Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March 28, 2012

San Sebastian de los Reyes

Elder Forrest with striking city workers in the background

Nothing improves study like mint chocolate chip ice cream from Tino's


Well, this week has been pretty fun for me...a bit. I´m not really sure what happened this week – except not too much. Well, here´s my week in a super small nutshell.

Well, as you probably already know, Elder Torres has joined us in the piso [apartment]and it´s pretty crazy hard having 6 missionaries in a 3 room 2 bath piso, but it´s fine. It´s really fun too! Elder Torres is pretty cool too! I like the Chilean accent that he has when he speaks Spanish so it´s been fun! Soo, pretty much the only super exciting thing that has happened is that Elder Forrest and I have a potential baptism on the 7th of April. Alberto is a Spanish guy that has lived in Madrid for the majority of his life and has read the Book of Mormon 10+ times since he´s had it. And it shows. You just have to see the book and you´d be able to tell that it´s been read...a lot. We also got a new investigator called Daniela. She´s from Colombia and is super cool!! We asked her when would be a good time to return to talk to her more, and Thursdays work for her. She also sort of hesitated since she´s pretty much on call and may not be able to meet on Thursday. She expressed a desire to meet with us though so it should all be good! The other missionaries in Alcobendas have a baptism the following week on the 14 of April. Her name is Natalia and she´s progressing super well!! I´m glad to see so much success here in San Sebastian and Alcobendas.

The office is going pretty good! I get questions about everything, even finance stuff that I don´t know anything about, and I answer their questions with "Well, my answer to that question would talk to Elder Forrest, he knows everything about that stuff." Sorry dad, I don´t know too much about finances...and I´m your son. Hahahahahahahahaaaaaaa. Anyway, also yesterday the cities of Alcobendas and San Sebastian went on "strike" and it was pretty cool to see! There´s actually a day set aside for everyone to do that so it wasn´t really too exciting so yeah. Not much else. How´s everything? I hope everything is going wonderful!! Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!! Love you all!!!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 21, 2012

The "Beast"

Madrid's Temple Square, with the CCM (Missionary Training Center) on the left, and the Madrid Stake Center on the right.

Elder Forrest trying to do his hair like Alex

The Opel Corsa gets a car wash


Well, this past week has been crazy!! Friday was transfers and we got 12 new missionaries!!! 10 Elders and 2 Hermanas (Sisters). So guess what I did all day Friday? I drove all over Madrid!! It was pretty fun! Then today we got 5 more missionaries from Chile and Mexico. By the way, thanks for the letters from:

Martina Harris
Megan Eden

Anyway, most of this email will consist of Friday just because there was a lot that had to be done that day, but starting with Thursday.

Thursday I don´t really remember too much of what we did except for pick up the Furgoneta at the Mission Home. Elder Forrest drove the little Opel Corsa that we have over to the Mission Home, and I drove "The Beast" back to San Sebastian. We filled it up with Diesel (which should tell you that it really is a BEAST) and parked it near our piso (apartment). There was a parking spot, just big enough for it, unfortunately it was a parallel parking spot. So Elder Forrest got out and it took about 5 or 10 minutes to park that thing, not even joking. A smaller car would have been easier, but the Furgoneta, oh boy. We then did English classes and went to bed.

Friday morning we woke up bright and early at 6:30 am. We had to be at the Madrid-Chamartin train station by 8:00 AM and it takes about half an hour to get there from our piso if there isn´t any traffic. Well, there was traffic so we left at 7:15ish and got there at about 7:50. And yes, I drove there. We got there and picked  up the luggage of the people that came from the Santiago Zone which is the part of Spain right above Portugal. They took a hotel train and were on the train all night long, from about 10:00 PM until the time that we picked up their luggage at 8:15 AM. So we loaded the Furgoneta up with all of the luggage and they were going to take the metro to the stake center which is about an hour away on the metro, but like 20 - 30 minutes away in a car. So we headed to the stake center and the traffic was crazy so we got there at 9:00 AM and were supposed to be there at around 8:30 AM for the new missionary meeting. And yes, I drove there. We got there and as the office elders we had a part in that meeting. Elder Forrest, as the finance guy, (like you dad, haha) talked about the JP Morgan Chase card that all of us get, then I, as the secretary in charge of residency, talked about residency and what they are supposed to do. After all was said and done, we all went to the stake center and unloaded the Furgoneta, just to re-load it with baggage for the people taking a bus to go to the Santiago Zone. They had to be at the bus station at 10:15 AM to catch their bus which left at 10:30 AM. And yes, I drove them there. We then drove back to the stake center to see if we were going to pick up more bags for people that were going to the Canary Islands, but we ended up not having to; so we drove to the office. And yes, I drove to both of those places.

At 1:30 PM we drove back to the CCM (Missionary Training Center in Madrid) to pick up 3 missionaries to get their fingerprints taken so that they could get their residency card soon. So we got there at 2:00 PM and got the 3 and drove them to the Oficina de Extranjeria (Foreigners Office) to get that done. There was a senior couple that were going up to Santiago Zone to get the JAS (Jovenes Adultos Solteros – Young Single Adults) started up there as well as an Elder that was going to Barcelona. We dropped them off and then looked for parking. And guess what, yes, I drove again!! We got in the Oficina de Extranjeria to find that my little group of missionaries was pretty much done with everything. The police officers let us through the metal detectors without really taking anything out of our pockets or anything, even when it rang, they said, "Just go, you´re fine" so it was awesome!!! After helping them out and after talking to a lady about the gospel and giving her a card, we drove them back to the CCM and guess who drove them. If you guessed´re right!! After all of that, we drove "The Beast" to the office again and got a few other things done and did a few contacts before we had to be at the stake center all over again. And if you guessed that I drove back to the office, you guessed right!! Then we realized that we didn´t eat lunch so we got a little something to eat at a Dia (a food store, not my favorite, but hey, it was the closest one). We didn´t really stay for very long and went back to the Furgoneta to get to the stake center at 6:00 PM.

At around 6:10 PM we got everyone in "The Beast" and drove them to the airport to get them to the Canary Islands! They´re a great group of fine young missionaries!! Elder Fowler was among the group of 3 and he´s a really fun little guy!! He´s going to be great down there. OH, and guess who drove to the stake center AND to the airport! If you guessed´re RIGHT!!!! Wow, you guys are good!! After dropping them off we drove back to the Mission Home to leave behind the baggage of the missionaries going to the Canaries. AND guess what...I drove them there too!!!! After leaving the baggage there, and dropping off the key to "The Beast" we drove back to the piso in our little blue Corsa. And guess who drove back to the piso!! If you guessed´re wrong. Hahahaaaa!!! Gottcha there didn´t I!! Yes, Elder Forrest drove back to the piso because I was super tired after a long day of driving everywhere!!! We then had the family home evening at the church like we do every Friday and then I was dead. I fell asleep on the couch for half an hour and then woke up and realized that I needed to shower so yeah. That´s how dead I was!

Monday and Tuesday were regular days except that I had to buy a ticket for a missionary coming down to Madrid from Santiago Zone, and for a missionary going up there. We also took the car to get a car wash at a pretty intense car wash. It´s pretty clean now, and it rained today too so we could´ve gotten a car wash free, dang it. Today we got 5 new missionaries like I mentioned at the beginning and they´re all pretty cool!!! Elder Wride, my district leader, is training one of them named Elder Torres, which is pretty cool!! Elder Torres is from Chile, is 26 years old, almost 27. His name is the same as my trainer in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission, Elder Torres, but they are probably not related. Today we went to the meeting of new missionaries and trainers at the CCM and I drove the little Corsa over. We gave our little speech about the credit card and the residency and whatnot. It was pretty good. We then drove the new companionship back to the piso and he got settled, we bought some food, and now we´re here, emailing in the office. After this, we´re going to have to take a phone to Barrio 1 (first ward) and to our other companions in the piso. There are 6 missionaries in the piso so yeah. Crazy!!!

Anyway, this is probably the longest little email that I´ve sent out since I´ve been in the MTC in Provo, heck maybe even THE longest one ever!! I hope you enjoy reading about my epic week.

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 14, 2012

Transfer table used to make plans regarding transfers

The Opel Cosa used by the office elders

Missionaries in the old part of Toledo on P-day

Alex and his companion, Elder Forrest, in front of the cathedral in Toledo

The "Captain Moroni" sword Alex had made in Toledo


Well, this week has been crazy for me. I´m glad to hear that everything is going well with you guys at home! Well this week has been both stressful and fun for me, so I´ll start with stressful first.

So I found out transfers last Thursday or Friday and from there I´m supposed to print out a little thing called a transfer table (shown in picture 1.) Everyone´s faces where they are going to be and all. I then mark it up and compare it with the old one of where people went and where they are going and all. That takes quite a while just because you can´t really miss anyone. Then on a separate sheet of paper, I write down two zones, for example Madrid going to León as a title, and then put all of the missionaries underneath of people going from Madrid to León. After figuring it out I start looking up trains/planes to the north or to Madrid/Islands and compare prices. After searching and finding, and writing and planning, I go to my wonderful companion Elder Forrest and talk to him about what I found out and what I´m planning for people. After he sees what I´ve done and what I´m thinking and he sees that it´s good, it´s time to pass the test with Hermana Watkins [Sister Watkins is the wife of the mission president].

Monday I showed Hermana Watkins the travel plans for all of the missionaries that are coming into the mission and traveling from one area to another. When she sees that it´s good and after writing some more I can begin buying tickets for the missionaries going to the appropriate places. The hard thing about all of this is that no missionary can be alone so it´s pretty hard. You have to buy tickets from certain places where all of the missionaries can come together to wait for their companions and get people traveling together if possible. So that´s pretty much what Hermana Watkins and I talk about and all of that good stuff. Tuesday I made the Transfer Tabla [Table - I know its obvious] which is an Excel spreadsheet that I convert into a PDF File so as to send it to the zone leaders and they can open it and print it and all of that fun stuff. The Tabla is the spreadsheet of instructions for all of the missionaries that are being affected with the transfers. Even if they aren´t moving, they get instructions if they are picking someone up or something. So I make that with a lot of thinking on how specific I can be with only one or two lines of details. When that is done, I convert it, and send it to the Assistants and the Zone Leaders in the mission. I was in the office yesterday from 11am until 8:30 pm working on that. My brain was fried!!!

Today was P-Day and we decided to spend the day in Toledo!! Super cool little city! I drove down and Elder Forrest drove back and that was fun as well. In Toledo we saw the cathedral and a museum of history which were both super cool!! We also went to some souvenir shops and I got a handmade sword that says Captain Moroni on it, and a handmade dagger!! Super awesome!! Now I´m here typing this long email. I hope everything is going well with all of you and that you have a good week!!! Love you all!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 7, 2012

Elder Forest (the financial secretary), Elder Jeppson (the former mission secretary), and Alex (the current mission secretary)

An Opel Furgoneta (which Alex calls "the beast")

P-Day Activity (Alex is back row on the right)


Thursday in the office we had an office meeting, like we do every Thursday, and we talk about all the stuff that we need to in the office. Elder Ovard is in charge of piso (apartment) management and just piso stuff. Hermana Ovard is in charge of pedidos (other requests) from the other missionaries. Elder Forrest is the finance guy so if you have advice for him on money management, haha, he may appreciate it. Just kidding. I´m in charge of residency here in Spain, which you know nothing about, so too bad. I´m also in charge of the cell phones that all of the missionaries have and that´s a fun job. Not really. A few weeks ago some Hermanas (sisters) lost their phone, and asked me if they could get a new one with the same number that they had. It took about a week and sending many emails out and calling Movistar (the cell phone company that we use) and I finally activated a phone, but whatever. That´s in the past.

Monday was supposed to be transfers, but since we have 12 American missionaries waiting in the CCM (Madrid Missionary Training Center), we´ve held off transfers until the 16th of March. So this transfer is a bit longer and the next one will be shorter, how interesting right? Yeah so Monday in the morning we had Elder Jackson, from the Canaries (come the night before from there) who was going home, along with 3 others who were going home. We had to go to the stake center there in temple square and take the Opel Furgoneta, which is a huge car, probably bigger than your Highlander by a bit, “stick shift beast” is what I call it. Anyway so we drove Elder Jackson and his luggage to the mission home at 9:30 am, dropped off the luggage and left our small Opel Corsa, then got the Furgoneta and Elder Forrest drove to the stake center. We had a little farewell and stayed for the little meeting. Then I picked up their residency cards and Elder Forrest took their JPMorgan Chase cards, loaded the Furgoneta with all of the luggage and I (yes you saw right, me myself and I) drove the Furgoneta back to the mission home. It´s engine is super crazy and let me just say, I should have practiced driving your Highlander more, but whatever. I drove the Furgoneta better than I can drive our little Corsa which is weird to me, but whatever. Later that night at 9:30 pm we went to the mission home to say goodbye to the four great missionaries that left, eat, and pick up my phone. Super cool day since I got to drive "The Beast."

Yesterday we found out transfers and it´s pretty interesting. I´m not allowed to say anything about them so I´ll just leave it there as far as where people are going. My job is to get a train for whoever is moving to or from the north over to Madrid, and a plane to and from the Canaries. I also have to make sure that people aren´t left alone so it will take some brain power, but it shouldn´t be too hard. 12 people coming in and 4 have left, it shall be interesting is all I can say.

Love you all!!
Elder Bauer