Monday, November 25, 2013

An Actual Short Email - Transfer!

I don´t have much time! So, really quickly, my trainer finished his mission. It´s very sad. Hopefully I´ll see him another day. Since he left, I, the other companion, would normally stay here. Wrong. We got "white-washed". I just arrived in my new area, Torrejon de Ardoz. I literally just got here a couple hours ago so I´m pretty exhausted emotionally, physically, and mentally. So this one is going to be a short one for real. Also I forgot my journal. I´ll write more next week about everything to make up for a really short one today.

It´s really cool to hear about people becoming missionaries! I´m excited for my new area. I´ll find out more and tell loads next week. It was very sad to leave my old one. I´m almost done with Jesus the Christ! It´s a great book. Ya, I have 4 months now.  It feels really short yet really long. It´s hard to explain. Time sort of distorts on the mission. Ah! Lots of things to say. Later. I gotta go! I miss you all loads! Stay strong and pray for me! Love you all!

-Elder Morgan the Younger

Monday, November 18, 2013

I need a new Spacebar

I´m really going to miss Brother Cooper.* He is one of the kind of old people I will strive to be like when I grow old. So many more people needed to meet Brother Cooper. I´ve always tried to tell people about him but I just can´t do him justice. That really stinks. I wish we still had more time with Brother Cooper. At least our ward and stake will remember him. All my friends who got a patriarchal blessing loved him. Dang. That´s really, really sad.

Aw, apparently the reports of Ender´s Game aren´t exactly hopeful. Oh well. Easier to not miss it. I always love seeing English titles translated into Spanish. Like there are a few billboards for Los Juegos Del Hambre: En Llamas (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire). Language always makes me happy. I´m excited to be fluent someday. Although I don´t know random words like when an investigator asked us to translate "buoy". Ya, that´s a bit obscure. But I´m getting better each day. Subjunctive is still waiting for its time to shine. It´s the hardest because we have no English equivalent. It´s when you express doubt or judgement or emotion or who knows what. I´m definitely making sure that my children are bilingual, because it seems that when you know a romance language (Latin based) then you can learn them all so easily. Everyone learns like 2 or 3 others. Although the cool part is talking to Portuguese or Italian people because you can understand them for the most part even without knowing the language. 

Ya, we heard about the Philippines from members. We heard big things like the government almost going bankrupt. I always wonder if I´ll have one of those disaster moments as a missionary. Who knows. Hopefully it´ll be ok. 

Wow, a lot of these questions seem to be always about food. Ya, I´ve had lots of ham (jamón). It´s practically the basic meat here. Although we do have a lot of chorizo. My paté is jamón flavored. They serve it plain at houses. Ya, we do have meals at members houses. Some places they get fed almost every meal. I´ve only had like 5 or 6 overall, but they were great. I think we´ve been getting more since my comp is leaving. We were just at the Stake President´s house yesterday and his wife is an amazing cook. I should´ve gotten those recipes. We get up at 7 during the winter and 7:30 in the summer. It still feels early. Tortillas aren´t too common in our piso. They take a surprising amount of effort and time when you have a missionary schedule. Maybe some day. 

Winter has come at last. It´s been hovering above freezing for the last few days. since it´s humid here your breath goes infinitely farther when it´s cold. It´s fun. I enjoy small pleasures, even if they´re a bit childish. Like crunchy leaves. When you live in a city with tree lined streets, it´s so fun in the fall. And our heaters work at last! Huzzah!

This is a warning to all missionaries. CTR clothing has nice stuff, but it falls apart fast. My trainer´s suit from there tore when he was just barely in the MTC. Other jazz breaks too. The only merit they do have so far is socks and belts. I love the belts (I´m getting more when I get home), and the socks dry before you even put them on the drying rack and stay soft. But most missionaries are sick of their CTR clothing stuff. 

The investigators are pretty much the same. On the edge of baptism, lazy as heck, and everything between. John Anthony needs to quit smoking and should this week if all goes to plan. He said he needs something to put in his mouth and between his fingers and we always joked about carrots but we bought him a 1kg bag of carrots and he thought it was so funny. So many other people are ready, they just haven´t realized within themselves. Some we´re dropping because they won´t do anything and won´t meet. The investigator portion of this email will be short because there´s not much I feel like talking about. But there is hope upon the horizon. 

We watched On the Lord´s Errand. It´s Thomas S. Monson´s life. Love it. I am on the last stretch of Jesus the Christ! I´m in the 600´s. That is a long and deep book. He spent so long recently talking about all the mistakes of Jesus´s trial. He spent a page just about donkeys when he talked about Palm Sunday.

Confound this space bar. We are in a different locutorio and I have to slam these keys to get them to work and I have to annihilate the spacebar for it to work. I fixed a lot of errors in this email. It doesn´t help either that the computer is Spanish so this whole email is underlined in red besides a few random words. 

