Monday, August 31, 2015

There are bumps on the road to missionary work, but the pioneers did just fine...

Random thoughts:

A member walks into the Vitoria chapel with tattoos and a t-shirt while we were having district meeting and asks where to do family history?  I later found out that he was a member.  The gospel does change people's lives.
Mom I'm good on scripture pens, but I would like some more regular writing pens whenever the next package comes, because too many people take my pens and never give them back.

A member received his mission call to Malaga!!! He will be leaving in November.  His name is Giovanni and he is from Peru!

More lentil soup with rice!

A less-active whom we received as a reference from some elders from Bilbao brought a friend to church and they came to church on Sunday!  Miracles!

We did visits with bishop on Friday because he is retired and had nothing to do so he came and helped us with some visits.  Plus because we told him we were busy on Wednesday and Thursday because he called us on those days to see if he could come tag along.

I had some real Spanish licorice.  Black licorice, yuck, but still it's SPANISH!

We were doing our informe de pregeso, a paper we do for ward council, and this kid was just screaming his head off at the computer place.  The man was doing nothing to teach this kid manners or calm him down.  My brain cells thanked me as we walked out of there, a half hour

We got to clean the church on sat.  It was a great privilege to do.  I can't wait to do that more when I come home.

Long day in the streets this week.  Nothing much but contacting and knocking doors.

Please send electric hand held fan, the one you buy for a baseball game. I'm dying here in the heat, but now the temp is going down.

Man in car with a megaphone announcing a circus in town blowing his music off in the streets.  Turn it off!

I gave my first…just before sacrament meeting, councilor looking for a missionary to give a talk, because someone else couldn't give a talk, talk.  Luckily I was prepared with my prepared talk that I wrote just so I could be prepared for just a case when just before sacrament meeting a councilor is looking for a missionary to give a talk because someone else couldn't give a talk, talk. Scout motto, be prepared!  It was really good.  I spoke on the Book of Mormon.  The language was given to me by the Holy Ghost, and as I stood up and walked from the back of the chapel to the mike, everyone started to laugh, especially since the person before me was short and I had to raise the mike.

Small girl comes up to me and says "are you white?"  The answer was " yes...." :(

Because I'm prepping for lessons in September, see below

QUESTIONS:  do you have any insights about living in the world but not of the world?: do not smoke and drink, it is not cool.  Keeping the commandments are cool.
any insights on why we fast?:  because we ask for blessings when we have nowhere else to turn too, and we demonstrate our faith to the Lord.
  any insights on being honest.:  when you lie you do not go to heaven, so be honest and the Lord will bless you.
did the exchange student contact you?: yes, she contacted us on the bus remember....but also this morning she called us and said that she was on vacation and won't come back for 2 weeks.
how are your Gs?  Will you be needing a new pair or two in a Christmas package?: not white, I can tell you that, these washers don't clean too well. But no I think I will be good, thank you.

Well family this week was been a challenging one.  Bumps on the road to missionary work, but the pioneers did just fine without.  All how make their journey on the road to missionary work whether they be full-time missionaries or members who give missionary service to those who
"hunger and thirst after righteousness" will find struggles and challenges along the way.  Our experience in mortality is to strengthen our trust in God who will deliver us out of bondage, so to speak.  We were in a visit last week and I believe it was with an investigator or a member, I can't quite remember, but the problem was with marriage and financial problems in the home.  Many are struggling to make ends meet and find the strength to move on.  Then a scripture came to my mind, mosiah 24:9-16. The part that stuck out to me though was the fact that the Lord made a promise that it will only be God that will deliver us out of bondage, or in other words, our problems in mortality. 

"14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions." Combined with mosiah 21:5,6-8,11-12.
"5 And now the afflictions of the Nephites were great, and there was no way that they could deliver themselves out of their hands, for the Lamanites had surrounded them on every side."
"6 And it came to pass that the people began to murmur with the king because of their afflictions; and they began to be desirous to go against them to battle. And they did afflict the king sorely with their complaints; therefore he granted unto them that they should do according to their desires.
7 And they gathered themselves together again, and put on their armor, and went forth against the Lamanites to drive them out of their land.
8 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did beat them, and drove them
back, and slew many of them."
"11 And it came to pass that their continual cries did stir up the remainder of the people of Limhi to anger against the Lamanites; and they went again to battle, but they were driven back again, suffering much loss.
12 Yea, they went again even the third time, and suffered in the like manner; and those that were not slain returned again to the city of Nephi."

