Monday, November 30, 2015

After all is said and done, does it persuade you to do good?

Choir for conference with visiting Elder Christensen

I have had a wonderful week here in Terrassa.  Lots of walking and door knocking and fired visits, but a very positive week indeed.  I am finding the joy of missionary work.  I hope it isn't that "click" that you get when you finally get missionary work and then you blast through the rest of your mission and the next thing you know you’re on a plane going home.  Élder smith is my district leader who goes home next week at the end of transfers.  Yes, next week is transfers because we only had 4 weeks in this past transfer to prevent a transfer and mess the week of Christmas, so next transfer will be 8 weeks long.  Fun...

 Random thoughts from the past week:

We contacted a man named victor who is from Ecuador as we were making our way back to piso last Monday.  It was a miracle for us.

We had specialized training last Wednesday and we learned a lot of stuff.  The church in Barcelona had most of the electricity cut off and so we had to meet in a cramped room on the top floors with 2 zones.  We learned a lot.  I got a flu shot too jst like last year except that the people who were giving the shots were doing it really fast.  1...2...3 in and out and done.  Lots of the elders were scared while the hermana did theirs really quick, but not me.  I just looked the other way, poke and done.  Plus I got a bunch of letters from family!  Thanks guys!

We saw meet the Mormons as a ward activity!

We visited a less active and his nonmember wife who had knee surgery last week he was in the hospital.  It was nice to build our relationship with them.  We brought chocolate turron to share with them because all worldly problems can be solved with chocolate, right?...

We knocked a door last week and a woman named Eva and her daughter named Gicelia answered.  Well, we knocked the door and the daughter asked who was it, stuck her head out of the second story building and we got them to open the door.  The mom wasn't very interested because she has the " i believe in God in my own way" syndrome, but we were able to talk to them and hand a copy of the Book of Mormon and the girl was super excited to read the book.  If all else fails, the girl is going to read to book and later in life she'll want to get baptized, but we hope we can change that soon.

I am thankful for the Holy Ghost that gives me comfort.  One day we were walking and it was a cold, humid night.  I was humming a hymn and the spirit touched my heart.  I was filled with warmth.

We had thanksgiving at the Johnsons, an American father who served here in the Barcelona mission many years ago and now lives here with his family.  We had turkey with sweet potatoes and homemade stuffing, but no mashed potatoes.  But we had pumpkin pie and I made an apple pie too!  It wasn't the same, but still a great lunch!

The other elders had a baptism last week and I helped Élder smith get the family to the church in sabadell, another city south of terrassa, with a nice chapel with a font, because we don't have one.  We missed the bus and so we had to walk to the church, and the pregnant mom was huffing and puffing but with faith made it to the church.

We got on a bus that night with someone who threw up on the bus floor and it smelled bad.  One lady almost slipped and hit her head, but I caught her arms.  The old ladies were getting mad at the bus driver.

In the fifth Sunday combined class on Sunday we, the elders, helped the bishop hand out copies of the Book of Mormon to members to hand out to their friends.  Also, our bishop always has a copy with him where ever he goes in his work bag to hand out.

Well family I love this work every day a little bit more.  At first I didn't because of the stress of missionary work, but the table has turned and I am facing life with a little more spring in my step.  In my last interview with president he asked me what is my favorite thing about being a missionary? And I said the time I get to spend one hour reading from my scriptures.  It is such a blessing to have a little bit of time meditating over the scriptures and really getting to know about Jesus Christ, especially in the New Testament.  Something hit me while I was studying for gospel principles class on Saturday.  We were chosen before we were born, found in the gospel principles book in chapter 2.  it says "The scriptures teach us that the prophets prepared themselves to become leaders on earth while they were still spirits in heaven (see Alma 13:1–3). Before they were born into mortal bodies, God foreordained (chose) them to be leaders on earth. Jesus, Adam, and Abraham were some of these leaders. (See Abraham 3:22–23.) Joseph Smith taught that “every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was [fore]ordained to that very purpose” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 511). However, everyone on earth is free to accept or reject any opportunity to serve.

We were not all alike in heaven. We know, for example, that we were sons and daughters of heavenly parents--males and females (see “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). We possessed different talents and abilities, and we were called to do different things on earth. We can learn more about our “eternal possibilities” when we receive our patriarchal blessings (see Thomas S. Monson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 82; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 66).

A veil covers our memories of our premortal life, but our Father in Heaven knows who we are and what we did before we came here. He has chosen the time and place for each of us to be born so we can learn the lessons we personally need and do the most good with our individual talents and personalities."

A little long, but some brain food to think about for a while.  I reread my patriarchal blessing like 4 times this week and after the course of my mission I should have that thing memorized because I have read it so many times.  I love this work that we are engaged in doing.  The powers of the gathering of Israel are truly at work.

I just want to let everyone know that there is a new Christmas video on and that I think you should watch and share it with a friend.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful post thanksgiving week and jump into the Christmas season with a happy spirit of giving and service.

Con cariño

Élder Gonzalez 

Ps put more family photos on family so I can use to show investigators or stories please if you have nothing else to do.  Thanks Erica for the pictures and letter.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving! Feliz dia de gracias!!

Well family another week has passed as a missionary in the service of the Lord.  However this week was a very special week, if not my favorite week of my mission.  A very uplifting week too.  We had district meeting on Tuesday and a special mixed zone conference with members of the 70 and area presidency with our beloved mission president and his wife and wives of the 70.  Luckily I was transferred to the Barcelona zone to be part of this great conference about missionary work, the atonement, and the Holy Ghost.  We saw president Dyches from the area presidency, Élder Christensen, who was the President Dayton family’s home teacher, and another area 70 from Spain but I do not remember his name though.  It was very spiritual. Then on Saturday and Sunday we had stake conference in Lleida.  It was a blast.  We went to the adult session in sabadell here close to Terrassa and then on Saturday we took a two hour bus ride to Lleida , a city very far away, for the stake conference in a university auditorium and got to listen to the same talks like in Bilbao in September.  Also, it was my companion’s birthday on conference Sunday, like mine!  It was a boastful week with miracles and blessings left and right.

Random thoughts:

We saw a man jump the fence to catch a train......

I sang in the choir for the conference on Wednesday called "come unto him.” In Spanish it does not exist but we found a translation "Venid a el".  It was written by Élder Christiansen.

We had a terrific visit with a part member family.  The couple is from Ecuador, but the husband was baptized in Los Angeles.  He is very active and both work in the hospital like dad.  She has been meeting the missionaries for like 4 years now, but has doubts.  We
planned to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, lesson 3, but as we discussed faith in Jesus Christ, we just spat out all the doubts that she had about the Mormons and baptism.  We answered her questions and reassured her that we are not here to tear down her catholic beliefs but to add to them, beginning with faith in God.  We are going by tonight to give a blessing to the husband who is going in for knee surgery tomorrow.

We were walking one night and contacting and I felt like we needed to contact this old Catalan lady.  Normally the old people want nothing to do with religion, but she was so nice and loved that we gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon, but when we asked for a return visit she
flat out said NO!  We had a prayer with her in the street and asked again if we could have a visit, but she said thank you so much "guapos" but no.  Her name was Purificación.

I was sick with a bad cold all week again.  When I get sick it hurts a lot more because you still have to work when you feel sick.  My ears where plugged all week and are beginning to pop.

We were placing English fliers for our English class one morning and we saw a brand new Astin Martin car!  Cool!
We spent a lot of time in the streets this week contacting to find new investigators because ours are not progressing.  We spent a whole day with 1 lesson and 6 1/2 hours in the street one afternoon, but the surprising thing was that we were happy and full of energy.

We had a lesson right before the adult session of conf. on Saturday.  We were with this young family and they had these two dumb dogs!  I hate all dogs, minus Mary's dog, but these dogs were the worst.  This little tiny one was neutered the day before and was just hyper and was eating my shoes and pants during our lesson.  I would be reading the scripture in alma 16 about the anti-Nephi-lehi and fighting off this dog with my food or a chew toy.  I felt really bad during the closing prayer when all was silent while my companion was praying and all of a sudden there was a loud thud!  I kicked the dog off my shoe for like the 50th time and walked away from that visit with scratches, bites, ripped pants, bags and shoes.  I hate dogs!  Then we had to run to catch a train and we were sweating bullets afterwards.

How are you doing this week?  :good
How is the new area?  :okay, not the prettiest but okay, just like badalona, cramped.
How is your new companion?  I hope that you are being nice to him.  :
he is great.  I love him.  He is from Richfield Utah.  Tall, skinny just like me.  Speaks really well.
How is the new ward/branch?: ward, big and fun.
How is the new piso? :nice but very dusty and dirty, but new.
 Are there any other missionaries in town? :2 other elders in our area and we live together.
 What zone are you in now? : Barcelona, but the stake of Lleida.
 How many people are you teaching right now? Lots of less actives and investigators.  But we are finding lots.
do you feel oriented enough to find your way back to your piso? : piso okay, church same, but anywhere else no.
 and find the church?  Okay
How is the chapel where you meet?: very small and in a not so nice location, hard to find, but clean and good enough for our needs to worship our God.
 is it a real chapel or a rented building?  :bajo but I miss the chapel in castellón.
So many questions you need to share what you know, how exiting.  How long did it take to travel to Terrasa from Pamplona? :4 hours from Pamplona to Barcelona sants then an hour to terrassa.
 how many trains did you have to take?:2

Well family during the conferences I learned a lot about enduring to the end.  We as members of this church took a covenant with Jesus Christ  to witness of him at all time, keep his commandments and always remember him.  It's hard to remember all the Lord has done for
us if we are tossed by the waves of affliction.  Dad sent me a letter that said if we take upon the yoke of Christ he will make our burdens light.  Enduring to the end is not biting the bullet but living life with hope of eternal life and justice from the savior of the world.  I love knowing that "all is well" for come come ye saints that we sang on Sunday.  I am learning a lot about adversity in my mission like I have never experienced before, but one can't quit and expect others to move along.  " we are all enlisted until the conflict is over".  I love sharing my testimony about the restored gospel.  I heard a few wonderful stories about how some members here in Spain were baptized after a missionary left to go home and became members of the seventy or a stake president and have righteous posterity because a missionary did his or her duty and thought that their service was in vain.  I have thought many times if I have done enough, and we will never know our mark in life til the life to come.  Later these member got in contact with the missionaries years later and rejoiced together.  How
wonderful is this gospel?  I love the Lord and I love my family.  I am grateful for my time that I have to serve the people of the Barcelona, Spain mission and would not trade it for the world.  Have a happy thanksgiving.

Con amor
Élder Gonzalez

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


From Jared's mom:  A new location and some researched info:

Terrassa is a city of 200,000+ located in the east central region of Catalonia, just north of Barcelona.  Stone tools have been found dating back 800,000 years, making this one of the oldest sites in Europe...Romans founded a town here in 69 AD, overtaken by Muslims in 718.  Below is a former monastery from the 1300s

Terrassa is a partner city of the Art Nouveau network, as seen in this building below.

Interesting fact:  Terrassa is referred to as the "most Olympic city in the world, " as 124 athletes of this city have participated in Olympic games since 1928, with field hockey leading the way.

From Jared:
 I will order your new dress pants tomorrow.  Do you need a larger waist size?  Nope
You said that you had gained some weight...just wondering?
Anything else you might want/need? Pens.

Well I forgot my planner because it is somewhere in my bags because I just got transferred to a new area called terrassa, Cataluña.  Anyway. I have a new companion named Élder Barton who is from Richfield, Utah, and he just finished training so I get to help him learn from walking to jogging.  He is about a 1/4 of an inch shorter than me, but still way tall, and a year younger than me.  I love him!

Sorry about not having my planner, but I'll try to put some random thoughts down from last week.

We ate a lot because I was passing by a lot of members yesterday and Sunday, but now I'm hungry.

We had a wonderful miracle when a less active that we have been working a lot with finally came back to church after falling away for some years, but has a member, less active friend, who we gave a blessing to on Saturday. He was an ex-missionary and was answering questions
like crazy on Sunday!

We taught a lady who had a big miracle with the priesthood and priesthood blessings.  They truly work by means of the faith of the recipient.

Wow my mind is blank, I can't remember anything from last week.  I know that I need to write in my journal more but oh well.

I spent 71/2 months in Pamplona and now it has come to a close. :( but all things must come to an end and now I am in a new area.

Well family I hope you all received the email from president Dayton, but if not he has made a new rule that we are not allowed to read family emails during the week, but only on preparation day, but we get 2 hours to write now if we need too.   I need to get off and go
buy food.

Family, I love and hope you have a great week.  P.s. Listen to "let us all press on" from the Mormon tabernacle choir from the church’s website, very inspiring!  Love you all and hope you have a great week
Con amor
Élder Gonzalez

Monday, November 2, 2015

Rainy Preparation Day in Pamplona

Well family I just want to say that I love you!  I am just on a spiritual high right now.  We saw many miracles last week and prayers are answered by the Lord.  I just want to let you know that the family is the central unit of this church.  The Lords plan is perfect and we are all important in this sacred work of bringing his children his restore truth.

Random thoughts:

We had a fhe last week with a Bolivian family who has a daughter going on a mission to Argentina on Wednesday.  We had a lesson and after we ate piquemacho, or something like that, and it is so good!  Claudia, convert in castellón, made some for us once and it was really good.

Mom, I need more return addresses for sending letters.

Also thank you Erica for taking the time to go on family search and placing photos online for people like me to know more about my family. ( completing the second part of plan de Europa)

I have a twin brother name sabastin from chile.  He is a less active,  but he is the same age and we both like the same stuff like Starcraft and movies.  He is a great kid, and has a cat too!

We went to eat fast food a few times this week, yum.

We were on a bus, because that is all we ever do is ride buses, and there were a few catholic priests on the bus and two elders.

Élder Montalbo said the pledge of allegiance as we were walking one day and it was terrific.  The words were so good.  It was on Saturday and we were contacting with a member and I had a power fraze go through my head.  A young woman walked by.  Normally I don't like to contact the young adults because I simply feel a like awkward around them sometimes.  Anyway, I asked if she believed if God can answer prayers?  She said yes and was very interested to listen for more.  We were shocked that someone actually stopped to listen to us.  We talked for a little bit more and she was hooked with our message.  We even had the member testifying too.  Our only problem was that we forgot to hand her a Book of Mormon, silly mistake on our part, but we know where she lives though.  Miracles!

We had a great Sunday.  Ana, an investigator, came to church.  We lost contact with her last week and she didn't come to church last week, but she came without us having to call her.  We have a visit with her on Saturday.

We were walking out of church and we saw a man who was drinking beer in the bar under the church.  He fell over and cut his head open and blood was gushing out.  The members stormed to help.  He was super drunk, delirious.

And we had a Halloween dance for the youth in the church here and they brought a lot of their nonmember friends.  It was really good.  I helped put decorations up because I'm so tall.

Well family last weekend was "todo los santos" and this is a holiday here in Spain.  It is when families go to visit their family who have passed on from this mortal life into the spirit world.  It was truly a blessing to have knowledge and a testimony of this restored gospel that we can live as families now and forever.  Thanks to the priesthood "that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven" (hel 10:7).  I don't know abuela muy bien pero sé que
viviremos con nuestras familias para siempre.  This time, this earthly life is for men to prepare to meet God (alma 12:24).  " Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" 1 cor 15:29.  Because we shall live again.  Christ died and broke the bonds of death.  Death has no sting.  The grave has no victory.  I know that, yo sé que, my redeemer lives, vive mi señor.  Gracias a él viviremos.  Thanks to him we will all live again.  I love you all and hope you have a wonderful weeks.

Con carino,
Elder Gonzalez