Friday, December 28, 2012

December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Canary Islands
Canary Island missionaries in a nativity scene:
Sister Marshall, and Elder Christensen appear to be playing the part of Mary and Joseph.
Elder Valenzuela appears to be a shepherd.
Who knows what the other three are supposed to be.
Instead of an e-mail this week, we Skyped with Alex.  That is far harder to share.  I hope all those who follow my son on this blog had a Merry Christmas.  Let me know if you know who the other three are supposed to be (since Alex never told me who they were).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19, 2012

A visit to the botanical gardens on Las Palmas

One interesting plant on display at the botanical gardens was a cactus ...

... okay, it was a really big cactus (tree thing).

Hello family!!

Here´s what happened this week!! Get ready, it´s pretty crazy what has been happening here in Las Palmas!! You ready? Are you sure? Positive? Well ready or not, here we go!!

Thursday we had weekly planning, know always. HA =D Then we went and saw Jose and taught him the restoration with the help of the video so that he can understand it better. I´m not sure if he understands, but he always says after we teach him something that he knows most of the stuff, and that he wants to get baptized and same old stuff. Kind of funny actually. We didn´t have too much going on that day so that´s it.

Friday was pretty crazy! We visited Cristian and were a bit late considering we went to the church to clean and prepare for the baptismal services. We then went back to continue to prepare for the baptism, and then went to Hiper Dino to buy some food and stuff to make sopapillas, a Chilean sort of empanada. Well, the baptism started right on time, and it was cool!! Franklyn baptized Maria, and I baptized Liz, the little girl. She insisted that I did it, and Hermanas [Sisters] Marshall and Voemba tried to convince her to get someone else to do it, but it didn´t work. I had the privilege and honor to do it. Elder Valenzuela and I then did a musical number of "I´m Trying to be like Jesus" [or click here to hear it in Spanish] and it turned out pretty well. We sang a cappella and I liked it, but I´m not sure of the rest of the members there did. We then ate food and cleaned up, and the Hermanas[Sisters] gave us the extra chocolate cake and brownies that were left behind after the baptism. I ate most of it and finished it Monday. Super good day!!

The baptism of Liz

The baptism of Maria

Saturday was interesting and crazy! We had to go to Vecindario and interview two people for baptism and it was pretty cool. I did the interview because I was a District Leader recently so I knew how to do it. We then came back and ate with Nenad, a member that lives with Franklyn and his wife Raquel. We then went to see Oscar and taught him the second part of the restoration again. It´s difficult to teach him, but I´m learning a lot about teaching simply with him. He has a hard time paying attention so that´s the problem, but we just need to think of a way to help him pay attention. I´ll have to come up with something. I just got that idea of thinking as I was writing this. Super cool!!!

Then when we were waiting for the Guagua [bus] outside Oscar´s house, we heard a horn honking the tune "Jingle Bells." We were both confused and then all of a sudden the honking got louder and then we saw motorcyclists dressed in Santa costumes waving and stuff. There were like 30 of them driving together down the street. It was pretty funny!! Later on we went to see Fani and she enjoyed the baptism!! She went so we talked to her about that and also talked to her about the Plan of Salvation! It was pretty cool. When we were leaving Fani´s house, we saw the motorcycle Santas again, and it was pretty funny. I tried to get a picture of them, but it didn´t turn out too well. Oh well, "A" for "effort", as Elizabeth Goodman always says. We also got transfer information and Elder Valenzuela is now District Leader!!! No changes on Gran Canaria either. This transfer was a week shorter than the usual 6 weeks, but I´m sure that this next transfer will be a week longer than usual to make up for it.

fuzzy picture of motorcycle Santas

Sunday was normal, we had the two confirmations and participated in the circle to confirm Maria and Liz, members. It was really cool! We then saw Maria afterwards to help us fill out the baptismal record. We then saw Jose and taught him the Plan of Salvation and it was fine, but I´m sure that we could´ve done better. We then went to the JAS Noche de Hogar [young single adult home evening], and an American family gave the lesson from the Strength of Youth pamphlet. The guy is a Professional Basketball player for the Gran Canaria team so he´s pretty well known among the youth. He also mentioned that he will be playing against Valladolid this week and that´s pretty cool!! He´ll be going to where I started here in Spain!!

