Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 25, 2013

Our neighborhood in Cuenca

Hello there Family!!

Well, I can honestly say that Cuenca is much COLDER than Las Palmas. I´m freezing, but it´s also good. I´m trying to have a good attitude about it by telling myself that I missed the cold. I also have a cold, the sickness, which is not cool either. Oh well, all part of the experience. Cuenca is a small town, and it compares to Parla in smallness. It´s cooler than Parla though, since it has old buildings and stuff. My new companion is Elder Lyman, from Utah! He´s a really cool, chill sort of guy!! He´s a really hard worker and also is very diligent in his work!! I was hoping to train my last transfer, but I know that Elder Lyman is my companion for a reason, and I´ll learn all I can from him! We both have pretty high expectations for Cuenca and I´m excited to work with him a bit more these next few weeks!! Nine members came to church and we have a goal that by the end of the transfer it will go up to 20 or 25. We also have a goal for 2 baptisms here in Cuenca before the transfer ends. Super cool and I´m super excited.
Elder Lyman (next to an old mini Cooper)
Anyway, as you already know, we didn´t make it to Cuenca on Monday since we didn´t make it to the train on time. Tuesday we did make it!! We went in an Alvia Train, which hit a top speed of 252 KPH which was pretty cool!! When we made it here, our piso dueño [landlord] picked us up and took us to our piso [apartment]. It´s pretty far out of town, but really nice!! It´s brand new as well!! We visited a few members and that was it for the night.
Note how you can see mountains from our neighborhood!
Wednesday we spent all morning organizing the three area books that we have of former investigators. We called as many of them that had phone numbers and also set up a few appointments with members, but only were only able to visit with Henry, a member from Africa, and an English teacher here in Cuenca. We also saw an investigator who is ready for baptism. Super fun day, but cold. Haha.

Thursday we had weekly planning, and we planned during the morning hours and have great expectations for this area. We then went out and visited a Dominican family who are less active, and Jose, a recent convert and Branch Mission Leader, brought a friend over who is an 86 year old Spaniard. The lesson was interesting, but it was a fun experience. We also met a member family that lives just 2 blocks away from our piso [apartment]! They are a Spanish family with a daughter that is a return missionary!! Super nice family, but the husband and son are less active. We´ll work with them along with other less actives.

A view of old town Cuenca
Friday we met with some antiguos [former investigators] and also Elvis, a member that has been baptized, but never confirmed. It´s been over a year, so he´d have to get baptized again. We hope to work with him too so that he can continue to want the baptism. It seems that he´s really good!! Not much else.

Saturday we met with one former investigator. He´s a joven [young man] and stopped listening to the missionaries because he studies a lot. We´ll have to see about him. We then kept passing by former investigators and while we were knocking a building, we met a Spaniard who invited us in. He´s super nice and had a Book of Mormon, but wasn´t interested in the message. Oh well, so far just planting seeds.

The branch meetinghouse in Cuenca
Sunday we met the branch at the church, yes, all nine active members. It´s the most humble branch I´ve seen, as well as united! I love this little branch! Super cool and nice!! The Branch President gave us names of people to pass by and teach/call and it was a list that we´ve pretty much passed by them all. We´ll continue to see what happens. We had a few lessons yesterday too!! With one investigator, we talked about Jesus Christ and what she thinks He wants her to do. She mentioned baptism and so we talked a bit about that and know that she´s ready!! I hope that she takes that step soon! We then met with two less actives and it´s just sad to see them fall away even when they are so good to us!! I hope that we can get at least one of them to come back.
And that has been the first week of opening Cuenca! Hard, cold, but rewarding as well!! I see potential here!! I hope that you guys continue to have a good week and a good time there in Texas!! Stay warm!! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Sunset in Cuenca

Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013

The Las Palmas district (before transfers). 
From left to right: Sisters Marshall, Zitting, Buhler, and Elders Buhler, Bauer, Valenzuela, Wilson and Rockwood.

Hello Family,

This week has been full of surprises and I can´t even think straight with the huge shock that I´ve gotten. So, the shocking news is that I have been transferred from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, to Cuenca, in the Peninsula. I honestly couldn't believe it!! And just to mention, Cuenca is a new area, so it hasn´t had missionaries for at least a year and a half. So me and my new companion, Elder Lyman, are opening a new area. Pretty crazy and sad. I was really hoping to stay in Las Palmas for the rest of my mission. I am pretty excited to be going to Cuenca though. It looks and sounds like a super cool place, even though it´s just as small as Parla, or smaller. Even if I only get to serve there for 6 weeks, it´s fine!! New things aren´t bad, but sometimes it isn´t good either, haha.

Elder Valenzuela, Luram, and Elder Bauer
Elder Valenzuela, Yeinira, and Elder Bauer
So Sunday was the day that we all said goodbye and it was pretty heartbreaking for me and for my companion, as well as most of the members, all of the JAS [young single adults], and the investigators. Luram especially was super sad. He cried a lot and let me just say, just being away for a few hours, I miss them all so much!! Crazy, but life goes on. So that´s pretty much why there are many photos of me that have been tagged so yeah. I don´t really remember too much else about my week considering I´m in a new place. I can however tell you what happened today.
Raquel, Franklyn, y Nenad, Elder Valenzuela, and Elder Bauer
David, Elder Bauer (holding onto David Jr.), Sandra, and Elder Valenzuela
So today Monday, P-Day, we finished packing and went out to meet Elder Buhler so that he could take us to the Airport. Yes, they are white-washing Las Palmas Elders. So after getting down, we got the car loaded, and went off to the airport. It´s pretty sad to see the ocean the last day, especially when you don´t know when you will see it again. Well, we got to the airport, and saw that the Vecindario Elders were there to say goodbye as well. Elder Wilson and Elder Rockwood. We then went and looked around for the check in place, but it was nowhere to be found. We went to the other side of the airport and there it was. Hermana [sister] Buhler, Hermana [sister] Marshall and Hermana [sister] Zitting were there too since Hermana [sister] Marshall was also leaving the Island. Super sad day really. After some pictures, Hermana [sister] Marshall, Elder Valenzuela and I were off to the plane and I just watched as Gran Canaria disappeared.

A blue Atlantic on the way back to the peninsula.
I took a nap on the plane and when I woke up, we were in the Peninsula. I saw Toledo from the sky and that was pretty cool. When we landed we had quite a bit of crazy stuff happen. My new companion, Elder Lyman was there with two other missionaries and we started to go to Chamartin [train station – second largest in Madrid] to get Elder Lyman´s luggage. We had to be in Atocha [train station – the largest in Madrid] at 3:30 to get the train at 3:40. We didn´t make it to the train on time. We then didn´t know what to do, so we changed the ticket and decided to wait in Atocha for a bit longer until the other train to come. Then we get a call from Elder Winklecotter, the piso [apartment] office Elder, that the piso [apartment] in Cuenca isn´t ready yet, so we decided to stay here in Madrid for the night, and tomorrow go to Cuenca and begin working there. The piso [apartment] is pretty much ready down there and it´s going to be amazing!! I´m pretty excited al final [in the end], haha. Not much else that I could really say, but I´m hoping to have more for you guys next week. Take care and I hope to talk to you soon!! Love you all!!!

Elder Bauer

Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 11, 2013

Hello family,

I´m glad that all of you got to spend time with Grandma Lety and Grandpa Oscar over there in El Paso. Just hearing about the Mexican food makes me really want to eat some! I miss Mexican food, and the Mexican food here isn´t the best. Not much has been happening here in Las Palmas. The work has been slow and I am really getting frustrated with how hard it has gotten. This week we had 6 lessons total...and I just don´t like that. I feel that we´ve been doing all that we could but that nothing comes from it. We´ve received in the past 15 references (or phone numbers from people) that have been interested, but nothing came out of those 15 people!! Grrr, why can´t it be easier sometimes!! Oh well, I just know that I have to continue to be the best that I can, and not get too discouraged, and just continue onward.

Elder Wilson at lunch after district meeting
Tuesday of last week we had a miracle happen. Well, I applied for renewal of my residency card. I should get it about 2 weeks before I head back home. Well, so Sunday we had an appointment with Juan and we didn´t make it on time since we were in El Lasso, a part of Las Palmas, but far away from the Church. So, we made it half an hour late, and since he doesn´t have a phone, we couldn´t tell him. We tried going by his house and he wasn´t there any of the times that we passed by. Monday we did the same thing, but nothing. It was pretty crazy since we needed to meet with him at least every day of the week to help him get ready for his baptism on Saturday, the 9th. Tuesday I finished my residency renewal at about 1:30, and at 1:45 we waited for Juan at the Plaza La Feria since he told us that at around 2 he goes by there every day. So, we were there waiting for him, and my companion said, "Okay, let´s pray that we see him here." Just as he finished saying that, we saw him far away! We then walked really fast and saw him in a bar/cafeteria. We talked to him for a while and we were all happy to see each other and it was just amazing!! We then had the lesson with him and talked about baptism and confirmation and went over the baptismal questions! It was great and he was ready for baptism!! We also talked to Carlos, and Luram said this Sunday, that Carlos really liked the visit that we had with him! It made me happy to know that he liked the conversation that we had!

