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 work...it´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

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