Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Five Transfers in Pamplona!!

Hi family!  This week was really good week!  I had so much fun.  This week’s letters will be very short, because of transfers and just being busy right now trying to help the other new elders here in Pamplona.  My new companion is Élder Montalbo from Centerville, Utah.  He is from my group and the first companion who does not have more time than me in the mission.  He is BIG.  he is 6'4" and I'm just a little taller than him.  We look scary walking the street talking to people.

Random thoughts:

I want missionary stories from your missions please.

Limpia , Roxana, guadaloupe were three people we met on Friday who asked where the church was because they are new to the area.

Bumped into Maria and her mom.  They are investigators we met in May and just got in contact with.

We got so board while ringing timbres, doorbells, and so we played rock soccer with a stone in front of a door and a member walked out and just gave us this weird look.  It was fun though.

Elders from Burgos came down to do splits with us because my companion and his companion left to go home.  I killed two companies in my mission!

General conference week!!!!!

Well family this is all that I have for now.  Remember that the savior is our guide and we are to follow his light.  This weekend we get the chance to have listen to the prophet and apostles.  Prepare yourselves now for the voice of the Lord to speak through his servants.  We will see and sustain 3 new apostles.  Invite those who are less active or nonmembers to listen to the voice of the Lord if at all possible.  If not, pray for missionary opportunities.

Con amor
Élder Gonzalez

Monday, September 21, 2015

Got Home Teaching?


Welcome to September everyone.  The temperature is 7 degrees Celsius and I have no idea what that translates into the U.S. Standard.  We have calculators on our iPads but I'm too lazy to check it.  I do know the math equation is Cx1.8+32=F so...I still know math:)

Right now I'm on a bus going to Vitoria again, because that is what we seem to do here is go to Vitoria, to go play soccer, futball, with the zone!  I'm so excited, we played last week and it was a lot of fun.

Last week was a very hard week, maybe one of the hardest weeks I have had on my mission, at least emotionally.  I had been feeling really down, so we are going to see what will happen with this final week I have with Élder wheat because this is his last week in the mission because he goes home this next week, and more than likely I'll stay here in Pamplona another transfer, hopefully with more missionaries.

We had a really good week with the ward members.  We have seen a lot of success with teaching and ward motivation in missionary work.  After stake conference, many members are pumped to have the Ward split in the near future.  I am really excited to see what will happen.  For example, one thing this ward needs to do to split is to increase the number of home teaching and more elders.  So yestrrday the elders quorum president made all the elders go and do home teaching.  I was adsigned with another member and we went and visited javier Montoya, a member who works for the national police force, or the army resumed, I
don't know, but in order to get to his home, we had to go through security.  They had to scan my DNI card, my European citizen ship card for Spain, and then we went and visited Javier.  He is such a great guy.  He's the Sunday school president.  He was a missionary in Malayan in 2001 and showed us his gun he has in his piso.  Super cool!

Random notes:
It has been a windy week this week, and the weather has turned to a cool fall temperature.

We had a visit with this new Romanian family we met on the street last week and it was a great visit.  We didn't plan on it, but we taught the family a proclamation to the world.  It was a really good lesson with a great family.

This week i have been making my prayers a little more personal.  At night I would walk into another room of our piso and I would close the door to find myself alone and kneel down and pray out loud.  Sometimes they were good prayers when I could feel the spirit, and others were prayers of complaints to the Lord.  Missions are hard and requires all the energy you can consecrate to the Lord.  Sometimes I get scared what happens to my letters when I write home.  I don't know who reads them or what happens to them, but I will say this, this week was a testimony rocker.  I really had to think, is mission good for me?  Should I stay here? Am I doing any good in the world when even though I take 2 steps forward, I feel like I'm going 3 steps back.  While others are maturing I still feel like a boy.  I still look at people and still wish to be the Victors and the Sam Garrards of the world because they are people that I do look up to, even wanting to be more like dad.  Anyway, that is enough complaining from me for one day.

We made a virtual tour of our church last week with our iPads so we can show the investigators what our church looks like because that is what president Dayton wants us to do.  Plus new pass-along cards with a photo of the church.

I had the biggest desire to play "the pyramid" a game show from the 70s for English class, but need more time to come up with a plan on how to do it.  Instead we played jeopardy.

A member had a picture that said " if you need help from God, call these numbers : John 14:13-14; Matt11:23-28; Luke 11:9-10; Isaiah 55:1-3; rev 21:3-7".  So if you ever need something. give him a call.  Operators are standing by to take your call.

