Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31, 2012

Hello Family!

To begin with thanks for the letters from:
Micah (Elder) Hodges
Megan Eden

Just to let you guys know, this is the 5th week of the transfer so next week is probably when I´ll be moved from Parla since I´ve been here a long time. We´ll see what happens though! Now on to my week!!!

So Thursday of last week was a crazy day!! So, weekly planning didn´t happen since at 11 we had a lesson set up, which ended up failing us, but it´s okay, not much we can do. We didn´t do too much after that except for contacts until 1:00, since we had a lesson at 1:00 with a new investigator. It was the first member reference that we got here in Parla, so things are looking up!!!! She´s really good too!!! She´s gone to church in Ecuador and remembers a bit of what it was like so that´s good!!! We then ate with Venesia at 3:00 and then went from there to Getafe Centro to meet the Hermanas [sisters] to pick up Informes de Progresso [progress report forms] since we didn´t have any in the piso [apartment]. It was pretty crazy since we didn´t know if we´d have a lesson at 6:00 or not, and we got to Getafe at around 4:50.

The Hermanas [sisters] didn´t get there until later too, so we called the cita [appointment] and told them not to worry about having to be there since we wouldn´t be there either. When the Hermanas [sisters] got there and we got the informes [progress reports] from them and talked a bit, then headed back to Parla. We contacted a bit and then went to the church since we were invited by the seminary teacher to share our testimonies. We did, and it was pretty good since each of us had something different to say about seminary and such. We then had to go from there to the Gordon family´s house to have correlation meeting. It was pretty good since we haven´t had a correlation meeting for a while since our branch mission leader now works at the CCM [Missionary Training Center] teaching. Crazy but cool!

Friday was a crazy yet depressing day for everyone. For one thing, I started to lose my voice out of the blue, and Elder Cunningham and Elder Rose within 3 days lost all of their investigators, which is worse than getting sick!! Elena just said that she didn´t want to learn more and tried to return the books that she got from Elders Cunningham and Rose, but they told her to keep them. Then Friday morning, Elder Cunningham got a text from Ana, a really good, prepared lady saying that she didn´t want to take the lessons anymore because she doesn´t want to feel like a criminal sinning all of the time. That day was the worst for Elder Cunningham. Elder Alvarez and I couldn´t really do any contacts since it was just so sad to see Elder Cunningham depressed like crazy!

We then went to the eating appointment with Andy, and Elder Cunningham got better as far as his happy level is concerned. He likes eating with the members since he get´s happy with them, and it shows!!! When Elder Alvarez and I got back to the piso [apartment], we had our weekly planning meeting and then went to see Rocio!! It was great to see her again since she doesn´t live here and lives within the Barcelona Mission. We visited with them and it was cool, but we had to leave at 10:00 and we didn´t get to eat so they invited us over Saturday during lunch time.

Saturday I did exchanges with Elder Cunningham and it was really cool!! We did a few contacts in the morning and we recieved 2 references!! Elder Cunningham was happy I could tell! At 2:00 we then went over to Carolina and Ibeth´s house to eat and see Rocio again. The food was really good!! At 4:00 we had a 1st lesson with a Nigerian called Jose. He´s really cool and we talked a bit about the restoration and he seems interested. We then went and rested a bit since we didn´t really have time for that earlier and at around 7:30 or 8:00 we went to Ana´s house. We just wanted to see her and see what was going on. After about an hour and a half of sharing and her telling us everything, we left our email addresses and facebook to her since I don´t know if I´ll see her again. It was a good lesson, but she needs time to breathe and so we´ll leave her for a bit.

