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!
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