Monday, December 29, 2014

Hello Family

This has been a wonderful week.  I have enjoyed this wonderful christmas.  We had a lot of fun with the members here.  I have had a great treat of talking with my family.  This was the high light of my week.  I enjoy my family and the wonder testimony I have of the plan of salvation.  I don´t need to have constant contact of my family to know that they love me but I know that I can be with them forever.  This is my greatest gift.  I love of my family.

I received my copy of the Enseñanzas de los Presidentes de la Iglesia: Ezra Taft Benson.  estoy muy animo to read this book this year.  I have enjoyed the teachings of the prophets.  I have it in spanish though, but I will understand it someday.  poco a poco.

Right now I´m listening to a talk President benson gave in 1986 on the book of mormon.  I love the book of mormon.  I want to tell the whole world the importance of the book of mormon.  This same talk I used in my farewell talk.

I have a problem...I´m getting my new year’s goal is to lose weight by eating better food and doing more exercising in the morning.  my pants fit a little too much.

We have 2 investigator this week with a baptismal fecha.  Danny is a really good young man and Juan is an older man in his 40s.  i know as he repents he will change to become better.

yesterday we were with a recent convert and she went off on gossip and stuff about her family and this ward.  i felt sorry for her because I wanted to help her and to let her understand that this gospel can help her solve her problems that are of importance consequences and not simple non-important things.

Well family I need to go soon.  I love you all and pray for you with all my heart.  I pray for my family individually, my friends who are on their mission, and for the progression of my language speaking.  I know that the book of mormon is true and that it is the word of God.  I know that we can be saved through the power of Jesus Christ, whose name is on my chest.  I know these things are true.  I love you all.  Have a wonderful week and a happy new year.
Elder Gonzalez

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas....I Mean Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas everyone. This week has been super fun, but as for me not very busy. We had a lot of activities that took up a lot of the day and so we only planned for stuff that took up the other half of the day. For example, we had a ward christmas dinner on friday and so we had like 4 hours taken out of our day, but it was still fun and we had a lot of people show up and we were able to talk to a lot of them.

We also had a zone conference yesterday that took up most of the day, but it was super spiritual and I loved every minute of it. even the free flu shots they gave us. Yep that´s right we got flu shots by the church. Mine was fast and easy, but my companion had a harder time with it. We also had some really good piella after the shots!!! yum, except for the rabbit meat. I´m not a big fan of rabbit meat, but it wasn´t too bad.

We have one investigator on track for a baptism for the 3rd of january!!! He´s such a super good kid and I just know with a little push from the YSA here and the ward, he´ll be an active member forever. We haven´t had any contact with Claudia because last monday she moved to Galicia, outside our mission boundaries, and so we don´t really know what is going on with her, but I just hope she has found a ward nearby.

It´s so weird to be in a trio really because when we teach it´s hard to share the time we have in the lesson. Sometimes we want to share something, but we don´t want to hog the time. But it´s so much fun. this last week we went on splits with a return missionary here in Castllón and we are able to cover more ground. I do enjoy my companions because they are super good and I love them a lot.

I don´t really have much to say right now other than can´t wait to see you guys this christmas on skype!!!

I will end with my testimony of the plan of Salvation for this is what we learned in zone conference. We are children of a Heavenly Father who loves us and we can live with him again. We came to earth to gain a body and we are to be tested to see our worthiness to return back to him by the way we use our agency and how we treat our body and to those around us. After this life we will all die and will go to the spirit world. There the righteous will preach the gospel to those who have not heard the gospel before and will be able to accept the word by having their work done for them here on earth in the Lord´s holy house. When Christ will come again, the earth will live in peace and joy. Later we will be judged of our works here on earth and will be placed in kingdoms of glory and we can live with our families forever. It is a marvelous plan and we should always strive to help others know of this wonderful plan of happiness. I know that families can be together forever and we are children of God. I love you all and hope you all have a great Christmas and a happy new year!

Elder Gonzalez

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Craziest Week of My Life!!!

So we had transfers last week.  We had monday as our day for Elder Westfall to say goodbye to the members and our investigators.  And it was long, but really fun.

 Tuesday we had our preparation day and we went to a castle.  It was so big and it was super long.  It was as long as the mountain.  Sadly we didn´t that much time, but we came back and got elder westfall off on the train to barcelona and my new companions came in.  Their names are Elder Harris and Elder Slauson (when I heard Slauson, I thought he said Skousen and thought I was going to be with my district leader from the MTC, but no)  They are super fun and great missionaries.  We did a little visits that night.

Then on wednesday we did the other half of our emailing because the time was crazy yesterday and didn´t have the full 1-1/2 hours to email, so we did the rest on wed.  We had an intercombio and Elder harris and slauson went to valencia; I stayed with the district leader.  His name is Elder Grau.  He´s from paraguay.  I learned/realized how much my spanish has improved when I had to speak to him in only spanish.  We did a lot of visits/passbys that I planned.  (not to brag, but when Elder Westfall left, I was dumped with the responsibility to plan and get visits ready for the week because I was the only one who knows the area.  So I winged it doing what I know to do with the little spanish and mission experience I know.)  We had the intercombio because the hermanas had an interview planned for one of their investigators, but couldn´t show up because of work, but this week we have another intercombio/interview for him for baptism.  For noche de barrio (ward night) we did the nativity scene that mom sent,  THanks mom!!!

