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