually help us explain things. She really is getting a testimony of the Book of Mormon. The book´s powerful. I have never really given that much thought, but it is one of the most powerful books that we have on earth. It´s incredible. It changes lives. I have seen it in Alicante, and I have been able to see it here. It´s an incredible book. Really, really powerful. We´re hoping to get her to come to church this Sunday. It´s not an easy thing to do. It´s really actually quite difficult. We´re praying for miracles daily.

We had a really cool opportunity to teach an elderly French couple. They speak Spanish very well, but struggle with reading, so we´ve had to get them a French Book of Mormon. They have some different views about religion, but we´re really hoping that they advance. They both committed to reading and studying to Book of Mormon. Which I know that if anyone really does want to know if the book is true, they will get a testimony of its truth.

I don´t have much time, but I have to tell you about conference. Our Gibraltarian couple invited us over to eat in their flat for conference and watch a session there. While we were there, they made us traditional English breakfast. It was AMAZING. Sometimes I feel like I am serving my mission in the United Kingdom and Spain. This area is easily one of the coolest and most amazing areas in the mission. It´s such a blessing for both my companion and I to be able to teach in our native language to people who have so much faith. It´s so amazing. Conference was great. For me, it was like getting a refuel. It´s such a blessing. Especially for missionaries. I love being a missionary here. We´ve had a lot of opportunities to teach this last week, and we´re hoping to be able to find more and more people to progress in the gospel. We are praying daily to find miracles and to find more people who are ready and willing to accept the gospel. We will find them. They are here. In Alma 13:24, it talks about angels preparing the hearts of men to hear the word of God, and I know that that is what is happening here in La Línea. We just have to do our part to be able to find them, and God will do the rest.

I love you all so much. Thank you all for the support and love that you give me. Do not forget, it´s a great day to be a missionary!

Elder Weenig