Monday, March 28, 2016

Semana Santa

Happy Easter everyone, I didn't celebrate anything yesterday other than take the sacrament which is Easter every Sunday to me.  Yesterday felt so much like a regular day that I forgot that it was Easter.  The Catholics here were not very eastery.  Things were very quiet except for the tourists walking around.  We talked to a woman from Italy who knows the church from her country.  I said that my mom lived in Rome 35 years ago.  None of our investigator showed up at church last week. Even our referrals from have gone sour.  We are scraping the bucket to get real lessons in and not just street contacts.  Too many people who work all day and all night and literally have no time.  Something I don't understand is how we will ever get a lesson with these busy sheep.  Our branch president wasn't at church so our district
leader conducted church.  I gave the opening prayer and conducted the music.  Fun Sunday.

Something that impacted me in church was in gp class.  We were on the atonement.  I was reflecting on a story that Élder christofferson used in oct. of 2011 from president packer.

"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 Valley.
      “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].”

I know the atonement is true because I feel it in my life. It allows us to be clean and come closer to God.

How was your missionary  training meeting? : it was great, we went to Palma de Mallorca, and had our zone conference with president and Hermana Dayton plus the ayudantes.  It was a great conference about the importance of the law of chastity, how to teach it better and
teach the WHY behind this law, for our spiritual and temporal well-being.  Plus how to use the scriptures better and how to drop un-interested investigators.

 Did all 4 of you travel together? : yes we got up at 5 to catch our flight by 7:30 and I sat with Élder Merrill in the emergency door so we had extra leg room! :). And then had a 20 min flight both ways. Then caught the plane at 10:25 pm to come back to Ibiza.  We go back for zone enfoque this week on Wednesday.

 I got a view of the place that you live in, your piso, Is there a peluqueria school near?  : yes

 I got to Google your area and it seems like is a very populated town with lots of buildings and businesses all over. I can see why you are there to find those that have been prepared to hear the good news of the restoration of the Gospel.  Keep your eyes and heart open for the
opportunities when the Spirit will give you hints of who to contact and talk to.  Keep your eyes open to notice the miracles all around you.  You are there for a purpose, either to plant seeds or to harvest fruit that is waiting to be picked.  : well dad we have to have our eyes down and our hearts locked. the summer season is coming up and the girls are de-wintering.

Did you observe any Holy Week/Good Friday/Easter Sunday celebrations (keeping in mind that we celebrate the resurrection every Sunday with the sacrament)? : semana Santa, which is a time in which the Catholics celebrate the week of Christs triumphant entry.
Do the kids search for Easter eggs?: no that's an American thing

Dad showed me your apartment on Google maps.  Are you on the ground floor or an upper level?  :2nd floor
Are you by a beauty shop/barber shop?: yes both
He also went sightseeing on your island, but I didn't look, as I was working, but he reported to me that your island's a bit on the dry side.  Did the rain this week help to green things up?: a little more green.
What tender mercy did you experience today?: a member at church to protect us from false testimonies from two 13 year old girls looking for trouble, following the promoting of the spirit.  That is what the member did when she was at the church to help us.

Random thoughts:

Talked to a woman from the Philippines .

We met two Spanish fishermen, and I made the comment to them that they are like Peter, and we are asking them to drop their nets and follow Christ.

We met an Irishman named who said some weird things to us about how the Book of Mormon is false, all religion is corrupt and that in order to meet God we have to be high on drugs and stuff...uh no.  My testimony grows from experiences from people like him.  We have commandments to keep us safe.  He said that we should go clubbing with him too...

The conference was great.  We have been called by God to the places we serve on our missions and the people are placed in our path and we need to do our part the best we can.

We saw a bike race in a city called San Antonio.

We have 2 Muslim investigators!

Sorry mom about the notary.  They couldn't cancel the payment.  It was a lot of money for a couple of colorful stamps and some signatures on a piece of paper to allow my goodly parents to get me into school, especially since I already signed the paperwork and the school lost it.

Well family this week is general conference, the week all missionaries wait for.  The semana de la conferencia general.  It is a blessing to be on the mission and be filled with the spirit every day and grow closer to our Heavenly Father.  I don't realize how much of a blessing it is to be here until you see those living in broken families, spiritually famished, living beneath their privilege, etc.
"1. Come, listen to a prophet’s voice,
        And hear the word of God,
        And in the way of truth rejoice,
        And sing for joy aloud.
        We’ve found the way the prophets went
        Who lived in days of yore.
        Another prophet now is sent
        This knowledge to restore.
Hymn number 21.
Isn't true?  Come listen to a prophet’s voice, and be filled with the spirit of God.  I know that as we live a life of obedience to God's commandments we will be blessed and protected.  So now the time begins to prepare yourself spiritually and physically to have your eyes, ears, hearts, and spirit to listen to what God wants us to live for the next while to overcome to the pitfalls of the adversary and find joy in affliction.  I know these things are true.

Con mucho amor por los profetas y la restauración de la iglesia,
Élder Gonzalez
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Monday, March 21, 2016

My island, my testimony, and a willing spirit to work!!

Just lost everything I wrote....

This week was a week of fun, joy, and hard contacting.  I felt like I was fishing but no bites.  It was a great week to learn how to be a missionary all over again.  I love that I have this chance to learn and be filled with the spirit.  I know that the Lord has s plan for each of us, and Jesus Christ is at the center of it all.  He is mindful of what we need.  We just have to pray.  I was doing a lot of praying last week.  After an hour of each session of contacting we would sit on a bench or find a quiet place and say a quick prayer.  We contact in 1 hour blocks.  Every hour we switch things up so we don't get too bored.  The people are a little tough.  I love the chance I get to learn and grow and become somewhat new by our trials and tribulations.  We have to endure to the end with a smile.

Have the previous Elders mapped out the area well and had contacts that you need to follow up on?    :  the area is okay, but small.  We walk down the same streets and talk to many of the same people each day.  But fun and new.  We have a few people we have to follow up on,
but not too many, our teaching pool in okay.
Are the people you are meeting local from Spain or are they also from other countries like it has been on the main land? :  the people are mostly from Ibiza here, but the members come from Ecuador or Paraguay. 1 German member and I know of only one Spanish member.
QUESTIONS:  How did the referrals go last week?:  2 good,one a dud.  The one lives on the other side of the island and the other didn't come to church.
How many young men do you teach on Sunday?: 2
Did you have zone conference this week?  by Skype?:  it was district meeting.  On wed. We go to Palma and have zone conference.  We have to take a plane at 7:30 am and get home at 10:15 pm.  Yeah,  a little crazy.
Are you getting rain right now?: a little

Are you doing any running?:  with Élder Saunders we are running more.
What have you done today to uplift yourself?:  we went out to eat at an Argentina restaurant!

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Well my first week here in Ibiza has been a blast.  It is still chilly here and the mornings are freezing because we live right off from the ocean.  I hate humidity.  But it is something to get used to.