 Thursday we had district meeting because of the crazy week and transfers.  It was good and half of our district was changed.  We had a great meeting and afterwards went to dominos for pizza to celebrate the new people who are in our district.  As we were eating we got a text from president who sent it to all the missionaries saying to make the new missionaries feel welcomed.  I then turned over to our new sister missionary who is having her first day on the mission and said "do you feel welcomed yet with all this pizza?" she said yes.  ps dominos does a great deal here in spain.  a 6.50 euro for 2 people for unlimited pizza any size and topping and crust all year long.  they need this in the USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Friday we had week planning and took apart the area book, cleaned it out and put it back together.  it was a long and boring job, but needed to be done.  That night we went to the church and had coordination (colaltion here in castellón) with the ward mission leader then afterwards stayed for the welcome home fireside  for the 2 return missionaries from the ward.  they served in malaga.

 Then on saturday we played sports with the ward and had a fake snowball fight.  it was the hermanas´ idea.  they put flour in nylon socks and we threw it at each other.  it was a lot of fun.  then we got back changed and went to valencia for a stake choir night and we sang in the choir.  it was a lot of fun and the best part was the african choir that sang.

Sunday was super stressful because I was tired and we found out that Claudia didn´t come to church because we found out that she was moving to madrid.  She was supposed to be confirmed that day and didn´t. I was sad and depressed because I felt like Ï should have done more to get her to church and should have communicated more.  I felt better after lunch with the rojas (they are one of the families that had a son return from his mission.  Just listening to him and his spiritual experiences helped me).  After lunch we went caroling with the hermanas and then out of no where it just poured.  We were so wet when we got to the church.  We then watched the christmas devotional and called president about what to do with claudia because she was baptized but not confirmed.  He told us to confirm her now, so we called her up, and she was still in town.  We swung by with the ward mission leader´s car and brought her to church.  The bishop was there and we confirmed her right after President Eyring gave his talk.  It was just perfect for her at the right moment.  This was just a big miracle for us.

Well, I should finish my letter now.  I want to tell you all how much I love you all and how much I miss you.  If you have not watched the "he is the gift" video, please do,  It is super good.  THe church is tracking the progress with this video with us missionaries and seeing how well the message is getting out.

I would like to leave you all with my testimony.  I know that God lives and he is our loving Heavenly Father.  We can speak to him as if he was here in front of us by prayer.  Prayer is more than just checking things off our daily list, but rather talking to our father and telling him things from our heart and expressing things we are thankful for.  We have a wonderful gift to pray.  I also know that Jesus Christ is our savior.  I know that he died for us that we may live with our families forever.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I don´t know how to speak this language or how to be a terrific missionary, but I do know that the lord has not sent us here to fail ( see refiners fire mormon message).  We are all sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father and he loves us all.  we may not know everything or have as many talents as the person next to us, but when we do our very best and do what is right, the Lord will help us and we will have the strength to keep pushing forward.  This all for now.  I love you all and pray for you all every day and night.  Have a wonderful week and share your love to someone this week.

Elder Gonzalez

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hello Everyone!!!

Well like I said yesterday, we had a crazy busy day and so we split our emailing time in half.  So I´m doing the family letters right now.  

So this week was transfers and I´m still here in Castellón and Elder Westfall left to go up to Barcelona and I got two new companions, Elder Harris and Elder Slausen.  I´m in a trio. Elder Harris is from south carolina and he reminds me of Aaron Taylor, a goofy kid, but super full of energy and the spirit.  He has 2 transfers left.  Elder Slausen is from sandy and he has been on the mission for 1 year now.  he is great and is super calm.  This transfer is going to be the best!!!!!

Yesterday for preparation day we went to a castle that sits on top of a mountain and overlooks the ocean.  IT´s super cool.  We then got back, had lunch, went to the train station and dropped Elder westfall of and said good-bye plus picked up the new elders.

This weekend was the Valencia stake conference.  It was really good.  We went to the parent meeting on saturday night.  It was really good, from the parts that I could understand at least.  THen on sunday it was SUPER cold.  THE wind just blew and I was a popcicle!  But the conference was great and we watched the regular session by computer broadcast from catarroja.  Some of our investigators and less actives came and it surprised me.

This week, claudia is going to be confirmed a member and the hermanas have a baptism tomorrow!!!  so things are moving here in castellon.

We have some good days and we have some bad days too.  We have one recent convert who is being a bum and is getting bad influence from a member who left the church, but we are trying our best to get him back on board.  On sunday we gave a blessing to a lady who is a less active who is coming back.  she has a court case this week to gain the custody of her son and so we hope she wins and finds a job and an apartment to live in because right now she is living in a womens shelter.  she´s super good.

Elder westfall was a great companion.  He knows so much, and is very good at talking with people, skills I will need to develop more.  I will miss him, but I have 2 companions to help me now.

We have 2 missionaries who are coming home this week.  The bishop´s son and the Roja´s son.  From what I hear, they are super good people.  Plus in a week or 2 we will be able to go on splits with them and destroy this town!!!!

Also this week we had a baby shower for a member who is having a baby this month.  She´s crazy, but is such a funny person.  We had games and food, but that day elder westfall and I had like 2 meals before that and so we were super stuffed.

Also on sunday there was the castellón marathon.  I woke up and people were running on the streets outside my window.  As we walked to church I asked Elder westfall if we could take the side streets because this was too much of a distraction.!!!

Well family, I need to go hope you all have a great week and I will write you next week.

ps mom update your skype so we can talk in a few weeks.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 12!!! I'm Almost Done With Training!!!

Sorry but I don´t have a lot of time to write today.  I had to take a spanish assessment test on the computer and that took up some time, and I also typed some letters to some people.  

So this is my last week in training.  They say that you´ll be ready to train when you have finished the 12 week program.  Yeah, I think I´m going to need a lot more time to practice before I start training.  THis next week is transfers, so I´ll write you all on tuesday.  I have a feeling that I´m going to leave castellón.

