August 27, 2012
Well another solid week in Alcázar. Pretty relaxed for Elder Rodriguez and I as far as things outside of missionary work. That is probably the best part about not getting transferred...it saves you a week of stress. It is still pretty stinkin hot here but it is getting colder and colder at night which is a good sign. By the time I leave here I'll probably be running around with my winter coat on. Gotta enjoy the heat while it lasts.
We've been searching a lot for new investigators and had a lot of success this week with contacting. Tons of our appointments fell through, but that is pretty normal with new people. We found a great new family of 4 from Columbia that we are especially excited about! Pedro is still doing great and is excited for his baptism on Friday (and so are we!). Overall it was an awesome week with TONS of walking. Elder Rodriguez and I are always exhausted. We always talk about how old we're getting (in the mission, that is). It is scary. Today makes 1 year and 4 months since I entered the MTC. We only have 8 left. It is great motivation to leave the piso everyday and give it everything we have.
We're seeing all kinds of miracles in the mission. On Saturday the Sisters in our zone found a great new investigator and invited him to be baptized on the 8th of September. When he went to church on Sunday he kept asking them if it could be any earlier than that. They told him "Well, tomorrow?" and he accepted! So yesterday we ran a bit with the district leader to get everything ready for them and they are holding the baptismal service right now. Incredible! We are seeing incredible success in the mission and the Lord is blessing us a ton. I'm so happy to be part of this great work! I'm so grateful for the Gospel in my life that brings me such great joy and hope. I know that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.
Have an awesome week!
August 20, 2012
Well, we had quite the exciting week this week! Hopefully this weeks email will make up for a few of the terrible boring ones I've sent before, haha. But don't get your hopes up too high. The weekly weather report is that it is HOT again. Real hot. But that's ok....it just makes missionary work more fun! Also, another 6 weeks have come and gone and this week is the start of a new transfer. And what's the big news this time? Well.....nothing. Elder Rodríguez and I are going to stay here 1 more together! This will be my first time staying 3 transfers with one companion. We're excited! Unless anything really crazy happens we'll be together until the beginning on October and I'll be here until the middle of November. Cool. Elder Berrett is also coming to our district which will be awesome...I'm excited to see him again!
On Friday we ate Kebab (In Amigo Kebab....amigooooo) to celebrate the start of our 3rd transfer and while a man from Pakistan was fixing our food, Elder Rodríguez said, "Hey, Mockler, do you want everything on yours?" The guy working stopped and said, "Wait, your name is Mockler? That is a word in my language. It means...big...hole. Or big gap." Hahaha! Elder Rodriguez always tells me my name is weird and now he has even more ammo, haha. The guy working wrote "Mockler" in his language for me and wrote the name of his language, too, but I left the paper in the piso. Big hole it is, I guess.
I had my first interesting food adventure in quite a while this week! We ate with some recent converts (we hardly ever eat with members here) and they served us fish and rice with peanut sauce. It was awesome! When they served the fish, they served it whole, with the head and all, which is pretty normal here. At the end I asked if I should eat any part of the head and they said I could if I want but that it is kinda hard with the bones. And then they said that the eye is really great. I don't know what has happened to me, but as soon as they said that I went right for it thinking "well, I've never eaten fish eyes..." It ended up being pretty good! The texture is a bit like the yolk of a hardboiled egg. Weird. Anyway, we can cross that one off the list now.
This week we saw an awesome miracle. As a mission, we have the goal to have 70+ baptisms this month of August. Elder Rodríguez and I had a few investigators that we thought would maybe be ready this month, but most of them have gone on vacation or kind of fallen off track. So we have prayed that we could find someone who would be ready to be baptized. On Thursday we contacted a man named Pedro who is from Cuba. He was a reference from the missionaries in Madrid and when we met with him he told us he has already heard all the missionary lessons, he has been to church many times and visited the temple there in Madrid, and that he has read half of the Book of Mormon. We invited him to be baptized on the 31st and he said, "I was hoping I would be able to be baptized this month, so that day is perfect for me!" We are super excited for him!! So it looks like next week we'll be having a baptism..super awesome! God answers prayers, helps us with our goals, and will do whatever it takes to bless all of His children. When we ask according to His will, He will always bless us!
