Monday, November 30, 2009
Thanks Grandpa for the email!
Well this week has been stressful with the renovation of out apartment and the trip to Valencia, but surprisingly it was still very effective.
Monday I traveled to Girona which is one of my favorite cities in Spain. We then traveled further North to Costa Brava to work in some beach pueblos along there. It was amazing. We ran through the narrow cobble stone streets to catch the sunset on the sea. It was amazing and I would love to go back some day. I'll send pics soon. We of course did Missionary workas well. Most of the people we visited don't come to church because of the distance and the price of traveling. We also had a Zone conference this week with Elder Kopiske from the Quorum of the Seventy. It went very well, and I learned a lot.
We always share success stories and one of the success stories was about a woman who called the missionaries and said I want to be baptized. She had live in Ibiza, an island and knew no members of the church, so when she came to Valencia to visit her Daughter Patricia (a woman I baptized while I was there) she called the missionaries and was baptized. I then actually had the chance to meet her which was amazing.
We took a trip to Valencia on Thanksgiving because we had a meeting with all the zone leaders. We got there early enough that I was able to visit all my recent converts. It was the best Thanksgiving I have ever had. I was so happy to see that they were all still strong in the Gospel. I was worried about them and had been praying for them and it was great to see them. I felt so thankful and full of gratitude. We then ate Kebap at my favorite kebap in all of Spain for the Thanksgiving feast.
In concillio, the meeting with the ZLs, we talked about reaching our goal of 400 baptisms by the end of the year. We are close: 350 as of right now. I'm excited to see if we can make it. The work is starting to open, I believe, in Spain. When you look at the numbers from lasts year you see a 30-40 % increase which is amazing. I´m grateful to be here at this time in the church's growth.
We also set another baptismal goal with a 10 yr old girl and she will be baptized the 12th of Dec. We have also been teaching two Russian women who will soon be getting baptized. The work is going well in our area and its not because of us. I feel like God is really helping us since we are trying to help the other areas. Half the week I´m not even in the area but we continue to see miracles.
Today we went to the top of the mountain Montjuic; it was incredible. I have a great time seeing the sites. I can't believe most the missionaries stay in on P-day; it's ridiculous. More good news: a woman I had been working closely with in Lorca finally got baptized. Her name is Maribelle. I baptized her Son while I was there.
Love you all have a great week!
Business: Could you please include butter microwave popcorn in the christmas package as well as a seal with a G or L on it. One you use to seal envelopes with wax like in the olden days. It may be hard to find. Oh as well some fun Physco Analysis tests like a few questions you answer and then they have certain meanings. You could just attach those to an email.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Thanks Mom for the letter and camera card where are the pics of Cali? Thanks Jenny as well for your letter.
Well the first week of the transfer has been hectic but went by very quickly. I feel like I don't even have time to think. The last day for the missionaries that are going home everyone goes to Plaza Catalunya to sing to them or with them. That is one of the pictures.
One of the new missionaries that came into the zone got paired up with a newer missionary, and they are both very interesting characters. Well as I was getting into bed at 11:30 I get a call from them letting me know that they were in Sabadell instead of Mataró. I was shocked. The one missionary that's been living here for 5 months couldn't make it back to their house. In fact they went the complete opposite direction. I told them to come to our place because it was closer but they then got lost on the metro lines again. Finally at 1 am they called me from the metro stop that's close to our house and we left to go get them. Then the following morning the same kid manage to break our elevator which I wasn't super happy about. Carrying groceries up 9 flights of stairs is not fun. Lots of fun things happened to get the transfer going.
Good news is that we are now using the bus system up these crazy hills. Previous missionaries had said it wasn't worth it and the idea had just been passed down for a while. We investigated and now are taking the buses everywhere which makes things a lot easier. It's incredible no one has looked into it sooner.
More good news. We have been teaching a Bolivian mom and her child and in one of our lessons we talked about baptism and the mom let us know she wants to read all the BOM first. I felt down because I wanted her to get baptized before the end of the year. I was studying and thinking about her and how we kind of needed a miracle so that she would changed her mind on this. I prayed for the gift of discernment because that's what I was studying about and while I was praying I felt I was given what I needed to tell her. It was interesting because something like this has never really happened to me before. I went into the next lesson with her and I said what I was told to and then she really opened up and we were able to commit her and her daughter to get baptized in December. I'm really excited and feel blessed that God helps us so much.
We couldn't do it by ourselves and I finally am really understanding that. I felt overwhelmed last week but I rely and trust in God and things seem to work perfectly. Its funny we have to be burdened or have trials before we really rely on him.
