Monday, October 26, 2015

"Yo sé que vive mi Señor" himno número 73

Random thoughts:

We were walking one night and we came across a community band and choir singing on a rainy night.  They were really Spanish because they had guitars and accordions.

We met a recent convert/ less active in the street, one we were trying to get in contact with, and God placed her in our path.  Miracle

We were walking one day and I came upon this sign, translating into English, "Lazaro, an insurance company".  Life insurance anyone?

We knocked doors one day and we gave a Book of Mormon to a man from Argentina.  The spirit in that book will touch his life.

We went to Burger King one day with the less active/ recent convert I mentioned above, and we had lunch with her at Burger King because she only has time during lunch time. I ordered an ice cream and they didn't give me my chocolate sauce:(

We asked a man what a word meant in Spanish in the street and the man said it meant "hurry" and quickly ran off saying that he was in a hurry too.

We contacted another less-active too because we were contacting one day and found out that she is from Columbia and have a visit with her on Wednesday.

We had tacos for lunch one day and they were soooo good!

We were on a bus and we contacted a lady who has been living here for 48 years. she was from New Jersey.  She knew that we were Americans because we are 6 feet plus and have Mormon name tags on.

We saw a cool sports car I believe it's called a mazarati or something Like that.  It has a trident as its symbol.  It was really nice.

We met another American family from St. Louis, Missouri.  They have been here in Europe for 40+ days.  What an adventure.

The streets flooded.  A pipe was accidentally broken and water flooded a street.  We made paper boats and sailed them down the street. :)

Élder Montalbo gave a talk on Sunday on baptism.  It was really good.

We had beautiful weather on Sunday.

We had lots of people at church on Sunday.  We sang hymn 208 in Spanish.  It's our mission song!

Our G.P. Teacher has just been released and so he gave his last class on Sunday, and gave a goodbye compliment to all the people that were in class, which were a lot.  Even to the investigators he gave praises and compliments.

We had a really good lunch on Sunday in a pueblo with an Ecuadorean family.  It was really good food, with a beet salad!

Well family I love the savior.  I have the wonderful chance to read from the New Testament as an assignment from president Dayton.  I have been going slow right now in my reading but I have discovered the blessing of the holy bible that we have now days.  It is a blessing to be able to read of stories that have been preserved from generations to generations.  It is not a complete, accurate account of ancient church history, but with modern prophets and the Book of Mormon we can learn more who the savior is and why he is so important.  I really liked matt. 5 the sermon on the mount, pres. Monson said " the greatest sermon given by the greatest person who ever lived."  Read your scriptures and receive your daily bread from the
Lord by means of prayer and meditation.  I love you all and hope you have a great week.

Con cariño,
Élder Gonzalez

Monday, October 19, 2015

Missionary Work is a Great Experience

Questions from home:
Question;  When you have visitors in church are there members that go out of their way to meet them and make them feel welcomed  in church?:  some yes others no.  I hope you go out of your way to greet people.

  Do you introduce them to the visitors so they can have a member come in contact with the visitors?: we make a great effort to so they keep wanting to come back.

  Do you have an ongoing Gospel Principles class for new members and visitors? : yes in all of my areas there have been teachers that teach the class.

who teaches it ?   : a member named Stalin Castro from Ecuador.

How many are in the class on a regular basis?: like 12.

Random thoughts 

I accidentally was trying to tell a less active that she looked young by trying to say 25 as a joke, but my mouth misinterpreted and said 50.  Now every time I see her she always laughs and I laugh because she keeps saying she's 50 but in reality she's 44.  Oops

We were on a train to Vitoria and there were a lot of young teens that were saying bad jokes and mean things.  There was also guardia civil on the train too.  I so glad to have for strength of youth.

I want mission stories.  Mom, dad, tony, victor...I want to hear some mission stories just for fun to read and treasure.

Mom, please send me electronically a copy of the baptisms for this year to me so I can send them to the office for an end of the year video, plus a hand copy of Claudia's baptism in December to send to her for a one year celebration of membership!

This week was a good week.  We saw many miracles and saw success too.  There won't always be stormy days.  The sun has to come out some time.

I would like to start off by sharing a great miracle that we had this
past week.  We were knocking doors one day and we were late on time so we skipped the first two floors.  We had extra time the other day so we decided to finish knocking that building.  As we came down to the first and last floor and the second to last door, we knocked and nothing.  We were just on our way to the last door and out the building when we heard a voice coming from the door of 1,D.  Normally when someone says "who is it?"  you normally answer back and say " we are missionaries", and then they shoo us away without even opening the door, but we answered back and said that we were missionaries.  The man opened up the door.  He was 25 years old and invited us in.  He is very catholic, but we went in, sat down.  He told us that he was in a hurry but we could share a quick message.  We explained who we are and told about the Book of Mormon.  He took ingress and invited us for
Sunday lunch.  It was an incredible visit, one I had been praying for.  It shot our enthusiasm through the roof and gave us desires to work harder.  The visit yesterday was terrific.  No fecha yet, but little by little.

We met a lady right after this visit and met a lady in a bakery named Money from Bulgeria.  She is really nice, young and full of energy, plus we bought pumpkin shaped cookies for Halloween, and no they do not celebrate Halloween here in Spain, only all saints day.

We had a primary choir for the baptism of 2 children of this ward here from active families.  It was really nice.

A man from Logroño came to our church and shared a message about addiction recovery.  He is from the US, and has a strong THICK American accent.  I had to think to myself how is my accent?

Mom dad, hope you two are having FHE.  if no, join up with another family and have one.  it is a sacred time during the week to be together with the family and fill our spiritual lamps.

We cannot teach anything unless we first have a testimony of it in our own lives.

We played a fun game for noche de amigos with the JAS called bear, fish, mosquito.  It's like rock, paper, scisors (sorry have no idea how to spell that).

We contacted a man from Taiwan who speaks very good English named Elvis.

I just want to let you all know that I do have a testimony and that a mission is the hardest 2 years I have ever done/will do.  It is not easy but "salvation was not a cheap experience"- Élder holland.  Our savior Jesus Christ is our redeemer from the fall.  I have the chance to read the New Testament as assigned by president Dayton to begin a journey to study about the life of the savior.  I have only but read the first chapter of Matt, but I have first started off studying what is the bible and how and why it is so important.  It has gone through hundreds of years worth of translation and false dedication to get to our homes and we sometimes treat it lightly.  I know I have, but it testifies of the savior as well as the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ.  We must use the bible to gain a testimony of the basic Christian doctrine and read from the words of modern prophets to help us fill in the missing gaps.  I love this work even if it makes me want to pull my hair out:)

Well family I love you all and wish you a great week.

Con cariño

Élder Gonzalez 

Sent from my iPad

Monday, October 12, 2015

Spiritual Questions Require Spiritual Answers (Élder Anderson in the oct g.c. in 2014)

Hello family how are you all?  ¿Cómo estáis?  This has been a good week.  Lots of work demanding out attention.  This is a sacred work with much to do by those who have been called to thrust in their sickles and bring God's children to the restored truth of the
everlasting gospel.  Which gospel is it?  The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of the living God.  Big words from someone who has a hard time understanding a second language and who knows nothing about technology, and yes mom I do remember what UTI means and BP. I might be a little slow, but I can still remember that Warfarin should not be taken with vitamin k or garlic.  Nor should your darks with whites go in.  

Elder Montalbo, Elder Gonzalez, Elder ?, Elder ?

Things here in Spain are good.  People still want very little with religion and street contacting is a hard work when half your day fires, and yes dad I do have plan B's- F's and G's.  "Now is the time for members and missionary to work together."- pres monson.  The members are key to growth in the church.  I am convinced that there will be far less baptisms from this ward here in Pamplona from just missionaries without the support from the ward backing us up.  We have lots of potential but we are struggling to connect the ward to investigators, by having a member with us in visits that will lift and support those who are investigating the church.  I feel bad sometimes because I have been here for a long time and I haven't seen an explosion of success, but that might just be me for not looking hard enough.

Random thoughts:

Élder Montalbo and I have seen more miracles together though.  We were contacting again with our server questions and we contacted this lady who has heard some lies about the church and this left a bad taste in her mouth, and didn't really want anything from us.  Luckily we were literally next to the church so we asked if she wanted a tour of the church.  She said yes and so we took her inside and she was really impressed.  We also gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon, and she was very excited to read it.

We had a great visit with a less-active named Martha from Bolivia and she had a friend in the visit.  As we were talking, her friend, Angela, did not want anything to do with us, but we got her to participate in the lesson and as soon as we started to read from the Book of Mormon
in 1 Nephi 3:7 she loved it and started to read more and so we gave her a copy to read at home.  Tonight we are going back to talk to them more about the book.

People are like weeds or plants.  They may look small on the outside, but have deep roots underneath.

The Barcelona trains in Cataluña were shut down because some people destroyed train tracks and communication cables, leaving thousands stuck all over Spain.

We had a really good enfoque de zona!

The march of the "guardia civil".  We saw the national police march down the street.

We gave 2 Books of Mormon to two Brazilian ladies this week!

We saw a man with a u of u hat, but he didn't want anything from us.

Another miracle we had this week with Élder Montalbo was when a man right before church walks in to see who the Mormons are all about because he looked us up on the church's website.  It was a miracle that he found our website and not an anti-Mormon website. Plus he
stayed for all three hours!  We have a return visit for him on Wednesday.

I completed a true fast, with a fast, prayers, testimony, and meditation.  I sat in church on Sunday and had the thought to share my testimony, and I did.  These are the 4 things I said, 1) Heavenly Father 2) Jesus Christ 3) Joseph Smith 4) Thomas s Monson

Mom questions:

Are you still doing push-ups?  : no
What do you and Elder Montalbo do for morning exercise? : running and some push-ups
Has it cooled off enough to wear suit coats or sweaters?  : president Dayton has eliminated that rule, but if the weather is cold we are to wear coats and sweaters.
Will you be able to go visit the village from where the Doria gentleman from whom you descend lived? : send me an exact address please and I will see if I can go, preferably by this week, before Sunday.

I just want to leave you with my love and a quick spiritual thought, October 2011 Élder christopherson. "In a general conference address entitled “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,” President Boyd K. Packer provided this analogy:

      “In April of 1847, Brigham Young led the first company of pioneers out of Winter Quarters. At that same time, 1,600 miles [2,575 km] to the west the pathetic survivors of the Donner Party straggled down the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Sacramento

      “They had spent the ferocious winter trapped in the snowdrifts below the summit. That any survived the days and weeks and months of starvation and indescribable suffering is almost beyond belief.

      “Among them was fifteen-year-old John Breen. On the night of April 24 he walked into Johnson’s Ranch. Years later John wrote:
      “‘It was long after dark when we got to Johnson’s Ranch, so the first time I saw it was early in the morning. The weather was fine, the ground was covered with green grass, the birds were singing from the tops of the trees, and the journey was over. I could scarcely believe that I was alive.

      “‘The scene that I saw that morning seems to be photographed on my mind. Most of the incidents are gone from memory, but I can always see the camp near Johnson’s Ranch.’”

      Said President Packer: “At first I was very puzzled by his statement that ‘most of the incidents are gone from memory.’ How could long months of incredible suffering and sorrow ever be gone from his mind? How could that brutal dark winter be replaced with one brilliant

      “On further reflection I decided it was not puzzling at all. I have seen something similar happen to people I have known. I have seen some who have spent a long winter of guilt and spiritual starvation emerge into the morning of forgiveness. When morning came, they
learned this:

      “‘Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more’ [D&C 58:42].”


Preparation Day, October 12, 2015
 Well family I love you so much and hope you have a great week.
Sent from my iPad

Monday, October 5, 2015

I love general conference

Jared and Elder Montalbo, aka Jared's body guard (this guy could be a linebacker, 6 feet 4 inches and muscles)
Wow what a crazy week.  I have been running around town trying to help the other missionaries and trying to help my companion in my new area of town, which is very weird because it is not the same area that I started out with.  So now we are working really hard because we have a baptismal goal of 3 for this month and so we have to work really hard to find the success and the blessings from the Lord.

Random thoughts

We contacted a woman from Mexico last week who is here in Pamplona studying for her phd in applied physics in medicine I think.  She was more or less interested in our messages, but we had a nice chat with her and got her phone number.

We watched half of G.C. In English and Spanish.  It was okay in Spanish, but I like to feel the emotion and the spirit of the leaders of the church testifying of the truth of the gospel.  It is a blessing to know English and can listen to the prophet without a translator.  I was really happy during the priesthood session that the translation did not put up the music in the rest hymn, and I was proud to sing in English.  It felt really good.

I saw my old companion Élder Dixon again.  His parents came and picked him up.  He was visiting his old areas and so I got to say hello to him this weekend.

This week Élder Montalbo and I worked together like a well oiled machine.  It was really good.  We received a great idea from our ward mission leader on how to better contact   people.  We make a questionnaire and start asking people questions to get their interests.  It worked out really good. We even handed out a few copies of the Book of Mormon.

Mom, I want more church pants from mr. Mac because my old pair have a few holes and are losing their luster.  Maybe like one pair.

Brother Anderson Emailed me and said that the fathers that have missionaries out have to share a 2-3 min. summary of their child.  Well, I have thought about it and I have 4 points of my testimony for you.
1) "1. I am a child of God, And he has sent me here' Has given me an earthly home With parents kind and dear." Hymn 301
2) d&c 76: 22 "And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!"
3) d&c 135: 3 "Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it."
4) the family, "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."

These are a few points that I wanted to share with you all that I have been thinking about this week.

I got a haircut today. 

Mom questions
When is the last time that a member fed you and what did you eat?: Saturday, we had shrimp with the shells on with rice, I didn't really like the shrimp because there was no flavor.
do you as a male missionary attend women's conference?  : no because we are ELDERS, not sisters, duh.
do you need a new pair of shoes?  : no
When was the last time you went for a run? : a few weeks ago.
You never did say where Elder Wheat is from...?  btw: sandy
Have you met any elders who are going to Snow? : yes Élder can't remember

Well family I just want to let you all know how grateful I am for the blessings of the Lord.  We have the opportunity to write letters by means of iPads.  We have the standard works and the words of the living prophets.  I am in a wonderful country serving a mission with clean water and speaking Spanish!  I know at times this mission can fee; like a hurricane, not just a rain cloud, but a real test of character and obedience of the Lord. I pray that "25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;" Abraham 3:25.  This is a time of consecration unto the Lord.  Many Ward members , mostly the JAS,YSA, don't like my complete exact obedience because in the past some elders
liked to goof off and "hang out".  This is not the time.  Missionaries are the workers of the Lord for 2 years with all their hearts. We must have an attitude of obedience to all the Lord’s commandments, like president monson said,  we must keep all of the Lord’s commandments.  I am very grateful for the Lord’s leaders of his church.  The apostles and prophets are called by God to direct his work.

Family I love you and I'm continuing to press forward in the Lord’s work.  Have a great week.

Con amor,
Élder Gonzalez