So this week has been super, super good. I already told you about Toledo on Monday, so I´ll skip that day. But it was super awesome. On Tuesday we didn´t do much because Hermana Pavez was prepping all her stuff to leave for Valladolid the next day. That was a little bit of a frustrating day, but I understood that she needed the time to get ready to head out. So we helped her with all her stuff and that night we threw a suprise goodbye party for her in the capilla with the other missionaries, investigators, and some members in the ward. We made it spiritual and it was super fun. She was in this area for 6 months, and her first six months at that. So it was good to send her off in style. The next day we spent the first half prepping for Pavez some more, and then we helped her haul her luggage across 3 different Metro lines to the bus station, where we got sworn at for being part of a "sect". But it turned out great. I love Hermana Pavez so much. She was a really great friend and missionary. On the way back from the train station, we had a total miracle! We were sitting on a bench, waiting for the Metro to come, and we started talking to this really sweet Chinese lady. We ended up talking to her the entire Metro ride, and then we got off at the stop where our capilla is. We asked her if she would like to see it, and she said yes. So we took her to the Capilla and told her all about it. She didn´t know who Jesus Christ or God were, really, and her Spanish, although better than mine, left much to be desired. But it was so amazing, she LOVED it. We ended up teaching her a part of the first lesson and teaching her how to pray. She showed us her goosebumps and kept saying how God had put us in each other´s paths and that we were friends now. We told her the ward needed some Chinos! And she totally agreed. She loved us so much, and we totally love her! I think we have another cita with her tomorrow, and I´m really excited. It was the coolest experience. Another really cool miracle we had this week was our two lessons with los dos J L. They´re these two super old Spanish men that Hermana Fuller met while we were on splits the other day. They´re friends and J L #1 invited us over to teach him them in his apartment. He doesn´t have a leg and they both smoke like no one I´ve ever seen before (except every single other person we´ve met in Spain, of course). They´re so sweet. They love the lessons and though they´re both SUPER Catholic (soooo Catholic), they´re like listening to us and learning. We gave them both Books of Mormon and they are both reading a little bit. Right now they´re having a hard time with the Apostasy and the fact that we don´t worship the Virgin Mary. So we´re working with them. They´re the sweetest men and I just love teaching them. I´m able to say more and more each lesson, and people are starting to actually be able to understand me. So that´s awesome. With M., she wasn´t able to come to church this week, and she has to come two times before she can get baptized. Since she didn´t come this week (the only reason she doens´t come is work. She really, really wants too), we had to push her baptism date back one more week. But it´s ok. She´s so ready to get baptized! She gets more excited every time we see her. We told her about temples and how she can to her mom´s baptism after she gets baptized, which will be cool for her, because her mom just barely died and it´s been hard for her. I´m excited for her baptism! It´s going to be so cool. Keep praying for her, though! She really needs it. I also met our investigator from California, K., the other day. He is an INTERESTING guy. Wow. Super unique. He´s hard to meet with because he´s always really busy with work, but I love him because I can actually talk to and understand him. I met him at Noche de Hogar the other night and since Hermana Fuller told me he hasn´t been to church since the time changed from 11 to 9 in the morning, I just talked up church a BUNCH. Told him how awesome it was, how much I loved it here in Spain, how cool the Spirit is there. It was funny. At the end of the night I was like, "See ya at church, K!" And he just rolled his eyes and laughed at me a little bit. In a friendly way. But there was like, no way he was coming to church. And guess WHAT? He was there on Sunday! He came!! The first time in months and months. I have no idea what made him decide to come, but he came and then we were able to have a lesson with him about keeping the Sabbath Day holy a couple hours after church. He said he was coming from now on and that he would also be able to meet with us on a more regular basis. He´s a super interesting guy. He´s in the music industry- he has a band called the New Aristocrats and he´s got an offer with Sony Music right now to work for them in England. If he gets signed, he moves there in September, I think. He´s like 50 years old, super surfer hippie dude, and really intelligent but then I´m also not sure if he´s ever really comprehending what we´re saying. But then he goes off about how the axis of Western Civilization is the River Rhine and how a lot of people think Visigoths are Vikings but they´re not... and he speaks like 5 languages... weird. Cool but weird. But what matters is that he´s awesome and he came to CHURCH and he´s coming from now on. It was such a cool miracle. Spanish is coming more and more every day! I understand more and more and I try to make myself talk more and more. I had an entire phone conversation by myself yesterday, which was my goal for the week! Usually I start off and then hand the phone to Hermana Fuller, but yesterday she made me keep talking and I did it! It was super cool. Oh, and one last way hardcore story. We play soccer every Saturday morning with investigators and it´s so fun. I´m the best of the missionaries in my district and the Hispanic men are starting to pick me to play on their teams. Basically makes me feel so cool. Anyways, this Saturday I made the mistake of sliding on the ground to get a ball, and mind you, we don´t play on grass. We play on outdoor futsal courts. So I tore up the skin all on my left leg, burned through my exercise pants and the shoelace on my shoe. Like, burned through them. I gained so much respect that day. Wow. I still feel cool talking about it. :)
Well, this week was AWESOME! I learned so much and I´m so excited for this week to work super hard and do the best I can for the people that I´m serving. There´s so much work to be done here! I love Spain so much. Sometimes I feel like I´m in Europe, sometimes I feel like I´m in South America, sometimes I feel like I´m in Africa, and all the time I know I´m in the mission field, and that´s what makes me love it so much. It´s hard and super amazing. I love my companion so much, we´re such good friends. It makes this a lot easier, to have someone you love and trust right by your side! She teaches me so much and we just laugh a whole lot, all while working hard. It´s awesome. The barrio is amazing and they seem to like me. It´s coming, slowly but surely! Every week I feel better and better. I love this Gospel and I love my Heavenly Father and I know this is His work. I´m so lucky to be a part of it! I love you guys so much! I can´t wait to hear more about the vacation and all about the tennis tournament. Oh, and with the postcards slash mail situation, send the rest of the stuff to my piso. I only get mail from the office when I see the office couple, which isn´t often. I emailed dad my address, so use that one. I love you all!!!
August 11, 2014 Hellooooo! It was so great to hear about this week´s adventures for everyone. Sounds like Girl´s Camp was a hit, I´m glad to hear that! I loved going to Heber Valley back in the day. Super exciting to hear about the tennis team with Mia! Congrats, dude! You´re gonna kill it. Tell Janaye congrats too, that´ll be fun to be able to do together. I´m excited to hear all about your trip and everything! I´m a little bit jealous! But I¨m glad everything is dandy at home!! Makes me happy to hear. This week has been crazy and super, super great! I´ve loved it a whole lot. Trio is going GREAT! I´m with Hermana Fuller and Hermana Pavez. They´re both fantastic. I´m so lucky to not only love my trainer but to love my other companion as well. Fuller has a year in the mission and Pavez has 6 months. They´re both fantastic missionaries and they´ve taught me a lot. I will be with Fuller for at least 12 weeks. Hermana Pavez is getting transferred either this week or next. She had to stay a little longer here for doctor´s appointments, which is the reason for the trio. It´s been great, though! 12 week training program is good! It´s basically a recap of what I did in the CCM. But I´ve learned a lot from Hermana Fuller, she´s a really awesome missionary. We´re different people for sure, but we get a long really super well. It´s a blessing. President and Sister Jackson are amazing. They´re like, perfect people, probably. haha. They´re just so loving and kind. I trust them a lot. I haven´t seen them since Tuesday and I probably won´t see them for awhile, but that´s normal. I think they´ll be awesome. Our piso is tiny and kind of dumpy but it´s really cool. We live right in the heart of Madrid, but the less touristy, rich part. Which is really really good. The people are more humble! I am in Barrio 2. Barrio means ward. So there are 8 wards in Madrid and I am in the 2nd one. We have a specific area in Madrid and it´s really cool. Reterio Park, which is where we would go tracting on Saturdays in the CCM, is in my area as well. We have a few investigators right now! We actaully have a lot, but I haven´t met them all yet. We also work a lot with menos activo and recent converts. The area is big and busy and pretty secular, but we´ve found some gem people here. Our ward has about 100 people that attend every week. This week we had three investigators at church, which was so awesome. They stayed the whole time, too! Church is hard for people but essential. We have our own capilla and we teach English lessons there, as well as a lot of normal lessons. It´s super awesome. Air conditioning is not really a thing here in the not so high tech city of Madrid. Luckily our piso has it, which is a saving grace. But everyone just has those way cool hand fan things, you know? It´s so cool. I´m buying one today. So I basically just sweat and sweat here. But everyone does. The Metro is the worst. SO HOT ALL THE TIME. We ride it at least 5 times a day, usually more. It´s fun but I hate tracting on the Metro. It´s actually my least favorite thing. haha but I just need to get over that, I think. Besides that, missionary work is the BEST. It makes people happy. At first people are confused when you approach them and they think you´re strange, but then they listen and feel the Spirit and it makes them happy. My Spanish is, to use the words of Elder Nash from my district, sucky. He said that about his Spanish, not mine, but the meaning is the same. I am really struggling with having the confidence to speak! I can understand a lot, but speaking is a joke. It´s hard because I feel like one of my greatest talents, the English language, has been taken away from me. But I know that I needed it. The Lord will always give us what we need, and I really need to better learn how to rely on Him and His Spirit. It´s been good just to learn how to listen. I learn more every day, and that´s really nice. Everyone tells me how good my Spanish really is, but I don´t believe them! haha. It will come. I know it will. My goal is to be able to speak good Spanish by Christmas when we Skype, so I can impress everyone. But the thing is… I can still do missionary work, even if I can´t speak the language! I work super, super hard every single day. The Lord helps me out so much. On Sunday I got a little frustrated after Church because I just wanted to understand and speak and to feel at home here. But then I got over myself, got to work, and we had an amazing night with so many miralces. It was awesome. I´ll tell you about one of them- so we got this random call from a guy named D. that we had never met, and we didn´t really even remember calling him. He asked us to meet him at the park for a lesson. So we did, and up walks this 15 year old, skater dude kid. It was kind of a shock and I sort of thought he was messing with us. But the thing was… not at ALL. This kid is prepared. We had the most spiritual lesson ever with him. Fuller and I were crying afterwards and it was just amazing. We´ll hopefully be able to meet with him tomorrow, which will be awesome. He was just a miracle. It´s rare to have young, Spanish people interested or even believe in God. But he totally does. He´s been reading the Book of Mormon that the Elders gave him (they then gave us his number and I guess we called him, but I don´t remember). Miracles….. Missionary work is WORK. But the reason I love it so much is because it´s the LORD´S WORK. He´s behind this. He doesn´t need any of us to do this, but in His grace and love for us, He allows us to do our part. He trusts His work with the young, very inadequate people of His church because He loves us! Think about it- the Lord works through our weaknesses. He called Joseph Smith as a prophet of a dispensation when he was 14 years old. He called Moses, who couldn´t even speak, to be the prophet. Alma was a major sinner, Thomas S Monson almost burned down a mountain and Moroni was literally the last man alive. But the Lord works with us through our weaknesses. He helps us, not through what we can do, but through what we can´t. We were meant to be weak. I love Madrid! I love the changes to my nature that this work has brought. I love all of you, so so much! I pray for you all every day and I hope everything is going so goooooood. Keep Madrid in your prayers! Miss you, love you, have a great trip! Love, Sam