Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012

From Left to Right:  Elder Forrest, Elder Torres, Elder Gonzalez, Tania (a "pro cake maker with her American brownies"), Elder Veintimilla, Elder Wride, and Elder Bauer (Alex)

Alex with Elder and Sister Ovard

Alex in the driver's seat of the Furgoneta (the Beast) - One last time!

Four generations of mission secretaries.
From left to right:  Elders Argyle (current secretary), Bauer, Jeppson, and Vogel.

Elder Soriano, Alex's new companion.

Hello family!

Well, let me just say that this past transfer has been the craziest one yet as far as what has happened with me, haha. So first things first, I have been transfered to Parla, which is pretty much just a small town out of Madrid. We have to take a Renfe [commuter] train to get out here, but it´s not the same kind of Renfe that we usually take when we get out of the province of Madrid. It´s a smaller train that takes you to the places close to Madrid like Parla, Torrejon, Mostoles, etc. The funny thing about this Renfe is that this end of it is Parla, and the other end is at San Sebastian de los Reyes (where I was before). So I could take this train back to my old area. Anyway, now off to my week.

So Thursday and Friday was full of teaching Elder Argyle how to do transfers. Of course we were in the last stages of transfers so it wasn´t too hard, just time consuming. Saturday was full of checking in flights and going to Fuente del Saz for a less active lesson and some pass by´s that didn´t work out too well, but oh well. Sunday we had church, then right after church, Elder Argyle had to go to the office to check in more flights and after that we went to get the Furgoneta [a large Opel van], and I got to drive it for the last time. We then had a Recent Convert lesson, and after that we had a baptism to go to at Pavones which started at 6:00 PM. Elders Gonzalez and Veintimilla were the ones that baptized and they asked the Bishop to perform the ordinance. Super cool!! We then had two more lessons and that was it.

Monday came and it was the day to leave for me, Elder Torres and Elder Wride. Pretty sad, but oh well. Elder Argyle and I went down to get the Furgoneta and put more Diesel in it and drove it back below the piso [apartment] to wait for the rest of the luggage to come down. Elder Argyle got out and opened the trunk so as to put in the luggage quickly when they came down. We had already put in my backpack, small suitcase and another small bag inside and we were just waiting for the rest. So as we´re waiting, Elder Argyle realized that he forgot to get the ticket for Elder Torres´ flight that morning! So he gets in, and we fly off down the street, then people start honking and I didn´t understand why. Sure we were double parked and the Furgoneta is huge so it´s hard to get around it so I´m moving already. We then go around the round-about and start flying up the hill. When people continue honking, I start getting frustrated and Elder Argyle looks back and wonders why people continue to honk, only to realize that we left the trunk open and everything except for my backpack is gone! I couldn´t believe it, but we both just looked at each other and start laughing and Elder Argyle starts running out and going after my stuff. Everyone was helpful on the street to help get everything into his hands again so yeah. I was laughing a lot just thinking of Elder Argyle, in a suit, running around getting luggage and when he came back, he put it all in, closed the trunk, and we started flying again. We got the ticket after running in the office to pick it up, and ran back to the Furgoneta and flew back to the piso. We met the other missionaries in front of the Mercadona and told them the story of the day.

We then went to the airport, Terminal 4 to drop off Elder Torres. Elder Forrest, Wride, and Torres went in and Elder Argyle and I stayed out with the Furgoneta. While they were all in, I started explaining to Elder Argyle how to drive stick and stuff. When Elder Forrest and Wride got back we were off to the Stake Center. We got there and I got all of my stuff out, handed the key to the Beast [Furgoneta] to Elder Forrest and put my luggage in a spot where it would wait until I left. We all met in the Stake Center Cultural Hall and I met my new companion Elder Soriano, from Mexico!!!! He is one transfer into his mission, or a month and a half in, so he´s super new. Still a newbe so I´ll be teaching him!! So after the meeting and stuff, we all talked and the office elders, AP´s as well as those going home went into a separate room while the rest of us talked and stuff. After a while I said goodbye to Elder Forrest and Elder Wride and was off to my new area. So the new suitcase that I got, just after getting it down the stairs of the temple and started rolling it toward the metro stop, the wheels broke off. So Elder Simmons, my district leader and my piso mate, picked it up and carried it to the Metro stop called Pavones. It just wasn´t good quality the piece of trash so it barely made it to Parla. So when I opened it, one of the two full shampoo bottles  uncapped too, which was not good. Luckily it was at the bottom so not much got dirty with it. Not the best move I´ve had, I can say that much. Tuesday we proselytized and today we had P-Day in a museum of Technology which wasn´t as exciting as it sounds. We are now in a Locultorio [internet cafe] and writing emails. How´s everything over there? Well take care you all and I´ll talk to you next week!! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23, 2013

Alex acting as though he is working.