For thanksgiving we went to a member’s home.  She lived in Utah for a few months and so she understands that thanksgiving is BIG and so she did her best and we had a wonderful meal.  I made two pies.  "You didn´t have one slice, but two slices hahaha run minny run!"  And that was fun to see what the spaniards think of this american holiday.

Also on tuesday we did splits and I went with a YSA guy named marvin and with the Relief society president to victor´s house.  We talked about the church block system and watched finding faith in christ.  Then we invited them to church, but they didn´t come.  My companion was with another investigator and he placed a baptismal date with her for the 4th of december!!!!!!!!!!   I´m going to have my first baptism!!!!

We did a lot of contacting this week and got a few numbers.  I´m getting better at contacting people in the streets and the trains.  It has been raining a lot the past 3 days and it is cold, but not utah cold.

I should go but I want to leave with my testimony of testimonies.  on saturday we met a man from sudan and he´s Muslim.  He knows a lot.  my companion likes to bash by means of proving his point with the scriptures and grace in his speaking that shows that he knows how to debate.  As for me, I just tell what I know and testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith restored this church here today and it is being led by Thomas s. Monson.  My simple testimony has helped me A LOT in the mission when I get down.  I ponder on it and think and feel better about myself knowing that I am a son of God and that families can be together forever.  I love this church.  This work is hard, but I know with a lot of prayer and faith I can do this.  This spirit leads us in what we do and say, we just need to follow and do what he tells us.  Have a wonderful week and do a simple service today to help someone in need.  Charity never fails.


Elder Gonzalez

ps this is the district


Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

This week starts the beginning of the holiday season, the time where people start giving love and service before the year ends and then go back to their old ways. As members of this church, we remember Christ in our lives every day by giving simple service to other people every day by smiling and opening doors. We don´t have to have holidays to remember who we are and what we need to do. Remember to use chapter 6 in preach my gospel and develop christ like attributes. We can all do better at that, even ME, also to give thanks to Heavenly Father in our prayers every day and that thanksgiving is just another day where we see the blessings the Lord has given us.

  These last two weeks have been super crazy and have gone by so fast. I remember monday like it was like yesterday. We spent half our week out of Castellón. On tuesday I had an intercombio with Elder Alder and spent over 24hrs with him. We saw a lot of miracles with him. I had to run and catch a train on wednesday. Saturday we took a train to Barcelona and had a super good (closest thing to) a mission conference with Elder Cook from the quorum of the 12 apostles. It was super good and he is such a good person and has a strong testimony. I love Elder Cook.

We had a lot of appointments fire on us and it was frustrating sometimes because these people are so good, but like preach my gospel says to always have a backup plan. We did lots of contacting for once with Elder Westfall. We don´t do a lot of contacting in the streets, so I learned how to reach out and talk to people more. I hate having speech the you use for every person you meet. We are not robots. We are missionaries and representatives of Jesus Christ and should always be bold and speak to everyone. I have been doing that more. When I was on the train coming back to castellón after intercombios with Elder Alder, I talked to this lady who was a neurologist and we had a nice 10 min. conversation and I introduced the BOM to her. She sadly declined it, but I do this a lot more with people we sit by on the train.

  Today we had a turkey bowl in catarroja with the zone. It was a lot of fun! I made a lot of touchdowns. We also played ultimate Frisbee too. It has been a good day and now I´m tired. I have to go soon because It´s late and we have to go with the ward missionary leader to a family home evening out in a small town (pueblo) in a few minutes.

I love all of you and pray for you all with all my heart. Like in the first presidency message last month, when we pray it´s a two way communication. We need our prayers to be sincere and always recognize Heavenly Father in our lives. The scriptures teach us how to be like Jesus. I´m finishing up the war chapters in the BOM (english) and when we prepare our homes and families and ourselves to fight off the attacks of the adversary, we become stronger. Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today and leads this church and we have to follow him in order to stay firm in the gospel and be safe in this world. Testimonies are wonderful anchors to have in a world that has changing views. Do service every day and always be thankful for everything, not just the holiday season. I love you all and hope you all have a great week.

Elder Gonzalez

Monday, November 17, 2014

Super Good Week!!

Well, I first want to start off that I do have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that through him we can live again I know that families can be together forever. There is power in the book of mormon and that if you are not reading it every day, READ IT. At least 10 minutes a day. There is safety in the commandments and when we follow them we are blessed. I say this because as a young missionary who has only been out here for 10 weeks in training, it can be easily distracting when other missionaries express all sorts of knowledge they have acquired on the mission. Some people express how well they know the language or how they know so much about the doctrines of the gospel. This is good, but for me I just need to know that the church is true and that I am here to do my best because Heavenly Father knows who I am and has prepared people for me to teach and because of my willingness to serve I just accept that they know more than I do and that there will always be people who are better than me. I just shake it off and just go to work doing what I know and at the pace and knowledge that I can do. The Lord is my strength and I can always rely on his help in this work. I only say this because the first chapter of Preach my Gospel says that we are called to this work and we all have talents to the work of building the kingdom of God.

This week has been my first really experience of days when plans and investigators fire us (a mission term used for when people drop us or can´t come to their appointments). By the Lord´s help we were able to set up backup plans (there´s a reason that we have a backup plan section in the planners). Our numbers this week weren´t that good, but like my trainer has said the numbers don´t tell the whole story. In my letter to president, I said that we had a less-active person who shared with us a very personal story about prayer. By his example we can now be able to teach his family. Some people are super obsessed with getting numbers that they forget about why we have key indicators in missionary work. I am grateful to be a slow learner because I think about why we do things the way we do and how if applies to the investigators.

