Monday, February 24, 2014

The Field is Black and Ready to Harvest

Ooh. I do like the word epistles (Mom called my letters that). From henceforth my dang long emails shall be called epistles. Today will be a bit normal sized-ish. 

Yes, I´m happy to stay in my area. I love the ward and the investigators. I have a lot of friends here now that I will have to visit another day and some are actually going to America. 

Well last Monday we went to Parque Europa in Torrejón which is a big park with big replicas of monuments from around Europe. Everyone takes photos at the Eiffel Tower. Sadly it was getting dark when we went so I couldn´t take photos, but we´re for sure going another day and I´ll get photos then. 

The booth finally worked! It´s just a table and posters in front of our chapel and we contact people near it. It was cloudly like every Tuesday (Always Tuesday. Literally) but there was no wind or rain so we got to do it finally. It wasn´t so golden with the weather but we found some people. Mostly we were excited to finally do it.

We went to the temple again! It´s a beautiful building. I wish we could have more time to stay there. I never get tired of the temple. It´s cool to hear everything in Spanish too and now I can understand much better. It´s definitely a place I´m visiting again after the mission.

Our African investigators and recent converts are boss still. We talked to Juliet, the woman we just baptized, about member missionary work and she had already invited a friend to listen. We can definitely feel the shockwave from the explosion of baptism in Africa. Maybe it has some effect here too. We now like to say, "The field is black and ready to harvest." We´re going to start an English branch here or something. They are just such an open people and good at member missionary work.

Our investigators are pretty good. Just lazy sometimes. I feel like a lesson to be learned here is lots of patience. With investigators and my companion and members and overall. I´m coming out of this city very, very, patient. But we´re doing well here. The ward says the haven´t had this much success in a while. Hopefully we´ll continue that success this transfer too. There are certain investigators that we will celebrate very much when they are baptized because we have done so much work for them. I hope everyone gets baptized before I move on.

Here´s the food paragraph! I helped make empanadas and they were delicious and fun. They have perfect little empanada molds. Also I learned how to prepare whole shrimp. I was mostly in charge of ripping heads off and it felt a bit gruesome but it was fun. And shrimps are the perfect way to scare people. They look creepy. A paratrooper in our ward gave us some military rations that expire next November that the army was going to throw out. Each meal comes with a cheap foldable stove, energy tablets, purification tablets, Vitamin C, and basically a small survival kit of a bajillion things. And since we´re in Spain they always have to have bread at meals so the army has bread crackers. We had a nerd moment because they look exactly like the elf bread from LoTR and fill you up and come in green packages.

We had a missonary activity in the ward with the youth! It went really well. They got to practice a lot and get excited about mission work. They even went out into the street and contacted real people. They were so excited when they came back. And they had the option to practice contacting in English and we heard some really funny phrases like "I am The Church of Jesus Christ..." and "You want to take me?" and put them in thick accents. But it came out well and everyone had fun. 

Well I´m in somewhat of a hurry today so I´m going to end. I´ll write everyone I didn´t respond to next week. I love you all and miss you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Morgan the Younger

Monday, February 17, 2014

I'm not Illegal Anymore!

I´m legal! I finally made it through the residency process and now I have a card and everything. I was theoretically illegal for about a month back there too. Although, like I said earlier, the police never check white people. They always check Latinos and Africans. It´s sad. But now they can´t catch me. 

There are no pictures from Toledo. I can´t remember if I mentioned last time that my camera died on the bus going to there. Ya, you could say I´m pretty bummed. I´ll probably go another day because that´s a popular place so I´ll get some then. Toledo was beautiful! Even the library looks like a castle. It´s quite the workout since everything is on a huge hill. We didn´t get to see much because some people just wanted to talk and take the same pictures over and over again, but we got to do quite a bit. We accidentally entered the cathedral on the worship side and it was pretty fancy. Although we were a bit saddened by the prayer candles. They´re not candles anymore. They are a grid of lightbulbs and a 10 cent slot to turn one on. Wow. Apostasy is getting modern and lazy. We didn´t have time to buy anything. Next time, though! 

Tell Kamalei to learn to say "Que lo que." All the Dominicans here say that. They´re interesting people. I love them.  All the black and african culture mixes with latino culture and it makes fun things. And learn about baseball!

Transfers are actually today! We received them on Saturday. This weekend has been quite the drama and fiasco with that. In the end, Hermana King goes to the islands and we just got Hermana Floyd.

