Monday, July 11, 2016

The Best Two Years!

I love the weeks before and after the baptism of an investigator. They are some of the most trying weeks for them, but some of the most rewarding. Mari was nervous, and a little scared, but she got to the baptism date without any problems. So good. She was baptized on the 25th of June and was confirmed the next day.


Elder Peace and I are pretty sure that we are going to contract diabetes from the amount of cake that we have eaten. There is a cake here called Tres Chocolates, and it is well known as my favorite. Anyway, it is also a very, very dense cake. We had two full ones on the same day. 

I just want to say how grateful I am to have been here these last two years. This church is true. Really, I've come to know over these past two years that it is the only thing that really matters. I love being a missionary. I was studying in Acts the other day, and I read something that really hit me. "They rejoiced in being worthy to be rejected in His name." I think as missionaries, that is more or less our life. We do get accepted. But the majority of the time, we get rejected. We have to keep going even when it gets hard and people don't want to listen to us. That's something that I've learned that it is a blessing to be rejected for His name. It's kind of a weird concept, but it's something that has really kept me going throughout my mission. We need to count our blessings. We may not have had more than one discussion in a day, but at least it was one discussion. I've learned that a lot lately, it may not be what we want, but it is exactly what we need. That's why I love the mission. You have the opportunity to really count your blessings.


I love this. I'm really going to miss it. Every day really has been a great day to be a missionary.

I'll see you on Thursday.


Love,
Elder Weenig
Mari's Baptism




With Elder Peace








Saying Goodbye to some of the amazing people of Spain: 
















Tres Chocolates:





Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Alma 37:37

This last week we challenged a less active member to memorize Alma 37:37. The purpose? To get him to really ponder and think about the importance of prayer, and hopefully to get him to come to church. The result? Well, he somehow switched the scriptures and memorized Alma 37:27 and didn't come to church. But the result for me this last week was actually pretty big. I really like that scripture. "Counsel with the Lord in all of thy doings." It's a really good phrase and advice for missionary work. We need to be constantly talking with the Lord about what we are going to do, what to say, etc. That's been our focus this last week. We have been trying our hardest to get a lot of appointments with less active members, and investigators We have actually seen a lot of success in that respect. There are obviously a lot of people who decide not to accept the invitation to learn more. But we've been able to see a lot of miracles this last week. For example, we found a young couple in the street, and started to talk to them. They are actually very believing, and have a decent amount of interest, with the exception of them having their own church. Anyway, the miracle here, is not just in finding them. When we spoke with them on the street we set an appointment for the following Tuesday. So Tuesday morning, we get a phone call from the girl. She tells us to come a little bit later so that she can be there. You might be asking, "Where is the miracle in this?" Anyone who has served a mission will tell you time and time again, that the fact that somebody called is a miracle. It's such a rare occurrence, that I would definitely consider it as a miracle. The appointment turned out very well. They have potential. We just have to get them reading the Book of Mormon.

Mari. Yes, she is getting baptized this Saturday. Despite a lot of health challenges, she finally was able to make it to church. She is great. A real trooper. She has had so many health issues while we have taught her that our teaching rooms have varied from her living room to the hospital close to her home. But she has been reading the Book of Mormon and loves what she reads. She really has felt the spirit. I guess the key would have to be the members here. A member has offered to help her out with some difficulties that she is having. Like I've said, the members here in Elche are fantastic. I really feel very blessed to get to work here.
The work is going well. We are seeing progress in our area. Little by little we are seeing miracles by consulting with the Lord in all of our doings. Because we really need that help. So, little by little, we will make it a great day to be a missionary.

Love,
Elder Weenig
Typical Spanish Food


Monday, June 13, 2016

1 Nephi 3:7

It is very, very hot here in Elche. It kind of reminds me of Alabama, with the humidity and heat combination. But, we are still working hard. There is a lot of things to be done in this area, and we are trying our hardest to be able to find people to teach.

