July 25, 2011

¡Hola! Another Week In Algeciras

This week really flew by. I am starting to realize how fast the mission goes. This week I'll hit my 3 month mark. It is weird to think I've been out that long!
On Saturday the ward threw a surprise birthday party for Elder Lignell because he is turning 20 tomorrow. It was lots of fun - they had tons of food and we got to relax a little bit with the members. They kept wanting to listen to all kinds of music - Ke$ha, Beyonce, etc. - because they don't understand the lyrics at all. We always have to tell them the songs aren't really appropriate, but they don't really get it. When they brought out the cake they all made Elder Lignell shove his face into it. I don't know if it is a tradition here or if we just have crazy members, but it was funny either way.
The work here is going really well! Yesterday we set a baptismal date with an investigator named Manuel for August 21st. He is a great guy and doesn't smoke or drink even though all his friends do. Francisco is another investigator who is super close to baptism - he just has to go to the city hall here and get an official marriage. We are hoping he does it soon. We are also working with a guy from Senegal who's name is Fall. He is awesome. The other day when we were there they fed us an African dish of fish and rice. It was really delicious. He can't read, so we take him church videos for him to watch. He loves them.
One of our investigators has a strong testimony but is having a hard time commiting to baptism. He is concerned because there is a guy here who got baptized but stopped going to church a few weeks later. It is sad to see examples like that, but it is just a reminder that the people in the church are not perfect. Fortunately, when we base our testimonies in the things that are true and unchanging - the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, prayer, and Jesus Christ - we can know that the church is still perfect, even when the members are not. I love being here and being able to share the joy of the Gospel with the people of Spain. By obedience in the Church of Jesus Christ we can truly reach our full potential and have more joy in this life - I know that is true.
Thank you for all your love and support. I love you!!!
Elder Mockler


July 21, 2011

Another Week!

Sorry I didn't get to email on Monday! We had a zone pday in San Fernando and I never had to time to write an email. We have an eating cita with a member in just a few minutes so this is going to be really short.
This week was awesome. On Saturday we had a baptism with a lady named Rafi. She quit smoking when she found the church after about 40 years. She started when she was 14. It must have been super hard for her, but it is proof that with faith we can accomplish anything. I read a really good talk this week called The Fourth Missionary. I don't know if it is online or anything, but I would highly reccomend it. It is a guide to our lives, basically - how we should live, our attitudes, and how we can live the gospel the right way so that it blesses us and changes us.
Sorry I can't answer most of the questions from this week! I will be better on Monday. We are going to go to Gibraltar and see everything there. I'm excited! To answer a few, we eat with the members here a lot because we have a really awesome branch. They feed us a lot of things, we have actually had quite a lot of Bolivian food already. It isn't radically different from American food, really. The Spanish members feed us a lot of empanadas. And tons of  tuna. When we eat in the piso it is about what you would expect...sandwiches, fruit, and cereal. They have chocolate cereal here that is filled with liquid chocolate. It is awesome. And the bread here is really good too.
Thanks for all the pictures mom and dad. Sounds like everyone is doing great at home. That is great news for me!!
I love you all!
Elder Mockler

Andy with his companions, Elder White and Elder Lignell, and his mission president, President Clegg

July 11, 2011



Well, here I am in a tiny internet café right on the Southern Coast of Spain. How crazy is that? The Mediterranean is literally less than 100 feet from the door. It is just a shipping bay here, so it smells super gross. Which kind of goes for the rest of Algeciras, too. It may not be the most beautiful city on Earth, but it sure is great to be here! One awesome thing is that from our balcón we can see Gibraltar, and on clear days we can see Africa really well. There are big cliffs on the African Coast, so it isn't too hard to see it. So cool!

So my companions are Elder White and Elder Lignell. They've both been out for about 6 months (Elder White's 6mo. is tomorrow, actually). Our mission is super young; they're some of the older missionaries here right now. That's really wild. It is great to have them here, because they have a super good relationship with the ward and know their way around really well.

The language has been coming along pretty well. Everyone is surprised at how well I speak, but I still have a lot of trouble understanding a lot of people. Yesterday I had to speak in church and it went really well. In all seriousness, they speak some truly awful Spanish here. They cut a lot of their S´s which makes it hard to tell what words they're saying. But I don't think it'll take me any more than a week to be "fully functioning" around here, especially with the blessings of a missionary!

It has been super hot this week. They don't really believe in air conditioning here, so the only thing worse than being outside in the sun is being inside a shop or someone's piso (apartment). One of our fans broke the other day so we have had to get creative with cooling our piso down. Luckily we're on the 7th floor so it stays pretty nice when the wind is blowing. Today we went to the Corte Ingles (which is what all the malls here are called...it is like one gigantic store) and to Mercadona for some groceries. It was great to be in some real AC for a little while. I think that is what I miss most about the States!