On friday we had a wornderful specialized training meeting with president and sister pace in valencia. (sorry for misspelling, but my fingers are cold and I´m too lazy to fix my mistakes. Yeah the weather is getting cold here. It´s been getting cold for the past 2 weeks. warm days, but cold mornings and nights.) We did an activity where we all stood up and sister pace would read from the missionary handbook on things that we are to be obedient to (we here in the barcelona, spain mission are known for being super obedient and so we are told to be super obedient to everything, and for me, I try my best) and we sit down if we weren´t 100% obedient to that rule. Those who were left standing got a treat. I need to plan better and catch up on my reading. Also, we had to hand in our planners and she checked them. I have a lot of work to do. I learned a lot and love listening to president pace. He is really knowledgeable as well as sister pace.

Well I should go, but I do love you all and have you guys in my prayers always. The work here in Castellón is progressing, My spanish is getting better as the weeks go by. I can understand better and speak better. Always look for opportunities to serve. I love you all and hope you have a great week.

Elder Gonzalez

Monday, November 10, 2014

Another Busy Week, but a Fun One!!

This week was jammed packed with stuff.  We walked a lot and had some really cool spiritual experiences.
Our investigators are wonderful people and I just love being with them.  A new investagor we have is a son of a less-active who moved from colombia and he´s 18 and just loved the message of the restoration.  He is super good and wanted to come to church.  However, we didn´t see him this week.  Claudia, who is this super awesome person from bolivia, finally came back from vacation and we read 3 nephi 11 with her.  It was super good, but she´s going on vacation again for the next 2 weeks and so that´s a bummer.  She said that she wants to be baptized by the end of the year, so cross your fingers!!!  Victor didn´t answer his phone, so we coundn´t visit him and his family, but they too are terrific people.  A lot of our new investigators fired on us this week and so we have to set new appointments for this week and that stinks because we are super busy this week too.  
This week we have specialized training with president and sister pace on friday, so we go down to valencia for that.  Last wednesday we had a zone enfoque and that was super spiritual.  I love our zone and district!  we don´t have any baptisms yet, but we are planning on one this month.  We also went up to Barcelona on friday to pick up my citizenship/ID card and meet up with all the missionaries who are in my group.  It was a cool mini reunion.  We had to take a 2-1/2 hour train ride up and back.  We left super early in the morning.  Also, I got a meal at mcdonalds and they messed it up and so I just shrugged it off, but still wanted my big mac =(.  Anyway, it was a lot of fun to go.
Yesterday we had a cool miracle when we were walking to a member's home and saw an investgator of ours we haven´t seen in a long time because she never answers her phone and is always super busy.  We have a visit with her and met with her friend, and she wants a book of mormon in romanian. (ps there are a lot of romanian people here in spain).  We drove out to a pueblo with the ward mission leader and taught a lesson to an investagtor we found a few weeks ago in the park and it was good, but hard.  She had a lot of really hard questions because we could tell she has been taught by the jehova witnesses.  I tried to explain the joseph smith first vision, and my mind went blank and my spanish (what little I had) left too.  My companion took over and I gave a silent pray, asking to know what to say.  My answer was that I should bear my testimony.  As things were wrapping up in the lesson, I gave my testimony of the Book of Mormon.  I had tears streaming down my eyes.  I know that the spitit was there.
I may not know much about how computers work or the creation of stars, but I know that the book of mormon is true and that when I read it I feel good.  I don´t know every scripture for every situation, but I know that Joseph Smith translanted this book and it is for our benifit and for our happiness in this troubling world.  This is a small testimony that I have and leave with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Elder Gonzalez

Monday, November 3, 2014

Terrific Week in Castellon!!

This week has been one of my favorites because we worked really hard.  The past few days we´ll get home and we´ll be just super tired and somehow we´ll have the energy we need to make it through another day of walking (because the bus system here is not very good and the streets are crazy) like 8 or 10 miles.  I´m out of shape to do all those miles.  It´s the power of God that allows us to do what we do because we are just 19-year-old boys in a different country teaching people a thing called the book of mormon.

On tuesday was our preparation day because it was transfers last week.  We just had lunch at our piso and then went to this big mall on the other side of town because Elder Westfall needed some clothes.  I ran out of money on my card and had to use cash!  I need to manage money better here. We taught Victor that night though.  He´s such a super awesome guy.  His family was there too and we read the intro to the book of mormon with him and his family and half of 3 nephi 11.  They just loved it.  The wife had to leave half way through, but the family was so involved and loved every minute of it.  We have another visit with them tomorrow.  That night though we went to Bishop Vergada´s house and got 5000 flyers to hand out for the open house of the chapel here in castellon.  We got hot chocolate and grilled cheese though.

On wednesday we did a lot of passbys handing out these flyer for the open house.  We gave some to the hermanas and over the next few days we handed the flyers to people, placed them in mail boxes, and ward members to hand out.  We had noche de barrio (ward night) and we talked about revelation and played a tie game where everyone sat in a circle and with one tie you had to tie one knot and the other tie you had to tie two knots, and you don´t get stuck with both ties.  My nice yellow tie took a beating though.  We also had lunch with bishop and his wife too that day and boy they know how to feed the missionaries.

Thursday was district meeting and so we traveled down to Valencia again and had a nice district meeting.  I love our district.  We got two new people because the other two were transferred.  We had lunch that consisted of pan and spanish tortillas.  (the pan here is long skinny bread that´s super cheap and good!)  We passed more flyers out again and went to English class too.

