Monday, February 29, 2016

Possibly My Last Week in Terrassa

Pastry after a haircut on P-Day
The transfers here in our mission have been off since Christmas.  We had a small transfer due to Christmas and then an extra long transfer due to the short transfer.  Then the church came out with the new policy of 3 weeks in the Mtc for natives.  So this transfer has been short.  So I think my time will come up here in Terrassa.  I will miss it here though because I have gotten so used to the ward and the work here.  I love the members, they work so hard to make our little ward grow up.

Random thoughts:

We met a woman named Mia and we gave her a Book of Mormon and shared Alma 7 with her.  It was good.

I found a 2 euro coin on the ground, and later used it to pay for a bus ticket because my card stopped working.

We had a beautiful full moon.

Monday night we met a woman named Chelsey, and guess where she's from...Layton, Utah.  She is here studying and working.  She's a member and was looking for the church.  She did not however come to church this past week.

New record, 2 copies of the BOM passed out in 30 minutes.

We helped carry a baby stroller down from two stories.

We had a train strike in Barcelona this past week making our trip to specialized training a little slow.

I love the letters you send me family.

 While on an intercombio, Élder Brog(zone leader) and I were going through our pass by lists because all of our visits fired.  At 9:15 pm with nothing left, we sat on a park bench and said a
prayer.  Minutes later that prayer was answered as we contacted a less-active woman sitting on a curb.  We visited her again on Saturday and brought a member she knew from over 20 years ago and we gave a blessing to her.  It was a magical night.  Her name was Laura.

I was waiting by a woman in the metro while waiting for my companion after the intercombio, and I showed her some family pictures you sent me.  We talked a little about families and genealogy.  She was nice but was not interested in anything.

We got hail!  It rained on Saturday night and we were out in the streets all wet, but luckily I had my waterproof coat on, but my nonwaterproof  gloves got drenched.  We sang and laughed in the rain.  It was a jolly good night.

We were complimented in church by our bishop, and the daytons were visiting too.  They brought a new senior couple to tour the mission a little before going up to Bilbao to help the YSA.

Well mom, my Christmas present of white board markers all died...

We have this investigator family from Bolivia who came to church on Sunday and brought friends too.  It was a huge miracle!  And they loved it!

Question, did you ever get my package?

Well family I don't know what more I should share with you.  I would like to leave you with a small testimony that I know this work is  the work of the Lord.  It is hard, but I know that it is true and we draw closer to God than at any other moment in time.  So many blessings come
from serving the Lord.  I know that God is loving and wants us to obey His commandments.   They are set so we can return to live with him.  I never knew how good I had it until I came to Spain.  My parents are faithful members, returned missionaries, and sealed in the Salt Lake City temple for time and all eternity, and I and my brothers are with them for time and eternity too. In our sacrament hymn on Sunday, # 195 in Spanish " las familias pueden ser eternas".  I know that it is true.  I love doing my best and leaving the rest to the Lord, because we are all imperfect, but in Christ we can find strength and refinement.

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Dusty Preparation Morning

Well family I would like to say what a wonderful week it has been I love the chance I have to be here as a missionary.  Sometimes when you are in the trenches. like shoveling snow from the drive way you don´t get to see the progress you have made till the end of the driveway.  Well it takes a sec to look up from the trench and see where you are and where you came from.  Well I had a couple of those moments this week when I was working this week and the simple thought came to my head, "you’re in Spain"... Wow I´m in Spain!!! in the best mission ever with all the best missionaries ever.  I love this gospel and I love the fact that I get to share it will everyone.  

Well mom I have news for you... I have decided to go home on July 13th like I am program to leave, all I have to do is ask Presidnet Dayton to see if it is okay if my parents will come and pick me up.  I didn´t want you guys to come because I felt bad that Grandpa and Grandma would be helping to pay for the trip after going through so much pain and medical trips these past few months.  I thought it would be better to just come home without any extra stress, but then I remember that it is true, mom, you and your parents had a wonderful time in Europe and made many wonderful memories.  I would hope that you make some plans to write down some things to see and do while you are here or how to get around here in spain like the north or to Valencia because I am clueless unless you take the train which costs a lot, but you do the math and the calculation and I will focus on my main objective which to "teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Matt. 28:19-20

Random thoughts

I had a great intercombio with a missionary from our district named elder moulton from seattle. in Manresa  WE met a man who knew a missionary from 30 years ago and made great friends with him.

