Monday, August 31, 2015

Residency in Málaga

I don´t know if you know this, but residency is in the Bible. So yes, when people ask if my job has a spiritual side, I will now direct them to Luke 2:1-5. I have been developing a secondary missionary purpose here: helping others follow the example of Mary and Joseph and getting them registered in their own city (or here in Fuengirola depending on the local governments willingness to work with us). I bring that up because that has been the major focus of this last week. Thursday and Friday, two representatives from Madrid came down to do a presentation and also a residency inspection of Málaga. One of them was a native from Madrid and the other from Brazil. I´m not going to lie, I love being able to have a somewhat trilingual conversation and yet everyone understands. Portuguese is very similar to Spanish, and I have found that I can understand the majority of what Portuguese people say. Anyway, with the meeting conducted mostly in English and Spanish (with the occasional slip into Portuguese), we were able to talk about the status of residency in Spain and fortunately things are going well here in Málaga. Which is a relief, because there has been a lot of changes in the residency process in Fuengirola so it´s been pretty difficult, but I guess it turned out okay. Also, they took us out for Chinese food afterwards. Which was nice. I think it took me coming to Spain for me to develop a love for Asian food. But, I still don´t think I will be able to stomach Panda Express.

It was decided that next week would be a better week for Martins and his family to be baptized. I´m really excited for them. Yesterday, Martins was telling us that he felt like he had been prepared to get baptized in this church because no other church ever felt right. I love them a lot. They are just great. They feed us Fufu to ´Make us strong!´ They are the best.

Last week we were drove out to Estepona (a city that is in our area) with our ward mission leader. He returned from his mission only a few months ago, and is an absolute example of what a returned missionary should be. I want to be like him. Anyway, on our way, we visited a recent convert to the church who can´t come to church very often because she lives so far away. It turns out her boyfriend was there, who returned from his mission a year ago, and was visiting her for the week. It was pretty cool to get to teach with two returned missionaries. They both talked about how much they loved their missions, and it made me think about how big of an impact my mission has had on me.

I´m sorry about how short this is, but I want you all to know how much I love you all. I love Spain. I am also really grateful that winter is coming and the Costa del Sol is starting to cool off :).

I´m just glad that everyday is a great day to be a missionary.

Love you,
Elder Weenig

Hahaha I'm going to have to explain this.
 This is an African dish called fufu.
It is literally a ball of dough that you rip off with your hands and
dunk in a stew of meat and sauces. I can hear the instructor from
"Manners for Missionaries" video shuddering.
Some HUGE butterflies we found in a butterfly park

Quick shot of Fuengirola Castle.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Transfers and Tithing

So I´m not really sure what is the best way to describe this past week. Transfer weeks are unique. Little sleep, a lot of phone calls, and your ability to improvise gets stretched to the maximum. But when you end the day on Thursday, you feel like the world gets a little bit lighter. Also, eating Mexican food with President and Hermana Andersen after the transfer for breakfast is nice. This was President Andersen´s first time doing the full transfer, so it was really cool to see the differences between the way President Andersen does things and the way President Deere did them. My companion and I are staying together for another transfer, but from the looks of things, I will be training a new office elder soon. Generally, about halfway through the transfer the new office elder will come in. It´s crazy how quickly time goes, I still feel like I just got here.

Transfers are crazy. But I want to share a miracle that happened. Do you remember me telling you about the pair of sister training leaders that would be taking our car to the far side of the mission? We brought down the sister who would be driving on Tuesday night so that she could be trained in how to drive and what to do as a missionary driver. Anyway, everything went well, and we watched them drive away the next day having given them instructions to call us periodically throughout their journey to Cartagena (the city to which they were going) and especially to give us a call when they got there. Well, I had been expecting a call at the latest at 8 o clock, but what with transfers being crazy, I lost track of time, and before I knew it, it was 10 o clock, and we still had not heard anything from them. Now, to kind of explain the panic that I felt would be hard, because it´s a special circumstance. The sisters did not have a phone, and were driving to one of the farthest points in the mission. They could have been anywhere. Anyway, President Andersen and I started talking about possible solutions, and it took us about thirty seconds to realize we literally only had one option: to pray. So, I started praying as we drove back from an appointment, and President Andersen asked all of the missionaries that would be departing the next day to get down and pray. Not two minutes later, we got call from a pay phone telling us that the sisters were in Cartagena and were just looking for the chapel. It´s amazing to see how God works here in the mission field. It really is a blessing to see how much He influences and effects what we do.

