Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 27, 2013 - Editor's Note

Alex will be returning this Tuesday (April 30, 2013) and will be speaking in our ward on May 12, 2013.  Those interested in attending the meeting (and he will speak in both the English and Spanish meetings) please let us know so we can give you more information on meeting times, and location.

April 22, 2013

Cuenca is a United Nations World Heritage Site.  It was established by the Moors in the 700s and has been walled ever since.  It is a well preserved medieval Spanish city.

Dad and Family,

This week has been full of buff fingers!! We´ve been tocando timbres [ringing doorbells] and knocking doors for a good while this week! Super cool, but also super crazy! We´ve become timbre [doorbell], door knocking machines here in Cuenca! I´m glad that all has gone well over there in Texas! So today I got my flight itinerary for the 30th of April. I got a crazy feeling of nerves as well as just missing Spain. It was pretty much the same feeling that I got when I opened my call, but not the whole shaking and nearly falling over on the floor dead, but the realization that I´m going home....just....crazy!!! Enya is calming me down as I write this email though so it´s all good. Haahahahahaaaaa. Anyway, on to my week!!

So Monday of last week we visited an investigator couple and it was a good visit, we actually ended the night with them. We talked about 3 Nephi 11 and watched the last scene of The Testaments and it was good. Little kids running around all of the time, but it´s really funny and I guess it´s okay if they are little kids. Before them we taught another couple and we pretty much talked about obedience to the commandments of God, especially the Word of Wisdom since he´s having trouble with that commandment. He´s a cool guy, but he just has a bit of trouble with that, and going to church, but his job doesn´t really allow him to do so. He did say that he´d come this next week.
More of the walls surrounding the old town of Cuenca.
Tuesday we had four lessons set up so we were pretty happy! Unfortunately little by little, they went failing. Oh well, we did just as you probably thought! We knocked doors, just like the grand machines that we are!! We did teach Jose, the recent convert from the Dominican Republic, about Temples! Super cool and he looks happy like usual! Aside from that, knocking doors! Later on in the night we took the last bus to Madrid so that we could go to the Temple the next day!!! Speaking of Temples, haha.

Wednesday we started early since our session in the Temple was the first one, at 8:00 AM, so we left and took the bus over to Pavones. It was a cool little experience!! I just LOVE the Spain Madrid Temple!!! Super pretty and just amazing! I stayed in the celestial room for a long time since I knew it was the last time that I´d see that Temple. Super sad. =( I just noticed that I use the word super a lot, as well as the exclamation points, sort of overuse them super too super much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh well, it´s just that everything is super amazing and super cool that I just have to use the super word "super" a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As well as these ->! Anyway, moving on. We then did exchanges and I came back to Cuenca with Elder Shumway, our wonderful district leader and it was a great day of knocking doors. We had a good day too, but the lessons failed us again. We did have one lesson, and she´s pretty cool!! She´s known missionaries before and has a mini testimony of the truth, but it just needs to be nurtured a little bit more, just like in Alma 32!!! We then knocked doors some more!

Elder Bauer in Cuenca
Thursday was not weekly planning since I wasn´t with my companion. HA, tricked you guys!! We taught a cool Spanish guy! He´s super awesome and super cool!!!!! He pretty much said that the first visit was going to be to get to know each other and then we´d speak of religion a bit later. I thought, cool, that´s what the first lesson is for!! So we did just that, and then he asked us if we could share a 5 minute summary of what our message is. So, we did just that, pretty much putting everything together into a big mesh with the Plan of Salvation and mixing it up to make sense. Later he asked us what we would say to a guy that would have 5 minutes to live. Elder Shumway told him that he´d say that there´s the esperanza [hope] (English is bad) that he´d see his family again after death. Then he told us a bit of what Jesus Christ means for him. Super cool testimony!! We then talked over peanuts and Coca Cola. Super cool guy!! His wife is from Holland, and speaks English really well! Then guess what we did. If you guessed knock some more doors, you´re RIGHT!!!! You just won a prize!!! Go buy yourself a prize since I don´t have one for you. Hahaha. Elder Shumway then left and I was with Jose for 45 minutes until Elder Lyman came.