Mari is doing well and is out of the hospital! She should be baptized in the upcoming weeks. She actually told us she would be at church on Sunday, but when Sunday rolls around, no Mari. This is usually the sinking feeling that you get when you realize an investigator isn't keeping commitments and is that close to baptism. It's not a very good feeling. But we decided to go and find Mari. So, in the heat of Elche, in our suits, we went running through the streets to go and pick her up for church. It worked. She had actually fallen asleep and for that reason didn't answer our phone calls. Whoops. She came and really enjoyed church.


We've been finding a lot of new investigators that have been waiting for the missionaries but for some reason missionaries stopped coming by. It makes me really appreciate good record keeping. A lot of these people have records, but they are incomplete and don't have any reason as to why the missionaries stopped visiting them. So, advice for future missionaries: do your area book. The missionaries that follow will be very grateful to you for it.


We had a number of investigators and set appointments fail us this last week, but I think that's what makes you want to grow your area even more. 


The scripture that I chose for this week is the famous "I will go and do" (1 Nephi 3:7). It teaches a lot of things about obedience, and I think that it really has played an important in having motivation and desire to always work hard. So keep going and doing. It really is an amazing work and a great day to be a missionary.

Love,
Elder Weenig


Elche

With Elder Pesce (Chile).

Monday, June 6, 2016

D&C 18:15-16

This last week was really packed. Transfer weeks always are, but this week especially. There have been a lot of things going on. Like I said last week, we had transfers this last week. Elder Smith went to Torremolinos, and Elder Pesce arrived from Lorca. He is from Santiago, Chile and is great. He is also my oldest companion, being five years older than I am. He's awesome. We are going to have a great
transfer together.
Really cool story from this week. The sisters from Crevillente (a small town close to Elche) have been teaching a couple for two years now. The couple have wanted to be baptized for a long time, and have effectively been "dry members". The problem was a series of problems with paperwork for them to get married. Anyway, last weekend, they were married, and their baptism followed two days after. The wife had always wanted an elder to baptize her, so the sisters asked if I would be willing. It was a really cool experience, because it really showed that we all have our own piece to play in the process of missionary work. Whether we are the people that first contact them on the street, or the missionaries who are present after two years of teaching, it is the same thing. It was a really big honor to get to baptize one of them. We all have really important parts to play. I guess that really is what being a missionary is all about. Understanding that we are just the tools that God uses. It's a cool concept, and it's something that I don't fully understand or accept at times, but I'll keep working on it.
Another update on Mari. She is fantastic but unfortunately has been falling sick for the past two weeks. She's getting a lot of opposition and a lot of problems, but slowly but surely she is working on it.
We were at the Bishop's house yesterday. All of the missionaries are invited and allowed to be at his house at the same time once a month. They are fantastic and really just a good example of the members here in Elche. They are really ready and willing to work side by side with us, which is something that is invaluable to us as missionaries. They are great, and also cook very well.
One of my favorite lessons from this week actually happened on a park bench. Wilmer, the guy that I mentioned last letter can only meet on park benches because of some pretty big opposition from the people with whom he is living. He is a great guy. He has a lot of faith, and is going through a hard time. At the beginning of the lesson, he tells us, "Elders, you can say all you like in this discussion, but after this, we are never meeting again." Which, you know, is a kinda devastating thing to hear from an investigator. We had planned to teach about the plan of salvation, and as we taught, he started to open up a lot. He told us a lot more about why he was feeling resistant to meeting with us, and told us about some of the difficult things that he had passed through. The poor guy. But at the end of the appointment, he turned and said, "You know what? I think we will meet again." ...and he said he'd call (Elder Calhoun's faith don't fail me now). But it really showed me that the message that we teach really can change people. It has that power. We just have to teach it in the correct way and with the spirit. This week has gone great. We are working really hard in our area and are seeing a lot of progress. I'm really, really grateful for this time that I have and to be serving in Elche. It was hard to leave Granada, but I know that I was brought here for a reason. 
Yes!!!!! Jhizel went through the temple! The second time in white! She is amazing and has a lot of faith. I love the mission. And am really grateful for the people that I've met so far and that I will keep meeting.
Anyway, I love you all. Things are going very well here. I really love this.

