Monday, November 30, 2015


Happy Thanksgiving!

It´s the end of November and sunny outside. I really can´t believe it. The members tell us that it is actually pretty unusual. But we are not complaining. For our p-day today, we played soccer as a district. It was really fun. Supposedly though, the cold starts in December. So we will see how the temperature is in about a month.
This last week flew by. It was also one of those weeks where you can´t believe that it all happened in one week. It´s been a pretty great week.

Big news: We spoke with Nelly this week! She called Gisel and while we were there we were able to speak with her. She is doing well. She says that when she goes to church that she looks for us. We miss her a lot. But hopefully, I will still be here in Granada when she comes back in March.

Other big news: Martins and his family moved to Italy (close to Rome). They actually originally lived in Italy and had only moved to Spain temporarily. They sent us an email and asked for the Italy missionaries' phone number so they could get in contact with them. They are doing well. Before they moved, Martins had received the priesthood.

Gisel is doing so well. My companion and I feel kind of useless sometimes as we teach her because she has such a great knowledge of the gospel. In fact, she has been taking her cousin to church for about three weeks now. Her cousin is 7 years old and has been attending primary. We had the primary program on Sunday, Her cousin participated. It was crazy, because at first I thought she was just a daughter of one of the members. I did a double take when I realized that it was Gisel´s cousin. It got even better when she recited her line for the program: ´When I am baptized, I choose to follow Jesus´. Which made my companion and I look at each other and smile. I really hope that we are able to begin to teach the rest of Gisel´s family. It´s Gisel´s goal as well. We had a really cool lesson with her a couple of days ago. We were in our usual cafeteria, teaching a lesson, but this time we were teaching with a member from Algeciras! Her name is Claudia and she´s pretty fantastic. The day that we began teaching Gisel, Elder Black (who also served in Algeciras) and I talked about how Gisel reminded us a lot of Claudia. So we put the two of them in contact and have been really happy about how well they have gotten along. Gisel has told us many times that she wants to serve a mission, and Claudia finished her mission about a year ago, so it was a perfect situation to teach. We got permission from President Andersen, and we were able to teach with her. It was great.

I don´t have much time today. But I just want to say how grateful I am to be out here. I really am grateful. It´s a great day to be a missionary.

Elder Weenig

Celebrating Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Goodbye to Nelly

I know I have mentioned this before, but I´m really not fond of goodbyes. They are not fun. Especially when you know that you may never see that person again. But like my MTC teacher once told us, ´That´s what you´ll be doing for the next year and a half to two years of your lives. Saying goodbye to people.´ So, we get used to it I guess, but this last week was especially difficult.

Nelly left on Wednesday. We had a goodbye dinner with her, Gisel, and Pepe. It was a bittersweet goodbye, because even though we would not be able to teach her anymore, we knew that she would be well taken care of. She also told us something that really stuck with me. She told us she wanted us to know that if we ever thought that our mission´s were not worth it or that we were wasting our time, to not think it, because she had found the truth. She wanted us to know that she, a daughter of God, had recognized who she is, and that was what made all of the difference. It was a really special experience. She called us right before she boarded her plane for Peru, and it was one of the hardest things to hang up. She really is a great woman, and told us that she as going to try and bring the rest of her family into the church.

It´s been a great week. Really. Church yesterday was proof of that. We were sitting in priesthood, getting ready to start the meeting, when all of a sudden walks in one of our investigators, whose name is Antonio. Antonio´s a middle aged Spanish man, who we had invited to church, but really didn´t have much faith in him turning up. Thankfully, God is able to work miracles regardless, and Antonio told us that he just had a feeling to come to church that day, even though it was really cold outside. (It actually has become quite cold outside now. Granada has snow on the mountains.) Anyway, Antonio sits down, and leans over to me and says ´You didn´t call me.´ Now, this is one of those moments where you remember that you were supposed to do something but it slipped your mind and someone catches you for it. I was supposed to call him that morning to remind him to come to church, but he came on his own accord. Very cool.