Friday we had a long weekly planning and we made sure that this week was super packed.  We had lunch with the Rojas and they always make good food.  We passed more flyers and had correlation with the mission president and then after that we went over to the church because a sister missionary from the ward was coming home and the people here throw a big party with talks, slide shows and videos when a missionary leaves or comes home.

Saturday was the longest day of my life.  We got to the church at 9:30am and helped set up for the open house and we spent all day there because we had different stations that the people would go through and the members were just fantastic at it.  When members and missionaries come together, miracles happen.  The only downside of all this was that hardly anyone came.  We did go contacting during the day and met an english man who was bananas and he just won´t understand anything we were trying to tell him because he was proud, stiff necked, and very learned.  We did meet Santiago who is this investigator we met at the open house and he was just amazing and cried when he was in the baptismal room because the spirit was super strong there.  We met with emilio that night and had a super spiritual night/lesson.  I was so tired when we got back to piso!!!!!

On sunday we had a ton of our investigators come to church.  The classes were great and the testimony meeting was super powerful.   I wasn´t able to say my testimony because there were so many people. We had a nice lunch with some members, went back to church and sang in the choir, went to the Roja´s house for Noche de Hogar. I felt sooo sick, ran to the bathroom and almost threw up, but said a quick prayer and was good for the rest of the night.  Went to emilio´s house and had a super spiritual lesson, asked if he wanted to be baptized, but he said no.  We´ll just work with him really hard over the next few weeks.

Well I need to go.  I hope you all have a great week and I´m praying for you all always.  I know that the church is true and that the commandments are not restrictions but they protect us so we can have freedom.   Read your scriptures every day for at least 10 or 15 minutes and have them feed your soul with peace and joy.  see ya next week.

Elder Gonzalez


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My First Transfer Down and a lot More to Go!!!

My first transfer down and a lot more to go!!!

We have transfers this week and that´s why I didn´t email yesterday.  I´m still here in good old castellon and loving it.  We had a wonderful week last week.  I feel my spanish is coming along.  We have a new sister in our area named hermana Solo.  We helped her with her bags this morning and said goodbye to hermana wallace.  After dropping her stuff off, we carried a bunch of books of mormon to the church because we have an open house this week for our new chapel.  It´s super nice and so we are getting things ready for that.  We´ll have the missionaries from Valencia come up and help with the tours and stuff.

We had a crazy day yesterday and you can just read the letter to president to find out what happened.

So right now I don´t have a lot of money in my card because of how much we travel in the month, but it´s fine because I´ll just send in my receipt to the mission office and get a refund.

Before I forget, please send letters to the mission home because I need to be more focused out here in the mission and sometimes the letters get a little distracting, but I love them though.

So last week was very crazy because I went on an intercombio (companion exchange) for a day and went down to Valencia on wednesday with the zone leaders.  I took the train by myself and read a lot of scriptures.  One of our zone leaders came up from valencia and stayed with Elder Westfall; I went down and stayed with Elder Hachenberger who is from Austria!   We did a lot of street contacting and met a crazy guy who was doing english classes in his house at the top of this really nice apartment.  We didn´t know that and found out that it was like a party thing instead, so we got out of there as fast as we could because we know that it was not good for us to be there.  The guy is nice, but it was not a place for missionaries to be.  We also had a lesson with this guy who is about 21, is in a wheelchair, was one of the zone leader’s investigators and was super receptive to the gospel.  We taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I did a lot of it in Spanish.  My spanish is improving here and there.  The next day I then went back to Castellon and was with Elder Westfall again.

On saturday we had a problem.  Elder Westfall was sick and he slept all morning.  I did personal and companionship study by myself.  We didn´t go to deportes (sports) at the church, but we had a cool evening because we met this lady at the church who has been a less active for a long time.  We were able to teach some doctrine to her.  She is a crazy lady, but a fun one by the way.  We went to institute, which is held in our church building by the way, and gave the young single adults (JAS) a book of mormon challenge by allowing one of them to hand out a copy of the book to a friend this week.  Also, we were supposed to have a baptism that day, but our investigator was out of town for two weeks in Madrid and then Boliva, but we´ll work with her and try to get her a fecha (baptismal date) sometime in November.

On sunday my companion gave a really good talk, and we had a super good lunch at a member’s home that afternoon.  We had turkey and rice with the BEST flan I have ever had!!!

Well, I should get off soon.  I just want to let you all know that I love you and pray for you every single day.  The work progresses the most when members and missionaries are working together as one (we saw this a lot yesterday).  The book of mormon is the most correct book in the world and that we can get closer to Heavenly Father by reading and studying it every day.  I know that the church is true and that families can be together forever.  I love my family and wouldn´t want anything else in this world but them.  I love you all and hope you all have a great week.

Elder Gonzalez


Monday, October 20, 2014

What a Crazy, Busy Week

5 weeks down and only a bunch more.  So we had such a busy week and what more can I say than that.

On monday we went with the hermanas and made lunch at the church.  We had tacos and apple pie.  However. we had use of a cool, new touchscreen stovetop that we weren´t able to use, so we cooked the chicken in the oven instead and cooked the pie afterwards.  It was super fun (mom just to let you know, there is no crisco here in spain, so I just used butter instead and it worked out fine.)  The pie was super good, but the crust was super crumbly and the inside was a bit runny, but was SUPER good!!!!

Tuesday we had district meeting here in castellon because the church building in Valencia was being fumigated (sorry for the missspelling.  All of the spanish computers here in spain make all the english words in red as errors and I just seem to ignore them).  It was super spiritual. and I gave a quick talk on diligence.  It was cool.  (it was in english by the way).  Then, afterwards I went on intercombio (companion exchange) with Elder schoen from valencia.  I stayed overnight in Valencia.  Elder Alder, our district leader, came down and stayed.  We had a nice evening because we did lots of contacting in the streets and talked a lot about the mission and how things work.  I enjoyed being with him.  Elder Schoen is from texas and is big and super fun to be around.

