Friday, August 31, 2012

August 29, 2012

My socks when they were stiff...

They always are when you take them off of the drying rack so yeah.

My shoes, yeah, broken!!

Don´t worry, I got new ones!

My new shoes!! Only cost 30€

The Temple, just so that you don´t say that I only sent pictures of things that go on my feet.

Why hello my family,

Wow, it does sound like a lot of work is going on over there in Texas!! Remodeling and getting setteled as well as classes starting for both of the little children. Hahaha, just thought it would be funny to add that in. =) I hope that all goes well. With grandpa Oscar it should all be fine since he´s a great "fix it man!!" This past week we´ve had a lot of nothing, but this week is looking pretty promising! I´ll tell you guys all about it!

So Thursday we had weekly planning in the morning from 11:30 until about 2 pm. Yeah, it was a long time. We then ate with the Gordon family, talked to Rocio, a recent convert, and then had correlation meeting and dinner at the Bajaña family´s house. Not much, right! Friday we had pretty much the same kind of day. In the morning we saw Marcelino, from Africa, but from a place there in Africa where they speak Spanish so yeah! He´s pretty funny and outspoken so it´s always fun to see him. We then had lunch with a member called Andy and it was really good! At 6:30 we saw Melisa and answered her questions like always and that was about all we had time for. We then had Noche de Hogar [home evening] at the church so yeah.

Saturday we only had lunch with Ibeth, a member super cool!! That was it. Sunday we had lunch with the Branch President, and that was it too. I also gave a talk in Sacrament meeting about Missionary Work, so I went to the Guia del Estudio de las Escrituras (the Bible Dictionary, or the closest thing there is to the Bible Dictionary in Spanish, also known as GEE) and based my talk off of that. I liked how in the GEE it talked about how Missionary Work is based off of pretty much our action and what we say. I pretty much touched on both of those in my talk and said that an example is what leads to people asking questions about our faith. Then I used the scripture in 2 Nephi 33:1 which pretty much says that we need the spirit when we speak to touch the hearts of everyone so it was good! It was a good 5 - 10 minutes, more 5 minutes, but oh well. Elder Cunningham also presented himself and it was good too. He mentioned that the members have a great advantage over us because they have friends that aren´t members, and we don´t, haha. It was also my first time doing the phone calls to get the key indicators for my District. I got all of the key indicators and called the zone leader, Elder Perkins, and it was a great conversation! He´s really cool and really good!! I can really learn a lot from him and hope to get that opportunity soon!! It was a good Sunday for me too overall!!

Monday was pretty good!! We tried seeing a few people, but none of them were at home. We did talk to Rocio though and had a lesson with her so it was all good!! Then Carlos, a former investigator, came to the church because I set up the lesson so yeah. It was pretty good too!! He remembered a bit of what the missionaries talked about and was about to get baptized so it was all good!! He´s got potential, excpet that his family isn´t really in agreement to the LDS church, so that´s why he wasn´t baptized before. We´ll work with him a bit and see what happens with him. I have hope for him and am sure that he´ll have the opportunity!! We then ate dinner with the Moro family and that was super yummy!!!

Tuesday we didn´t have District Meeting because we had a Zone Meeting instead! It was really good and I learned a lot about how to be a better missionary and how to keep the Area Book organized!! Some Medio Dia [lunch break] I´m going to apply what I learned and organize it into something that can be used and not just a paper weight. We then saw Erik and Yuliana and that was a good lesson!! They´re wonderful and full of animo [enthusiasm]!! I love that family! Today we have planned to go to Fuenlabrada and look at a Chino (a store that has lots of things for cheep) and hope to buy a laser and a Rubics cube. I know what you people be thinking, a Rubics cube?! And yes, a Rubics cube! I learned how to solve a Rubics cube, and Elder Cunningham has taught me how to do it so yeah! Then we will go to Leganes and Bowl for a bit with a group. I´m sure that it will be fun!! What have you people been up to aside from remodeling? Anything fun? Take care and suerte [good luck] with everything!! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 22, 2012

Farewell dinner for Elder Simmons

Farewell to Elder Simmons (who is heading home).

Elder Cunningham and Soriano - new companions who celebrated their birthdays on August 17th.  Elder Soriano turned 19, and Elder Cunningham turned 20.

Why Howdy Y´all from...España
I guess I should say, Hola padres de España.

I´m glad to hear that all went well going to Texas!!! Tell mom, that I understand how scary it could be to drive a big vehicle for the first time. I know since I drove the Opel Furgoneta here and that thing is a beast!!! 7 seats and trunk room for 3 suitcases, and even more room if the back seats are down for even more suitcases!! Then tell Jonathan that I understand how he loves driving your car! The Furgoneta was the funnest thing I have ever driven!!! Probably more fun than your tiny Highlander which runs on gasoline and not on diesel, like my beast! =) I´m glad that everything went well again and that everything and everyone is safe! If/when you buy another car, buy one that´s manual transmission because that´s more fun than the boring automatic! I LOVE manual transmission, just makes driving more interesting and fun!! Anyway, on to my week!!

So Thursday we saw Melisa, the less active girl, and we pretty much just answered her questions, which were a lot!! Some were weird, but we still answered her questions. It was pretty fun!! We then saw Otilia and she´s doing pretty well!! Not much else went on Thursday except for the weekly planning thing so yeah. Friday we went to Lesly´s house for lunch/dinner, or as I call it, Linner. Like Brunch, but yeah, different. It was really good, and we shared a message about the love of Christ! I love doing that lesson since it´s cool!! I´ll show you later. We then went to eat dinner at the Bajaña family’s house to say goodbye to Elder Simmons. It was pretty fun! We also sang Happy Birthday to Elder Soriano!! It was a pretty fun day!! We also found out transfers that night, and Elder Simmons was the only one that left, and Elder Cunningham came in. I also became district leader so that was something I wasn´t expecting, and yet, I was since everyone was cursing me into it.

Saturday we had a good day!! We saw Vincent and had to resolve doubts about the plan of salvation with him so it was pretty good! We also saw another investigator that we haven´t seen for a long time called Marcelino! He´s from some part of Africa where they speak Spanish, but I don´t remember the country. He seemed happy to see us for the first time in about a transfer so yeah. Later on at 6:00 we went by Melisa´s house to pick her up to go to the baptism in Leganes, Elder Simmons´ baptism, but when we got there, she said that she couldn´t go, so we were bummed!! I felt bad for not going because I had organized a musical number with Hermana [Sister] Frandsen, but then I couldn´t go. Then again I´m also glad that I didn´t go and followed the rules and passed by a less active´s house to lift him up a bit more. It was pretty cool!!

Sunday was full of farewells to Elder Simmons so we ate at one house, rested for about 2 hours, and went to a dinner. At church though, we also had Lesly come as well as her friend, which was pretty cool!! Ana also came to church which was super cool!! Then the farewell dinners for the rest of the night. Monday we all went down to Pavones to help him with his bags and to say goodbye. This transfer was interesting because usually the sisters have stayed in Madrid, but now, they´re all going up north or to the islands. Not really, just two companionships to the north, and one to the islands. Elder Jeppson is also going to the islands and I´m excited for him since he´s wanted to go back since he got out of the islands!! He´ll finish there in the islands for sure since he only has 12 weeks left so yeah. We then picked up Elder Cunningham and went to Parla. So Elder Cunningham is known for being able to fix any type of electronic device. He could open it up and tell you what the problem is and fix it. It´s crazy, yet awesome!!! He´s also built stuff in his ties so that he could listen to music from his tie!! It´s just crazy!! I love it though! When we got back to the piso [apartment], we talked about dividing out the investigators and helping the work move forward. I think it was pretty good so yeah!

Tuesday was my first district meeting as district leader, and I tried to keep it cool and calm since I was pretty nervous! It took me a whole hour to put the meeting together on Saturday, and to give out assignments. All went well though. We then also saw Melisa and Erik and Juliana. Erik and Juliana were in Parla 2 at first, but with the changes Monday, we put them in our area since Elder Alvarez knows them and the things they need so yeah. Erik is a member, less active, and a singer!! I haven´t heard him sing, but I´ll bet he´s really good!! His soon to be wife Juliana, helps him out with his work. They also have two daughters and they´re just full of energy!! It was fun to get to know them and help them out. Today we went to Pavones to see a family that Elder Alvarez knew from Vecindario, Gran Canaria! They came to do a few sessions in the Temple so we saw them!! That family is pretty awesome too!! I hope to serve in Vecindario! I´m glad that all went well for you in your move! How are you guys? How´s the house? Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 15, 2012

Dear Family,

I hope that all goes well in the move and that you don´t have a hard time with the move!! Everything seems to be working out super well with everything that has been going on!! The closing on the house, the selling of the car, just amazing the miracles seen!!! It reminds me of a poem that I´ve heard and read recently and I´m pretty sure that you guys have heard of it too, but I just want to share it with you. It´s called Footprints:

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow, or defeat
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
"You promised me Lord,
That if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?"

The Lord replied,
"The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints,
is when I carried you."

Super cool and true what that poem says!!I know that the Lord has carried our family through this hard time and that we were watched over and that He wants us to be happy! I have seen it on the mission with certain difficulties that have happened and that I have always been safe. It´s just awesome all of the miracles that we have seen!! Now, on to my week so that you know what I´ve been up to here in Parla!

Thursday was weekly planning session and we thought about everyone that we had as of that moment and tried to think of the people we should be leaving for a different moment, but nothing really worked. We´ve been finding a lot of people to teach, but we haven´t been able to teach them a second time which is pretty bad, but that´s fine. We´ve been teaching Melisa, a less active 17 or 18 year old girl, as well as Otilia, and as far as investigators, Vincent, the Nigerian, Ana, from Columbia, and those are the only strong ones. We also found Emanuel, a 17 year old kid from Bolivia, and he believes more in science than in God, but he´s expressed that he wants to know if God does exist so we´re helping him. Not much, but enough to keep us busy.

Friday, we visited with Ana and she´s having doubts about a modern day prophet, so we´ve invited her to pray about that and see if she gets an answer and told her that she will so we´ll see what happens. We also had Noche de Hogar [home evening] which was pretty good so yeah! Saturday we passed by everyone that we have received in the past few weeks to see if anyone would open the door, but we had no lessons that day. We contacted a lot, and contacted references that we´ve received from the street and the office, not much else. Sunday wasn´t much better as far as lessons or anything else. We contacted no one and received one, but Otilia, the Portuguese speaking lady that I keep telling you about that never really comes to church and hasn´t shown much esfuerzo [strength] to get to church, but she CAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =) =) =) =) =D =D =D =D =D I was SUPER HAPPY, but seriously, very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very VERY VERY HAPPY when she came to church!!!!!! Elder Simmons did help out with a suggestion that he made to us, which was to give her small compromisos [challenges] like read and pray. She could pray pretty easily, but since she has bad vision and doesn´t have to great of reading glasses, she couldn´t read the small print in the scriptures. So you know what I did, when I was in Pavones, I went to the Distribution Center and bought a copy of the triple combination, but not just any copy, but a HUGE one with HUGE print so that she could read!! And you know what, she has been praying and reading!! Super cool, and that just made my week!!! She even brought her sobrina [niece] from England and she liked it too so there´s hope there!!!!

Monday was a pretty cool day!! We had four lessons pretty much without trying and it was great! We finished the Plan of Salvation with Vincent and invited him to a baptism in Leganes that Elder Simmons and Elder Alvarez are having and he said that he´d try to go so that´s hope!!! I´m pretty sure that he´s sincere too so he´ll try to go if he can. We then saw a referral that we got from the office, but then that just turned into bashing with the lady´s husband. Not the coolest lesson ever, but it took the whole time that we were there for him and for us to figure out that the person we were looking for, was there so it was pretty frustrating, but we got a return visit for today. We then saw Melisa to see why she didn´t come to church, but she just didn´t wake up on time so yeah. We then saw Otilia and she´s doing great!! She´s more full of energy so she´s doing great!!

Eating at district meeting

Tuesday was a fun day!! District Meeting was a testimony meeting pretty much and we ate as a district like usual and the Hermanas [sister missionaries] made three huge Spanish tortillas, a fruit salad, and brownies!! We then took District pictures and one of the pictures has a story behind it. So this member from Leganes drew a picture of 7 Disney Characters and Hermana Frandsen put our names next to the ones that she thought went well with us so yeah!! We then took a picture of us posing as our character, hehe. We then had Emanuel and Manuel, the less active from Cuba and ate with him. Super cool day!!

The missionaries in the district posing as Disney characters.  From L to R: Hermana [Sister] Farias as Pocahontas, Alex as Arthur (the one that pulls the sword out of the rock) Elder Alvarez as Baloo (the bear in the Jungle Book) Hermana [Sister] Carter as Cinderella, Elder Soriano as Mowgli (the kid in the Jungle Book), Elder Simmons as Peter Pan, and Hermana [Sister] Frandsen as Tinker Bell.

Today we went to the Mission Home and had an activity there! We took the Renfe [regional commuter train system in the Madrid area] from Parla, one end of the line, to Alcobendas/San Sebastían de los Reyes, which is the other end of the line. I got super office trunky just walking around my old area again! We went to a Churreria to get Churros con Chocolate for Elder Simmons! We then went and got a bus to Fuente del Fresno, which is where the Mission Home is! Let me just say that this P-Day Activity at the mission home was much different than the ones with President Watkins. President Jackson was there, and he had P-Day clothes and his wife was there too! They played Tennis together, and then Elder Foster and Elder Forrest (my wonderful ex-comp) played against them, and lost like crazy!! The Jacksons are really good at Tennis!!!! I played Fútball [soccer] a bit and was shocked at my hidden goalie abilities! We then ate lunch and President Jackson was at the grill, grilling hamburgers and hot dogs!! It was super cool!!! Then near the end of the activity President Jackson gets his accordion out and plays a song!! It was AMAZING and super cool and funny and fun!!! I had to take a video of him playing. It was cool!!! Now we´re back in Parla.

President and Sister Jackson grilling hamburgers.

President Jackson playing the accordian.

How´s everything over yonder? I hope all goes well with the move!! I´ll talk to you again when you guys are in Texas!! Take care, be safe, and I love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August 8, 2012

Skies over Parla (looking out the window of the apartment)

The city of Leganes preparing for the running of the bulls...

leading the bulls to the Plaza de Toros for the ensuing bullfight.

Alex with the Elder Soriano action figure.

I´m glad that all is going well with the move and all!!  Well, this past week has been a bit stressful and such as far as visits go. This past week we didn´t have too much of anything really, but it was still all good!  I´ll give you my week in the smallest nutshell that you have ever received!

Thursday we met with a less active that hasn´t come to church for the longest time. She said that she will have some family over for about a month so we´ll have to see if she´s able to visit with us still. Friday we visited a new investigator called Monica, and after that lesson, we haven´t been able to get in contact with her, but whatever. I hope that all is well with her. We then had Noche de Hogar [home evening] and it was a fail. It should start at 8:30, but usually starts at 9:00, but this time it started at 10:00!! We stayed for 15 minutes and left since it was ridiculously late and we couldn´t really stay much longer.  Saturday we saw the same less active as Thursday and committed her to come to church. That was pretty much it. I was with Elder Simmons that day too so yeah!!

Sunday we had church, the less active didn´t come, but another less active did come and that made us happy!! Her name is Melisa and she´s 17 or 18 years old from South America so yeah!! It was pretty cool!! Aside from that, Sunday was empty. Monday, we did have a lesson with Vincent, the African man we have been teaching forever, but we didn´t go since we ate at a member´s house so that was pretty bad. We saw Otilia, the less active again and talked to her for a bit and left her with a commitment to pray every day and hope that slowly she will want to come to church again.

Tuesday was way good!!!!! The best day yet!! We had District Meeting and right after eating there, Elder Soriano and I left and came back to Parla so that we could meet with a new investigator. Her name is Rebeca and she´s super cool and loosened up at pretty much the end of the lesson and said that she´ll come to church too so that made me happy!!!! I will take her word on it and hope for the best there!! It´s the first one that has showed us interest in going to church so I´m happy!! We then saw this 17 year old guy called Manuel that was contacted in the street a while ago and it was a pretty good lesson, except that we talked a lot about English and instruments and hardly about the gospel, but we´ll work on that a bit more. We then saw another investigator called Fabian and we invited Manuel, a less active member from Cuba, to accompany us. It was pretty good except for the fact that Manuel would talk and get off subject, but we´d know how to get back on subject. It was good, but we´ll see about inviting him again next time. We then visited with Manuel to keep him company since his wife left for her country to visit for a bit and yeah.

Today we went to the Temple and it was great!!! We did a session and then we played fútball [soccer] a bit and yeah! We also bought two triples, one for Otilia the less active and I got it for her in big print since she says that she´s pretty much blind, and another one for Cristina, the recent convert in Aranjuez. How have you guys been? Be safe, take care, and I´ll talk to you soon!! Love you all!!!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1, 2012

Renfe Avant Train to Toledo

Toledo - with the Alcazar on the top of the hill

Entry into Toledo

Elder Ezra (Alex) Bauer in Toledo

Exterior picture of the cathedral in Toledo

Interior picture of the cathedral in Toledo

Well this has been a pretty good week!! So I learned a lot from what Elder McGrath told me after exchanges. We have a bit more as far as investigators/less actives. As far as reading things in Spanish, I can read perfectly. I read the scriptures and Preach My Gospel in Spanish so I have plenty of practice. Well, so here´s my week since Thursday!

So Thursday we had a total of two lessons and it was pretty good!! We had the elders quorum president come with us to a less active´s house that was found with Elder McGrath. It was a good lesson and he said that he´d come to church so that was really good!! We then had a lesson with Fabian and Maria who seem to be progressing pretty well, even though they may not notice it!! They read and stuff so it was all great!! Fabian also found a job last week so it was really cool!! Even though Spain is in an economic crisis, miracles still do happen! They have a greater desire to learn more and so that´s good!! Not much else happened Thursday so yeah!! Friday we had a lesson with Vincent and he´s pretty good, but not really progressing that much, but whatever. Then later that night we went to pick up a less active girl that Elders McGrath and Soriano found so that we could take her to the church for Noche de Hogar [Family Home Evening]. It was cool!! She moved here about four months ago so she doesn´t really know Parla super well and so she needed us to help her go back home so yeah. It was a pretty good day!!

Saturday we had pretty much nothing planned so guess what we did! We did contacts pretty much all day and got nine references out of it!! I was really quite happy about that! I told Elder Simmons and Elder McGrath all about it. Sunday we had church and that was pretty much it. Not much happened this week now that I look over it. Monday we went to see Maribel, she´s an elderly Spanish member, and she then took us out to eat at a Chinese restaurant and it was really good!! Talk about filling! We then got to the piso [apartment] and rested a bit then went out again! We then passed by the less active we visited Thursday and he didn´t go to church because his little girl had a tongue infection thing so he couldn´t go since his wife works and didn´t want to take her crying so yeah. Hopefully next Sunday. We then got a call from Ibet asking why we weren´t there at a Noche de Hogar [Family Home Evening], so we had to leave and run over and we gave the message unexpectedly so I shared a little something that Elder Hodges showed me which I´ll show you later!! It´s pretty cool!!! The Noche de Hogar [Family Home Evening] was good and super spiritual!! I loved it!!!

Tuesday we had zone conference in the morning and it was really good!!! President Jackson spoke and he told us about the goals that President Watkins had had about contacts and stuff and why they were taken off. He told us that he was getting a lot of letters that said that they didn´t get 105 contacts in the week so they failed and he said that he wants us to have success so yeah!! It was good!! Then the Assistants, Elders Ashworth and Jeppson, spoke on how to get good references and that was really good!! They used marbles for their presentation on three different examples on how to get references! One was contacting like crazy, the other was just staying with the members, and the other was doing a bit of both! Their message was that the bit of both works best and that we should try doing that in the mission work!!! I liked it! We then broke off into zones and did some contacting practice to get better at that! We then went back to the chapel (we were in Pavones in the stake center) and had closing remarks from the Jacksons and then we went to the CCM [Missionary Training Center] to eat! I haven´t been in that cafeteria since November so that was fun!! We ate and took zone pictures and left. Elder Forrest, my office companion has finally gotten out of the office and was put into Barrio 8 [Madrid 8th Ward]!! Super cool area and I´m pretty jealous!! He´ll have fun!! His replacement is Elder Bagley whom I´ve cursed into the office just like Elder Argyle, haha!! It´s been fun!

Today we went to Toledo and took the Renfe Avant [train – see picture prededing this e-mail] over and it took less time in a Renfe than in a car. In a car it takes up to an hour, hour and 15 minutes, but in the Renfe, it took 33 minutes. We looked around and went into the cathedral. We had a guided tour (not really, just guided since we had headphones and were listening to the recordings as we were looking around at the appropriate things). It was pretty cool!! We went in as a district, except for Hermana [Sister] Farias since she went with the others. We then went and ate pizza and chocolate ice cream as we were waiting for the rest of the missionaries to get there. We then looked at the statue of Don Quixote and left through a different route which was cool and I took tons of pictures!! We then returned near 5:00 and now I´m doing email!! I hope that all is well and that everything is going good over yonder!! Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!! Love you all!!!

Elder Bauer