Monday, July 4, 2016

My Last Letter Home

I feel really weird writing my last letter home.  The first thing I wish to write is my gratitude for everyone who has made this mission possible.  I have no idea where the money came from month to month to have me here on the mission.  I have received so many cards and letters, mostly from family, to encouragement and love that have helped me to keep moving forward.  It has been a blessing to be here.  I know that if there is a will there is a way.  I have been blessed by so many who have helped me since the days of primary to get me here to this point in which I am counting my blessing to know that God does exist and that he loves all of his children, even those here in Spain.  I have been raised by goodly parents like Nephi and have been blessed to have the restored gospel in my home since birth.  Many people have no idea what they are missing by not taking a minute and listening to 2 missionaries from the Lord.  I know that this church is true through the struggles that we pass because of our journey through mortality.  The mission has taught me many things that I will never forget.  My mission has made me a more patient, loving, obedient, faithful, knowledgeable, worthy, spiritual, hard working, Christlike centered disciple of the Lord.  I give my hat off (if I had one) to those how have been the blessing of making this mission a reality.  I pray that the Lord will forever bless you for your sacrifice.

Random Thoughts:

Right now I am emailing from a computer store, claro, and downloading the pictures that I have on my ipad to my usb so I can take them home and show you all.

We were passing by one of the pueblos this past week we have in our area and we were walking during medio dia and there was no one out.  We passed by a skate park and it was CLEAN.  For spain it was clean and not even a leaf on the ground.  I have to avoid dog poop in the streets but I found nothing in this park.  

We walked through another pueblo this past week contacting but no one was there because they all work in Barcelona.  we walked past a fresh cut lawn.  I miss cutting the grass.....

We were in our piso and were just leaving to go proselyte/work and we got into our elevator and a woman was in it.  We live on the top floor and she lives on the 4th.  We go down the elevator and stop at the 3rd because someone rang the elevator.  The door opens up and an old woman with a big tray of spaghetti things gets in, but decides not because of the 3 of us.  Fun moments as missionaries.

We had a long hot week in the streets with no one listening to us, but we can´t say we didn´t try to warn our fellow men, like President Dayton would say.  We worked hard.

WE found the "Urim-Tummim".  It was a store we found in Cerdanyola, one of our pueblos, as we went knocking doors.

We were also in Cerdanyola when we walked past a building and heard a square dance song.  It was weird.

We were walking one day and we saw 8 spanish girls up the street coming down and I said " red rover, red rover, send 8 girls right over", but we chickened out in the end and walked around them.

Last week the YW president here in Sabadell lost the last of her brothers and had already lost her parents making her the last member of her family on earth.  To make it more interesting, she is the only member of her family to be a member of the church.  She said that she would have loved to see her family accept the gospel here on earth but she´ll have to do the work for them in the temple, something she is happy to do but would have rather seen them enjoy the gospel here with her.  She gave a wonderful testimony of the gospel and plan of salvation and that families can be together forever.

Well Family I am almost about up with time.  I love the blessing it is to serve here in Spain and be part of this wonderful, holy work of God.  I am without words right know.  I feel like my head is in the clouds.  I feel like I have another normal week next week, like nothing has changed, but it won´t.  My time is up.  The whistle is almost going to be blown.  I will have to say goodbye to the great memories that I have of this country.  As I have walked the streets of spain speaking Castellano I have come closer to dad´s side of the family.  At long last I can speak to Abuelo y concer más de Abuela por medio de las historias de la familia.  Estoy muy agradecido por este oportunidad para enseñar el evangelio de Jesucristo.  I know that God lives and answers our prayers.  I know that Jesus Christ is our savior and redeemer.  I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and through Joseph Smith, the Church has been restored to the earth.  Our evidence to the world is the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ. I know this book is true and that We can come closer to our Heavenly Father by reading and studying this book.

I love you all so very much and Hope you a happy week and I will see you very soon.

