Monday, July 27, 2015

Finding People

So apparently people were not lying when they said that southern Spain is the hottest part of Europe. Really though, there have been times where I feel like we are just walking into a hot tub by walking out of our apartment. It´s very humid, and very, very, very hot. Fortunately, the senior couple that serves in the office with us has let us borrow some of their fans. I have really come to appreciate air conditioning.

This last week has been great. We have been really blessed to see a lot of miracles. Manolo´s doing so well. Really, really well actually. He paid tithing for the first time this last Sunday, but unfortunately, some missionaries (us) had forgotten to turn in his baptism register. Which is actually really saying something because normally you have to mail it into the office, whereas we just have to go next door. Whoops. But good news, we were able to get his information plugged in so now he is technically a member. But he is such a good guy. Really loves coming to church and is doing really well. We are hoping to be able to get him a calling soon. 

This last week our zone had a goal to find, and we were really wanting to meet a lot of new people because although we have been in Fuengirola for a few weeks, we still want to grow our teaching pool a lot. So we have been able to see a lot of cool blessings:

First, would probably be Liseth. She is a thirteen year old Colombian girl. We found her name in the area book that we received and went to go and meet her. We rang her door bell and out runs Liseth. Now I will be honest, when I was reading the information about her, I had thought that she was in her mid 50s (I had forgotten to look at her age). But there is definitely a reason that she seems so much older. She is an impressive little thirteen year old. She takes care of her little siblings because her mom is not around very much. I think that´s one of my favorite things about being a missionary. I get to see so many just amazing people that overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties and still manage to live normal lives. It´s inspiring, really. Anyway, Liseth comes out and only five minutes later another thirteen year old, a member named Cesar walks out of the building. He smiles and asks, ´Are you going to teach Liseth´ We told him that we were going to, and he asked to join us. I was impressed. I mean, both of them were not even old enough to be entering high school, but they both answered questions about the Book of Mormon and prayer that I definitely know where beyond my capacity when I was that age. It was a really cool experience. We asked Liseth to be baptized and she surprised us when she said, Yes, I really would like to. When we asked about a specific date, she told us that the only problem is that her mother does not approve of her getting baptized. So we are going to pray really hard for her and her mom.

About a week ago, we were walking down the main street in Fuengirola, and we contacted this young Spanish guy, about 25 years old. We started talking to him, and I asked him if we could share a message with him. He shrugged and said that he wasn´t doing anything right then, and that we could definitely share a spiritual thought with him right then. So, right in front of the Cultural Center of Fuengirola, we sat down on a bench and taught the message of the Restoration. I love teaching the Restoration, because it really brings the Spirit really easily. Anyway, we had a great lesson with him, and we really wanted to be able to teach him again, so we asked for his information. He said that he could not give out any personal information, but that he would call us. Now, this is what we call a ´Best Two Years´ moment, where on the outside you´ve got the Elder Calhoun ´He said he´d call´ when in reality, you feel like it´s time to start finding someone else. But he did promise us that if he could, he would come to church. Anyway, we drive up to the church to see him waiting outside. It was AWESOME. One of the best feelings that we can have on the mission is the feeling when your investigator fulfills a commitment. Anyway, this guy stayed for the entire block and when we got to the end, he told me that he had really enjoyed it. I was impressed as well, because he sang along with the congregation, even though it was his first time in church. Unfortunately, he still did not give us any contact information, but we are going to keep praying for him. He took a Book of Mormon and said that he would read it. I believe him. I really hope that we see him again at church.

Another really cool miracle actually came from We got a reference for a man named Martins from Nigeria. We had tried to call him and set up an appointment with him, but we hadn´t been able to. And then, out of the blue, we are walking down the street and this man contacts us. It turns out that he was Martin. He invited us to his house, and gave us his phone number. When we got there, he and his wife and daughter were there. We had a really great lesson with them, and when we asked them to come to church, Martins told us that he would love to come, but unfortunately, the chapel was too far away, and they could not make it every week. He told us that we wanted to get baptized, and that he was very willing to come to church if there was a way to get there. He turned to his wife and said, ¨Do you want to get baptized?¨ She looked at us and asked, ¨Well, I was baptized when I was 12 years old, can you people baptize me again?¨ We smiled and assured her that she could definitely be baptized again. Now, it´s just the problem of getting them to church. It´s not nearly as far away as La Línea, so we´ve just got to come up with a miracle solution to get them there. I´m sure we´ll be able to, we have just got to wait and be patient.