Scripture for the week: Doctrine and Covenants 18:15-16. Read it. It's what makes missionary work worth it.
I love you all. Here is a picture of where we went to eat today. All you can eat Italian food. (Elder Pesce's grandpa is from Italy, so we had to go)
It's a great day to be a missionary!
Elder Weenig 


Dinner at the Bishop's house

Jhizel at the temple

 This is where we ate today. All you can eat Italian food.
(Elder Pesce's grandpa is from Italy, so we had to go) 

With Elder Smith at the airport

Monday, May 30, 2016

Jacob 5:62

I'm never really sure how to start these letters. But I think I will start off with the news from this week. Transfers came. Elder Smith will be leaving to Torremolinos, a city close to Malaga. Coming in his place will be Elder Pesce, from Chile. We are going to work hard. We have a lot of really good people in this area that we have been able to find. We continue to find people. For example, Wilmer. He is a man that we spoke to on the street. He is believing, but doesn't really have any specific desires to become part of a church. Wilmer, during our first appointment, told us that he really doesn't have any desires to join a church. But after the first discussion, he told us that he would like to come to church. Yesterday he came. I love it when an investigator comes to church, because the ward here just takes them under their wing. The ward really has a special gift for loving the people. We will see how he progresses. He is studying with another church right now. But we are hoping he will read from the Book of Mormon.

Mari. She is in the hospital. When we walked into the hospital room to visit her, she set down the Book of Mormon that she had been reading! So good. She is progressing, even though she isn't able to come to church. We are hoping that she is better soon. She has accepted a baptismal date and is really working to change a lot of things in her life. She is a fighter, and is really admirable. She has so many stories about her life, and the things that she has gone through. It's inspiring.

So, in relation to the title. That particular scripture has been going through my mind time and time again this last week. It comes from the allegory of the vineyard found in Jacob 5. The Lord of the vineyard is speaking to his servant, and says to him, "Wherefore, let us go to and labor with our might this last time" It has made me think about the effort that I want to be giving my entire mission. I want to be working with all of my 'might' to be able to bring people to Christ. There's a lot of things to do. So I will make every day of this time that I have a great day to be a missionary.

Love,
Elder Weenig

With Elder Smith


Monday, May 23, 2016

Miracles in Elche

I can't believe how quickly this last week has gone. Things are going really well here in Elche. The members are fantastic. The ward is always so willing to help.

A few miracles from this last week. Yesterday, we left from a member family home evening, and were walking home. We saw this young kid walking down the street towards us, and we decide to stop and ask if he would hear a message. He said it would be alright, so we sat down and gave a quick review of the restoration. He showed a lot of interest, but what I think the real miracle for me was that it was only ten minutes before we had to be back in the apartment. Normally, it's considered by missionaries as a 'dead hour' but fortunately we were still able to meet and find a new person to teach. 


Second miracle came from a member named Carolina. She told us about a friend who would be visiting for a week and who wanted to know basically everything there is to know about the church in that short time. We met with her and I guess the member friend had briefed her on basically everything there is to know. She expressed some doubts, but had a lot of desire to learn. She came to church on Sunday and really enjoyed it. She actually lives close to Barcelona, so we won't be able to see where she ends up in the gospel, but it was cool to be a part of her story.

The third miracle comes from Mari. It's Sunday, and we are waiting in the hall outside of the sacrament meeting room waiting for Mari to arrive. The meeting starts, and I am supposed to be playing piano for the ward, so we go in. We wait the entire meeting and Mari doesn't show. This isn't good, especially when you have just told the ward council how well she is progressing. Anyway, we wait the entire church block with no luck. No answer to our phone calls, and no Mari. We called after church to find out that she was and is very sick. We offer to give her a blessing and she accepts. We took one of the ward members over to her house and after explaining what a blessing is, we gave her a blessing. Now, there wasn't any miraculous healing, she didn't immediately say I am cured, but she said something interesting: "I feel peaceful". I thought it was really interesting because that is the whole purpose of us teaching these people. To help them find peace. She says she is starting to feel better and that this Saturday we will eat paella (typical Spanish dish) with her and her family. Which is usually a good sign of someone being on the up and up.