Love you so much!!
Elder Big Hole Mockler
August 13, 2012
Well, we've had some interesting weather. It was hot this week. Really, really hot. On Friday the car told us it was 48ºC outside. I'm just glad I'm so far North and not still in Sevilla or Almeria where it gets much hotter. Since it is so dry there was tons of dust in the air as well and Elder Rodríguez and I even got stuck in a dust storm one day this week. One day we walked out of a building and it was like being in a zombie movie...the streets deserted and the air all creepily dusty. It was fun, haha. Anyway, today it has gone back to almost being chilly and we're really excited about that. Really, really excited.
We have been blessed again this week to be able to find lots of new people to teach. All of our other investigators have stopped progressing so we spent a lot of hot says searching for new people. And we found plenty! We're excited. It is amazing how in a town so small like Alcázar there are always people to find and teach, even after more than 20 years of missionaries passing through here. As Joseph Smith said, The standard of truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand will stop this work. I'm so grateful to be a missionary!
Love you all SO much!!!
August 7, 2012
Well, we had another Monday in Málaga this week for Zone Leader Council, so we're finally back in Alcázar and doing email on Tuesday. It is always awesome to go to Málaga to be with other missionaries, plan how to be better, and get a little 'recharge'! Hermana Deere made us the most amazing burritos ever and that alone made the trip worth it! Haha. As always we took the bullet train there and back so the travel went pretty fast. No matter how great the conferences are, though, it is even better to get back to our areas and back to work!
We've been seeing a lot of miracles in La Mancha lately. The La Mancha zone has always been infamous for being harder than the rest, for teaching and baptizing less than the other zones, but this week we saw that rumor totally turned on its head! Elder Rodríguez and I are especially happy to have found tons of new investigators this week. The just come at us from everywhere! It seems like everywhere we go we find someone who is willing to talk to us. We found a new guy named Paco this week who is really great. He is from Sevilla and reminds me a lot of Jesús. He has a 4 year old son. He came to church on Sunday and we're hoping to see him keep progressing.
In Zone Leader Council we talked a lot about 'The Rescue', which is a new program we are going to start to help us find less active members, help them find their testimonies again, and help them and their families make it to the goal of being sealed in the temple. We read John 15 which Hermana Deere described as "a chapter about lost things." I loved reading them but was particularly touched by the most famous of the parables, that of the prodigal son:
11 ¶And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more aworthy to be called thybson.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
There are lots of things packed into this story, but I just want to point out some of my favorites in the little time I have left. First and foremost, like the citizen in the strange country, the world can only offer us the husks of the swine. Our Father, however, is willing to take us back - to fall upon us and give us again the best robe, the ring on the hand, and the shoes on our feet. He is waiting and watching for us and will run to us and lift us up as we begin the long road back home. Our Father in Heaven longs for us to return to his house and our souls long for the same (Alma 36:22). Although we are lost and spiritually dead, Jesus Christ has broken the bands of death. He will leave the 99 to find the 1 and carry us upon his shoulders back to the fold. He will light the lamp and sweep the house to find us. And when we come, there is much rejoicing in heaven and on Earth. I'm so grateful for the Gospel. I'm so grateful to be a missionary and to be able to help Heavenly Father in the great task of bringing eternal life and immortality to all men. God loves us and the path He has shown us may be hard, but it is the only one worth anything.
Have an AWESOME week!! I love you all SO much!!
Here is a photo of Andy at zone leader conference at the mission home in Málaga. This photo comes from the mission blog at http://thespainmalagamission.blogspot.com/