On wednesday we went to a nigerian woman´s piso and talked to her in her doorway about her reading in the book of Mormon, and she was super funny to be around because she thanks Jesus for everything and is just fun to listen to.  Elder schoen made a super good lunch and got on the train to castellon with Elder westfall, whom we met back up at the train station.  We went back down and had some more visits and had a fun noche de barrio (it´s like a ward night).  we talked about prayer and afterwards I had a nice talk with the ward mission leader  in spanish.  We talked for like 10, 15 minutes.  That was a testimony builder for me because I got to see a sneak peak of my progression in spanish.

Thursday we had our normal studies and watched like an hour and a half of the district because we had to catch up on the "12 week program."  So, I popped some popcorn, ate and watched.  we did some more visits and i just love the members here.  Our investigators are progressing very well and soon we´ll get some baptisms here, but these people just need to work on a few things.  We had our priesthood council after english class and that went very well.

Friday was just like thursday, but packed with a lot of visits.  I picked a few names from the area book of investigators and less-active members to go visit and we had some success with contacting them.  We met a peruvian man named victor.  He´s super receptive to our message, and I was able to speak a good portion of the time.  I know he´s getting baptized.  We didn´t have correlation with the ward mission leader, but we did meet with Emilio.  Emilio is this investigator we have, and he´s been taught a lot of times and now progressing a lot.  He was able to open his heart to us a lot too.

Now saturday was a LONG day because we did a lot of walking.  With my gps watch, I measured 2 miles from our piso to the church.  We walked to sports at the church in the morning and played/had piella (because it was Rita´s farewell, a girl who is going on a mission).  We left to go back to piso and shower and change to go to a visit that night.  We went to the church again to talk to some of the friends who were at a birthday party for one of the ward member´s son.  We then traveled another mile out of town to visit an investigator.  I shared the story of when we prayed for help when we were on scout camp this summer (remember dad?) because we were talking about faith. We walked back to the church then back to piso.  So we did like 10ish miles that day and I was super tired.

Sunday was a good spiritual day.  Church was great and the spirit was super strong there.  We went to lunch at the Roja´s again and had more piella with octopus, yum!  Then went back to church to meet with bishop, but we never got hold of him.  It was a hard day for me because I wanted to understand what was going on in church and with all the lessons, but the stupid language barrier stopped me from understanding.  When I focus with 100% I can understand some, or at least enough to know what´s going on, but if I get distracted.  It´s hard to understand/concentrate.  We had a guy come up and gave a good lesson on church education and watched a video about famous mormons in history. that was cool.

Well I need to go.  Hope you have a great week and sorry but I can´t send any more handwritten letters during the week.  President told me that I can only do that on preparation days. so yeah.  Hope you all are well and talk to you next week.

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014

So I just finished writing my letter to president so you can just read that for the highlights of my week.  Some interesting things this week were: I ate snail for lunch with one of my investigators.  We were locked out of our piso on friday night and slept at the bishop´s house.  I helped in giving two blessings this week.  I also helped in two ordinations for aaronic priesthood on sunday.  We got takeout lunch on thursday and gave our grapes and juice boxes to a homeless guy.  We met a jamaican man on sunday who talked about how Jesus is the government and that was interesting.  I got a haircut monday and will send pictures next week (it was more like a buzz, but a little longer,  I miss my hair though).  We went to a catholic church on monday for preparation day.  Tomorrow I get to go on exchanges with another elder from valencia overnight and can´t wait.  Today we are going to make a pie because we have no money to go to valencia to play with the other missionaries because Elder westfall and I paid 160 euros to get the locksmith to open our door (he just used a card to pick the lock!!!!!!) and the hermanas have to go up to barcelona this week, so we´re kind of short on money.  I have two letters going home this week, so look for them.   Sorry that this letter is just a mess with random events and activities because I spent too much time writing to president and copying your letters and printing them off.

Well, I love you and want to let you know that I´m working really hard out here in spain and that I´m not homesick anymore, that I have not bad days but hard moments and good moments too.  This mission in tough and I wish people would have told me that earlier, but it´s a wonderful learning experience.  I Love the scriptures and I love the people out here.  The church is true and Christ died for us so we can live with Heavenly Father again.  I know that families can be together forever.  I love you and pray for you.  Have a wonderful week!


Elder Gonzalez


Monday, October 6, 2014

Hi Family

This week has been one of my favorite weeks so far on my mission.  I got to watch general conference by the use of "internet and other electronic devices.”  I´ll explain that later.

On Monday we mostly cleaned our piso and that was a hard work because we had to clean the entire kitchen because we had bugs everywhere and that was not fun.

Tuesday was fun because I went to velencia on a companion exchange and it was a nice change to have to be with a new companion meeting new people.

Wednesday Elder Alder (my district leader) and I went to an investigator’s house and taught her the plan of salvation and that was fun because her son in a week return missionary.  He was a machine and it was great to see how a finished missionary should look and act.  We also gave a blessing that night to a lady who lived on the other side of town.  It took many buses and train ride to get there.  I anointed the oil and Elder Alder gave the blessing.

Thursday we had zone conference and I got to see the missionaries from our zone and I was able to see president pace again and have a wonderful interview with him.  He is such a great guy and love him a lot.  I enjoy listening to him.  We took the train ride back and we had burger king too because we didn´t have lunch at the meeting.