I really like Elche. It is really, really hot here. We just finished playing soccer, and whew. Exhausting and hot. But, we are hoping to see a lot of growth this week.


It is a great day to be a missionary.

Love,
Elder Weenig




With Elder Smith.
Soccer can be dangerous ....

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Las Palmeras

Elche is starting to get very hot. Even though it is only May, the heat is starting to build up. It's pretty crazy to be walking around in Elche. If I didn't know any better, I would say that I was on a desert island or somewhere deep in the Amazon, rather than southern Spain. Elche really is a different world.

The members here are awesome. Yesterday the stake president spoke at our ward. He asked all the missionaries to come and stand in front. He talked about how the calling of a missionary is something divinely inspired, and that we should try and work in greater harmony as members and missionaries. It was a really inspiring talk. Even better when the eating appointments sheet for the elders came around completely full. The members really have a huge desire to share the gospel here. It's really amazing to see how much they have become involved. Especially with investigators.


Mari came to church this last week. She came early, because she had mixed up the time, but she came and sat in the chapel until the meeting started. While she was sitting there, many ward members came up and greeted her, and made her feel welcome. It was really incredible. When we got out of ward council(where we were while she was waiting), she told us that she felt at home here, because of all of the people that were so good to her. She is amazing. She has told us a lot about her desire to join the church. She also gave us a lot of potatoes yesterday after our appointment with her, and we aren't really sure what to do with them. Maybe this will be my chance to develop a very dormant culinary skill and make some mashed potatoes. Anyway, she is progressing really well.

Generally though, the area is improving a lot. We are seeing a lot of growth and a lot of little miracles: Random people on the street that accept an invitation for us to visit them just because they see the name 'Jesus Christ' on our name tags. The copy lady that accepted the baptismal invitation after we had just printed out some copies of teaching records.


There are so many people here. The area, in general,is small, in distance. (Although it has grown a little because of an area that the Sisters have given to us because of it being dangerous). But despite its size, I know that there are a lot of people to be taught. Despite the many, many rejections that we get every day, it makes me think that really, the important thing is to do our part. If we are striving our best to 'call people to repentance' that is really the only job that we have. (Although we still have yet to get on a wall and pull a Dan Jones. See page one of PMG).

Good news from Granada! Jhizel says that she is going to be putting in her mission papers in September! Please keep her in your prayers. She is working hard to be able to go on as soon as she can. I believe the bishop and her are working together to be able to get her out at exactly a year mark from her baptism. I will definitely want to be there to go through the temple with her, and hopefully other new converts.


To refer to the title today, Las Palmeras, it means 'The Palm Trees'. Which is a pretty good sum up of Elche. The entire city is covered in Palm trees. It really is the best. I enjoy serving here.


It really is a great day to be a missionary,


Elder Weenig


This is Paella that some members made us. Delicious, especially when you make it above a fire.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week One in Elche

It's been a really good week. The best thing ever was to get to speak to you all yesterday.

We actually got to go back to Alicante on Friday. The zone meetings are held there and it was cool to go back and see my old chapel. It was my first time back there since I served there at the beginning of my mission.

This last week in Elche went by really fast. We have been focusing a lot on finding and have seen a lot of success. We were able to find a family just by knocking on a door. We also found a cool new lady from England who really likes Mormons. Best of all, we found a lady, Mari, that is willing to be baptized. We found Mari while contacting in the street. When we talked to her, she told us that she had always seen Mormon missionaries, but had never been stopped by them before. We went to her house on Saturday with our ward mission leader and she accepted the invitation to be baptized. Keep her in your prayers. She has a lot of desires to find out more about the church, and to really be sure about her decision to be baptized. But the great thing about it is that she has decided to meet with us three times a week, which should help her out a lot on her decision.


Elche is a large ward, and we are working a lot with members here. We really are seeing a lot of blessings.  We are working really hard and the ward is giving us a lot of support.


I'm sorry this is really short. I love you all.


It's a great day to be a missionary.


