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