Sunday, September 27, 2015

"To Love Another Person is to See the Face of God"

Elder Christofferson once said "It's amazing that God lets us, with all of our faults and our inabilities, handle the fine china of His work. In fact, it's remarkable that He even lets us in the house." In the case of Elder Weenig it's especially impressive because I think that a lot of the time he must think that it's time to pull out the plastic cups and keep Elder Weenig far distant. I really am very,very lucky to be a part of this work. Even though I make a lot of mistakes.

I got my replacement this week! He is a really good guy, his name is Elder Gantner from Switzerland. He's leaning really quickly, so I think I will be leaving the office soon. I still don't know where I am going, but I should know relatively soon.

Every time we have a baptism I think of the words to a song at the end of Les Miserables which says 'to love another person is to see the face of God'. One of my companions started singing it after we had dropped off the baptismal dress for my first baptism and it has stuck with me ever since. You know what? I think that the purest way to love someone is to be able to see them come unto Christ through baptism. In that way we really do 'see the face of God'. It may sound a little cheesy, but I really do honestly believe it. Maybe that's why I love the look on people's face when they come up out of the water. Martins and his family will be baptized this week. Tonight actually. At seven thirty. We have really been blessed to be able to work with them and to help prepare them for baptism. We were going over the baptismal questions with them a couple of days ago, not only did they answer every single one of the questions perfectly, but they talked about how they read the Book of Mormon when they are stressed and Martins told us that he has been reading the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith. They are awesome, I will send you a picture of the baptism next week.

What a great day to be a missionary!

I love you all,
Elder Weenig

Handing the phone off to Elder Gantner

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Driving, Conferences, and Replacements

This last week has been awesome. Tiring, but awesome. Organizing the three zone conferences in our mission takes a lot of time and effort. Translating the local Málaga conference into Spanish for the native Spanish speakers leaves your head feeling mushy afterwards. But it´s been a great week.

So how do I begin to tell you about this last week? Big news: Apparently, the area representatives in Germany have sent out a mandate telling everyone that if they do not have a legal European drivers license, they cannot be driving. Which means us, who are in the process of getting them, do not have a car anymore. Neither do the senior couples or the APs, which has caused a number of difficulties for the mission. But, we are waiting for the blessing which we are sure will follow. Exact obedience sometimes is not easy. But it is worth it. We are praying that this drivers license situation resolves itself. So now we walk everywhere. Maybe us giving up our cars for a time is the solution. (also- I may need a sole- ution to my shoes soon as well :) )

Anyway, in other relatively large news, I now have a replacement! He will be here on Wednesday. My replacement´s name is Elder Gantner. He is from Switzerland. I actually just talked to him on the phone today. I will be honest. I can´t wait to get out and be working again as a normal missionary. I have learned a lot here, and had the opportunity to meet some amazing people.

Fuengirola is finally starting to cool off. We are the key spot of the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) and it has been very hot. Now, it is finally starting to cool off. Fortunately, the work is starting to heat up. We found a new couple named Pili and José. They are quite the pair. José stopped us on the street and told us that he wanted to be baptized, which almost never happens. We asked him how he knew of the church and he told us that years ago someone had given him a Book of Mormon, and he had been visiting with missionaries ever since. He´s been getting to know the church for a long time now, so we are hoping that this time is different. For Pili, however, this is the first time that she has heard about the church and she likes it a lot.

Martins and his family are incredible. There are few times in your mission where you meet someone who is just perfectly prepared, and this is one of those times. They were a little bit concerned about their baptism for a little while, but just this last week, they have decided to commit one hundred percent. We had a lesson yesterday about family history work and temples, and Martins at the end of the lesson told us that he loved the way that our church works. We teach clearly so that people can understand and that he and his family always leave the church understanding the doctrine. We are very excited for them. They are a miracle. Every time we visit with them, I love the spirit they have. They are so willing to do God´s will, even if it´s difficult for them. Which is inspiring to us all, especially with the car situation that we find ourselves in. They have made a lot of sacrifices in order to prepare themselves to be baptized. Just incredible.

Another miracle that we saw this last week was with a less active lady that we have been teaching named Maricarmen. She has been a member for over thirty years, but unfortunately stopped coming to church about 15 to 20 years ago. We have been visiting her these past couple of months inviting her to church. We don´t know what happened, but the last Saturday that we visited her, she accepted the invitation. When she walked into the chapel, it was one of the best feeling that I´ve had. It´s one thing to see someone who hasn´t ever known about the church come into it, but something even stronger when you see someone who hasn´t been for a long time walk back into a place that they used to know. It was incredible.

I love this city. We were walking down one of the streets yesterday, and all I could think about is how lucky I am to be here in Spain. The culture and people are beautiful. I love getting to speak the Spanish language. My being in Gibraltar has proven to be really useful, because I now am the unofficial translator for mission councils and zone conferences. I like it a lot, being able to translate, although it leaves your brain feeling pretty dead afterwards. But being a missionary is the best. There really is nothing to compare.  I can not express how much I love being able to put my name tag on everyday and be out talking to people about the restored gospel. I love it so much. I want to make everyday a great day to be a missionary.

Love you all,
Elder Weenig

Two pics from their trip to Gibraltar two weeks ago:o:

Crossing the Gibraltar airstrip in order to enter the city of Gibraltar with the sister missionaries from Frengirola. 

Another hike up the Rock of Gibraltar and a visit with our monkey friends

Monday, September 7, 2015

Visiting Gib Again

I'm writing this from the seat of our car. We are on our way back from Gibraltar. We took a trip there today. It was crazy. This will very likely be very short, but I just wanted to let you know about some things that have happened this last week.

The first big thing: the office has now changed addresses. We moved! It's been a crazy process of trying to get everything ready, but we were fortunate enough to have the help of the zone leaders who were in Fuengirola helping. Anyway, any mail should now be sent to the same address with the exception of the floor. Instead of being 3D-E, it will now be 1C. And the new office is very, very nice. It's odd to have air conditioning in the office that makes it so cool that you want to turn it off. Anyway, we are really excited.

In terms of residency, I think this story is definitely worthy of note. President Andersen needed to do his residency. We went to the police station in Fuengirola, and as the police went over his passport,they ask where his entrance stamp to Spain was. Now, this is something extremely odd. You almost never find someone that does not get an 
entrance stamp, and especially among those, your mission president. Anyway, the police weren't willing to let him get residency without the stamp. What do you do? Look up the cheapest flights to get him to Italy, France or even Morocco, but then finally decide to fly him to the UK. I learned a lot about how to get someone to and from a foreign country in one day so as to minimize loss of proselyting time. It turns out the air fare here in Spain is relatively cheap so it turned out well. Anyway, he was now able to come in and get residency this last week. Which was a huge relief. Wouldn't want to lose our president overseas. Well, all is well that ends well, right?

Martins and his family are progressing well. We're still working on helping them gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and we had a really cool lesson with them. While we were teaching them, we had planned to teach them a about eternal family and temple marriage. 
While the lesson progressed they expressed some concerns about baptism and then we started to focus the lesson on the Book of Mormon instead. As we started sharing about how we can resolve problems with the Book of Mormon, the atmosphere of the lesson started to change. You could tell that Martins and his family could feel the truth of what we were teaching. We recommitted them to reading the Book of Mormon and are going to continue praying for them.  They are great.

What a week. I was able to come and visit some awesome friends down in Gibraltar today. I miss that place a lot.

It is a great day to be a missionary.

Love you all,

Elder Weenig