Friday and saturday was mostly the same thing, but we mostly just talked to a lot of people and told them that we had conference and that they needed to come and watch.  However, on friday we went to help the sister move pisos and that was a fun night because it was 9 when we started and we had a lot of people help and it was about an hour later that we finished.  Their new apartment is so much nicer than ours.

Like I said we watched conference, but the wifi at the church is no bueno.  We had to go to a member’s home to watch conference and that was good because we used one of the laptops to watch general conference in english.  We watched the saturday morning live at 6pm and watched the recoding of the priesthood session at 11am on Sunday, had lunch then saw the recording of saturday afternoon then watched the sunday morning live.  I´ll never ever complain about conference again when i get home because it was a headache here.  We´ll just watch the sunday afternoon session later this week though.

By the end of today, I´ll have given 4 priesthood blessings on my mission.  i gave three last week and one tonight.  However, the organization here isn´t very good in castellon because the member we stayed with yesterday wants a blessing for his aunt but we have preparation day today and have things we need to get done and the members rely heavily on the missionaries to get things done.  just call your home teachers or the elders quorum president not us!!!

I love you family and hope you have a great week.

Elder Gonzalez

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hi Y'alll

So I just sent my letter to president and only have a few minutes to finish with this letter.
So the schedule here in my mission is that we start at 7:30 am and go to bed at 11:30.  we do this because people are more active at night than they are during they day because stuff starts shutting down at like 2-4 pm for lunch.  We do our planning on a monthly basis and not in the transfer week mode.  We still move every 6 weeks, but we plan our goals to be in a month.  Our goal as a mission is 650 baptisms a year and 60 a month.  We have a few people in our area who are really close.  We could have as many as 8 people with elder westfalla and I for these next two months.  It has been a fun week, but a hard week too because Ï really want to speak and help out in the lessons but I can´t because i don´t know what is being said.  It´s frustrating sometimes, but I try my best with what i have.  Today we are cleaning our apartment like it´s nobodies business because we have some bugs in our cabinets and i had to throw away some food because they got into it.  Boy, these elders need to know how to clean.  Well, I need to go and hope you all have a great week wherever you are.
ps:  The picture is of the bishop's son who left to argentina with the hermanas in the city.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hello Family !!!!! (from September 21, 2014)

So this week has been super crazy because I have no idea what I´m doing and I don´t even know what to say to investigators.  This spanish culture is strange and the streets here are super gross.  pets just go whereever and on every street corner.  It ALWAYS smells like cigarette smoke, and I hate the smell of smoke.  But what can you do?

So we had district meeting on thursday and i got to meet with the other missionaries in my district.  There are ten of us and two of us are new from the mtc.  Our district is the Valencia District and in our city it´s a ward of about 100+ members.  Last night we had a missionary leave from the ward.  Anyway, after the meeting we had pizza at dominos and boy that was super good. I broke my soda fast this week when i just had the desire to have sprite and bought a bottle at the store here.  I remember why i stopped drinking soda; it´s so good and i can´t stop.  our apartment is nice and kind of new, but we have really bad lighting there.  i hate it because it gives me a headache just trying to read.  I´ve been super busy that I haven´t had time to unpack.  We do have a washer though.  

On friday we had weekly planning and that was super long because we had to go extra long because i don´t know really anything.  We finally got out of the piso (apartment) and did some member visiting and met with an investigator named Amilio.  It´s hard to teach when i can speak very little and i can´t even understand what these people are saying because they speak super fast.  I have to focus super hard to pick up a word or two.

on saturday we went to the church to play sports.  By the way, our church is built like the ones in the US, but like cut in half.  It´s super new, like 2 weeks new.  It even made the paper here. so yeah, we played sports there and had cake because it was someone´s birthday.  we helped wash one of the member’s car at a gas station.

on sunday we went to 10am church and had priesthood class first followed by sunday school, and finally sacrament meeting. A nonmember came in after church and asked for a blessing and so the bishop did that.  We went to the Rojas’ house for lunch and had spaghetti and salad.  we taught about the book of mormon to this french guy who was living with the members.  My companion taught and i just bore my testimony.  We did teach a man named Pedro who is this catholic old man who just walked in the church that night and wanted to pray in the chapel.  We were able to teach him the 1st lesson, which was cool because he was super receptive to the spirit.

So that´s been my week.  oh yeah, on thursdays, we teach an english class and it would be nice if you guys could send me some grammar stuff in my emails.

I love you all so much and wish you guys a super week.  i´ll write you again on monday.  Sorry but no pictures this week because these computers do not have a memory card holder thing so i´ll have to buy one and use it next week.  right now it´s raining and i´m loving it.

Elder Gonzalez


Sunday, September 21, 2014

I'm Here (From September 18, 2014)

I made it to my first area and I´m just loving it.  my trainer is Elder Westfall and he is super awesome.  He´s from Southern California and he´s the best.  My first area is Castellón.  We´re right off  the coast, but we can´t go anywhere near the beach.  It´s just the two of us in the nice appartment and we have another set of sisters in our city.  Today we traveled to Valencia and had our first district meeting.  That was cool.  So we travled here from Barcelona and we took a 2-1/2 hour train ride from Barcelona and then took another two hour train ride to Valencia and 2 hours back, so i´m a little tired, but it's all good.  i´m just enjoying everything here.  i only have a few minutes to write, but on monday i´ll write more.  hope you all have a wonderful day and hope everything is good in your guys lives.  
Love Elder Gonzalez
ps i´ll send you my address on monday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Safe Arrival to Barcelona

Dear families of our new missionaries,

     We are pleased to inform you that your son has safely arrived in the Spain Barcelona Mission.  Hermana Pace and I, along with the two assistants, met him at the train station.  The group of missionaries we received is full of wonderful young men and women, ready to go to work. Their enthusiasm reflects their love for the Savior and we are grateful for the privilege of guiding them along as they serve the Lord.

