Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Last Transfer so let's Make it a Blast

It doesn´t feel like it but I have 6 weeks left in Spain as a missionary...  My companion elder Olaso is now gone.  We took him to the mission office yesterday and now he goes back home to Idaho mañana.  

This last week was really slow with the conference of President Dyches of the area presidency visiting our mission.  I wished you were there to listen.  It was really powerful.  We learned a lot about our usage of time and how well we should spend it as missionaries. Time =life, wasting time =wasted life, excellent time = great life.  We have planners and area books to help guide our footsteps to do that which is most important so we can be faithful servants of the Lord.  We also learned how to make origomi missionary shirts so that we can use them as cards to leave to those we teach in case we knock their door and they are not home, we can leave them with something to read knowing that the missionaries came by.  We used one last week to leave an apple pie to a member family and they just love the pie and paper missionary shirt.  We met in the big church in Barcelona with 5 out of the 8 zones of our mission because our mission is too big to do a mission conference.  the other zones met in Bilbao.  I got to meet a few old companions.

RAndom thoughts:

We are teaching a woman named Raquel who we met in the street a few weeks ago really quickly and now she is progressing really well.  Last week we were teaching her and she had a shirt that said RIVERTON on it.  She has desires to change and  come close to our Heavenly Father.

Crazy last week with Elder Olaso.  Lots of visits to members.  Lots of food.

The heat is coming in.

We helped a new family move into the ward.  the husband is catalan and the wife is ecuadorian.

I got a hair cut.

We had conference on thursday and we had some elders come from the islands come and stay over with us.  Elder Olaso and I were able to make it to the conference on time the next day while the others came late missing their train.

I have a new temple recommend, and president Dayton said that it may be my only recommend I will ever have in spanish.  It was made only valid for three months till I come home and get a new one.

We met a less-active last week who was baptized into the church after being in a coma for 19 YEARS!!!!  He knows that God has a plan for everyone, But he is looking around at other churches because he is losing his testimony.

I made 2 apple pies for our visits last week.

We had our 5th sunday lesson in church and we learned about the family services that the church has produced so that family can be more united and strengthened.

And Finaly the most important thing is that I have a new companion named Élder Gibson from Idaho.  He has red hair and came from Sant Sabastian, the most beautiful place in our mission to the not so good looking place in our mission.  He has about 1 year and 5 months on the mission.

I know that this work that we are engaged is true.  It is led by living prophets and apostles, and the chief corner stone is Jesus Christ (Véase Efesios 4:11-14).  Our adversity is but a small moment.  Dad sent me a scripture to read about a year ago and I read it in my new testament reading this week 2 Cor. 12:9-10.  I love the work that we get to do as missionaries.  Thank you for you prayer and love.  Have a great week.

Con Cariñó,

Élder Gonzalez

Monday, May 23, 2016

Last Week With Elder Olaso :(

So this is the last week of the transfer and I'm :with Élder olaso as he is hobbling along on his little can ( because he is closer to the airplane than I am, if you know what I mean, he leaves next Wednesday for home).  So as I finish the week with him, I push the trunky thoughts out of mind to remain focused for my next transfer.

Well today for preparation day we had a bbq at the church as a district and some members from sabadell 1.  I made a pie but our oven broke, so I had to carry the pie over by bus and cook it in the oven there.  I also got a haircut for our mission tour this week with president Dyckes from the area presidency of Europe.  He is a great man, I love him a lot.  So that'll be on Thursday morning and we are going to have elders coming out from the islands to stay with us overnight and go to conference with us for the next morning.

We had stake conference this week and it was a lot of fun to see members from Terrassa for the last time because  none of us expected to see each other. But I kind of got this look of " oh, it's you, haven’t seen you in a while, like 2 months".  It hasn't felt like I have been gone for that long from them.  So we had a member from the temple presidency speak to us about temple and family history work.  Something he said struck me.  We need the youth to get on with the
family history work because they understand the technology better than the older generation.  Plus they refocused the stake on our plan de Europa on our three main goals which is to bring a friend to church, become autosuficient,self reliant, both temporally and spiritually, and bring one name to the temple.  President Dayton talked about the importance of repentance and Hermana Dayton talked about listening to the spirit when she gave a great story about how she helped a young mother with a 9 month child and while pregnant to find food and work through the church's welfare program.

Random thought:

Our oven broke.  I learned that our life is full of imperfections and unloved delays.  Some times we make apple pies and stick it in an oven to come back 30 minutes later to find out that nothing happened.  We have to not just live with imperfections of mortal life, and not
just with live with what we've got but to also have hope for a better world in the life to come. This hope we speak of is a knowledge of our Savior’s resurrection, which brings about His infinite Atonement.

Man walks on bus with shoulder pads for FOOTBALL!

Hermana Lasson, from France, hurt her leg on Saturday and is on crutches.

We passed by a shop that sells BOMs.  But not Books of Mormon.

We were knocking some doors.  we knocked a door and a young woman opens the door with not much on, asks who we are then calls for her boyfriend and a man without a shirt opens up and we talk to him and gave him a Book of Mormon.

The hymns helped me this week when we're in a train and there were a bunch of women and men immodestly dressed.  Sang a few hymns and brought peace to my soul.

We were walking back to piso and a man named Gustavo from Brazil stops us and says that he was investigating the church in Brazil with a friend and is now living here in Spain.  He even had the Gospel library app.

I had an intercombio with Élder Jensen from my piso and we did some contacting and passbys.  We passed by a woman named Raquel and we talked a lot about how through Christ we can have a new life, because she was in places that she didn't want to be in anymore physically and emotionally.  We have a visit with her today.

We met a woman from South Africa last week who speaks English and we were able to talk to her about the church and has lot is interest to learn more.

I met Carlos Castro yesterday while I was on the  metro.  He is an investigator from Rubí.  He was super happy to see me and he just loves the missionaries.

We were walking down the street yesterday and we rang the door bell of a building.  I was standing by entranceway of the building and 2 women walked by and then like 15 seconds later  one of them comes back and asks us if we are Mormons.  We said yes, and she said that she is a Mormon but has been less-active for like 10-15 years and asked us if she could have a Book of Mormon.  Of course we gave her one.  So we'll pass by this week.

Well family this has been a better week for me.  I have learned a lot from my mistakes. I know the church is true and is being led by living prophets and apostles.

Con cariño,
Élder Gonzalez
Sent from my iPad

Monday, May 16, 2016

Cleaning Day Means Preparation Day

So today is a holiday and all the shops are closed so we couldn´t buy food today so we are going to buy sometime this week so we don´t starve to death.  We just stayed home for most of the day and took a breather and relaxed a bit.  The other 2 elders went to the mission office so they were gone for most of the day and my companion took a nap. I took the privilege of cleaning our piso.  Not because they told me to do it, but for me it helps to destress.  What destress?  For me I can put all of my thoughts and pains on one thing which can be cleaned, this stain off the stove or cleaning the dishes.  It puts me into a world where Ican clean my thoughts of the life of a missionary and the life of a normal person for a second, so I cleaned our windows, all of them, the stove and counter top, dishes, floors and mopping, cleaning our loft where we sleep on the second floor (super cool to have a second floor), wrangled up some dust bunnies, etc.  The weather has been getting warmer here in Sabadell and it is nice to have light all the way up til 9:30.

Random thoughts:

we had district meeting last week and we always do our recitations before the meeting.  we had the door open and a worker who was fixing the church walked by.  Must think we are robots or something.

It´s official, red lights are from the devil!

I saw a rolls royce, the british luxury car.

We were called a false church from a woman at the timbre, doorbell.

Bird climbs into heat exhaust of house.

Romans 15:24,28-29
 24 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will cometo you: for I trust to see you in my 
journey, and to bebrought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.
28 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealedto them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.
 29 And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
Romans 15:24, 28. Did Paul Ever Journey to Spain?
Paul intended ultimately to travel to Spain (see Romans15:24, 28). Though it is notknown for certain whether
Paul ever made it to Spain.  There is some evidence suggesting that he did fulfill this desire: “Writing aboutA.D. 96, Clement of Rome said that Paul had reached the ‘boundaries’ or ‘limits of the west,’ a phrase far more appropriate for Spain than for Rome. The early Muratorian Fragment also says that Paul visited Spain,though its source of information is 
debated” (RichardLloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul, rev. ed. [2007],311–12).I´m fulfilling a prophecy!

We had lunch with the Smiths and we had a form of Taco soup with tortilla chips and cilantro.  Yum!  American family with a mexican soup!

So this week was a little rough for me.  It all started with being full of stress. Then my companion got sick so we stayed in piso for friday morning.  I did some cleaning and some organizing.  We live on the fifth floor of our building and have a laundry rack outside our window.  I was cleaning the bathroom and I took the rugs out to dry on the racks.  It wasn´t very windy, but the wind had blown the rugs off the racks and on to the roof of our neighbors who live next to us and 2 floors down.  And Now I had to retrieve them.  It isn’t really the fact that I lost the rugs, but it´s more the fact that my companion said something that put my on edge so I had this battle of trying to understand why is it that I try doing something that I feel like I can only get 70-80% done right but always falter a big chunk left?  I just can´t make par.  It took a lot of prayers and studying to realize that we are all imperfect people and have to constantly rely on a perfect person to save us from our imperfections and his name is Jesus Christ.  More things happened this week that just pushed me to my limits, but right now I´m trying to cool off and rest again, pero me cuesta mucho.


mom at church was helping a toddler blow his nose and the boy kept saying "déjame en paz"  or " leave me in peace!"

Well family, the mission is like a refiner´s fire, because it is, especially in Europe.  We have our ups and downs, but we just have to endure to the end, and like Neal A. Maxwell says, we have to endure it well.  We can be better or bitter so I´m trying to make the best with what I have and like Joseph B. Worthlin said " come what may and love it."  After all the conflicts we have in the streets, the book of mormon is true and this is THE church of Jesus Christ.  I hope you have a great week, and God bless you with happiness and love.

Con amor por el día de preparación y por zapatos que no son rotos,

Élder Gonzalez de El Faro, España

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Happy Mother's Day and Hola (two weeks' worth of emails)

 It was a treat yesterday to talk with my family.  Wow, the weirdest part about it all was that it felt like I just talked with you last week or something.  Time flies by when you are teaching the gospel.  

Well today for preparation day we played volleyball in the rain as a district at the church. I destroyed some old garments found in piso by old missionaries and cleaned piso.  Today is a festival.  The stores are closed so we can´t buy food.  It was fun to play something for once and have a change of activity.

Random thoughts:

We had a lesson with a less-active woman and a cat scratched me and jumped onto the computer modem where it´s nice and warm.

I made 2 apple pies last week to hand out to less-actives and have some kind of excuse to pass by.  An apple pie is like an atom bomb being dropped in Japan.  YUM!

I was eating cereal one morning and blew my milk as if it was hot...awkward.

We were contacting last week and came across a mexican woman who is a Jehovah witness.  We did our best to testify of the basic points of the gospel to have the spirit present in the lessons, but some people (not her) like to bash with us with bibles, but we have gotten better at not bashing, just defending the faith and leaving when contention becomes a problem that the spirit is driven away.

Question of the week asked by the people in the streets:
If God exists, why do bad things happen good people?  Why is there so much bad in the world?
My answer is that God does exist and that He is our loving Heavenly Father.  Also "all things denote that there is a God" (alma 30:44) and so we have to have the faith that He is all knowing (2 nephi 2:24).  So why do bad things happen to good people?  We read in Alma 14 about how Alma and amulek are tied up and watch as those who believed in their testimonies were thrown into the fire and killed.  Alma says this it is to stand as a testimony against the wicked (Alma 14:11).  God has also said that we are to be tried and tested of faith in him to see if we truly will walk where His Son Jesus walked and do that which is right in the sight of God and Endure well (Abraham 3:25).  Lehi explains it well. without the opposition, there is no growth (2 Nephi 2:11).  To summarize everything we live in a fallen world, Adam fell that we might have joy (2 nephi 2:25) but the fall created a way for God´s Children to come to earth, be tested, gain a body and return to his presence.  I read last week that Paul stated that Christ died and suffered for the sins of the world and answered the end of the law, we are joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17).  Why is there so much bad in world?  Easy, we live a world where people have received their agency and have been given this chance to prove themselves worthy to enter in God´s presence.  Some people have used their choices wrongfully and have in result hurt others.  We must remember that life is like a battle ground.  Without a firm foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and especially in the plan of salvation, this life in not all.  We lived with God before and if we are faithful now we can return to live with him, as "Joint-Heirs with Christ".  Elder Duncan said this in this past general conference:
"I am convinced that most of us want to forgive, but we find it very hard to do. When we have experienced an injustice, we may be quick to say, “That person did wrong. They deserve punishment. Where is the justice?” We mistakenly think that if we forgive, somehow justice will not be served and punishments will be avoided.
This simply is not the case. God will mete out a punishment that is fair, for mercy cannot rob justice (see Alma 42:25). God lovingly assures you and me: “Leave judgment alone with me, for it is mine and I will repay. [But let] peace be with you” (D&C 82:23). The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob also promised that God “will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction” (Jacob 3:1).
As victims, if we are faithful, we can take great comfort in knowing that God will compensate us for every injustice we experience. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin stated: “The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. … Every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.”1"

Our life is full of Challenges.  We must find what is true to hold on to and endure with faith and hope.  I know that this church is true and that God does live.  He loves us and wants all of his children to follow the safe road back to his presence.

I love you and hope you have a great week.

con cariño,
Elder Gonzalez


So, next week is Mother's Day.  What are the details?:  Well our wifi in the chapel is broken so we can´t skype with our ipads, so we are thinking of going to a member’s home like old school times.  We are planning on skyping around 7:30-8pm here which is like 11:30-12 in the great state of UTAH.  sooo yeah.  We had mother’s day yesterday here in spain.  the primary sang.

Sooo, tell us about Elder Olaso....details please.:  He is from Boise, Idaho.  His last name comes from his grandfather who is Basco, yes the north of spain, and he speaks really well in spanish and a little in Basco.  He wears glasses...  is about 6 foot...is funny,  we remember the good old days of Pres. Pace and we feel like old farts sometimes with these whipper snappers running around with them ipads and playing futball.  Back in our day was a no no.

How are things going for you today the first day of May?:  warming up.  it was really cold the past few days with our catalunya cold humid days and now the weather is starting to get better.  An investigator of mine got baptized a few weeks ago from Terrassa.  We had 2 baptisms of primary children from the ward on Friday.

  How is your new area?:  Big and boxy.  I feel like I´m in Utah, the grid system.  The people are the same, but I think a little more open than from the Islands or terrassa.  Lots of spanish members.  We have a real chapel, haven´t had one since Castellón, but not as big.  It is a cookie cutter chapel i have seen it in vitoria, and Palma.

  How is your new piso? : Dirty!  I spent our preparation day cleaning for 3 hours.  I like cleaning because I can put my stress out on a dirty dish or floor.  Plus I got to listen to some G.C. CDs I found in piso.  I got to listen to the voice of a 10 year younger Pres monson and Hinckley and the rest of the gang from 2005.  I think I´ll make a fit for the 2004 CASETTAPES!!!  who on earth uses those?!   But yes mom...I know what they are.  It was interesting what the leaders were saying at that time because I was just 10 at the time not really paying attention to conference, but the leaders  gave great advice to the members about missionary work, protecting home, and kindness(elder worthlin).

 Do you have anybody in your area preparing to be baptized soon?:  not yet, we are working with some people who have some problems that are keeping them from completing some commandments.

  or is this a new area you are opening? : no it is not a new area, just new to me.

 I noticed that it is not far from Terrassa.  are you in the same zone? :  yes it is quite weird that I am so close to terrassa.  We have stake conf in two weeks and so I´ll get to see some members again.  I am in the same zone, Barcelona.

Random thoughts:

A random boy asks us for a piece a paper.  I ripped one out and gave it to him.

We saw a father and son playing sword fight in the street.

We were knocking a building and a woman was dumping 2 buckets of water out the window from the first floor.  Weird people sometimes.

Gotta love the reaction of people when I stand up from the bus or bench.  😱😨🤔  I´m like a spanish godzila.  I eat pan and olivas.

We were having a bench lesson and were ending with a prayer when a woman with her son comes by shouting out that we are false and devils while walking away.  gotta love the mission.

We were at church for the baptism of the two primary children and a mom with her 2 year old walked in the woman´s bathroom saying enter and the boy says "okay".  Childlike obedience.

We were waiting for a bus for about 25 minutes and we had 2 bench lessons.  Miracle.

Mom can you send me a copy, digital or hand copy of my baptism.  and other pictures that you would like to send.  They make me smile :)

I gave my testimony in a very crowded  testimony meeting.  I was waiting for the line to thin, but the people just kept on going.  A sister got her mission call for July 14 to go to Uruguay.  That will be a fun sacrament meeting, me going home and her going.

The primary gave cards and flower to the moms yesterday.  Happy mother’s day next week!

We had a weird visit last night with a less active couple who were offended by other members of the church and haven´t returned back since.  They know the church is true, temple endowed and everything.  We shared the talk from elder duncan from this past GC.  Really good.  There is no excuse for not going to church.

Well family I have to run.  I wish you a very happy week and we shall talk face to face on sunday... I hope.  I know that the church is true and God lives.

Con cariño,
Élder Gonzalez

From the Island Iziba

OSHA approved?  I'd be on my butt hugging the wall.

Finally, a Gonzalez in Mexico!!

Pamplona, the city of the Running of the Bulls

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Well, it's transfers and our investigator died

And I´m not joking.  Our investigator Julio was hospitalized last Sunday and died on Friday.  He was battling with lung cancer.  We passed by in the evenings when we didnt have much to do and when there wasn´t anyone in the streets.  He passed away on Friday night, so yesterday we had the funeral in a catholic church called La Santa Cruz.  We had a catholic mass for 30 minutes then the priest sprinkled water on the coffin and that was the end of it.  We sang "How Great thou Art" and I was conducting the choir of us missionaries and a few members.  It was a spiritual experience to know the difference in how we as a church think about the afterlife.  With our knowledge of the plan of salvation, we know "that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.". Alma 40:11  We must remember that this life is not the beginning, neither it is the end.  We lived with God before this earth and will live with Him after this life.  However, the key to this is the atonement of Jesus Christ, but we cannot fully understand the atonement unless we first study the fall, and we cannot understand the fall without knowing the meaning of the creation. see "the atonement", Elder Nelson .  In one year Julio´s temple work can be done for him and then he can have the ordinances done in behalf of him to enter to the kingdom of God.

Also this week I got transferred...  I´m a little bummed out to leave my island, but the Lord has other plans for me here in Sabadell, Catalunya.  My new companion is Élder Olaso from Idaho.  He has one transfer left and he was in my district for two transfers when I was in Terrassa.  Speaking of terrassa, I am like 15 minutes away from terrassa by train.  It is a little weird to return back to the same zone and be so close to my last area.

When on the airplane today, I sat next to a man who was on his way to Barcelona for a business trip.  BTW my knees where JAMMED up into the seat in front of me.  I was squirming around to find a comfortable position for the next 45 minutes of the flight.  Plus it didn´t help that the man in front of me was leaning back in his seat.  Anyway, we started talking and he said this to me "what is it that your church teaches that is different than the other christian churches?"  I said we believed that Christ established his church with his power and authority, then after the death of him and his apostles the church was lost.  God then called Joseph Smith to be a prophet in these days and restored the church of God here on earth through the power of God, and that the evidence we have of this restoration is the Book of Mormon.  We talked a little bit more and then went to sleep.  However, the three girls that were sitting behind us were making comments about us, how we were apostles... So as I was exiting the plane I talked with them for a minute and handed a card we had with mormon.org on it so they can find the church because they were curious.  And now I am here in Sabadell.  I hate lugging luggage across city from bus to plane to bus to train to train again to bus to piso.  Lots of stuff to carry.

how are your fast and testimony meetings? do you get to share your testimony often?:  good.  many people here in spain share their testimonies and sometimes I don’t have enough time to go and give my testimony.

You met yourself?  But only in name.  You're not gay and wear women's makeup.  Btw:  Were you able to give him a BofM?  :  yes

Random thoughts:

Julio in hospital.

we were doing some passbys last week and we made a trip around the bay in sant antonio on a cloudy, cold day, which was perfect that way so we don´t see any bikinis. it was a long walk, but they were not interested anymore.

we had a nice rainstorm this past week.  Cleaned the streets and air.

we had district meeting.  We learned about using the scriptures by:
1)introducing the scripture with history, background, etc.
2)reading it
3)applying it

We were contacted last week by a man named Matthew from Preston, England.  He likes to talk to the missionaries about how there is a monument of the first baptism outside the US there by a river.  We asked if he was interested to learn more, but he declined, meanwhile as he is rolling up a cigarette...

we talked to 2 american military pilots on the bus to sant antonio who knew members from back home who are on missions.

Julio died on friday, a full moon.

We were walking last week and passed a bar.  a man was kind of pushed out of the bar and bumped into us because his friends were watching from the other side of the glass.  His name was Luis.  He is from sinagal(a country in africa that i don’t know how to spell).  He was really wanting us to drink with him and was pulling my arm to make us go in.  Luckily we had a visit we had to go to so we politely declined and quickly went to our next visit.

a new thing I´m going to be doing now is write about the most frequent questions that we are asked or an interesting question we receive here in Spain.  this week our winner is "are you amish?"  No, we are latter-day saints.  We believe in electricity and we have normal lives like everyone else.  

We had misa on Lunes.  Monday mass.

I almost got besos, kisses, from an investigator. But i got a hug from a primary girl last night in our farewell activity with the branch.

We had a big farewell activity with the branch last night.  It was fun and we got to hear a lot of testimonies from the members of how we have helped while serving with them.

Well family I love this church.  I know it is true.  I know that the family is ordained of God.  I know that the commandments keep us safe and not constrict us.  God lives and he loves us.  Live worthy of your temple recommend and you will find greater happiness.

Con cariño,
Élder Gonzalez

sent from a computer from a local internet shop because we live way too far away from our church and the wifi doesn´t work there.