Sunday, May 31, 2015

So Little Time

This last week has been one of the busiest of my mission. Really, just absolutely nuts. 

Transfers started at the end of last week. Which is a huge process for planning, buying, and sending tickets to missionaries who will travel throughout the mission. Which is hard enough, but then as we were just about to finish off buying all of the tickets, our credit card that we use for travel stopped working. Perfect timing, right? Anyway, we eventually found alternative routes of getting people where they needed to go. Everyone arrived to their area all right.

Right after transfers, Elder Fife and I hopped in a car and drove to Sevilla and Cádiz, which are the two main hubs for missionaries in the west side of our mission to deliver ipads.  It was really fun to go out and see all of the missionaries that serve there. It was a long drive. We´re both really tired today, which is why we have enjoyed a very relaxed pday. 

We got to visit one of the greatest landmarks in our mission again while we were there: the Sevilla Costco is one of the greatest blessings ever to visit the Spain Málaga Mission. We picked up some missionaries and stopped by the food court to have some pizza. 

Great news, I spoke with the missionaries serving in La Linea and they informed me that Antonio is preparing to receive the priesthood.

I think that the biggest thing that I have learned this last week is about time. How little time we have to do all we need to. My companion and I have been talking about this a lot. There is a lot of things that we need to do, besides just normal proselyting, we have got to get a lot of things done for the office as well. There are so many great examples of people out in the world who have the capability to balance work, friends, family, and church. They do it amazingly. We just have to be genuinely concerned about doing our best in each aspect of our lives. If we are really concerned about reaching our potential, God will provide a way to do so.

It´s been an interesting experience being in the office. I love being able to see so many missionaries. It´s a stark contrast from a few weeks ago in La Línea where we only saw other missionaries about once or twice a week. It´s a great learning experience. We are working our hardest to be able to get out and work as missionaries during the evening. 

Anyway, thanks for everything, for your support and for your love. You all are the best, and I miss you a lot. I´m super grateful for the opportunity to work here, and to be a missionary. It means a lot to me. Because it´s always a great day to be a missionary.

Elder Weenig

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ipads, Transfers, etc.

I don´t really know how to explain this last week. Really though. There are days when I feel like I just got hit by a ton of bricks trying to take in all of this knowledge. My office trainer (Elder Clark) finishes his mission this next week.  This means I will not be able to ask him questions about how to do things after he leaves, which is a scary thought because there is a lot of things that we do. We have to work a lot with the government, even when they are not feeling very cooperative, and we buy tickets. Oh buying tickets. Our mission is one of the biggest in Europe, and the biggest in Spain. Which means trying to get people from one side of the mission to the other during transfers is absolutely nuts. Completely. But we work it out. That´s part of the job as the travel secretary of the mission. We got the transfer report from President Deere on Thursday and have been working like crazy to plan out where everyone is supposed to go and to how in the world these people are going to get to their new areas. But those are the details of the job which are probably pretty boring. 

More exciting news-THE IPADS HAVE ARRIVED! Which is a huge change for our mission. HUGE. This is really like a pivotal moment because it will be when our mission goes digital. They arrived in literally the least useful time. We had scheduled to have all of the new missionary trainers come down on Tuesday to receive training from President and Hermana Deere, and everything was going as planned. (Well mostly everything. Apparently the brand new travel secretary bought the wrong ticket for one Hermana so she ended up coming in about an hour later than she was supposed to. Gosh, somebody needs to fire that secretary :) ) Anyway. so amid the panic of trying to find out where that Hermana had gotten off, we get a call from Apple delivery telling us that the ipads were on there way. When we asked when was the expected time of arrival, they told us in about 20 minutes. Which totally threw everything out of whack. But it was fine. The missionaries that were in Fuengirola were able to help us bring them into the office. It was crazy. But the ipads are amazing. We will help distribute them to the west side of the mission, which means we get to drive to Sevilla again, and then down to Cadiz, which is the other big zone center for our mission. It will be fun. We are working on getting our Spanish drivers license. It´s different here than from the United States, and costs so, so, so much more. But we´ve started our classes. our teacher is from the UK, and he´s pretty cool. Unfortunately, the text that we have is a direct (and literally a DIRECT) translation from Spanish, which is fine, but it makes it so that the syntax of the sentences is really off. A lot of the time the sentences don´t make sense.

I want to share one quick miracle that we had. We don´t get a lot of time to proselyte. Which is the hardest thing for me about the office. I miss it so, so, so much. It´s hard, but we all have to work where we´re put, no? Anyway, we did get an entire afternoon to go out, and we received a reference from Chile of all places that told us about a member who has been dying to get to church. When we got out there, she was waiting with her children and they told us a little bit about their story. They have wanted to get to church so badly, but because of a number of reasons, they have been unable. Which is hard for them, but when we called them, they took it as a gift from heaven. So cool. They are coming to church this Sunday. 

Well. I´m sorry this is so short. But hey, it´s been a great week. One thing that I´ve learned is how even though we´re not in our ´ideal´ situation, we can still have a lot of success if we´re working hard and that everything happens for a reason. So if something is hard in your life, if things aren´t going exactly as you´ve planned, and maybe you´re not in your perfect situation, you can still do your very best and that´s what matters. That´s what makes it a great day to be a missionary. 

Elder Weenig

Office Elders:  Elder Weenig, Elder Clark, and Elder Fife

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tickets, ipads, and Fuengirola

Happy Birthday, Tyler! The big 21. I hope it rocked. 

So there´s a theory, made by missionaries and tested by missionaries, that time speeds up during two days: Mother´s Day and Christmas. Usually just during a forty five minute time period when they are talking with their families. So good to talk to you all. Even though it really only felt like a couple of minutes, it was the highlight of my week.

The office. So this last week, Elder Weenig learned a lot about how to buy tickets to get all of the missionaries to their zone meetings. He also learned what happens when he accidentally buys tickets for the wrong day, or to the wrong place, or for the wrong person, or how to change them when suddenly things change. Yikes. It is a work in progress. It´s fun though, in its way. There is so much to learn. With my office trainer going home after this transfer, I will be the only secretary, I have got to learn a lot now or I might need to call the United States to ask for his help. I have learned a lot of vocabulary that I know that I definitely would not have if I was not working in the office. We also have a car. Which changes everything. For example, do you remember when I told you I would be going to drivers ed in Spain? We have been practicing to get our licenses this last week. Interestingly enough, even after about nine months of barely even being inside of a car, I managed pretty well. Going around European roundabouts, working with different traffic laws. I thought I was doing pretty well. At least until the door of our garage closed on us while we were passing through. But nobody got hurt and that´s what counts right? 

Really, though, it´s been fun. It´s a unique experience, because we always get calls from all over the mission. Soon the ipads will get there and we are going to be working on distributing them throughout the mission. It´s going to be a very cool experience. I´m excited to see how the ipads are going to change our mission. They are supposed to arrive soon, with the date accompanied by a plus or minus symbol. So we don´t know. We actually did get one ipad and it was really funny. All of the mission staff were sitting in one room when we heard the doorbell ring. President and Hermana Deere went to get the door and they came back with a dolly. On the dolly was ipad box. (notice the use of the singular). Yes. Exactly ONE ipad was delivered to our mission. it was given to some elders in Malaga to try and test it out and see how it worked. 

This week has flown by. The time just seems to fly, I can´t believe it. I´m starting to really get what it means to make the most out of every moment. Especially out here on the mission. There is so much to do! So much. We have so little time to do it. So what that means for us is to always be doing our best. One thing that I´m learning is time management. President Deere taught us in Leadership Council this last week about how to have vision. Vision for our future. I really am starting to recognize that I need to start building that vision. What better place to do that than the mission. I am so very blessed to be here in Spain. This mission is perfect for me. It´s taught me so much about myself and how much I need to grow. I´m very grateful. Fuengirola is beautiful. It´s right next to the beach, which is like the rest of my areas, and it has some beautiful views of the country. I love it here. So thank you. Thanks for all of the support that you give me and for all that you do. I love you all.

It's a great day to be a missionary.

Elder Weenig

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Office Life

HAPPY MOTHER´S DAY MOM!!! I will talk to you all tomorrow. Can´t wait.

This last week has felt incredibly short but also incredibly long. It´s really funny how time seems to go like that on the mission. There has been so much that has happened this last week. I have got to start off where I left off. 

So leaving La Línea was hard. Very hard. I really felt like I was saying goodbye to family. Gosh, I don´t like goodbyes at all. We´ll see each other again, and it´s also one of those moments that makes me incredibly grateful for technology (aka facebook). Antonio´s confirmation was this last Sunday, and it was a very special experience. Our branch president stood up at the beginning of the sacrament meeting and announced that this last week had been a historical moment, that we had seen the first baptism in La Línea in over fifteen years. Such a miracle. Elder Holman and I were able to participate in his confirmation, which was the most spiritual moment of the meeting. Antonio, during the confirmation began to cry. This is a man who has been a roughened sailor all his life. The spirit was so strong. incredibly strong. The atonement is real. It really is. Antonio´s conversion has helped me see that. He´s such an amazing person. With a lot of strength and desire to follow God. He´s overcome so much to be able to be baptized, and to see him there, with all of the people around him, supporting him, it really made me beyond grateful that I can be a missionary. 

Saying goodbye was hard. The members held a little going away party after church in the chapel. The members there are such amazing examples. One member family comes all the way from Africa (Ceuta actually, which is a military base in Morocco). So impressive. I do, and will miss them a lot. 
After the dinner, I got one a long bus ride to Fuengirola, which is the base of the mission. Once here, I got picked up by my two new companions (Elder Clark from Arizona and Elder Fife from Utah). I am in a trio for three weeks. Elder Clark is my trainer and will be showing me how to buy tickets for missionaries. travelling within the mission, how to work with the government to work out residency and lots of other really complicated terminology in Spanish that I have got to learn. It will be fun. But it is very different. For example, this last week we had our one and only mission conference. It is the only mission conference we will ever have because there generally isn´t a need, but mostly because the travel to get everyone there is a huge project. HUGE. getting all of the missionaries from Southern Spain to get to one place is nuts. Just plain nuts. My second day in the office was actually spent driving up to Sevilla to help set up for the conference. The conference turned out great. One bonus of the trip was going to Costco. There is exactly one Costco in Spain. It is literally like walking into a miniature United States. It´s sort of like heaven on earth. They have peanut butter there and you can be sure that I stocked up. So good. So, so, so good.

One of the great things about our area is that we have a car. It´s weird to be able to get into a car and go places. I did it before the mission, but it just feels weird right now. I will be going through driver´s ed (Spanish edition) relatively soon so that I can drive.

So touching really quickly on the mission conference, I wanted to share something that I learned there. While I was listening to the Seventy, it really made me think about the power of the atonement. We have been talking a lot about it this last week, and I think that it is one of the gospel topics that we refer to the most, and are actually incapable of fully comprehending. We understand that yes, there are so many reasons why we have to repent, but even more powerful is our ability to be able to grow and become saints through the atonement. During the conference, the Seventy that came and spoke with us told us that if we do what we have always done, we will get what we have always got, which is true. That includes repentance, and using the grace of God. If we really try to become better, then we use the atonement, and become better. It´s a process, not a destination.

I love you all, keep safe. it´s crazy here, but I love it. My companions are great, I love them a lot, and we´re going to work really well together. We´re going to see miracles here. Because it really is a great day to be a missionary. 

Elder Weenig

Monday, May 4, 2015

I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go

I hate goodbyes. I think that my overwhelming dislike for saying goodbye to people really started when I got out of the car at the curb at the MTC. It´s not a very fun experience. And this last week has been full of way too many of them. Let me explain.

So, Sunday, President Deere came to visit us in our little town of La Línea. It was great, he was able to interview Antonio, our investigator, and was able to talk with us for a little bit. Then he asked to talk to me in private for a few seconds. He then asked me to come and be the mission secretary, starting...tomorrow. So that gave me a week to say goodbye to everyone. But what an incredible week it has been.

Yesterday was a little different. We had a barbecue with the branch. I love the members here. They are all so, so strong and just fantastic. I love them. Elder Holman and I, for some inexplicable reason, were not thinking, and did not bring normal clothes to the barbecue, and instead, showed up in proselyting clothes. The rest of our district actually did think ahead and showed up in the appropriate clothing. So crazy. We ended up playing soccer and volleyball anyway, it was just a little bit more complicated. And sweaty. 

A very cool miracle that I´d like to share. We contacted a man while we were walking along the road one day, and he told us that he would enjoy hearing our message. When we went to his house, we presented the restoration and then told him how it could bless his life. He waited for us to finish then told us that every religious person he has talked to has told him the same thing. That everything that he had been hearing from us was exactly the same from the rest of the religions, and that none of them could really be proven, because there was nothing that you could see. He actually used the phrase ´hold between your hands´, which I thought was interestingly ironic. We told him that there was something that you could hold and read and gain a testimony about it. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he got excited. He told us that he was going to read it and that he would definitely want to discuss it´s meaning with us more in depth. 

Antonio got baptized this morning. It was a beautiful morning and we were really blessed to have a clear sky and a clear beach where we could do the baptism. It was the first time I have been a part of a baptism in the ocean. It was cold and the first time I have been on a beach in a long time. We, as missionaries, are not allowed on the beach unless we have a baptism there. The other elders in our district were ecstatic to be on the beach. Antonio, what a guy. I remember how we first began teaching him. We were walking down the street one day, and we stopped an older Spanish man named Antonio. He accepted a message to hear about the gospel and we have been teaching him for a little over a month. To see him get baptized was a very special experience. Such a blessing. We were able to have a few members from La Linea, who normally are unable to come to church, attend. President Flores, our branch president was talking to me afterwards about how this is a historical event. This is the first baptism in La Línea in the twenty first century. Crazy cool. So many more to follow. This is just the beginning. Antonio told me as we were walking out of the water and back onto the beach that he felt content with God. That he felt very good about his decision.
Wow. A crazy week. We had interviews with President Deere and we talked a lot about why certain things happen. I have begun to really understand what it means to go where God wants us to go. We may not understand why we´re needed in a specific spot, or we may think that we could be better used in a different way, but what we have got to understand is that God knows better than us. He knows us better than we know ourselves and He will give us the opportunities that allow for the most growth rather than the most comfort. As difficult as it is to accept sometimes. We may not know why we are being asked to do something but one thing that I have learned this last week, and actually from this entire experience of being here in La Línea is that if we accept the difficult circumstances that we are placed in, and if we decide to grow from them, God gives us the power to be able to grow. It´s a part of the atonement that we have to understand. It´s the enabling power of the atonement that causes us to become better people. For that I´m very grateful. I don´t know what´s going to happen in these next couple of months. It´s going to be very difficult because we will be making the change between mission presidents. But what I´m beginning to realize is it´s not where you serve, but how. If we do our best in where we´re called, that´s what counts. It may not be on the battle´s front, but it´s where God has need of me. 

It is definitely a great day to be a missionary

Love you all.

Elder Weenig

Elder Holman, Antonio and I
With our district, members of the church in La Linea, and the Branch President at Antonio's baptism.