In terms of other news, we did an exchange with the Elders of Jaén. As zone leaders we do exchanges with every district leader each transfer, and this transfer is a only four weeks, so we are a little pressed for time. Anyway, Elder Black is our assigned driver, but we wanted him to be able to travel to an exchange, so we made arrangements for one of the new missionaries to come and be with me so that we could still use the car. It was an adventure teaching someone to drive in Spain. Especially someone who has never driven in Europe before. He did well, We avoided most cars, and we got to where we needed to go. But I did gain an appreciation of Elder Black´s parallel parking skills. We ended up teaching Gisel on that exchange. The first time since Nelly had left. We were a little bit worried about Gisel, with Nelly leaving. We were not sure if she was going to want to keep coming to church or whether she would start to lose the desire with her friend gone. But Gisel is not like that at all. Instead, she has done the opposite. Now with her friend gone, she has begun to invite her friends to come and learn about the Gospel. It was incredible, because when we sat down to start teaching, she told us that she had invited a friend to come and listen to us. We were about to start the lesson when her friend showed up. We started teaching the lesson, and were going pretty well, but then Gisel jumped in and did an incredible job of testifying and teaching. She has a desire to serve a mission, and I can already tell that she will be an incredible missionary. She just needs to get baptized first -- December 20. It has never seemed so far away. But we are praying for her, and the ward has really taken her under their wing. There is a family from Venezuela who live here and they are really helping out a lot. They had us over for dinner yesterday and they told us that they were very, very impressed with Gisel. They talked about her powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. Elder Black and I joke that she´s not really even an investigator anymore. She is a ´dry member´ (someone who lives the Gospel without having been baptized).

Things are going really well. We are seeing a lot of miracles. I am very lucky to be here.  It really is a great day to be a missionary!

Love you,
Elder Weenig

Goodbye dinner with Nelly -- Elder Black, Pepe, Nelly, Gisel and I

Monday, November 16, 2015

A little Bit More of God's Love

Today I am writing you from outside the Alhambra, an ancient Islamic fortress in the mountains of Granada. We have had to get up really early to be able to get tickets to see the Alhambra as part of our p-day. Supposedly they run out very quickly. But I can't help but be excited. The Alhambra is one of the most famous castles in Spain. It was the key point in the siege of Granada during the Reconquista of Spain by the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella. Needless to say, I'm very excited to go inside today.

It has been quite the miraculous week. Granada is seeing a lot of miracles. Elder Black and I are also sympathizing with Timon and Pumba, as 'our trio's down to two'. Elder McConnaughey finished his mission this last week. He finished really strong and was a great example of how to finish a mission.

As I told you last week, Nelly and Gisel came to stake conference and to the baptism that night. They both loved it. Nelly especially. I told Nelly that if she wanted to get baptized this last week, we would need to have the decision made on Tuesday in order to get everything ready for the baptism. So on Tuesday morning, I am on the phone with Nelly. She told me that she could hardly sleep because of the decision that she had to make. She told us that she would tell us her decision at our appointment that night.

Nelly and Gisel live in a pueblo (small city) called Santa Fe. It's  about thirty minutes away from Granada by bus, but thankfully, we have a car. (A note on Santa Fe. It's called the Pure City, because it was built by the Catholic monarchs to lay siege to Granada during the Reconquista of Spain. Supposedly it has never had the Islamic influence in its structure or building. Completely created from the Catholic tradition.) Man. I love how much history is here. But anyway, back to the story. We went out to Santa Fe on Tuesday and met with Nelly and Gisel. We generally meet in a cafe in one of the main plazas of Santa Fe. This lesson was going to be the three major commandments that we teach before baptism (tithing, word of wisdom, and law of chastity) so we were all silently praying that neither Gisel or Nelly ordered a coffee. It was a huge miracle that they didn't and they ended up getting an warm infusion. (We ordered a cola cao, which is generally for children but it tastes good and reminds me of hot chocolate). Anyway, as the lesson progresses, Nelly began to get a little withdrawn. She finally told us that she had reached her decision. She told us about how she hadn't been able to sleep all night, when she had the thought to open the Book of Mormon and she opened randomly to Mosiah 18. There she read Alma's challenge to the people in that time to be baptized. She told us she felt that it was true. She was silent for a minute then told us she would be baptized on Saturday. Gisel was so happy, she told us she wanted to cry. We told her she should get baptized as well, but she told us she would need a little longer. Anyway, we taught the rest of the lesson, and Nelly, when she heard that she couldn't drink coffee anymore, she protested, "I can't give up coffee!" Then she stopped for a second and said "but if I need to, I will". Incredible. We met his lady my second week in this area and now she has been baptized. In just three short weeks she came to know the Gospel is true, and has desires to live it the rest of her life. We spent the rest of the day on cloud nine, but the rest of the week proved to have a lot more miracles waiting.

Gisel told us that she still was still waiting for an answer until we talked to her a couple of days before the baptism. She told us that she really wanted to get baptized, and then set a baptismal date for herself for the 20th of December! 

So the day of the baptism arrives, and we had everything well planned out. Gisel was going to give a talk about their conversion story. Pepe, the member that had helped fellowship them into the church, was going to talk about baptism, while Elder Black and I had the musical number. We were a little concerned because last week the font didn´t work, and we ended up having to boil water and take it manually to the font, but thankfully, this time it worked. When Nelly got there, it was incredible. Gisele had requested that we play ´We Thank Thee, O God for a Prophet´ as the special musical number, and although I had never thought of that as a baptismal hymn, it set the perfect spirit for the baptism. Everything went as planned. Gisele´s talk was amazing. She really is a great example of being converted. In fact, when she came to church the next day, a lot of the members thought that she was already a member of the church. She is incredible. Nelly gave her testimony at the end of the service which really sealed the deal with how strong her testimony is. I really love her story. She came to Spain only five weeks ago to work on some legal papers. Two weeks into her time here, we met her at the internet cafe. Three weeks from that date she was baptized. Amazing. Really, honestly, I feel so blessed to have been a part of her story. To be her ´Spiritual son´ (which is her nickname for me). She really is an incredible lady, and so prepared for the Gospel. The night before her baptism, she told us she had a doubt/question. She wanted to know what happens to people who have never had the chance to get to know the Gospel. It hit us right there that we had not taught her adequately about the temple. We had a great lesson, and amidst Cola Cao and warm infusions, we all really felt the Spirit.

So this week I just want to say thanks. To my family for all the support that they give me. To my companion for putting up with my horrible attempts at a Scottish accent. To Nelly and Gisele for really showing me what true conversion is, and for helping me see a little bit more of God´s love in my life.

I love this opportunity to serve as a missionary. I do feel it a pleasure to serve Him, and I really do love to obey His command to share this love with all my brothers and sisters. What a wondrous love. What a great day to be a missionary.

Elder Weenig
Elder Black, Nelly, and I
Nelly's Baptism


Detail inside Alhambra

Monday, November 9, 2015

Stake Conference

Things are going very well in Granada, but things have also started to cool off. Up in the Sierra Nevada things can get pretty cold. So out with the winter coats and sweaters and break out the colacao (something very similar to hot chocolate). Supposedly there is even a chance of snow as the month cools off.

So, big news! Transfer calls came around. We actually call the missionaries within zone to let them know if there are changes. The only change with us is that Elder McConnaughey will finish his mission on Wednesday and Elder Black and I will stay together in Granada. We´re very excited about the way that things are going.

We´ve been able to see a lot of great progress in our area, especially with Nelly and Gisele. This last week, we really wanted to focus on baptism with them, and what we could teach that would develop that desire for them to get baptized. We prayed a lot to find a way to bring about their baptism quickly, because Nelly will be returning to Peru within a few days and we want her to be able to go to Peru a baptized member ready to share it with her family there. She is incredible. She keeps telling us about how much she loves the church and how welcomed she feels. She really loves the doctrine. Gisele´s a great help. About every lesson that we have with her, Gisele turns to Nelly and says, ´Bautízate,  Nelly´ (Get baptized Nelly). Which, isn´t necessarily the best invitation we might use, but I must say, for not even being a member, Gisel sure knows how to be a great missionary. But our focus really has been that this whole week. Getting them to come to church, to read in the Book of Mormon, and to really develop the faith to get baptized

