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