Elder Weenig

Monday, May 2, 2016

Elche

So when people said that there are more palm trees than people, they weren't joking. Elche is full of Palm trees. It's been a pretty crazy week. A really good one though.

My new companion's name is Elder Smith, from Idaho. He is a really good kid, and a hard worker. He has about 7 months in the mission. We are currently in the Elche 1st Ward. The members are fantastic. I am excited to get the work going in Elche. Leaving Granada was difficult. I love Granada, but I am glad that the memories and people there are still going to be there after the mission. It was a great time, and I am very happy to have been there for so long.

Transferring  to Elche was kind of like coming back to where I started my mission. It is very close to Alicante, and so I have already seen members that I knew in Alicante. Pretty crazy, but the weirdest moment of the week was seeing an old companion, Elder Sharp. He was back visiting his old areas, and it turns out he was here the very day I got into Elche. It's been over a year since he went home. It was cool to see him again. This area is pretty different from Granada. We don't have a car, so it's weird getting used to walking everywhere again after having been in a car for over a year. But we are going to see a lot of miracles in this area. We will have to work hard, but I feel that we will baptize here. I have never felt so much pressure in my mission. A lot to do, and not a lot of time to get it all done. So we are going to take advantage of every moment and find those people who are ready.


It really is a great day to be a missionary.

Love
Elder Weenig



With Elder Sharp
First day in Elche

Monday, April 25, 2016

El Reino Nazarí

In the history of Granada, there is a story. Some say that it's real, others say that it's fake, but regardless, I am going to tell it. It's the story of the last king of Granada, Boabdil. Boabdil reigned in the Moorish kingdom of Granada before the reconquering of Spain by the Christians. Legend has it that as he was fleeing from Granada, he looked back on the burning palace of the Alhambra and began to cry. As he cried, his mother, turned and said, "Weep like a woman for that which you could not defend as a man." It's a pretty sensational story, and a lot of historians actually disagree with it. But, I sympathize with Boabdil. Leaving Granada is difficult. It has been a fantastic time here. It's going to be difficult to leave. But unlike Boabdil, I won't be going south, I will actually be going east, to a place called Elche. I'm really excited. Elche is one of the most talked about places in our mission. Why? Because it's the city with the most amount of palm trees in Europe. It will be amazing. Forests of palm trees. I am very excited to serve in this new area.

Also speaking of the Alhambra, we visited the Mirador de San Nicolas today. Fantastic.

So to continue with the story of Lili. She was talking with us and said that she would prefer to be able to be one hundred percent sure about baptism before committing herself. She is great. She understands the gospel so well. For that reason, she wants to wait. Ah. It's hard, when you know the gospel will change someone's life, and yet, we have to respect other people's agency. But, she did say that she is seriously considering baptism still, and will likely be baptized. Things are going so well in this area. I have loved being here.

I am out of time, but I love you all. It is a great day to be a missionary.

Love, 
Elder Weenig



The Mirador de San Nicolas

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Few Lessons From Last Week

What a crazy week.

I'm not really sure where to begin, but I think I will just share some lessons that I have learned this last week.


First, not everything is what it seems to be. We were teaching a man named Manuel, who seemed like gold. He was telling us that he wanted to find the truth and especially wanted to join the true church. In missionary terms, golden. But unfortunately, as we were driving out to an appointment with him on Tuesday, we got a call from him. Generally, when someone with whom we have an appointment calls, it's tempting to not pick up because often, the result is the same, a canceled appointment, and an hour of time that we now have to create a new plan. This time however, it was slightly different. We got a call and he began to explain that he didn't just want to cancel the appointment, but he never wanted us back at his house. It's hard, even after so much time in the mission to see people reject something that you know will help them. It can even cause you disappointment and discouragement. But the reason why I wanted to share this wasn't just to show you that Manuel wasn't exactly what he seemed to be. It showed me that it wasn't Manuel's time. For now, there are others to seek who are prepared to hear the gospel.