Elder De Haro (Assistant to the President) and Alex acting goofy.

Nine of the ten elders staying in an apartment for four.
From left to right - Back row:  Elders Torres, Gonzalez, Argyle, and Perkins.
From left to right - On chairs: Elders Forrest, Veintimilla, Bauer (Alex), and Lyman
Seated on the floor: Elder Wride - Not pictured Elder Perez (probably taking the picture)

Mother and family!

This week has been pretty crazy as far as training and transfer stuff goes! We know transfers and I know where I´m going too, so it will be fun to go where I´m going. I don´t get to tell though, sorry. Everyone has tried to get out of me transfers and my answer always is, "You´ll know on Friday." Super fun to annoy people like that!!! So yeah, I know where I´m going, but I don´t know anything about my new area, so it should be super cool!! We were just informed of some changes just now, and nothing too big, just some few things that changed so yeah. Anyway, here´s my week in a nutshell starting with Thursday or Friday of last week.

So we were contacting out on the street and we went into this small plaza park thing. We then talked to people sitting on the benches there. Awkward, but it was pretty cool, especially the second one that we did. This lady named Isis investigated the church about six years ago and when the day of her baptism came around, she left to go back to her country. I wonder how the missionaries felt about that. Anyway, we found her again and set up a time to meet with her the next day and she accepted! When we met with her, she brought one of her friends over to talk to us too!! She just found him on the street and told him to come and listen, so he did. We shared with him that it wasn´t a coincidence that he was sitting in front of us listening and the lesson, in all, was amazing! We invited them to go to church Sunday, and we all felt good at the end!! We´ve also had some lessons with a less active called Yoanna, from the Dominican Republic. A few weeks ago, she called us wanting a Book of Mormon, and we´ve been passing by ever since. She eventually told us that she was a member and it was crazy!! We invited her to church as well and were pretty much hoping that she and Isis would show up!!

On Sunday, Elder Argyle called everyone to make sure that they were still coming to church. We then went off and picked up Javier to come to church with us! While we were walking over, Elder Forrest was talking to him on the phone and telling him that church was important and that we wanted to walk to church with him. When we got there, Javier looked tired and didn´t want to go, but we eventually got him up and going to come with us. We got to church and Elder Argyle and I were waiting for others to show up. We called Isis again to make sure that she was coming and she said that she was, so it was all good with her. Farah Portas, a member, called us to ask us where Yoanna lived so that one was taken care of too. Luis, the Mexican less active guy, came to church too as a great surprise!!! He sat right next to me in Sacrament Meeting and it was pretty cool!! He had to leave early because of work at his home, so it was fine. Yoanna came too, and stayed for all 3 hours!! Super coolio!! Monday we found out transfers and it was super cool!

I´m moving, as well as some other people, and that was fun to find out. Elder Argyle is a bit overwhelmed with what he has to do, but all is well. We did a bit of organization with who´s leaving and who´s staying and getting the transfer tablas [tables] with all of the faces crossed out and marked up. We also had to write on a different sheet of paper who was leaving, who wasn´t, and all of that crazy stuff!! Monday ended and Tuesday began. Crazy sentence I know, but...LIKE IT!! Anyway...Tuesday we started organizing trips for transfers, as well as for Zone Conference in the Islands, and it´s been crazy!! We looked up different trains and flights and boats (for the Zone Conference) for travel and stuff. We´re still trying to figure everything out about that because of the recent changes. Nothing too big, but still enough to make us think again, but nothing should be too hard. At the end of the day we had to go pick up Elder Perez so that he could go home to pick up his residency card, and hopefully that will be over and done with for him. We also had 10 missionaries in our piso [apartment] because of exchanges. Elder Perkins, our Zone Leader, and Elder Wride, our District Leader, did exchanges and decided to come back so that they wouldn´t have to travel too far to get to the mission home for the activity today; so it was crazy in there. There were Elders Forrest, Argyle, me, Veintimilla, Gonzalez, Wride, Torres, Perez, Perkins, and Lyman. A full house in a piso made for four people.

Today for P-Day we started off by taking Elder Perez to the airport early in the morning. Elder Argyle, Perez and I got up at 4:30 am, and went to the airport so that Elder Perez could be there two hours early. We got back home at about 6 and I couldn´t go back to sleep until sometime before 7:00 at least. We then woke up at 7:30 and got ready for the day. We did our shopping, me not so much, and went off to the mission home for the activity. I couldn´t find my regular clothes so I didn´t get to play any sports so I just sat outside and got a bit tanner than I used to be. Now we´re in the office to e-mail and change a boat for the Canaries. Later on I´m going to buy new suitcases since the last ones broke on my way down from Valladolid so yeah. I´ve got to buy some new ones from a chino [convenience store] later and repack everything in those. How has everything been over there? Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!! Love you all.

