Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 29, 2012

Elder Wride's Birthday Celebration

Alex's Birthday Breakfast

Car Keys I

Car Keys II

Hello family,

Well, this week has been pretty interesting for me. I´ve had stress and stuff from many things that have happened in the office this past week. And right now it´s stressful again because one missionary from the Canary Islands has finished his mission and has to come to Madrid, but for some reason the Santander Credit Card won´t work for us. I´ll explain my week now.

Friday, was a crazy day for me. So earlier I bought a ticket for one of the missionaries in the mission to go home so that he could renew his residency card. I then got a call from his mother and she told me that the Ayuntamiento [city hall] changed the date of the appointment for when he could go over there. So she asked me to change the ticket for a different date. So I changed the date for a different one a bit more ahead by calling the airline and asking them to change it, but kept the same schedule. Then I called the Spain Barcelona Mission to give them all of the details. I then called the mother back and told her the dates and stuff about the ticket and when he should pick up her son. She said that everything was fine and I didn´t worry about it anymore. Later that day she called again and told me that the ticket won´t work because it´s a holiday for the day that I bought the ticket and the Ayuntamiento [city hall] would be closed that day. So she asked me if I could change the ticket again for one day later. Changing plane tickets costs about 35€ so I didn´t want to spend another 35€ to change it again. So I asked Elder Forrest what I should do, and he told me to call the mission president. I called President Watkins and asked him what I should do. He told me to call her back and tell her to call Oscar Clemente and coordinate things with him and then send me an email about the details. So I called her back and told her, and she started yelling at me over the phone and at this point, I´m not super happy either. I stayed calm until she hung up. Then I sat there until I got word of what to do.

Oscar called me not long afterwards and told me what I needed to do and I didn´t understand most of what he said, but I knew that the ticket had to be changed because Oscar was worried. So I told him to call President Watkins to see what he said and then to call me back. I hung up and a while later I got the call that I can go ahead and change the ticket. When I tried to call the people again to change the ticket, I couldn´t get through. I tried a few more times - same thing. So I called the Spain Barcelona Mission for help and asked them what to do. I got some info on what to do and a different number so I tried the different number. Someone answered and tells me that I have to call another number to deal with that stuff, so I did that. I called and the person that answered told me that I have to call a different number for that, so I wrote down the number and it was similar to the one that I called first, just one number was different. So I tried that one, and the same thing happened with the first one, I can´t get through. So I called the Spain Barcelona Mission again and told them that I can´t get through. Well, long story short, I gave them the card info and they did it for me and it cost about 65€ instead of 35€. Well, that was that.

As far as investigators are concerned we´re doing pretty well. We have a lady called Vanessa that´s half Peruvian and half Japanese. We taught her a bit about how reading, praying, and going to church fortifies your testimony and stuff. We also had another Vanessa from Columbia, but we decided to drop her since she couldn´t progress. We then have a recent convert called Shirley about 8 years old and she wasn´t home, so we taught her family about faith and used the tea packet on fire as well. Super cool lesson!!! The tea packet flew at the last second and yeah, awesome lesson. Another investigator that we had is being deported so unfortunately we lost him. He was progressing so much until an incident that had his girlfriend call the police and he´s gone. So, that´s the point we´re at. We did tons of contacts too. 130 contacts in one week. People are lucky if they get 100, but 130. That should tell you how many lessons we had – nearly none.  We only had seven lessons total last week. It was horrid.

Oh, and I´m also learning how to drive stick shift!! It´s pretty fun, but hard. Elder Forrest took me to a dirt parking lot to practice and it was super fun. He told me all that I need to know and he said that I was soooo much better than he was when he started driving. He let me, the first day drive back to the piso [apartment], which was fun. I only killed the car once in 30 minutes of driving. It´s pretty fun now. I´m driving to the office and today I´m going to drive to the mission home for a P-Day activity.

Thank you for the package, Grandparents thank you for the money, and thank you Giselle for the picture. You´re getting good at doing those! Just add more to it, don´t be afraid to add more! =) Thanks for everything family and I´ll talk to you soon. Love you, BYE!!!!

~Elder Bauer~

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February 22, 2012

Alex in front of the Madrid Temple

The Madrid Temple

The mission secretary's desk at the Spain Madrid Mission

Hey Family,

Well, I´m in a locultorio [internet cafe] for the second time this transfer. It´s pretty good, but I prefer the office. For one, it´s cleaner and the computers are faster. I´m also getting a bit stressed for transfers to come since I have to buy all of the tickets for everyone getting moved around so I will be STRESSED next week. I´ve also had to buy plane tickets for a missionary that had to go home for residency issues and will come back after a day. I was informed by the Spain Barcelona Mission (where the missionary´s home is) that I bought the wrong ticket. I´m going crazy, but whatever. I hope to be able to keep going. The office is easy, but can get stressful.

