Monday, January 25, 2010

Logan- Barcelona Week 5

Thank you Grandpa Gogarty, Ashley, Mom, and Grandma Layton for your letters and packages.

Happy Birthday Coby!

Things are going well here. We took a trip to Murcia this week to do intercambios with the missionaries down south. It went very well and we were able to help out an area that has been struggling for some time. On the way home we stayed in Elche which was my 2nd area. I baptized a man named Gustavo while I was there about a year ago and he is now preparing to go through the temple. The missionaries also told me that they are a baptizing one of Gustavo’s friends this weekend. It was good to hear that he was doing well and that he is doing missionary work.

I had to clean the Elders piso in Elche because it was pretty thrashed. It took me 45minutes to do all their dishes and then 8 trips to take trash to the dumpster that was clogging the hall way. Dirtiness has been one of the most annoying things for me during the mission. Having to take care of the people you live with, in a Christ like way. I have gotten much better though and feel good about serving them instead of mad at their laziness. Hopefully this prepares me for messy kids.

There is a Brazilian woman that lives near us and has wanted to hear the gospel. She contacted the missionaries in Matorell and they gave us her information. We had tried to pass by and couldn’t get in contact with her so we assumed it was a fake address which happens frequently. A month later this Brazilian women was sitting in her house wondering why the missionaries had never came by to visit her. She wanted to hear the message but didn’t know how to put herself in contact with us so she said a prayer. I don’t know why people don’t just use the Internet to contact us but the prayers usually seem to work equally as well. She prayed and asked Heavenly Father to send the missionaries her way again. 5 minutes after her prayer we called her. We then set up a visit for the next day and in that visit we committed her and her brother to be baptized the 6th of February and they gladly accepted. Then Saturday night we went with them and the Hinckleys to a baptism in Sabadell and the spirit was felt so strongly. Jazel, the Brazilian woman, was crying. I love baptismal services. They are probably one of the least attended meetings but one of the most spiritual ones.

Business:Dad should I fly or drive to AZ? How are we getting to St. George for Grandpas shin dig? If I start school the 20th I won’t be able to speak on the 25th. Did you ever receive the camera card I sent home? You said you sent me your camera card but I have yet to see it. Does anyone know where James Greff is? What is the latest on Gio? Is he getting baptized? Dad, I was just joking about the boring letter last week. It’s probably better for me anyways.

Love you all have a great week!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Logan - Barcelona Week 4

Thanks Mom for the letter!

Well today is my B-day and it’s also my P-day. Monday we traveled down to Murcia and set up for the conference and then Tuesday we had the conference and it went really well. I´m learning how to be an effective teacher. I love reading the body language; I don’t think people realize how obvious they are with it. I can tell easily how well the message is getting across by their body language. I also have to worry about my own body language and the message I am sending. The best messages I have taught during the conferences were the ones where I was walking around a lot and talking with my hands.

After the Conference in Murcia we headed to Valencia and got to eat my favorite Kebap. Then we set up for that conference and Wednesday we had the Valencia Zone conference. It went very well and I felt the spirit very strongly. Then we caught another train home to Barcelona. I love traveling with the Hinckleys. It’s so nice to just sit, visit, and learn from them. I had a letter here waiting from Elder Monks which was fun to read, and he bought me some cuff links for my birthday. I feel bad that not all the missionaries will have some of the experiences that I am having serving as AP. It’s been such an amazing two weeks and I have learned so much.

The Hinckleys took us out to Freeway which is a big buffet and the food was great. Then after we got back to the office they brought down a cake with 21 candles and we sang feliz cumpleaƱos. They wrote me a really nice letter and the office elders bought me some ties. Yesterday we had a normal work day which was weird because it’s been so long since we have done that. It’s hard to just jump back into regular missionary mode after traveling for a few days and not following any type of schedule. We had a great cita with the bishop though and we talked about how we can be more united in purpose and I tried to do all the things I taught to the other missionaries throughout all the conferences. Then on the way out of his house he gave us and key and asked us to put it in his mailbox downstairs. I was trying to figure out why the whole way down. We got to the bottom and I asked Elder Laney if he heard why we were supposed to put it in the mail box and he said I don’t know and then threw it into the mailbox. Then we tried to open the door to leave and it was locked. We then realized that he had given us the key so that we could open the downstairs door and then throw the key into his mail box after. We were full of shame and didn’t want to go back upstairs to tell him and tried to get out but couldn’t. Then we finally went back upstairs and he laughed at us and then gave us another key to open the door. ¡Que Verguenza!

I´m having a hard time trying to decide if I should start school on April 20th or if I should wait till September 9th. April seems too soon and September too far away. If I start in April I will be done that block July 24th and then I will have until September 9th again for summer break. I could stay home and work until September and also enjoy river surfing, maybe even take some classes at CSU-P or I could just jump right into school and then have August for break. I hear there will be a surf comp in May. I can’t tell which would be better. I hope my ACT and transcript get in soon so we can send off the application. I don’t want to have to worry about it right now. Thanks for doing so much of it for me. My mind is always thinking way in advance so it’s hard for me to get it off my mind. I want to know when I am going and make plans or what not because that’s just how I work. I want to start April 20th so put that on the application.