During the intercombio I prayed twice to receive extra help from God to bless me so I could move forward, on the train and in piso.  I was blessed to feel less stressed and keep moving forward and enjoyed the intercombio without any regrets.

in 2 days we handed out 5 BOMs

I walked into a tree branch because I am so gosh darn tall.

President Dayton gave us special permission to resend our emails because MYLDSMAIL was having some technical difficulties.  So that is why you got my letter late, sorry.

We had a great religious meeting this past week in a library here in Terrassa.  A member works in a town hall, Ayuntamiento, and asked if we would help attend this special meeting.  She presented a quick overview of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis and their conversion story.  It was really good.  there were other religions there like the Catholics...of course, the muslims, evangelicals, and i believe a type of budist group too.  It was really good and we talked about how our church does the helping hands program with a few people after the presentation and the people were really amazed with what we do.

We helped an old woman with her groceries last saturday.  Her name was Serría, I think...

We prepared the sacrament this week again.  we didn´t have a lot of investigators in church like the last 2 weeks but it was great to have our less actives in church though.

Jorge and Ramón, our 2 recent converts received the priesthood this past week.  It was something I forgot to write to president that was amazing to see.

We have had some nice weather these past 2 days.

At the religious meets this past week there was an american who was taller than me!!! he must have been 6 feet 8 or 9, super tall and skinny!!!

It’s dusty this morning.  WE cleaned piso.

We have an investigator named Leandro who is someone we contacted the other week and have been visiting.  We have these really good visits with him and we feel like he is the next baptism here in Terrassa, but he didn´t come church this past week.  what a bummer.

Lorena, our recent convert, had a member in her family die this past week.  We passed by to share about the plan of salvation with her but she was not well to receive us but we taught her family and it was really good.  a planned lesson

We also had a family home evening last night with a recent convert/part member family and it was really good. we too taught about the plan of salvation.

2 more weeks in the transfer because the transfers are off due to the new schedules for the native missionaries who now get 3 weeks in the MTC instead of 2.

Well family I don´t know what more I can share.  My heart is full when I can feel the spirit working through me to reach to someone else.  I love the work I am doing.  As a mission we are redoing the 12 week program like when we first came on the mission.  And I am refinding the true reason why I came on a mission.  Not for the fame, not for leadership, not to tour the world, not to speak a different language, but to be a servant of the Lord.  I was talking with someone a few months ago and he said to me that the Lord wants your best but also wants something more,  He wants your time.  He has asked for you for 2 years.  All time and talent you can muster to focus on 2 years of dedicated, consecrated work.  It is a hard thing.  Missionary work was designed to be tough and not easy, because the famous elder holland quote is " because salvation is not a cheap experience."  drops of blood were spilled for him who said "not my will, but thine be done".  It takes a lot for me to realize this moment to say, even though I have hard days, it´s cold and so are the people,  nothing is going our way,  why is it hard?  We have to take a second and look at the big picture.  God has a plan and he knows how to reach to his children.  We have to be the laborers in the vineyard and work till the sun goes down when the master of the vineyard will burn the field.  3 Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasureup for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God. DyC 6:3
We are to be the workers in the field.  As I look back on how far I have come, I see many things I wish I could change, but I know that we are here to do our very best and to leave the rest to the Lord and he will provide the rest.  Just something to think about.  Life is tough, and so is missionary work.  I just want to let you know that I love our Heavenly Father for giving us his son to die for us that we might live again.  I love the Book of Mormon and the wonderful teachings we can find and learn from each day as we dig into it.  I love the prayer; it is our communication with Heavenly Father that we can use to grow closer to him.  I love you family and hope you have a great week.

