Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"El Ultimo" Logan - Barcelona Week 13

Dear Family,

Well this will be the last blog post and that sure feels weird. My last week as a missionary has gone extremely well. I was in my old stomping ground Badalona last Tuesday and we visited a great less active family. They live right on the beach and have every toy you could imagine: 10 stretch hummers, Ferraris, Porsches etc. We talked about surfing and wakeboarding and then they gave us the typical Spanish snacks which were great.

We had a great lesson with them. We asked him and his family to write down questions that they have always had and then we answered them using the Book of Mormon. The fathers question was how can I find true happiness? I gave him part of the answer and then left him a reading assignment. It shows that the phrase is true, "money can’t buy happiness." After that the son drove us home in his brand new GT 500 mustang. It was fun cruising through Barcelona in an American muscle car. You never see Mustangs here. Luckily President was out of town so the loud engine didn’t wake him up when we rolled in a little late to the mission office.

Wednesday we had P-day, and I tried registering for classes. I need to change my major, but I am not sure. I think a week in California talking to you in the water will be perfect to sort out my 10 year plan. I still want to be an orthodontist but I need to major in something that will give me a good back up plan if getting into dental school fails. I am going to try and start volunteering at an office and join dental student clubs and what not so my application will look good. I have read some stuff on the internet and I will make sure that a few dental schools will want me in a few years but back-up plans are always a good idea.

Thursday I finished reading the Book of Mormon again and Sunday I am going to do Moroni´s challenge. We received good news that someone that I talked to at the church tour we did during the Menorca storm is getting baptized this weekend. Her name is Angelica, and I remember asking her when she was going to get baptized because her all of her family is members of the church. I told her it was her turn. I´m glad that the money we spent has at least reulted in one baptism thus far.

Today, Friday is my 2 year mark. We had the baptism of Nataly to celebrate. Everything went really well today. I loved hearing her testimony after. She said that she was full of peace and joy and that what she was feeling was indescribable. We then worked the rest of the day and tonight Nataly cooked for us and we had a great visit with her Aunt about the church. That was definitely a gift from God to be able to help one more person be baptized before leaving. I had been praying for that and the timing was impeccable.

Yesterday night (Sunday) we finished my last week with 20 in house visits. It was a stretch but setting that goal really helped me focus and strive this last week. I also was asked to speak in church and it went really well My Spanish was incredible and not because of my own skills but because God was helping me. The spirit is amazing and really fine tunes us as humans. It was also great to see Moses and Ruben there together. Moses got a calling and Nataly was confirmed a member of the church. It was a great finish.

I also had my exit interview with President and that was really sad. We laughed and then cried together. He told me about his mission and then I told him about mine. Then he said crying “So you’re just going to abandon us here or what?” I think I´m starting to realize that I will have to leave this week. The last two nights I could hardly sleep. I love so many people here so much and I don’t want to leave them. I am, however, excited for the next chapter of my life. I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be leaving my life for the last two years. The mission has been a success in so many ways. I have seen my life change as well as the lives of the people of those with whom I worked and loved. Not much more to say. This is a perfect definition of bitter sweet, en espaƱol dulce amargo. Way too many emotions to be felt at one time. I love you all. Thank you so much for your letters that have helped me each week. I´m excited to see everyone, especially Brenna. Thanks for getting everything at home in order so that I haven’t had to worry about it too much. Today and tomorrow I will be saying bye to Spain. Tuesday we have a dinner with the Hinckleys and Wednesday I will be embarking to the United States leaving part of myself here in Spain.

Hasta ver,
Elder Logan Gogarty

Monday, March 15, 2010

Logan - Barcelona Week 12

Hey Family!

The picture I attached is of Nataly the girl getting baptized this Friday.

Well another week in Barcelona has gone by. Monday we worked in the office, and I started making a list of all my recent converts with accurate information and pictures. It will be nice to have that for after the mish. It also started snowing on Monday and didn’t stop till Tuesday. We received about 6 inches of snow which is UN-heard of for Barcelona. It was said to have been the biggest storm in 25 years. We had to push a bunch of Mercedes out. No one knew how to drive at all. They would just floor it and wonder why they weren’t moving. They also don’t have snow shovels so it was fun to watch people shovel the driveways with hoes lol.

Wednesday we picked up Elder Keller from the train station. We had been waiting for his visa and now he is finally here. We ate with him and told him about the best mission in the world. Then we dropped him off at the bus station and shipped him out to Zaragoza. There have been interviews with the President the last two days here in the office, so we constantly have people coming in and out which make it hard to get anything done. It was nice however to see a lot of the missionaries that I soon will not be seeing. Today we are taking p-day and I would like to go to Pau de La musica or the Lab gardens but will see if that happens. We are also going to eat breakfast with a senior couple that lives close by.

We had a visit with Nataly who is getting baptized on the 20th. We took her to eat at the Deweys house. The Deweys are an American family and it was great to eat some American food. They helped us a lot as we taught about tithing. Nataly is very smart and is studying to be a doctor right now. She speaks English really well and it was fun to teach in English. I had completely forgotten a few words in English like offering and income. It´s embarrassing when you forget your own language.

Friday we took P-day and I bought a bag for school. I had the money in Euros but I didn’t have it on me at the time so I had to use the home card. I will just carry the euros that I had for the bag home and then exchange it. We also went to the labyrinth gardens and they were really pretty. I want to go again if I find the time. Friday night we had a visit with Gizzel and I don’t know if you remember who she is but she is from Brazil and likes to sail and wind surf. She has a ton of crazy ideas because she reads lots of books and so it has been hard to get anywhere with her. Friday however we took a philosopher with us and he was able to speak her language.

I tried taking it back to the basics of the Book of Mormon and I told her that there is a formula to know if it’s true. That formula is reading and praying. She has already read the Book of Mormon once but I explained the scripture in Matthew 7, "by their fruit ye shall know them" and asked her how the Book of Mormon tasted when she read it. She then admitted that she hadn’t read it carefully enough to answer that question. So then I told her that when we are eating something good like cake, we should chew it slow and really experience the flavor and that after two bites we can know that the whole cake is good. Then we assigned her a chapter to read with questions to answer. It went really well and she is coming to church with us today. We also found out that she smokes and wants help quitting.

Yesterday we took Nataly, the girl that is getting baptized, to the Hinckley’s house. We taught about Lehi`s vision and the three important commandments learned from it. Prayer, Follow the Prophet, and Read the scriptures. The lesson went really well and she asked me to baptize her. We will hold the service this Friday.

Today church went well. I was most excited to see Moses, the man we baptized a few weeks ago. He came to church in a white shirt and suit. He understands so well and I love seeing that change that has took place in his life. We had also been teaching a less active name Ruben and now they have become best friends and come to church together. When we first visited Ruben he didn’t seem interested at all in coming back and he was also depressed because he hadn’t had work for over a year. We promised him that God would help him find work if he did his part in reading the scriptures saying his prayers coming to church and helping us with missionary visits. He started doing these things and now you wouldn’t even recognize the guy. He is so much happier. The best part of it all is that he found work while he was helping us in a visit we did to Moses before he was baptized. Moses got him the job and they now have become good friends and work together everyday. Every Sunday it makes me happy to see them.

Well we just finished off the week with 20 lessons in houses which I´m excited about. That was the goal we set last week and the standard we have set. It helped keep me focused and I want to get it again this week. Love you all! Have a great week

Elder Logan Gogarty

New Zealand sounds like a great idea Dad! Thanks for tkaing care of all the housing stuff for me. I´m excited to go to California!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Logan - Barcelona Week 11

Dear Family,

This week has gone well. We have one investigator scheduled to be baptized the 20th of March. Her name is Nataly. We had a great visit Monday night and we made a calendar with her to set up visits and reading assignments. We promised her if she did all those things then she would be ready to be baptized before I go home.

