Monday, December 29, 2014

A Picture is worth a Thousand Words

 Note from Mom:  No p-day last Monday due to Christmas. We just exchanged a few emails setting up the skype call. And due to my consistent begging, he finally sent a lot of photos from the last couple of months.  So, just a tiny email to go with them. But I'm glad for the pics.


Well if the phrase is true, I just sent a novel. Enjoy the photos! The titles of the emails are to express the rareness of this magical event. And I just had to do a giant survey for the mission so it has also sucked up my time. I love you all! Gotta go!

-Elder Morgan the Younger


Gypsy town in a part with no buildings

A shop with a logo for the Indy 500 I found

The Temple of Debod (Egyptian temple in Madrid)
Pretty Park in Madrid

Halloween pumpkins (Mine has the teeth)


Ana at her baptism
Elder Alhovuori when he was very cold and all wrapped up

Elder Alhovuori´s birthday package food collection



Hermana Shill´s gravestone cake for her farewell party


Cinnamon rolls I laboriously made


"Eggs in a Basket" using the star cookie cutter
A boss sunset by the Atocha train station

And our little Madrid Temple Square after the concert




Christmas Eve dinner Filipino style with the Chef

Madrid City Hall at Christmas
The Foam Tree Mom sent (he decorated)
I (Mom) saw this on Facebook. I don't know who they are. That's not his current companion.

Monday, December 15, 2014

See you Soon!

Well it´s been quite the week. I forgot what it´s like to area train and be in charge of almost everything. It´s been a bit hard but we survived the first week and it´s getting better. It´s a lot of stuff to organize and remember to do. I´m getting along with Elder Nickerl quite well. He´s super chill and calm. He´s from Carlsbad, California. He says "dude" and "dope" all the time. We got two greenies in the district. I don´t know if anyone knows an Elder Smurthwaite from California or Hermana Stephenson from Kaysville? Someone probably knows them like always. They´re both really nice. I think greenies are just so adorable with all the curiosity and energy they have about the mission. Makes me feel nostalgic. Now I´m the old missionary that everyone asks questions to. Especially since I´m one of the only missionaries from last transfer. I still feel really sad about the transfers. Especially since we were such good friends with the elders downstairs but they both got moved. I say all the movie quotes we used to say all the time but there is no reaction. But we plan to have old district parties after. The only problem is getting my old companion, Elder Alhovuori to move to the states from Finland. We´ll see what happens. We saw Hermana Shill with her family when they came to visit our area so that´s why you have a photo. Yes, I know I´m a forgetful missionary with no time. I will send pictures in due time.

I already made cinnamon rolls because I was just craving them and we knew at least some people of the district would leave. I brought them to district meeting and we all had a wonderful dessert. I had to pass the recipe on to a few of them as well. It was so hard to make though. It took up all of the flat, open counter space that we have to barely fit the dough rolled out. And also on the subject of food our investigator made us a delicious soup thing called "encebollado*." It´s too hard to describe everything that went into it. Lots of stuff!

I have been in Spain so long. When you told me that the weather was going down to the 30´s I thought, "That´s not bad. That´s still pretty hot." But then I remembered m
y American heritage. I have gotten so used to meters and celsius and kilos and liters. I often forget what it´s like at home. 

Well there´s not much else for news. Next week David Archuleta is coming to give a devotional for the missionaries and investigators. No idea what it will be though. All the sisters are so excited. Although I think it will still be cool. We´ll see how it is.
Not a great picture, but I have a video as well

Well the next time we´ll talk will probably be over Google Hangout. I´m excited to see you all! It seems like the last call was not too long ago. Weird. Time flies. Love you all! See you soon!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

*Encebollado is a fish stew from Ecuador, regarded as a national dish. It is served with boiled cassava and pickled red onion rings. A dressing of onion is prepared with fresh tomato and spices such as pepper or coriander.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Wake Up!

I got the Christmas package. It was very fun to open it. There was so much loose candy but that´s good. I am in the process of making the foam tree. I just need glue. And I like the cookie cutters--what do I use them on? The table cloth still awaits a home. The snowflake that grows in water grew all except the last little branch which didn´t. I called it Nemo. Although it´s recovering. And I have to admit that I opened a present... My old umbrella broke multiple ways after I sent the email and I used it the best I could but eventually it broke beyond repair. So I looked for a long tube looking package that felt like an umbrella and opened it. Thank you! It also rained quite a bit so it was just in time

We are actually prohibited by the mission to take pictures of riots and stuff like that so I have no pictures whatsoever.

My sickness was much more than a cold but I have survived. I had a fever and nausea and lots of jazz. But here I am alive and well. On the plus side I also got to catch up on sleep due to my feeble state. Not much really happened this week since we were in the apartment half the week. 

I found a way to freak out missionaries. Find out their first name and say "(First name), wake up. This is a dream. Wake up." It´s really funny. First names are so weird to hear. Even names of other people. I understand why missionaries feel weird when they first go home.

Transfers! Well a sister, now Courtney Shill, went home. She was very sad to go but also excited. It made me think about everything with time and transfers. Especially since Elder Alhovuori--now my old companion--has 3 months left and also made me think about time. My companion left for the islands. He doesn´t want to go because it´s so much change and he will end there. The other companionship of elders that we got along with so well got replaced entirely by new elders. I´m not happy with these transfers because we had such a good district. But this should be a good one too. My new companion is Elder Nickerl from California. There are also two greenies coming in. Nobody is happy with it but that´s life. Next transfers are something like January 18 and for me it could be anything. We´ll see how this transfer goes.

