Monday, February 23, 2015

Buenas Dias de Espana!!

First off to answer some questions from Dad:

How are the barber shops different there in Spain?:  They are run by people not from this country.  They are normally Romanians or like the shop I went to 2 weeks ago in which the guy was from Pakistan and spoke really good english.
do you feel that you are getting a good cut?:yes
Do the barbers use a blade to shave around the ears?:yeah, it´s like they use a kitchen knife and scrape your skin off.  But the guy we went to has this motorized hand glove and gives massages for free afterwards for only 5€!
do they use alcohol to clean you up?: no, just some powder
Do you have access to the Church magazines?: yep, once a month we get stuff from the mission office and we get church magazines.
Does your piso have glass windows on the front of the building?:  It has a glass door with a small glass wall.
Does it have the numbers 37-39 on the front door? just wandering I was googling the other day.: yes
Is there a big park east of your neighborhood?:  Yes

Are any of the members of your ward into bullfighting?:  I´m not sure.

Did you hear last weekend about a toxic cloud somewhere in your area?:  Yes there was a daughter of a member here and she lives with her dad in the country just north of here and had to evacuate from school because of it, but I don´t really know any more than that.

Are you still running?:  Yes we just went running this morning.  Every week we go running to the beach and run on this cool boardwalk that has a statue of a monkey with a beer bottle and so we call it the "monkey run".  I took a picture this morning.

now questions from Mom:

When you carry home groceries, do you use a plastic bag?  If not, what is utilized in Spain?:  We get plastic bags at the store, but they give us a strange look like "you tree killer", so we have the big reusable bags which help a lot because we buy a lot of food for four elders.

You're in a ward that split last summer.  Do both wards meet in the same building?:um...yes but we meet at 11:30 rather than at 9 =)

Why did the ward split if only 50-60 attend on Sunday? :  There are more on the ward list but got lost/confused when the ward split and don´t know what ward they are in and either go to the other ward or went inactive.  For example we visited a lady and her daughter the other day and she thought she was part of ward one, but we had to tell her that she is in ward two.

Do you feel that the native Spaniards comprise as much as 50% of the membership?  I know that you mentioned how many members are actually immigrants, like your Russian Bishop.:  the number of actual spaniards who are members is like 20-30% here, and so, no there are not that many spaniards.  And the ones we do have are older and were the pioneers that are still alive and active from when the church made it´s true growth in the 60´s and 70´s.

Have you worn your coat more than a week's worth?:  No, but I still need to keep it until next February because if I get transferred to the north next winter, I´ll die!!!  But no I haven´t used my coat, only like 3 times.  But I have used the inside liner which is nice and light weight.

Well this week has been really fun and very spiritual.  I have felt my testimony grow stronger.  I enjoy this work, I really do.  I have seen so many blessing that I am grateful for.  For example, I´m grateful to have the time to read from the scriptures for an hour every day.  It is truly a blessing to be spiritually nourished by the word of God.  We can´t do this work without the blessings from heaven.  I love the blessings that we get.

We had a visit with Rafael last week and it was frustrating because he turned a little sour because he went off on how we don´t understand his circumstances and that we are not in tune with normal life, but in fact we are.  We see the world in a different view than anyone else.  We can see the effects of sin and wrong choices.  For example I see TOO MANY ways of how smoking and drinking have destroyed the hearts and souls of the people here.  There are some people who are just existing, not really even living.  It´s so sad.  I just want to dump this information of the gospel in their heads, but it´s impossible because they are to use their agency and act rather than be acted upon.

Well, I need to go.  I love you all and pray for you guys.  This gospel is true and I know that Christ lives and that we can talk with God, our Father in Heaven, through prayer.  Prayer is real and we will always have "10G" with it.  I know that we can´t grow without trials.  I´m grateful to have to learn a new language and have to rely on the Lord for my strength and success because he is the way and the truth and the light and there is no other way.  He is our Lord and master.  We can do all thing through Christ.

I love you all and will write to you all on tuesday because next week is transfers.

Elder Gonzalez

ps we saw "meet the mormons" this week it was great!

pps we had a bbq at a member’s house who´s from ecuador and it was SOOOO good.  Sadly, I didn´t take pictures, but it was super good.