Then Tuesday we had Mission Concilio which is the meeting we have with all the Zone Leaders. It went really well and even though I won’t be here this year I still felt like I played an important part in setting the goals and standards we want to achieve. We resolved some important issues which will help the mission grow a lot. The monthly goal for the coming year is 50 baptisms a month and 600 by the end of the year. I know they can do it. Today is our P day and we were going to go to Tossa Del Mar but it started raining. Now we are just going to have a picnic in the Hinckleys house lol. I also want to buy a few more Spanish items before I come home. Then tonight we are headed off to Murcia which is an 8 hour train ride. We will be there for a few days and then hopefully we can make it back up here in time to work in our area a little bit before the end of the week.

We just go back from Murcia and everything went really well. I was able to teach one of my old investigators Vladamir who is getting baptized this Sunday. He was excited to see me and wants me to go down to Murcia again to baptize him but I don’t think we will be able to make it. I always knew he was going to get baptized it was just a matter of time. Everything else went well on the trip. It was fun to work in my old area and see some people that I worked with a lot while I was there during the hot summer.

Today we are going to work in our area a little bit and hopefully get some stuff done. The rest of the week should be pretty tranquil. Yesterday church went well and I enjoyed fasting. It is another one of those principles that I have come to understand and be more grateful for.

I don't have much more to say. This week should be my first week of normal misisonary work. It has been a while but I´m looking foward to it. I have had a hard time sleeping lately because my mind is overloaded. I can't believe it is nearing the end. I dont think I will really realize it until I´m home with you guys.

Love you all!
Elder Logan Gogarty

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Logan - Barcelona Week 10

Thanks Mom and Aunt Laura for your letters!

I got into BYU Idaho for the Fall and Spring. That means I will be starting April 20th. Please talke to Brad P. about rooming so I can live with him. Have we found out about when the Stake President can release me? Also can I speak that first Sunday? Dad just because I only have 3 weeks left dosent mean you can stop writing me. I still am waiting for your weekly email!

Monday we had our meeting with the President and we talked about Andorra which is a small country inbetween France and Spain that is part of the mission. We haven’t had missionaries there for awhile, but President went up and visited and thought it would be a good idea for us to go up there and train the members to be missionaries. I was really excited when I heard this because it’s something I have wanted to do but didn’t feel comfortable suggesting that we do it. We started looking at dates and then President chose the week after I leave. I was way bummed; part of me does not want to come home at all. There is so much going on and great things are happening here; I don’t want to miss out on anything. After the meeting we packed the bags and caught a train with the Hinckleys down to Murcia. We set up for the Conference and the following day all went well.

My favorite part of the conference was hearing the testimony of a recent convert that came to the conference. You are always a little nervous when a convert gets up because they may not know what a testimony is or how long it should be etc. But this lady bore a powerful testimony and the spirit hit me hard. She had been looking for the church and didn’t have internet access so she was basically just wondering in the streets looking for the missionaries on her free time. Her daughter’s boyfriend had a computer, and she asked him to look up the church address. Somehow he found the address to the Hermanas apt. thinking that it was the church address. Well as you all know missionaries are never home so every time she went by their apartment no one answered. She went home crying after the 3rd attempt this was a Sunday and the Hermanas were in church. Her daughter told her that everything would be fine and told her to go back and try again after having said a prayer. Meanwhile one of the Hermanas has a headache and they both leave church early and go home. Right after they get home the doorbell rings, and they find Alba who is now a member of the church. She read the Book of Mormon in a week and is now on her 2nd time through. You can see that the Gospel has already changed her life.

We then had conference in Valencia the following day and now we are back in Barcelona. Tomorrow we head out to Menorca for Project STORM. We really hope to see some success.

The Menorca trip went really well. We left early Friday morning and the Hinckley came down to see us off. President gave us a good pep talk to get everyone's excitement up. The night before we were up late packing and preparing things. We also made a conference call with the missionaries out there to get ideas flowing on how we were going to do things. The flight over was beautiful and the island was beautiful as well. The missionaries live right on the bay so the view from their house is amazing. We started contacting people and publicizing for the event as soon as we got on the plane. The city Mao which is the biggest city on the Island is where we focused our effort. There are only a little more than 2,000 inhabitants in Mao and we contacted over half of them. The following day we had a tour and movie in the chapel expecting at least 50 people. We didn’t get quite that much but throughout the day about 30 potential investigators came through. The tour we set up was really nice and professional. We got all those people’s addresses and hopefully they will be taught and baptized.

All the missionaries that flew out with us went home and my comp and I stayed another night. Sunday in the small branch was really fun. I blessed and passed the sacrament. Then Elder York the branch Secretary randomly called on my companion and I to share a musical number lol it was fun. The flight home was beautiful. The sun was going down over the coast of Barcelona as we flew in and I just felt really grateful for some of the amazing experiences I have had here. The Hinckleys picked us up from the airport and then we ate with them and gave them a debriefing on project STORM. They thought it was a great success and always make us feel good no matter what. It was great sitting down visiting with them. I feel like they are just good friends more than anything now.

Well this week we have some trips down to the south planned but it should be a relatively calm week. Love you all !

Thank you Dad so much for bying those tickets to AZ and organizing everything for me. I look foward to the week in Cali.

Elder Logan Gogarty

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Logan - Barcelona Week 9

Thank you Mom and Ashley for your letters!

Dear Family,

Well things are going well. We had three conferences this week which was a bit overwhelming but everything went smoothly. Everyone said I looked really tired. How do you respond to that?...."Thanks?" A few things on my mind have been weighing me down. I want to work in our area and baptize at least one more person before I come home, but it’s so hard to find the time. Then I also have been thinking about the office things and looking for ways to better it and we constantly have things to do here. Then lastly, home comes to mind occasionally and that scares me. I don’t even know what to think about that. I feel better now that I have been accepted to BYU Idaho but now I am worrying about what track they are going to give me. It’s hard for me to not think at least 6 months in advance.

Tuesday we went to Palma the island and the conference went pretty well. Then Wednesday we had conference with Barcelona and the following day with Hospitalet. Today we took P-day and we went out to eat at some Argentine grill. It was pretty good. Next week we have a full schedule. Monday afternoon we are leaving to Murcia which is far away. We will have a conference there Tuesday and then another one in Valencia on Wednesday. Then Thursday next week we will take p-day and Friday-Sunday we will be on another island called Menorca. The Branch is really struggling so I came up with this crazy idea to take the best missionaries out there to try and publicize for a church tour. We are going to storm the whole island and everyone is going to get a flyer. If we don’t see any results from this President will have to close down the branch and take missionaries off. Right now the missionaries are the only ones keeping it going.

The conferences have gone well and I have enjoyed teaching with Elder Jensen and the Hinckleys. I´m glad that Elder Jensen is going to BYU Idaho. We will be seeing each other soon. I´m going to get back on Monday and finish this letter.

Well we almost didn’t go to church today. The bus took forever to come by, and I wasn’t feeling well. Right as we were about to walk back to the office the bus came around the corner. I was glad that we made it there just in time for sacrament. The importance of the sacrament has defiantly been one of the most valuable lessons I have learned on the mission. Once we really remember Jesus Christ always is when we always have his spirit.We taught a recent convert that asked us why she doesn’t always feel the spirit like she did when she was baptized or like she does when she reads the Book of Mormon. I responded by using the Sacrament Prayers in Moroni. When we are keeping our part of the covenant God blesses us with the spirit. The problem is during the week there are many instances when we are not thinking about Christ or “remembering him always”. If we always kept our baptismal covenant and always remembered Jesus Christ we would never sin and always be worthy of the Spirit. That is part in reason why Missionaries feel the spirit so much. We are constantly testifying of Christ and avoiding anything that leads us to forget him or in other words sin.