Elders Alvarez and Cunningham busy painting

Sunday we had church, then we ate at the Branch President´s house and it was yummy food!!! Dominican food too!!! We then contacted and got two references from it, and that was it. Monday we had a lesson/message about faith with Carolina, you know, the one where we use the tea bag and light it on fire and see if they have faith that it will fly off!! Yeah, that one!!!!! We did that and it was cool!! Rocio was there too which was cool and she got the lesson too!! I also got a haircut from Carolina and it turned out good, but shorter than usual, haha. We then went to eat with familia Gordon and it was good food!! Later at 3:00 we went back to Carolina´s house to help them paint it from white, to a pistachio colored green. It took quite a while for that to happen and I was pretty tired by the end of the day!! At 9:00, yes it took that long to paint, and no, we didn´t finish either, they gave us a bit to eat and we shared a scripture and left.

Elder Alex painting with his new haircut (Elder Cunningham is in the background)

Tuesday was a great day!!!!! We had Zone Meeting at the Barrio 3 & 9 [3rd and 9th ward] building and it started at 10:00. It was really good!! I was edified as well as many others I´m sure! One of the talks/practices was really creative, funny, and awesome!! So it was about companionship unity, and Elder Bermudez and Elder Hilton were the ones giving the talk/practice. They needed two companionships to help them out and the thing that they needed to do was make a sandwich, cut it in half and take a bite out of it. Doesn´t sound as hard as it seems, right? Well, here´s the catch, when they got the voulenteers, Elders Perkins and Rodriguez-Silva vs. Hermanas Mercado and Hernandez, they put the Elders side by side, and tied their two hands together, and they did the same with the sisters. The two companionships had to use their outer hands to make the sandwich, and it was really funny!!! I took a video of it so it would be easier to show that to you than to explain it all, but long story short, the sisters won, haha. We then had a cita [appointment] with Erick and Yulliana at 6:00 and it was pretty good. Yulliana told us a long story of something that she didn´t like about the members, but then Elder Alvarez and I talked about how we should go to church for the Lord, and not for the members. It turned out pretty good!!!

The District of Parla with the two Zone Leaders!! From L to R starting with Elders:
Elder Perkins (ZL), Elder Me (DL), Elder Rose, Elder Rodriguez-Silva (ZL), Elder Alvarez, and Elder Cunningham. Then Hermanas Farías, Sicán, Voemba, and Piedade.

Today was P-Day!! We went to the temple and that was about it! Now let me answer your questions mother!!

Question:  Is Leganes in my area?   Answer:  No, Leganes is a different area with Sister Missionaries, but it´s in my district area. 

Question:  Is Leganes far? Answer:  Not really, but at the same time it is. It´s about a 40 minute trip.

Question:  Do I take the train? How does that work? Answer:  Yes we take the train over to Leganes. We take the Renfe for 10 - 20 minutes, or two stops, and get off at Getafe Centro. We then change from the Renfe to Metro and take the Metro for about 6 - 7 stops and get off at Casa del Reloj, which is were the Leganes Chapel is located. How it works is here in Parla, we have a Renfe station, and since we have monthly bonos [passes], we just feed that through the machine and it lets us in, then we go and take the train. In Getafe Centro, the Renfe and Metro station are combined, but to change from the Renfe to Metro, you have to use the bono to get out of one, and into the other. If that´s confusing, I can explain it differently some other time.

Anymore questions? Take care and I hope to talk to you guys soon!! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 23, 2012

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción in Parla

Well hey there family!!!

Not too much that´s going on, but we´re doing the work as well as we can. I´m hoping that the stress continues going down and that everything is doing okay as far as working on the house and making it pretty! Here´s my week as far as cool stuff is concerned!

Thursday we did weekly planning and then tried to figure out who signed up as far as eating with the members was concerned since the calendar just said "Rodriguez". We called everyone that we knew named Rodriguez, but not one of them was the one. So, since "no one" signed up, we went to Mercadona to buy food for the week since we didn´t have time on P-Day to do it. When we were at the check out stand, Marisol, a member that works there, told us that we had to hurry to the dinner appointment since we were late. I told her that we called everyone that had that last name, but no one was the person that signed up. She finally told me that it was a Brazilian couple, and then it clicked!!

We ran faster than the speed of light to try to get there soon, and we even called to ask them to forgive us for getting there late. We got there and they are a really nice couple. They told us stories of their conversion and of the things that they would do to the missionaries and I had a fun time!! At about 6:00 we went to Erick and Yulliana´s house to see how they are doing since we didn´t see them for a week since they didn´t have time. It´s been crazy for them and I really hope that everything can calm down with all that is happening. We then went to see Fabian and Maria after a miracle call from them and they are doing pretty good!! They told us that they called us because they wanted to see how we were doing and that they felt different when we didn´t come by. They also expressed that they were passing through a difficult time without work and so we shared with them Mosiah 24 when Alma and his converts get into bondage and how they are freed from it. Next time I think we´ll talk about the spirit and how it works.

Friday I did exchanges with Elder Rose and was able to see some things that I pretty much already knew. It was one of the longest days that I´ve had here in Parla. We just walked around, and he was talking to me, and not contacting. We may have talked to 4 people that whole day, and it was just bad. At 5 we had a lesson with Ana and we based the lesson on how the spirit works and comforting her with the things that are going on in Venezuela since her family lives there. I told her many times that everything in the end will be okay, just wait for God to put His hand when He thinks it may be necessary. After the lesson we went to the Noche de Hogar [home evening] and then went to the piso [apartment].

Paella made by Carmen

Baptism in Leganes

Saturday was a pretty empty day except for eating with Carmen, a fun Spanish lady, then we went to a baptism in Leganes. The girl that was getting baptized was a member from birth, but wanted a missionary to baptize her, so I had the honor of doing it. It was really cool too! When I got her out of the water, she turned to me and said, "Gracias Hermano [thank you, Brother]." I felt really good to be able to do that for her and for her to be able to feel the spirit there. We then went back to Parla, and to the piso [apartment]. Sunday was a long day, but after contacting all day, we received 3 references and it was pretty cool!! That´s it. =)

Monday was pretty empty too, but it was better than Sunday. We got to visit Melisa and she´s doing really well. She´s going to go to church this Sunday, but with all of the studies that she has to do for University, it´s hard for her, but she does come every now and then, and when she comes, she likes it. We then contacted for the whole day and got 2 references. Just getting all of the references, and having people come up to us asking about what we are doing, is just awesome!! It shows me that even when you think that you´re doing all you can in an area and it´s just not going anywhere in the moment, in the end, it will. Super cool how that works!!

Tuesday was a really awesome and edifying day for me as well as all of the Zone of Madrid West!! We had Zone Conference and it was really cool!! We got there really early, but that was fine, I took lots of pictures of the Temple!! We then went in, and studied, and then Zone Conference started at 10:00. It was all based on Elder Holland´s talk in General Conference and on how we should "Feed His Sheep." It was really awesome!! When President Jackson´s turn came to share with us his words, he got up, and told his wife to come up as well. She did and he gave her a hug and a kiss and said, okay, you may sit down now. She just said, "That´s all you wanted?" expecting it to be that he needed her help. Hahahaaa!!! It was just funny to me! =D The Zone Conference ended with a musical number done by Hermanas [Sisters] Vouemba, Hernandez, Piedade, and Elders Perkins, Rose, Rodriguez-Silva, me, Berthon, and Hilton, singing "Abide with Me". We sang acapella too which was cool!! We then ate in the Temple and when we got back to Parla, we had a lesson with Erick and Yulliana, and we watched "Finding Faith in Christ" and it was cool!! Yulliana had lots of questions through the movie, and we´d answer them and yeah. We then saw Cleme, and talked to her and that was it.

Today was P-Day, and all we did was sleep and relax, as well as buy things and send emails. We also had a lesson with a less active, and that went pretty well, but not the best. I hope that all is well over in Texas, and that everything continues to calm down and that you guys can settle. How´s everyone? Is Giselle still completly destroying her algebra Class? Take care and I´ll talk to you guys soon!! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012

Alex on a hike overlooking San Lorenzo de El Escorial

The town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial (the large building is called El Escorial)

El Escorial (a monastery and palace built by Felipe II)

Alex in El Escorial

El Escorial

El Escorial from the back

Why hello familia!!!

My week has been pretty cool, crazy, empty, but cool at the same time!!! Here it is all!!!

So Thursday was a pretty empty day. We didn´t have anything, like seriously zero, nothing, nada de nada [nothing of nothing], no lessons, no contacted, NOTHING!!! We did have weekly planning, but that´s it. Friday was the P-Day where we went to El Escorial!! SUPER COOL PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, if you guys ever come to Spain, I´ll take you there!! First we took a hike up a hill where Felipe II made a "throne" to overlook El Escorial. The branch came too so it was fun with all of the members and kids there. There were also a lot of rocks and it was really pretty there!! It was pretty chilly too, but that didn´t really matter. Up on the hill we had a little spiritual thought given by me, and then we hiked back down. We did spend a good hour up there though so it was pretty cool!! We came down and ate lunch and took the bus (the branch rented out a bus to take us up there. The first time that I took a charter bus since I was up in Valladolid) and went to El Escorial, got to see the inside and it was pretty cool!! So we saw a bit of how it was built, and it was pretty much built from the inside out. Pretty intense how big it is too!! I took a ton of pictures too!! We then got back, completely exhausted from hiking, climbing rocks, running around, and hiking some more, that we just died in bed. I was really sore the next few days.

Saturday we just had a lesson with Carolina and Ibeth, but I don´t really remember too much about it. We did get a pretty cool guy as a contact though. Juan, from Ecuador, and he seems really cool!! We set up a visit for today and I´ll tell you how that went in just a bit. I´m just keeping you interested!! Hahahahaaa!! Sunday was a pretty good day too. We had church and had lunch with a member called Fabiola from Colombia. She made really good food!! We also got a referral.

Monday we saw Cleme, from Colombia as well. She´s a member, but her granddaughter isn´t, but comes to church every week and really likes it, but her parents don´t let her move on quite yet. Some day I´m sure that she will get baptized like Ana in Valladolid did. Just a matter of time.

Tuesday was pretty cool!! We had District Meeting and the Zone Leaders Elder Perkins and Elder Rodriguez-Silva came and did a practice that took up all of the time. It was a practice of how to use each of our attributes to help out our companion and us achieve a common goal. First the Elders, or in other words, me and Elder Alvarez together, and Elder Cunningham and Elder Rose together. The Zone Leaders then took us back to back and tied a string around both of our heals. We then had to go over a table, walk around some chairs which were set up as an obstacle and it was pretty hard, especially since I fell off of the table twice, the second time landing on the floor, but on my hands so it was good. So we had to work together to finish before the others.

Then the Hermanas [sisters]. Hermanas Sicán and Farías were blindfolded and Hermanas Voemba and Piedade had to guide them through obstacles speaking in their native languages (French and Portuguese respectively). It was pretty funny to see them frustrated, but succeed in the end, hahahaaa!! It was really good!! We then ate lunch and went back home and had a miracle evening!!! So we had a lesson with Rocio about random stuff and such, then one with Yolanda, a less active family about example. Used the laser too, super cool lesson!! I loved how it turned out!! We then went out contacting, and not many people out on the street, but we managed to get 3 interested people!!!! I was pretty suprised to be honest!! Super cool!!!

The zone leaders join district meeting.
Elder Perkins (on the left) and Elder Rodriguez-Silva (on Right)

Today was P-Day and Elder Rose and I went to Pavones to practice for a musical number for Zone Conference. So for Zone Conference the Zone Leaders wanted to do a musical number, and I was drafted into singing, but it´s okay, I like singing!! We practiced, and tried out a lot of hymns, from Brightly Beams Our Father´s Mercy, to Peace Be Still. We chose the hymn Acompañame [Abide with Me], number 99 in the Spanish hymnal [#166 in the English hymnal click here to hear it in Spanish]. I don´t know what it´s called in English, but yeah. It turned out good!! At 7:00 we had the appointment with Juan and it was really cool!!! He´s a really good guy and is just prepared!! I´m sure that he´ll get baptized!! Now we´re here emailing!! How has your day been? Heck, how has your week been? Any new adventures? What´s Jonathan going to try to attack this week? Take care and I´ll talk to you guys soon!! Love you all!!!

Elder Bauer

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 10, 2012

Enjoying the last of the Magnum ice cream bars

Bauer flower power

The Madrid Temple at dusk

Why hello family!

This past week has been pretty good!! Not a lot of things have happened, but we´re still going. So when I heard the age drop for the Elders and Sisters to 18 and 19, I was pretty shocked!! It was pretty cool too, and funny to see the faces of the people around me just gasping and stuff, hehe.

Thursday was pretty empty as far as lessons are concerned. We dropped Vincent, considering he´s not progressing or listening to us for the right reasons. We offered to pass by every now and then, but aside from that, nothing else happened. Friday we saw Carolina, had a good lesson about the story President Packer told about the debtor and the mediator. It was pretty good!! We then had Noche de Hogar [home evening] and that´s it for Friday. Saturday was empty, except for General Conference, same with Sunday. Considering you guys saw it, there´s no need for an explanation.

Monday was pretty cool!! In the morning we saw Melisa after about 2 or 3 weeks of not having contact with her. It was pretty cool!! We had a lesson about being an example and I used my laser for the lesson. I´ll have to show you that lesson since it´s pretty cool!! It´s more of a Christmas message, but still, it´s good for any time of year!! We then ate with the Gordon family and shared a message. Then at 6 we saw Yolanda and had a great lesson with her too!! We had planned my laser lesson, but then we changed our plans and I shared from Mosiah 24. She´s going through a trial since none of her family has a job so she´s making food and going to the Embajada de Ecuador [Ecuadoran Embassy] to sell food and make a bit of money.

She´s been doing that for about 2 months and has been waking up at 4:00 in the morning to get everything ready to go, coming back at around 2:00 or 3:00 pm and resting, then getting back up at 5:00 to start preparing the food, and not resting again until about 11:30 pm. It´s pretty crazy, but she´s doing something. Mosiah 24 talks about the trials of the pueblo de Alma [people of Alma] and how they get into cautiverio [captivity] and doing all sorts of tasks for the lamanites and Ammulon. Then how the Lord frees them and they go to Zarahemla. Pretty cool little story and she really liked it!! We ended the night talking to Hermano [Brother] Gordon and telling him that we talked to President Jackson about changing P-Day to Friday so that we could go with the branch to El Escorial and take some investigators.

Tuesday we had district meeting which was based on following the Spirit and how to recognize its impressions. It was pretty good, and the food afterwards, like always, was really good too!! We then went back to Parla and visited Erick y Yulliana, and that was really good!! We did a repaso [review] of the Law of Chastity, and they understood and it was all good!! I´m glad that all is well over there!! Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!! Love you all!!!

Elder Bauer

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 3, 2012

Yes, another jamon [Spanish Ham]!

Why Hello there my family!!!!

This week has been pretty good, and intense!! I´m not sure how to really describe it, but we´ll see how it goes!! First thing though, transfers happened!! Guess where I´m at! If you guessed anywhere except for Parla, you´re wrong!! I´m still here in Parla working as hard as I can. I´m also still with Elder Alvarez, my wonderful Spanish companion!!! Elder Soriano has gone off to a new world of Spain, which is Mostoles, so I´m pretty sure that he´s enjoying himself over yonder. We got Elder Rose as his replacement companion for Elder Cunningham so we´ve got 2.5 Americans, 1 Spaniard, and .5 of a Mexican. That equals 4 people!!! Hahaha!!!! How cool is that!! Anyways, on to my week!!

Goodbye Elder Soriano - On the way to the train station

Thursday was a pretty cool, yet crazy confusing day. Weekly planning was different because we didn´t really know who was leaving or who was staying, or if both of us were leaving, so we left our new planners really well organized for the week just in case. Friday we had Noche de Hogar [home evening], but we didn´t really go in and listen considering we had a lesson at that time with Carlos. It was a pretty cool lesson, but we could´ve done better as far as explaining the Plan of Salvation better, but that´s how we learn, through experiences and making mistakes. Later that night, we got the transfers information and it was really shocking!! Elder Alvarez and I have been in Parla for about 4 months, and I´ve heard that President Jackson doesn´t like to keep missionaries in an area more than 6 months and just hearing that we BOTH are staying here for another transfer, or month and a half. So, it will be interesting to see what happens next transfer!! And yes, I´m still District Leader.

Saturday was an interesting day. So Elder Alvarez and I went to a Caja Madrid ATM machine to get money out. I got money out just fine, but when Elder Alvarez went to get money out, it took a while for the machine to spit the card out. He also wanted to see how much money was in his account so he put it back in and when it came time for the card to come out, the machine had trouble again. So we waited for it to spit it back out, but after a few seconds, it gave up and just ate the card. We were both stunned and just thinking of what we were going to do!! After standing out there for a bit, some joven [young person] comes to us and greets us saying, "Hello Elders."

We turned around and it was a young woman who wanted to know where the church was in Parla. We told her approximately where it was and gave her our number for if she wanted us to visit. She´s a less active member who lives in a pueblo [village] 15 minutes out of Parla and hasn´t found the church. We then said goodbye since she seemed to be in a bit of a hurry to get into Kebab (we think that she works there) and then started thinking about the card. Some guy then comes up to us and asks us if we´re using the ATM, and we mention that my companion´s card is stuck inside. He then says that the ATM has been having trouble for the week and that it´s been doing that to lots of cards. He then mentioned that there was a number that we could call on the screen and he leaves. Just as we are about to push the "send call" button, the ATM randomly spits the card out. We both just laugh, pick up the card, and go back on our way. We then thought of how it was a miracle that it happened so that we could find that less active YW. It was a pretty cool experience!!
Parla District - L to R:  Alex, Elder Rose, Sister Sican,
Sister Farias, Elder Alvarez, Elder Cunningham

Sunday not much really happened, except that, OTILIA CAME TO CHURCH AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!! Happiness all over the place!!!! This is the second time in the 4 months that I´ve been here, that she´s come to church!! Super coolio!!! Not much else really, but that made my day!! Elder Soriano also packed his bags all evening so yeah. Monday I received a call at around 11:30 am about how Elder Cunningham´s new companion, Elder Rose, came late and that he was waiting with the APs for him. That was really weird, but after a while, President saw him come by himself, late for the meeting. Elder Cunningham had since been in the office waiting for everything to settle. Eventually at around 2:30 pm they came and all is well. We met with two less actives and the lessons were really cool!! We also helped a family with a move from one piso [apartment] to another. I didn´t get away from helping with a move, so yeah. It was fun, except for having to carry boxes and furniture up four flights of stairs to get to their piso. I was tired afterwards.
Parque Parla Este

Tuesday was pretty good!! District meeting was focused on making goals, rendir cuentas de las metas (my English is horrid) [assessing how we met the goals], and diligence!! Super cool district meeting, and we made pretty good goals for the transfer!! I loved it!! We then contacted a lot and went into a cool park called Parque Parla Este [East Parla Park]. It´s a nice quiet park with trees and a playground for the kids! Today was pretty dramatic as far as Elder Alvarez and health is concerned, but all is resolved and all is well. That´s a story to tell another day!! How´s everything going over there in Texas? I saw the photos of the kitchen and it´s looking really nice!! You guys are doing a lot of work over there!! How has Giselle been? Tell her to be expecting a letter from me soon!! Love you all!!!

Elder Bauer