Con mucho amor de un misionero de la misión de Barcelona España,

Élder Gonzalez

Monday, June 27, 2016

I Feel Like My Head is in the Clouds Even in the Spanish Sun

Wow it just hits me little by little how much time I have left on my mission.  We had conference 2 weeks ago and it was too bad because I was thinking that it’s still a long ways away until I go home, but little by little things happen in the week that remind me that everything has its beginning and end.  For example there was a young woman who gave her farewell talk on Sunday because my last Sunday here in Sabadell will be hers as well.  She is going to serve in Uraguay and I was just thought to myself "what an adventure you will have".  My mission has taught me a lot of things that I must do to be more like the savior.  I don´t want to spill the beans now but the mission has taught me through obstacles and trials.  My mission was not an easy one for me, but I have learned what the Daytons have been campaigning since they got here last July that we are the creators of our own happiness.  We choose to be happy, sad, to be successful, to feel like a failure, to work, to not work, etc.  We have the agency to choose and we can´t let the world make that choice for us.

Random thoughts:

We had a big miracle last Monday.  we were tracting and we found a less-active family who before when Elder Olaso and I knocked the door the person said that they didn´t live there anymore, but we found this family from Paraguay/Argentina.  They are so great.  The 17 year old son opened the door and we taught him and then set a visit his family on friday and it was a blast.  I really enjoyed our visit because it was a miracle.

I said hola to a dog.  I was running on robot mode for a little bit.

We were walking down the street one evening and we saw these Ecuadorian ladies in their traditional clothing and my pants were longer than they were.  Had I served my mission with Sam, we would have been a giant to these people.

FYI, there are bats in Sabadell.  We see them fly around at night.  Small little things, and hardly make a sound.

We had an intercombio last week with our district leader Elder Tonks and we made a passby for a lady on the ward list that I don´t know.  We rang her doorbell on the street and she buzzes us in.  As soon as I open the door, an old woman was just leaving and just chews us out.  She asked us why we were here and why were we bothering people after a night of crazy fireworks and fiestas and knock the doors of tired people and just some really picky things.  I tell her, "tranquila" ,cool down, we are just going to the 3rd floor, first door to visit a friend.  And she fights back what door is it?  which floor?  who is it?  I repeat with some annoyance in my voice, 3rd floor, 1st door, her name is Veranica.  She just stutters, well, well,well.....and just storms out of the building.  I´m sorry but you are not stopping the Lord’s Work.

Death by heat and humidity.

In church a speaker said the three day más importantes, that are the most important.  yesterday, tomorrow, and today.

We got Luz to church.  It has been 10 weeks since I have had an investigator in church.  that streak will keep going because we did have an investigator come to church but we had a lot of less active in church!!

I had a funny story.  I asked Elder Gibson how to say "refrigerator".  He didn´t know.  So I used to the old spanish trick, ask a spaniard and I said " how do you say...and he said no, I don´t want anything to do with religion.  I don´t believe in God...I just want to know how to say refrigerator...

Well Family.  I hope that you have had a wonderful week like I did.  I enjoy the time I have to be here and enjoy the blessing of serving the Lord with all my heart.  I know that this church is true because the Lord in invested in our wishes and desires.  He wants us to be happy and wants the best for us.  I know that God lives.  Christ is at the head of His church.  I know that Joseph was a prophet of God and I know that families can be together forever.  I Love you all and hope the best for you.

Con mucho amor,

Élder Gonzalez

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hot Day In Barcelona

June 6, 2016

I don´t have a lot of time today because we spent most of our time in Barcelona and were visiting some really cool places.  It is starting to get really hot now and I need to buy some new shoe insoles because my feet are killing me and my knees.  I bought some last year in Pamplona and I´m sure I have put like thousands of miles of walking on them.  The shoes are fine and I just need to buy some insoles.

Well we had a few really good miracles this week when we went to this small pueblo near our city of Sabadell...on foot...and after knocking doors and contacting people in the streets we went to a store called Día and grabbed a quick snack.  I was waiting for my companion and a man comes up to me and asks if we believe in a Hell.  I asked him if it is a place of fire and devils with really long forks, then no;but a place for people who have done bad in this life then yes.  He said that he did not like what his church was telling him about doctrine. we were about to talk more when his friends called for him and he left before we got his information.  He was great.

Random thoughts during the week:

We gave two BOMs to two gypsie boys.  The book has the power to change lives.  However they tried to make us say a few bad words in Spanish thinking we were dumb.  Like repeating everything they say, but no, we are smarter than that.