Man, pardon my French but I just feel pooped so much and I think, "This week, the email will be like 3 paragraphs," and then it turns out to be a junior teen book series. If you see my journal entries they are like 4 lines but I look back at my emails and it´s an ocean of words. I seriously want to print these all off when I get home. For all of you who will read these is the future: Greetings. To the rest of you all who are reading them in the present: Talk to you later! Miss you all!

-Elder Morgan the Younger

P.S. To all of you reading from the past: How and why? And who? And all that good stuff.

*Our Patriarch passed away last week.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Navy Nights

Investigators are just like always. Some are on the way to baptism and some are just straight up frustrating. Some we connected with super well recently and we have great, powerful lessons with them. But the problem with Spain is that people can be really lazy. Every time we go to one investigator´s house he´s still sleeping and they have to wake him up. At 1 in the afternoon! And a lot of people can´t get up in time to go to church at 10:30. We just need people to go to church, read, and pray. It´s really simple but not many have done it. I really wish there was some sort of re-baptism for menos activos (less active members). We´re working with a lot of them and I wish the ones who are gaining a testimony now could be baptized again after they´ve been truly converted. Usually it´s pressure from the family being baptized that gets people baptized without a testimony. I wish they wouldn´t do that. But I´m glad we get to help them come back. We´ve also had some great lessons with them too. But it´s just interesting right now. I don´t know how much to write about. I feel like a lot of stuff I want to talk about concerning the lessons is people´s personal stuff. It´s hard to know what to write and what not to write. And it´s hard to remember. So much jazz goes on during the week in lessons and it´s hard enough to understand what´s going down in Spanish, let alone remember it. I am definitely excited to get fluent. Once that happens the lesson section will be longer here. We should have a few baptisms to report on in a couple weeks! 

I just had a Rhapsody in Blue moment. The trains were running at minimum (Even though it´s not a weekend or holiday) and we were barely able to squeeze into the huge crowd inside the train. We were all pushed against each other and then we saw the next station had at least 100 people needing to get on. I don´t think they all did, but we were all packed beyond tight and holding onto the rail above and I felt exactly like the Rhapsody in Blue cartoon in Fantasia 2000. I half expected us to come out like them but we didn´t.

 Remember how I said that they put a movie in half the poster slots in the city? Last week and this week it´s all been Ender´s Game (El Juego de Ender). That´s a low blow. Well, in two years I´ll get to see it. I´ve seen enough of the poster. Not to be rude or anything, but I don´t remember there being an African American woman in Ender´s Game. She´s on the posters with everyone else but I have no idea who she is supposed to be. Tell me how it is! Don´t reveal any plot changes or anything. Just tell me how it is and I´ll experience all that jazz for myself later. 

For mum´s question: We buy food separately, cook separately, and we eat at like 10-11PM depending on the season and what we make. Ya, my comp goes home in 2 weeks but he doesn´t like to talk about it even though everyone else wants to. Ya, we probably will have baptisms before he goes. Ya, the ads are kind of sketch. You have to watch where you look. Especially pharmacies, of all things. Yay Europe! 

Back to food: We have food again! Huzzah! I got a little adventurous. I have a nice little jar of jamón* flavored paté and I found hummus! And the cheese is interesting here. I´m excited to try all of them. I´ve never eaten so much havarti cheese in my life. It´s the most normal, but you can get fancy aged cheese and weird kinds like gouda. I got these things called polvorónes and mantecados. It´s code for super dang crumbly shortbread. You put them in your mouth and it´s instant crumbs. Not bad, though. I´m also excited to try the King´s Day food that they already have out. There´s no Thanksgiving and Christmas isn´t that big so they already are decorating and whatnot. 

I think Jed needs to meet one of the guys in my piso,** Elder Anderson. He loves Star Wars so much and told me all this jazz about it. He´s read tons of the books by George Lucas and all the other official jazz. There´s so much information and he just went on for a few hours. There´s a lot of stuff before, between, and after the movies. Like Luke apparently goes to the dark side before the 6th and after the 5th and that´s why he uses a force choke; and they didn´t kill the real Emperor, it´s apparently one of the many clones and they have to do all that after the last 3 movies and there´s a whole dang series on Jango Fett! I have no idea why because he´s the most random character ever. Anyways...

We saw the new temple video! We got to all see it in our native language and it was interesting. The beginning and creation were pretty boss. They did a lot of green screen scenes. The actors were different. I feel like Satan ruined it as he always does in real life. I prefer the old actor. Eve cried and smiled at the most random times. But they did a lot of cool things like make Satan deceitful and the wilderness was very different. I wish they´d alternate them both, though. I still want to be able to see the old one again.

The Zone meeting after the temple changed a few things. Now we have to be in sight and sound every moment in the piso. It´s not bad for some pisos, but ours is divided into like 9 small rooms and has a lot of hallways. So basically if your comp needs to go anywhere farther than 10 feet from you, you´re going with him. It´ll take quite a bit of getting used to.

