Monday, January 26, 2015

Tibidabo Temple

The Temple of Tibidabo in Barcelona, Spain, visited by Jared on January 26, 2015. 

Hola de Espana

This has been one of the hardest but funnest weeks on the mission yet.  We had a TON of visits this week, not to mention that the city here in Badalona is built on a mountain and so the streets are super steep.  My legs would get tired.  Thanks to lots of running and trail runs at home, I´m prepared to work here.  we did go running this week.  We went 3 times this week.  This morning we ran out to the beach and ran on the dock and saw the sun start to rise up from the east on the Mediterranean Sea!  It´s so weird but I´m in spain!!!  The spanish is coming so well, but I still have a long way to go.

That’s so cool that Landon is in the MTC right now.  It felt like I was just there.

Anyway, Elder Streiff is perfect to work with.  I love him so much and he is such a great missionary.  We teach very well together and everything seems to click well with us.  We have no disagreements or have such opposite personalities that it make us hard to live with.  He´s the district leader by the way.  By the way, I live with the zone leaders too.  They are great.  Elder Camachu and Elder Davis.  Elder Camachu is from spain but was born somewhere in South America and was baptized like 2 years ago and now he´s a missionary.  Elder Davis is from farmington, UT.  I feel like the black sheep here some times, but we have a blast in piso.  We bought a ton of food last week, but somehow seems to be gone by the end of the week.  We make good, healthy food for lunch.  Last week we made fried chicken and had "a big salad" (seinfeld).  We have 4 hermanas in our distirct; Hermana Lopéz from spain, I think, who speaks only spanish (castellano), Hermana Ratliff from CA, Hermana Fenn who is SUPER tall (she´s like 6´2or3") from UT, I think, and Hermana  Wallace, again from my first transfer in Castellón from uraguay.

The members here are super nice and I love our bishop.  He´s this Russian who has a high mousy Russian accent.  I gave my testimony on Sunday, and I was surprised how well I gave it.  My Spanish, Castellano, is really improving.

I don´t have a lot of time left, but one super funny story this week was when we were teaching a lesson on a park bench in front of this school.  Just as we were standing up to say goodbye, Elder Streiff knocked his chapa in the storm drain (by the way, he is a ute fan and took a year of schooling at the U before he came out on the mish).  There was a lot of people around and they saw that we knocked his chapa in the storm drain, so I undid my shoelace, grabbed his magnetic chapa band, tied it to the shoelace and fished the chapa out with my shoelace.  It was super funny, but a lot fun.

This is a "chapa"

Anyway, I want to finish with my testimony of the Book of Mormon.  We cannot do this work without this book.  It is written for our day and we can draw nearer to God by reading, repenting and applying the atonement into our lives.  Let us read this book every day and feed our soul with the comfort and peace that can only come from our father in heaven.  The book of mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ because It testifies of Jesus Christ and his life and love for us.  We must read and follow him.  We have made covenants to follow him and he promises us blessings when we keep his commandments.  I love you all and I will write you all latter.

Elder Gonzalez


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hello from Badalona

(Jared's new location of service.  Note:  Missionaries are not allowed to visit the beach)
Yes I did get transferred from the wonderful city of Castellón and now I am in Badalona, Spain, with my new companion Elder Streiff from montana.  He´s is an awesome guy.  I took a 2-1/2-hour train ride to get to barcelona and had to carry all of my stuff by metro to my new piso.  It´s really nice, but really small.  We bought a TON of food;  we will be eating like kings for a while!!!  also my companion likes to run!!!!!!!!! even better!!!  So my old companion’s dreams of having me be an office elder was shot down, but I do live like 30 minutes away by metro.

Anyway, starting from Monday we did mostly shopping for hermana barker´s last preparation day.  We did some less-active visits. nothing too exciting.

Tuesday we had a district meeting for once in like 4 weeks because of holidays and zone meetings.  We had a nice district photo and saw the numbers from the past few weeks and they were good because our goal of every companionship getting a baptism by the end of the year came true!!!  We did splits that night and it was good to see how well we were able to organize things.  I went on a split with the ward mission leader and we taught an investigator named Juan who has been investigating the church for a long time.  I was amazed to see how well I can teach and speak in a short period of time on the mission, and I can stand my own ground without having to rely on my companion.  I love how the Lord prepares us to do grand things without us noticing it.

wednesday we had a visit with a new investigator named Nadir.  I might have mentioned him in a past letter. He is from sudan and is muslim.  He speaks english and likes to rip and stab in the roots of our beliefs.  I am very grateful to have a testimony on faith because I may not know all of the questions to every answer, but like President Benson said in PMG " we are not obligated to answer every question.  Everyone with be backed up to the wall of faith and will have to make their stand."  We may not know everything, but we walk by faith rather than by sight.  It was a testimony "checker" to see how I´m doing with my testimony and what areas I need to work on.

Thursday we had some busy visits and some open areas where we had no idea what to do with our time.  I hate spending long periods of time just going out and contacting because it can be good, or just pointless.

I´ve got to go soon, but the week was great and I gave my testimony in church, passed by a bunch of members and said goodbye to them sunday and yesterday.  I will miss castellón, but I am grateful for the love and the help from the members there.  I love you all so much and will see you all next week.

Con amor,
Elder Gonzalez

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Few Pictures From August through December of 2014

Real Madrid Stadium

Madrid LDS Temple

Packages are expensive to send, plus often are stopped at Customs and recipients spend a fortune retrieving, so to be on the safe side this missionary got this Christmas package stuffed as full as possible.

Claudia's Baptism with Elder Westfall

the ward hosted a baby shower for one of the members, elders invited

Paella, considered Spain's national dish

One of the best things, in my opinion, is the scheduling, including gospel study, every day!!

Catellon Ward, new as of August 2014


Good morning family from good Castellón, Spain.

For your information next week will be transfers and so I´ll be writing on tuesday.  My companion Elder Harris has condemned me to be an office elder.  That’s all right because he´s dying next transfer. hahahahaha.  Also we just received word that our new president and his wife will be president and sister Dayton.  They come in July.  I am sad but also happy to have new leaders.

We had a fun but crazy week.  We had interviews with president pace and I enjoyed talking with him.  He is such a wonderful man.  I hope you get to meet him after their mission.  I had an intercombio too and it was fun.  It´s nice to have a change.  Also Elder harris had to go to barcelona to do residency stuff and so Elder Slauson and I stayed and did a lot of work.  It´s nice to be busy.  we also did some really good less active passbys this week too.  I enjoy being here in castellón.  The ward here is great.  Also the weather here right now is so nice!!!  I´m just loving it.

I love my companions even if they are slow in the morning and I have to nag them about having to be out of piso at a certain time and have to clean up after ourselves.  I´m not a mom nor will I ever be, so yeah.  Thanks to teaching me how to cook mom, it helps.

There isn´t a whole lot that happened this week.  Hermana barker is going home nedt week so we are shopping today.  In spain they have a holiday that´s like black friday but 28 times bigger.  It´s called rebajas!  it´s a 4 week holiday of low price shopping.  So we are going shopping today.  yahoo!

What more is there to say?  Did you hear what happened to sam coleman? that sounds interesting.

My spanish is getting better little by little.  The food here is great and I´m starting to cut back on food so I can save some money. (ps don´t send me checks or dollars because they don´t help me at all because the dollar is lower than the euro and it´s too much of a hassle to cash in a check here, because grandpa and grandma sent me a check and so I´m just going to send it back.  THanks though)

Spain is great, except for the homeless people who are all over the place.  I really want to help them but I don´t even have the money to help myself, also because it´s a rule.  I love mercadonas which is the equivalent to a harmons or a smiths.  Chinese stores are on every corner just like farmacias y tobacs stores are everywhere too.

Well I need to go, but I just want to leave with my testimony that when we follow the prophets they will lead us and guide us to safety.  read the book of mormon every day and pray to receive the spiritual strength we need to our everyday challenges.  just like we need to eat to feed ourselves physically, we need to feed our spirits with the word of God.

I love you all and pray for you guys every day.  Have a great week.

Elder Gonzalez 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year

This week I had the wonderful opportunity to have a wonderful baptism.  I can personally testify that the Lord does prepare people for us to find.  Dany was an investigator that we found from a member.  Actually, the member contacted us and said that he wants his family to be taught.  He is a wonderful person.  The baptism was okay, but really funny.  We had to get to the church at 8:30am to fill the font.  the drain would not plug and the water would not get hot.  After a long time everything worked.  We had the baptism (my first one!!!!!) and as I got into the water it was super cold.  As I was saying the prayer/ordinance thing, my mind went was super embarrassing because I hadn´t practiced this before (i know what I´m doing for companionship study now!!!) and so the 2nd counselor had to help me by whispering the words to me.  Plus, as I was putting him under the water I wasn´t ready for him to fall back and so he kind of fell in and made a big splash (kaplush!!!)  it was funny and neither he nor I will forget that.

Anyway, on new year’s we went back to the roja´s again.  we played risk (we found a risk game in our piso last week and I am not quite sure if it´s okay to play it, but we did).  we also played spoons and I won!!!  On the holidays here in spain we can stay out till 11pm, but be in bed by 11:30.  I was awake in my bed till midnight.

Nothing much really happened this week.  We did some more post christmas caroling with the ward.  A missionary is leaving this week from the ward here in castellón.  She is going to the madrid mission--had a going away party last night.

Well I need to go.  I love you all and love this work.  I had the pleasure of finishing the book of mormon this week.  I can testify that it is a wonderful book.  Christ speaks to us as we read.  It is the keystone to our religion.  If we know the book to be true, we know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet leading this church today.  We as members are to flood the earth with this book.  I challenge you all this week to send a small scripture this week or something you like about the Book of Mormon on social media about this book.  One of my favorite scriptures is Alma 7:11-13 because I think of my mom when I read it.  I know this book is true and that we can all be saved by the love and atonement of Jesus Christ if we repent and come unto him.  I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen

See you all (vosotros) next week!!!

Elder Gonzalez