I was ringing a doorbell of a building and next to doorbell box is a publicity box of random ads.  I picked one up and was randomly looking through it and quickly threw it back in the box with force because I ran across the underwear ads.  I don´t wants those!

We were on a metro to go to sant Cugat, a pueblo we have and the Tic Tac company bought the train we were on and placed large tic tac ads on the floor and ceiling, and it was scented with the new flavors of tic tacs.

We lunched with the smiths.  we ate a brazilian dish because the smiths served missions in Brazil and had an old companion over.  We spoke english, spanish, catalan, and portugues in the visit.

I missed a fate with destiny by avoiding a pigpen trying to go to the bathroom on my head.

We have a fecha with a woman named Rita who is from Nigeria.  She is really nice and said that she would love to be baptized, because she has never done so.  But the only problem we have is that she works of Sunday.

We found America!  We were doing some passbys and we met a woman while knocking doors named America from Ecuador.

We were walking one evening and we passed a bar.  some young adults were calling us over.  Normally I just ignore them because they are usually looking for trouble, but we stopped and talked to them. there were like 7 of them.  We answered a lot of their questions and were able to explain who we are and what we do.  It is just what missionaries are to supposed to do, inform and invite others unto Christ. Plus to help the rising generation to know who they are and what potential they have.

I was so tired the other day that I walked into a door frame of our piso.

We had a magical weekend by having our multi-stake conference.  It was a European conference because it was by satellite and we got to listen to Elder Christofferson and some other general authorities like sister oscarson, the presiding bishop, and another 70.  It was broadcast from Salt Lake from the conference center.  Cool.  We had the wards of Terrassa, Sabadell 1 and 2, and the branch of manresa.  I got to see Elder Montalbo, my old companion, and lots of old ward members.

We were walking to the metro this morning with a bunch of people and then the crowd starting running down the stairs and then I realized why, the train was leaving!  so we ran, with me and my long legs just flying by avoiding the ceoling so i don´t hit my head.

Well i love the mission because I wake up, work, speak spanish, and come home and sleep, contact and teach in my dream and speak Spanish too!  ¡Que Bueno!

Well family I know that the church is true because I see how sad peoples lives are without the gospel in their lives.  I wish I could just "download" the information I have into their hearts so they can just GET IT!  But that is not how our mortal life works.  We learn line by line.  I know that this work is true because I get out what I put in.  I find myself the creator of my own happiness.  I see myself a changed person because of the trials I have each day that test me to see whose side am I on.  Is it my will or the Lord´s will?  Thank you for everything you have done for me.  I hope you have a great week.

Con cariño,
Élder Gonzalez de Sabadell España

ps lots of people have complimented me on my acento(con la zeta), it´s
not american anymore. :)

Monday, June 20, 2016

¡¡¡Feliz dia de los padres!!!

I had this strange thought yesterday as I was getting ready for church and I thought when is father´s day?  And my question was answered in church by a member who was on his phone telling us about father’s day.  Felizes padre!!  Because of the mission I have become so appreciative of having a wonderful father who is a worthy priesthood holder.  I was at tibidabo today and there were quite a few tourists up there.  As I looked around I saw many men who were covered from their head to their feet in tattoos and I thought of how grateful I am that my father is a clean and honest man who loves the Lord and his family.  I am sure that these men were good and decent men, but only one holds true in my heart and his name is Dad.  He has a big mustache and wears glasses and at dinner time takes his hat off and tries to land it on the railing next to the kitchen table.  He knows how to teach his children.  He can bring sunshine into a person’s life with a joke or a kind act of service like working in the garden.  He travels the world and helps children with medical issues to gain their lives back.  He believes BYU is undefeatable.  He makes frequent trips to the temple on saturday afternoons that has left lasting impressions in their families lives.  He doesn´t leave his family behind or alone.  He is strong.  He is brave.  He is the family compass.  He is the mexican.  He still swings the clubs around and still makes belly putters a cool thing.  He still uses his youngest son´s backpack as his scripture bag.  He is a prized husband and father.  He is my Dad

Well this week was week of grinding in the streets and fighting the spanish finger and overcoming obstacles in our paths.  Adversity is the gas that keeps us going.  Without it mortal life would not be fun.

Random thoughts:

So we had our combined zone conference in Barcelona with the badalona zone and our mission president and his wife were doing a practica on how to use different contacting approaches with Athiests, catholics, people who believe that all churches are true, those who are not christians, etc.  President Dayton plays the role of the missionary and Hermana Dayton played the role of a person with prisa.  President starts off by saying that he is a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints and is sharing a message about Jesus Christ and if she had a moment to listen.  Hermana Dayton says "I am in a hurry but you have one minute".  This threw president off and said that this wasn´t what they had practiced and wanted to do a redo, but Hermana Dayton says " no you idiot this is my practica I´m playing the role of the investigator".  Everyone starts laughing and president was laughing too but he was bright red.  FYI our president is not an idiot. he is so smart, pulling all of these scriptures in the bible to trump all other religions and ideas that would try to trump us and his medical and vocabulary knowledge is just outstanding.

I got a text message this last week said that I just won 1,905.555€  Wow mom, i rich!!!  don´t trust everything you see.

Long week.

We sang a song in sacrament meeting as the 4 of us missionaries.  It was super good.  Elder Gibson was on the piano and did an amazing job and we sang "I Know that My Redeemer lives", my favorite song.  It brought the spirit so well and you could cut it with a knife.

Not a whole lot happened this week But I did enjoy this really cool idea I had on saturday while preparing for our gospel principles class on the holy Ghost.  I compared not having the gift of the Holy Ghost like a wifi box.  One who isn´t a member of the church can feel the presence of the Holy Ghost when they are around those who have the spirit.  THey can tap into a spiritual "hot spot" but without having that constant companion they are in a "dead zone".  When one receives the gift of the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands they are able to have 4G coverage for everywhere they go as long as they remain worthy of that gift.  Something interesting to think about.

Well Family i hope that you have a great week and that the Lord guides you in this wonderful world that Christ created.  I know that the church is true.  I have been around the block enough to see the different bells and whistles to see that Heavenly Father is mindful of his children and has given them what they need when they need it.  He speaks through his living prophets today and loves each and every one of us.  I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días es la iglesia de Dios ha sido restaurado aquí en la tierra hoy en dia.

Con mucho amor,

Élder Gonzalez 

Monday, June 13, 2016

I speak English, Spanish and understand Catalan

Well Family life in Catalunya is a fun adventure some days, and others just a blast, and others a grind.  But we did have a lot of fun little activities and miracles that happened this last week.

Random thoughts:

We had lunch on tuesday and it was super hot.  I was just dying.  And all of a sudden we were talking about our many blessings we have to serve here in this mission like 1)it’s spain 2) safe food 3) speaking spanish 4) my clothes still fit 5) etc.  It was super cheesy but it worked, counting your blessings really makes you feel better.

We had a family home evening with president dayton in the mission home.  We have one every 2 weeks and the mission pres and his wife set it up.  we just have to bring a less-active, recent convert, or an investigator to go.  It was a lot of fun.  The mission president talked about the word of wisdom and the law of chastity.  It was really good.  However our investigator was not the best person to bring because we was upset that we got home a little late on our way back home from the FHE.

WE had an awesome lesson with our part member family, less-active father with non-member son.  I was on an intercombio and taught this lesson with elder peay, from pleasant grove, the companion to the district leader, and it was a power pack lesson reading 3nephi 27:13-22;james 2:17-26 (didn´t use because of time but would have);moroni 10:32-33;and matt26:26-28.  Everything we do in the church is centered on Jesus Christ.  We show our faith by acting.  One way we show our faith is by "coming unto him" and following him and everything that he does and says.  We go to His church and partake of the sacrament which is a remembrance of his body and blood which were shed for us.  That through him we can become perfected.  "this is theway; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. (2nephi 31:21)

I heard a littler girl on a bus, but didn´t see her.  We got off the stop after and walked down to see if the mother needed help but said that she was fine.  I just want to help !!!!

We found 2 miracles by knocking doors this week.  We contacted a less-active named luis who was on the verge of tears because of how hard life is and because he is living away from his family and was super happy to see us.  We found another member who lives in Matorell on the other side of R4 the renfe train  and is just visiting her boyfriend but was surprised to find the missionaries outside her door.

We had a visit with the Smiths again this week and they had some really good stories about their life and missions to tell us and testified to us how grateful they are for serving a mission.  They said that they would not be here if it wasn´t for their mission, literally they’re here in spain speaking spanish because they served in Brazil.  I was spiritually uplifted with something bro. smith said that we  all wish to sit underneath an apple tree eating the fruit of our labor but we can never truly see the fruit of our labor until after this life.

I ate pasta from a real italian man.  We had a visit with this family who speaks 5 languages.  The mom is from Barç and the dad is from italia.  The family speaks Spanish, english, catalan, italian and french.  They pass between languages like it is a game.  I was blown away.

WE had lunch in a bread shop called Girona and had some sandwiches and some pastries after a zone enfoque.  Elder Montalbo is in my zone and it was a treat to see him again!

WE walked passed a mini chinese factory the other day.  A window was open and we peeked in and saw dozens of sewing machines and lots of thread and fabric and fans blowing trying to keep the place cooled down.  It was a mind blowing experience.

The fireworks shops is up and the fire crackers sound like bombs.  Watch out!!!!

I saw a rainbow the other day on the metro to sant cugat.  It must have been the humidity.

So what is it that I hear about a shooting in the usa?  We contacted a man the other day and the gentleman said that if God existed why would he let this happen?  I said, if this life is the only life we have then we have a God that is very unjust.  BUT if this life is only a small part of our existence that we have much to live for, and that God is at the head of everything.  I read that this morning So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 2 thess,1:4-6
So God is wise and will not let his children go un rewarded or un punished for their actions.

Well family I love you so much.  I have to go now to preach the restored gospel to the people of spain.  i hope you have a wonderful and safe week.
con mucho amor,
Élder Gonzalez

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Last Transfer so let's Make it a Blast

It doesn´t feel like it but I have 6 weeks left in Spain as a missionary...  My companion elder Olaso is now gone.  We took him to the mission office yesterday and now he goes back home to Idaho mañana.  

This last week was really slow with the conference of President Dyches of the area presidency visiting our mission.  I wished you were there to listen.  It was really powerful.  We learned a lot about our usage of time and how well we should spend it as missionaries. Time =life, wasting time =wasted life, excellent time = great life.  We have planners and area books to help guide our footsteps to do that which is most important so we can be faithful servants of the Lord.  We also learned how to make origomi missionary shirts so that we can use them as cards to leave to those we teach in case we knock their door and they are not home, we can leave them with something to read knowing that the missionaries came by.  We used one last week to leave an apple pie to a member family and they just love the pie and paper missionary shirt.  We met in the big church in Barcelona with 5 out of the 8 zones of our mission because our mission is too big to do a mission conference.  the other zones met in Bilbao.  I got to meet a few old companions.

RAndom thoughts:

We are teaching a woman named Raquel who we met in the street a few weeks ago really quickly and now she is progressing really well.  Last week we were teaching her and she had a shirt that said RIVERTON on it.  She has desires to change and  come close to our Heavenly Father.

Crazy last week with Elder Olaso.  Lots of visits to members.  Lots of food.

The heat is coming in.

We helped a new family move into the ward.  the husband is catalan and the wife is ecuadorian.

I got a hair cut.

We had conference on thursday and we had some elders come from the islands come and stay over with us.  Elder Olaso and I were able to make it to the conference on time the next day while the others came late missing their train.

I have a new temple recommend, and president Dayton said that it may be my only recommend I will ever have in spanish.  It was made only valid for three months till I come home and get a new one.

We met a less-active last week who was baptized into the church after being in a coma for 19 YEARS!!!!  He knows that God has a plan for everyone, But he is looking around at other churches because he is losing his testimony.

I made 2 apple pies for our visits last week.

We had our 5th sunday lesson in church and we learned about the family services that the church has produced so that family can be more united and strengthened.

And Finaly the most important thing is that I have a new companion named Élder Gibson from Idaho.  He has red hair and came from Sant Sabastian, the most beautiful place in our mission to the not so good looking place in our mission.  He has about 1 year and 5 months on the mission.