Two different stories, with different endings and different results but my point is that we try to fix our own problems with our own strength and power, but in reality it is by divine help.  There is power in becoming humble and asking for help from priesthood leaders and
kneeling before God in prayer.  I know this first hand.  I try to do all I can to learn a language, and master skills of missionary work, like fighting the lamanites with my own hands ,but just being kicked back to where I first began.  It isn't until we pray, and wait, and act on the impressions we receive do we find answers to questions and burdens are lifted off our backs.  This is the Lord’s church and we can receive divine help in all things.  Knowledge I prayerfully know in the savior’s name, amen.
Con amor
 Élder Gonzalez

sent from iPhone

Monday, August 24, 2015

What a Week Full of Miracles

Can I just start off by saying how awesome my companion is!  We have had a lot of miracles together ever since he has gotten here.  It has been a blessing to have such a wonderful companion.

Random thoughts from the week.

On the bus on Wednesday we were contacted by a lady who asked us if we were missionaries?  We said yes and this lady was super happy because she had been a foreign exchange student in Utah last year and just loved the family she was with.  She has a lot of desires to learn more and be baptized.  The only problem is we were so focused in talking
that she almost missed her stop and left without writing down her phone number, but we did give her a copy of our phone number.

 Last weekend I was in Vitoria because my other companion left to Barcelona to go home.  On Tuesday was transfers, and I was waiting for my companion because he was coming in late.  I was so bored.

This week I was really sick.  I finally called president Dayton after calling Hermana Dayton 3 times and he said that there is a virus going around the mission and I was lucky enough to catch it.  Hermana Dayton is the first person to go to if we are sick, but why?  Our president is a
doctor and a university professor.

I saw a John Deer tractor. In the alfalfa fields.

I got a blessing because I was so sick from my companion and the bishop here.

A missionary came home this last week.  His name is Johnathan cueva. He is from Ecuador and served in Leon, France.  His family picked him up.  Hint hint.......  We had a homecoming for him at the church, but I didn't eat any of the sugary cake because I was so sick.

I had my first pb and j sandwich on Friday because we are poor and have no money to buy food.  Thanks mom for the package again,  the raspberry jam tastes like home:)

We had district meeting in Vitoria, because they are our new district. The new zone leader is from Argentina.

I'm trying to relax more and not get too stressed out.  It is a hard thing to not get too worried over things like if visits seem to fire on you and no one wants to listen to you.  Just relax and eat more of mom’s peanut butter.......

We were on a bus one day ( there seems to be magic in these buses), and we contacted this lady from Bolivia named Alicia.  She's a grandma!  She knows the church because her friend was once a missionary.  She showed us a picture of her new 3 week year old granddaughter.  She is so good and wants to learn more.

Returned missionary spoke and had 3 main themes: faith, diligence, and obedience.

We had to pick up a family to bring them to church.  The family was just a very active one, and now that I think about it I think it was a joke that the bishop was playing because he sent a message to the family saying that two angels were going to come by and pick them up.  They
were a little disappointed when it turned out to be the missionaries. The wife was wanting Angel Moroni, or Captain Moroni.  Sorry.  But on the bus ride over at each stop more members were getting on until the bus was filled with just members.  Party bus!

Send pictures electronically or by mail, I like pictures:)

We got a new ward mission Leander, guess who...the new returned missionary!  The missionary work is going to sky rocket!

Week of miracles!