Con mucho amor de un misionero de El Faro en lo mejor misión en el mundo, Barcelona España,

Élder Gonzalez

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The phone call

well mom I received a phone call this morning from the mission office that I will be going home on JULY 13th.  There is the possibilty of extending my mission, but I cannot because of the next transfer day will be on August 24th, the day of school.  But there is a possibility of extending for a few more weeks and serve the Lord a little bit more. And no on the coming and picking me up.  I would still be a missionary and would have to obey the mission rules like getting up and going to bed on time.  I would much prefer if I just came home.  Sorry.  Maybe we will visit europe after the mission in like 10+years when I have money.  So I would like to hear more of your thoughts about the return date.  Should I see if I can extend a bit longer or go home on the 13th of July?

On your hike of Monserrat, how long was your hike (distance, elevation, time)?:61/2 miles round trip hiking with the help of my gps watch.  about 5hours.

Carnival--I know that you've never been to New Orleans (and neither have I, dang it), but is your version of Carnival full of bright/brash colors and anything similar to jazz music like New Orlean's Carnival? :no, but a fun spanish twist to make it fun.

 How do you "rub off" graffiti on your church walls (soap and water, other)?: other

I enjoyed your snippits of 1972 GC that you shared.  What determined that particular date for study?:  I thought that article would be very interesting because it was when president lee was sustained as the prophet.  Plus we have all the ensigns on our ipads!

Well family random thoughts:
Mom, I believe that the last day to turn in scholarships for snow is the 1st of march. please help me find some money for school so I can focus on working and teaching not counting my pennies (euros).  Por favor.

We gave out about 6-7 copies of the BOM this past week.  Success in its own way.
We were walking over a bridge on saturday and the wind really picked up and knocked our phone´s case off the bridge and we had to go find it.  it was a small adventure.
Ramón, our recent convert, is awesome.  He wants to help us with visits and is super converted to the gospel!

a new rule president Dayton has made is that all Sundays are now English fast days.  No more english from 7:30 am to 11:30 pm.  We are to speak only english, so we can be more proficient.  It was a little hard, but turned out to be a lot of fun.

Well family I had a wonderful experience with a talk from President packer last week from GC oct. 1972 about home teaching, can´t wait to home teach again, but love the mission teaching.  I hope you would read it.  "the saints securely dwell".

plus David b. Haight said this about missionary work "Hollywood would never be able to produce the thrilling stories, the real-life dramas, the diaries, the letters home, the testimonies locked in hearts that have resulted from following the Savior’s instruction: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt. 28:19.)"

And Marion G. Romney said these points about the restoration: " … I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. “It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (JS—H 1:15–18).

This vision was the opening scene in an awesome drama that some ten years later culminated in the organization of the Church. By the Son, with whom he conversed in the heavenly vision, Joseph was told to join none of the existing churches because they “were all wrong.” (JS—H 1:19.) They lacked both necessary components of the church of Jesus Christ, namely, his gospel and his name. Indispensable elements of the gospel, which they lacked, included:
1. The truth concerning the personality of God and man’s relationship to him,
2.  A knowledge of its saving principles and ordinances,
3.  The priesthood of God, and
4. Continuing revelation.

I love  what I do and I am grateful to do it.  I know that I am weak.  I don´t speak very well, but I do know that I can do this work.  The Lord does prepare people every day if we look for the miracles in our lives.  He is a miracle maker.  If you say you can´t it won’t, but if you say it can, it will.  I love the Savior and His love he has for each of us.  We can feel it in our prayers as we conform our thoughts, wishes, desires with His power to lift us up to a higher plane and we can be better people.  I love the time I get to study the scriptures every day and learn what God wants me to learn and put into practice in my life.  i know this church is true and wish all to know the importance of this message.  I love you and wish you a wonderful week.

con much amor de España
Élder Gonzalez

Monday, February 8, 2016

Let's go to Monserrat...again

Well the title says it all, we went to Montserrat again.  I am currently writing from a train as it shakes back and forth with the missionaries from sabadell, close to terrassa.  It was a great
adventure.  This time we hiked up the mountain and it was a long hike and now I am really tired.