Not to much else to say. Today we went to the highest point in Catalunya or Barcelona and its called Tibidabo. The Spaniards believe its where Satan tempted Jesus and offered him all the world and money. It was interesting and I attached a pic. I was also cursed and had a demon cast out by some crazy gypsies that live by our house. That's always a pleasure.
Things with Elder Davis are going well. He is a good worker and exactly who I need right now. Dad how is the bike shop doing? This week I will be traveling a lot. Tonight I go to Girona and then Wednesday we have a conference in Hospitalet then Thursday I ll be headed down to Valencia for concillio notes. It will be another crazy week.
Love you all have a happy Thanksgiving, Elder G
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Thanks Mom for both your letters!
So much has happened this week it has been an emotional roller coaster. I feel very exhausted and excited at the same time. Transfers happened and Elder York is leaving me to serve in the Islands. His mission is to baptize a new branch President because the current one went MIA. I´m excited for him and know he will get the job done. It has been great serving with him. I will be staying in Badalona but will now be the Zone Leader of all of Barcelona. I am super nervous about this because we combined the zones and there are a ton of people to worry about. There will be 3 Districts added, and I will be doing traveling twice a week to do cambios. One of the new ares that was added is Zaragoza which is a 4 hour bus ride away. I´m excited but nervous as well. The new zone basically entails all the North of Spain Barcelona mission. Likewise, Elder Petersen will be headed home tomorrow, and his area closed down which will mean that we will have to work that area as well. My new comp comes into Barcelona today form the Islands and his name is Elder Davis.
We have to much going on right now to slow down. More big news! We had three baptisms on Saturday and they all went very well. I baptized Vanessa, a 10 year old from Bolivia. We found her by passing by members on the list. Her parents are less active, but now the family is coming and Vanessa is a member. Also we baptised Asong and his Mother who are from Ecuador. The whole thing went very well and the spirit was felt. The zone saw 15 baptisms last transfer which is unheard of and was a great way to end the Barcelona North Zone.
We also had a chapel tour last week as a finding activity. 80 showed up from other churches. They did a tour of our church and we did one of theirs. We had Catholics and Muslims and other denominations. It went very well. During the tour the Catholic priest asked me in front of 50 people where I received my authority to do what I was doing. He asked me what school I had gone to and for how long I had studied. The scriptures have become a part of me and when people are talking doctrine with me scripture references are shuffling through my mind until the correct one is found. As response to his question I said we believe that a man must be called of God as was Aaron. In Hebrews it teaches us this. I said, "I have studied the scriptures and a modern day Prophet has given me the authority to teach and baptize." I think he was surprised at my answer and didn't respond. It went very well and I felt the spirit.
We found some new people to teach as well. Also I set a baptismal goal with a lady form Russia on Sunday. She is golden and I´m excited to watch her progress. She really understands and I get to use the little bit of Romanian language because the gospel words are the same.
Sunday night we also had a Noche De Hogar with the Ward members and after there was like a tribute thing to the missionaries. I was extremely grateful to hear them tell us thanks. Many times it feels like they are unappreciative and don't realized what we go through. The ward here is amazing though, and they all took turns thanking us and telling us how we have become like their family. This one girl whose family we have been working with said, "Once you get here my sister and I were the only active ones in the family and currently my parents and my brothers and sisters are coming thanks to your visits and commitments." It was great to hear and feel their gratitude.
Well not too much more going on. I´m now in a two man piso which will be weird but fine. I'll be traveling most of the week anyways. Dad I can't believe your thinking about Seattle that's crazy, and Jessica I don't want Brenna that far away but I guess whatever's right.
Love you all have a great week! Love Elder G
Monday, November 9, 2009
Thanks Audrey for the letter!
Another exciting week in Spain has quickly passed by. Today we enjoyed a visit to Park Güell which is well known as one of Gaudi's many works. It was really pretty and I will attach some photos.
I had the oppurtunity to do intercambios a few weeks ago, and while I was in Granollers with Elder Lindsy we taught a Spanish lady that told me she didnt believe in God. I testified as boldy as I could that there is a God and that He loves us. I also asked her to prepare for baptism and to be baptized the 31st of Oct. I felt prompted to extend the invitation even though she had just told me that she didn't believe in God. She accepted the challenge and just last week I had the priviledge of doing her baptismal interview. She was baptized last week and I had a great time talking with her while doing the interview. I told her to explain to me what happened and why she now wanted to be baptized and how she now believes. She told me about the Book of Mormon and how she feels while she is reading it as well as attending church. What a great experience. You could feel that she was truly converted, and it was fun to play a small role in it.
