Monday, January 26, 2015

That's Not the Language They Taught Me in the MTC

An old picture from Madrid. The ones he sent today didn't show up.
I still haven't bought an umbrella! Miracles are real! The weather here as been strangely incredible! Galicia is known for its dumping amount of rain but... nothing but sunny skies and happy missionaries. The first week here in Pontevedra was awesome. It is so different from Madrid here. The city is a lot smaller and it's about an 8th of the members as it was in Madrid. I love it so much though! It's really a nice relaxed place. It kind of feels like Oviedo, just a little different. I've been asking everybody about cool facts about the city and this is what I've come across so far: The Octopus here is supposedly amazing, there's a theory that Christopher Columbus was either born here or in Genoa, Italy. My companion told me he's met a few of Columbus' direct descendants here. There is a really old part of town called "Casco Viejo" that is one of the oldest parts of Spain. There's a church there from the 1300's! Also, the beaches here are supposed to be awesome during the summer, won't see any of that though.

Something funny was when I learned that they speak another language here called, "Galician" which is like halfway between Portuguese and Spanish. Here's an example: "Tódolos seres humanos nacen libres e iguais en dignidade e dereitos e, dotados como están de razón e conciencia, díbense comportar fraternalmente uns cos outros."

...I had a little Best Two Years "That's not the language they taught me in the MTC" moment when I saw some stuff like that. It"s pretty similar to Spanish. I"ll be just fine.

Church on Sunday was crazy! Our branch president was out of town with his family (they pretty much run the place here) so we ran the show with the first counselor. There were 3 priesthood holders there. My companion, the 1st counselor, and I. It was fun. We taught gospel principles, both gave talks, blessed and passed the sacrament and played the music. We had about 17 people at church. 4 were investigators and the rest were women! I really do love the members here though, they may be few but they are each way awesome.

There are a ton of Brazilians here! I was really happy to see that. (By the way, I'm not sure if I told you all last week, but our Brazilian friend in Madrid took us to a Brazilian restaurant that was just like Tucanos from the states! It was so good and all you can eat meat!)

I've been reading through the Conference edition of the Ensign a lot lately. There are some amazing messages in there. Recently I've been studying the talks called, "Which Way Do You Face?" by Lynn G. Robbins and "Free Forever, to Act for Themselves" by D. Todd Christofferson. The first talk and message has really stuck with me. Elder Robbins said, "Trying to please others before pleasing God is inverting the first and second great commandments." That is so true! The two great commandments are:

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

We are commanded to first love God and then our neighbor. Elder Robbins points out that everyone has and will constantly invert these two commandments because of the "Fear of Men." Peer Pressure. Submitting to the "Finger of Scorn." We are reminded that this even happened to the Prophet Joseph Smith as he repeatedly asked the Lord to allow Martin Harris to borrow the 116 pages, which are now called the 116 lost pages. It is something that everyone is subject to.

We need to have Courage. We need to remember "Which Way we Face," towards God or towards the world. We need to follow the perfect example of our Savior Jesus Christ who always sought the Father's will. He never forgot which way he faced. "To see the son was to see the Father" as Jesus taught in John 14:9:

"Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?"

I have learned that, "Decisions of character are made by remembering the right order of the first and second great commandments." That can help us to be much better people.

I love the Gospel and I know it is true with all my heart! Sharing that with others has brought me the greatest joy I've ever felt in my life.

Elder Giforos

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