In terms of proselyting efforts, we really did not have much time to be out proselyting this last week. In order for transfers to work, we have to be ready to jump in to fix any problem. But God really is preparing opportunities for us to go and teach his children. We were able to meet with Martins and his family on Thursday. We had planned to teach the law of tithing, focusing on the faith that is required of each of us to pay on honest tithe. We read the introduction to Ether 12, which talks about faith and about weaknesses becoming strengths. Martins read through the heading, reread it and then looked at us very confused. He told us that he did not understand why God would give men weaknesses. We then talked about how God gives each of us difficulties and imperfections so that we can become better people. When we said that, he thought about it for a second and then told us that that was exactly what he needed to hear. He told us that whenever we come, it is exactly what he needs to hear.  :) The gospel is perfect. We ended up teaching him about the law of tithing, and he started laughing. When we asked him what for, he told us to wait. He then went into his back room and brought out a little booklet which showed exactly how much tithing he had been paying to his other church. He can´t wait to start paying tithing. Wow. They will be baptized next week on Saturday.

I love my mission. I just can´t describe how grateful I am to be serving here in Fuen. Just to be a missionary. I just love it. I want to stay an extra year, if that is alright? I know one day I will have to go, and it hits me especially hard when we take missionaries to the airport, that I will have to go, too. That´s why I want to make everyday a great day to be a missionary.

Love you,
Elder Weenig

This is a pretty great picture. If you remember, my companion before
coming into that office was Elder Holman. Well, we had the trainers
come in this last week to pick up trainees, and he is training. So
there I am, the grand-trainer, Elder Holman the trainer, and Elder
Berry, the trainee. It's also worthy to note that I am the shortest in
this picture. I guess my age is catching up with me. :)

  Dropping off at the airport in Mijas Pueblo
A great birdseye view of Fuengirola

Visiting  friends in Algeciras (next three pics)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

There´s no place like...Algeciras

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAYDEN- I can´t believe that you are going to be a Senior. I still feel like I just graduated. I hope you have the best birthday yet.

I didn´t really think that when I got my call to Spain that I would teach a lot of Islamic people. For some reason or another, I hadn´t realized how many Islamic people live here. But it´s been like this for centuries. The Moors were actually here before the Christians, but during the Reconquista of Spain by Ferdinand and Isabel in the 1400s, Spain gained it´s predominately Catholic culture and reputation. Now, it´s becoming a lot more mixed. I love being here. I sometimes feel like I´m living in one of my history textbooks. So just a little shout out to Mrs. Herrick for being such a great European History teacher, and don´t worry, I did remember who Phillip II was when an man asked me about our history knowledge. Anyway, I bring that up because today, my companion was getting his hair cut and I started talking to the barber. Tip for anyone coming to Spain: Moroccan barbers are the best. They will give you one of the best hair cuts in the world. During our conversation, we started talking about going to the beach. As missionaries, we told him that we could not go to the beach, but after our mission we could. He nodded and smiled for a second, and then asked ´Why do you change after your mission?´ It was one of the first times I had had anyone ask me that before. He brought up a really good point that I had not thought of before. Even though I intend on going to the beach when I get home, I definitely don´t want to change a lot of things that I have developed on my mission. There´s a lot of things that at first seem odd, but as I´ve gotten older in the mission, I´ve come to realize that I don´t know what I´ll do without them. 

This last week has been great. I think I have really come to appreciate our car this last week, because this next week we will be losing it! There will be another set of Sister Training Leaders on the other side of the mission and they will get the extra office car. We will still have our combo (a European car that goes 0 to 60 in about 3.5.....years). It really is a blessing that we will still have a car, but we will miss our old Opel car.

We have been preparing for transfers this last week, which is pretty significant, because this is President Andersen´s first time organizing and executing a full transfer. Transfers will actually be this coming Wednesday, but it takes a lot of time for us to plan out, buy, and send tickets to the missionaries that will be traveling around the mission. So to be honest, our focus has been getting ready for that. We feel pretty confident about this. My companion and I will be together for another transfer (three transfers, which in our mission is highly unusual), but I found out that I will likely be leaving the office at the end of this coming transfer! Time goes by so fast, and I just want to make the most of the time that I have left here. Which would include seeing one of my favorite families get baptized: Martins and his family are progressing so well. They have come to church the past couple of weeks, and are getting ready to be baptized. Every time we teach them, I can´t help but imagine them all in white getting ready to be baptized. We have been richly blessed. I don´t know of another way to put it. To be able to teach such a great family and be able to balance office´s something that you can´t describe. I really don´t know how it works, but somehow, we are able to get out and work and yet the office still functions. I don´t know if I´ve ever been so tired, but I am so glad that God is blessing us so much. I don´t know what we would do if we had to try and do this work without him. 

In relation to the subject of the email... we were helping President Andersen this morning with some technology stuff in the mission home when he asked us about our plans tomorrow for church. We told him that we were not planning anything special, but that we were just going to attend our regular church meetings. He then asked us if we would like to go to church with him. Which I thought was a little odd because we go to the same ward every week anyway. Then he says that he is planning on visiting Algeciras this Sunday! (Algeciras is the branch I attended in La Línea). When I heard him say that, I instantly just shouted ´I´ve served there! That´s were I was before I came to the office´ He smiled and said that he knew that. Which actually, I suppose was the whole reason for them to invite us. I´m so excited. I can´t even describe how excited I am. I feel like I´m going home to see family. It feels like forever since I have been there and I am so excited. With any luck, I will be able to convince them to make a stop in La Línea and we can talk to some of the people that we were able to teach. 

What a great week. I can´t believe how different I have become in this past year. Going back and looking at my journal from the first year of my mission is crazy. I don´t know what I would have done without my mission. It´s not easy. It´s something that has pushed me in every way that I knew was possible and in some ways that I didn´t know were possible. But really, I can honestly say that every day has been a great day to be a missionary.

I love you all,

Elder Weenig
The Office

Monday, August 10, 2015


Fuengirola, how do I love thee? I´m NOT going to count the ways today, but I am really happy to be in this city. I really can´t believe that we are emailing again. What they told us in the MTC really is true: "The days can feel like weeks and the weeks can feel like days." This last week has flown by. But it´s been an incredible week.

Starting off the week, we had our council of the mission, which was great. Basically, all the leaders of the mission come together and we sit in a circle and talk about how we can improve the mission. This time we talked about how to be full purpose missionaries, and it really stuck out to me about the difference of being here for two years, or serving here for two years. It´s a cool difference. It´s one that I want to be able to emphasize on my mission.
Last week was amazing. Martins and his family are progressing so well. They fully accepted commandments that are normally difficult for others to keep. It´s been pretty miraculous. We did splits yesterday with one of the senior missionaries in our branch and I was with our branch president. It´s so cool the situation that we have here. Martins and his family speak English, and are attending our International English Branch. In no other part of our mission is there a branch like this, that gives us the opportunity to teach someone in English. It´s great. We are hoping and praying for their baptism in a couple of weeks. They are a great family.

Liseth is doing well. She still has not been able to come to church because her mother will not allow her to come. We are working to be able to meet with the mother so that we can explain a little bit more to her, and also to invite her to come to church. We have been able to teach her in the house of a member that lives right next door. We will keep praying for her, and I´m sure that we will see more miracles to come with her. 

We have seen a lot of progress, I´m sorry that this email is pretty short, but I just want you to know that I am so grateful to be out here. I just read a talk about missions and that our life´s greatest project should be ourselves. I am so grateful that I´m out on a mission, because it is the best thing that I could be doing with my life. It´s been a blessing for me everyday, and I´m so happy that I have this opportunity. It really is a great day to be a missionary.

I love you all!
Elder Weenig
Mission Council

Monday, August 3, 2015

August Begins

I love being a missionary. 

About a month and a half ago, I was talking with the Milan, Italy secretary. We both talked about the missions that we were in, and the differences between them. It was pretty cool to see how similar but also how different our missions are. One thing that he told me that has stuck with me as I have been in the office. He said, ¨Even though we don´t get very much time to proselyte, and maybe it´s because of that, we get a lot of miracles.¨ And you know what? The Spain Málaga Mission office has started to see them as well.
Manolo. I love this guy. He asked us if we needed to wear ties to church. (Beforehand, he had just worn a white collared shirt.) When we said no, it was not absolutely necessary, he asked, ´Well, then why does everyone else do it? I want to do what we are supposed to in this church.´ Good point, Manolo. Anyway, the next Sunday he came in, for the first time, with a tie. :) 

Martins and family. You remember that man that I talked about last time? He is awesome. Really, he apparently put his name on so that we would come and visit him. Anyway, he is from Nigeria, and has his wife and daughter living here. They are some of the most receptive people that I have met, and they want to come to church. They speak English, so we have been able to work with the International Branch. Our branch president, who coincidentally is from Zimbabwe, has been able to come with us to appointments as well as volunteering to bring them to church. :) I love the members here. Anyway, we had a lesson with them yesterday, where we watched the video of the Restoration, and as soon as we finished, Martins looked over and said that he felt ready to be baptized. He told us that he really liked the way that we worshiped and that he had been searching for a church like ours for a long time. I mean....I´m just saying, that is a pretty awesome miracle.  Anyway, he has committed to coming to church with his wife and child, who both want to get baptized. This will be huge for the branch. We´re very small in numbers, (only about 15-20 every week), and so to get a new family would be something huge for them.

Liseth. She is a pretty awesome girl. We were worried for a little while, because we were unable to put ourselves in contact with her for a while. We had just knocked her door and were walking away, really thinking that we had completely last contact with her, when we heard the sound of feet running up behind us, and we saw Liseth running up after us. She told us that we could come by sometime next week. Turns out there is a member family that lives right next door, and they are willing to have a family night or something with Liseth. Just keep praying. We´re hoping to see more miracles with her soon.

We found an old teaching record of a less active lady named Maria. We did not know who she was, but we wanted to be able to find her. When we knocked on her door, she smiled and said ´the missionaries´! Which is a nice change. I mean, as fun as explaining who we are is, it´s great to meet someone who knows who we are and why we are there. Anyway, we talked with her in her door, and she told us that she knows the church is true, but just doesn´t know if she´ll be able to get enough desires to come back to church. It´s hard to see someone say that, so we decided to convince her to come back to church. She is a great lady, and we really are hoping that she decides to come. 

We are seeing a lot of miracles. A lot of the time, they are really small. But by ´small and simple things, great things are brought to pass´ and that is what I´m praying for and hoping for in these next few weeks. That even though we don´t have a lot of time to proselyte, the small little things that we do, the small acts of obedience and hard work will eventually yield great results. 
I love being here. Being in the office has taught me two big principles: never give up, even when the circumstances surrounding you seem impossible. Second, related concept, if we give all that we can, God will make what has seemed impossible become possible. That´s what we get to see every day here. Which makes every day a great day to be a missionary.

I love you all,
Elder Weenig