Another miracle….I can now finally spell miracle correctly.
Likewise we were calling the mom of a younger girl we have been teaching to get permission so she can be baptized. I was worried the Mom would want to delay the baptism for whatever reasons or not give us permission. Elder York was talking on the phone and I heard Vanessa's mom say, "Well I feel like its too soon and maybe we should do it next month." When I heard this I started praying asking that God could change her mind so that Vanessa could be baptized the 14th. After I did that Elder York didnt respond to her. She asked do you understand and he said no I think the 14th would be great what do you think? and suprisingly enough the mom then agreed, it was amazing. Vanessa will be getting baptized this Saturday along with two other friends from Ecuador, a mother and her son.
More great news! Juan the older Spanish man was baptized last Saturday. I felt bad for the man because he was so nervous he about passed out in the font. He had to take his out tension before he got in the water! Everything went very well though, and I can't belive he got baptized. Just two weeks ago he told me he would get baptized but not until summer. Then some praying, planning, and fasting later and he tells us this Saturday, "I want to be baptized as soon as possible. He gave us his testimony after the baptism, and I felt the spirit strongly.
I´m thinking about doing a Nueva Comida section every week in which I´ll explain what new food I have experienced in the last week. This week it was Cow heart and lots of it. I cant say that it was that good nor that it taste like chicken as some say. I am not going to go into details on this one but we looked like vampires while eating it due to blood squirting out in every yummy bite. OK sorry about the details you can cut this out if you would like to parents.
Our zone is doing incredibly well. We have baptized more people this transfer than in any other in the history of Badalona Zone. Its great to see the changes in these people's lives and the happiness that always comes.
Buisness:¨Elder Petersen goes home next week and all he wants is one more letter from anyone but his mom. Could sombody Please write him a letter and just tell him thanks for being my friend or whatever you want to say. He is a great missionary and great example. You can send it to my address becasue we live togther just Label it Elder Petersen and send it soon like today if possible.
Love You all! Elder G.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Thank you Grandpa and Mom for your letters and emails.
This week has been crazy like the majority of my weeks here in Spain. I have visited a few other cities on intercambios to do baptismal interviews like Sabadell and Mataro, both very pretty places. As a zone last week we had 7 baptisms!
I loved doing the interviews with the converts. I ask them to share their testimony with me and the spirit is always felt so strongly. One little girl I was interviewing stopped me in the middle of the questions and asked me, "Who made God? Does God have a girlfriend?" and "What do you feel like being bigger and older?" I told her to ask God those questions and that I felt the same as when I was 8 but that my body had just changed a lot.
The two kids we had been teaching Fernanda y Eduaro from Bolivia were also baptized on Saturday. Everything went so well, the spirit was felt strongly. We also got President Hinckley to come and I think he really enjoyed it. I feel like the spirit of the Lord is working very strongly in our area right now. After the baptism we had two cousins of the Bolivian kids that came up to us and asked to get baptized as well. We will be having 5 more baptisms in two weeks and one this Saturday.
We had also been teaching an older Spanish man who was a Jehovah's witness. Here in Spain there is somewhat of a battle between them and us. Not really a battle but they don't like us, and we see one another frequently in the street. They also go tracting and occasionally you will be knocking a building that they just finished and the people will get mad thinking you're Testigos de Jehovah. Anyways we had a cita with him and I felt prompted to invite him to be baptized. I was nervous because well, one he is Spanish, two he is 80, and the older people tend to be more set in their ways, thirdly he was testigo de Jehovah. I asked him anyways to be baptized and he said I want to be baptized, but not until next summer or spring. I felt a little frustrated about that so Elder York and I have been praying and fasting for him and then while we were planning the lesson and what we were going to teach him I felt that I shouldn't go to the next cita with him because I had already talked to him about baptism, and I didn't want to come across as pushy. Elder York wasn't in the cita and could come in and talk to him again about it without any problem. So we did intercambios, and Elder York started to bring up Baptism and Juan quickly told him that he wanted to be baptized pronto meaning right away. So we set the date for this Saturday. Turns out he doesn't live in our area so Sunday we took him to his church and announced the baptism. We will still go to his baptism but it will be in another ward; he has asked me to baptize him and I m really excited about the whole situation. The Ward he is being baptized in is actually the Ward Jess Emily and I visited when we were here.
Fast Sunday was amazing, they always are. I felt so good yesterday and felt extreme feelings of gratitude for the time I have had to serve here and all the miracles we are seeing, The area is just on fire right now. I love you all, have a great week! Love Elder G