After each zone conference we have a short meeting with the District Leaders and the Zone Leaders to ask their advice about conference and to see how we can improve it. I think President is very wise for doing this. It helps everyone to feel a part of the big picture and keeps us all united and on the same page. When we prayed with the other mission leaders I really felt a sense of unity. It’s so important that we have that relationship with them because then when we ask them to do things they trust us and insure that it happens.

Well that is enough for this week. Do we know what day I am speaking? If we leave to California on Monday I would like to speak the first Sunday the 28th and get it over with. Also the next Sunday is general Conference (4th) and the Following Fast Sunday the (11th). The Sunday after that we will be in St George the (18th) and the one after that the (25th) I will be in Idaho so I don’t think we have many options. Will the river be high enough to Surf in April? Will you ask Bishop what the topic is when we settle on the day?

Some things I want to do in Cali,

· Visit the Temple

· Surf until I get back into shape

· Kite Surfing Lessons

· Get a Massage

Is the whole family going to cali? What day are we leaving?

Elder Logan Gogarty

ps yes I woud like to room with Brad. Hopefully I get in the Spring track. Once that info gets to the house please email me and let me know what track I will be on.
For the Mesa Trip the 7th I would like to leave and get there not too late. Then leave Saturday the 10th in the morning. So I still have the day with you guys.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Logan - Barcelona Week 8

The first picture is of Irana, the woman we baptized.

Thanks Jess and Brenna for the valentine.

Today is Saturday and we just got back from our little trip to Valencia. We had a great time and I have been enjoying too much my time with Elder Jensen. We did intercambios with the Zone Leaders in Valencia and also attended a baptism of a family that he taught while he was there. It was fun to see some of the members I know from Valencia, and I was surprised that they still remembered who I was. However I missed the baptism of Irina the woman I taught in Badalona, but tomorrow we will be going to see the confirmation. It is late but we have to finish a video we are making before the conferences next week. We did short interviews with all the missionaries that went home last transfer and asked them some fun questions. Now we are editing the film and will watch it during conference.

I ´m going to jump back to Monday and tell you what has happened this week. Monday the Hinckleys took us to get Patatas Bravas at the El Bar de Thomas, supposedly the best in Spain. It was fun to enjoy some of the Spanish culture with the Hinckleys. We then went back to their house and ate to celebrate the departure of my old companion and the arrival of my new one.

Tuesday however was not so pleasant. Tuesday was transfer days so we had to help with getting people all over Spain to their new homes and companions. We were driving back and forth from the airport and train station dropping off clueless missionaries and getting ridiculous phone calls all day. We also picked up a new missionary and dropped her off in a hurry. It was frustrating to come back to the office to pick up the next set of missionaries to take to the station just to see that they weren’t ready and clueless about everything. They know what time their train leaves but make zero effort to catch it. Everyone just stands around waiting to be told what to do. Needless to say sheep herding the dumb missionaries was stressful. One kid missed two trains, got his bag stolen, and then went to the wrong city and had to stay the night with members. It was a mess and we are having a meeting with President this week to make things run smoother. I suggested taking pictures of the set meeting spots in each station and sending them out but we´ll see what happens. We also got pulled over Tuesday and Elder Ames didn’t have his carnet de conducir, but we luckily got away with a warning.

Wednesday Elder Jenesen and I taught a pre-game concilio to the Zone Leaders here in the office. It went well and helped prepare us for the concilio the following day. We also ordered pizza for all the zone leaders to help create more unity between us and them.

Thursday was concilio and we were with the Presdient and the Zone Leaders all day talking about the mission and what we can do to improve things. Right now the focus is the Book of Mormon. We are all reading it in three months. He gave us the invite in last conference and I should finish it again right before I come home. We are reading it quickly and he has given us a specific marking exercise that has been really interesting. We are all going to pray about the Book of Mormon the Sunday before I go home to strengthen our testimony and receive another witness that it is indeed true.