Our schedule here is a little different because the people here have a weird schedule. They have mediodía everyday, which is like what most people know as "siesta." And they take it seriously. No one is out from like 2-8 and almost all shops are closed from 2-5 or 5:30. So, we spend mediodía in the piso from 2-5. Even when we go out most people are still eating or napping. It is really weird. We also come home around 10:45 and don't have to wake up until 7:30. That is pretty great.

Well, now for the really good stuff. Being in Algeciras is great because there is a lot of success here. There was a baptism here last weekend and we have another baptism this weekend. Her name is Rafi and she is an awesome lady. She quit smoking a few weeks ago and hasn't had trouble with it since! She said when she is tempted to smoke she will write down a prayer in her notebook because it helps her be engaged and stop thinking about the cravings. What an awesome idea! We are all very excited for Saturday. We were challenged to set 3 new baptismal dates this week, so hopefully I'll have a lot of good stories for next week!

Well, that is about it for now. I love you all! I know the church is true! I wouldn't be living in a tiny piso in the middle of Algeciras if I didn't know that. There is no where I would rather be and nothing I would rather be doing than being here in Algeciras as a missionary!

Love you!
Elder Mockler

P.S. A few interesting facts about Spain: 1) Ice cream bars here are ingenius - half of it will be a cookie or something that doesnt melt so your fingers dont get sticky. So awesome. 2) They love soda here. Everyone always offers us coke and Fanta. Usually we just want water, but the Fanta here is way good. It tastes kinda like carbonated Sunny D. Interesting. 3) Everyone here goes to the playa during the summer. It is honestly kind of out of control. I don't exaggerate much when I say everyone.
Andy receives his assignment to Algeciras

July 7, 2011

Where in the World is Elder Mockler?

President and Sister Clegg from the Málaga Spain Mission sent an email to let us know that Andy arrived safely in Málaga and was assigned to Algeciras which is a port city on the Strait of Gibraltar.  His preparation day is Monday.  Here is a picture of Andy with the Cleggs.  Doesn't he look excited and ready to go?

July 6, 2011

1 Week in Spain!

So this week I realized I am almost done with my 3rd month! That is crazy! Time flies here, and it is about to get a whole lot faster! I leave for Málaga tomorrow via the high speed train and I'll be assigned to my first area and my trainer and everything. I don't know when I'll be emailing again because I don't know when pday is in the mission or anything, but I guess we'll see soon enough!
It has been a great week here in Madrid. We have gotten to go into the city a couple times. On Saturday we went to the park and did some contacting. Since I am in the "advanced" class here, I was companions for the day with Elder Forrest, who hardly speaks Spanish at all. He is an awesome guy, but we had trouble understanding people...some people here have REALLY heavy accents. We were able to talk to quite a few people, though, and gave one lady a book of mormon and she said she would come to church. That was really awesome. After a few hours we all gathered together and sang a couple of hymns. There are lots of street performers here and people always just walk past them, but quite a few people stopped to listen to us and we had the opportunity to talk to them a little bit about why we are here in Spain and tell them about the Gospel. It was really fun. Besides that we have just gone out to do paperwork (we have to do tons of stuff to maintain residency in Spain...it is a real pain) and today we had a bit of time to go see some sites in the city before we leave tomorow.
Last week I talked about the place where we play Soccer and how it is all covered in grafitti...I said we couldn't understand any of it, but I was wrong. On one of the walls someone has tagged a big L.D.S! I don't know if they meant something else, but we all had a good laugh about it. It is only about a block from the temple...so you never know...
So the 4th of July was this week. Apparently they don't celebrate it here (ha....ha....ha.....). President Earl made sure we all got a little celebration, though, and had the cooks here make us hamburgers. He had to supervise them to make sure they did it right. We also had orange jello. I sure will miss jello for the next 2 years. It was really weird because all day we kept realizing that it was 4th of july but nothing was different. I guess they celebrate Independence on the 2nd or 3rd of May, but it is not as big as 4th of July in the states.
Well, that's about it I think. I'll attach a few pictures. Can't wait until I get to Málaga tomorrow....I'll finally be there! I'm so excited to be able to start teaching and meeting people. Here we aren't always allowed to contact people since we aren't included in the Madrid mission. I am always so excited when we are on the metro because I just want to talk to everyone! I am so thankful for this opportunity to be a missionary. The restored Gospel is an incredible blessing for everyone because there is something in it that can bless us no matter where we are in our lives. I can't wait to share that!
Love you all!
Elder Mockler
Downtown Madrid
We visited the stadium where Real Madrid plays. It was 16€ to take a tour and
we didn't have a ton of time so we didn't get to go in, unfortunately.
Some cool buildings and a monument in Madrid. To be honest none of us really knew what it meant, but it looked neat. The big gold thing is HUGE and in the middle of a roundabout in the middle of the city.
Good to see America has left a lasting legacy on the world.
This ad is everywhere here.