Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25, 2012

Elder Torres, a new convert, and Elder Wride

Madrid from the freeway

Parque Europa

New camera
Hello my family,

We´ve spent a lot of time in the office recently just because people have to come back to Madrid to get their residency cards, and Elder Forrest has had a long list of things to do so yeah. Crazy stuff so here it goes.

So Wednesday of last week, we ended the day teaching Beatriz, some Spainiard lady, since she said that she was interested in learning more about the church. We´ve met with her before because she goes to every English Class that we have every Thursday. So we decided to pick back up with meeting with her, and I must say that she overdoes it on looking up information on the internet about the church. She always runs into anti-Mormon stuff and she invites us to listen and discuss afterwards about it. This time, I´ve had enough with that, so I simply told her, after Elder Forrest and her talked a bit, that if she really wanted to learn and know if the church is true, to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. I also read from 2 Nephi 33:10 to clarify on if she believed in the words of Christ, she would believe in those words. Then I also read to her 2 Nephi 33:2. So basically I told her to soften her heart, and believe in the Book of Mormon. It was pretty good I think. Thursday has been uneventful, but also fun! We had Javier at 7:00, which was a pretty good lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it was all good!! At 8:00 we had English classes, and Beatriz wasn´t there so I was hoping that I didn´t offend her so yeah. I got to teach a bit of it and it was fun to do that. We then had a lesson with the Portas family.

Friday was pretty fun! We had Efrain at 7:00 and Family Home Evening at 8:00, and may I say that it was the most interesting Family Home Evening I´ve ever had here. Beatriz came and Alberto, the recent convert, came and at the end of the message, while we were all eating refreshments, Beatriz got up and started singing a song in English. Now, that´s not quite the wierd part, Alberto then get´s up and starts dancing all crazy too!! We were all dying laughing just because that´s not usually what happens. Anyway, Saturday we had Nany in the morning, then Alberto. We got Alberto a triple combination and he loved it! He was excited to have it and is reading it right now. We then went to a baptism that Elder Wride and Elder Torres had and it was great! Alberto went and Beatriz went as well. Natalia, a Dominican 19 year old girl, was the one getting baptized and it was a good experience. We then pulled Beatriz off to the side and talked to her about baptism, and she said that she didn´t want to meet with us to get baptized, but she wanted to meet with us to be with my companion. Somehow I knew it, but we´ve dropped her, and I don´t plan on teaching her again.

Sunday Natalia was confirmed by Elder Torres and that was about the most exciting thing that happened. Monday we had a lesson with a new investigator which was awesome!!! We then went and helped Nany move to a new piso [apartment]. We stuffed the small Opel Corsa with suitcases and bags, and the Ovards and us drove to her new piso. She´s working at the house of a different person so that´s why she moved there. Super nice piso too!! We then had a less active family, the Matos family. They always feed us, and they gave us Dominoes BBQ Pizza. Yummy!!! Tuesday, or yesterday, was death for us in the office. We had a lot to do and it was just CRAZY!!! We did have Alberto and he made us lunch. We taught him about the Priesthood, and it was a good lesson/lunch. We then went back into the office until 8:00 and had Ward Council at 9:00. Today I got a new camera since my old one is kind of broken. Not broken in the sense that it can´t take pictures, but that the battery compartment doesn´t close and stay closed. I like my new camera though! We also went to a grocery store called Carrefour, and WOW!!!! It´s just like a Walmart!!! Super crazy awesome!!! It was HUGE!!! Different sections and everything. I was just excited when I was in there and so yeah. We also did a mini road trip since we got lost 2 or 3 times. We tried to get to Torrejon, but we ended up in Fuenlabrada. Let´s just say that, Torrejon is on our side of Madrid, and we crossed Madrid, from North, to South. It took so long to finally get there. We went to Parque Europa which was cool and it had stuff from Europe in there, like famous monuments, but miniature. How has everything been?