Second, we have to make the most of the time that we have. We had interviews with President this last week, and he told me that I will be leaving Granada. Not this week, but the following week. I have been in Granada for a long time. Much longer than is normally allowed, and for that I am very grateful. But for this upcoming transfer, I will be changed to a different area. So I have decided to make the most of the time that I have left here in Granada. I have loved my time in this city. It has kind of become my second home, and I really love it here. I will be sad to leave, but I'm glad that Granada will always be here. So there is no time to lose. I can't wait for the miracles that are going to happen these last two weeks.


Last, miracles really do exist. Lili has committed to be baptized. Finally, after working with her for six months, she is getting baptized. She has set the date for the 29th of April, which is a little complicated as it's two days after transfers. She has asked me to baptize her, so I may be able to stay for the baptism. But if not, I'm so grateful for this miracle. There were a number of times in this process of conversion when she wanted to drop us or we weren't sure if we were going to keep going with her. But little by little, "precept by precept", she got there. We can't move the date any closer because that is the very day that her sister gets here from 
Alicante. What a miracle. I say that in all sense of the word. I had no idea that it would be even possible for her to be baptized. With the amount of doubts she had, with the opposition that she faced, it seemed impossible. But for that reason it is a miracle. Something impossible made possible. It's been amazing. It's hard to tell how happy I was when Lili finally decided to be baptized.

I don't really know how to describe how it is to be a missionary. It's the hardest, but the best thing that has ever happened to me. It really is a great day to be a missionary.

Love,
Elder Weenig




Rosemary's birthday (Lili's little sister)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Consejo

So this last week.

We had mission leadership council (Consejo) this last week. I really like going because you get to see everyone from all around the mission and see old friends and companions. Really fun. We also talked about how to improve the mission and how we can improve as missionaries. I really enjoyed it. It actually takes place in Fuengirola, so it's a little bit like going home, getting to go back to a former area.


Big news! Lili wants to be baptized! Somewhat less good news: she wants to get baptized in November. But it's huge. I am so happy. It has taken a lot of time. We met her after just two weeks in this area. So it has been a long time. She has had to overcome a lot. But what a miracle.


We just finished a long water fight, and there isn't much time today. But thanks so much for everything. We are working very hard. We have seen a lot of miracles this last week. I love this, and I love being a missionary, what a great day to be a missionary.


Love you,
Elder Weenig

The closest thing to swimming

With Elder Ylimaulo (Finland)

With Elder Black (Scotland)

On the Road Again

On the road again. I'm so glad that we have iPads now. Without them, writing emails on our way down to Malaga for our conference would be impossible.

General Conference was great, we were able to watch all, of the sessions. It's kind of like Christmas for missionaries. We love it.


What a week. Crazy, crazy, busy. Things are going so well. We are running (driving) all day to get to the appointments we need to. I love it. I love Granada. There's a song here that goes something like this "Granada, the land dreamed for me, my song becomes gypsy when it is for thee" (I'm not really exactly sure what it's supposed to mean, but I like the song) and it really is true. Granada is amazing. The dream-land, I guess.


Lili. We were so worried for her. She wasn't sure that she even wanted to keep coming to church, but then during one of our meetings, she began by saying, "Could you play something on the piano?" I said yes, then suggested we also sing a hymn to begin. She instantly lit up and said yes and that she actually had a hymn that she really loves. Surprisingly, at least for us, she said "Praise to the Man". This coming from someone who did not want to believe in an organization of a church, and subsequently, the hymn about a prophet surprised us. We sang it, and we began to talk about the conference. All of a sudden, she says, "Yeah, one of the reasons I want to get baptized is because the church helps you steer clear of sin." My reaction wasn't really surprised, or even really shocked, I just kind of sat there and thought "Elder Weenig, this isn't Lili's normal attitude about baptism"  so cool. She hasn't committed to a date, but it is a huge step in the right direction.


The less active member with whom we are working has come to church three weeks now. After fifteen years, she is finally coming back to activity. It's amazing.


I don't have much time left, but I just wanted to say that I love you all. Thanks so much for all of your support, and for everything that you are doing. I love to be here, I love being a missionary. It really is the best time of my life. It really is a great day to be a missionary!


Love you all,
Elder Weenig


(No captions were given for these pics.  I guessing this one is a meal during conference.)