Elder Wilson and a Navajo taco

Wednesday was great!! We had district meeting and it was really a good meeting! Afterwards the Elders of Vecindario just stuck around since they had to do the baptismal interview with Juan. We played Fussball or something like that. You know, the table with the people and it´s like soccer, but in a table. Elder Valenzuela and I just dominate at that game. I´m getting better at it, but I´m really not that good. Just watch Elder Wilson and I play against each other. We´re both not good at the game, and it´s just hilarious to watch. We then went to the church to have the interview and it was good!! Juan passed his interview, and the baptism went through as planned. We then had the lesson with Fani and we talked about Temples. It was really nice and cool to see her interest in temples.
Thursday we tried to do splits, but nothing happened with that, so yeah. We had a lesson with Juan and talked about priesthood. He still thinks that it´s the power to teach, and we´re just like,, it´s the power of God to bless His children here on earth. He´ll get it someday. We then went to see Maria, our recent convert and she´s doing great. She´s a bit down in her afflictions, so we shared the scripture in Mosiah 24:13-16. She really liked it and understood what it means. I love Maria, she´s just so humble and submissive. She´ll be able to endure to the end! That was Thursday, as well as weekly always.

A happy new member of the church

Friday was an empty day. Nothing interesting happened that day. Saturday was way too crazy trying to prepare for the baptism of Juan Denis. We had to get the baptismal program done and ready, we had to print it and copy it, fill the font. Too much to do, so little time. It all went well, but it was pretty hard. After the ordinance of baptism, and I had the opportunity to baptize him, he told me that all he felt was overwhelming joy and happiness!!! It was great to hear him say that and see the change that came to him just with that little ordinance. Through small and simple things, are great things come to pass. I´ve learned that that promise is true!! Sunday was his confirmation! Not much was done Sunday except for giving a blessing to a member. Super cool week when I think about it, but still kind of...empty. I like days that are full of stuff, and I guess that´s what I have to do, fill it with people to see and places to be. I hope that you guys have a good week and that all is well!! Take care and I´ll talk to you guys soon!! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer
Sunset over Las Palmas

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 8, 2013

A quick editor's note:

We received an e-mail from the missionary department with the proposed itinerary for Elder Bauer to return home.  He is currently scheduled to return at 5:15 PM on April 30th.

In many ways I can't believe it is almost over.

March 4, 2013

Las Palmas from the hills above town, and near the caves


I´m having too much fun out here, I almost don´t know what I´ll do when I return home, but I´m sure that I´ll find something. I may get companion deprived, as well as stick shift deprived, as well as other things, but yeah. You get the deal. Oh well, on to my week, and it will be a nutshell.
The hills around the caves visited by the Las Palmas district.

So, Thursday was a very busy day! We had a lot more planned than we could both go to. We had to do splits with members so that we could get to all of the appointments that we had on time, but that didn´t matter. At least we had some good lessons! So, we did the splits. We called as many members that we could think of, and we only had one member that could go with us. I then had the idea to call the Buhlers to see if they could help us out. It was amazing because they could and it all worked out!! So we met at the church and started from there. We headed out, Elder Valenzuela with Nenad, and me with Elder Buhler. We first went to see if Jose was there, but he ended up not being there. I was kind of sad about that, but Elder Buhler (who served in the Spain Sevilla Mission) just smiled and said, "Well, the missionary work hasn´t changed much in 30 years." It was just funny to me since he wasn´t angry or anything. So we went to the JAS [Young Single Adult] Center so that I could explain a bit of the residency process to them so that they could get things done when the time comes. At about 5:30 we started heading up to Luram´s house to teach him a lesson about Enduring to the End. I didn´t know why he needed that lesson, but that morning, I just had the idea to show him a video and to talk about it.

So, we arrived and found him there at home, and it was a good little lesson!!! I loved it actually! Really cool experience. We then went down to the church and I had to stay at the church while my companion went with Elder Buhler to another lesson, just in case some people wanting English classes came. No one came at 8:00, so I didn´t know what to do. Some contact from the street came in at that point and I decided to teach him, even though he seemed a little weird. After the lesson, I was informed about him, and I decided that I will not teach him again. Then going home, we saw a dead person on the street, but covered up with a white sheet. Pretty creepy.
Okay it was quite a hike to the caves on a P-Day!