The other night we had a visit a great visit with a recent convert and we did it in the house of the Hinckleys. It went really well and I felt the spirit really strong. It was a little intimidating teaching in front of the Mission President but not as bad as I thought it would be. We had a prepared lesson but the spirit quickly guided us to what the recent convert personally needed. She wanted to feel the spirit like she did when she was baptized. As she tried to explain that to me we both felt the spirit really strong and connected. It was really interesting and I asked her "Do you want to always feel the spirit like you do right now?" Then we were both almost crying and she told me yes. Then I explained to her that our testimony is like a seed and we have to water it, give it sun etc. I told her that her lack of reading the scriptures daily was what she was missing and why she wasn’t feeling the spirit like she did when she was baptized. I love how we are given the words to say, questions to ask, and scriptures to teach after we have done all we can to prepare. Even though many times we don’t teach what we prepare.

Well today is Monday and we are going to take Preparation day. This week we will be traveling again to Murcia to do intercambios wit the Zone leaders. Love you all! Have a great week!

Amor,Elder G

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Logan - Barcelona Week 3

Thanks Mom for your letters! I loved the Christmas letter you guys sent out. I also finally got the letter sealer, thank you very much.

Well this week has been almost crazier than the first. The conference went well in Palma (The Islands) Elder Laney and I did our workshops and they went really well. I talked about becoming united in purpose with our local leaders. My main points were ceasing to talk smack about them, respecting and honoring their priesthood keys, and realizing that they have the right to receive revelation for the missionary work in their ward. We have to respect them and do it the way they want it even if we think we could do it better. I used the story of Ammon in Alma 18 how he made himself a servant and served and did what the King Lamoni wanted and in return the king offered him everything. Then I also talked about planning the way PMG tells us to and taking time each night to set goals and make plans to strengthen relationships with local leaders.

On the way home from Palma I scored a seat next to the Hinckley’s on the plane so we had a nice visit while my comp caught some zzzzzs. Then in the Airport we ate some burger king and talked about how the conference went. I love how humble the Hinckleys are, and how they evaluate everything they do so they know how to become better. We asked the missionaries when the Hinckleys weren’t there how the conference went and they told us the good things and the things that could have been better and then the Hinckleys asked us these things and changed the way they did it in the next conference. I was surprised when he asked us what he could do better. It shows his humility and desire to get better. Taking advice from a bunch of twenty year olds seems crazy but he does because he respects us.

Then Wednesday we had a conference in Barcelona which went well and Thursday we had another one in Hospitalet. I have enjoyed having so many teaching experiences and gained a lot of confidence while doing it. The first time was scary, teaching 20 missionaries, but now it’s not so much and I enjoy teaching. Being ayudante also means sheep herding or in other words making missionaries move to certain rooms at certain times. They are like sheep sometimes and you have to grab them and move them to their rooms. "Now we are going to do this then this" and they sit there talking.

It’s also interesting to see the difference in each conference. We have the same material but teach different stuff each time. This shows you how the Holy Ghost helps people receive exactly what they need. It also depends a lot I have noticed on the missionaries and if they come prepared to learn to if they want to just be impressed. You can feel the difference while you are teaching and it hinders the spirit. I asked President about this because in the Barcelona conference I felt the spirit the whole day and it was such an edifying experience and then the day after in Hospitalet we talked about the same things but there wasn’t as much participation and the spirit was not as strong. A good teacher depends a lot on the student as well.

It has also been interesting to see how some missionaries have to or in their mind want a limit or a rule for everything they do. I love how President always teaches the doctrine or the principal and then lets them make their own decision. Some of the missionaries want the rule though like for how long can we be at members houses how many hours and he will just take it all back to our purpose and ask them are you fulfilling your purpose while you are there? And then leaves it at that.

We have been focusing on helping the wards set goals and makes plans for the amount of baptisms this year instead of having separate mission goals we will help them achieve their goals since we are on the same team.

Well today is Friday and it’s our P-day so we went down to Zara by Las Ramblas and I was so happy to find the suit and the jacket I wanted a few weeks ago but marked way down. I am glad I waited to buy them. I bought both and told myself Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday. I hope that’s ok with you guys it came to 200 euros.

Oh I almost forgot to tell you what happened the other night. After one of the conferences we went working in our area and on the way home in the metro some punk Spanish kid was staring at me and saying something under his breath but I ignored him. Then he followed us out of the metro and I kept walking but heard that he was walking close behind me. He then kind of spit but not a lot it was more of a spray on the back of my neck. I turned around quickly and grabbed him by the shirt and asked him if he wanted to die. Of course speaking in tu and not usted. Some missionaries have the tendency to speak usted to people when they are trying to talk down to them because they have the habit of speaking in usted and it doesn’t make any sense. Anyways back to the story I asked him if he wanted to die and why he had done that. Then he said some swear words and I let him go and kept walking. He kept following me and then got brave enough to try and trip me. I was shocked! I swung around again and grabbed him by the shirt but this time slamming him against the wall with my fist ready to hit him in the face. Then Elder Romney an office Elder grabbed me and pulled me away. We kept walking and I couldn’t decide if I regretted not hitting him or not. It was the right decision not to hit him but I sure wanted to. If I see him again I may not be able to refrain.

