Monday, January 27, 2014

I Dislike this "H" Key

The American store is close but in the city where we have District meeting. it's like a 7 minute train ride and a 7 minute walk. What I miss most from home is people. The food I miss from home is everything. Yesterday, finally, after a year and a half of waiting, I ate a piece of cake without fruit chunks. They always put fruit in cakes and I miss American cakes. And I miss just about everything I had at home. 

I´m definitely not cold at night since my companion puts his beloved portable heater next to his bed. Maybe my next companion will be someone who can handle a bit of chill. 

One of our investigators scared me to death. She said, "I´ve been having some doubts about the church. I was looking stuff up on the internet..." And in my mind I was thinking, "Noooo!" But thankfully she had just gone to and Wikipedia. I´m really excited for that family. I love so many of our investigators. They´re great but a little hesitant. In a way it´s a good thing because the people who do get baptized here are super solid. I love the Africans because they are so open and accepting and I can see why things are growing in Africa. But everyone is doing really well. I am really excited for all the investigators but maybe that´s partially from me just being extra hopeful about them. I´m still kind of on the fence about telling stories of investigators and still need a better memory. 

I had sort of a sick day so my companion made us lunch which was nice and we made cookies for our investigators. Maybe we can win their hearts through their stomachs. 

On the subject of the kitchen our lightbulb went out but it's some sci-fi ring of power with four prongs so we have yet to find a replacement. I go spelunking in our kitchen with the flashlight I got for Christmas.

We ate at a member's house and they were watching Frozen behind me and apparently I remind them of Oláf the snowman a lot so now they all call me Oláf and always say "Hola! Mi nombre es Oláf. Me encanta los abrazos calientitos." The last sentence translates to something like "I love warm hugs". I don´t know if I remind you of him too. You decide. 

I have a really interesting experience with our new Muslim friend that I´ll have to explain next week because my companion is getting grumpy about how much I´ve been writing people. 

We had some boss English classes and have been perfecting how to teach. It´s going pretty well and we have a lot more people coming. Last time we had 7 times the amount of people we had the first time I was here! But that´s partially because we only had one person when we got here. 

Well in the interest of peace and happiness and whatnot I´ll end now. I´m really excited to tell about the Muslim guy and we´re meeting with him this week too so I´ll probably have more to tell. And pardon me if there are any missing H´s because this key either doesn´t make an H or it does and makes about 20 more or it makes one and comes up really, really, slowly. It´s added about another hour to my writing time. Not really but still has made it much longer.

I´ll try to remember to bring my camera next week and send what few pictures I have and hopefully have more time to write!! I love you all so much and miss you guys even more! 

Os quiero!
Elder Morgan the Younger

Monday, January 20, 2014

Please Send me a Nap for my Birthday

This will be a long one. Ya, last week was pretty dang short. I didn't have much time or energy.

I used vosotros because I never get to use it and it´s what sets this country apart. We can only speak in the informal to children. Everyone speaks informally but we just get to be special. I am excited to speak informally when I get back. I need a companion to teach me slang. We don't get much from members. Odds are that I'll get one sometime.

Spiritual experiences. I´m not too good with writing those, am I? That's partially because I have a bad memory and partially because some experiences feel very sacred or personal. That's why I don't share them too much. I guess I can share some. We watched The Testaments with an investigator and a member family and the spirit slammed into everyone hardcore at the end. The investigator wants to be baptized but her dad is very against it. She's in her twenties but her desire to be baptized doesn't exceed her stuff with her father. We have a lot of nice little reminder miracles and some golden investigators. I'll think about writing more in other emails. It's complicated. Can you guys just come sit in my mind and understand? Thanks.

We have the possibility of like a dozen baptisms in the next month or two. We just have to do what we can and wait for people's parents to stop being painful and who knows what else. Sorry, I can´t remember much.

We passed by the American store in Alcalá! There's not much there besides some candy bars, soda, syrup, mixes, and a whole ton of gardening and kitchen supplies. I got a root beer! It was wonderful.

We had a recent convert go to the temple! His wife is taking a bit longer, but she'll be there soon. We're with them a lot in lessons or meals. I feel like in each area there´s a "mom" and "dad" for the missionaries and they are definitely this area.

The African section of our church is growing! The sisters and us each baptized an African and that actually got another guy to come back to church and a less active member to come. One of the recent guys brought his sister-in-law to church and now we're teaching another man from Nigeria who brought his son. We might be able to organize a Gospel Principles class in English in the near future. Africans are really good at giving us contacts of their friends. The guy the sisters baptized was really cool because he was a reference from me and Elder Shumway in Vallecas from a member and I got to see him at the end of the process when I arrived here.

I just remembered. A nice member just gave me a spare Spanish-English dictionary that is huge and I realized how scary the word "Got" is. There were something like 108 definitions and phrases and about 5 suggestions for translations in Spanish for each one. 

We tried to set up a booth in front of the church but Satan is a butthead so it was ridiculously rainy and windy that day. It was going to be golden. Another day, then. 

Alright, the prank we did on the hermanas. Or rather, what Roberto did. We just told him to have something prepared for the two new hermanas. We got to Roberto´s house and he was sitting in the living room slumped to the side on the couch. His mom made the lunch. For about an hour and a half he pretended to be mentally handicapped. So of course he did odd things like drink orange juice with a spoon or he called one of the new hermanas his girlfriend and leaned on her and did a bunch of funny stuff and talked like a 3 year old basically. The best part was that we could laugh. We were laughing because we knew what was going down but they thought we were laughing at Roberto. Props to Roberto for keeping up the act for so long without breaking once. We planned to read some scripture that was violent and have Roberto go crazy. My really tall companion read the story of David and Goliath standing up. When he said "sword" Roberto grabbed a plastic sword from somewhere else and kept calling my companion "malo" which is "bad guy." Later when they started to fight in the scriptures Roberto charged at my companion with the sword and pushed him into the cabinet behind him and shattered the whole glass window on it. The window was unexpected but added to the effect. After all that we laughed and Roberto shook my companion´s hand and said to the still confused sister missionaries "Hola. Soy Roberto Naranjo. Bienvenidos a mi casa," in fluent and rapid Spanish. Then they realized what had happened and still were weirded out for a while that he was normal. He had done a great job. 

I honestly have much more to write but I feel tired. I need to just fall into a coma for like a week. Then I'd have enough rest to keep me going. If I don't write next week, I'm in a coma. Or maybe I'll just start today and wake up for next week's email. Although I wouldn't have much to talk about this week because it would be pretty blank. Anyways...

I miss the cold. Elder Shumway described the winters here as if they were Hoth or like climbing Mount Everest. It has gone below freezing like 3 times here. I was expecting the worst. I forgot that he was from Arizona. So far my companions are from very warm states and like the warm a lot. Elder Fisher shuts the study room door and puts his little heater on full blast every morning. I do the opposite in the bathroom by leaving the window open so it's chilly and when it rains I can listen to it and let the rainy air into the piso. I have yet to use all my winter clothing at once. It's a good thing but a bad thing. 

Spanish lesson: Alright, not so much of a lesson. But the word "quedar" is deathly. It means like 12 different things. It can mean to hang out, to remain, to meet, to set an appointment with, and much more. I can't remember. I think soon I have to delve into the horror of the subjunctive tense soon. Scary.

I miss you all a lot. I'll see some of you in fourth months by camera. Hopefully this time I won´t be upside down. And I´ll probably be in another area. Maybe more north or south? Love you all so much!

Sorry that this was short. ;)

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Christmas Photos

 Daniel's companion, Elder Fisher, has a mother who is really awesome. Daniel hasn't been sending photos, but she friended me on Facebook so I could get photos of Daniel. So here are several from his area in Torrejon over the holidays.

Missionaries in the Torrejon ward, plus a few members

Everyone likes to be silly

Church in Torrejon

View from a member's apartment in Torrejon

Making Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas

They look fabulous Elder Morgan, and I heard they were delicious too!

Decorating the Echeverry's tree
I think these decorations were gifts, not for the tree

Christmas with the Echeverry's
You can tell they are fun people

Christmas Dinner 2013

The Echeverry's are the "Mom" and "Dad" for the missionaries in the area.

This is for 3 Kings Day in January. Holiday celebrations go through Jan. 6 in Spain

Monday, January 13, 2014

Yes, I just used vosotros* to say I love you all in the end of the email : )‏

Note to self: Don´t press random buttons on keyboards. There´s a moon shaped one on this on and it partially shut down the computer. Almost lost everything.

All those interesting names mostly come from the great country of America although one comes from England.

The holiday season is over and people are coming out of their hibernation! This week was better for most people I think. Although now everyone´s collecting at the edge of baptism and won´t jump in. This seems to be a reoccuring theme. 

For all of you with an inner child, my companion showed me a beautiful scripture to read in the bathroom. I believe it´s Jeremiah 4:19-20. It´s the one that starts with the words "My bowels!..." And it includes the verse after. 

Also on the subject of childishness, we got two new missionaries. We all were going to a lunch with a member, Roberto, who loves to do pranks. He has told us some pretty legendary ones that he did. For example his bishop on his mission was a police officer and had a shotgun that could shoot red paint rounds. They knocked on his door and he pretended to not be a member told them to never come back or he´d kill them. The next day Roberto felt the "spiritual prompting" to go to the bishop´s door again and the "angry man" pulled out the shotgun and shot him and his companion went running and wouldn´t talk to him for two weeks. Oh dang, we don´t have much time. I´ll tell you the prank next week. It´ll help more people to read my emails (or blog).

Well I gotta make like a banana and split. I didn´t bring my journal so I don´t many memories to tell. Next week! There are some really cool new investigators and awesome lessons. Ooh, this is suspenseful! Next week, same bat time, same bat channel. 

Os quiero!

Elder Morgan the Younger

*Vosotros is a formal conjugation that is only used in Spain, not in Latin America.  It's kind of tricky.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sweet Deceit

The investigators are kind of difficult around this season because when there is a holiday here people get very lazy and relaxed. Although we have one woman who is still golden. She came to our weekly lesson and she had read the first 11 chapters of the Book of Mormon and was able to summarize everything. I have high hopes for her. We have a few more on the edge of being dunked (as always) because they just need to be married or their parents to stop being a wall. It's a test of patience and endurance. I've been so tired all week and still am. 

Well we got to attend the first half hour of the ward New Year´s Party. Obviously we couldn't go to much more because we have a curfew and that party went until 5 in the morning or something around then. They know how to party in Spain. What we did get to do is see the parade for King´s Day. I´m not sure if the offical celebrations were last night or today (Although everything in the world is closed today). We watched the parade with the ward in front of the chapel. It was pretty interesting. It was actually smaller than Orem´s Summerfest Parade. There were some nice floats and people walking in the streets. Some were very, very, very different, but I guess that´s Europe. At the very end were the 3 floats decked out in lights covering literally everything and the three kings with their fancy dressed henchmen throwing candy. I was sorely deceived. I was told the parade people and kings throw "caramelos" which seems like it would be caramel, but I found out they are just hard candy to suck on. Still tasted good. :) I tried to take photos but it was very cloudy and very late so they wouldn´t work. 

We got the information of transfers and we´re all staying in Torrejón! The surprise is that we´re getting a new companionship of sister missionaries and it´s a training. We´ll meet the trainer (Hermana Nydegger? It was something really hard to spell) today and the greenie comes tomorrow. Side thought: It seems like everyone who is sent to Spain has a name that is hard for the Spanish to pronounce like Alpblanalp and Shumway and Quesne. They´re all very grateful for missionaries with names like mine that are easier. Anyways, this transfer seems like it´ll be a good one and I´m excited for the future as always.

Hopefully I´ll have more to write and more energy next week. Keep me in your prayers! Love you all!

Elder Morgan the Younger