Yes, we have real brown sugar here but it´s rare. The sisters found it in a chinese shop a little north of our chapel. Most of the brown sugar here is like side walk salt texture. It´s super rough and doesn´t do what you want it to in recipes. I love collecting recipies! Hopefully when I get back I´ll have a good amount. Food is a great way to connect people. I guess because we all use it and want it.

So, our other Nigerian, Izekiel, didn´t show up a few weeks ago. One of his friends in the church found him and found us and told us what happened. He didn´t come to the baptism on purpose because he didn´t want Henry, my first baptism, to baptize him. Considering that he himself asked me to baptize him, it makes no sense. I was in white in the picture that Mom saw because I was waiting to baptize Izekiel. 

My birthday! Well, nothing feels different. I blend in now with the normal age missionaries. President and Hermana Jackson called and sang their fancy Happy Birthday song they do for everyone. It´s awesome. We ate lunch with some members. In the evening I made a bajillion pancakes and syrup, my companion made cupcakes (without a cupcake pan. It´s what´s on the inside that counts.), and someone brought a cake. We put a 1, an upside-down 6 and a random Real Madrid trophy on it. We never got to the cake because we were so sugared out. Although there is a nice Ecuadorian tradition of the person having to take a bite out of the cake and someone tries to push them in, but I escaped and just had a bit on my nose and chin. The next day the hermanas made lunch to celebrate my birthday also.

We gave a Temple tour! I´ve never done one before, despite being so close in Barrio 8. You walk around the temple explaining stuff and the gospel with symbols and then you get to sit in the waiting room and feel awesome. Our investigator didn´t want to leave. And I found out that the olive tree by the temple is a few thousand years old and from the Garden of Gethsemane. But I wish I could´ve given more of those in the past. They´re boss. 

We found a awesome guy from Mexico! He is from Guadalajara (Which is confusing because that is also a city like 20 minutes from here) and he kind of reminds me of Danny. He helps us teach his Catholic friend in a way too. He also somehow found and brought us maple syrup. Then the even better part was that we found a family of 7 Romanians that want to hear a lot. I´m excited to teach them all! Obviously we have found other people than these, but these were just special. 

A recent convert couple got sealed on Friday! They had essentially a reception and it was nice. There were some beautiful talks on marraige. Later my companion showed us one of the videos that they mentioned about a man who takes care of his paralyzed wife. He combs her hair and makes her food and takes her out dancing even though it´s just to watch. Speaking of dancing, they had a dance and they´re kind of funny here. They´re mostly adults doing basic latino dances and they enjoy it thoroughly. So do we. Especially when they did a flamenco song and it was a bunch of 50 year olds being boss. 

Well another week has come and gone. I miss you guys and love you more! Have a great week! You´re welcome for the eternally long email! I´m not joking about printing a book of all these for my descendants and myself. That bad boy´s going to be long.

Os quiero!
Elder Morgan the Younger

Friday, February 14, 2014

Some Random Photos

Elder Morgan finally sent a bunch of photos. Many of them were from his previous area, but it's good to see them, so here they are:

The District in Vallecas (Sept - Nov.).  Elder Morgan and his companion are mostly hidden.
Finally got a picture of his first companion in the field, Elder Shumway from Arizona.

The other Elders in their apartment: Elders Anderson and Miles.
The French Toast breakfast they made for Thanksgiving.

The Street they lived on in Vallecas.
The statue and city center is actually Alcalá where we have district meeting.

The district in Alcala - It was the Sisters' baptism

As Elder Morgan's companion said:  "Holey cow!"

King's Day Parade (January 6)

Nativity at the chapel in Alcala

The view right outside of the renfe (train station). We live in the building on the very left of all.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Toledo and a Baptism!

Ooh, I´m not fluent yet. I´m on my way. I feel like I can survive on my own now, though, and get across what I want to say. 

So! This email will be short. We just went to Toledo which means today was nice and that I have no time. It was awesome! There´s a store right off the plaza that has a bajillion swords and everything. We were like children in a candy store. There was too much to see and too many people but I´ll surely be back another day. I want to buy like a dozen swords but obviously I can´t because apparently the swords and knives in Toledo are mixed with gold or something so they cost a lot. More about Toledo later!

We had a baptism! Juliet, a wonderful woman from Nigeria, got baptized on Saturday! She´s boss and so golden. If the whole world were like her we would baptize everyone by the end of the year. 
Hopefully soon we´ll baptize her husband and kids who we recently met. It was also randomly fun to confirm her because she has an afro and even though it was pulled back it was still poofy. We also had another man who was supposed to come but he has disappeared at this moment and we will search out that little lost lamb after we email. No, the boss lesson with the girl hasn´t resulted in a baptism yet. We even had a boss temple tour with her. She didn´t want to leave the waiting room and my companion served in the temple area so he knew how do give a boss tour. It´s mostly outside but we get to enter the waiting room. She´s still afraid of her parents so all we can do now is fast, pray, and wait.

Sorry this is short! If I had time, I´d write the usual novella. I love you all and will write about everything next week!

Os quiero!
-Elder Morgan the Younger

Monday, February 3, 2014

I'm Dreaming of a White Tortilla Day

It snowed! This morning we looked out the window and it was snowing! Yesterday it got to -3ºC (like 26ºF) in the morning so it's finally possible and it was a miracle. It all melted when it hit the ground but it was snow nonetheless. It's a Tortilla Day miracle. Today is a national holiday celebrating the Spanish tortilla and you can get free tortillas in places and they have parties. Spain has a holiday for everything. They enjoy getting off of work and school. It´s kind of messed up that it snows on some random festival of comestibles and not on Christmas, but I´m still happy for a little snow.

Oh, Frozen isn´t out of theaters? Awkward. Ya, usually when people watch stuff it´s a file or off the internet. Hooray for Spanish government! They do great things like all take vacation in August or take a year to let people be married.

Thank you for Moonlight Sonata, Mom! You sent the perfect number of pages. I want to keep it fresh in my memory and also I am attempting to teach a bit to my companion and other people. I´m also learning more hymns when I have time. It´s not too often, but it still happens. Hopefully I´ll be able to play in meetings soon. 

Investigators! I love them all so much. My companion described them like scoring in sports. Here we´re like soccer where you have a few goals but when you get a goal it is amazing. I´m still wondering what to write and what to not write but here is what I´ll write. Our favorite Peruvian family didn´t come to church but we later found out that they were in the hospital and didn´t hate us. They´re fantastic people! We have two Nigerians waiting to be baptized this week and they´re pretty dang solid. One of them is great because she always answers our challenges to obey commandments with a yes like it´s obvious. We have a few more on the way and I´m really excited! I hope I get to stay one more transfer. Yesterday we had a fantastically fantastic lesson with someone who was on the fence about baptism but she got a nice shove to the right side of the fence. The sister missionaries just had a baptism last week! We had lots of people come and it all went marvelously. I had a fantastic day of exchanges with Elder De Los Santos on Wednesday. He´s a boss.

Ah, my Muslim friend. He deserves a decent paragraph. So these two nice Arabic men were walking down the street after us and asked us where they could learn English and so of course we directed them to our English classes and they come and they are great! When that happened, their other Arabic friend saw them and asked us if we believed in the bible and if we would answer some of his questions. When he showed up he asked if he could use a table because he brought a computer. That worried me but we continued but he just wanted to fight. The way he fights is described wonderfully by a phrase used by Riley. Pigeon Fighting. If you play chess with a pigeon, it just knocks over a few pieces, poops on the board and struts around like it has won. This guy was dishing out so much stuff against the Bible but wouldn't listen to our answers. We shared the Article of Faith about the Bible and left him with a Book of Mormon. He came back with an "error" in the Book of Mormon that we had heard before and we tried to read him Moroni´s Promise but it mentions the word Adam so he went back into Genesis again and refused to pray for an answer despite how much we talked about it. It was quite the couple of lessons and there's so much more but you don´t need to hear about it. It was so nuts. Sorry that that was long.

I seem to have a food paragraph always so here it is. We ate some soup called Caldo de Boda* yesterday and we drank juice from a fruit called lulo.** It´s a new month so we get to go grocery shopping again! That´s always exciting.

Sorry that I don´t write as much about the investigators but they´re doing well. I want to write more about them but I don´t. Maybe I´ll make up my mind later. I hope you still enjoy the other stuff as well! We should have lots of exciting news soon! Thanks so much for prayers and letters! I miss you all and love you loads!

Os quiero,
Elder Morgan the Younger

 *Fish Soup
**Lulo is also known as ‘Naranjilla’ or ‘little orange’ and grows on a bush. Lulo is native to the Andes mountains. The fruit has a leather like orange skin covered with a hairy fuzz. The inside looks like green tomato. The flesh has a pineapple-and-lemon taste and contains small, white edible seeds.