     Every area in the Spain Barcelona Mission is unique and beautiful, rich in history and tradition.  More importantly, each city is full of children of our Heavenly Father, waiting to hear the glad news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

     Thank you for the trust you have put in us to shepherd your son.  Please know that we feel a great responsibility to guide and protect “our” missionaries.  We love your sons and daughters as if they were our own.  With the Lord’s help, we intend to make their mission experience in Barcelona the most memorable time of their lives.


President and Hermana Pace


Monday, September 15, 2014

Hi Everyone

From September 15, 2014

Hi everyone!!  I only have a few minutes to write because today is a pretty busy day and wish I could slow things down, but I can´t.  I packed a little on thursday and it made things easier for today.  So yeah our train leaves at 4 am tomorrow and so we´ll get a little sleep.  I can´t wait to meet my president tomorrow and start my mission.

so last week we stayed at the mtc for pday and just played soccer for like 2 hours and did some packing and took naps (except me because I wanted to study) and listen to a talk from holland from may.  He blows your brains out with his voice.  On friday we said goodbye to one of our teachers, Hermano Lopèz, and just had our last real day in the MTC.  On saturday I had a fun time at the park with my companion Elder Johnson.  We met a lot of people and did lots of talking.  It got me excited to leave for the field.  On sunday we had a great lesson from president Lovell and that night we had a talk from president and sister Jackson from the Madrid spain mission.  They were here because they were doing interviews for the madrid missionaries.  Today has been orientation on "how to stuff..."

Well, I´ve got to go and wish you the best of luck.  I will write to you on monday I think.  I´ll send you my address soon.

Love Elder Gonzalez.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tuesday's the Day!! (from September 11, 2014)

So on tuesday I leave by train at 4 in the morning to Barcelona!!!!!!  I can´t wait to go.  I love it here, but can´t wait to get out and go preach the word of God to all the world.  That means I have to pack (dang, that means washing and folding my clothes, and mom´s not here).  So that´s cool.  On monday, we´ll email that day, so look for that.
So last thursday I went to a museum and looked at some spanish art, mostly naked people and paintings of christ, mary and stuff like that.  Sadly, I couldn´t take pictures, but I did see that painting of "les niños" or something like that.  We watched a re-run talk of Elder Ballard from june, and he talked about not paying attention to the noises of the world.  So that was cool.
At the park this week, I talked to only 4 people and this one guy for an hour and a half.  It was great because he spoke in spanish and I just listened because I had no idea what he was saying.  He was smoking a cigarette when we were talking to him.  He didn´t accept anything we gave him, but we planted a seed.
Sunday we had a nice fast and testimony meeting.  The 60 of us were in a small room about the size of the the young women's room.  That´s our sacrament room.  we watched another video, a good video.  Also, it was my companion´s and mtc president´s birthday.  Also, shout out to sam, happy  birthday!!!
On monday we listened to a small devotional with president hinckley´s son which was super cool!  It was also the temple president's 50th anniversery. 
yesterday an assistant to pres pace came down from barcelona and talked to us for a few minutes to get us excited to go and serve. 
These past few weeks have been blending into one long dream.  I just need to get out and start teaching.  I love you all and pray for you guys every day and can´t wait to see you all when i get home. 

Elder gonzalez.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

1-1/2 Weeks Left (September 4, 2014)

Sorry if this letter is short, but I had to wait for 15 minutes for my computer to stop typing double letters.  Also my computer didn´t even turn on so I had to use a different computer, plus this computer is running slow.  What a morning.

So I went to the temple this morning which was a lot of fun.  But it´s hard to pay attention when you’re half asleep.

I loving the MTC, but I really want to leave and be out in the field.  We do 2 lessons a day and we go to the park every saturday and talk with real people and have real conversations, but there is so much I need to learn.

There hasn`t been a whole lot going on here in the MTC life, but I´ll do my best.  Last saturday we went to the park and my new companion was Elder Brog.  We talked with only 4 people.  On the metro to the park we talked to this Philippine lady who spoke English, got to the park and talked to another Philippine lady for 1-1/2 hours.  She was a blast to talk to because she was so receptive to the spirit, and she spoke English so that was fun.  On the ride back we met a man on the metro who was a member and was going to the temple. So yeah that´s the park.

On sunday we had a great day.  We had sacrament, a devotional with president lovell (who is such a nice guy.  I love being here at THis mtc because we see all of the missionaries and know most of them by name.  We get to talk to our president every day.  I love it here.)  And at night we had a guest speaker.  Actually it was speakers.  It was a family who became members years ago and raised a wonderful family.  It´s nice to see that what we do out here truly makes a difference.

THis week has been same old classroom work and studying.  One cool thing this week was that the native Russian speakers left after being here for two weeks and 6 new native Italian speakers came in.  this makes me want to go!!!!

So yeah, nothing much happened this week.  Oh, by the way don´t send me any more letters by snail mail because I´ll be gone by the time they get here.  Also dad, your dear elder doesn´t work here very well because they mail it from Provo and it took a week to get here.  Also, mom the picture on the card was a picture of the round-about where the city of Madrid celebrates when Real Madrid wins.  Sorry for no pictures this week because when the pictures load, it really slows down the computers and I start typing double.

I love you all and pray for you guys every day.  Sorry, but I need to go.  Today I´m going to a museum for p-day!  I´ll send some pics next week.

Love Elder Gonzalez