Friday was another day where we did splits, but then one of the lessons fell through, so we got back together. We went to see Cristian. I hope that all goes well with him. Later on we saw Juan, and he´s going to get baptized this next week, the 9th of March! I´m pretty happy and I´m sure that he´s pretty happy too!! We taught him about tithing and fast offerings. He accepted it and we committed him to fast and donate tithes and offerings after he´s baptized. Super cool guy!! Nothing else happened that day.

Saturday we had to do splits once again! We had Jose and Juan at the same time. So we got two members and met them there at Parque San Telmo. We then went our own way and Fernando and I went to Jose, and Elder Valenzuela and Nenad, went to Juan. With Jose, the biggest challenge is that he´s 70 years old, and wants to get baptized. The only thing is, that he doesn´t understand that he needs to change his lifestyle to be able to be baptized. We´re really trying, but I don´t know how it will all work out. He has a visit with President Santana on Wednesday so we´ll see what happens. Later on we went to see Fani, and she´s doing great!! She´s pretty much a member, but the only thing that has to happen, is that she has to get married to her "boyfriend" that she´s living with. They are planning to go to her country so that they could get married there, but they are planning to go in June!! Long ways away from now, but then again, not really. We talked to her about the Atonement and it was a great lesson over all. She said that she´ll come to church.
But it was an uplifiting experience to visit the caves as a district.

Sunday was a great day!! We got an answer to our prayers about if Juan should get baptized, and we had the confirmation of the spirit. We announced it in church, and Juan is pretty happy about that! Fani and Jose came as well so we had quite a few investigators! Later on in the evening, my companion and I were planning, and thinking of what we could do to find more people to teach. We´ve been working hard to find new people, but haven´t found anyone. I was a little disappointed, but my companion was a bit more discouraged. When we went out of the piso [apartment] at about 8:00, we were walking to the JAS [Young Single Adult] Center, as usual, and I decided to set a personal goal to talk to at least 5 people on the way, before getting to the JAS Center. Not many people are out and about on a Sunday night, but I still felt like I could do it. I talked to as many people as I could, but only got to 4. We reached the JAS Center and I saw a lady walking on the other side of the street, and I talked to her and that made 5 people!! The goal was achieved, and it gave me some sort of jolt of joy!!

It was still a little early and we didn´t want to interrupt the Noche de Hogar [home evening] that was going on, so I decided to do the same thing, set a goal to talk to people, but not just 5, but 10 people, before 8:30, and at that time, it was 8:18. So I decided to voice my idea to my companion, and he decided to join me in my efforts! We talked to as many people as we could find, and we got to 8. It was past 8:30 at that point, and so I decided to adjust the goal, talk to 2 more people before getting to the JAS [Young Single Adult] Center, and have one of them give us their number/reference. We talked to 1 more person before getting to the JAS Center, and no reference. I was feeling a bit down, but happy at the same time for doing a bit more work than I thought I could have on a day like yesterday. When we got to the JAS Center, we found Carlos, a friend of Luram that we´ve met before. I talked to him a bit as I ate. He´s a really cool guy! At the end of the night, just before we went to the piso [apartment], he asked me, out of the blue, when we could meet him at his house! I was shocked, and told him that at any time when he has some time. He gave me his number and his address, and off we went to the piso [apartment]. While going over my day in the piso [apartment], I realized that I had achieved the goal that I set for both of us in a way! I talked to those 10 people, and got 1 referral, but by the end of the night!! It was really cool!!
The Buhlers were also uplifed by the experience - or maybe Sister Buhler is just uplifting to all others!

I´m happy to say that I´m doing the best that I can. Just a little scripture that came to mind that I personally like. Mosiah 4:27, since my work has been full of effort, and yours has too, I just love that the Lord says that " is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength..." BUT " is expedient that he should be diligent..." I just love that. I hope that your week is good and that all is well. Take care and I love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Saturday, March 2, 2013

February 27, 2013

Elder Bauer, your tour guide this week on a tour of the LDS chapel in Las Palmas!

