October 31, 2011

Transfers Again?!


Well, another transfer come and gone. Pretty wild how fast it went. No worries - I'm staying! Elder Ferguson is going to Málaga to be a Zone Leader and Elder Marchello is coming here to be my new companion. I knew him while I was in Algeciras because he was my companion. We are super excited!

On Thursday our investigators invited us to come to a small Halloween party at their English school to introduce us to some people. It was easily one of the worst, most awkward experiences of my entire life. Never have I seen so many people shocked to see me nor so infuriated at my presence. When people see us they just assume we are there to ruin any glimmer of fun and happiness they have. If only they knew that's the opposite of what we want! Anyway, we ended up just talking to a few members who were there and having a few awkward conversations with people who did not want to talk to us. We did get to do a Halloween crossword puzzle and finished in half the time of everyone else, though, so I would say it was pretty much worth it. 

Besides that, the biggest news is our investigators. Melissa is doing really awesome - she is already inviting all of her friends to start coming to church. Her testimony is super strong. If we had anywhere to do baptisms right now (we're working on it....), she would probably be baptized this week. She is helping her husband, Juan Miguel, along as well. He is very busy with school and is having difficulty finding time to read and ponder the Book of Mormon. They both love the church, though, and are already a strong part of our little branch. This week we will be getting a car (Woohoo!!), so we will be able to work more with our investigators in the pueblos around here. 

Yesterday we had 40 people in church. It was awesome - our little capilla (a renovated government "bajo") was packed. When we hit 45 we can request a new building, so that is our goal right now. We will be packed in there for a while more, but soon enough they will get a better place to meet. We had 4 visitors from Utah yesterday. One of them, Bryan, baptized 2 of the members here 27 years ago. They have done a ton for the church here in Spain and are the reason there is a branch here. It was an amazing meeting - all of them bore their testimonies. It was an awesome experience to see the happiness they all had knowing that they were all still striving in the faith. It was just a piece of the "incomprehensible joy" that is spoken of with the sons of Mosiah and Alma the younger when they returned from their missionary journeys. As the scriptures say, surely there are no other men in the history of the world with greater cause to rejoice than faithful members and those doing missionary work.

I love you all so much!

Elder Mockler

October 24, 2011

6 months?!

¡Hola Familia!

Well, this week I'll hit my 6 month mark. I can't believe it. Sometimes I feel like I've been here for a long time, but when I think back to my first day in the MTC or when I first got to Spain I realize time has just flown by. And, next Sunday, Elder Ferguson and I will be able to celebrate "missionary togetherness day." By that we mean that together we will be one whole missionary. Or, in terms that make sense, I will be 3 days over 6 months and he will be 3 days under 18...which equals 24 months....which equals 2 years. Yes, it is as lame as it sounds and we fully acknowledge it, but we take any excuse to have a celebration!

Well, not too much "mentionable" happened this week; we're still just working hard. We have 5 investigators who are progressing really well right now. One of them, Beatrice, has a baptismal fecha for November 19th! Melissa and Juan Miguel, two other Bolivians, love the church and we are hoping to set fechas with them this week. Woohoo! We have also been searching for new investigators a lot. Contacting has been really ineffective in Huércal recently, so we decided to start exploring the pueblos around here to check them out. It has been really cool because a lot of the people have never heard of the church and we are the first contact they have with the church. It is a great opportunity to be an example to them of what the church is and what we value. 

I think I should start making a journal of what adventures we have with our newfound British store. This week I learned that "interesting" sounding British soda never tastes good. Ever. We also bought an oven so we can start exploring the incredible selection of strange frozen food there. Exciting times, kids.

Well, I think that's all. I hope you're all doing great! I love you so much! The church is true - there is no other church so upheld by the Bible. No other church organized in the way Christ organized his church. No other church that can truly trace priesthood power through righteous men all the way to God. And, most importantly, no other church that has the entire gospel of Jesus Christ and all of the proper ordinances restored through the Book of Mormon and living prophets.

I love you!!

Elder Mockler

October 17, 2011

Feria, Iceland, Vera, and More!

¡Hola familia!

It sure was a crazy week! In Spain, every city has a Feria that they will do once or twice a year. This week is Huércal-Overa's Feria. It is like Christmas for the Spaniards - they take the whole week off and everyone goes completely insane. One man even yelled at us from his car "what are you doing here?! Its the Feria!!!!" Apparently we're not even allowed to live here during Feria. On Thursday we had the pleasure of listening to dance remixes of every pitbull song ever blasting from the giant feria dance party from 10:00pm to 7:30am. Luckily it ends tonight or tomorrow, so we will finally be able to get back to normal missionary work soon.

On Saturday, in order to avoid the insanity that is all of this town right now, we went to "open" a new town called Vera. It was pretty dead there (once again, Feria - yes, it really does affect every surrounding town as well), but at least the people weren't (too) drunk. We did find a hidden treasure, though: a GIANT British super market called Iceland. They import tons of food from the UK for all of the British people that live in this area. It was a little pricey, but we had a blast exploring a real supermarket for the first time in far too long. Unfortunately British supermarket food still doesn't measure up to American supermarket food, but it is still far above the Spanish pickings!

The little work we have been able to do around here recently has been going very well. Right now we have 3 awesome investigators and are hoping to get them baptismal dates this week! We have another investigator in one of our "pueblos" (cuevas de almanzora) who is very excited about the church but might be going to Valencia. For awfully selfish reasons, we hope he stays :). But, either way, there will be missionaries where he is going!

Well, I'm just about out of time this week. I heard an interesting example this week or the week before - I don't remember if it was in conference or somewhere else, but I have thought about it a lot. When we feel something - for example, stub our toe, burn ourselves on a hot pan, or anything else - we know that feeling is real. If someone tries to tell you that you DIDN'T feel your hand get burnt, you'll tell them they're crazy. So, why do we doubt the Spiritual feelings we have? We try to explain them away through mitigating circumstances or keep them as uncertain. When we feel the Spirit testify truth to us, we must believe it, just like we would believe any other feeling. I'm so grateful for the Gospel. This church is true. There is no way it could not be true. The Book of Mormon is a true record and cannot and WILL NOT be proven false. It is impossible - people have tried for nearly 200 years now, and it still stands as a true record and testimony of Jesus Christ. The most important evidence, however, is the witness of the Spirit. I hope we can always remember that!

I love you all so much! Have a great week!!!

Elder Mockler

P.S. The first photo is by some REALLY weird statues we found in Vera. The second is us rejoicing over our Iceland haul :)

This one is from the mission blog:  Elder Taylor, President Clegg, Elder Ferguson, Elder Gibson, and Andy

October 10, 2011

Seasons Changing...

¡Buenos Días!

It is starting to get colder around here. Usually we are chilly in the morning and we have had to shut all the windows in the piso for the first time. It is definitely a welcome change from the unbearable heat. It is supposed to get hot again this week, we have heard, but hopefully that will be the last of it until next summer!!

So this week we had to travel again...hopefully the last time this transfer. While Elder Ferguson went to Fuengirola for a District Leader meeting, I went to Murcia and did splits with Elder Corradi. It was definitely an interesting few days - he is from France and their area has a car (that we DROVE everywhere in!!!) to name a few things. Like always, it is good to be back in our area finally and be working!

Last week I think I mentioned we found a few new families. Yesterday one of them came to church and they are accepting the lessons really well. We are hoping to see them get baptized in early November! We have been blessed to be able to find a lot of new investigators recently and are meeting with them a lot. We have a lessons on Wednesday with a Spanish family and are meeting with another Bolivian lady who lives with some older people she cares for. They have alzheimers and sometimes come out to talk to us during the lessons...needless to say it gets pretty interesting, haha. This week we'll finally have a full week of work here, so they should all be progressing a lot very quickly.

I attached 2 pictures, finally. Both are from Algeciras. The first is me with our Nigerian investigators, and the second pretty well sums up what the city looks like. Huércal-Overa is quite a bit prettier :)

Elder Ferguson and I have been listening to a series of lectures given by Truman G. Madsen about Joseph Smith this week. They are incredible and have really strengthened my testimony of the Prophet of our dispensation. There is no way Joseph Smith was not called of God to restore the Church of Jesus Christ. Saying that he did not do what he did is completely against reason if any real study of his life, character, and work is pursued. I am so thankful for the Restored Gospel we have and for the blessing it is in my life. The Book of Mormon is true and living proof of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Lord's arm of mercy is outstretched to every one of us - there are NO exceptions to that. I hope that we all have the courage and faith to partake of his love.

I love you all!

Elder Mockler

October 3, 2011

All Over Spain

¡Buenos Días!

Well, it has been quite the crazy week! I started out last Tuesday traveling to Cádiz to get my DNI (residency) card. Unfortunately I had to take one of the longest trips possible in our mission to get there because my bus left from Murcia. It was a lot of travel. The only thing worse than sitting in a car for 1,000,000 hours is sitting in a train or a bus. But, it was a good adventure, and I sure have seen a lot of Spain now! I finally got back on Thursday evening and we had a little bit of time to be missionaries before conference started. Once again, it was a really crazy week. Unfortunately Elder Ferguson has to go to Fuengirola until Thursday this week, so it will be another bum couple of days while he is out. I will be in Murcia doing splits, but working outside of your area is just never the same.

The highlight of the week was definitely General Conference. How could it not be? Seeing as there is a little bit of a time zone difference, we watch it a little differently here in Spain. We still managed to see every session except the Sunday afternoon. How about Provo temple #2?? I was so excited when they announced that! It is definitely needed...I can't wait to see what it is like! For the Sunday morning sessions (which we watched at 6:00 in the afternoon), we had a lot of investigators come. One of our recent converts brought her friend...who just happened to be related to the family we brought! Neither of them knew the other was coming. It was funny seeing them walk in and realize they were there together. They all felt the spirit very strongly and we are meeting with them on Thursday and Friday. Woohoo!

We're definitely seeing miracles in the whole mission. I got to talk to a lot of missionaries while I was traveling and there is a ton of success all over the mission right now. We have really focused on buckling down, working hard, and meeting/exceeding the mission goals. It really shows. And when we are working, the Lord blesses us. The other night, after all our appointments had fallen through, we were walking around doing contacts. We had about 15 minutes left and hadn't had a single good contact. All we wanted to do was go in, but we decided to talk to one more person. That's when we found the family we brought to church. It was an awesome contact. As we walked home, but realized we still had a little bit of time, and decided to contact one last family - right outside of our piso. Once again, they stopped to talk to us and were super open and eager to invite us over! Just goes to show that when we are willing to work and do what the Lord says - and endure to the end - we will bless us with miracles. That is when they happen - after we have shown him that we deserve them. 

I love you all so much! In conference they talked a lot about the Atonement. I know the Atonement is something real. Feelings of guilt and impurity can be washed away if we will come unto Christ. He is the center of everything and the door to eternal life. The more we study Him and understand Him, the more real the Atonement can become in our lives. I know the Book of Mormon is true and brings us closer to Him. I'm so grateful for living prophets today to lead and guide us. All we need to do to know they are called of God is listen to their words. 

Again, I love you!!!

Elder Mockler