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18, 2012

Elders Evans, (Alex) Bauer, and Hodges

Elder McGrath with Alex

Elders returning home (Hodges, Thurston, Slack and White), with Sister and President Watkins on each side

Alex by the Madrid Temple

So transfers weren´t that bad since there were only a few people that were leaving Madrid to go north, vice versa, and to the [Canary] Islands and back. We also have a little more than 10 new missionaries here and it´s been fun!! So of course, I mentioned that this transfer wasn´t that big at all right, and that it would be easy!! Well...then we found out that Hermana [Sister] Watkins, who helped us out a lot last transfer, wasn´t going to be in the office at all this past week. So Elder Forrest and I had to try doing it all without her help, which by the way, was almost a nightmare at first, but I got the hang of it after a while. Friday rolled around and it came time to go over transfers with President Watkins before we sent it out and all was well. We then had to send it out at 9:30, but the problem was that we weren´t going to be in the office at that time so I set the Microsoft Outlook to send it to all of the zone leaders at 9:30 automatically which was cool!!

Saturday we had to come to the office to check on some flights for people coming in from the Canaries so that they could get their tickets. One of them is Elder McGrath, my first companion here in Spain!!! We coordinated who would do what that day and Elder Forrest and I decided that we would do everything as far as driving people here, there, and everywhere is concerned except for one flight on Sunday, which was during a baptism of our piso [apartment] companions, so we handed that one off to the assistants to the president. Sunday we got The “Beast” (aka the Furgoneta) and drove to the baptism in it so that we could go from the baptism to the airport if necessary. We ended up dropping the other two companionships off and going to the airport to pick up Elder Sepulveda, who was in the islands for two transfers. He was being sent off to...VALLADOLID!!!!!! So I got to tell him how cool it is up there and stuff like that!! Eventually we loaded the Furgoneta with his stuff and drove to the Madrid Chamartin train station to pick up two of my favorite Elders from the León Zone, Elder Evans and....ELDER HODGES!!!!!!!!! It was amazing to see them both again!!! Unfortunately, the reason that Elder Hodges came to Madrid is because he was going home Tuesday, but I´ll be seeing Elder Evans around since he´s serving in Madrid!! Yay!!!! We then dropped them all off at the Barrio 6 & 8 piso [the apartment for the 6th and 8th ward elders] and went home.

Monday we went to the stake center at 10:00 am and I saw Elder McGrath for the first time since October general conference!! It was good to see him again!! We then had the meeting of the group going home, and among that group were two great Elders that I will really miss, Elder Thurston and Elder Hodges. After the meeting we went to the security place there on Temple Square to get more keys for the stake center and the CCM [missionary training center]. We spent about half an hour there and went to get more diesel in the Furgoneta before we went to get the other missionaries going up north to the train station. We dropped them off with plenty of time to spare and then went to the office for a bit. At 8:30 we went to get Elder Rose from the train station and then went to the mission home for the farewell dinner of the four missionaries. The four going home were Elders Thurston, Hodges, White, and Slack. After a while there we took Elder Rose to our piso in our little Corsa. When we got to San Sebastian, we had to get gas, and this guy came up to me while I was getting gas. He was poor, and with nothing, except his car, and his car, was out of gas. So before filling up my car, I filled up his little container that he brought, with gas for his car. Afterwards, we spent a good amount of time talking to him about what I´m doing as a missionary and all sorts of stuff like that. I gave him a card and off he went to his car, with the container of gas. When we drove away, he gave us a friendly wave of appreciation and it felt good!!

Tuesday we left at 9:15 to get to the CCM at 10:00 for the meeting of the new missionaries. I spoke of the usual – residency and whatnot – and Elder Forrest spoke about the JP Morgan-Chase card and how to use it. Before the meeting though, President Watkins had a surprise, about three missionaries were coming into the mission, but didn´t show up on the transfer charts when we made them. So he quickly assigned them somewhere and it confused everyone a bit, but it´s okay, all is well. We dropped three people off at the airport in two different terminals in the Furgoneta and it was a fun, but stressful day! We then went to the mission home to drop off some bags of the ones that went to the Islands and went to the office pretty much right after. We had a lesson with Alberto, an appointment with a dentist for Elder Forrest because he had something in his mouth that worried him, but it´s all good! We then went into the office for a while and did a few things, and had a lesson with Javier and that was all for that day.