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012

A cool building that we always see on the freeway to the Temple.

Catholic church in Fuente El Saz de Jarama

Elder Forrest not knowing where to start to knock doors!

A gecko on the ceiling near the door entering our piso [apartment] building.

Hello Family,

This past week for me was pretty good too!! I enjoyed talking to you too!! Well, I´ll tell you all that has gone on since Monday.

Well, nothing much has happened this past week. Elder Argyle has been learning more about his responsibilities in the office and is a bit overwhelmed, but he doesn´t even know what that word means until Oscar Clemente talks to him about residency! I´m sure that he´ll do fine and all, even though it´s stressful, but that´s how life works here. He´s learned quite a bit of stuff, but he keeps saying that it´s not what he expected it to be, which is funny because I was thinking the exact same thing when I came in!! Especially with transfers and having to go through that, wake up at night hoping that I bought the right flight/sent out all of the tickets/hoping that the missionaries would catch their trains on time, etc. It´s crazy all of the stuff that you have to think about and I´m glad that I can take a break from that.

Tuesday, or yesterday, we got a call from a missionary´s mom about him having to come home to pick up his residency card and having to do that the next day, or today. I told Elder Argyle that with that we have to talk to President, look at flights, talk to President again, and then when everything is good, then we can buy the ticket. We also have to coordinate with the other mission, the Barcelona Mission, about the whole situation and see what they thought. So we talked to his mom after thinking the whole thing through and told her that the next Wednesday would be best for us and for him, so we bought the ticket for next Wednesday.

Today is P-Day, but as Elder Argyle is finding out, he won´t be able to enjoy his P-Day to the max as secretary. He will still get calls and still have to figure out problems for other missionaries and try to remember everything for when we come in on Thursday. Especially with residency which is a hard thing to do for us extranjeros (foreigners). Not much else has happened today except that we got to go to the Temple and it was a great experience!! I love the Temple here, just lovely and stuff!! How´s everything over there? Anything new happen since you woke up? Probably not, but I hope you have a good day and a good week!! Take care and I love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9, 2012

Elders on borrowed bikes in Parque Juan Carlos I

Sculture of fingers in Parque Juan Carlos I

Elder Bauer (Alex) on the ring finger of the sculpture

The view of Madrid from the Parque Juan Carlos I

Dear Family,

Special thanks for the letters from:
Mi familia [my family]
The Franks
Megan Eden

I don´t thank people for the letters very often so a big thanks for them. Well, this week has been rather interesting just to say the least!! Some exciting and surprising things have happened this past week. Here´s my week.

So Thursday was pretty crazy for me. We had to pick up Elder Inzunza from the train station at 8:00 in the morning, then Elder Ortiz from the airport at 10:00 in the morning to pick up their residency cards. All well right?...Sort of. Elder Inzunza got his residency card just fine after a slight problem that he had since he lost a paper that he shouldn´t have lost, but he got his card and all is well. Elder Ortiz on the other hand, he didn´t get his card because he got there too early to get it. Usually people could get their cards 40 - 45 days after putting in their fingerprint, and he got there 20 days after. That was a mistake on my part. So his trip from the Canaries was wasted, but Elder Inzunza´s wasn´t. Oh well, life goes on I guess. We ate lunch, stopped by the Distribution Center for a bit, then took Elder Ortiz to the airport, and Elder Inzunza back to the piso [apartment] with us (his night train didn´t leave until 10:00 that night so that´s why he stayed with us for the day.)

We then went into the office and had our second interview with President Watkins for the year. This is the surprising part for me and for you...ready! So the first thing he said is, "Elder Forrest says you are a great missionary!" Cool right, I´m glad that Elder Forrest says that about me. He then went on after talking a little bit, "Elder Bauer, how long have you been here in the office?" I answer that I´ve been in for two going on three transfers, or pretty much four months. He then said, "Well, I think that it´s time for Elder Bauer to take a little break. You will start training your replacement this Monday (the 7th of May) and will leave the office at the end of this transfer." I was surprised... shocked... weirded out... I don´t really know what I felt, I was just leaving much earlier than office elders usually leave. And usually office elders train the first three weeks of the transfer, not the last three. So I´ll get to know where I´m going early again!!! YAY!!! We usually stay here for about five transfers, or six months. Oh well, I´m pretty happy now, but at first I was sad since I started liking the office and I got advice this last P-Day on how I can do better. Life moves on though.

