|Bilbao and Vitoria Zones, September 2015|
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.