Monday, February 23, 2015

On Cloud Nine

Why, hello there. What, the best week ever!! So much animo right now, I'm just a missionary on cloud nine! Seriously, really happy.

Anyway, we started off the week teaching... "Jovenes!!" (Young people) It was awesome, and we have some great people/families to visit up here in the corner of Spain. We often work with the Ward Mission Leader from Villagarcia (a town about 20 minutes from Pontevedra). He's 80 years old and has been a member of the Church for about 30. He actually went to Utah a year ago and visited the missionary that baptized him. He showed me a picture of the two of them and it made me think of myself in 30 years visiting people from my mission. That was a great thought. We called him Monday night to tell him that we would be coming to Villagarcia the next day and he said, "Why don't you come to my house and we can eat. Tengo arroz y pollo... En fin!! (Which basically means, "I've got rice and chicken... The End.") So we went over and ate rice and chicken. It was great! He showed us around the island a little bit. He's a funny old man.

WEDNESDAY WE WENT TO..... Madrid, Madrid, Madrid, Real Madrid! Y nada más, y nada más, Real Madrid! (Real Madrid Fútbol theme song) We went to Madrid! We left at about 7 in the morning and 7 hours later we arrived to the mother land. It was so cool being back in my old stomping grounds. I loved every minute of it. My companion had never been to Madrid before so it was like a different world for him. (He started in the Provo MTC, Fuerteventura (the island next to Lanzarote) was his first area and now he's up here in Galicia) He loved it. We checked into the Hotel and for the rest of the day we got to work in Barrio 5. I worked with my old companion Elder Dougher and my companion worked with his trainer Elder Cahoon (my old companion as well). It was a glorious day.

The first person Elder Dougher and I went to visit was.... J! The 17 year old wonder of the Dominican Republic! Woohoo! Of course we visited him first. We went up the 5 floors of his building quietly, knocked on the door, entered his house and while I snuck up right next to him before he even saw me I said, "Hey buddy." It was a joyful moment. He looked pretty shocked haha. We then went and visited the Bolivian family Elder Gentry and I found back in October. (Little C, who was baptized my last week there, family.) Funny story too: Their youngest daughter thought it'd be funny to throw a GATO (CAT) at me, which flew through the air and *sfnk* drew out its dagger-like claws of death, attaching itself to my left leg. Just like in the movies, but no it was real life. It hurt pretty bad. I love that family. We ate pizza with their famous Bolivian spicy chili sauce. That's some hot stuff.
Then, last but never least, (In fact, ÓTIMO) we met with W. My Brazilian friend. He looked at me from far off and said, "Could it be?" Great, great night.

The next day we checked out of the Hotel and headed to Pavones for the Conference with Elder Dyches. It was amazing. He's actually really funny but incredibly spiritual at the same time.
I'm just going to write a few lines from my notes to give you all the gist of the meeting.

For a testimony to have true power you must be sincere. A testimony is found in the bearing of it.
When we almost obey, we almost receive a blessing.

Are you in the Path of your Duty? (Helaman 15:5-6)

"And I would that ye should behold that the more part of them are in the path of their duty, and they do walk circumspectly before God, and they do observe to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments according to the law of Moses. Yea, I say unto you, that the more part of them are doing this, and they are striving with unwearied diligence that they may bring the remainder of their brethren to the knowledge of the truth; therefore there are many who do add to their numbers daily."

People may not remember what we teach them but they will remember our Love.

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." -Isaac Newton

The story of Johnston's army and the construction of the Salt Lake Temple. (Look it up if you don't know already!)
Revelation comes to a willing heart and mind. (D&C 64:34)
Strength and struggle are traveling companions.
How to be Master Teachers (Few things he covered):

Address their needs to the message.
Short visits, multiple times a week. (Respect their time!)
Our personal study is for us to become better teachers.
Follow spiritual impressions, always. 

We learned a little more about the story of Enoch. The Lord called him to be a Prophet and preach repentance unto the people. Enoch felt very insecure. "And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?" (Moses 6:31)

I can honestly say that I have felt like Enoch before in my life when called to do great things. I have felt "but a lad," "all the people hate me," "slow of speech" and thought the penetrating question, "Why have I found favor in thy sight?" The Lord gives a comforting response to all of us in verse 32, "And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good."
The Lord can do more with you than you can do with yourself.

It was a great day. I saw... 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 of my companions in that trip to Madrid! Elders Fonseca, Hally, Cahoon, Schwenke, Molina, Gentry, Dougher, and Regehr. I only didn't see 3 of my previous companions: Elders Anderson, Smith and Delgado. (One is in the islands and the other two are home... doing home stuff.) Oh man, true JOY.

After the meeting, we went to the temple, presumably for my last time. It was the most incredible experience, surpassing every other time I've visited the temple except the first.

We took a night train home that left at 10:30 pm. We were so excited because we had the idea of a "Harry Potter Train" but we were wrong... Oh how wrong we were. First off, we didn't get beds.. just normal train seats. Second, the train was so loud and especially jerky because we were at the end of the train. Third and worst, the sisters were sitting directly across from us. We couldn't stretch our legs out at all because that would have been awkward. Basically, we sat there for 9 1/2 hours and slept a little bit.

Regardless, the trip was legendary.

I want to end this letter with some lyrics from my favorite Hymn and a quote Sister Jackson shared with us.

More Holiness Give Me

"More purity give me,
More strength to o'ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains,
More longing for home.
More fit for the kingdom,
More used would I be,
More blessed and holy--
More, Savior, like thee."

"Faith is like driving a car at night. You never see farther than your headlights, but you can make the entire journey that way."

I know I always say how much I love my mission, but I really do. Like Elder Ballard once said, "My mission belongs to the Lord."

Elder Giforos

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