So Friday, Saturday and Sunday pass with me a bit worried of what I´m going to do, how I´m going to train, what I´m going to do, and where I´m going to go. Monday rolls around and my "son" in the office is Elder Argyle. Pretty new to the mission, but knows Spanish really well. He´s going to be a great office elder and I hope to teach him well!! Monday we got started. I told him what we normally do on a Monday and it was good. Sort emails, open a residency spreadsheet of all of the missionaries, key indicators into iMos, etc. I also taught him how to do other helpful things that he will need to know when I leave and when the new transfer starts so yeah. It´s been pretty fun teaching and helping him do what he needs to do! Hermana Watkins [Sister Watkins – the wife of President Watkins] asked me where I wanted to go after I left the office, and I told her that I wanted to go to the Canary Islands, so I can only hope!! Elder Gonzalez tells me that it´s super cool down there so I want to go down there too!!

For P-Day today we went to Parque Juan Carlos I, and it was pretty cool!! We got to rent bikes for free, but only for an hour. It felt so good being on a bike again and riding really fast on it too!! I also climbed a hill on the bike and I can tell that I´m out of shape for doing anything on a bike. I´m not as good as I used to be, oh boy!! Not much else has happened except that we set a baptismal date for the 26th of this month, but it seems a bit shakey for the moment. I hope that all goes well there and that he knows for himself that he needs this in his life! Take care and I´ll talk to you on Mother’s Day!! Love you all...BYE!!!!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012

"My cool looking phone!!"

Elders Forrest and Bauer (Alex) at the university in Alcalá de Henares (taken in the Plaza de San Diego)

Plaza de Cervantes, Alcalá de Henares

Missionaries visiting the home of Cervantes in Alcalá de Henares on P-Day
Back row (left to right):  Elders Rodriguez, Vogel, and Soliz
Front row (left to right): Elders Forrest, Bauer (Alex), and Foster


Can I believe that it´s been a year already? Not really at all!!!! I´ve had fast and slow days, fun and not so fun times, but overall, everything went by so fast!!! I really don´t know where the time has gone!! Crazy how that works right? Well, crazy stressful stuff has happened this week that has just drained my energy, and on the mission, there is no time to really get it back, especially as a secretary that doesn´t get Medio-Dia [lunch break] every day. So here goes my week in no real particular order.

So all this past week, I´ve had to buy tickets and plan things out for missionaries needing to pick up their residency cards. So I believe it was Friday when they came in to get their cards from the islands – two from the islands, and one from the north, in Oviedo. We picked them up and went to get their cards in Avenida de los Poblados [street name in Madrid] at the Oficina de Extranjeria [Foreign Office] and it all went well. They got their cards and everything went well. We then dropped of Elder Miner with the Barrio 9 Elders [Missionaries serving the Ninth Ward] so that they could take him to catch his train in the morning to go back to the north. Elders Pluim and Bagley, from the islands, were staying with us so that we could take them to the airport the next day since we live super close to the airport. So the next day, on Saturday, we got over there to the airport and dropped them off about an hour and 15 minutes before their flight departed thinking all would be well. Well...everything didn´t go well. They missed their flight because they got there "too late" to be able to get on their flight. So we had to go and pick them up again to take them so that they could stay with us for another two days until Monday to get a flight back to the Canaries. So our ward on Sunday was super shocked to see eight missionaries there as well as the Ovards [an older couple - missionaries], so ten missionaries there in the ward; so it was pretty fun.

Monday we got them to the airport two hours early so that there was no excuse that they couldn´t get on their flight. We even walked in with them just in case. So everything went well with them so that they could get on and get back to their island. I also had to change a ticket because I forgot that there was a holiday on Tuesday and that the Oficina de Extranjeria [Foreign Office] wouldn´t be opened until Thursday so yeah. Tuesday we had to go back to the airport to do something with the flight of Elder Ortiz so that he could go and pick up the residency card. We had to present the credit card to the people working there so that they would let Elder Ortiz on the plane on Thursday when he had to come over to do that.

Today it was P-Day, and we had to go...guess the airport, AGAIN!!! I forgot to confirm the flight for someone that had to go home and do residency, plus he missed his flight.  But it was fine, we got him another flight for later and all is well. Then I got a call telling me that a missionary that went home Monday to do residency, for some reason, didn´t get all of his residency done at home, which is in the Barcelona mission so, I´m starting to get a headache about all of that just thinking about it. It´s okay though, I´m trying to do all of the things I have to do here as best as I can. I even got some advice from another missionary that was here in the office a while ago about things that would help me out. It was pretty good. We also went to Alcalá de Henares and that was pretty fun!! We saw all sorts of stuff as well as the house of Cervantes, the guy who wrote Don Quixote, so yeah! Pretty fun!!!

Take care and have a good day! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer