Sorry I can´t send photos right now. I didn't bring my cable and even if I did, this computer has a floppy drive. Enough said. Shoutout from the 90´s. I´ll go to a different one later that resides in this millennium. Hey, speaking of sending, the office sent out a picture in the bulletin of all the packages they have for Christmas already. It´s pretty big already. It ought to be since there´s like 220 missionaries here.
I got transferred On Monday just an hour or two before I wrote the email. We received the transfer info on Saturday night at 9:00 or 9:30. Just my companionship was whitewashed. The other companionship is "another area" even though it´s the same geographical area.
I have to edit my email and filter my fingers so much because I want to write in Spanglish or here they say Caste-yankie (Castellano and Yankie). So many words don´t exist in my English vocabulary. Like I live in a piso, not an apartment or whatever. A LOT is un montón. What is pijo in English? Pijo is rich and snobby I guess. No idea. But I speak hardcore missionary casteyankie. It´s becoming more Castellano than Yankie as I go on.
Alright, so stuff to write. So Torrejon de Ardoz is indeed a whole ton of apartments. There´s not much to see here besides shops. I don´t know why they have a huge 4 star hotel here. No offense to Torrejon. Although, they just finished up their intense Christmas decorating in the plaza. When I say intense I mean intense. They set up a huge Christmas park thing with statues and music and decorations that takes up most of the square. It´s lined with little cabin-looking shops that sell everything. They have everything from pedal go-karts to pony rides to a skating rink to sitting on a king´s lap. Santa just got usurped. Yes, there is a black man in the most ostentatious, feathery, colorful, who-knows-what-else outfit that little kids come to sit on. It´s weird. Then they set up Christmas lights and signs and icicles and too much to explain. Basically everything is decked out around the plaza. I´ll have to take pictures. They take their Christmas and Kings´ Day very seriously here.
My companion is Elder Fisher. He is a 6´6" very chill Californian. He´s from Newport Beach. Yes, I will send pictures later. It´s a bit of a contrast from the 4 person crazy piso, but I like it. We work well together and this will be a good area. The other missionaries in the area are Hermana King and Hermana Reyes. They get an intro later. And President Jackson must have though he was funny because their last names are essentially the same thing just different languages.
The ward is wonderful here. They´re all very nice, open, and warm, we get lots of member references, and they feed us often. You just love the people. We have a lot more members in lessons with us too which helps a lot. They share their boss testimony and connect with the people. I found some people that I know or know through others. One guy was a member´s boyfriend so he was in B8 a lot or another one was the brother of our ward mission leader in Barrio 8.
So, the night of the day I came, we had a meal/lesson combined with the hermanas at an investigators house. We met them right outside our piso for the appointment. Hermana King is from California I believe, Hermana Reyes is from the Dominican Republic (you can tell from her name and looks) and they brought along a blonde girl who was an exchange student. We taught a short lesson, and then then they went back to make pizza. Hermana Reyes was always back in the kitchen with the investigator man--they´re both in their young twenties--and her companion wasn´t with her. That´s bad. Lots of jazz went down like her companion asking if we thought "flirt to convert" was ok and if they were ok in there and the guy asked if missionaries can date and it was really weird and awkward. Halfway through the dinner, Hermana Reyes admits to not being Hermana Reyes and hands the tag to the real Hermana Reyes, the blonde "exchange student" who apparently is half mexican but looks like the most blonde, white girl ever. The false Hermana Reyes was the really wife of the "investigator" who is just a normal member. Well played. It just works out so well to have a native be "Hermana Reyes" and the real one not be her. You never expect it. They apparently have done it before much worse. It was pretty dang funny.
Dang this is going to be long. Wrist and finger rest. Alright.
This will be a summary of my last week in Barrio 8. Back at the farm in Barrio Ocho in the month of November: We had an amazing meal with the Stake President´s family. I love eating at members' houses here. They do it well here. We held a huge goodbye/get together for all the missionaries in Madrid and it was sick to see everyone. We had many amazing lessons last week that I would share if I had more time and you guys had more patience. Trust me, they were great. Dang I wish I could remember more of lessons to share with you guys. We also ate with the Bishop and his wife. Both talk very fast. We had paella and they failed to tell me that the really crunchy, black things in it were small clams and I got to spit out shell shards. They have this magically horrible stuff that is called Eko (Made by Nestle) that supposedly tastes exactly like coffee. So basically you get the horrible taste without the supposed benefits. It´s gross.
We had a Zone Conference which was great. We heard many hours of wonderful talks. Not enough time and space. This bad boy is long enough already. We ate Domino´s! My friend from the MTC got an emergency transfer to Madrid so he got to be there and it was awesome. I got a letter from some guy who just moved into our home ward, Jim Hansen. Turns out he´s the Jackson´s (Mission President's wife) uncle. Hermana Jackson was happy to hear that. We taught a golden Spanish man who contacted us, loves us, writes down scriptures, and is just beyond gold. Sadly, I don´t get to teach him anymore.
Mom, a while ago you asked if I knew an Elder Smiley who was your book group friend´s daughter´s boyfriend. Yes. He showed us many pictures of her and talked about her and he now has really short hair, not his previous mullet, and he thought it was the funniest thing that his girlfriend's mom was in your book group. Just remembered that. Tangent!
After all that was transfers and I got moved. The Sunday was really sad and there were many tears and farewells. I got a lot of nice and funny notes. I now have a list--which probably will expand much more--to add to my Facebook when I get home. That will explain if I get a random friend request from some Spanish person. It´s very important to get a specific name for Facebook because here they have like 4 or 5 names and they mix it up on which they abbreviate, omit, or leave alone.
Got here. The rest is history I think. I don´t know how much I wrote. Oh my goodness, our investigators are great. We don´t have as many, but they definitely make up for it in quality. Especially with huge desire to be baptized. I´ll write more on them when I´m not writing a email for 2 weeks and a new area.
I finished Jesus the Christ! Huge book. I love it. I want to read more of Talmage later. I love that book. I have so much church literature to read at home. I´m very excited for it. Now I see why they won´t let us read more. It would take so much of our time. I went to District meeting and met my wonderful district. There´s an Hermana from my old District here too! Never thought that would happen.
So Thanksgiving! I still haven´t written about that. Sorry, this will be a big email. We ate at the member's house that I was deceived at. The Hermanas made Thanksgiving. It was really good, although much of it was made from their memories of seeing someone make it so it was a bit interesting, but I still loved it. It was nice to have a Thanksgiving dinner. It just felt so like home and of course everyone there was people that are great. It was a good experience. My comp and I brought the mostol (Wine without alcohol) and made paper turkeys from our hands so they were pretty big. Everyone loved the meal and we had a lot of laughs and smiles and everything.
The next day we made a breakfast for a member family, an investigator, and her mom so that she could see what her daughter is getting into. Sadly the mom didn´t come, but we still ate it because it was all made. My comp made French toast and bacon, I made eggs and maple syrup (Thanks for the maple extract Mom!). They loved it all and so did I. It felt very American. And it was tasty, of course. It was a pity we didn´t make more toast.
We fasted from food and all English. Quite a few people actually fainted in church from the fast. One kid was during the sacrament and a woman screamed and he hit his head so he had blood and whatnot so that one got pretty dramatic, but he is perfectly fine. No wounds or damage outside. I love the ward. I´ll write more later about it. We finally met the girl's parents and they´re sweet and we had a sweet member testimony and story and we had a great lesson with the investigator and a member family afterward.
Finally we are at today. Sorry about the length. We got locked out of our piso and had a great experience running to a friend across the city in our shorts in the cold and organizing things. I´ll explain more later.
Then I wrote a whole lot of emails and this ridiculously long one to my family. I still have much more to write and explain for next week. I love our investigators! Sorry that there isn´t as much on the investigators. This one was also special because I had a lot to fit in. More next week on them! I love you all so much and miss you all just as much!
-Elder Morgan the Younger