Monday, February 16, 2015

2 more weeks of the Transfer so MAKE IT FUN!!!

Wow this transfer has gone by so fast. It´s crazy to think about it. This past week has gone by fast too. I can remember when we were playing basketball and soccer last preparation day. It´s so weird how crazy the time flies on the mission. It doesn´t really fly when you’re just contacting, but if you have a lot of visits, then it goes by super quick. Oh by the way it has been a little more than 6 months since I have been on the mission. 6 MONTHS!!!!! wow I didn´t even realize it until the day after when an investigator was asking me how long I have been in spain and all of a sudden it hit me, 6 months.

So answering a few of dad´s questions: How are the pharmacies different there in Spain from what you are used to seeing here?: They sell only simple medicine and baby products and beauty products like weight loss stuff and skin care stuff. I would want to work here. Also they are on every corner. Just look for the green neon signs.

Have you gone in to buy any medications there?: Yes I bought some vicks last week for my nose and one my first weeks I got some simple medicine that hardly works to clear out my nose and open my ears.

Do they have any brands that you are familiar with? like Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Tums, Chap stick, Colgate, mouth wash, etc.: Yes they sell ibuprofen but only in a 30 amount supply at 600mg in pill and also in a powder you add to a drink. No tylenol and I haven´t looked for tums yet but they do have chap stick and colgate and crest toothpaste plus mouth wash.

How are your clothes holding out? (I just realized that you have been out for 6 months already, isn't that crazy? ): they are doing fine. The washers here are less than par and leave yellow stains on them, but it´s better than hand washing. My socks have seen better days. I think these washers do more damage to my clothes than I do.

Are the members there feeding you as much as in your last area?:The members here never fed us. We might get one meal a week, and I was sick 2 weeks ago and missed that meal. We ran out of food last week on thursday and so I had to spend a few more euros at the DÍA to keep us alive for the rest of the week. It´s four elders in one piso sharing the same food. Are the members as diverse( from different countries) as in your last ward?: Yes we have a russian bishop, lots of members from Equador, a few from boliva and chile. We´re trying to get some more members active again from the dominican Republic. We´re trying to get some Romanians baptized, so yeah a really diverse ward. oh and one from mexico!

Have you given a talk in church yet?:no :)

This week has been super crazy. First we had to go to the hospital so Elder Streiff could visit a dermatologist for his really bad acne problem and then we later went back on wednesday to get some blood drawn for him before he takes his medicine. We found out that he´ll be starting one acutane, or something like that. I was really trying to remember my schooling on why he would need to get a blood draw for an acne medication and it hit me that the medicine is supposed to clear his whole skin and this medicine can hurt his kidneys and stuff. Also, it felt nice to be in a hospital again. I felt a little normal, minus the fact we had our mission insurance denied on us a few times and we were fighting the evil battle of insurance and hospitals!!!!

Also something else that was super weird that happened this week was that there was an emergency transfer of the hermanas that were in our ward. I guess that there was some conflict within the companionship and that one of the hermanas had a really bad anxiety attack. One hermana stayed and moved into a trio in barrio 1 (just so you all know I´m in Badalona 2) and the other went to another area in the zone. I bought them a pastry to help lift their spirit the day of the transfer.

We also are going to have specialized training this week on thursday and Friday. It´s going to be so good. We will be combining with the barcelona zone for this and we´ll be taught by president and sister pace and the other leaders!!! I´m so excited.

On saturday we had to help the same lady, tanya, that we had to move the washer from her 4th floor piso building 2 weeks ago. This time we had to move two bedframes like a half mile to her piso across town and up to her 4th floor. It wasn´t too bad until the her dad, who is a bishop for the barcelona 3rd ward, started getting mad at me and started shouting at me in spanish/catalan because I don´t have the skills of a moving man. I´m a missionary!!! Oh I had to use a lot of patience with that man and his daughter. We finally got back to piso and changed and got ready for the afternoon. We visited a recent convert and her family. Her daughter was baptized last year too and was visiting for the weekend. She and her mother were just hitting me hard with the fact that I can´t speak spanish (castellano) very good. They would say "oh, how cute, he can´t speak spanish" a lot of humiliating and not so nice things. I really wanted to just punch these people, but again I had to use patience and force a smile on. That day was tough, but I learned a lot about patience and have to endure pressure and knowing that the Lord is on your side and that he will help you as you put your faith and trust in him. Also, thank Heavenly Father for the blessings that he has given you every day.