Lots of miracles. We don´t have very much time to proselyte, but God is blessing us with people that are prepared regardless. One thing that I have learned this week is that what we want is often different from what God wants. We only get to see the miracles when we submit our will to His. He has given us everything and controls everything except one thing: our will. As we give that over to Him, sacrifice the one thing that He cannot take from us, we begin to see the miracles. Which really makes it a great day to be a missionary :)

I love you all,

Elder Weenig

Monday, July 20, 2015

Baptism and Go Karts

This last week was AWESOME. Crazy, tiring, but awesome. 

So to pick up where we left off last week, Manolo was baptized. He is AWESOME. Really, just incredibly prepared. Our bishop baptized him. The fact that he was born in La Línea... just makes it about ten times better. What a fantastic day to be a missionary :)

This morning was one of the funnest in my mission. We went go karting with President Andersen and his son. It was really fun, the go karts went pretty fast. Well, fast enough for me to spin out and get my kart covered in mud. Pretty fun.

This last week has been just about a perfect balance of proselyting and working in the office. I mean, in the office, we have a lot of stuff to do and some days it feels like we will never get done. But things generally turn out. I really am amazed every day that goes by at how well things function, especially when you think that we are two 19 year olds working to make a mission function. We see little miracles everyday. Like when I accidentally threw away our ticket to get out of a parking garage and was later able to find it without a problem. Also, a representative came down from Madrid to talk residency. I know this probably will mean absolutely nothing to most people, but they are going to give first year residency cards to missionaries in the MTC!! This is HUGE. It just makes my job about a hundred times easier. Interestingly enough, he also asked me to bring up with our mission president the idea of splitting my job into two. Basically, we are going to be seeing a lot of changes in the office pretty soon. 

This last week was pretty big for the mission. We had our first leadership council with President Andersen, which is basically when the leaders of the mission come together to talk about the state of the mission and such. It was a really cool. President Andersen focused on letting us decide what we wanted to share with other missionaries, rather than giving us a direct concept to teach to others, he let us talk about it. We talked about having difficult areas, and the attitudes that the mission has towards difficult areas, and for me, that was something that really hit me hard. In La Línea, I had many people tell us that we wouldn´t see very much success, because we were opening the area from scratch. But we ended up seeing huge miracles there. The same with the Office, I had a lot of people telling me when I got called here that ´Office Elders never baptize´. It´s really taught me a key principle: that we control our circumstances, not the expectations of others. That really applies to every aspect of our lives. We don´t have to let the circumstances that we are placed in decide how we will react, or the success that we will have. It´s a really cool concept. It reminds me of the scripture that ´with Christ I can do all things´. And on my mission I have been able to see that. We really do absolutely nothing, but with Christ, we are able to do whatever thing that we need to. It doesn´t matter about preconceived ideas or the attitudes of other people, we really can conquer anything so long as we try to do it to the best of our ability.

It really is a great day to be a missionary.

Love you,

Elder Weenig
Manolo's baptism
We went go karting this morning and we were asked to wear hair nets
before we put on our helmets.... So here we are. All ready to go go

Monday, July 13, 2015

Milagros (Miracles)

I don´t really remember ever learning at the MTC or during my training what it means to receive a miracle. We always spoke about miracles, and that it was important to keep track of them and always appreciate them. I still don´t know what sometimes qualifies a miracle, and what at others requires just to grit it out and work through it. But one thing that I have learned on my mission, and that I keep learning is that God works through miracles. It is the way that He has always worked, and will continually keep working.

This last week was transfers. The first transfers with President and Hermana Andersen. Transfers basically are a three day period of little sleep, hundreds (literally) of phone calls, and a lot of improvisation. Starting on Tuesday, the transfer started having problems. A trainer on the far side of the mission missed her bus. Which was fine, and I actually thought that that was the only thing that could go wrong. But I was definitely mistaken. Very, very mistaken. Right after getting that phone call, we drove down with the Andersens to the Málaga train station to pick up the new missionaries. Everything went smooth there, and my companion took the new missionaries on the subway system to go to Fuengirola, where they would meet their trainers, while I went back with the Andersens. While we drove back, I got a call telling me that they had accidentally gotten on the wrong train, and now were in a small town on the outskirts of Malaga with no way to get back. So all of the new missionaries were now stranded and out of our reach, with little to no way to get back. We decided to send the Assistants to the President out to look for them in order to bring them back in their car. Which we thought would work, until I got a call from the AP´s telling me that their car had broken down! Which resulted in them having to wait until another train came through (about an hour later) to come back into Fuengirola. Crazy. Because of this, I took the Andersens to the airport on my own to pick up a missionary coming from Utah. This was especially cool, because I had flashbacks to my first day in the field. I was so excited when I first saw the Deeres from the glass and was really excited to be able to do that for a new missionary. Unfortunately, the new missionary wasn´t looking through in the right direction, and was walking around the baggage claim airport, and we had no way to communicate with him. Which resulted in me jumping up and down in front of the glass shouting for the Elder to look (which he eventually did). Well, it worked, it just attracted a LOT of stares from around the airport. Oh well. :)

Anyway, we ended up getting everyone to the mission home, which was a miracle in itself. I think that the biggest miracle was that the rest of the transfer went almost perfectly. It was a huge relief. I will not lie. I was really, really, really relieved when the last phone call came confirming that the transfer had ended.

Now keep all of that in mind as I tell you about what I consider to be one of the biggest miracles of my mission. There is a man who has been coming to church for a few weeks, named Manolo. I started talking to him and we got onto the subject of where he was from. He told me he was from Algeciras. When I told him that I had lived there in a little city close to there, called La Línea. He started to smile and told me that that was where he was born! A Linense! (I´m not sure what we would call that in English. It´s a person from la Linea). We started talking about the city and what it was like. I have missed La Línea so much. There really isn´t anything that can replace seeing the Rock of Gibraltar and occasionally Africa everyday. As we started to talk even more, I realized that he wasn´t a member. I talked to the other Elders in our district who said that they had been teaching him, but that he hadn´t been baptized. That was a few weeks ago. Manolo kept coming to church, but didn´t have a baptismal date or anything. This last week, we whitewashed Fuengirola (what that means is to come into an area where neither of the two elders had previously served). On Tuesday, we had almost no time, but I had this overwhelming feeling that we needed to go and visit Manolo. We ended up having about ten minutes where we could wait for the trainer who had missed her bus, or we could run to his house. We decided to go to his house. We got there, apologized for not having much time, and asked if we could talk to him briefly. He told us that that would be fine. We sat down and I felt that we needed to ask him to be baptized on Saturday. We said the prayer, and then after a moment of silence, I looked at him and said, ¨Manolo, we feel like you are prepared to be baptized this Saturday. Will you be baptized by someone holding the authority of God?¨ He looked at us for a few seconds then said "yes". We smiled, apologized once more, and said that we really had to get going, but that we would be back to set up the details of the baptism. We came back the next couple of days and finished teaching him all that he needed to be baptized. Incredible. And so, in an hour, we will be going over to the chapel for his baptism. So I can´t tell you how amazing this is. Just an incredible amount of blessings.

It really is a great day to be a missionary.

I love you all!

Elder Weenig
Aerial view of Malaga

Monday, July 6, 2015

Goodbye to Some Deere Friends, and Welcome to the Andersens


So yes, we have now switched mission presidents. Crazy. Absolutely crazy. That really has been the focus of this last week. 

We had our last meeting with the Deeres on Monday morning. The next day was crazy. We waited for the Andersens to come in at 7 pm. Unfortunately, something happened with their flight, and they ended up getting in at midnight. The Deeres had asked my companion and I to wait for the Andersen's at the mission home to welcome them into the mission home and to be there for them.We ended up having to wait for a long time (until 1:00 a.m), and so we sat outside the mission home for a while. While we were sitting there, I heard a noise coming up the road. Bear in mind, that there is only one street light on that road. The road right outside of the mission home has a lot of bends and you can only see a part of the street, so we didn´t know what the noise was. It sounded like someone was carrying something metal up the street. So what goes through my mind? The stories Hermana Deere had told us about Gypsies roaming the streets at night trying to break into houses. I also thought that this was going to end up being one of those horror-stories-examples about why missionaries should always be to bed on time. Anyway, so I am getting ready to run or get back in our car and drive off when around the corner comes...a wiener dog with this weird metal thing around its neck that was making a lot of noise. Anti climatic, right? But really, that night felt very long, but we were able to meet the Andersens! They are fantastic. We were there to see the ceremonial passing off of the keys. It was pretty intense. My companion and I drove the Deeres to the airport.  It was a weird feeling to say goodbye to them. We are going to miss them. They really have made such a huge difference in my life, and I´m really glad to have had them as Mission President and Wife.

We´ve been able to work in Fuengirola this past week. It´s really made such a difference in our proselyting efforts, and I am so happy that we have been able to get out and work. I love it. For example, we visited a Chilean family and were teaching them the message of the restoration, and I don´t know what it was about that lesson in particular, but I felt something strong during that lesson. Something powerful about what we were teaching. It reminded me of how amazing our message is. We know what is really going on in the world. When a scientist even discovers the smallest discovery in understanding of how our world works, we tell the whole world. We have that with the Gospel! We should try to share it with as many people as we can, even if it is just through our actions.

I really am so glad to be working here as a missionary. It has made the biggest difference in my life, and I feel so blessed. Thank you all for all that you do. I love you all! It´s a great day to be a missionary!

Elder Weenig

With President and Hermana Deere, President and Hermana Andersen, and Elder Fife
Selfie shot as we dropped President and Hermana Deere off at the airport.