Today is P-Day and we went and played soccer in Pavones, but I sat out most of the time because it was too cold for me to play without feeling like trash, haha. We then ate at Dominoes Pizza and that was it. What is the weather like? Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!!! Love you all!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11, 2012

Elder Forrest, Alberto, and Alex

The missionaries serving in the Alcobendas Ward, at the bishop's house

Churros con chocolate

Missionaries at VIPs (on P-day)

Hey there me family!  (Yes, that me is on purpose.)

I´m glad that all is going well over yonder in Bloomington, Illinois. Well this week has been super cool!! I´m starting with Saturday!

So first thing that I have to say is that...WE HAD A BAPTISM!!!!! Yeah, that´s right! So this guy is called Alberto and he´s read the Book of Mormon like 10 times, and I may have mentioned that, but I said it again! The time of the baptism changed to 12 noon just for convenience on his part, but all went well! We had a lot of coordination to do with the elders of Barrio 6 [the Madrid 6th Ward] so that the font would be filled and that everything would be ready for us on time. We (Elders Forrest, Wride, Torres, and I) got there at about 11:00 AM , and the Barrio 6 elders were there watching over the font. Those B6 elders are just awesome!! Elder Thurston, he´s super awesome, and SUPER tall!!! He´s 6 feet 5 inches tall!!! Taller than dad and Jonathan! Then Elder Thurston´s temporary companion for that day was Elder Paredes and he´s cool too!!! Both great guys!! Then I found out that my electronic key works for the whole stake center, as well as the CCM [Missionary Training Center]!!! Super cool since I got to open the doors to everything there and we actually needed it so that we could open the door to the font! Anyways, so the services started a bit late, but it´s okay. Elder Forrest and Alberto dressed in white and the program started in the chapel. Bishop Vierbuchen conducted the meeting and the spirit was there super powerful!!! I can honestly say that I haven´t felt it that strong at any baptism or any other meeting of the church than at that time. Probably because I was paying more attention than usual to my feelings, but it was great!!! The talks were super good and super well organized, and the ordinance itself was good!! Alberto then bore his testimony about why he joined as well as how grateful he was for the chance that he had to do what he did and have taken that step of baptism. His testimony was just amazing and I loved it! Afterwards the ward had brought a lot of refreshments and so we ate afterwards and all was well!! Later that day we had a lesson with Jennifer from the Dominican Republic and a friend that she brought. Not too much happened after the baptism, but that´s fine.

Sunday was a great day too!! Alberto got confirmed a member of the church, and I had the privilege of doing that. Super cool experience for me to do that too!! My words were definitely guided and it was pretty cool!! After the confirmation, we had a nice Easter sacrament meeting. Lots of talks about Easter and the resurrection as well as hymns played and sung! I liked it a lot!! After church we went to the bishop´s house to eat lunch with him and his family as well as others which include the Ovards. He and his family made a great Easter dinner for us and it was amazingly good!!! We then talked a bit about the traditions that we had for Easter as well as the history of our family in the church and it was a great little conversation!! Everyone around the table, except for the Bishop´s kids, spoke on the history of their family members joining the church. I´d like to know more about my ancestors since that experience so if you could send me stuff on that, that would be amazing!!! Then the desserts came out. Homemade carrot cake, super yummy, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, super good, and cheesecake with raspberries on top, SUPER YUMMY!!!! Yeah, all was yummy, and we left super full!!! They also gave us as a present a hollow chocolate bunny for Easter and that made everyone´s day as far as missionaries are concerned, so yeah!!! Fun day!