Well Family, this is all for now. I love you all so much and will write to you all next week. Have a great week. Love, Elder Gonzalez

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hello From Spain!!

Sorry family, but I don´t have a lot of time right now.  My keyboard is super bad and I had to do this survey for the church and was having difficulties with it because it was a little weird.

This week has been a blast.  We have had a lot of good visits.  The missionaries in our district have 2 baptisms this Saturday, and it is a good motivator for us to work harder.  Elder streiff and I had to go to the doctor’s office so he could get some stuff for his acne.  Later we just hung out in barcelona for a few hours and did some sightseeing.  later we played some sports.  The weather is warming up here.

This week has been a little tough too.  I have felt like I can´t be the missionary I wanted to be, but I know that the Lord will help his weak servants, but overall this week has been a blast.

I got a little sick on thursday with a stomach bug, and finally today I am feeling better.

to answer dad´s questions:

Do you have hot water in your shower? yes and lots of it.

Do you have a laundry room in your piso? we have an old, broken washer, but no dryer, just a rack.

How far do you have to go to get groceries? about 10-15 minute walk to a mercadona (like a smiths but smaller, a lot smaller).

How many members make it to church on Sundays? like 50-60

Is it a ward or a branch? a ward, just split last summer.

Do you have to travel for district meetings? only a 7 minute walk to the church.

I want to end with sharing my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ with you all.  I know that through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, we can receive true peace and happiness in this life.  All that has been made wrong can be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  The mission is the best and I hope all can feel the blessing of a mission and seeing the world and our lives in a new view.  Read and pray every day.  I love you all and hope you all have a great week.

su amigo, su hijo, un misionaro,

Elder Gonzalez


Monday, February 2, 2015

I'm Super COLD!!!!

The humidity here in spain is killing me.  It looks nice outside, but it´s super cold!  Today for preparation day we went up on a mountain and took a bunch of  pictures and afterwards my hands were so cold and stiff, plus yesterday I had to pull out my big, winter, thick, coat because I was so cold, and it still didn´t save me!!!!!!!!!!!

I can sumerup this week in one word, fired.  We had SO many people cancel on us and were not home and did not answer their phone.  AH it was so hard and so long.  We had very little luck in the mornings frpm 11-2 and after lunch and language study we would be in the streets from 5-10 trying to contact and pass by our investigators.  It´s so hard and LONG too.  There were some days that I thought would never end.  We have been doing a lot of knocking doors.  We would go find pisos to see if they were open, then climb to the top and hit every door on the way down.  There are like 4-5 floors in each piso. So many people slammed doors on us, or gave us what I call the "european finger" when they would shake their index finger at us.  Also what´s something else that makes me have a stupor of thought is when people say they are athiest or believe in nothing or say they are catholics, but don´t do anything.  There are a lot of Jehovah witnesses here and they are really hurting the work here because people think we are them all the time.  We still smile and wave at them, and they give us a pass-along pamphlet.

One thing that has helped me out this week a lot was having a positive attitude.  When things fell through and we thought things couldn´t get worse, I would think positively and count my blessings.  For example "at least it isn´t raining" or "maybe the next person will listen".  When things go wrong with me, mom would always say "you have one of two choices, you can get mad and be down, or you can think of the positives."  It´s so true.  God knows us and knows that we have challenges, but if we pray all we can, the Lord will be happy of our work and will always help us to do better.

Language is tough and people are mean, but I have a testimony of this gospel, even if it´s just a small testimony.  I´m still going to get up at 7:30 and work, work, work until bedtime at 11:30pm.  I know this church is true and I´m going to work till I drop dead.  "The Lord is on our side, so fear not what the wicked may say" but the Lord will help us.  I know that the book of mormon is true and I know that we must be Christ like to all and never belittle other people (even if other missionaries talk about Jehovah witnesses and catholics behind their backs).  We are the example to the believers.  This week, let us go about our lives as Christ-like servants and be a blessing to someone.

I hope you all have a great week and I will see you  next week.


Elder Gonzalez