I know that this work that we are engaged is true.  It is led by living prophets and apostles, and the chief corner stone is Jesus Christ (Véase Efesios 4:11-14).  Our adversity is but a small moment.  Dad sent me a scripture to read about a year ago and I read it in my new testament reading this week 2 Cor. 12:9-10.  I love the work that we get to do as missionaries.  Thank you for you prayer and love.  Have a great week.

Con Cariñó,

Élder Gonzalez

Monday, May 23, 2016

Last Week With Elder Olaso :(

So this is the last week of the transfer and I'm :with Élder olaso as he is hobbling along on his little can ( because he is closer to the airplane than I am, if you know what I mean, he leaves next Wednesday for home).  So as I finish the week with him, I push the trunky thoughts out of mind to remain focused for my next transfer.

Well today for preparation day we had a bbq at the church as a district and some members from sabadell 1.  I made a pie but our oven broke, so I had to carry the pie over by bus and cook it in the oven there.  I also got a haircut for our mission tour this week with president Dyckes from the area presidency of Europe.  He is a great man, I love him a lot.  So that'll be on Thursday morning and we are going to have elders coming out from the islands to stay with us overnight and go to conference with us for the next morning.

We had stake conference this week and it was a lot of fun to see members from Terrassa for the last time because  none of us expected to see each other. But I kind of got this look of " oh, it's you, haven’t seen you in a while, like 2 months".  It hasn't felt like I have been gone for that long from them.  So we had a member from the temple presidency speak to us about temple and family history work.  Something he said struck me.  We need the youth to get on with the
family history work because they understand the technology better than the older generation.  Plus they refocused the stake on our plan de Europa on our three main goals which is to bring a friend to church, become autosuficient,self reliant, both temporally and spiritually, and bring one name to the temple.  President Dayton talked about the importance of repentance and Hermana Dayton talked about listening to the spirit when she gave a great story about how she helped a young mother with a 9 month child and while pregnant to find food and work through the church's welfare program.

Random thought:

Our oven broke.  I learned that our life is full of imperfections and unloved delays.  Some times we make apple pies and stick it in an oven to come back 30 minutes later to find out that nothing happened.  We have to not just live with imperfections of mortal life, and not
just with live with what we've got but to also have hope for a better world in the life to come. This hope we speak of is a knowledge of our Savior’s resurrection, which brings about His infinite Atonement.

Man walks on bus with shoulder pads for FOOTBALL!

Hermana Lasson, from France, hurt her leg on Saturday and is on crutches.

We passed by a shop that sells BOMs.  But not Books of Mormon.

We were knocking some doors.  we knocked a door and a young woman opens the door with not much on, asks who we are then calls for her boyfriend and a man without a shirt opens up and we talk to him and gave him a Book of Mormon.

The hymns helped me this week when we're in a train and there were a bunch of women and men immodestly dressed.  Sang a few hymns and brought peace to my soul.

We were walking back to piso and a man named Gustavo from Brazil stops us and says that he was investigating the church in Brazil with a friend and is now living here in Spain.  He even had the Gospel library app.

I had an intercombio with Élder Jensen from my piso and we did some contacting and passbys.  We passed by a woman named Raquel and we talked a lot about how through Christ we can have a new life, because she was in places that she didn't want to be in anymore physically and emotionally.  We have a visit with her today.

We met a woman from South Africa last week who speaks English and we were able to talk to her about the church and has lot is interest to learn more.

I met Carlos Castro yesterday while I was on the  metro.  He is an investigator from Rubí.  He was super happy to see me and he just loves the missionaries.

We were walking down the street yesterday and we rang the door bell of a building.  I was standing by entranceway of the building and 2 women walked by and then like 15 seconds later  one of them comes back and asks us if we are Mormons.  We said yes, and she said that she is a Mormon but has been less-active for like 10-15 years and asked us if she could have a Book of Mormon.  Of course we gave her one.  So we'll pass by this week.

Well family this has been a better week for me.  I have learned a lot from my mistakes. I know the church is true and is being led by living prophets and apostles.

Con cariño,
Élder Gonzalez
Sent from my iPad