No, we didn´t get to watch the Christmas fireside. We´re excluded from tons of things. It´s just because translation is hard I guess.

Not much else to report. I love you all!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger


Sister Shill's parents went to Spain to pick her up. They were kind enough to email a photo. That's Elder Morgan's new companion Elder Nickerl, and Sister Shill is on the right.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Marching On

Well this has been the week of marches. There was a small one that passed by our house for some group called 22M. They had a kind of a riot last year in the center of Madrid on the 22nd of March. Then our path to a lesson was blocked off by hundreds of people doing a march against abortions. The most interesting of them all was that all the Communist people did a march down this huge street called Paseo de la Castellana. There were literally thousands and thousands of people heading towards Plaza del Sol. I couldn´t see the end. Thankfully nothing bad happened but it was still quite the sight.

iPads still have no specific date. All we know is that soon we will "know more information." Very cryptic and vague, but I´ve gotten used to it. We always talk about how useful iPads would be for every situation. I´ve heard many good things about them from missions who have them. 

I haven´t seen the Christmas video but they just mentioned it today. I´ll go check it out after writing. If it´s like Because of Him (Almost wrote the Spanish title) it should be easy to just type words. I wish the church would translate more Mormon messages. They´re doing really well with videos recently. The Refiner´s Fire which I saw last week had some wonderful cinematography and imagery. I asked about if we could see Meet the Mormons and President Jackson said that they´re working on it. 

I would be happy to stay with my companion. We get along really well. But he has a high probability of going due to his time here and time left. He goes home March 3 and he´s been here 6 months already. But who knows. Training would be interesting. Also, the group that we thought would be as big as my group turned out to be just like 15 people. Also, at Zone Conference we saw all the MTC missionaries getting their papers finished. They´re just so adorable. They´re so young and know absolutely nothing about the field basically and they ask so many questions and have so much energy.

The American families in the ward joined together and invited all of us. The member who invited us all works for the American embassy here so he had quite the big piso so we could fit all of us. I think we were a bit over 20 people total. It was very cliché Thanksgiving which made me happy. We had turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and pie and all that jazz. Although we couldn´t do the usual after-dinner activities of resting and playing games. We had to speed walk to a lesson with all that food in us. 

Thanks for the trunkiness of reminding me of my time left and the Christmas call. I had almost forgot about that. Ya, we´ll probably talk at like 5 or 6 or 7 in my time. I think google chat works well because group chat is free. I´ll have to talk to members to see if we´re going anywhere. 

Well I gotta go. I am a sick and afflicted missionary today so I need some rest. I miss you all loads! Love you all!

Os quiero,
-Elder Morgan the Younger

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Funeral and Finnish Food

Before I forget to mention it, it was my companion´s birthday a little while ago. There wasn´t much of a celebration besides a dinner and packages from his family which were basically all filled with food. So we all got to try tons of Finnish food. I will now list what I have now tried:

Salmiakki: It´s salty licorice-ish thing. It´s gross. Sorry Finland
Läkerol: Swedish candy with no sugar. Also not my thing.
Sulatejuusto (Brand name Koskenlaskija. It´s means someone who goes down rivers. There´s a picture of a guy riding a log with a log spear): and it´s like a spreadable cheese.
Sisu (Looks like Gifu. Old alphabet!): It´s "fresh" licorice. Very minty.
Leijona: Tar licorice. Tastes like smoke and mint. So good!
Ruis Sipsi: Rye chip scoops
Hapankorpu: Crisp rectangles of sour rye
Fazerina: Cocao oreos with chocolate truffle/orange filling
Piparkakku: Gingerbread cookies
And the stuff without names was a chocolate of the brand Karl Fazer and some "cream cheese" jazz. One flavor was smoked reindeer and the other was shrimp.

Ya, it was quite the taste testing spree and now you can see how awfully long most words are. Whenever I see his emails the average word length is like 8 letters.

There are now posters everywhere for "Sinsajo Parte 1" which is Mockingjay part 1. I looked up the word because it didn´t look familiar and they sometimes change the titles but it is literally a mixture of the words for mockingbird (sinsonte) and jay (arrandajo). Clever Spaniards. That will be later for me.

We had a gigantor zone conference on Thursday. All of Madrid was in one conference. More than 100 missionaries I think. Most people thought that it was for iPads, and so did I until I talked with the office elders and they told me it was just for convenience. Usually we have like 3 or 2 conferences. Although President Jackson tried to trick us by saying, "Well, I know you all have been waiting for this day for a while. After the meeting ends, we will all go to the cultural center and there you will find boxes of... pass along cards!" Cruel man. Not yet. Hopefully later. 

Well I have to go. It´s one of those more busy days. Partially because we had a pre-farewell party for a sister missionary. An elder made a gravestone cake with a candelabra and grave had her name on it. I don´t know if you all know that we refer to starting the mission as "birth" and ending as "death" and our training is "growing up" and so on and so forth. It´s very odd but we love it.

Love you all! Gotta go!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan


Monday, November 17, 2014

Water and Fire

Yes, we did indeed have a baptism! I´m very happy! It´s been a while. I didn´t want to mention it in case the baptism didn´t happen. Her name is Ana. She´s half Paraguayan and half Italian. She is in her 50´s and is just too sweet. When we met her she only said thanks in her prayers and nothing else because she thought it was too much to ask anything. She bought a white dress even before she tried on clothing for the baptism in case there wasn´t any and she brought food to her own baptism. When we asked her to give up coffee she started the very next day and has continued faithful. And there are many more wonderful things she did. She was just so prepared and wonderful. We love her so much! She wasn´t nervous at all in the baptism (she fasted). The water was cold as heck on the bottom and hot on top (I did the baptism) so it was interesting. And we had a sister missionary sing for a musical number and she´s a really good singer. Her career plan is to "become famous". Nothing else. But she sings fantastically so it might happen. But it was just a wonderful day. She´s so happy and so are we.

The cold doesn´t bother me except for right when I wake up. Showers are my cup of coffee in the morning. Before them I am basically dead and after I feel much better. So the heater was mostly for that. And for my cold companion.

We made chestnuts, but not over an open fire, but in a closed oven. They turned out wonderful anyways. We´ve eaten like 60 chestnuts each since the last email. We have it down now. They´re also pretty dang cheap here. Much cheaper than buying them off street vendors as well.

Well I was very confused who this "Natalie" character was for a bit. I was thinking Natalie from Indiana/Canada. But then I realized once you said girlfriend. I think I read her name once. And me and her are not exactly on a first name basis yet which is normal considering that we have never even talked or seen each other. For all I know, she could be the result of mutual planning and a bit of photoshop. Although for all she knows, I could be the same. Weird. Well, Hi Natalie! Treat my brother well. If you stick around long enough we can see each other.

All is well here. Our district is getting along too well. We´re still happy about Ana and it looks like a good week. And it´s getting cold! Yay! Love you all!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

Monday, November 10, 2014

Double Temple Trip!

I went to two temples! The first one is of our church. On completely, absolutely, unrelated news, we got to see a certain different video around the same time with a certain bald friend--to specify which video we saw--and Joseph Smith as one of the actors. It was so cool! I liked many parts of it more but a few parts still less. A certain blonde woman had weird acting including a crying/smiling combo. But I like it better overall that the other new one we´ve seen. I still miss the old one.

The other temple was gifted to a Spanish king from some ruler of Egypt, so there´s a random part with a random little Egyptian temple in the middle. I took pictures but they´re not with me currently. It´s called the Temple of Debod, if I am correct. It´s quite confusing but it was fun.

On Sunday we just had the primary program. Oh. My. Goodness. Too adorable. It´s basically just like the ones at home but with Spanish. Kids can´t sit still or sit in their chairs. They try to make a break for it to their parents and sometimes they make it only to be carried back. They wave to their family and cry and scream. The patient shepherds that are the primary teachers try to hold the little flock on the stand. The big kids get the longer parts and the smaller ones get like one line. And they are super cute as well. The youngest was the ward mission leader´s daughter who is American and his daughter is 20 months old I believe. It was so cute because her mom whispered it to her so in her tiny voice she whispered one word at a time, "Yo... sé... que... Dios... me... ama." (I know God loves me) Or at least that´s what it sounded most like. There were many Aww´s that day.

Well about the mission work. I feel like it´s people´s personal lives and I feel weird just proclaiming to all nations what is going on in their lives. I know you guys want to hear but I don´t know what to do. Maybe after the mission in person I can talk about people. It´s in my journal and my mind. I´ll just say it´s going well here and I´ll tell you if anything big happens. But yes, we do find many daily miracles and subtley help the work and us along.

We found the switch for our heaters so now we sleep well. It´s reaching freezing now, I think. Even though I wear a sweater people still ask how I am still alive basically. Poor little cold Latinos and Spaniards. 

And on a random note, this district is full of movie quoters and the amount of daily quotes are escalating ridiculously. They´re now in normal conversation.

Today we´re going to my old home of Torrejón de Ardoz to visit some members. I´m so excited! Thus I am writing so early. If anyone´s on the computer late on Sunday night they might get to read this a day early. It´s still weird that it´s Sunday there. 

Umm... not much else. Love you all!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

Monday, November 3, 2014

"Lead Us Not into Temptation..."

Well the Christmas food has come to the stores. I may die. It´s all delicious extremely unhealthy food. It´s so hard. I may have mentioned these last here but here are the main ones. Polvorones are like super dang powdery shortbread cookies that come in a bajillion flavors. Panettone is a giant bread, muffin thing that´s like a foot high and a foot wide and usually filled with orange bits and raisins or chocolate bits although they just released some with chocolate cream inside--that´s so evil. And there´s turrón which is just a candy bar thingamajig that has no equivalent in the states. It´s just... turrón. It´s good.

Yes, we made pumpkins. It was beautiful. We didn´t put candles inside them and nature put it´s own decoration. Mold. It was like black and white spider webs were falling from the top. And it all happened the same day for everyone almost instantly. But we had a nice little Halloween party on Saturday. There was food and games and music and all that jazz. Like always, the Filipinos arrived on time with tons of food and all the Latinos arrived very late but brought most of the people and got the party going.

And I saw a little "gas station" for electric cars. It was a parking spot next to a special charging booth and I just felt very futuristic seeing that. Someday there might be many more here.

And this week was pretty scary for our phone. It suffered some great falls, but like always, Nokia will persevere and it´s still indestructable. 

Umm.. it´s kind of an uneventful email, but that´s all there really was out of the ordinary. Oh, and I´m on my way to getting my second year of residency so I am no longer illegal. Take that, police. Nothing else. Love you all!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

Monday, October 27, 2014

Baking Powers

So, transfers. Nothing happened! Huzzah! Not a single person left the district or came in. The only thing that happened is that my companion became district leader. Before the mission I thought mission leadership positions were sought after. They aren´t. Or here at least. It takes so much more work and time that we don´t have. But everyone is very happy that all is the same. Me especially. I had 6 companions in the 6 transfers before this. It´s pretty maddening.

On a random side note, a blessed member of our ward who´s husband works in the American embassy got me a large stash of brown sugar. Oh yeah. I have baking powers again. Hello cinnamon rolls. 

Mom, you would be proud. I had one of those times where my genes from you kick in and I must clean. Our kitchen looks beautiful. I cleaning everything basically including our stove. By the way, we have a gas stove which is a fun experience. Everything heats up very fast. Sometimes too fast but that´s ok. I´m used to it now and no fires have occurred in my time here. Although I had a funny moment when I asked why our oven mitt was burnt and after hearing the story, repeated history by trying to grab something off the stove with the mitt and set it on fire a bit. 

Today we bought pumpkins and carved them! I´ll send pictures another day. It was very laborious but very fun. We all did one except for my companion who didn´t want to. We also had a farewell for a sister missionary we knew who finished the mission. And we played some games.

Hooray for Kara! What am I now? A second uncle? Double uncle? No idea. Still is exciting, though. I wish I could´ve been there. She´ll be pretty old once I get there. Which is also very close. It´s scary that it´s almost November. Time does fly by. Everyone was right when they said the second half of the mission is much faster. 

Umm... not much else to tell. It´s been a less successful week but they happen. It should be better from now on. Thanks for all the letters! Love you all! Miss you loads!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

Monday, October 20, 2014

Out of the Bubble

Well apparently we are rising out of the cold, sadly enough. It´s back to short sleeves and windows open at nights. I like wearing winter clothing too. And I finally have a companion who is chill with it. I suppose I can bear a bit more summer.

So I guess they informed you about Ebola. I wasn´t going to because I think it is the worst idea to write about a deadly disease nearby. But the figurative beans are spilt. Ya, that was a bit interesting to hear of Ebola getting so close. But that's why we have quarantine. Now whenever anyone gets sick, everyone joking says, "It´s Ebola!" 

We made the mistake of being in a neighborhood called Chueca on a Friday night. Just so you all know, we have Chueca in our area which is the gay capital of Spain. We generally try to avoid it at night but we accidentally headed that way looking for a house. I saw things I want to unsee. Grody. Although during the day it´s fine and theirs a bajillion clothing shops and shoe shops (of course). I have been exposed to so much of the world here and I definitely like the Utah bubble better. And apparently everyone´s voices go lower during the mission here because of all the smoke everywhere.

We had a free morning so we officially contacted the whole length of our area from Cuatro Caminos (The north end by the church) to Legazpi (the south end). It took us about 3 hours and we made a few detours to avoid too busy streets. And as a result we got quite a few references, as would be expected.

Umm... not much else to tell. I´ll send pictures and since pictures are worth a thousand words this will be long.

Love you all!

Os quiero!

 Elder Morgan

 
The main train station called Chamartín. It´s where basically everyone goes for transfers.
Here is when we got a false reference which turned out to be the Finnish Embassy which was a funny coincidence

My Finnish Companion -- Elder Alhovuori

 
Nice looking street in Barrio 5

A clever shirt from a Mexican member

The nice looking Metro we usually take

And  a cleverly named restaurant (Tómate/Tomate un respiro. Take a breath).

Older photo from Villalba -- his district
Train station from his last area -- Villalba

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ebola Letter

This is a very interesting email I got from Daniel's Mission President. I hadn't yet heard about Ebola being in Spain. I'm not worried though. I know his Mission President is inspired and I like the fact that he is a Doctor too.




Dear Parents of Missionaries serving in the Spain, Madrid Mission,
 
 
I am aware of the recent diagnosis of the Ebola virus in a nurse’s aid in Alcorcón, a suburb of Madrid. I have been following the news closely and am aware of the quarantine of several others who may have been exposed. I have been in close contact with the Europe Area Presidency and the Church Missionary Department. There is no need at this time to consider moving missionaries out of the area. We will inform you immediately of any changes.
 
 
 
Sister Jackson and I love serving with your missionary!
 
 
 
Warm Regards,
 
President Scott T. Jackson
Spain, Madrid Mission

Monday, October 13, 2014

Worldwide Mission

Forgive me, for I have sinned. I did not bring my conference notes this time.

Also, pardon any missing letters. This keyboard is messed up.

Random question. Did any of my friends get sent to Aunt Toni and Uncle Arnold´s mission? I think one of them might´ve.

It has been quite the cultural week! Firstly, one of my mission dreams has been fulfilled and we sent a referral to Paraguay! Sadly Wesley wasn´t ther but it´s still cool. It´s in a city called Laurelty Luque. Maybe he recognizes that place. We talked to a Jewish New Yorker and sent his info there to be taught. We ate at a Thai restaurant and I just had a basic rice and veggie and chicken dish with peanut sauce. We found a Nordic store with a bunch of stuff from north Europe and I bought dutch waffles (the waffle things from The Best Two Years.). We were contacted by a man from Alaska/Montana (He had a handlebar/mutton chop facial hair combo and a big cowboy hat and a big belt buckle and he spit tobacco) and his girlfriend from Latvia (Met on the internet. Lives in Spain.) who claimed to be pagan and that we can´t teach her. Elder Alhovuori met an old friend from another ward who is from Sudan. We met a couple who claimed to be French (must´ve lived there) who were probably Romanian. We contacted a Japanese lady. And all of this is in Spain with my Finnish companion. I feel quite cultured. 