Anyways I´ll get back on Monday morning and tell you what happens with the rest of my week. For the rest of the transfer we will be having P day on Wednesday but President lets me write you guys on Monday because sometimes we are traveling and we don’t get a chance on Wednesday. You can write me whenever you want. Next week we will be traveling to the south to do conferences in Murcia and Valencia. Then things should slow down a little bit and we will hopefully have more time to work in our area. We still have one lady that wants to get baptized on the 23rd and this Saturday or tomorrow I will be going to Badalona to baptize a girl I taught se llama Violeta.

So today is Sunday and Friday night I went to Badalona to do an intercambio with the Zone Leaders there. It went really well and the highlight was Saturday night. Violeta a girl I taught from Badalona asked me to come baptize her and it was a great experience. While I was sitting next to her during the service I saw her grown up and giving me a hug as I was welcoming her to heaven. It was a day dream I kind of had and I felt the spirit. It was actually the most spiritual baptism I have ever been to. Right before I baptized her I felt the spirit very strongly and almost started to cry but it hit me all at once. After the baptism we went to their house and had a great feast which made us get home about a half an hour late. This girl is the cousin of two kids I baptized when I was there. I will attach a photo of the whole family but I hope to see them all get baptized one day. We baptized the two of the kids you'll see in the photo and then reactivated their parents. Then the rest of the family we are also teaching.

Well this letter is really long and I am going to send it tonight because tomorrow we are headed to Murcia and I don’t think I will have time to get on the internet. Love you lots! Elder Gogarty

Logan - Barcelona Week 2

Date: Mon. 4 Jan 2010

Well this morning we caught a flight to Palma de Mallorca which is an Island located off the coast of Spain. It was a very short flight and I slept the whole way. I was up late last night because we had a ton of stuff to do to get ready for the conference and then this morning we got up at like 5. I am pretty wiped out right now but hopefully I'll catch up tonight. This week has been crazy and it feels like I've already been doing this forever.

Well the area of the Ayudantes is quite dead right now, but I am going to change that. My companion is Elder Laney, the kid I actually facebooked before the mission, who is friends with Jenny Roberts. who would of ever thought we would serve as Ayudantes togther? We get along well and I have to keep him a live becasue he will be going home in 5 weeks. He is suprisingly super focused and dedicated so it makes things nice. He is also excited about getting the area going as well. Speaking of which we found a lady this week in the few hours that we did missionary work and set a baptismal date with her. She also came to church and liked it a lot.

Mondays we have a meeting with the President and his wife. I love how Hermana Hinckley is so involved in the mission. She comes to all the meetings and helps him with everything. It's amazing to see how united they are in everything they do. I also love kneeling down and praying with them. they are such spiritual giants and its great to be around. For New Year's I had everyone in the zone email me a thank you note to the Hinckley and I put them all together and printed it on nice paper and then left it in their house. They need to know how much we appreciate them. I can't believe how much they trust us. I really respect that about President Hinckley.

Tuesday was a crazy day becasue that was transfer day. So basically I was on the phone all day fixing everyone's stupid mistakes. We also picked up the New missionaries and then drove up to Montjuic which means mountain of Jews in Catalan. It's the largest Jewish cemetary in Europe, and we showed them the city of Barcelona. It was fun to feel their enthusiasm.

Wednesday we dropped off the old missionaries and then got lost in Barcelona for an hour in the misison car arriving late at our meeting that we had to give to the Zone Leaders. They were patient with us and the meeting went really well. I felt guided and helped throughout it. We also played ping pong after to celebrate the new year and ate churros.

Then Friday we had another meeting with the Zone Leaders and President. We had that meeting most of the day and I felt like President and I are on the same page and share a lot of the same ideas and vision.

Before the Ayudantes did lots of office work, but I am going to change the role of the Ayudante a little bit and work in our area a lot more. I want it to be the example area. I want to lead the mission in Key Indicators and try all the things that I am telling them to do. For example in every conference this transfer I'll be teaching about being united with our local leaders in purpose and how we can go about doing that. So I want to try everything I am telling them to do and that way the teaching will have more power as well. Before it seemed like the Ayudantes told us how to do missionary work when they really weren't doing it that much.

It's weird not being on the missionary schedule. I like it as well. We have to study whenever we have a minute which will be good preparation for coming home. I have had fun preparing my message for conference. I have done some researching and have looked up and called some missionaries that have gone home to ask them what they did to have good relationships with the leaders. Some missionaries are famous for it. I have also talked to a number of Bishops to ask them what they want and expect from the misssionaries.

Well there is a lot more going on but no time. I sent a good letter home that will explain things better. This week we will be traveling a lot to do all the ocnferences. Don't worry about a b-day package. I'll just buy somthing here. Rebajas start soon and I want a few clothing articles for after the mission. Thanks. Oh and send me your CHristmas letter you sent out this year. Love you lots!

Elder Gogarty