Monday, February 29, 2016

Quentar and Andalucia

Okay, so I think I should correct a major error from my last email. Last week was not Andalusia day. Yesterday was. For some reason, I had completely misunderstood exactly when the day was going to be. Anyway, happy Andalusia day everyone.

Also, I have to apologize again, but we are on our way to a leadership council again, and we have very limited time. So I think I will highlight some of the best parts about our week:

Lili. She is fantastic. Even though she doesn't like Relief Society. She tells us that it is boring, but that she enjoys everything else. We're not entirely sure what exactly is holding her back from being baptized, but we are constantly praying and talking about ways for her to possibly get baptized. She comes to church as consistently as a member.

We had a fantastic lesson with this investigator named Mari. She is a friend of the Bishop and his wife. They invited her to take the lessons from us, and we have been teaching her for a long time. Anyway, we were able to teach them this week, but it turned out the Bishop wasn't home. As missionaries, we aren't allowed to go into a house unless there is a member of our same sex present. Even though the women that were there are some of the best that we know, we couldn't go in. So Mari took us on a tour of their pueblo (Quéntar). She is a history teacher and was able to give a detailed story on the history of her town. I loved it. Apparently Quentar was an old Moorish town that served as a former military base. Really cool.

Well, the week has been really great. I think I will just finish with a thought that the Bishop's wife shared with us. We shared a message about bravery, and while we talked about why we need to be brave. The Bishop's wife told us something that she had learned lately. She told us that "God reserves his toughest soldiers for the toughest battles". It really made a good impression. I think it's a really great philosophy for life. For the times where it gets the most difficult, we think that of it as another battle that we have to overcome. That is why it's a great day to be a missionary.

Love you all,
Elder Weenig

Snow in Granada

Tour of Quentar

Monday, February 22, 2016

Happy Andalusia Day

Happy Andalusia Day everyone! (Andalusia is the province of Spain that makes up the majority of our mission).

This last week was very, very busy. We have seen a lot of growth in our area and a lot of people that are progressing.

Lili is fantastic. She has been reading in the Book of Mormon consistently and is now in 2 Nephi. She is enjoying it, and has so many questions. Gospel Principles class got about ten times more interesting with her being there. For us at least. I think the teacher has started to become a little wary from all of the questions. Still, it is better that she is at least asking questions. She also is a better member than we are. She was in a slightly under occupied Sacrament meeting and she started to look around and said to us "where is everyone? All these people have made covenants with God to be here, and they aren't here! I haven't even made covenants with God and I am here!" We asked her to give a talk about it in sacrament meeting, but she said no. Also, no to baptism... For now. She is reading General Conference and is carefully dissecting each talk that we give her. She is fantastic. Please keep her in your prayers so that she decides to be baptized. She would be such a great member.

Brenda told us on Saturday that she is definitely getting baptized. Which is very, very exciting for us and for Jhizel. She has been reading in the Book of Mormon has had feelings and thoughts that this message has come right when she needed it. So, now it's just a matter of deciding on the day. She couldn't come to church this last week because she worked until 9:30 in the morning. Church starts at 10:30. But, she called us and told us that she was sorry, and confirmed our appointment for tonight. She's great. Also, speaking of Jhizel, she is doing fantastic and just received a calling as genealogy specialist. She is just the best. I can't wait till she goes on a mission.

The work is going very well. The members here find it cool that we have had two international missionaries here as my companions (as in not from America). They say it's good to at least have one gringo (American) so things aren't too exotic. Geez, thanks members.

Things really have been going well. We just got back from a pday in the Sierra. It was awesome. I am in love with Granada. I love this place and this work.

I can honestly say that each day is a great day to be a missionary.

Love you all,
Elder Weenig

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

This week has gone very well. We were blessed with a lot of investigators at church. Lily who is the girl that I talked about last time is doing very well. Her little sister has come to church and she asks very good questions about the gospel. We are trying to help her overcome some doubts that she has. She has been reading in the Book of Mormon and listening to General Conference. We are very hopeful that she will decide to be baptized soon.

Gisele has actually started to help us teach her friend Brenda, who I talked about last time. Brenda is doing very well and is progressing. Actually, last time we taught her, she told us that she has started to have faith. She is incredible, really. She has started to change and is praying. When we invited her to repent, she said, "Right here? In front of you guys?" She's progressing, slowly but surely.

We are very busy. This is one of the busiest times of my mission. We have a number of investigators with a lot of potential and hope to see some progress soon.

In terms of weather, it has actually gotten pretty cold all of a sudden. About an average of 6 degrees Celsius, not sure what that is in Fahrenheit (
43 degrees),  but it's been pretty chilly, at least in terms of southern Spain.

At church this week, they were talking about love. Go figure, love, Valentine's Day, and missionaries. It's a topic that missionaries tend to have an aversion to. But while I was sitting there, the woman speaking talked about devotion and why we are devoted. It made me think about my devotion to my mission. It also made me think about things that I need to improve on. Which then got me distracted by how long the list was. But in all honesty, I really love this opportunity and would not trade it for anything. We are trying our best to be the best missionaries we can and we are seeing a lot of blessings.

Every day really is a great day to be a missionary!

I love you all,
Elder Weenig

With Elder Ylimaula (Finland) at the mission home.

Valentines Day Lunch

Monday, February 8, 2016

On the Road Again

Alright, so once again, we are on the road to the leadership council, so I'm not sure how long this will be.

So today, I think I will just give you a rundown on the people. Starting off with my new companion, his name is Elder Ylimaula, from Helsinki, Finland. He's great, he served in the Finnish military before the mission and is a really hard worker. We have been working hard and are hoping to see some miracles soon.

