November 24, 2012
Happy 2 days after Thanksgiving! Why is that so awesome? Well, because it means it is CHRISTMAS TIME! In Spain they always put big street lights up for Feria and Christmas and all the Christmas lights are up. We're waiting anxiously for them to turn on.
So, another good week here in the office. Things were a lot calmer for me, but it is just the calm before the storm that'll come in a week and a half since we're doing a little mid-transfer transfer since a huge group goes home on December 6th. Elder Berrett is getting the hang of things little by little...it is really great to have him around again! On Thursday we had a training in Málaga and an amazing Thanksgiving feast. Everyone pitched something in and we ended up having Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, and PIE!! Everything you need for a real American Thanksgiving. It was grand.
We took another good ol' office field trip today and drove up to Ronda for P-Day. It was awesome! It is a really traditional Spanish village split down the middle by a big waterfall. The bridge built over the waterfall is INCREDIBLE! It was really beautiful out there and a great trip. We also got to hear an excellent pan flute/harp version of that "some say love" song that is in Napoleon Dynamite. haha. Have I ever said I live in the most beautiful place in the world? On the way home we drove through the mountains and then down across the costa del sol. Amazing!
The other night Elder Berrett and I actually got a chance to go out and proselyte for a few hours (hooray!) and had a really great experience. We were trying to find the house of a less-active member and, since neither of us know our way around Fuengirola yet, I took a wrong turn and led us to the wrong apartment. We went half way up the stairs before we realized it, and decided we would knock just the first door. When that guy shut the door on us, we felt like we should go up and do just one more. That's when Emili, a Spanish guy from Barcelona, opened the door. Elder Berrett bore an awesome testimony to him, and he told us about how he has been really depressed lately and has only been here in Fuengirola a few weeks. He is a great guy and knows a lot about the Bible and is very excited to meet with us. Hopefully things will go well with him! Our other few investigators are doing well. Valerie, the Slovakian is doing better and better as well as Pilar, a Bolivian lady who committed to live the Word of Wisdom this week. Isn't missionary work awesome?! I'm so grateful to be a missionary, especially in Spain. I'm grateful for the Spirit that leads us, comforts us, and tells us all things as they really are and as they really will be. I know that God lives and that Christ is our Savior. Their work is progressing!
Have an awesome week!
November 17, 2012
They sell pancake batter in a spray can at Mercadona now. Weird, but cool.
Another week come and gone! Time feels even weirder in the office. We're just so busy all the time. This week we have a group of 11 go home, so Monday through Thursday was pretty well filled up with taking care of them. The scary part is that it was almost like a test run for the group of 21 that go home on December 6th. Anyway, they all came in on Tuesday evening and we bought mountains of pizza for them to eat here in the office before they went up to sleep in the mission home. It was weird to see Elder Lignell and Elder Pallas go home as well as lots of other really good friends I've made here. On Tuesday we also took Elder Hunt down to the bus station in Málaga and picked Elder Berrett up. My first transfer day came and went without too much craziness, luckily. Those travel days are always the Secretary's nightmare. The only hick-up was when a missionary couldn't find his new companion when he was supposed to get there....but in the end it turned out that they just couldn't see each other in the train station. duh.
Anyway, on Wednesday we did the last few things to get the departing missionaries ready, packed their luggage into the van, and headed to bed so we could wake up at 3:30 to take them to the airport (yes, that will be a regular occurrence. Fantastic.). Now, we should have known that something would go wrong since everything had gone so smoothly before that, but we didn't see it coming until we all woke up to Elder Manning saying "Hey President..." I almost yelled "What time is it?!" and when Elder Nally answered back "4:12" we all literally started sprinting around getting ready. I had a pretty impressive jump from the top bunk, haha. Anyway, we got ready in record time and met President and all the missionaries in front of our piso and zoomed off to the airport. We made really good time (we followed Elder Manning....he drives a bit fast sometimes) and made it to the airport only 10 minutes after we had planned. So, not too disastrous a mistake, but we'll still never hear the end of it around here in the office.
So, besides that, office work has been pretty normal. Lots of residency (I got my new DNI (Spanish Residency) card this week! Yayyyy...) and travel and whatnot. We haven't had too much time to proselyte, but we have been able to start teaching a Slovakian lady that the APs found a while back and keep up with our other investigators. Elder Berrett and I went and worked quite a bit in Marbella the other day which was really neat. Spain is beautiful!
This video came out this week and I would just like to share it:
For God So Loved the World
I hope that as we enter the Christmas season this week we can remember Him whom we celebrate and honor. I am so grateful for Christ and for His influence in my life.
Love you so much! Have an awesome week!
Here is a photo from the mission blog celebrating reaching the 2012 goal of 404 baptisms for the mission.
November 10, 2012
Wow...what a week. At moments I feel like this has been the longest week ever...and in the next moment I can't believe so much has happened in so little time. I'll see how much I can fit in here before we run out of time.
It all started last weekend because President called us and told us that a missionary from our mission had decided to go home early so we had to pick him up from the train station, get his travel ready, and take him to the airport. He got here Saturday night and Sunday morning we drove to the airport at 3:00 am to get him in for his flight which left at 6:30. The only problem was that we didn't realize the church travel office had accidentally booked his flight from Madrid instead of Málaga until we had already arrived and waited in line. So, at 4:00am I rang the church travel office emergency line in Utah and had a nice 30 minute conversation to try to rebook the flight. Nothing was going out on Sunday so....we repeated it all on Monday morning (well, except the phone call to Utah). It was totally insane. After a good nap for a few hours we came into the office and got some things started before going to Zone Leader Concilio Monday evening and Tuesday morning. It was really good to see all the zone leaders and be back at concilio! I translated the whole time, which ended up being really fun, but we all felt like zombies by the time Tuesday ended.
Wednesday and Thursday were pretty normal days without too much office madness, which was a much needed break. Yesterday, though, we started all the fun of transfer time! I spent the day making travel plans and buying lots of train tickets for our training meetings next week and the transfer on Tuesday. We'll keep working on all of that until Wednesday when Elder Hunt leaves and I get to start knocking out all of the post-transfer residency work...woohoo! I don't want to make it sound like my whole life is just drudgery, though, because it is anything but that. I really don't think I've had more fun in my entire life!
Today President told us to find something fun to do for P-Day, and as we helped a member move we saw a Miniature Golf course and decided to go. It was awesome! It was probably the most intense Mini-Golf I've ever played. I almost won, but barely missed the hole-in-one on the bonus hole which really ruined my score. 3rd place works too, I guess.
And missionary work? Things are looking really good here. I've met tons of British people here...and people from about every other part of Europe. We found a new investigator this week named Johnny who is from Norway. He first met missionaries about 20 years ago and knows quite a bit about the church already. We're excited to keep meeting with him. Despite having a lot of our proselyting time taken up by office work we still get lots of chances to teach and find new people. It is a great blessing.
Oh yeah! There is so much to say I keep forgetting important things. So like I said, transfers are this week and Elder Hunt is leaving. We found out that Elder Nally is going to start training his replacement this week, who is none other than....wait for it....Elder Berrett! We couldn't believe it! I'll be back with my hijo here in the office haha. I'm super excited to be back with him again. I will probably be with him until at least March which is pretty wild. I can't wait.
This church is SO true! There is no other organization like it in the world. I see that more and more here in the office. I am so grateful to be part of this great work in the last days. It is humbling to know that Heavenly Father put such circumstances in my life to lead me to be here. I am grateful for all I am learning. I'm also grateful for Jesus Christ, who is our living Savior, brother, and friend. I wish to grow closer to Him everyday and hope I can help others along the way, too.
Have a great week! I love you all so much!!
Random, unexpected fishy dinner with some investigators
Mini Golf. I'm still sour about that last hole-in-one. So close....
The following photos are from the Spain Málaga mission blog
and were taken at Zone Leader Conference.
November 4, 2012
So, this week I was exploring our family tree and decided to see how far back I could go when I ran into none other than King Henry III of England! In that same line are Henry II and Henry I, a king of Jerusalem from the Crusade era, a few Scandinavian kings, lots of dukes of Normandy, and one man who was known as "the fart" (one of the other missionaries here in the office is also related to him...but comes from one of his other concubines). Anyway, I'll have to go claim my throne in England in a few years.
It has been awfully rainy here all week. Just my luck...I get transferred to the "costa del sol" and it rains all week. That's just winter in Spain, though. And I can't complain compared to what the East Coast has had this week. And we stay mighty dry here in the office every morning. The office is going good - we mostly just do a lot of residency paperwork and buy people tickets when they need to do a lot of travel. I am also in charge of translating President Deere's weekly bulletin and doing some numbers stuff for our weekly meetings. It isn't too hard and I'm getting the hang of it. Elder Hunt, who is training me, will be leaving in a week and a half and then I'll be all on my own. Ah! Right now we are in a trio together. Elder Hunt is from Virginia (although he has also lived in Japan and Germany) and Elder Nally comes from a big Arizona family. They are great guys and we're having a great time together.
President and Hermana Deere had to go to some meetings in Madrid all week and left Annie and Justin, their kids, at home. They asked us to take them out one day so they wouldn't get too bored and so we went on a hike on Thursday to a place called "La Concha" near Marbella. It was an incredible hike up to the peak of a mountain. It took us a little longer than we expected (8 hours....yikes), but it was totally awesome. I'll send a few pictures. From the top we could see to Málaga on one side and to Gibraltar on the other. Luckily we went on the one sunny day this week and we all managed to get a little sunburned too! haha.
Well, that's about it for this week I think. Being a missionary is AWESOME! I have 6 months left and I know they are going to be the best 6 yet. I know Heavenly Father cares for us and that He has a plan for every one of us. He wants the best and has everything lined up so that we can progress and be happy. The scriptures are true and bring a special spirit of peace and happiness when we read them. The Gospel is true and is amazing!! I love it!
Have an awesome week!
This photograph is taken from the Spain Malaga mission blog and shows Andy at
a baptism before he left his last area in Alcazar. He looks so happy!