Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27, 2012

Elder Alvarez celebrates his 21st birthday

Elder Soriano takes siesta

Farewell to President and Sister Watkins

Hey there family,

Well, this week has been pretty crazy as far as the weather is concerned! It´s been pretty hot lately and so sleeping in a hot piso [apartment] without air conditioning is not the best thing in the world. But it´s okay, I don´t mind the heat too much, considering it´s dry heat. So here goes my week!

Thursday we went to Aranjuez and we taught Cristina again and she´s just gold pretty much! We also met a member that day that just got out of work so she walked with us and talked about Cristina and work and life. Nothing too crazy, except that she works in a bar next to the Palace which is super cool!! These past few weeks have been hard with getting lessons in as well as contacts because of soccer. Lots of people like to play soccer and it´s just crazy how the streets stay empty! Seriously I think that soccer is like a religion here or something since everyone has to watch it, but whatever. Pretty much reminds me of the U.S. when a football game is going. But just picture this, so a bar, with tables outside and people eating and talking, but this time with a huge TV placed so that they could watch the game. Hahahahaaa!! Like a movie theater almost but pretty much for free.

So Monday we didn´t have much time in Parla. At around 1:00 we had to go eat with the Gordon family and after that we had to go to a bus stop to get to Pinto so as to go to Aranjuez. Cristina is still doing well, except that her situation is much harder than I thought it was. They are always happy people, but they have a pretty hard situation. That just hit me as we were talking, and she´s still good for being baptized. We just had to move the date a week so that we could get the interview and stuff so that she could get everything down for the day. The way back was super slow. We got to the train station at about 7:00 or 7:15 and got on the train thinking that it would leave soon. 15 to 20 minutes of waiting and the train shutting down for 5 minutes, we finally were on our way. We got to Pinto and had to wait for a bus to get there and it got there at around 8:05. So we got back home at 8:30 and so we decided to go through the Area Book to see what we could do and find as far as former investigators. I started doing a list of people and it´s time consuming, but whatever.

Tuesday was pretty cool. We met with Ana, an investigator, and she asked two good questions last week. One was about repentance and we talked about the steps of repentance, and the second one was about marriage and why it´s important.  In particular, she wanted to know if it´s a sin if you don´t get married and just live with the person. The second question we covered on Tuesday and we used The Family: A Proclamation to the World to answer the question and she was amazed by it. She felt the Spirit for sure in that lesson! She was crying and said to us that it was the answer that she´s been looking for all her life. Super cool experience. We shared, laughed, shared again, and it was just cool!!!

Today we had to wake up at 6:00 AM to get to the temple for the session at 9:00. I couldn´t sleep too well last night because of the horrid heat that was in our room so I was and still am tired. The session was cool and just being able to see my friends again was great!!! Elder Forrest is amazing!!! I just enjoy being with him and just talking about life. I miss being his companion since we´ve had some good times together, but at least we get to catch up on P-Days to see what we´ve been up to. I also got to see Elder Hilton, my first companion ever!! He was my companion in the MTC in Provo for 5 days until I was transferred from Beginner Spanish, to Intermediate. We spent time catching up on the mission life and stuff! Super cool P-Day. Also the sad part is that President and Hermana [Sister] Watkins are leaving this Saturday, to have their places taken by President and Hermana Jackson. So President and Hermana Watkins came to the temple to do a session, and after we had a little farewell. We took pictures and said goodbye and it was pretty fun, but hard considering I´ve worked with them in the office. Elder Forrest told me that he´d keep me up to date on the new President and tell me about him, haha. So I´ve got my connections. =)

Not much else has happened. How is everything? Anything new? Take care and I´ll talk to you soon! Love you all!!!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20, 2012

Elders attending district meeting:
From left to right:  Elders Soriano, Bauer, Walters, and Simmons.

Elder Soriano´s attempt at rice. It was white at first.

Returning to Parla from Pinto on a bus
Hello family,

This week has been pretty good, yet bad as well. The end of the week was great though. Now on to my week of stuff that happened.

Not super eventful really. Thursday we went to Aranjuez and had a lesson with Cristina, who is a potential baptism and she´s really good!! We then returned to Parla and had a meeting at about 8:30 with the Branch Presidency about how we need to have them work much more than they have. We brought up four points that we´ve seen that really needed to be resolved and they were. On Sunday we saw the results of it in Branch Council! Super cool! Anyway, Friday we had tons of contacts. Every lesson that we could think of failed us that day. We had Family Home Evening in the church so that was a plus. Saturday was the same as Friday as well as Sunday except that I spoke in Sacrament meeting about missionary work. We then did contacts again and that was it.

Monday we had a lesson with Cristina in Aranjuez and let me tell you, we nearly missed the bus on the way there and on the way back. Super bad, but fun too!! So there before the lesson her older son was trying to fix the TV and it was a fail. I asked him/told him that the TV was broken and we all laughed. Cristina was also having many trials and requested a blessing and I had the opportunity to give it. Super cool experience!! We then gave the lesson of the 10 commandments and also showed her some signs with her hands to help her memorize them in order so it was super fun!! We were laughing and having a good lesson at the same time!! Then near the end, the guy fixing the TV started laughing again about the TV. Then on the 10th commandment, don´t covet, I mentioned not to want things from other people, like a TV, and everyone started laughing, hahahahaaa!!! Super fun!!

Tuesday was pretty good too. We had District Meeting and after we ate as a district, Lentils with Couscous and rice. Super yummy to me, since I made it. Then we had two lessons and they both gave us food, so by the end of the day, I was full and felt fat!! Oh and also Tuesday Elder Walters, one of the two Zone Leaders, did exchanges with Elder Simmons so he was here with us! Super fun since he´s funny!! So I had fun yesterday with that fun guy! Today we went to Pavones to the Stake Center and played volleyball with some of the missionaries! I got to see Elders Forrest, Argyle and Jeppson again!! It was fun! Not much else except for that!! Anything new? Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!! Love you all!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 13, 2012

Alex in front of the Palacio Real - Aranjuez

A picture taken from the window of Alex's window

Monthly mass transit pass


This has been a cool little week! Let´s just say that we´ve had some adventures. So starting with Thursday, we had a lesson in Aranjuez and we went and had plenty of time to get over there and stuff so we got on the bus and went to our lesson! Super cool because she´s super ready to get baptized!! On our way back, we got on the train to get to Pinto, and it was a different looking Renfe [regional commuter] train, but we didn´t really even think about it, we still got on. Besides, the person at the information desk said that all the trains stop at Pinto. I then went to sleep because it was going to be a 20 minute ride and I was pretty tired. When I woke up, we were in a little town and I wanted to know where we were. I then noticed that it was passing through a Renfe stop that looked pretty familiar and after passing it, on the wall of the stop, it said "Pinto" and I just started laughing. We got on a medio distancia [medium distance] train instead of the regular Renfe trains.

So after going for a while longer with no idea where the train was going to stop, I called Elder Simmons my district leader and told him everything. He just laughed and told me to call him back when I knew where the train stopped, or when I knew where we were. At that moment, I saw the next Renfe stop, which is where the train stopped, that said Villaverde Bajo, and he gave us instructions of what to do. So we just got off there and went over to the tracks that had the train that was going for Parla. When we got back to the piso [apartment] later that day, after telling the story again to Elders Simmons and Alvarez, Elder Soriano said that it didn´t take too much longer than taking the bus from Pinto to Parla, it just took 30 minutes longer and 50 cents. Hahahahaaa. Made us all laugh! Well, I learned from that experience that, medio distancia trains, which look and sound older than the other Renfe trains, don´t stop in Pinto.

Friday we had another good lesson with a progressing investigator!! Ana, super good and has real intent to learn. She asks sincere questions and we answer them in a way that she could understand them. Pretty cool!! We then had Noche de Hogar [family home evening] and played a game, and ate, then went home. Saturday and Sunday were days that I don´t remember, except that Sunday was Branch Conference so the Stake Presidency was there. The lesson in Priesthood was really good, given by one of the counselors. Sacrament meeting was pretty good too! I don´t know if I mentioned this in the last email, but the meetings are backwards here. They have Priesthood/Relief Society, then Sunday School, then Sacrament Meeting. Monday we went to Aranjuez and it was a good lesson again, like usual! We then came back to Parla without any problems and it was all good! We had to run to one of our lessons and we ran into Maribel, a member and a lady that´s 65, but seems younger.  We talked to her for about 2 or 3 minutes, and were off running again.

Tuesday was District Meeting. Right after we usually eat lunch as a District and it was a pretty interesting lunch. The rice was a bit undercooked so it was a bit hard, but still good! Elder Soriano served Elder Alvarez some juice and spilled it all over, and the dessert was Jello with carrot slivers at the bottom. The funny thing about the Jello part is that the cook of the Jello took the first bite, and just the expression on her face said that it wasn´t good, and guess wasn´t. No one liked it, so before throwing it out, Elder Simmons played with it. It was the biggest fail of District Meeting Lunch that I´ve ever seen. Oh well, just another adventure. Today we went and tried to bowl, but the place was closed, but I bought 4 cool looking ties at Premark for 10€! Not too bad eh! How is everything over there in general? Anything fun happen this week? Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!

Love you all!!
Elder Bauer

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 6, 2012

Alex with his defective luggage - broken during transfer

Palacio Real - Aranjuez

The other two elder sharing the apartment and working in Parla: 
From left to right:  Elders Alvarez and Simmons

The missionaries bowling on P-day (which was also D-day):
Back row (left to right): Elders Bauer, Gonzalez, Bermudez, Stephens, Soriano.
Front row (left to right): Elder Veintimilla, Sisters Farias, Miron

Hello Family!

So this past week has been pretty cool!! I´m glad that you guys are having a good time and that all is going well over yonder in the other side of the world!! Here as I said has been pretty good!! So here´s my week in a pretty small nutshell.

So Thursday Elder Soriano pointed out that we´ve been falting quite a few contacts (where you talk to people and give a testimony, teach a principle, and invite them to do something or with a card) and so we´ve decided to try to find more time for those contacts. We had like 30 or something and only Thursday to Sunday to get it up a bit more. So, off we went to work. We´ve been working like crazy here in Parla, or as President Watkins calls it, Perla (pearl), and we´ve been seeing quite a few people come up!! Thursday we also had our weekly planning session and we set some pretty good goals for this week. So by the end of our week, we got 84 contacts, one with a baptismal date, and one new investigator!! How cool is that!! The one with a date has been taught a lot and lives in a town called Aranjuez in the state of Castilla la Mancha.  We have to take a bus to a town close called Pinto, and then a Renfe [regional train] to there. When we visited her, we had to walk a lot and we passed a Palace which was pretty cool!! I turned to Elder Soriano and asked jokingly, "So she lives there," pointing to the palace. It´s called Palacio Real. So when we met with her for the first time, I knew that she was ready so we put her on date for the end of this month.

Saturday was a rather interesting day. We met with some Evangelists, and boy, are they hard as rocks as far as feeling the Spirit? I shared my testimony, and I really can say that the Spirit was there, but of course, they doubted everything that I said, so I read them some scriptures from 2 Nephi 33 and decided to end it there. I can honestly say that I wasn´t too happy after that meeting with them, but it´s all fine. Sunday I met the branch and had to stand up in front of everyone during sacrament meeting to introduce myself to them and show them that I was excited to work with them. Later that day we met with a guy called Javier which we contacted on the street the day before and he called us!! So we had a little lesson with him to get to know him and such.

Monday we had another good day. We met with a former investigator and she seems to have interest in our message!! So another new investigator this week!! We then did a ton of contacts, and at the end of the day, I bought us some cakes at a chino [convenience store] so that we could celebrate! Pretty cool! Tuesday was district meeting and that takes place in Leganes. We have four elders and four sisters in our district. We take the Renfe for 2 stops, then the metro for about 6 or 7 stops, and walk to the church building, and it´s actually a separate building, but pretty small. Leganes is a pretty cool place, I like it! Today for P-Day we went to "Ice Skate" but it was closed. I came in appropriate clothing too, a sweater – I fried. We ate lunch at Dominos and went bowling.  Elder Stephens taught the gospel as he bowled!!! So in Preach My Gospel, it describes every point of time where the prophets were rechazado [rejected] as an apostasy. So he would get some points, then zero, then a few, then zero, and then a few, and then zero for like 4 or 5 turns, until he got points! Then he got a strike, so the fullness of the gospel came at that time. Haha, it was funny...well for a missionary it´s funny, so don´t judge me! Haha!! Then we came home and now I´m emailing!

How´s all of the peeps over there? Peeps as in all of the people. I hope everyone is doing just dandy!! Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer