Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas!

This last week has been one of the best of my mission. So many amazing things have happened these past couple of days that have made this last week incredible.

Yesterday was Jhizel's baptism, and it was one of the best experiences of my mission. To start off though, I have to tell you a little bit about how teaching Jhizel was. Our main focus was to ensure that she had a lot of friends at church and that she was doing well with keeping her commitments. But we felt like we could add in another element, which would help her conversion even more. When we were talking about it, both Elder Black and I decided almost instantly on what, or better said, who that extra element would be. We have both served in the Algeciras branch. It's actually where we first met. While we were there, we would joke about being companions in Granada -- here we are. It's really cool how things turned out. Anyway, while we served there, we met a recently returned missionary named Claudia. She is kind of the same person as Jhizel, and we thought it would be a great idea to introduce them. It turned out so well, and they get along really, really well. It was great. Anyway, Algeciras is a long way from Granada. So we'd kind of ruled out the option of Claudia coming to the baptism. But on Saturday, we went to Jhizel's house to give her the baptismal clothing and she told us that she had a surprise for us. We knocked on her front door, and Claudia answered! It was one of those moments where you're not entirely sure what to do so you just kind of stand there and stare. Also, my Spanish momentarily failed me, so the first thing I said was "What? Claudia?" Fortunately, she understands a little bit of English. Anyway, it just made us all the more excited about the baptism. It was like seeing family after a really long time, and it was fantastic.

Anyway, the day of the baptism was fantastic. Jhizel was so excited and we could hardly wait till 7:30 pm when the baptism started. The baptism went really well. Jhizel had asked Elder Black and I to do a musical number for her baptism. She told us that she really liked the song "Asombro me da" (I stand all amazed). So we decided to do a violin-piano duet. It turned out really well, but it's been those lyrics that have really been in my mind lately. It could be because I really have been amazed at the miracle of Jhizel's baptism. After her baptism, she came up and told us that when she went into the water she didn't want to leave. She felt so calm and at peace that she just wanted to stay down there forever. Because of a rather unfortunate risk of drowning, it couldn't be like that. But I really did like the feelings that she expressed. She talked about how calm she felt, and when she gave her testimony, it was incredible because she hadn't just been baptized, she had been converted. Her brother also got up and gave a short testimony for Jhizel. He said that he really enjoyed what he felt during the baptism and wanted to eventually, for himself, take the same step. We've actually never spoken with the brother, but we have our first appointment with him tomorrow.

So many miracles. I love this. I don't really know how to explain what it is like to see someone change their life. To see someone become a 'new creature in Christ'.  I don't know how to say how glad I am to be out here. It can get very difficult at times, but to see someone dressed in white for the first time makes it worth it. The hymn says it better than I can. I do stand all amazed. This work really is wonderful. Wonderful to me!

What a great day to be a missionary!

I love you and we will talk to you on Friday.

Elder Weenig

Jhizel's baptism

With Claudia

Churros and Chocolate with the Garcia family.
This is a typical Spanish treat.  You have a cup of melted chocolate in front of you and then you dip the churro in.

Monday, December 14, 2015

La Sierra Nevada

This last week has been great. Jhizel (we found out that´s how you spell her name. We were really surprised and a little embarrassed. But yes, Gisel is actually spelled Jhizel) She passed her baptismal interview. We were not really worried to be honest, but we were really happy with her when she came out. The missionary that did the interview was really impressed as well. The interview took place right before the annual Granada Christmas concert. In the Granada ward, they hold a Christmas concert where the Granada band comes to perform. It was packed. There were so many people that we did not fit inside the sacrament room. We had arrived a little bit late because the interview went long, so we ended up talking with Jhizel in one of the back rooms, waiting to help clean up the concert. While we were waiting, we started talking with one of her friends that had come with her. Her friend is not a member, and is not familiar with the church. But as we were talking with her, Jhizel was able to bear a really powerful testimony about the church and the benefits that she has had in her life from living the standards that she has learned. It´s been a really incredible, to see her change. She will be baptized a week from yesterday. She is so excited, and I can´t wait for her.

So Elder Black and I have decided to sing ´White Christmas´ for the mission talent show. Although the south of Spain gets about no snow, we are blessed to be one of the only parts of our mission that might get the chance of seeing at least a part of a white Christmas. Hence, the song choice.

Today was one of the best p-days I´ve had on my mission. We decided to take the elders from Motril and head up to the Sierra Nevada. It was incredible. It was literally like walking into the Sundance Ski Resort, because there was snow!  It was pretty great. Granted, a lot of the snow was artificial, because we have been having a really dry year here in Granada, which is a little disappointing, but at least today we got to go on a Russian sled and finish off the day eating churros and chocolate. (I think I´ve mentioned this before, but it´s basically this amazing Spanish dessert. It´s a lot of plain churros that you dip in chocolate. Then you drink the chocolate afterwards. Delicious.)  Anyway, it was a really fun p-day. We´re not allowed to go skiing, so seeing all of the skiing gear and people going skiing was really hard for all of us, who had all skied or snowboarded before the mission. We are hoping to take the rest of the zone up with us this upcoming p-day to go sledding. So today was great. Really, really fun.

Today is also one of those days where I really wish I had a little bit more time. This week has been great. I will probably just sum it up in highlights:
  • We did an exchanges with the elders up in Jaén, because they had a candidate ready for baptism and needed a baptismal interview. 
  • The Venezuelan family that lives next to us is playing secret Santa. 
  • The Granada Kebap, which is the best Kebap (kabob) in the entire mission.
  • Guitar sessions in our apartment, which probably keep the neighbors alert. 
It really has been a great week. We have been very blessed. We have also had a lot of people fail us this last week, but after the trials come the blessings. So we are sure that a lot of blessings are waiting around the corner. We have been blessed with a lot of success in our area in the past, but a number of investigators have stopped wanting to listen. So we start again. That´s what I love about a mission. It applies directly to our lives. When things don´t go exactly how we want them to, we can change and begin again. It really has been a great week. It's a great day to be a missionary. 

Love you,
Elder Weenig

Zone Conference
From Alicante District. Elder Fisher and Hermana Garcia


Monday, December 7, 2015


So the week of transfers is here again. It´s a really great thing to receive transfer plans instead of having to make them. It´s a huge relief. I love being in Granada. Elder Black and I will be staying together this transfer. We´re happy about it, and we will actually be together until February, because this transfer will be pretty unusual. It will be an eight week transfer rather than the normal six weeks. We´re really glad because it means we will be in Granada for Christmas and also for Gisel's baptism.
Oddly enough though, it is still really warm. It is pretty different to walk outside with a short sleeved shirt on and be perfectly fine. We are hoping to get at least some snow up here because we have plans to go sledding on the p-day before Christmas. We were able to set up a Christmas tree in our apartment, which is really nice. The Bishop gave us some advent calendars. It´s a good way to start off your morning by eating a little chocolate. We´re getting excited about Christmas. The members are great, and we are really excited about being able to spend Christmas with them.

This last week we had a really good conference in Málaga. We had an area seventy come down from Germany and he gave a talk on how our mission is doing. One thing stuck out as he was talking: "You´re pretty good at what you do. But now we´re asking you to make it even better." It really struck me when he said that. It made me think about how sometimes we can get complacent with where we are in life or in the mission. What I want to make sure is that I don't get complacent with where I am.

Yesterday was one of the best Sundays in my mission. Gisel came to fast and testimony meeting. She not only asked us about what it was, why we do it and all of that, but she actually got up and bore her testimony to the congregation. It was amazing. She gave a really strong testimony about how she came to know the church and that she was very excited to be baptized. She talked about how she had come to know the missionaries in a really critical time in her life and that she was really excited to be able to be a part of this church. The rest of the congregation became pretty motivated after hearing her testimony. Many got up after her and talked about how they had felt inspired by someone who wasn't even a member giving their testimony. It was a really great testimony meeting.

The work here in Granada is going very well. We are seeing a lot of miracles in regards to being able to teach people and being able to find people to teach. We've been very blessed. This next week we hope to be able to teach Gisel's family. She told us that she has the vision of getting her whole family baptized and active in the church.

It's been a great week. and it really is a great day to be a missionary.

Love you all,
Elder Weenig

We found this elevator and used it to get to a person we are teaching.