Well family that's the fantastic week I had.  Hope everything was good on your side as summer comes to a close and school and work begin anew.  I would just like to leave you with a message about repentance that I studied this morning that I wrote down in my study journal.  ( quick random goal that my companion told me to make is hit 2 meters tall, I'm 195 right now and short by 5, it's time to eat more veggies!).  I was studying this because we have a new investigator who is hooked on alcohol and cigarettes.  Repentance and addiction recovery
page 188 in pmg.  The lord has provided a means whereby we may be saved.  He is the light and the light of the world.  He is our redeemer.  Repentance is a long lasting commitment to refrain from committing sin.  It allows us to free ourselves of the guilt we have and brings us closer to our father in heaven.  We must do our part to receive the mercy from the Lord.  Sometimes it's hard to write down all these things on paper, so that's why we have a study journal so you can write and have them down permanently.  I know that Jesus Christ is the savior and redeemer of the world.  When we have faith in him we have confidence that he will uphold his promise if we 1) repent, 2) keep his commandments, and that's how we will have mercy applied upon us and receive a remission of sins.  We take the sacrament to renew our commitment of baptism and feel clean as the day that we were baptized,  whether that was when we were 8 or 58, it's all the same and we can receive eternal life and live with God again.  Family I love this work and it is truly a blessing to be a missionary for 2 years
and have no other care in the world other than knock doors and tell people this wonderful message about families and love.  I love you all and do pray for you every day.  Have a wonderful week.

Con amor,
Élder Gonzalez
Sent from my iPad


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

One Year

So we had transfers this week and I'm here in Vitoria waiting for my companion because he is coming from a place called Burgos.  His name is Élder wheat.  I'm here in Vitoria because on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 elder Ward took a bus to Zaragoza to catch a train to Barcelona

because he is ending his mission, he is going home.  After he left I took a bus at 5 to go to Vitoria and stay with the other elders till today when I go pick up Élder wheat.  By the end of this transfer, all of my companions will be home and I will not have any companions "alive".

Random thoughts of the week.

Mom, check last week letter, there was a capitalization error with the word tell me to double check, so ...yeah.... You double check. Hahahaha

Élder Ward bought me a candy called a Bon Bon at a store.

Élder ward’s last week, but I still have a year left!

We have an Erica here in Pamplona too, but she is from Honduras.

Long bus ride to logroño but I took a bunch of good pictures of the Spanish country side.  I have Spanish fever!  I love this country!

I saw a kid riding around in grandpa’s electric wheelchair, then he ran into the wall.  He scratched grandpa’s ride....

We had to run to catch a bus again this week and wow, Élder Ward can run fast!  We sometimes look silly because we will sprint to catch a bus and people will give us that weird look, but hey we are on the Lord’s time, plus we can't be late.

You know when you’re "ripped" when you can't sing and dance " head, shoulders, knees and toes."  I saw a guy who was just huge! But they’re pros and cons to everything.  And primary songs are one of those cons.

I did weekly planning by myself because Élder Ward had to pack.  Boring.

I bought some new pens, colored pens, because people keep taking mine and here in Spain you don't buy a pack of pens, you go to a paper shop and you biu pens individually, for way too much.

In Sunday school we read from the teaching of president benson, and the subject was about senior members.  1) we must respect and help them, 2) they must be the examples for us to follow because they have a lot of wisdom.  We love mom, even though you look different in the photos you sent me a few weeks ago.  I'm not saying OLD, just different, like your hair is longer than before.  I love you so much mom!  And some day you could be a senior missionary with dad in the HOT, HUMID JUNGLES....of Europe or South America.  Yes, the cities here are jungles.

I saw a man who landed in a field on my bus ride to Vitoria in a parashoot!

Élder turner, from CA, who is one of the elders here in Vitoria. brought up "the middle". I love that show, but it can wait in a year.

My stomach is so full from all the food we ate with the members this past week because of Élder Ward.

Well that's the end of my random thoughts.  I have lots to learn.  I read talks and stories of prophets and apostles and they have so much wisdom to share.  I love studying from them.  For example we have the liahona or ensign to read from every month.  I have come to really

love learning from president benson and packer, who have passed away, but their talks are so powerful and these man are blessed servants of God.  I love the time I have every day to study for an hour in personal study and an extra hour for companionship study.  If you are not feasting from the scriptures every day, your spirit is hungering and thirsting after  righteousness.  If we read we learn and when we learn we grow, and when we grow we grow closer to our Father in heaven.  I know this to be true.

I love you so much family and pray for your safety and success every day.  Have a wonderful week.

Con amor

Élder Jared Gonzalez



Monday, August 10, 2015

51 More Weeks, and I'm Not Counting!!!! Who Is?

No I'm not counting.  Sometimes those thoughts come up like once when I was in the Mtc and I just said "wow you guys, we have 100 weeks more to go on our missions" and everyone was freaking out.  But wow what a great experience it has been so far on my mission, one whole year and so much more time to work and give it all to the Lord. I also hit one year on the mission this past week!  My first year to me felt okay.  I had a lot of good moments and lots of miracles, and I worked really hard, but there are lots of areas in which I am still very weak.  The language still isn't perfect, and my teaching, organization, speaking, and confidence are still low or hasn't improved much, but I do know that it isn't by the day to day changes that we see improvements, but by the discerning of changes over long periods of time.  I have felt like I have changed 300% from who I was from the beginning, but there is still a long ways to go.

Random thoughts:

We made lentil soup this past week for lunch.  It was really good.  I like lentil soup!

We took a train to go to Vitoria for a specialized training meeting in Bilbao on Tuesday, because we were staying with the zone leaders in Vitoria then taking the bus to Bilbao the next day.  When we were on the train a lady comes out of the bathroom and slams the door shut really hard and the man who was waiting had to go to bathroom really bad couldn't get in because the door was locked shut.  He was dancing around and finally went to go get the train worker to come unlock the door.

In Vitoria there was a big fiesta because they were having a holiday called "vergin blanco" I think. And it was like a mini version of San fermines, drunk people running around with 2L of alcohol and smelled really bad of smoke.  Yuck.  Also when we were on the train, the bathroom was in use like every 2 minutes.  I made a joke to Élder ward, " how many people people will use the bathroom?....infinite."

I found my twin, Élder gonzález!  He is from Peru and is in the Bilbao zone.  He is new and a recent convert of one year.  Speaks really good English and plays the piano!  He's like a better me, but I'm still taller....

During the conference I looked over at president dayton's pmg and it was just covered with notes and stuff.  Hna Dayton was away in Ghana to pick up her son from his mission and will be back soon.

We have the privilege of doing the work of the savior. 


We were walking back to the bus station after the conference because there was a Chinese wok next to it and that's what I ate for my celebration of my "hump day,” and there was a travel guide store on one of the streets.  The picture for North America was Bryce Canyon!  It's Utah, my home!  Sadly I did not get a picture, but it's home!

We received a miracle when we got to the bus station after the wok that the next bus to Pamplona was for an unscheduled bus for 5 pm.  The ticket booth said the next bus was for 6 but we managed to get on the unscheduled bus.  Miracles!

I got your package mom, but mom!.... We don't chew gum as missionaries!  ¡Que desobediente!  Read the white hand book... Well actually the rules from pres pace.  But I still loved the package, especially the big jar of peanut butter and the jar of raspberry jelly and honey.  I was going to bring jam with me but now I have some!  Mom the people have voted and you are number 1 again!  But remember, I will always love my mom, even if they send things through the mail that are 1) illegal [medicine] 2) disobedient to mission rules [gum]
3) and downright weird [toothbrush and floss].  Who are you, my mom?

I had a "bundt cake" today.... Random.

On this bus this week a Muslim bus driver handed me a copy of an Islamic book in English because we see him all the time.  I felt so bad for not giving him a bom.  The next day we saw him and I handed the bom that I had and he graciously accepted it.  Miracles.

I baked a carrot cake from a Betty Crocker cake mix that you can buy here in Spain with instant frosting.  It's so good.  Eating a little every day.

I like teaching english, but it uses a lot of my patience to teach people.  We taught a kid who needs help with his summer school homework, and I was about to throw him, or myself, out the window.  Why is our language so hard!?!

Saw a Volvo with a sign GB on the back and the driver driving on the left side.

The bishop was helping us on Saturday with visits because he is retired and has nothing to do.  He helped some people from Italy with directions.

Talked to an old lady in the door of a building for like 15 minutes about how she could be with her husband forever, plan of salvation.  It was like a pmg scenario.