Monday we didn´t really do too much except for finding out transfers and having a lesson with the Portas family and it was good!!! Super fun, super interactive, and not just "Let´s read this scripture right here, and what does it mean to you" kind of stuff. We did read scriptures, but we had an activity with them also. They fed us right before, like always, and it was just awesome. They are just the best part-member family ever!!! We went back home after that lesson. Tuesday was a pretty crazy day for us! We had district meeting in the morning, and then went to the office from 1:30 until 3:00 PM. At three we left and drove to Pavones to pick up Elder Thurston for a baptismal interview for the Elders in Alcobendas (Elders Wride and Torres). So we dropped Elder Thurston off at the piso [apartment] and after about half an hour we left for the office again. Transfers are going well since everything is pretty much done. I just have to buy tickets now and send them to the appropriate people as well as make the sheet telling people what to do. We then found a Churreria [a place that makes and sells churros – see picture above] and had churros con chocolate [churros are a fried pastries flavored with sugar and cinnamon, eaten in Spain with thick hot chocolate – or coffee], and it was the best churros con chocolate that I´ve ever had in my life!!! Super yummy! Then we had a lesson with Javier, taught him a bit more on the restoration and then dropped Elder Thurston off at Pavones, and picked up Elder Perez so that he could go home to get residency done and then he comes back Thursday. Today we dropped off Elder Perez super early at the airport, then at 1:00 PM got together with all of the missionaries at a restaurant called VIPS and I had ribs with a chocolate shake. Yummy!! Now I´m writting!! I hope that everything goes well with you guys!! Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!!!

Love you all!!
Elder Bauer

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April 4, 2012

The Elders in the apartment: Alex, Elders Gonzalez, Veintimillas, Forrest, Wride and Elder Torres (on the floor)

Celebrating Elder Veintimilla's birthday...

with a cake sent by his cousin.

Hello family,

Well, this past week has been crazy and awesome!! Our piso [apartment] has a total of 6 baptismal dates, 5 of which are happening within a month from tomorrow. We have Alberto who has a date for the 7th, and that´s one from Elder Forrest and me. Then on the 14th Elder Wride and Elder Torres have Natalia, an 18 year old Dominican girl. Then the others are scheduled for the 15th, 28th (which finishes off the month of April), and one on the 5th of May. Then the 23rd of June we have Efrain so we´ll see how that one works. Well, enough about that, on to my week.

Saturday was super cool!!! Elder Wride (the district leader) and I did exchanges and it was a super cool day!!! We went first to see a guy called Carlos and he´s a super cool guy!! He said in that lesson when we invited him to read the Book of Mormon, "I´ll try to...NO, I will read, I WILL read for curiosity." Super cool guy! After him we went to see Natalia and taught her about the 10 commandments as well as prophets. First though we helped her finish cleaning the kitchen so that it would go faster. We took the metro to her house, which was fun. After her, we took the metro back and had lunch with some recent converts. The guy´s name I don´t remember, but the lady´s name is Milagro, and heck, what a milagro [Spanish for miracle] she is!!! She´s the best member a missionary could ever dream of!!! She´s sharing the gospel as well as giving out copies of the Book of Mormon and trying to see if her friends would meet with the missionaries!! After that we tried to get another lesson, but nothing worked out. We then took the metro to the church and watched conference as well as talked to Alberto a bit. After conference Alberto had his baptismal interview and Elder Torres and I taught a pretty new investigator from the Dominican Republic. For the first three lessons that we had, we weren´t able to get her to take the Book of Mormon, but this time we left her with one and she said that she will read it. Super awesome day Saturday was.

Sunday we went to the church to watch the priesthood session at 11am, but the internet wasn´t working so Elder Forrest, Gonzalez, Veintimilla, and I went to the stake center next to the temple and watched the last half there in English. We then had a snack in between the priesthood session and the Saturday evening session which began at 2 pm – one hour break. After that session, we went back to San Sebastian to teach a less active family and for Alberto to have his interview with President Watkins. We then had the Sunday morning session of conference, live at 6 pm and that was the end of that day. Alberto is good to be baptized too so we´re making all of the preparations. Monday we saw Alberto to explain to him about baptism and how it will go. We´ve also called the Elders of Pavones (the place where the Stake Center is) to have them fill up the font that day, but we will remind them every now and again. Tuesday was Elder Veintimilla´s birthday so at the end of the day we celebrated his birthday with a cake that his cousin got him. I hope that everything at home is doing well!! Take care and I´ll talk to you again in a week. Love you all!

Elder Bauer