Friday we actually had lessons!! But before that, we had weekly planning!! Super fun!!!! We then had medio día [lunch break], then we went to the lessons! We taught one of our couple investigator, but the husband wasn´t there.  We took Jose with us so it was all good!! Super good!!! We pretty much asked her why she wanted to get baptized since she expressed desires for that. She pretty much just said that she would have to think about it and visit the church to make the decision. That´s fine, since I wouldn´t baptize someone that hasn´t gone to church. We then visited another couple, and that was a pretty stressful lesson. He was just sharing scriptures that didn´t have anything to do with the lesson and also asked really random questions. I eventually told him that he should listen to my companion since he was talking at the time. Since then he was pretty quiet. I´m not sure how things will work with them, but we´ll see. We ended the night with Petra and her husband. We shared the talk that Elder Holland gave, and they liked it!! They didn´t see it, but did watch General Conference. They missed the Sunday evening session, but that´s common here in Spain. We then ate with them.
As Elder Bauer explains this picture, "it is a waterfall thingy".
Saturday we had English Classes with Sabrina and her friend Elio, then had a lesson about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Super cool lesson, but to me it felt a bit long. We then ate with Sabrina and Elio and as usual, the food was good!! We then did what you could guess, yup, knocked some more doors!!! All of the lessons failed again!

Sunday we had Church and it was good, but weird to think that it was my second to last Sunday in Spain! We then had lunch with President Vaquera and his family there at the church since they live in Madrid. Crazy how far they have to drive to get to their branch that they are assigned to go to. We then knocked doors until 7:30 when we went over to an investigator couple’s house. He was tired so we just talked for a while and that´s about it. We then went over to Ana’s house. She´s really awesome and just loves the missionaries. She is less active since she can´t go to church because of her handicapped son. We sang a hymn and shared a bit of the significance of the hymn and then ended with another hymn. Super cool since she loves the hymns!! We then walked home the long way.
On a hike around Cuenca
Today we went on a 7 km hike!! Super awesome!!!!! We pretty much left Cuenca and came back! Crazy stuff!! Anyway, I hope that all is going well over there in Texas! I´ll talk to you next week...but person!!!! Love you...BYE!!!!!!

Elder Bauer

Cuenca from the surrounding hills

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 15, 2013

Cuenca from the bridge between the San Pablo Monastery (now Parador), and the city of Cuenca

Another view of Cuenca

Hello all y´all!!

I just had to practice my Texan accent if I´m going home in 2 weeks. I must say that I´m more nervous than excited about that, but I can honestly say that I´m not letting it get to my head so that I can continue being the missionary that God needs me to be! This week has been full of cool stuff, and long trips, but it´s been really cool!! I´m hoping that things continue to go well over there at home and that you guys have a good week this next week!! I´m really looking forward to the growth of Cuenca in the weeks and months to come!! Anyway on to my week!!

So Monday we went to an investigator’s house after we did the Cristo hike, but then her boyfriend left the house, so that meant that we would have to leave as well. Bummer since I wanted to get to know her a bit more before that happened. Oh well, rules are rules. We then went to another home.  He is a less active member and I really hope to help him come back and gain a testimony! We haven´t been able to do too much with him, but we did teach him about faith, prayer, reading the scriptures and going to church. I hope that something comes out from that! Not too much else that day.
Elder Bauer's set of keys
Tuesday we did quite a bit of finding out there on the streets of Cuenca! Some of the people are the ones that burn up in the sun and wither away. Others get eaten by the birds. Some actually take root, but then wither away since they were in shallow ground. One of them is among thorns and weeds, so we´re trying to help them grow and get rid of the weeds. Overall, we do have a few that have the potential of bearing fruit and we may be able to see the fruits of our labors! (I knew that you´d enjoy that dad. It wasn´t even my idea, Elder Lyman, my companion, gave me the idea.)

 Pretty cool how many people we have found in just two hours! Not too many, but more than normal since we contacted like machines!! We then went and ate with a member and it was good food like usual!! I like food!! Food is good! Makes your stomach all happy and stuff!! Anyway, we then taught an investigator a bit of Mosiah 24 since she´s having a few problems and basically the message was to help her see that there are examples of people that suffered in the Book of Mormon, so it was good! We then saw another investigator, and it´s pretty difficult to teach her, since she goes on about other things. We then had English Classes, and a lot more people came than last week!! We had a full class of 2 people.....HA, that´s not full. We haven´t really put in an effort to pass out little cards either, but oh well. We´d better get on that!! Well, that´s it for Tuesday.

Wednesday we didn´t have very much go on, but we did get to visit two people! We visited one of those that we found that was “among the weeds”, but we hope to be able to help her out of them. Her husband isn´t really interested in the message, and doesn´t show hope of understanding it. Adriana though, she has potential and I hope that the potential doesn´t die away. We basically got to know them and gave them the Book of Mormon and a pamphlet of the restoration. She started to read it while we were there, and she said that she really likes it and will read it!! I was really happy!!! Later we finished the night with a family from Peru! They are pretty cool, but the lesson could have gone a bit better on both of our parts. I have a lot to learn still. We pretty much just shared the restoration and they liked it! They then had us stay and we ate with them! It was really good food!! I just love the food here!
A plant growing in the missionary apartment (hopefully that is the only thing growing in their apartment)
Thursday we had weekly planning and it was pretty good!! We planned for a lot of people since we found a lot of people (as mentioned above, haha)! We then went and helped a kid with English, but it didn´t help him out a lot since he doesn´t study...ever!! Oh well, but I really hope that he studies and then he wouldn´t feel the way he does. At four we went with Jose, and taught a new investigator, actually a less active member that works every Sunday.  We got to know her and it was pretty cool! She´s from the Dominican Republic and it was a cool little visit! We then tried to go and visit someone else, but they weren´t home, so we had to go to the bus station to go to Madrid for zone conference and so we did that. When we got to Madrid at 8:30 or 9, we went and visited someone from Barrio 8. Super cool family and they are members. It was a cool little visit!

Friday I saw the Temple from up close for the first time in 5 months!! It´s pretty cool how I really needed to be close to it after so long!! I just love the Temple!! Super cool and lovely! We then had the conference and it was one of the best ones that I´ve had on the mission!! I really enjoyed it!! I felt edified and it was just awesome!! We then ate Dominoes Pizza and it was good!! Elder Lyman and I then went to the bus station and tried to get the 4:30 bus, but it was full, so we had to wait until 6:30. We walked around and it was fine. We finally got back and contacted for the rest of the night.
Saturday we went to the church and did a "service project" which was move the ping pong table from the bottom floor to the top floor. We had to buy some tools to do it and we succeeded!! We had Jose there helping us so it wasn´t too hard. In the evening we saw an investigator and her friend. We committed her friend to come to church and he accepted so it was good! Later we saw another investigator and her husband and it was a mini English class. We left soon after that to go over to a member’s house, and visited her to help her animo [enthusiasm] go up! She hasn´t been to church for a month and so that could be a reason why she´s feeling sad and down. I hope that we helped her out. We then visited an investigator and it was a good visit. I´m not sure if he´ll progress, but we´ll see as time goes on.

Madrid, Spain Temple
Yesterday was church and we had testimony meeting. I bore mine on missionary work, of course, and it was good!! The whole meeting was good so yeah!! I liked it. We then met with a less active Dominican lady and she´s cool!! She has a bit of the desire to return and her husband is also Dominican and he has potential!! I have huge hopes for Cuenca!! Later on we saw an investigator in whom we had great expectations, and he doesn´t have as much hope as I had hoped for. He would take anything that we say or teach, and look it up on the internet. I told him that we have to look through prayer, to be able to get the answers and then committed him to read the pamphlet that we left him and pray about it. He accepted so I really hope that he does that. We finished the night with an investigator from Africa. We talked about how trials are like when Nephi built the boat [see 1 Nephi 17, and 1 Nephi 18]; we could either give up, or do as Nephi did and do what the Lord told him to do! Super cool!! I loved this week!! They just keep going by faster and faster!! Wednesday we have the opportunity to go back to Madrid and go to the Temple!! Super cool and exciting for me!! I can´t wait!! I hope that this next week is good for you guys!! Take care and I´ll talk to you soon!! Love you all!!

Elder Bauer

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 8, 2013

It's P-day.  We are going to hike there.  Yes, even on P-day we are inviting all to come unto Christ!
Okay - now can you see the statue on top of the hill?


Well, this week was amazing!! I can honestly say that I´ve seen more miracles here in Cuenca this week than last week!! Super cool the conference, it was the great end to the week, but unfortunately we couldn´t see it all. We only saw all of the Saturday sessions, except for President Thomas S. Monson´s talk in the priesthood session, but I´ll have to find time to watch them. Well, like I said, this week has been great!! Let me tell you about it!!

So, I don´t remember if I told you, but last week on Sunday, we had the Madrid Temple President come and talk to us about the temples and missionary work. He related experiences about when he was mission president of the Spain Barcelona Mission and it was really cool! He related an experience where the zone of these two missionaries set a goal for so many baptisms. It was the end of the month, and they didn´t get their goal, they were one away. So these missionaries decided to miss their Sunday meetings to find this baptism. While they were sitting on a bench, this person gets off of a bus and asks them if they were missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They said that they were, and the person said that he had all of the lessons and that was ready for baptism. They reviewed all of the lessons to make sure, and he was baptized the same Sunday. Super cool story that comes into play later into my week.
Coming to Christ does lift you above the common place.  (View of Cuenca from the hike.)
As you know, I was sick on Monday, but it was a miracle that it left me before P-Day ended so I was fine to teach and walk around by 6:30. Super cool how that worked out for me. We had two lessons with less active sisters. With one of them we talked about what impedes her to go to church, and we found out that she gets bored all three hours of Church. We challenged her to come to sacrament meeting at least since it is the most important meeting in the church. She accepted the challenge and we´ll see if she comes. I hope that she does. We then met with the other and pretty much got to know her and see what her doubts were. She´s a lady from Africa and we went with Henry, since he´s from Africa too, super good friendship there. Anyway, we talked about the family and how it´s ordained of God. It was a good lesson, but it was long as well since she answered the phone and talked for 15 minutes or more. I just looked at my companion and we were just there for a long time. We finally got out and it was a good lesson in the end.

Tuesday we did contacts in the morning and it wasn´t the best thing since it´s so cold and rainy all of the time, but we found some people. During medio-día [lunch break] we had lunch with a member and her daughter who´s an investigator, and it was great!  We then had a lesson with another investigator about the restoration. She´s super good. Later on we had a lesson with Jose, the recent convert, and he took us to his "house" to teach him about priesthood and about his calling as branch mission leader. He´s so good! I just love that guy!!
We made it.  We came unto Christ
Right after we got out of his house, we walked a ways away, and sat at bench, and before we sat down, I told my companion, what if what the Temple President (mentioned above) said Sunday actually happened while we sat here on the bench. So I sat down with my companion, and I´m not kidding, 30 seconds later, this Dominican lady stops in front of us and asks us if we were missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was shocked!! I said that we were and she told us that she was a member, but less active that wants to come back to church and wants to know where it is. We told her where it was, and she also gave us her number and address. We found out that she is the owner of the piso [apartment] where Jose lives. We told her that a member lives in her apartment and that she could go to church with him! Super awesome how miracles just happen!!!
Wednesday we had district meeting over the phone since Madrid is a 2.5 hour bus ride. So we had it over the phone, but it was okay, not the best, but okay. Not too much else happened that day. We tried to have lessons, but it wasn´t too successful that day.