Second, Lili and Rosemary. These two are fantastic. We found Lili almost by accident, knocking on a door that was supposed to belong to another contact. But she has been very receptive and has been coming to church these last few weeks. She is an incredible artist. She draws things that literally could be photographs. Very impressive. Rosemary is her little sister who loves to sing and listen to the piano. After church, we played songs for them on the piano.

Third, Brenda. She is the friend of Jhizel who came to her baptism and offered the sister missionaries some cigarettes. We had a really good lesson with her a couple of days ago where she committed to baptism. She has changed a lot, and Jhizel is one of the main reasons for that change. Brenda has noticed the change in Jhizel and wants the same sort of change in her life. She's progressing really well.

Fourth, Nano and Eva. Two nine year old twins that we have been working to get baptized. Their parents have been less active for a time, and when we brought up baptism, the parents set the date to be the 14 of August (the twins' birthday). They wanted it to be a special day that they would always remember, so they set that date. We wanted it to be closer, so we decided to try and set another day that was closer. So what day do we choose? Valentine's Day. Seems right, right? The day of love to show our love to God. Anyway, we presented it to the parents and they were ecstatic. Then, their faces dropped. They said that was their weekend to go to Benalmadena (city next to Fuengirola). So they smiled and said, "Well, that's alright. They will just have to get baptized on their birthday". Oh well. We tried. But who knows? April Fools day is pretty special as well.:)

Fifth, José Juan. He is doing well. We talked about his baptism, and he mentioned that he was feeling good. He is still waiting for an answer. Sandra leaves for Chile in a month, so we are hoping that he gets an answer so that she can be here for the baptism.

It's been a really great week. The area is going very well and I feel very lucky to be able to stay here for another transfer.

It's a great day to be a missionary!

Love you all,
Elder Weenig

Monday, February 1, 2016

First Week of February

Happy February everyone. I can't believe how fast January went. With the end of January, comes the end of the transfer as well. Unfortunately, Elder Black is being transferred. We've been lucky, we had almost three transfers together which is unusually long for a companionship in our mission. It's been great, and I've learned a lot from him. Interestingly enough, Mom and Dad you have already met my new companion. Do you remember when we Skyped? The elder that spoke to dad in Finnish? He will be my new companion. Elder Ylimaula from Helsinki, Finland. He's a hard worker and I am excited to work with him.

I really don't know where to begin when I talk about these weeks. They go by so quickly. Too quickly. I would be happy just to stay here and never leave. Things are going very well in our area. Jhizel is doing very well. Every time we meet with her, she brings someone to learn about the gospel. She is incredible. She tells us a lot about her desire to serve a mission, and actually plans to leave at her year mark in the church. Before then, she has the desire to get her whole family baptized. She really is converted. Eduardo is still there. He is going slowly, but surely. He definitely has the desire, but we've still got some things to work on. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Jose Juan and Sandra are amazing. They both were at church yesterday and Jose Juan is progressing very well. He wants to get baptized before Sandra goes back to Chile for a few months. So keep him in your prayers. He has a lot of potential to help this ward out. We are praying that he will be able to gain a testimony of the church so he can be baptized.  Honestly, this last week, a lot of new people have started to show a lot of potential. Manuel and Maritrini are a Spanish couple that are two of the nicest people whom I have met. Maritrini is a member, Manuel is not. Manuel would have been baptized, but he has a doubt that he expressed to us. It has been a long time since they have met with missionaries, so we are hoping to see a lot of progress with them. Maritrini, whom I haven't seen come to church since I've been here, came to church yesterday. It was a miracle. Manuel couldn't go, but it's progress and we are hoping that little by little we will see success with these two.

We have been very busy. The members here are incredible. The bishop invited a friend to take an English classes from us. The members that we took to an appointment tried desperately to get our investigator to commit to a baptismal date, and we have one of the members working with us to reactivate a young mother and baptize her son. I love this ward. They are like a second family, and I feel really blessed to be able to work here.

Cool experience for the week. One day, we had a lot of set plans that failed us. We were pretty discouraged, and we were set on heading back to the car. We were on our way there, when we saw a woman walking towards us. We decided to contact her, and to be honest, I didn´t have a lot of faith (usually the response is that they are too busy). But when we started to talk to her, she gave us her number and told us to come by tonight... so we will see how that goes.

One thing that has been on my mind a lot is how we use the time that we have. I think a lot of it comes from the fact that I feel like time goes by way too fast. I cannot believe that I have been in Granada for over four months, it really feels like I just barely got here. But we have seen a lot of miracles. I would genuinely say that they have been miracles. I have been writing Nelly, the lady that was baptized only a few months ago. She has a very strong testimony and a strong desire to come back to Spain -- this amazes me. Every time we visit Jhizel -- it amazes me. This is the Lord's work and He provides a way. It doesn't seem possible that two teenage boys can convince people to change their lives, drop coffee and tea (and sometimes a wineglass or two), get dressed in white and then get dunked in a font. It doesn´t make sense. But that´s what I´m learning. A lot of times in life, we see things that don´t make sense. It makes me think of the scripture in Isaiah 55, ¨ ways are higher than your ways´ And that gives me a lot of comfort to know that. That his ways are a lot higher than my ways. I think that is why this work continues to go forward. Because we really don´t convince people to change their lives, and be baptized. Not if we want them to be converts. That´s why we have the Spirit. It´s just a perfect system. I really am so glad to be a part of it. It makes me really think that today is a great day to be a missionary.

Elder Weenig

This is the closest we will ever get to swimming on our missions. (It was downpouring one day in Santa Fe)