We were with a family for lunch this past week and they have young kids.  I was a little daddy trunky.  They're so cute!

Great Sunday.  Beautiful weather.  We saw the English people again and some from Australia, all from Kayla huff's mission.

Today we helped celebrate a birthday for an 83 year-old Spanish man.

Well family I've got to go.  I just want to let you know that it is only by living the commandment that we find true happiness.  Like in mosiah 5 today that I read, "there is no other name whereby we may be saved."  God leads this church with prophets and apostles.  I know this church is true and we can live together forever.  I have a strong testimony that this is true.  Keep the commandments and live with peace of mind that all is well on the Lord’s side of the line.  Have a great week and talk to you later.


Sent from my iPad.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Happy Pre Prehump Day from Spain


What was your first impression about PRes. and Sister Dayton?: second visit with them and it was great.  They are amazing people.  We'll be with them this Wednesday because we have specialized training this week in Bilbao.  I love them so much, it is truly an honor to be with

Random thoughts.

Mom your "singer" sewing machine is all over Spain and maybe all over Europe too.  We walked into a shop and it's like the 30th one I've seen.

Gave our seats to two old ladies on a bus.

Mom you said if you're on my favorite mom list, and I'm sad to say that you are, but you're number 6.  1) colemans 2) Andrews 3) vergars from castellón 4) Rojas from castellón 5) Roys a friend’s mom.  But good news you’re making it back to your number one spot because I got 2 packages this week and letters from you.  The voice of the people has been spoken and a recount is in order. Tune in for next week’s vote.

I saw two nuns in yellow and white chatting with a lady and helping someone cross the road.  Oh they're so cute, how old they are and trying to be like sister missionaries.  Just be baptized and put In your mission papers.  They're so nice.

Look this up for me please.  A protest in Pamplona with people on bikes with flags tied to the with AHT-TAN STOP with a snail.  What does it mean?

A less-active from Ecuador found her membership papers.  I'm so happy for her.  Now she can be a full member again and have a calling too.  She has been looking for a long time.  They had to contact slc.

The temperature is out of control.  It is hot one day, cold the next and the other is just perfect.  Humidity sucks because I was in Vitoria and it felt like 5degrees c.  Today is 35.

I saw a lady riding her bike with her arms folded when I was on a bus.  A thought came to my head " morning prayer"!

Everyone at zone enfoque had their iPads except me.  But that's okay.  I prefer books and notepads rather than iPads.

On a bus to Vitoria, I saw a Mercedes wagon, new, pulling a camper. Only in Europe will you ever see someone do something like that.

We passed by an investigator and helped her move by surprise.  We rang the doorbell and said to come help because they had a lot to carry.  Surprise service!

In Vitoria I had an intercombio and helped to find 2 Muslims become new investigators!  The Lord is preparing the hearts of his children.

Contacted a lady named Maria, and she is Spanish, has health problems but wants us to teach her the gospel tomorrow!  I'm very excited to meet with her.  She is very nice.

Got your packages but haven't opened them till Wednesday.

On Sunday a family from London came to church, and the oldest daughter just came home from Sydney Australia and knows Kayla huff.  Her name is Amelia stumbrury.  She'll be here for a few more weeks so let her know if she wants me to say anything to her.  Also Elder ward was nice enough to translate the whole sacrament meeting for them.  It was a really good fast and testimony meeting.

It's hard to tell if we have investigators in church during the holidays because there are a lot of new faces visiting.

This morning a fly was flying in an invisible box for no reason.

Well family I have to go because I have to get my hair cut for the meeting on wed. And to have another Dominican fhe with 2 families and see what happened to Kevin, our fetcha for last week.

Well family I know that God lives and there is absolute power in those words.  We grow closer to him in sincere prayer and dedicated scripture reading.  As long as we are on God's side we are safe, but if we go one inch in the Devil’s side we are helpless to him.  Our testimonies are the anchors in a world of changing values.  Christ lives so we can be together forever.  This is my testimony.  I know it to be true.  I love you.

Con amor
Élder Jared Gonzalez