We have been doing super good here in San Sebastian de los Reyes!!  Last week we got a total of about 10 lessons, and 90 contacts!!! It´s pretty good, better than any other week since I´ve been here! I love it! Well, I´m not really sure what else to say. Today was great! We went to the Temple and did a session with all of the Madrid missionaries. It was super full and pretty fun! When we went back outside I felt like the mail man since everyone asked for things and I had them loaded in the car and stuff. I made sure that everyone got their stuff, but one companionship didn´t come out until who knows when, so Elder Forrest and I went to Lidl (a store close to the Temple) and bought some deliciousness goodness!!! So I got a pack of 4 muffins and they were the best tasting muffins in the WORLD!!!! Holy trash they were super good!! Elder Forrest said that they were the best consistency and...yeah, I can´t describe it. You´ll just have to come over and eat it yourself so yeah! Not much else has happened.

Elder Bauer

Thursday, February 16, 2012

February 15, 2012

Would you like to try some chocolate avacado pudding?

Note it is the color of infant bowel movement! (YUM!)

Or was that bowl movement.  Oh wait, this is what we did for P-day!  No report on who won.  Draw your own conclusion what that means.


Well, lots has happened here this week.  Thursday, I forgot what has happened so I´ll just skip it. I don´t really remember any days, they´re just all jumbled in my head so I´ll just say my favorite things that happened this week. So we had a lesson with a less active family about patience. We saw a “Mormon Message” about that where President Uchtdorf tells a story about an experiment on children to see if they are patient. The "scientist" puts a marshmallow in front of a kid and tells them that if they wait just 15 minutes, they could have 2 marshmallows instead of one. I really liked that message and then we tied it into their lives. It was a good lesson. Later on they ordered pizza for us to eat, Domino's Barbecue Pizza, the husband, Jesus, talked about the Book of Mormon and how he hasn´t been able to read it all the way through and that he didn´t have a testimony of it. At that point I had the strongest prompting to promise him that if he read it all the way through, he will know it is true and that it will fill him up more than anything else. I also related that to my story of me reading the Book of Mormon in about a week and a half. It was a super cool lesson!

The office is pretty good. Elder Jeppson has finished training me and we trained the assistants to the president to do their part in the office and now my load is lighter. For residency I have to send a lot of stuff to Ayuntamientos [city hall] in different cities so that the missionaries can be Empadronado [registered] there and all. It´s pretty easy now that I´ve done it once and called Oscar Clemente (the guy in charge of all of the residency) countless times. I also answer the phone in the office and help people out with questions they have. That doesn´t mean you guys can call, I´ll pass you over to someone different if you try. Anyway, so many things that I do here. Yesterday, the Internet was down for a bit, and the scanner as well, so it was horrible since I needed them both to do my work. Everything was resolved though, and it´s all good.

Hasta luego

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February 8, 2012

Spain Madrid Mission Office

Office of the President of the Spain Madrid Mission

Madrid missionaries visiting the home of Real Madrid (professional soccer team)

Oh no!  There is no game today!

So I guess play-by-play will be somewhat boring!

Dear Family,

Monday was the day that I had to do training with Oscar Clemente (he´s a member and helps all of the missionaries in Spain with residency). First though, key indicators. I had to collect them as part of my job from the Zone Leaders in the mission. There are 5 zones and I have to get numbers like baptisms, investigators at church, etc. Then I go on to the amount of people that attended the wards/branches there. Then I move on to whether the missionaries had correlation and ward council. Then I go on to the people that have investigators with a baptismal date. Yeah, a lot to ask for huh. I do the numbers on Excel, but the other two (meetings and baptismal dates) I have to do on paper, then transfer the information to Excel, and THEN make it into a PDF file and send it to the mission president. The assistants to the president are the ones that should be doing all of that, and they will soon. So I get all of that done, well, getting the numbers, then we had to go and get Elder Cunningham so that he could travel up north to replace someone that went home for medical reasons. At noon I had the meeting with Oscar Clemente and he talked for 2 hours with me asking a lot of questions about residency. I was super nervous about doing all of that stuff after the meeting. I was super crammed in my head that I took a long time finishing the numbers and stuff for President Watkins and the Assistants. It´s all starting to make a bit more sense now that I´ve had some time to think about it so yeah. We got out of the office by 8 that night and taught a super cool lesson!!

Tuesday was pretty cool!! We had district meeting and then went to the office. Not as stressful as Monday. It was more of a chill day. I had to send out a residency email to Elder Cunningham since he changed addresses so yeah. Every time a missionary changes addresses, they have to go to the "City Hall" get a change of address, and register in that city, so I had to send him all of that in an email so yeah. I then did a few more things and prepared for zone conference which we have tomorrow. I also had to check in three phones that were returned to us from areas that have been closed. I also had to activate a phone card thing for another phone that we are sending to some Hermanas (sisters) that lost their phone in the metro. That was about the only excitement about yesterday. OH and we got a new investigator so that´s super COOLIO!!!!

Today we went to Madrid and went and toured a Fútbol (soccer) stadium! It was cool! How have you been this lovely day? How cold is it there? Here it sort of snowed, but not really. I hope that you have a good day and week!! Take care, and love you all!!

         ~Elder Bauer~
         Called to Serve:
   Spain Madrid Mission
      and assigned as the
Secretary of the Spain Madrid

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 1, 2012

Elders Jeppson and Gonzalez

View from the apartment in Madrid

Some of the missionaries serving in Madrid
(Alex is in the back row lined up perfectly with the tree)


Well, let me start off by answering your questions. With Alcobendas, yes, I mean the Alcobendas ward. It´s pretty fun and we have 4 missionaries serving here. Well, right now 5 since Elder Jeppson, the former Secretary is training me in being a secretary is still here, but yeah. Elder Forrest, Jeppson and I cover San Sebastian de los Reyes, and the other two cover Alcobendas. Our piso [apartment] is in San Sebastian de los Reyes [a suburb northeast of Madrid] not too far from the mission office. Now as far as the car that we drive, we drive an Opel Porsa. It´s a pretty small blue car with a "logo" of a lightning bolt in a circle. It´s also a stick shift kind of car, so I´m going to be learning how to drive all over again. Yay...not. I´m sure it will be fun! As for the ward, we do attend the Alcobendas ward as well as our companions in the same piso, as well as a senior couple that works in the office. So six missionaries attend that ward. The Watkins [the mission president and his wife] attend every now and then according to my companions. Now, the jamon [Spanish ham], personally it´s an eh sort of flavor. I don´t really like it, but I don´t hate it. I haven´t really eaten too much of it either so yeah. I couldn´t really tell you. [Each region of Spain prepares their jamon differently.  I asked if he had tasted it, and if he had a favorite.]

As for the size of the ward, it´s about the same size as the branch in Valladolid. About 75 members, but more priesthood. So far we haven´t been invited to lunch once. Oh, and the bishop is super cool. He is German and speaks English and Spanish. Just like you dad, except that he speaks English and Spanish with a German accent and you´re American. With baptisms, I get informed of all of the baptisms that take place in the mission. Like, so far we have 22 baptisms as of the beginning of the year and about 45 fechas [people committed to baptism]. As far as email, we can either go into a locultorio [internet café], or go into the office. For example, today I´m in the office typing this email. And no, I can´t be in my email everyday. I still check it every week on Wednesday. Wow, that was a lot of questions. I´ll go on to my week now.

Well, this week has been clumped all into one in my brain so I´ll just tell you in general what happened. So as the mission secretary I´m getting better. I´m not asking Elder Jeppson too much anymore, I´m excited now. I kind of like it, but not too much. I just want to teach more than be in front of a computer for a long time, but I´ll do the best I can. I´ve answered the office phone so many times it´s pretty ridiculous. I also talked to the Spain Malaga Mission about a reference. It was pretty fun. I get a little head thing that I can answer the phone with and it´s cool!! It´s almost like a Bluetooth and when I push the button on the side the phone lifts itself off the hook and I can talk through the Bluetooth thing. I also get phone calls a lot from missionaries asking questions and sometimes I don´t even know the answer to them. So, I pass it to Elder Jeppson. I´m getting better though.

As for lessons, I still don´t know anyone here, but I´m sure that I´ll be able to get to know them soon. We don´t have as many lessons as we did in Valladolid, but it´s okay. I´m sure we´ll get up there. Mostly we´re in the office so my time is mostly in there. I´m getting overwhelmed with all of the stuff that I´m learning too. It´s not too bad so I´ll be getting back to normal soon, Well, I don´t know what else, but oh well. How are you guys? Have a good week and I´ll talk to you next week. Love you all!!

       ~Elder Bauer~
       Called to Serve:
   Spain Madrid Mission
    and assigned as the
Secretary of the Spain Madrid