Okay folks, here we go with more information.
My piso is gigantic. It is currently housing 8 sisters, 3 companionships. There isn´t a piso in Badalona for those sisters so they´re having to get a little creative in the meantime. It´s only a little crowded though. Oh guess what I get to see every single day? Nothing too big. Nothing too cool. Just the Sagrada Familia. Yeah. I can see the top of it from my bedroom. And my desk. But, you know, it´s not like it´s world famous or anything.
So I don´t live in Spain. I live in Catalunya. I don´t speak Spanish. I speak Castilliano (actually I don´t speak that either…). On the 11th, there was some big demonstration or something because Barcelona is hating on Spain and they want nothing to do with Spain in general. They are upset because they make the most, give the most in taxes, and get the least back. It´s intense apparently. I haven´t really noticed.
Investigators… boy do I have some good ones!
Heidi. She is a golden…no… PLATINUM investigator. She found US. She just showed up at the church looking for the Mormons because she had been in contact with some missionaries back home in Bolivia. She remembered how she felt around them and wanted that peace again. She agreed to be baptized our first lesson with her (this week… yeah it´s been 2 weeks… yeah I have a baptism already… yeah I´m stoked). She has the cutest freaking daughter too. She´s 4, she´s whip-smart and she´s a sassy pants. I love them!
Mariela. We found her on the metro. At first she didn´t seem too receptive (she was probably exhausted from work) but H. Cozzolino gave her a card (we give out pass-along cards like candy, guys. LIKE CANDY.) We didn´t expect too much but guess what? She came to church. ALL of church. She´s hard to track down because she works all the time but we finally had a lesson and she too agreed to be baptized the very first lesson. She said she knew that God would bless her family if she attended church. What a champ! These people are so prepared!
Eric. He´s an interesting soul. Our first contact with him was shortly after he punched the wall of the metro. It scared us quite a bit so naturally we walked straight for him. He was upset about Spain, immigrants, his children seeing him only as a prisoner (he´s done some time), his marriage in shambles, his alcoholism… pretty heavy stuff. H. Cozzolino told him he could be baptized and all his sins would be forgiven. This big, tough, scary dude started crying on the metro. We kept talking, he cried more, we prayed, we told him to come to church, he asked if it was okay that he had tattoos, we said of course, then we went our seperate ways. He needs a lot of work, but he´s a good man with a good heart.
Barcelona is wicked hot. Siempre. I sweat literally all the time. I wish I was exaggerating but I´m not. Okay I am a little. But seriously it´s burning lava hot, and humid, and ridiculous. The metro is probably my least favorite thing in the world. It is SO hot and SO gross. We walk, we sprint, we ride. It´s a real adventure here in Barcelona, what with the transportation and all.
The members feed us SO well. They love us. We get massive portions, desserts, drinks…oh man. It´s good stuff. The food is really quite good. The flan is not my favorite, but I realize I have to learn to deal with that. I really just hate flan. It´s like eating caramel cat food. Ew. So gross. The members are also really patient with my Spanish… Castillano. One of the younger ones reminded her mother to speak slowly or I wouldn´t understand. Another family would say a few things and then turn and asked if I was understanding. It´s a slow and brutal process. I catch about 30% on a good day. 10% on a bad day. But everyone knows. I´m the pasty white, blue-eyed Utahn. You think I know Castillano? Pfft.
Last week for preparation day (no more nicknames) we went to a science museum. It was super legit! This coming Monday we scored free tickets to go inside the Sagrada Familia. I might just die of excitement! Might! Woooooo!
Cute things about my mission… at 10 am we have a mission wide prayer. Adorable. We are also reading the Book of Mormon as a mission. Precious. The nickname for our mission is “El Faro” which is a Lighthouse and the theme song for us is the hymn that goes “Brightly beams our Father´s mercy…”. The one Dad loves. Heavenly Father likes sending me these musical reminders, He really does.
This Sunday was Stake Conference. That was pretty cool, minus the not understanding anything. A couple times the speakers went out and no one could here. All the missionaries were freaking out because we all have investigators there trying to listen. I started praying immediately, H. Cozzolino said “This is the devil…” so I said “If you pray the sound will come back on” so she started praying too. It worked. Tiny little miracle. H. Cozzolino was surprised but I wasn´t.
Missionaries pray. A lot. I pray over everything… “Please bless that the hot water will start working”, “please bless that the lights will work again”, “please bless that this person won´t be a distraction to our investigator”,”please bless…”. I mean really. Everything. And it works because the Lord gives us those tender mercies when we really need them. I will say though that missionary prayers are waaaay too long. We have a lot of things to ask for and a long list of people and it´s a little bit, lotta bit ridiculous. In a good way I suppose.
This address is perfect for mail (I got some today, in fact):
Barcelona Spain LDS Mission
C/ Calatrava 10-12, Bajos
Thanks for all the prayers and all the letters. I really love getting them all! You are amazing and wonderful and God loves you because He loves all His children!
OH WAIT! I need to do a little chastising of the ward and Dad since you are in the bishopric you can pass this little love letter along:
As I missionary I feel I have the right to be bold. We´re supposed to be bold. This is a serious work, salvation is on the line. And so I must say this, missionaries NEED members. We CANNOT do this work without them. Our ward was super small when I left, right? But guess what? There are still the same amount of homes in the ward. All the people living in the ward boundaries are your brothers and sisters. They are children of God who need the gospel, they need a friend, they need a neighbor. Reach out to everyone. Don´t just settle on sticking a note in their mailbox telling them about an activity. Knock on the door. Meet them. Serve them. Love them. THAT´S how you convert someone. THAT´S what moves the work. When the members are willing to do the work, miracles happen. Missionaries can teach the lessons and convert people, but the members keep them going to church, keep them active. Don´t judge, don´t avoid. I promise you that if you put in the effort, you´ll see big changes. Help out the poor little missionaries in the ward by being willing to host lessons, willing to go out with them to teach. It goes much better with the members around. PLEASE! I exhort you! I love you all, move the work!
Okay now I´m done. I love you! Stay happy, stay safe, stay well!