Well, family there isn't much more that I have to write other than the fact that I love you and I know the church is true and I have a testimony that the church is true.  I was sitting next to one of our investigators in church yesterday while my companion was with someone
else.  I sat there and in like 10-15 seconds I felt good, like I was in a place I needed to be.  The church here is just as true as in Utah.  I still feel like a popcorn in a bowl of hot oil, like when
tony makes his Sunday batch of popcorn, I want to jump out but I'm not cooked through yet.  I still want to pull my hair out and my head still wants to explode, but stressors make stress receptors stronger to stretch the capacity to be stressed.  I think the movie " it's a wonderful life" puts it in plain terms for all to  know just by reading the title.  God is the father of our spirits and parents only want the best for their children, and if you spare the rod and spoil
the child how can anyone grow and mature?  We receive challenges to define our characters to make ourselves that much closer to the savior of the universe. I don't know what the Lord has planned for me but I pray that I'll keep him planned in my life's daily schedule.

I love you all family.  Hope you have a great week.

Con cariño,
Élder Gonzalez

Ps sorry about missed words, this bus is really shaky and autocorrect
is just off today.

Sent from my iPad


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bilbao and Vitoria Zones, September 2015

Random thoughts:
Vitoria bus ride, man smells like beer.

Dad I'm glad you shared a short testimony 2 weeks ago.

We met a lady named Janni from Peru while we're asking for directions and bumped into her.  Mom is a member and she loves the missionaries. She wanted us to write in her Book of Mormon but her bus came and we didn't have enough time to.

My companion wrote, "bad spellers of the world, untie!"

We had noodles and pesto sauce for lunch because Élder wheat is a great cook.

I was wowed by my letter that I sent last week.  Testimonies are Written on earth and in heaven.

We taught tongue twisters in English class.  Challenge: say Irish wristwatch 5 times!

We made our way to the center of town and as we go there we were in crowded streets trying to find a member’s house late at night.  I am so glad to be a faithful member of this church.  There were a lot of drunk, smoking teens out in the streets.  The member is from Peru studying here working on his masters.

I have been studying the atonement all week long in my personal study.  It was a great experience and I found a lot of new scriptures that I have never before used in lessons.  For example 2 Nephi 2:6-9 is a really good one that I found that helped me out, plus the conference talks that we have access to on our electronic devices.

Mom I have homework for you, a thought came to me when we were at the member’s house who is getting his masters.  He got a scholarship to be here and it hit me, I have till march to turn in scholarships for snow college, please could you start getting in that for me please.

So how does it feel not being a teenager anymore?: yes I feel like a young adult, the same things I used to like have less importance to me, except running.
So did anyone sing to you? : yes
Did you let anyone know it was your birthday?  : no but they did get the answer out of me because they kept bugging me about it and just made it a big mess.  Leave me alone! But no it was great and I had a lot of fun.
Speaking of which, dad was wondering if you could pick up some T-shirts (size XL or XXL) to bring home like the one about Pamplona's Running of the Bulls?:  Shirts for who, dad?  If you want anything from Spain, put the money on my card and I will pick it up.
This week was just amazing!  I had so much fun that I just can't hold it in.  First, on Friday we finally got in contact with this lady whose name is airnara I believe, don’t know because it is a vasco name, but she called herself Noma.  She's 17 and last year was part of the foreign exchange student program to Utah for her "junior year".  They don't have seniors or freshmen here in Spain, and I don't know how the school schedule works either.  Anyway we met her on the first day of the transfer 4 weeks ago and then later she went on vacation.  We met with
her on Friday with a member, took a bus to the church where there was a ward dance at the church, and we gave her a church tour and she was just befriended by the youth here. She's a prepared daughter of God.  While in Utah she went to manti high school; church; trek; young womens; general conference; the Payton temple open house; the manti pageant; and loves all of it!  She was so surprised when she found out that there was a Ward here in Pamplona.  Miracles do happen and she will be baptized here, I just know it.

 At the dance, the JAS set up a surprise birthday party surprise, somewhat secret, and I got a small cake and they sang happy birthday to me even though my birthday was on Sunday...
Saturday was the adult session of stake conference here in the Vitoria stake.  It was really good and I enjoyed listening to the speakers.  A member of the seventy from our stake came and spoke to us.  The transmission was by television/Internet.  President and Hermana Dayton spoke too!  But the best part was that on Sunday we caught a bus at 8 to go to the university of Bilbao because we were going to have live session of stake conference.  We have 3 buses from our ward in Pamplona, the biggest ward in the stake with only 2 missionaries!?!  We were in a small bus with the JAS, who again sang happy birthday.  Stake conference was a blast.  We were in an auditorium of the university.  We had some 500-600+ people from the
two mission zones of Bilbao and Vitoria, which are part of the same stake.  President Franco from Brazil made an amazing promise of revelation, split the stake in 4 years!  Meaning a lot of work on our part, AND the members.  It was a wonderful promise that president Franco made.  Plus the new stake patriarch was called, a member from our ward, president echarri, who used to be the old 2nd councilor of the stake presidency.  Great man with a powerful testimony.  The old stake patriarch was too sick to work.  Plus we went back to Pamplona
to have a quick visit with a new investigator we found who really wants to learn the gospel, but fired on us, hopped on a packed train to go to Vitoria for zone conference on Monday in Bilbao, so we stayed overnight. The train ride was packed.  We were standing because there were not any more seats because of the students.

The ticket man came down and told us there was more room on the other side of the train so we went and found a group of 4 seats with one woman in it.  We sat down and started talking with her.  She was a lady from Ecuador.  Right before the train pulled up to the station I handed her a copy of the Book of Mormon that I always carry with me when I travel, because you never know when you can place a copy of the Book of Mormon and change a person’s life.   And yesterday the zone conference that we had with Bilbao was great.  We had a really  good talk from President Dayton on the early history of the Spain Barcelona mission and the experiences of the first missionaries from 1969 when the mission opened up.  No chapels, no members, just 8 missionaries and some Books of Mormon.  And Hermana Dayton did a great talk on positive thinking.  Great people.  I saw Élder westfall for the last time because he goes home this transfer.  He is finishing training an Élder named Élder gonzález.  So great to see him again.  And that was my birthday weekend marathon!

I have a testimony that families can be together forever.  I reflected a lot on abuela this weekend.  It marks the 20th anniversary of her passing away and my birth.  I know we can be together forever. I love you all so much and I love the work I'm doing.  I can wake up every
morning and say this day will be a great day even though our visits will fire and we will have little success that day, but we can still have a great time doing this work. I love so much my family and hope you all have a great week.

Con mucho amor
Élder Jared Gonzalez.

Monday, September 7, 2015

hello, random thoughts:

on monday it rained a lot and we got super wet as we were making our way to the church to write email with our ipads.  a guy on a moto was trying to switch lanes and pass the bus.  Bus vs moto, bus wins!  the man backed off when the bus driver honked at him.

I had swollen ankles last week and bruises on my feet too because my shoes are old and the insoles have expired,   So I bought new ones and hope that they´ll last for a long time.

My companion told me " ties are antennas to the spirit".

We had a zone enfoque this last week and we had intercombios too.  So I went to vitoria again and after the enfoque we went out to dominos and had pizza as a zone!

During my intercombio, I was with Elder Turner from CA, and we met a man from Morocco who was atheist.  He didn´t really want anything, but we were able to talk about the Book of Mormon and later became very interested to learn more.  He took the copy and was so prepared by the Lord that he was patient as he waited for us to find a tarjeta with the phone number of the elders in vitoria.

Elder Wheat and I were walking and doing some passbys in an area of Pamplona and we passed a girl with a sweater that said "Arizona State,” so I called out to her and she stopped and said no that she was not from the US, but she did have a friend that was Mormon and was some what interested to come to a church activity.  mini miracle.

Soccer is legal in the Spain Barcelona Mission, aka El Faro.  When president pace was here he took soccer away because of the amount of accidents due to this sport, but the angel of pres. Dayton, he made Soccer legal!  yahoo!

I had my last visit with Roberto, an investigator we have from Romania.  He lived in a small candy shop and is moving back to his country because he cannot find work here and is trying to make his way to the UK.  I finally gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon in romanian and signed it, so check my email to see if I have an email from him.

On saturday we went running in the morning with Elder Wheat because he too is a cross country runner!  I am very slow and out of shape...

power of prayer, see bottom.

a member helped a lady with a handicap with her legs cross the street.

Mutual was on friday and we helped out the young men by sharing some missionary videos and teaching about missionary stuff too.  Good kids, good ward.

I wrote a quote that I thought of during zone enfoque last week "we teach a lot but when those we teach keep not their commitments, they receive no promise and gain no testimony."

We talked to a man on a bench last week and his name was Rafael.  An 85-year-old spanish man with hair sprouting out all over his head, nose, ears, chin, eyebrows, etc.  Dad is not equal to this man, if so trim the hair on your face.  You should not have hair so long that you need a lawnmower to cut it all.  But if you are like dad and have a great mustache, it’s okay!

Sacrament meeting was really good this week because of fast and testimony meeting.  If fast and testimony meetings were like basketball, we saw the starting team rush to the pulpit in a matter of minutes.  We had so many people talk that it pushed time of sacrament meeting over!  Also a man walked into sacrament meeting and he had a big beard and jeans.  I thought nothing much about this man, until he went up and bore his testimony about the restoration and I was just outstanded.  "thus the commandment, judge not" thomas s. monson.

I made fried eggs for breakfast this morning.

we rode bikes again and with to the citadel thing, the big castle/fortress in the middle of town.  FUN!

was wondering if you eat corn on the cob in Spain.  ?? : sometimes, but mostly no.
Did you have your Visa renewed already?: No
do you have to go to a specific immigration office to get that done? : yes in barcelona

This week has been a roller coaster of emotions.  Missions are great don´t get me wrong, but they can be definitely hard and discouraging at times.  This is the hardest work that I have ever done in my life.  My companion and I were talking this morning and he said the apostles are like missionaries.  They teach the Gospel 24/7, but they do it for their entire lives and not 2 years or 18 months.  The difficult thing about missions is that you can´t relieve stress the same way as if you were at home.  I´m here in a different country trying to teach something that has been so very important to me and that can help men and women find peace in this life and in the life to come.  The language is comparable to my confidence.  If I am confident in what I´m doing I can be sure that my language skills can adapt to the circumstances, but if my faith and confidence are decreased, I can see the same change happen with my language abilities.  The life of missionary work can be so difficult because you are helping others come unto Christ by means of faith, repentance, BAPTISM, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  It is not an easy experience because in order to repent and come unto Christ, they need to make and keep commitments.  As a missionary, you are to teach clearly in a way that the spirit can teach and testify to that person for them to make a clear decision about what road to take to lead to happiness or Missouri( yes I know I spelled the state).  Therefore, there is a great responsibility placed on your shoulders as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.  You have companions by your side 24/7, leaders, and family to you out too, but sometimes you are to walk a path only you may go and your testimony and your strength are what power you to keep on moving forward.  Yes, at times I have had thoughts of wanting to go home and the temptations of the adversary play a big role in making you quit and give up, but the Savior is at the helm of this church.  He has all power.  It is when we are on our knees that we are empowered from on high.  When we keep that continual communication with a being who loves us beyond our comprehension, he can bless with blessings that "we will not have room to receive it".  This past week I took 2 nights and went to a quiet room of our piso and closed the door in order to be alone and knelt down and offered up a prayer unto God out loud.  I spoke to him in the same manner that I would to a friend or family member, personal.  I explained all the troubles of my heart to find peace to my troubled soul.  I received no visitations of angels, neither visions, nor a literal voice of the spirit speaking to me, but a warm feeling that came to me.  I don´t know the meaning of this feeling completely, but I do know that it was a sign from God.  It may be that I am working the best of my abilities and he is pleased with that and I should too, because I have felt for some time now that I am not doing enough and that my best is not sufficient for the Lord and this sacred work in which I am a part.  But I do feel a little better now and I pray that this week will become better and that I can find that THING that will make my mission just the most spectacular time of my life.  I pray that I can "pray and not faint", and speak and have the spirit testify of the truth and that the investigators will hear, feel, and understand and progress towards covenent making, covenent keeping latter-day saints.  This was/is my great depression, which I have had much of in my mission.  I have had many moments of depression, but I am trying to see the moments of good and happiness more often because if I look for negativity I will be sure to find it.  As we put Christ in the center of our lives, read, pray, and go to church, we take upon his name, and his yoke, which is his labor that he has asked to us to do Mosiah 18:8-10 plus sacrament prayers, we will receive added strength to endure trials with patience and love.  We will have a stronger testimony of our savior Jesus Christ and his atonement, the working of it in our lives with great abundance.  I wish I could speak as an angel and a trump and tell the world this joy, but little by little, we learn and grow.

I love you so much family and pray for you all with a heart full of love.  Have a great week and thank you for the birthday wishes.

Con amor

Elder Jared Gonzalez