And I´ve heard of missionaries doing a lesson based off of a rubik´s cube. Could you find what it is?

It rained like none other finally. Due to that the temperature dropped a lot so now it´s chilly. Yes! It´s back! Rain. clouds, and cold. My kind of weather.

Due to Conference our schedule is back to waking up at 7 and going to bed at 11. Next General Conference it´ll move a half hour forward again. 

So I think I just typed twice the length of this letter but this stupid keyboard messes up my life. Sorry that this is short but it´s relatively long. I love you all!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Youger

Monday, October 6, 2014

There is No Spoon

Alright, let me specify the nerdiness I mentioned earlier. It´s not just looks. I mean I´m surrounded by players of Magic the Gathering, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and so on and so forth. And I´ve seen a bit of anime like Pokemon and a few movies but I am nothing in comparison to some. It all makes me feel at home, but also very much not nerdy when I compare myself.

I had possibly the most interesting contact in my life talking to an old Buddhist Spaniard. He tried to convince us that God is infinite (ya) but since we are able to name him he must be finite. And we tried to talk to him about faith and prayer and stuff. Like I always ask people if they´ve seen their heart with their own eyes and how do they know if they have one? Everyone has that "faith" and they say they´ve felt it inside. Didn´t work. He asked me what my arm was and told me that the arm is made of many things and cannot be specified and told me that my arm only exists because I can see it and my arm only exists in my mind and reality could be some form of dementia. He thinks too much. It remind me of the "If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?" or "There is no spoon." from the Matrix. But ya, easily my weirdest contact ever.

On our way to a lesson we saw a recently returned missionary, Hermana Tabares, and she actually joined us in the lesson. Although she now noted the difference between teaching as a missionary. And she told us about her rough experience of being released. And she chose the most awful movie to watch as her first movie which was some horror movie with the cover as a bunch of skulls and the Eiffel tower upside down. We also saw her at conference.

Conference! It was so good! I will write about it next week for the sake of time.

Random paragraph: We live by the metro Canal. We are literally like 20 feet from it. The street is Calle Bravo Murillo. Ya, I see the temple films in Spanish. I saw B. A is gone forever I think. I have yet to see C and D. Yes the Sullivans are the temple steps choir people from the MTC. Into the Woods is becoming a movie?! Weird. England? Why are they taking a trip to England?

Pardon my relatively brief and short email. I have to go write a very long email to a recent convert because lots of bad jazz just went down in her life. Pray for her if you would. Her name is Raquel. I love you all and I gotta go!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Farewells

Oh ya, I forgot to mention that Madrileño means someone from Madrid. Although the suffixes change a lot. A Spaniard is "Español", someone from La Mancha (Like Don Quijote) is Manchego, from Villalba is Villalbino (Although I´ve others as well), from Madrid is Madrileño, and many more. There are some repeats but there´s quite the variety.

I met a family from the other ward in our chapel who are Americans who are here because the dad works for Eli Lily (I think that´s how you spell it.) And I thought that was cool. Apparently there´s 3 offices: Indiana (Yeah!), England, and Spain.

Tell Uncle Paul I fell bad for him that he had to learn Finnish. It´s awful from what I´ve learned. You have to conjugate nouns. And it´s just not related to any other language except something like Estonian.

I have not touched a bus or train this in this area. We only use metro and shoes. But there´s tons of metro here so we can get around pretty well. I´ve always been tempted to rent a bike from these little bike stations but then I choose not to. Also, I´ve been on the same train line my whole mission. There´s a train line that starts in a place called Guadalajara that passes through Torrejón and all the cities in that area, then it goes through Vallecas/Barrio 8, then it goes into Barrio 5 (Where I am right now), and then heads up to Villalba and all its surrounding towns.

Once again one of my favorite converts got baptized 2 weeks after I leave the area. His name is Ismael and we call him Isma, just like Yzma from the Emperor´s New Groove. I´m sad to miss his baptism and his sister should be baptized soon as well.

I got to go to the temple! It was really nice to go again. It was weird to watch it with much more knowledge of Spanish. Although we had to be there at 7:30 AM. It was worth it. And on our way out we met a sister missionary who was finishing--from the Malaga mission--and was going around Spain with her parents. Her name was Sister Anderson if anyone knows her.

After the temple I got my letters which were a couple wedding announcements (Cool!) and letters from my Sunday school class! Tell them that, yes, I know Ryan Fonseca. And that I miss the muffins. And I suppose I miss them too. Just kidding. Yes I do really miss my classmates.

Ya, I spoke in Sacrament meeting when I came but they don´t usually have missionaries do that here much.

I´ve changed from baker to healer/anointer/blessing person. The sister missionaries had a lot of blessings for us to give last week and no one else answered their calls so we always did it. But we got to do service which was nice.

And lastly there´s a senior couple with the last name Sullivan who are leaving soon. Both sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir so they gave a musical devotional farewell last night. It was pretty epic but also very sad. I recorded some of it but I can't send them over email. They did a lot of songs about going home and farewells. One was "Going Home" from The New World Symphony which was straight up saying goodbye. And they ended with a bunch of hymns. I don´t know how anyone can replace them. Especially Elder Sullivan who would always direct our musical devotionals and basically try to get us to sing like the MoTab. He´d tell us to sing more "vertical" in our mouth and sing "over our heads" and give us very nice examples which we could never attain. He even gave examples for the sister missionaries which was interesting to listen to. And Hermana Sullivan always played with the piano and sassed her husband and made treats. It was good times.

I hope that´s long enough. I love you all and miss you all! Hasta luego!*

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

*See you later!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Madrileño otra vez*

Well I´m sad to say that this week is also a wee bit rushed. No photos today. :( I really am hoping for a chill p-day sometime soon because I need a break!

Speaking of chill, the weather has been very nice around here. It´s usually cloudy and breezy. It rained a bit and the temperature is lowering. I also remembered that I was entering the field in this time, although back then I was much more confused and gringo. It´s weird repeating dates that happened last year.

Ya, I have Plaza del Sol in my area. The boundary on the west is Casa del Campo, this big field, forest. The north boundary should be a street called Reina Cristina. Also it is the intersection/metro stop called Cuatro Caminos. The eastern boundary is Paseo de la Castellana. And the southern boundary is Plaza de Legazpi and west and east of that. That´s more or less our area.

I bought two things from the transport system machines with bills and they only return money in change so I´ve been paying for things for the past week in all coins which has been literally very fun. Very medieval. ´Specially since I also use the coin pouch from Wesley´s Renaissance fair a while back.

We had a big activity in the church called "El Dia de Naciones" or "The Day of Nations" and we basically had a cultural potluck. We have quite a diverse ward from Phillippinos to Argentinians to Americans to Fins (My companion.) There are three young families from America who are all really nice. Being around them made me weirdly nostalgic. The kids were screaming and running around like mad while the moms set up a cute little table of tons of food (chili and Fritos--haven´t had those in over a year--cornbread and other stuff.)

We also have quite a few Paraguayans (of course I meet them all after Wesley leaves. By the way, What were all his areas? I can only ever remember Asunción and Ca´acupé. And other Guaraní phrases? All I can say is mbaeshapa and they respond with something like "Por alla"). Our one Cuban member brought nothing and just said "All that we have in Cuba is hunger so that´s what I brought," which is a pretty dark joke but he´s a nice man. The chapel is pretty big even though it´s the first floor of a big building. It´s kind of also the second floor since it´s big. The ward is nice and I´m excited to meet people. I met a few on pass-bys and eating appointments. And the girlfriend of my ward mission leader in Torrejón is in this ward and I see my ward mission leader quite a bit too. Now I know where he was when we couldn´t find him. And our church meetings are in the opposite order as normal for the first time I can remember.
So as a part of being back in Madrid is having the evil temptation of posters of movies I want to see. Currently all around the city there are posters for "El Corredor del Laberinto" or, much shorter in English, "Maze Runner." Curse you Madrid advertising. Also being in Madrid again I did some research about the weird bear eating off of a tree. It´s translated as "strawberry tree" but I found the Spanish word which is "Madroño." You can look it up if you want. 

So as I was walking through the African, Indian, Arab, (Everything?), ghetto on my way home last night we passed by a large 20´s dance happening in a random plaza with very jazzy music and dancing from the style of those days. It was very odd but it also made me very happy. Random note.

I felt like a quite nerdy person before this area. Now I don´t. First off, we, the Elders in this building, are all white, blonde, nerds with black glasses. But I am very normal now. I´ll explain later.

OH! I saw ads for a TEDx conference (It´s a series of talks on science and design and architecture and music and just everything. I love them.) going on here in Madrid and I was excited to go. But then we saw the price and it was 54€ so we didn´t go. But I can watch it at home online.

I hope that this is sufficiently long. I don´t have much time but it´s been a while since a long email. Hopefully my wish of a chill p-day will be granted. I love you all!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

*Resident of Madrid once again

Monday, September 15, 2014

Finnish Him!

Well I´m sorry but this was a busy p-day as well. But for a different reason. Transfers! After 4 and a half months in Villalba I am now at Barrio 5 (Madrid 5th Ward). It´s the center of Madrid including Sol. It´s a prettier area than my other ones in architecture. My companion is Elder Alhovuori from Finland, but he speaks English fluently. I already reached the end of my Finnish knowledge in conversation but he´s been telling me more stuff. He seems pretty nice and we´ll see how this transfer goes.

Well the last p-day we went to the farewell party of one of the AP´s in Madrid and I had to go since everyone else did. I am absolutely ok with having a chill p-day but apparently that´s not ´til next week at least. We usually write and shop every p-day but we can clean and wash every other day too. Yes, we do clean. No, I haven´t used Norwex cloths because most things just need big rough cloths or steel wool and I don´t want to ruin the cloths here. It´s not worth it.

Ya, I got more letters this week. I usually write family, a couple missionaries, and usually like 2 of the 3 friends from home who write me. Grandma sends me loads which is nice and I usually star her emails to keep when they´re good. The frequency of letters is dying off a bit like people said but it´s not too bad.

Ya, I know Elder Fonseca. He´s in my MTC group and so he has the same time in the mission as me. He was also in my room in the MTC. Wow, General Conference is only 3 weeks away? That´s so soon!

I enjoyed reading Tim´s email. I went through a lot of those emotions at the beginning. He has quite the Spanglish going on.  According to the Argentines here, Córdoba doesn´t speak with the Sh sound, although he did write with a Sh so maybe some people moved there? And yes, I would like to receive his emails. And maybe I´ll write him.

I had more stuff written in my journal but that´s nicely packed away. I cannot wait to get unpacked. I hate being packed. I don´t feel settled yet. Especially since it´s all I own here. Next week I should be more comfortable.

Hopefully next week I can write more! We´ll see what happens. I love you all!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger


Monday, September 8, 2014

Running!

Well today we´re in a bit of a rush so this will be a wee bit short.

Well vacations are extending a bit longer and all the kids are finishing exams. So we have to wait a bit longer for more work. 

Food! Yes, I´ve tried making butterscotch brownies and they loved it. They don´t have many desserts here so anything really sweet is good automatically. Yes, you will love Morir Soñando. It´s basically delicious lemonade. A member made a ceviche with pig skin. Not fried or grilled or anything. Just thick, boiled skin in a soup. Ya, it´s grody.

I put up my picture and name in the "geneology" that we have in the other apartment since I had left it. I´m the 92nd person marked there. It´s a pretty impressive board. It goes back to 2002.

I got to do exchanges with and Elder named Elder Weixler from Salt Lake who also served in Torrejón so we had a fun time talking all about experiences and people in Torrejón. And we need to send a picture to the members there. And I will send one home. Sorry, no time for those today.

And we bought gypsy pants. Basically Aladdin pants. I´m excited to try them on in our apartment and if they´re good I´ll bring some home. And we´ll take awesome pictures!

I´m really proud of you, Mom, for doing missionary work at home. I´m excited to do that when I get home too. It´s really nice to have members´ help.

Love you all! Miss you loads!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

Monday, September 1, 2014

Average-ness

Hey, the Church just came out with a boss Mormon Message recently. It´s the conversion story of a guy with nice filmography. Go watch it on the Mormon Channel!

Well, there is brownie mix here but the closest store to get it at is about a half hour away in Madrid and ridiculously expensive. So I just make my own jazz. Although I´m tempted to make brownie mix for the future from that recipe you gave me. Nah, I´m fine with the budget, I just have people buy the cocoa for me now since that´s the only expensive stuff. And on the subject of making brownies, we made had a surprise birthday party for a less active member who has no family or close friends here. And I of course made brownies.

On the subject of food, ask Kamalei if she´s tried a Dominican drink called morir soñando. And by spelling it I just realized it means "To Die Dreaming". In our glorious mix of latino culture here we get that drink from Dominicans. If she hasn´t had it, tell her to ask for it. And Mom, you could actually probably make it. It´s just milk, sugar, and lemon or orange juice on tons of ice and whatever madness the Dominicans add. You can probably find a recipe.

Well this week was pretty uneventful. We had a nice Zone Conference on Thursday. We had just about every lesson cancel us. August is basically the national vacation month where everyone goes on vacation. Including large portions of the government. So it´s been a fun month of trying to catch people at home. I got to enjoy this month in the MTC last year and there the lessons never fail. Although your Spanish skills do. Frequently. 

Hey, is Riley talking to the Linthaleths? He should visit them and maybe Tony can help him learn to teach a basic lesson in Thai to them sometime.

Oh, and the last bit of language stuff: Tim shouldn´t come back with the weird Argentinian accent. Córdoba is a city in Argentina that doesn´t use the "sh" sound for y´s and double L´s.

And I also may have not written in my Journal all this week so that could also be the culprit of my tiny email. I love you all! I miss you loads!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

Monday, August 25, 2014

Leaving the 99

Well it seems like the JW´s are back in action. They´ve been visiting a lot of people including our ward and investigators. They have weird magazines. I´ve never seen one before. And it took me the longest time to realize that "La Atalaya" was "The Watchtower." Thankfully our peeps are boss so all is well.

I almost had an epic story but I´ll just tell the potential story. We were searching for a less active member in the edges of Villalba. I felt very much like a shepherd looking for the 1 and leaving the 99 because it was mud paths and a river and lots of open ground since this was all off the map. Every person out there has a huge dog, but behind the fence and on a leash. On our way back to civilization I turned the corner to see a large German Shepherd about 50 feet away without a leash or fence in a position to start running at us. It all registered very fast in my head and I started booking it. I was ahead so my companion didn´t see it and asked why I started running and I explained why and he thought I was joking (Ya, we mess with each other a lot) so I invited him to check if he so desired but he didn´t feel that brave so we booked it away. Thankfully the dog didn´t have enough much interest in us to follow us all the way back to Villalba or else we would have been literally dead meat.

A bunch of missionaries left this last Friday to get to school on time. It was really sad to say goodbye. One of them was also Hermana Manner from Villalba so we had sad farewells here. She reminded me that before I realized it, I would be the one crying in district meeting while we all sing #89 ("Para Siempre Dios Esté Con Vos" or for us "God Be With You ´Til We Meet Again"). Scary thought.

The bakery continues as I will now make brownies for a less actives surprise birthday party. And recently today I became the computer guy here at the locutorio (internet café). Some beloved adults who needed help asked for my help with Word and email and whatnot. Don´t let people know that you know computers well either. They swarm. Not really, but sort of. I´m a bit dramatic. Anyways, it made me nostalgic for helping Mom at home with stuff.

At last the furnace fire is decreasing and we´re getting clouds and a bit of rain and it actually gets a bit chilly in the middle of the night! Huzzah! My favorite seasons of fall and winter are back in style! Bring on the cold!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

I think his companion, Elder Sargent,  is the Elder on the left in the first picture, and in the last picture. But since he has yet to send me a recent photo, I am guessing. (These photos are from Sis. Lobaco in his ward who sometimes sends me a photo on Facebook--but not usually with captions. I am grateful to get to see his smiling face since he is pretty inconsistent with sending photos. )



Monday, August 18, 2014

Elder Morgan's Bakery

So I am with Elder Sargent from Fruit Heights, Utah. He grew up with 4 sisters so he´s really chill and nice, although a bit too nice. He rarely voices his opinion but we´re making him more bold. He´s like 6' 2" and I´ll send pictures later. We live in the same building, just on the 4th floor, not the 3rd floor. We all work in the same geographical area, just not the same investigators. What usually happens in this mission outside of Madrid is that we have our main city and other smaller cities and pueblos. Like when I was in Torrejón there was a couple cities mashed together called San Fernando and Coslada and they were part of our area and we had pueblos all the way up to the airport and some about two hours south of us. So we generally try to work in other cities too, but usually we work the most in the main city.

Yes, a large batch was lots of mugs. Snickerdoodles in a mug?! Yes, I do want that recipe. By the way, Snickerdoodle is a really funny word to get people to say here because they can barely say the small English words. So I became a bakery this week. On Wednesday we baked brownies for the sister missionaries (because we felt bad that a member made them cook for us at their house. It´s just latin culture that the men chill out while the women work in the kitchen but the sisters were not happy with the experience. And trust me, we tried to avoid it but this was a sweet old lady who was very firm on them cooking.), then we made brownies for a recent convert´s birthday on Friday and then the sisters asked us to make brownies for the baptism on Saturday and people are still asking me for distant future catering. Dang. Don´t tell people that you can bake.

I really miss Chris. I cannot wait to return to see my siblings' posterity.

We remain with the infamous Nokia phone that is indestructable. They are just a small screen and 12 buttons and can barely text. Not even a flip phone. But on the plus side they can basically survive a nuclear blast. When we get more technology, I´ll will definitely be telling you all about it. Trust me, we´ve been waiting anxiously for a while. 

Well one of the less actives we are teaching got sent to jail (yes, awkward) and guess who he wanted to call for his one call? He wanted to call us to tell us he couldn´t make it to the lesson we had scheduled that night. I love him so much. Sadly he didn´t have our number with him. But we was only in for one night, though.

Umm... There were other things that I meant to tell you but I wrote them down and forgot to bring them! It´s because we´re going to Madrid to play volleyball and say goodbye to a lot of missionaries. I gotta go but I love you and and miss you loads! Stay strong!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

Monday, August 11, 2014

And Then There were Two...

So we excitingly started the week in our trio and a very successful day on Tuesday. Yes, we received all the investigators of the new third companion which is in our same city. So on Tuesday night we got a call from President. It turns out that a guy from Utah got his visa all of a sudden and was going to arrive to Spain on Wednesday and my former companion, Elder Weeks, was going to train him. And so it was. So we got to do the whole move upstairs in reverse again. Ya, that was a bit ridiculous. But at least our mattresses on the ground now have frames to sit on. So now I´m back to a companionship. The trio was fun for 2 and a half days. I kind of preferred it but oh well. And it´s interesting that the greenie is basically the same as Elder Weeks was at the beginning of the mission so he can relate and make him a good missionary.

Turns out, he´s a vegetarian. Those don´t do well here. There are others and like all the others, he has to just suck it up and eat what people give him to not offend people. On Sunday a family fed us each a giant slice of pot roast and so we got to see him eat a giant slice of beef. It was interesting.

Well, sadly part of all this mess up means that I will no longer be teaching my investigators even though I will be staying in Villalba. That also includes the golden investigator who wants to come to lessons with us. It´s rough not teaching them, but I guess I can get to know all these new ones instead. 

We always offer service to people on the street when we contact them and one lady actually called us for help. It´s cool to do service, but we´re wondering if she´s a witch or something because she just has lots of weird old jars full of leaves and twigs and who knows what just filling her kitchen. Either way, we helped her pack her interesting items away in boxes.

I finally made a large batch of brownies in a mug! It was for all us elders and an investigator family and it came out well. One of the ways to a person´s heart is through the stomach. And yes, it works.

Umm, I´m assuming a Super Moon is a really big looking moon? Ya, it looked pretty big yesterday. And I hesitate to say this but who´s Kara? Is she the future Stephenson baby? Sorry Heather if it is! I only heard the name once a while ago.

Like I´ve said before, I don´t like talking much about lessons or investigators´ lives, but we have a guy who has a drinking problem partially because of depression. Any ideas how to help? We obviously have done plenty to help, but does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks! 

Well I will do all in my power to add photos but this computer here is a bit sketch so I make no promises! I love you all! Have a great week!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

The photos worked! Here they are:

Bullfight Ring

Daniel and District - his companion Elder Weeks is in the "Y" shirt







"My first and last meeting in a catholic church because we went to an investigator´s daughter´s first communion."

The beautiful street is the most gorgeous Spanish city in the world called El Escorial. That was my first p-day in Villalba.

"The canal that runs through the city and the beautiful park at sunset."
"A shot of the beautiful valley we live in that I took from the train."
Here is the fountain at Parque Retiro when I went to a farewell party. This is the park I contacted at in the MTC.