Yesterday was stake conference. The Granada Stake encompasses Malaga, Granada, Jaen, Almeria, Motril, and last but not least....Fuengirola!, (I´m not sure that will mean anything to you, but it´s a really large amount of territory that it covers, so a lot of people have to travel for a while). It was really great to be able to see a lot of old friends from Fuengirola and from Malaga. The Idahoans unfortunately were not able to attend, but I was able to talk with my old Mijas branch president. The benefit of living in Granada is that we didn't have to travel at all. The stake center is actually our chapel, so it took us about ten minutes to get to the conference. The conference was great. I really love how universal the church is, and how similar it is throughout the world. Really, the only difference between our meetings in Granada and the ones in Utah is that the ones here are conducted in Spanish. It was a great conference. Nelly and Gisele both came and really enjoyed the conference, but I think what touched them even more was the baptism that happened that night. The sisters in our ward had been teaching a young woman, and she was baptized yesterday. Unfortunately, something went wrong with the font, and it didn´t fill with hot water. The mother would not let her get baptized in cold water, so we only had one option -- heat up the water on the stove and run it to the baptismal font. It´s amazing how much the ward can come together on something like that, after a rousing speech by our young single adult representative, everyone there jumped to help fill pots, pans, and anything that we could in order for her to be baptized. It was quite the experience. The baptism went really well. The sisters had actually asked Elder Black (violin) and I (piano) to do a special musical number at the baptism.

After the baptism, we talked with Nelly and Gisel. We´ve been asking a lot about their possible baptism this Saturday. Gisel came up and told me that she has a lot of desire to get baptized, but she has a couple of things holding her back. So, now we have got to pray and really hope that she gets the answer that she needs. Nelly, on the other hand, felt really strongly about baptism. She felt so good at the service and told us that she wants to be able to take this feeling that she has with her home to her family. In fact, she called us the night before asking for the address to the chapel to be able to invite some of her friends. She actually asked Gisel if she would speak at her baptism. So we are praying very hard that she decides to get baptized this Saturday. Please keep her in your prayers.

It really has been a great week. I was able to go on exchanges with the missionaries of Almeria on Wednesday, and was able to see the sunniest city in our mission. Supposedly, Almeria, gets the most amount of sun in our mission per year. It´s a great city, and the missionaries there are doing really well. We also, held our first zone meeting here in Granada.

I really love it here. Granada is a great place to serve. I love the people. I have two great companions, and we are working really hard here. It really is a great day to be a missionary.

Love you, 
Elder Weenig

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

On the Road

In our mission, there are a number of large cities, but the largest by far is Sevilla, the capital of Andalucia. It's often said about Sevilla that it was the city built for a queen. When I first got the news that I was going to Granada, I heard a saying: "While Sevilla was the city built for a queen, Granada was the city built for a king." Yes. I agree completely. I love this place. To explain a little bit better about our area, you have to understand the geography for Granada. Granada is more or less the center of a number of pueblos or small towns that surround Granada. We don't work a lot in the city of Granada, because our the majority of our work is in the small towns. For that reason, we have a car. Which is actually from where I am writing you. We are on our way down to Fuengirola for mission leadership council. For that reason, this email may be a little bit shorter, but I will try and describe how this last week has been.

First off, we have seen a lot of miracles working with two investigators named Gisel and Nelly, I believe that I spoke to you about them last week, but they are both progressing so well. Gisel, who is about 19 years old, talked to her parents about her interest in the church. She told us that both her parents were very much against it. Her mother supposedly told her that the church of the Mormons was evil and other anti-Mormon doctrine. But Gisel, rather than backing down, told her mother that she believed that this is the church of Jesus Christ. However, She still feels like she needs a little bit more time before she gets baptized. So keep her in your prayers. She is reading the Book of Mormon and loves it. She told us that the picture of Christ appearing to the people of the Americas after his resurrection really touched her heart. She told us that it looked as though they had found something. How grateful I am that Gisel has found something.

Nelly really has progressed so well. When she found out that it was okay for Mormons to celebrate Halloween, she jokingly told us that it was time for her to be baptized. She still is progressing.

I love it here. I love Granada and I love my companions. Thank you all for all that you do. It really is a great day to be a missionary.

Elder Weenig