The nights here are interesting. The sky is very bright navy and the clouds are between light grey and white. It all apparently happens because we´re in such a big city. I´ve been exhausted so many nights recently. And I´ve had weird dreams. If any of you have missed hearing my weird dreams, or have never heard one, here´s one. I dreamt that for our morning exercise we had to fight lions in the Coliseum and all we had was two baseball bats, a sword, and a computer. Weird. There´s so much more.

So for the last week, the people who clean the streets have been on a strike. It also means no garbage is picked up off the streets. It´s disgusting now. In one week a lot of stuff gets on the ground. Everything from cigarettes to flyers to fecal matter. It´s legal to go to the bathroom on the streets. Usually only drunks do it in corners but people let their kids just let it loose in the street. Although, it looks kind of funny when they are holding them in the air folded up and squeezing them like a lemon to let them poo in the dirt. You see strange things here. Yay for Europe again!

I have to go through my emails and remove all the ç letters after every paragraph. In American keyboards the enter button is wide but here they took a chunk out and fit a nice little ç in their for the French. You´re welcome France. There are some random keys here. I will never understand the purpose of the ¬ symbol. Such are the mysteries of life.

Love you all loads! Sorry if I don´t write back as much as I should. I hope this is sufficient. See you later! Miss you all!

-Elder Morgan the Younger


Monday, November 4, 2013

How Does Moses Make His Tea?

My journal writing suffered this week so it might not be as long as usual. So I started the "Missionary Journal" and it´s pretty intense. The first like 20 pages have places for everything important and random before, during, and after your mission. I´ll fill it out later.

I survived the food shortage! I have enough food to make a couple sandwiches, a bowl of peas, and a whole lot of plain rice. It was pretty close. After this I get to buy food! I was getting a little sick of that stuff. Our fridge is so sad right now. It´s the cliché empty shelves with like 3 items for each of us. 
I didn´t dream in Spanish that I can remember yet but apparently my first week I spoke in my sleep in Spanish and they´ll never let it down.
I had a great intercambios* last week. It was with my friend Elder Ballard from Barrio 6. He´s a cool guy and they guessed correctly that we´d do well together. It was a great day despite every lesson cancelling. We got some great street contacting, though! Hopefully we´ll be in the same district someday.

Oh, investigators. It´s hard because quite a few are right on the brink of baptism. They just need that push into the font. That´s one reason I´m always excited. They´re so close! One guy was really hit by the Joseph Smith video. He was just so shocked that he died at the end and kept talking about it. I´ve really liked some of the lessons we´ve been having. This one Adventist lady read a scripture we showed her in the Bible about the sticks of Judah and Joseph and asked us how the other churches could be saved without the Book of Mormon. Then we explained our purpose and now she´s super duper on our side which was good because it was a big family we were teaching and they were throwing out weird ideas and trying to undo our doctrine sometimes. She just kept on slamming into them that we need the Book of Mormon. We work with a lot of menos activos (less active members--sounds weird in English) recently. We´re having great lessons with one who was baptized without a full testimony and he´s progressing. It´s always great to see them at church and at activities. Speaking of which, we had a boss Halloween party.

We, the missionaries, worked with the ward council to have a Halloween party on the first. It went great. People said they hadn´t had a party like that in Barrio 8 for a long time. It definitely boosted the ward´s confidence in ward activities and the missionaries. We spent almost all of Friday setting it up. Most of the side games actually failed, but the dance, food, and people were great. We got the ward to spread word pretty far and bring lots of nonmember friends and we had investigators come and menos activos and they made ward friends. It helped some want to come to activities and to the church again. I made brownies for it! They were pretty dang delicious if I may say so. The weird part of the party was the music because it was normal music. Like music I´ve heard on the radio. I´m so used to church music. It was nice to have a day to celebrate. 

Apparently the way to advertise a movie here is to put it on every single bus station known to mankind. It almost is like that. Literally about half of the posters are for a single movie and they change every so often. They have some pretty thought provoking ads here too. It´s a pity they don´t get paid attention to much. They have some thought provoking image and powerful quote and then tell you to stop doing drugs or something. I always love seeing people do good here and not join their iniquitous brethren. Like helping blind people through the train station or a couple who decided to have a family at a normal age. Most families are two 50 year olds with one kid or no kid. They spend their lives in the eat-drink-and-be-merry style. My thoughts were confirmed when an apostle (Elder Oaks?) in general conference said that some European countries aren´t having enough kids to support their population. It´s pretty evident here. Hopefully that will enact some kind of Darwinism and all the wholesome people will be the only people raising the next generation. 

Spanish joke: ¿Qué es la diferencia entre un pera y una novia de un misionero? Uno es pera pero el otro no espera. (What is the difference between a pear and a missionary´s girlfriend? One is a pear but the other doesn´t wait. Makes more humor in Spanish since it sounds nearly identical.) My joke repertoire is expanding into Spanish. I know like 6 now. I love jokes because generally there´s always one that will make someone laugh whether it´s a terrible pun or an anti joke. Ooh! I just remembered a church pun. How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it. That one´s golden. 

Whoops, just kidding. The email was still long. Psych! Love you all!

-Elder Morgan the Younger