Things are going really well mission wise. We continue to improve drastically. At this rate we should baptize 50% more then what we did last year. A lot of souls are being saved. I had the chance to do the baptismal interviews for the family we saw baptized in Valencia tonight. I love doing the interviews. The whole family was so ready and excited to make this covenant with God. The Dad looked like a changed man as he came out of the water tonight it was great to see.

Tomorrow we are headed to the islands to do intercambios and then conference on Tuesday. The rest of the week we will be traveling for conferences. I will probably take Preparation day on Friday. If you want to get on at the same time as me Dad I would love to talk about the trip. Just let me know what time you can get on.

Today we got to eat lunch with the Hinckleys and talk about Zone conferences it has been a super nice easy going Sunday, kind of like they use to be before the mission. I was also able to make it to the confirmation which went really well and I felt the spirit strongly as she bore her testimony after. Well love you all have a great week!

Elder Logan Gogarty

Monday, February 8, 2010

Logan - Barcelona Week 7

Thanks Lis and Jess for your letters!

I am tempted to not write a letter because there is just too much going on right now. President is not going to let me get trunky that is for sure. He just swamped me with stuff to do, and on top of that this week is transfer week which means the office will be a zoo for missionaries coming and going. We also have lots of success going on in our proselyting area which adds to the craziness. Last Saturday we had a baptism. I think I mentioned Moses in my last letter but he was baptized and all went well. I could use the whole letter to tell you of the many miracles I have seen while working with him but there is no time. It suffices to say that he has been prepared by angels and the spirit has converted him. Every time we visit him I feel the spirit as he speaks.

Another miracle of the week was working on transfers with President and Hermana Hinckley. It was amazing to take part in making such a big and important puzzle, matching the right people together so that they can have the experiences they need and so that they can work well together and carry out the work God has for them. We thought we had it finished on Thursday but a companionship kept coming back to my mind and I knew we had to change it, but I didn’t want to say anything because everything else looked so good and when you change one it affects everyone. It kept coming back to my mind, so Friday I said something and President said he was thinking the same thing so we started changing things. I saw the change we were supposed to do in my mind, but I didn’t want to say anything because it involved Elder Monks going senior companion, and I didn’t want it to seem as if I were changing it because we are friends. Then my comp made the change on the board and everyone liked it. We then thought it was done Friday, but I got a phone call late Saturday night from a missionary in Zaragoza. He told me that he had been texting a girl and needed to be moved and so I told him to call President. Once again we had to make changes. We went in there and started moving things and nothing was happening, nothing was working. I realized we hadn’t said a prayer to start so I said well let’s say a prayer, so we did and right the prayer we knew exactly what to do. We all agreed and then felt the spirit confirm that it was correct. It was an amazing experience for me.

Sunday we had a Special Spain Broadcast and we heard from Elder Nelson. It went really well and to my pleasant surprise I ran into a Russian lady that I taught in Badalona. She came up to me and told me that she wanted to get baptized so I called my old companion and we set the date for this Saturday. I will probably go up to Badalona to perform the ordinance. We also have had a ton of success with the less actives in our ward and we have seen the re activation of a lot of them.

Today the Hinckley are taking us to get the best Patatas Bravas in Spain. They said we need to party more.

Well my new companion Elder Jensen will be here today and this week will be crazy with picking up new missionaries dropping old ones off and concilio meetings along with a million other things. My whole last transfer is already scheduled and packed to the max with traveling. I love you all, have a great week!
Elder Logan Gogarty

My drivers license is expired. Could someone pass by the DMV to see if they can extend it due to the fact that I am here in Spain
I want Jilly Cluffs email address along with James Greff
I will think about the dates you sent me and the trip and then write you back today Dad. I am re considering the conference because now Elder Petersen is going too.