Brother and Sister Toolson with Elder Bauer
Brother Toolson is the professional basketball player who gave the lesson in the young single adult home evening

Monday we finally got empadronado [registered] and it was easy. I remember that Elder Valenzuela told me that it would be hard, but he doesn´t know who he´s talking to, the residency expert among missionaries in Gran Canaria. The other one is Elder Argyle on Tenerife, and the current one is learning to be the residency beast in Alcobendas, which is Elder Pluim. We then went to help Lusiano, a member, to take a couch up to his piso [apartment], and then we ate with him. He also invited over some non-members so we then also shared a bit about the Book of Mormon with them and it went pretty good. The guy didn´t show too much interest, but the son, Alejandro, I´m sure has potential. We then went from there, the Port, over to La Feria, where Oscar lives, and then talked to him about the important things that happened with the restoration. He has it all down and we left him the introduction of the Book of Mormon to read since he hasn´t done it.

We then went from there to contact near the Guagua [bus] station San Telmo, and we had an interesting contact. We had the impression to talk to this lady since she was reading my chapa [name tag], and she nodded her head no, and then pointed at her ears. She was deaf!!! I thought how are we going to talk to her. I then pointed at my chapa [name tag] where the name of the church is, then pointed at the Book of Mormon where it said, Mormon. She has never seen anything on our church before so we tried explaining to her what it was. Elder Valenzuela read with her the introduction and she understood. I then took out my agenda, and started writing on it to talk to her. We tried to get an address, but she just wrote the church address and the time that church started, so I wrote to her that we´ll see her Sunday then. We also left her a chapter to read and she smiled and said thank you, I´ll see you the 23rd. It was a cool experience. We then had Noche de Hogar [home evening] at Franklyn´s house and went home.

Yesterday we had the district meeting, and it was really good!!! I really liked it and learned a lot from it!! We then ate with a member, and they gave us a plate full of rice, and I mean it was like a mountain of rice!! I ate it all, and then they gave us dessert. We were so full!!! We then went to Oscar´s house just to see him, and we walked there. It was a 15 - 20 minute walk, but we needed it!! Half of it was downhill and the other half was uphill. We then met with Oscar and read with him the introduction and he understands it now. We then left with him 2 Nephi 2 so that we could have a little introduction to the Plan of Salvation. I hope that he could read it! We then went and tried to find a present for Maria considering it was her birthday and we wanted to give her something. We finally got a card and pictures of her baptism developed and then we saw Fausto and Delia. We shared with them the true meaning of Christmas and it was a pretty good lesson!! We then went to Maria´s house and she was so happy to receive something. She said that it was the first thing that she had received on her birthday. We then left and while we were waiting for the Guagua [bus], she called us and told us thank you for the card and picture. I was touched and happy that we had done that for her.

Well, today is P-Day, and we´re planning to go and see the Christmas Sand Art here in Gran Canaria!! Super cool, and I can´t wait to see it in person!! Elder Gonzalez was here and showed me pictures, but I can´t wait to see it for myself!!! How is everything going over there? I hope that all is going well and that everyone is happy!! Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 12, 2012

Yes, it says "Do not bend" in two different languages...and it was still bent!
Que fuerte, as they say here.

It contained our christmas tree - no worse for the wear!

Daddio and Family!!

I´m glad that all has been going well over yonder and that you guys have had a good week. I hope that things continue to go well and that the stress continues to go down. Nothing super new has been going on over here, except that this weekend we have a baptism and the Hermanas [Sisters] have one too so it will be super cool!!! This past week has been crazy and it was pretty cool!! Let me tell you about it in a nutshell.

Thursday we didn´t really have too much time to do weekly planning so we had to move it to Friday. Thursday we had lunch with the Mission Leader´s family and it was really good!! I was really full afterwards, but it´s okay, better to be full than hungry I guess. We then visited two new investigators, José, who is an older person that wants to be baptized really badly, but I think that he just wants to get baptized because if he doesn´t, the lady he lives with, who is a member, will leave him because they aren´t married. We´re still teaching him to see if he could gain a testimony and get baptized for the right reasons, but we´ll have to see how that goes. The other one is Oscar, and the rest of his family are members, except his mom, but he has a big desire to learn about the gospel and asks really good questions so he´s really good. We taught him the Restoration.

Friday we had our studies, then we went to Cristian´s house and helped him a bit with a lesson that he had in Priesthood about forgiving. He appreciated the help and it was cool to see his face light up when we read something cool! He was less active, but he´s been coming to church and so it´s cool to see that his life is changing! We then went back to the piso [apartment] for Medio Día [lunch break] and ate food. We then visited Fausto y Delia, a less active family, and Fausto wasn´t home. We taught Delia the same thing that we taught Fausto, about enduring to the end with a video. It was a good lesson. We then went over to Plaza España and waited for a member so that he could accompany us to a lesson, but then this less active Italian couple came up to us and talked to us for about 15 - 20 minutes. It was cool to meet them. They haven´t gone to church for medical issues, but now that he´s doing better, he still hasn´t come. Some other members know him, but yeah, he hasn´t come. We got his number and hopefully we can do something with him. We then found the member and went to Fani´s house. We taught her about the importance of the Book of Mormon since she didn´t read it. It was a pretty good lesson, but I would´ve liked to participate more. Not much else.

Saturday we had lunch with members and tried to have a lesson with Oscar, but he couldn´t since he left for something. We did have a lesson with Jonatan, and it was pretty cool!! We taught him about how when trials come our way, we shouldn´t fall, but know that there is help for anything a bit further ahead. We then were a bit discouraged because another lesson right after failed us, and we didn´t know what to do. Elder Valenzuela and I were pretty much about to give up, but I said, "No, let´s try contacting until 9:30. All of a sudden, I got the animo [motivation] to talk to people and it was pretty cool!!! I loved it!! I talked to a lot of people, but none of them had any interest. I was happy though.

Chocolate fountain for dessert - Thank you Roka family

Sunday was pretty good, but pretty crazy! We had church and then talked to Maria after. We had a lesson about the baptismal interview questions and it went pretty well!! We then had to go to the Roka family´s house to eat.  By bus it would´ve taken about 45 minutes to get up there. Fortunatly the Eynons were there and they took us in their car and we got there in about 20 minutes. The food was good and we ended the meal with a chocolate fountain for dessert. YUMMY!!!! We had a lesson with José at 4:30, but we knew we were going to be a bit late. We called him to tell him that we were going to be late, then went to the bus stop, but just as we were getting there, the bus passed. It was bad, but I pretty much just laughed about it. Then we were going to be super late!! We had to wait half an hour for the next bus to pass by. Not cool, but oh well. We got down there at 6:30, and he wasn´t home, but I don´t blame him. I wouldn´t have waited that long either. We then went to the piso [apartment], and then went to the JAS [young single adult] Center for the Noche de Hogar [home evening]. President Santana (Branch President) gave the lesson, and it was about the law of chastity! It was really good!!!! I liked it! We then had food and it was yummy!!! Eynon food is the best!!

The aftermath of a chocolate fountain on a future missionary

Monday we had a lot of nothing. We did have a lesson with Josue, a recent convert. He had a few doubts about the Plan of Salvation, so we taught him that lesson. It was really good!!! We then went to Franklin´s house (Franklin is the Branch Mission Leader) and had the Noche de Hogar [home evening] there. It was really good. The lesson was given by Cristian, and he does a good job with giving lessons!

Tuesday was exchanges!! I was with Elder Lisonbee for the day!! We had District Meeting, and that was really cool!!! I learned a lot, and when it came time for the practice, Hermana [Sister] Marshall said that I was really good!! We practiced how to do lessons shorter and so that the investigators could understand better. We had a choice to do one of two lessons to practice, we were paired up and did it. Hermana [Sister] Marshall did the Restoration, and she´s really good!! I then did the Plan of Salvation, and according to her, I did really well too. Then Elder Lisonbee and I had to run to Maria´s house so that we could do the interview with her and then we had to be at lunch with the Nacimiento family. The appointment for lunch, was at 2:00, but the interview started then. We ended up also getting lost and not knowing where there was a bus stop for the bus 21 that would get us there, so we got there at about 3:30. Not cool, but still an adventure, haha. I know where the bus stop is now, hehe. We didn´t have anything as far as lessons, but we talked to Jonatan a bit, but that´s it. When we got home, we tried playing a practical joke on the other Elders, acting as if we weren´t home, and we went to the roof so that we could watch them. We thought it would have been funny, but then we told them that we were back in the piso [apartment], and turned on the lights, and they thought we were out for a lesson. It didn´t work, the joke died, and Elder Lisonbee and I were pretty sad, but oh well. We still had fun.

Churros - Spanish study aids

Today not much has happened. We´re planning to get Churros, but that´s about it. How was everything with...everything. Haha. School, work, dance, whatnot, something, maybe...........yeah. Take care and I´ll talk to you guys soon!!! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Well, back to studying

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 5, 2012

Las Palmas with a blue Atlantic in the background

Alex with his new flag of Spain

Hello Family!!

Nothing new here, except that it looks like Christmas is coming since they are putting up lights over some of the streets and on some Palm Trees. And they´re selling Polvorones again!! A Polvoron is a Spanish candy/sweet that is made during Christmas time. Pretty much flour, sugar, and butter mixed together, but they´re really good!!! I´m addicted to them, hahaha!!! Well here´s my week!

Thursday we went to a new person´s house to see if we could meet with him, but he didn´t answer the door. Or he wasn´t there or he wasn´t interested. I´m not sure, but we then knocked on the doors around the area where supposedly members were living, but none of them were the right address. So after a while we went to a member´s house to eat lunch, then back to the piso [apartment] to have weekly planning. After planning, we went and saw Jonatan and then tried to see Fani, but she wasn´t home. Not much else happened Thursday.

Friday was pretty cool!!! I got to know Cristian, a less active JAS [young single adult] member, and we answered his questions. We also shared a video of how to feel the spirit and that’s pretty much what it does. It was a pretty cool lesson!! We then ate with Nenad, the same member as Thursday, and it was really good food again!! We then had Medio Dia [lunch break] and it was relaxing like usual. One cool experience is that we did contact a lady that had her mother die not too long ago and that she was sad about that. We told her that we knew where her mother was and we wanted to share that knowledge with her. She said that she would like to listen, but at a later time since she was busy. We got her number and left for Edward and his family. We´ve decided to drop them since they aren´t doing their part to progress in the Gospel and to really know if the things we are sharing are true. Stressful and sad, but it´s okay. I hope that soon they will realize what they´ve missed.

Saturday not much happened except for tons of contacts. We had two new people planned, but they failed us. We knocked on doors near Edward´s home and no one answered or no one was interested. So then we passed by the Roka family and they are solid as steel!!!! They are really active and happy members because they live the gospel!!! It was awesome what they are like!! We then got a call from Jonatan and he said that he got an answer to his prayers in the form of a dream!! So after the Roka family, we went to the JAS [young single adult] Center and talked to him a bit as well as prepare for a fast for Jonatan. The Eynon´s made food for us to eat and it was really good as usual. We then started our fast!

Canarian Churros!!!

Sunday we had church and then had a lesson with Maria. She´s getting baptized on the 15 of this month!! Super cool!! We then had Medio Dia [lunch break] and then went to the Noche de Hogar [home evening] at the JAS [young single adult] Center. It was cool!! We broke our fast and ate some more Eynon food which is really good as usual! Not much else, but we did teach another lesson that day, but I don´t remember who it was. Oh well...I´m an old man on the mission so I guess it´s okay to start forgetting things now and then, hahahaaa!!!

Monday was pretty good!!!! 3 lessons!!! At first it was a pretty bad day since I tried printing stuff for Empadronamiento [registering with the authorities], but it didn´t work out too well. We then, after Medio Dia [lunch break], had a lesson set up with Almudena, the lady that had her mother die, but she failed us. I´m sure that she has a lot going on with her kids and stuff so it´s okay. We then went to see Roberto and Lola, an older less active couple that can´t go to church because of health. We shared a video with them about patience, even though they have patience, but it´s okay. They then gave us a little sandwich as well as a few sweets and a hot chocolate. It was really good! OH, and Roberto has been to Germany so he has one of those German Christmas thingys, but multiple stories!! It was pretty cool!! We then went to see Oscar, a JAS [young single adult], but not a member. His family is a member, but not him. Pretty cool since he´s gotten interest in listening to us!! We then went to a Noche de Hogar [home evening] to finish off the day!

It´s Christmas time in the JAS Center!! The Elders of the District!
From left to right:  Elders Bauer, Lisonbee, Christensen, Valenzuela

Tuesday was District Meeting and it was cool!! I learned how to teach simply and for understanding and it was cool!! We then went and visited Andres, a less active recent convert JAS [young single adult], but he´s really good!! He´s less active because of his job. He´s a fútbol [soccer] player and so he must get paid a lot, but yeah, that´s why he´s less active. We shared with him a Mormon Message about Standing Alone, a message by President Monson! Super cool and I really liked the lesson!! We then went to the JAS [young single adult] Center and talked to Jonatan about Fran. Fran is passing through a bit of a difficult time because his famliy is passing through a tough time and also don´t want Fran listening to us. He also saw a bit of Anti-Mormon stuff on the internet, but I´m sure that if he starts looking, he´ll find his way back. Today is P-Day and I think we´re going on a drive to tour the north part of the Island. If you ask why we´re doing it again, it´s because we never did that last P-Day. We did go to a restaurant with the Eynons and the District. I also bought pants and two ties! So yeah. How have you guys been? Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Alex with Tony Roma ribs (with Elders Christensen and Lisonbee in the background)