Thursday we had weekly planning and it was good, especially since we thought about some prospective new investigators. After planning, we had medio-día [lunch break] in our piso [apartment] and then went over to have a lesson with an investigator. We talked about the Book of Mormon and also a bit of what the plan of salvation is. We also committed her to read 2 Nephi 2 so that she could have a bit of an intro to what we would talk about the next time. It was good. We then taught English to the 14 year old son of an investigator and he´s pretty good, even though he doesn´t take it super serious, but it´s okay, he´s 14 so what should we expect. We ended the night with Petra and her family! Spanish member family, but the two guys are less active. We´re trying to help them come back. It was a good lesson and we talked about how reading the scriptures, prayer, and going to church helps us to have a firm testimony. We then ate dinner with them and it was really good! The dessert was especially good!!
View from the top of the hill (at the foot of the Cristo statue).
Friday we had Noche de Hogar [home evening], with Henry, and that was good, but more of the branch should come, but of course, all of them work. Henry was the only one that showed up, so yeah. Just had it with him.

Saturday we had 3 lessons. One with two new investigators who we met on the street and it was GREAT!! They are from Peru, and they have heard the missionaries before and are wanting to know and learn a bit more. We then went over to an investigator’s house to teach her English and had a lesson after and we taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We extended an invitation to be baptized, but she said that she couldn´t until May. She´ll take that step, but not until then. It´s fine, but yeah, we´ll see what happens. She´s prepared so it should happen soon. We then had another lesson with another investigator, and we read with her 2 Nephi 2 since she didn´t read it. We also explained it and she liked it. We met with her at her new piso [apartment], even though she´s just renting a room. We ate sweets with her after. Good day!
The edge of town from the valley below Cuenca.
Sunday we watched as much of conference as we could. We watched one session with Henry at his house, then got the key to watch it at the church in the branch president´s office. We then went back to the church to watch some more conference, then had a lesson with a new investigator. Daniel, we pretty much just got to know him and talked about the family with him since he has his family here. Really cool guy and I have great hope for him. We then watched a bit more conference, and went over to our new Peruvian investigators’ house. We taught them about faith, prayer, reading the scriptures, and going to church. Elder Lyman did the chicken with the towel and it was pretty cool!! There were kids there so it was fun for them. We also gained another investigator there with a friend of theirs. Super awesome!! We then watched as much of conference as we could until it got late and we had to go to the piso [apartment]. We got there at 10:00 PM, just on time.

Today we saw the hanging houses as well as going on a hike and saw the Cristo at the top of a mountain, and then saw really cool rock formations in the mountains on our way down to the hanging houses. I hope that all of you are doing good!! Take care and I´ll talk to you next week. Long letter and short on time. Love you all!!

Elder Bauer
The most famous of the hanging houses of Cuenca.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 1, 2013

Old part of Cuenca
A picture from the older portion of Cuenca

Dad and Family,
Well, today I don´t have my agenda with me, but that´s fine since the week wouldn´t be sharing the whole thing. Let’s just say that it was a good, but very hard week!! We finished the former investigators and the members list, so now we are going to have to contact a lot more than I have ever contacted in my life. Oh well, I´m sure that someone is out there waiting. We have met some pretty cool people, but we´ll see if anything comes from them!
One of the famous casas colgantes (hanging houses) of Cuenca
A neighborhood of hanging houses of Cuenca
So last P-Day we saw the old part of Cuenca, and it´s really cool!! I saw the casas colgantes [hanging houses] from the mountain that we were from. It was pretty cool! We also saw a cathedral and other cool stuff so yeah, super cool! Not too much has been going on, but this Sunday we did have the temple president come and talk to us about temples, and it was really curious because it helped me resolve many doubts that I had as far as opening Cuenca. It´s pretty cool how that happens! I left that meeting very uplifted and have thought of many things that I can do to improve!
Living on the edge in Cuenca
Elder Bauer overlooking the edge of Cuenca
We also saw a miracle this week!! So while we were doing the members list, we came across a piso [apartment] where there was a lady. There lived the member, but he wasn´t there at the time. We talked to the lady, and she had the missionaries before in Madrid, and loved the church!! Super cool and since then we´ve had a lesson and she came to the Noche de Hogar [home evening] at the church and went to church on Sunday!!! Super cool and I have a lot of hope for her!! Not much else so this is going to be really REALLY short! Take care and I´ll talk to you guys soon!! Love you all!

Elder Bauer
The cathedral in the plaza mayor in Cuenca
The former convent of San Pablo, and now a Parador Hotel