March 30, 2013
Well, another Semana Santa come and gone here in Spain. It wasn't quite as crazy here in Fuengirola as it was in Sevilla last year, but we did still get serenaded to sleep by the sounds of processional drums last night which was a nice touch. The whole country has a long weekend here this weekend so things have been pretty quiet on the streets and there are lots of English speakers out and about.
We've had a pretty busy office week. Elder Berrett has to find 8 new apartments before the May group comes so we have been working hard to find them and start the process of making the contracts and getting things set up. Aside from that, we received 3 new missionaries this week (an Elder and a new senior couple) and got to do the typical residency run-around with them. We had a few new exciting adventures since Hermana Wilson's passport didn't get stamped in the airport. The whole Fuengirola police department & foreigners department is getting to know me pretty well! Haha.
We also had Specialized Training this week. It was great, as always. I got to translate for Hermana Deere's talk about eating & living healthy which was pretty interesting, haha. We also talked a lot about the Book of Mormon since we are all finishing it this week. What a great blessing to have it! I have really loved reading it this time through. It is such a special book. The church is true! Righteousness is the way to happiness.
I love you!!!
March 23, 2013
Well, it was a really crazy week in the office this week! I cannot believe it is already Saturday again...time has just flown by.
Since it is transfer week we were absolutely swamped from Monday until Wednesday receiving new missionaries and helping with departing missionaries, and it was all topped off by a good ol' 4 am trip to the airport as usual. Elder Peterson went home as well as a few other people that I knew from the very start of my mission. It was weird to see them go. Apart from that we have been buying a new apartment in Málaga and getting ready to get 8 or 9 more in the next few weeks to get ready for the May transfer. Good times, huh?
Our investigators are doing well. This week has been slower than last week but we're hoping everyone will make it to church tomorrow and that they'll be able to keep progressing. We had another great lesson with Alberto yesterday, it has been a while since we could meet with him but he is still doing really well. Hopefully it stops raining so he can get to church!!
Well, sorry for the short letter this week. I love you guys so much! Christ lives and is our Savior. I'm excited for this week to remember Him and His sacrifice for us leading up to the Sunday of His resurrection.
Here are a few pictures from the week:
This is Andy with Elder Bastian, a new missionary that arrived in Spain this week. Elder Bastian's grandma lives around the corner from Andy's mom in Utah!
The next 2 pictures are from the latest installment of the contest between Andy and his mom about who lives in the most beautiful place. Andy won again.
And this one is from the Spain Malaga Mission blog: They are having a pushups contest. Look at Elder Mockler's number!!!
March 16, 2013
So we've had a pretty exciting week. It has been jam packed (they all are) and really fun. I found out that I will be finishing my mission here in the office for sure, so that was pretty big news. Definitely didn't expect it but I'm really excited. Lots is going on in the next few weeks and I'm excited to help out with it. With transfers here again we're pretty swamped in the office. And I'll be starting my last transfer on Monday. I can't believe it.
On Monday I answered the phone and it was a man calling the office trying to get in touch with the missionaries. He said that a year ago a missionary contacted him in the street and gave him their number, but he was in a big hurry and lost their card before he could call them. He said he had thought a lot about the church in the past year but never enough to actually try to get back in contact with us until this week when he spent all of Monday searching for some way to call the mission office. He finally found it by chatting with someone on mormon.org. By the time we visited him on Wednesday he had already started reading the Book of Mormon online and had basically learned the first lesson from what he had read. He has a baptismal date for April 13th. We're excited for him.
Speaking of baptismal dates, Elie, a Brazilian investigator we have had for a while (I don't know if I have written about her before...) has accepted a baptismal date for March 30th! She has known the missionaries for a long time now but has never been to church or really put forth much on her part. A few weeks ago she had a heart attack and since then, everything has changed. She was at church on Sunday and we had a great lesson with her (and great Brazilian lunch!) this week. She is praying a lot to know if the 30th is when she should be baptized. We hope she recognizes her answer.
Right here by the office there is a Chinese restaurant that we go to sometimes. There is a really nice guy who works there and speaks English so we hit it off really well with him and invited him to English class. He told us his name is Elias...but mostly because his Chinese name is too hard to say, so he picked that one for Spanish, haha. He came for English class and loved it (and taught us some Chinese as well...nice!). Afterward we gave him a Book of Mormon in English and Chinese and he was really excited to read it. He is a really good guy...about 26 and has lived here in Spain for about 10 years, so he speaks perfect Spanish and really good English. Hopefully he will read and be able to come to church soon.
There is so much to write about! Yesterday we took a trip out to Ronda to contact a reference that we got from a mission in Uruguay. It is a lady named Natalia - her parents were baptized not too long ago and want her to meet with us. She is awesome...but it is a bit hard since she lives 2 hours or so away from Fuengirola. Her husband works in Marbella, so we're going to see if they can figure out a way to come to church on Sundays.