So, how many members came to church today? :37
 where do you guys meet?  : our church/meeting house is on the same block as our piso, 30 sec walk.  Our chapel has glass windows all around with a blurry strip lining that goes around so the sun light can go in but people can't peek in and disturb our worshiping.  I believe it used to be a dental shop but reformed to be a meeting house.  Not very big, smallest one yet.
How long has the church been on this island? : I think for a few years6-7 years.
 how is the transportation system on the island? : we have a bus pass that we have to recharge like in Pamplona, but it is only used for getting from one side of the island to the other.  The cities are too small to use buses to get around.
 Is the food more expensive than back on the mainland?  :  I think it is about the same.  Fruits are a little more expensive.  We shop at Dia.
do you get more spending money? : no
Are there any people ready for baptism in your area?  : we set a fecha last week for a man named Julio that Élder Saunders had been teaching.  He was in the hospital for a week or so, because he smokes and had lung problems.  He is old, but receptive to the message.  We got 3
references from the church headquarters that we have to contact by today and so we are going to be busy for a while baptizing and bringing others to the fold of God.
what district and zone do you belong to?,:  the Balearics, Los Baleares are not a stake yet.  We are a district.  They have a mission plan to make the islands a stake by 2020.
 and how often will you have to go to zone conferences?  :  I don't know it. I think once a month schedule of zone conference which is next week and specialized training next month.
Do you attend a branch or ward?: branch
How many members?:see above, 37
Any investigators?:  not from us but 2 from the other elders
Where is your tracting boundary?: the south side of the island and anywhere but the beaches, inappropriate shopping centers, and scary gypsy areas.
Tell us about your bishop/branch president?: our branch president is named Julio Gomez.  He is from Ecuador.  He has been The president for only a short time.
How close are you to the church?: same block as our piso
Give us a description of your apartment?:  nice with a perfect hot water system.  Small kitchen for four elders and a big living room.  Our toilet is broken so we have to share bathrooms...
That's awesome that you have a sister in your mission from Riverton. My cousin is wondering if you know of a Sister Simpson?  She's a neighbor in Spain, but they don't know which mission.  She would be from Mt. Pleasant (down by Manti).:  I don't know a sister Simpson,
but there is an elder named Simon from Australia.

Also we did district meeting by means of skype because the other missionaries from Palma live far away.

Random thoughts:

We talked to two teens last week and they were talking about a book that was discovered in turkey that is like the bible.  Kind of the Dead Sea scroll thing, but they were talking about how it shows that only the Koran is the only true book and not the Book of Mormon.  I had to be respectful because they were not believing anything we were testifying to because the Book of Mormon is to give additional light and clarification to what is Written in the bible.  They were Muslim.
It helped build my testimony that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book because Joseph smith was directed to the book and translated it by the power of God and not by chance nor by worldly knowledge.  I know the book is true because I have put Moroni 10:3-5
to work and found out for myself.  God always calls prophets, it's God's recipe for His church.

There is a recent convert named Anton from Switzerland here who is 60 years old and lives alone with the same clothes each day, but is a fantastic member!  He said something to me last week that touched my heart.  We were helping a member from Nigeria get ready to go to the temple and Anton said that when he goes to the temple he wants to go in and say that he will give all himself to the Lord!  I was stunned but it was true.  When we receive our endowment, we make covenants with God.  He just knows that there is more to life than things, but time and our willingness to serve.

We spoke to a polish man named Magic on the street the other day.  He spoke to us in English.

1st Sunday in Ibiza.  It was really nice, every thing working in a small format.  The sacrament takes just a few minutes and the talks a little long ,but we use a rest hymn to give the speakers a break. I gave my testimony too.  We are in charge of teaching gospel principles and young men.  Élder Merrill, our district leader, is the 2nd councilor. We had young men’s in the president’s office,  and he shared a video from Élder holland called "stay within the lines".  This video helped me prepare for the mission.

Well family I just want to say how much I love you, but the mission has my heart right now.  A member asked me if I miss my family. i said yes and no because when I am at church it feels at home, part of a good cause.  I love the Lord and only want to serve and help build his kingdom.  I pray that I can be a worthy instrument in his hands, obedient and faithful.  I am blessed for each day to be refined by the Savior’s atonement.  I know that as we repent we draw closer to God.

We as missionaries repent too.  That is why we needed a savior to rescue us from the fall 2 Nephi 2:26.  I love you and hope you have a great day.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

¡Bienvenido a Ibiza!

Holy cow, can I just say how great it is to be in Ibiza, Spain! If you don't know where it is, it is an island out in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea!  Way cool!  But it is a lot cooler here so bundle up!  This will probably be my last area till I go home.  I am with my companion Élder Saunders from Terrassa!?!  He started his mission when I came to terrassa 3 transfers ago and we lived in the same piso, but now we are companions!  He is from Seattle just so you know.  I am living with 2 other elders too.  We took a plane from Barcelona and flew like 45 minutes to Ibiza.  Watch out.  there are a lot of rumors and crazy stuff that can, but not always , go down here. Of all the islands here, it is the partiest island in all of Europe, so I have heard.  But I am a missionary who loves the Lord and will not let the great and spacious building block me in my mission to bring souls to Christ.

