Hello Family and Friends!
Wow so much has gone on I don’t even know where to start. The last day in the MTC was absolutely amazing. It was a very emotional day for everyone. We are all so close as well as with the teachers and president. We had a few orientations about how to work effectively out in the field, it lasted about 4 hours. We then had two hours to pack and get ready for our departure the next day. That night they got Dominos pizza for us and we all took pictures together and wrote each other notes. It was kind of like yearbook day at high school except I actually cared about all these people, not just some of them. We had a testimony meeting after. It was the most incredible testimony meeting I have ever witnessed. The Spirit was so strong, all of the missionaries were ready to share the gospel and to change lives. I shared mine and it was a very powerful experience for me. One of the sisters at the end of the meeting commented how she wouldn’t be surprised if Jesus Christ walked into the room because of how strong the spirit was. Right as she said that the back door opened... we all turned around freaking out. It was this little man poking his head in and then he walked away. We all laughed like crazy for at least five minutes after that. Really funny and sort of freaked me out.
We all hugged and said our goodbyes after. We went up to our room to say goodbye to our teachers. I have developed a really good friendship with my teacher Hermano G, he is amazing and has definitely had an influence in my life. That was a very hard goodbye for both me and Elder F. We woke up at 4:45 am the next day to help the Barcelona missionaries load up their stuff. We had a district breakfast together and then said goodbye to Elder B, F, Hermana B and P from our district. They were all crying, it was sad. Then we said goodbye to the Malaga missionaries, including Elder F and Hermana B, that was rough. The Madrid missionaries then met in the chapel around 7 in the morning. We took a bus over to the mission home and had a nice orientation with the Jacksons. They are amazing, I love them so much. On the ride back to the MTC we all laughed together talking about our experiences in the MTC, I miss those guys so much already! We got back to the stake center and they started assigning us to our areas.
I wasn’t paying attention until I heard my name, so I didn’t even know where I was going or who my companion was. Then I found out. OVIEDO!!! Up north! I was so excited and I heard that my trainer would be Elder A, he’s been out for a year in 3 days! He is such a cool guy and an incredible missionary. He joined the church when he was 18 and went on a mission a year later. He was baptized by his friend too. Kinda sounds familiar... Dad?
I said goodbye to Elder F. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. I hate thinking about it because it was so sad, but happy at the same time. Me and two other missionaries hopped on the train and we rode for 5 hours to Oviedo. It’s at the very top of Spain. We got there late and met our new companions then headed to the apartment. It was a really old, dirty, and messy apartment. I didn’t care though, I just wanted to sleep. The next day we went to our new apartment. THE LORD HAS BLESSED US. It is brand new. So much space and so clean. We are on the very top floor with a perfect view of the city and the Christ statue up on the mountain (kind of like Rio in Brazil), we have a living room with a couch, a bedroom with two really nice beds, TWO bathrooms (one for each of us) and they are way nice, a kitchen with the following: ice cold fridge, microwave, flat top stove, oven, washer, dishwasher, and plenty of utensils and pots and pans. We have a study room with two desks. It looks like Ikea just exploded in our apartment. I love it and I give all my thanks to God. We also found out that the goalie of the city futbol team of Oviedo is our neighbor, literally right next to us. We are going to invite him to play futbol with us sometime. I can imagine that our apartment costs around 1000 euros. I still can’t even believe it. We’ve been eating very well too, we’ve had spaghetti with ground beef and some pork products for dinners. The grocery store and meat house is right next to us.
There are two other companionships here in Oviedo. Elder L (from Bolivia, speaks no English, he’s hilarious, and a convert as well) and Elder V (one of the Spaniard missionaries who was in the MTC with me, he’s from Peru and Barcelona, also no English), Hermana B (from Chile, also no English, she is a VERY hard working and incredible missionary) and Hermana C (from West Jordan Utah, always smiling and just a great person). I love them all so much! The Hs are the new married couple serving here. They are from St. George and are very... enthusiastic, they also speak zero Spanish. I love them though.
The branch here is amazing. I can’t even describe with words how much I love them already. I have been blessed in so many ways. There are about 50 active members. The president is an amazing man as well as the ward mission leader. But let me tell you, the youth here are incredible. I can already call them my best friends. There is T who just got her mission call to Mexico and she has an amazing testimony, K her younger sister by a year who isn’t a member: I know that K is one of the reasons why I am here though. Elder A told me that too. He said she didn’t come to any activities until I got here and became her friend. We are really good friends. We are going to start teaching her the lessons and I know she will be baptized. I just have a very strong feeling that I need to teach her and I know she’ll be baptized. It’ll all work out, I know it. There is also C who is waiting for her mission call, she comes to the lessons with us a lot and she is amazing as well. W is the Ward mission leader’s son and he is the coolest guy, I am teaching him piano and we play soccer together a lot. A is an investigator who is in the military and loves hanging out with us, there are also other investigators that just love the missionaries. A boy named P was just baptized two weeks ago by Elder A and we are working with his brother W. He is so close, he just needs to receive an answer. And we challenged him to pray last night. We also are working with a man named A. He is so close as well. I love all these people so much, there are a few hard times but I just keeping exercising my faith. Every time I do I am blessed. I love my mission so much and it’s only the beginning.
We went to Leon for a zone conference a couple days ago. We met all the missionaries in our zone. They are great great great. We have a bunch of people we are teaching and a ton of references. A boy in the branch opened his mission call a couple nights ago and he is going to Barcelona! That was cool. Also I met this little girl name S in our branch. She is 11 and she lives in England but is visiting family here. She speaks Spanish but also English very well! I talked to her for a while and she has the cutest little British accent. We laughed together a lot.
We played futbol Saturday morning and it was raining like crazy! We played for about two hours! I am good at futbol now, I love it. I also slid into a fence and did a front flip over it. That hurt pretty bad but we were all laughing too hard to even care. We had a meal with the Hs and then went to C’s surprise party, that was a fun time! Really crowded in their little apartment but it was great to see everyone there. The city is beautiful. There are definitely some crazy people here but that makes me love it even more. It sprinkles rain a lot and just makes the cobblestone streets look beautiful. We went to a cathedral and it was huge!! It was really dark inside.
Every Friday we teach English class to the members. I taught 3 nights ago and it went great! It is so funny to hear them try to speak English, must be what I sound like trying to speak Spanish. Just kidding, no, my Spanish is coming along so well. I spoke in church yesterday, and I’ve given a few lessons. I’ve noticed that if I’m working my hardest, have so much faith and confidence, it just works out perfectly. Every single time that I’ve struggled if i keep my faith strong, it works out in some way or another. I have a smile on my face every time.
So that was a lot, I’m sitting in a little cafe and we have 1 hour and a half to write! Things are going great and I am so excited for every day. Pass around that new address for me please! It’s so great to hear from all of you. I love you all so much.
Elder Giforos (The Missionary)
|Cathedral of San Salvador, Oviedo Spain|