Random thoughts:

Mom I know that you never want to hear about stories about blood or knives, but I will let you know that I AM OKAY. I just burned my finger last Monday, all is well...

One day we were on a bus and I was just completely exhausted.  I just wanted to fall asleep, but there is no time when there is an important message to be shared.

We went to Burger King twice this week, one because we had coupons and the other because it was transfers and we had to go to Barcelona and we were hungry. ( I am still in terrassa with Élder Islas.)

We were on a train and I saw a field and s farmer burning weeds.  I thought of Jacob 5.

I love the family home evening Manual! It makes our work as missionaries a little easier.  I would invite you to read it and see how it can help you with your family home evenings.  I used a lesson to teach 2 families yesterday.

I love reading the bible.

I had a bad morning last week.  I dropped an egg on the ground and the iron put a grease stain on my shirt.  I prayed to get some more help from God to have a good day and change my attitude, and it worked!

We helped our recent convert family with a costume for a holiday they have here called the carnival.  It's a week long event where the kids in school dress up and have a new theme every day.  Think of it like spirit week for school.  Then they have a parade.  They have teams and
they dress up and have their cars decorated and March the streets.

I love trains and train rides!

We helped clean the church last Saturday.  There were two members cleaning the church and so we decided to help them.  We cleaned the shutters on the outside of the church and rubbed graffiti off the wall.

I love the Muslim people!  They are really nice.

I made potato soup last week when my companion was sick.  It is the first time in the mission.

We had lots of investigators in church, 8!

For our last hour in church we learned the proper way to bless and keep the reverence during the sacrament hour.

Mom: I also saw on the weather channel yesterday that your area was getting some rain?  :  we had rain on Saturday, the first time we had rain in the Barcelona area in 3 months.

I have a few thoughts that I want to share with you.  I am currently reading the GC of 1972, October.  It is a fantastic conference! Mom, dad you are lucky to have heard from such wonderful prophets and apostles and general authorities.  I loved the talk from Élder kimball.  He said,"It is reassuring to know that President Lee was not elected through committees and conventions with all their conflicts, criticisms, and by the vote of men, but was called of God and then sustained by the people."  Again while in the cathedral in Montserrat I saw again the effects of the apostasy,( spiritual famine, Élder hunter, same conf.). I am grateful for a living prophet and apostles.

Also Élder Ashton said "There seems to be a misunderstanding on the part of some men today as to what it means to be a friend. Acts of a friend should result in self-improvement, better attitudes, self-reliance, comfort, consolation, self-respect, and better welfare.  Certainly the word friend is misused if it is identified with a person who contributes to our delinquency, misery, and heartaches. When we make a man feel he is wanted, his whole attitude changes. Our friendship will be recognizable if our actions and attitudes result in improvement and independence.
...Aren’t we something less than a friend if we have the gospel of Jesus Christ and are unwilling to share it by word and example with a family, a member, neighbor, or the stranger? Aren’t we something less than a friend if we have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and are unwilling to share it?" ( have I done any good in the world today) And finally president lee said "The ancient prophets seemed to have foreseen our day of complete frustration, when men would be looking for answers in the wrong places and the solutions to their problems in
the wrong way. The prophets foresaw the day when there would be “a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” Furthermore, said the prophet, “… they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not
find it.” (Amos 8:11–12.) It seems that in these days of frustration, from every side we are
being asked such questions as: What does the Church think about the Vietnam war? What is the stand of the Church on overpopulation and birth control? What is the position of the Church relative to abortion? How should we combat the threat of Communism throughout the
world? What are the views of the Church relative to the crime wave and the increase of juvenile delinquency? What can be done to strengthen family ties and reduce the wave of immorality, to teach self-reliance and responsibility and moral and physical discipline? Are there no solutions to these problems? To set the theme for my few remarks, may I repeat something of vital importance that was said from this pulpit almost ten years ago by a former President of the Church, President David O. McKay: “In these days of uncertainty and unrest,
liberty-loving peoples’ greatest responsibility and paramount duty is to preserve and proclaim the freedom of the individual, his relationship to Deity, and the necessity of obedience to the
principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only, thus will mankind find peace and happiness.” (Improvement Era, December 1962, p. 903.)".