Questions from dad:
   How are things going for you this week?  I hope that you are doing well,  and that you are still staying busy visiting your people.  : it was good, see remainder of the letter.
Are you getting transfer? if so, I hope that you are happy with the new place and your new comp.  There is always something good to learn from all those you get assigned to work with.  : yes, see above.
    Do the members have a regular date set to travel to the temple as a ward? How often do they get to go?  : yes, every stake in Spain has a week dedicated to them to go to the temple.  Terrassa is going this week to the temple.  AND our recent convert Ramón is going this week with the bishop!  It is too bad that i won't be there, but yes everyone can go to the temple.  They normally go in a bus or drive solo.
    As I have been doing some research about Spain and some of their customs, i have learned that meal times are a little later than we are used to here at home, like for lunch it is usually around 2-3 pm is that right? and dinner is usually around 8: 30 to 9 pm so that's why you get to stay out so late at night right?  : yes we eat lunch from 1-3, but we only have one hour to eat and one hour to study the spanish language.  Then we head out the door.  We do not eat dinner as a mission because that is prime time proselyting time.
   Do you guys get a break during the day also from 2-5 pm as the locals do or do you use this time to visit people when they are home for their break? We have 1-5 to do one of a few things but can be in any order. 1) proselyting 2) eat 2) study.  Only one hour to eat, president is very strict on this now.
  How easy is it to get around Barcelona?: very easy, just take the metros.
  do you use the bus? : only in Terrassa
are they very dependable?  
are taxis a better option to get around?  well, enough of all this stuff.  I have only used a taxi 2 times in my mission.  They are not reimbursables, but cost a lot
   So I was wondering what time of the day in Spain do you actually email at? Because it's like 10 o'clock here and I wonder when you do your emailing over there. :  we email at whatever time we have during our preparation day from 11-7.

Random thoughts:
We contacted a man with an orange coat and gave him a LDM

We finally got a visit with a woman named jack online who is from the DR.  had a good lesson with her and her daughter.

We saw a big rat run across the street and into the rain gutter.

I asked Élder Islas for a blessing

We are getting Hermanas in Terrassa

We have had lots of running to piso this week.

We watched the distinct videos again because as a mission we are doing the 12 week program.

We taught a Muslim this week named Abdul.

We cleaned up our area book.

We sat on a bench to study Spanish and we threw some rocks at a bottle for a few minutes first.

The stake pres was in church on Sunday and said "the less actives are waiting for an invitation"

We had a power pack Sunday.  I gave my testimony in sacrament meeting, a baby blessing, we also had a bunch of changes in callings too.

On Saturday night we talked to a woman who only believed in a merciful God, that there could be no justice about him.  The words of Élder holland " Talk about creating God out of our own image"

While on the plane today the flight attendants talked about the oxygen masks and I thought about the talk from Élder Anderson a few conferences ago.



Also in our noticias we saw the faces of the new missionaries that came in and one is from my high school, sister spencer!  She lives by the Jordan River train by arctic circle.

New address c/ San Cristofol 10,2,1  07800 Baleres, Ibiza España

Well family I have but one shot left in my last area.  It is a blessing to be here.  First because I have all of my bags, because the old rule was if you go to the islands you have to leave two bags in the office, but I have all of my bags!  Plus I have new hopes and desires to work hard and serve my God with all of my heart and soul.  I wish to use every minute I have to be obedient, hard working, faithful, pure, kinds, etc...  After seeing the world and what it has, Spain, the only that will save the world is the gospel says pres. Benson.  I know that we are engaged in a great battle with the forces of good and evil.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is at the helm and we are to work in his vineyard till the savior comes again Jacob 5:70-75.   Bear witness that this church is true.  I know God lives and that he loves us.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God, our evidence of the restoration.  Watch world, Ibiza, here I come!

Have a great week I love you!

Con demasiado amor que aveces es difícil a comprender porqué a recibido de una familia de casa,

Élder Gonzalez