Hello Mother and Family,

Well, this week has been pretty interesting.  I´m glad that you have been doing great and that all is well over there. So, just before I start my rant on my week, I just want to tell you guys that from here on out, or after today, P-Days will be on Mondays, not Wednesdays. So, next week I´ll be writing you guys on Monday, as well as the week after that, and the week after that, and the week after that, yeah, just so you know. Now, on to my week!!
The exterior of the Las Palmas meetinghouse.
Well, my week hasn´t been too interesting for you guys as it was for me. I´ll just tell you about the cool experiences that I´ve had and hope that it would be good enough. So, mostly we are trying to change a lot of how we do things, and I think it´s been having an effect. We haven´t been able to teach as much as I´d like, but at least I can say that I will be prepared to go home, when I go home. We´ve changed a bit of how we plan and if you look at my agenda, you´ll be able to tell what has changed as far as planning. We´ve put back up plans as well as plans on every hour of the day, as well as filling up the day with things to do! I´m very proud of my agenda! And it´s all thanks to Elder Wilson, one of the new missionaries here in the island, who was AP just before. We´ve done exchanges with him, and I´ve learned a lot.

Friday was one of those days that we did exchanges and I was with him in Vecindario! I loved my time with him there and I learned a lot from him. I learned how to follow the spirit and how to work the back up plans, it was amazing!! The lessons that we had were really good and we had a great deal of unity in the lessons! At the end of the exchanges, I wanted to get feedback from him on things that I can work on, but he didn´t really have any for me in specific. I was a little disappointed, but I still learned a lot from him. I hope to be able to do at least one more exchange with him before I head out so that I can learn even more from him.

The plaque, so you know whose church it is.
Monday we had a huge miracle happen. So it all started before personal study. I noticed that I had my one card out of 20 - 45 cards with our phone number written on it. I had written our number on it a while back, and put it in my stack of cards to give it out to someone, and I had faith that it would appear when it would be the best time, for the right person. But in this case, it was the first one that I would pull out, and I didn´t think that the first person would be "the one" that would need the card. I almost reshuffled it into my pile and put them in my pocket, but had a small feeling that it would be well used. I left it there and put the cards into my shirt pocket and started studying.

At about 11am, we started walking toward the main Guagua stop, and had to take Guagua 11. It came right as we got there, which is a miracle in itself. We got on, and sat down near the back of the bus, where the chairs face the back. Not too far into our bus ride, this guy sitting on the final row asks me if I have information about the church, and I said that we did, and gave him the card that had our number on it. He thanked us, and started looking at the card. In the mean time, my companion (who was sitting next to me) took out a pamphlet on the restoration, and started writing the address of the church, when it starts, and other information so that this gentleman can get to church if he wishes. When my companion finished writing, he got up, and gave the guy the pamphlet and explained to him what it is and what it talks about.

The chapel in the Las Palmas church building
While my companion was up talking to this guy about the pamphlet, an African guy sat in the seat next to me, where my companion had been sitting. At that point I thought, "Now where will my companion sit, and what´s going to happen!" When my companion turned around to sit back down next to me, he saw the African guy sitting next to me. He just grabbed his backpack, and sat on the back row, in between this guy that asked for the card, and an African woman, and continued to talk to the guy. I then decided to make a move with the guy sitting next to me and asked him how his day went. He then told me that he doesn´t understand Spanish.  So I asked him if he spoke English. He did!!

A centered picture of the chapel in the Las Palmas church building
So we started talking, and I asked him questions, sharing the message of the restoration with him, as well as explaining what the Book of Mormon is. He got interested and I decided to leave him with a card with our phone number, but I also asked him if he wanted us to drop by some other time. So I got his number and we talked a bit more about his life so as to get to know him a bit more! When he got off, I looked back at my companion, talking to the lady in English!! I was happy and was glad that we´ve been practicing English in the piso [apartment]. After a while, she got off and we sat together and pretty much reported on what had happened. It was amazing since all three gave us their number, have interest, and are looking for something in life. It looks like this next week will be amazing!!! So, just a bunch of miracles happened in a matter of 20 - 30 minutes in a bus!! Super amazing and a great way to start the week!!!

Another picutre from inside the Las Palmas meetinghouse.
That´s pretty much all that I wanted to share with you guys!! I can honestly say that I was guided by the spirit in that occasion, and that we shouldn´t doubt. If we think it´s revelation from God, or inspiration, we can pray and ask if it is His will, and if we still aren´t sure, just act. I´m very glad that I acted and that we did that on Monday! Take care my wonderful family and I´ll talk to you soon!!

Love you all!!!
Elder Bauer