And at the end of his talk he says: "If we follow the leadership of the priesthood, the Lord will fulfill his promise contained in the preface to his revelations, when Satan would have power over his own dominion. This was his promise: “… the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon … the world.” (D&C 1:36.)
I earnestly urge all our people to unite under the true banner of the Master, to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ so powerfully that no truly converted person could ever be aligned with these controversial concepts and procedures contrary to the Lord’s plan of salvation.  The Lord does reign in the midst of his Saints through his priesthood, which he delegates to man, rather than through other man-made organizations, the like of those to which I have made reference." (teach the gospel of salvation, October 1972)

  I know that God lives.  This is the church of Jesus Christ.  We are guided by a living prophet with continual revelation.  No other church believes in that.  We do not believe in a "God that's dead." ( Élder hunter, same conf.). I love doing what I do.  Even if I don't make a big
difference, my little efforts do make a difference.  I love my family and I know we can be together forever.  I hope you have a great week.

Con cariño de un misionero en España,
Élder Gonzalez

Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The work moves forward with faithful disciples

Family this has been a very good week, I think one of the best weeks of my mission.  We had the great privilege to work with and help baptize 4 people this past weekend and help 4 of God's children to return to His presence by making their first covenant with Him, baptism and confirmation.  Ramón, Jorge, Lorena, and Nadia were baptized and confirmed last weekend.  Jorge, Lorena, and Nadia are a family of 4 but the youngest was not old enough to be baptized, but the parents and the daughter were.  They were married on the 22nd and kept hold of their fecha.  They are wonderful.  They have been taught by many missionaries before so we were lucky enough to harvest from the seeds of someone's hard work of finding and teaching.  Ramón was a man who was brought to church by a friend and loved church and had a
mighty change of heart and wanted to leave his old life behind and start a new one with God. He is from the Dominican Republic and the family is from Ecuador.  I was so happy to have been part of this great experience and use the priesthood which I hold to bless the lives of God's children.  I love the mission.

Random thoughts:

We contacted a woman from Germany and I gave her a pamphlet in English because she spoke more English than Spanish.

We had two interviews for our 4 baptismal candidates because Ramón was taught all the lessons in 2-3 weeks, fast!  One for the family and the other for Ramón.

A woman helped a stranger with her baby stroller.  Charity and service.

I had an intercombio with the Zone leaders and while on my intercombio we did a lot of contacting and door knocking.  We were ringing a door bell and all of a sudden a woman with a baby on her chest and two bags in her arms was walking up a big hill.  I had the urge to ask if she needed help but the words didn't come out of my mouth.  She kept walking up the street and then the spirit prompted me to go and see if she needed help.  We did and asked and she said she was fine because she was getting to her car.  She then the said that she was atheist and did not believe in God.  We walked away feeling a little down until we went down one streets and met a woman who was carrying two big bags of groceries.  We asked if she needed help and she said yes.  We carried them to her house, shared s quick message and prayed with her.  I cried during the prayer because the spirit was so strong.  Then set a return visit.  God directed our paths to her.

Too many sick people and members. The bishopric all had the flu.  We gave a blessing on Sunday night to the bishop and his wife who were in bed.  We came by at about 9:25 pm to get some papers signed for the baptism and we kind of disturbed them, really awkward, but they were really nice about it.

Too many people jump the gate and fence here in the metros and trains.  Disobedient to the laws of the land.

We learned in the 3rd hour on the 5 th Sunday about how to clean the church and why.

We helped some men from India with directions.

We had a great fhe with a recent convert and an active family on Sunday that went perfect!

Well family I love so you much and wish you a great week.  I know this work is true and I know this church is too.

Con mucho amor

Élder Gonzalez en el Faro

Sent from my iPad