Oh, and have I ever mentioned that Spain is the most beautiful place ever? The drive to Ronda is incredible!!!
Anyway, I gotta get back to work on travel plans and other things. I love you all so much! The church is true! The Book of Mormon is full of peace, joy, and knowledge that we can obtain whenever we're willing to read it and do what God instructs us to do. I'm so grateful to be a missionary!!
March 9, 2013
It has been RAINY here this week! And we've heard next week will be the same. I guess it has to rain at least a few times a year around here. Elder Berrett and I need to learn to carry umbrellas - the other day we walked around with a new missionary to do some residency things and got soaked to the bone. Oops!
This week I got to add a few interesting experiences to my "only in the office" list. The first was that we had to bring the first big group of visa waiters back so they could sign a Power of Attorney with a notary and pick up their residency cards. Here in Spain, a notary isn't just the intern at your local Wells Fargo. To give you an idea, just 1 power of attorney like the ones we did costs between 65 and 80€. All just for a fancy signature! So I got to act important again to get all that done well. The mission van also had a small accident so we had to get creative to fit everyone into our other mission vehicles. But, everything went well. Another residency triumph! We'll do it again this week with an even bigger group.
We had Zone Leader concilio on Monday and Tuesday as well. President Deere spoke about goals and vision as well as obedience. He taught us about how to set a vision of where we want to get to, setting goals to help us along the way, and making plans to meet those goals. It was an incredible learning experience. Yesterday we talked about it again in out zone training meeting in Málaga. The mission is incredible!!!
Elder Berrett and I have been working a lot with a less active man named Alberto. He is doing really well and has started coming back to church. We have had some really spiritual lessons with him lately - in particular one about the Atonement and another one about the commandments. It has been great to see, more than anything, how much he has changed. He is still pretty quiet, still lives in the same house with about 7 clocks on the wall (none of them are set to the right time), still has to take care of his sick mother everyday, and still has the same family problems. But when we see him now, I can see a new light in his eyes and a happiness about him that wasn't there before. The boredom and stagnation that he felt before has slowly given way under the light of the Gospel in his life. I'm so thankful for that light in my life and how it leads me, guides me, and lifts me up.
I love you!!!
March 2, 2013
Well, another week come and gone. I can't believe how fast it has gone by!
It is strawberry season here in Spain. Most of the fruit here is absolutely incredible...and the strawberries are no exception. The other day a member from the English branch brought 2 big boxes of strawberries to the office and they're amazing. Just thought everyone should know how jealous they should be of me.
We also went to the Málaga castle today which was awesome. Here is a picture of the view of Málaga from on top:
On Thursday morning we got to do another good ol' 3am airport run to take the Stevens, the Senior office couple, home. It was super weird to see them go. But, that's the way it goes! On the way out of the airport a real storm brewed up and some crazy lightning started. By the time we pulled out it had started to rain and before we got to the freeway we pulled over because it was raining too hard to keep driving. Then it started hailing....but not just your normal run-of-the-mill 2 minute hailstorm....it kept going for what seemed like ages. By the time it stopped hailing and raining and we started going, it looked like it had snowed! Spanish engineering isn't always the best, and it really showed because for about half our drive home we were driving through at least 6 inches of standing water...sometimes with little hail icebergs floating in it. It was a good thing we were in the van! Anyway, it was a smashing good time, as the British would say, and we got home slowly but safely.
But life isn't all just eating strawberries and driving around in the middle of the night! This week we have had tons of time to teach, which was been awesome. And on Sunday, the APs had a baptism! A great Cuban man named Ciro. I had the opportunity to do his baptismal interview. He is an amazing person...he was held in prison for many years in Cuba for his political ideas before being sent here to Spain through a program for Cuban political prisoners. He has found great joy in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and drives more than a half an hour every Sunday to get to church in Fuengirola. After the baptismal interview, he asked if I would baptize him, and I got to do that on Sunday. It was a really special service.
The church is growing in Spain!! The English branch was reorganized on Sunday and the Spanish ward barely fits in the chapel anymore. The stake president spoke after the reorganization and said that they have plans to split the current Granada Stake in order to make a Málaga stake and that they plan to create 2 new wards in Málaga in the next year or so. So awesome! It is an amazing time to be a part of the Lord's work as he gathers those who will listen to his voice and come unto Him so that he may heal them.
I love you so much!! Have a great week!
The following two photos are from the Spain Malaga Mission blog at: http://thespainmalagamission.blogspot.com/
Andy at Ciro's baptism
Andy and a group of missionaries at the Stevens' piso