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