Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 15: Attack of the Romanians, New Traditions, and Teaching the Africans

Hola family!!!!

This week has been weird but great! We had a delicious dinner provided
by the American couples in our ward going to graduate school here at
Berkeley, so we had all the thanksgiving foods (even sweet potatoes!).
We had all the Valentian missionaries there too so it was a party of a
meal, kinda like the Moulton family thanksgivings back at home.
Overall we were just happy to be fed food, and it was great to have
the day to be thankful here in the field celebrating with friends!

One thing that we struggled with this week was that absolutely no one
was answering their phones! We always sit on park benches for a few
minutes between contacting to call about appointments, but this week,
out of like 100 calls, we only had like 6 answer...so that was sort of
depressing. But the good news is that we had some amazing lessons with
the African women from last Sunday, and we also brought one of them to
church yesterday! She couldn't have come to a stranger day of
church (primary program, fifth Sunday lessons, Sunday school on the
gathering of Israel... It was pretty different!), but she loved the
sacrament and wants to invite more of her friends to church next week,
so we're pumped for that!

One thing that Elder Turner and I have started doing is making new
traditions. One of them is Sunday night crepes, which are delicious,
and we are always thinking of new toppings for them(ice creams the
bomb). Another tradition that we started last night was the monthly
burning of the planners. It's so great to see each of those things go
up, which has been used for a full month of contacting and planning,
and it's a cool thing we hope to keep doing(don't worry about me
forgetting about daily things though, I've kept a pretty good journal
so far).

In addition to the lessons we had this week with an atheist Spaniard
who loves the Book of Mormon, recent converts and a lot of street
lessons, we also had a crazy encounter with one of our contacts from a
few weeks ago. We had met this Romanian with Akim, one of our members,
during Elder Turner’s first week here. We gave him a Book of Mormon,
our number, and we were on our merry way. That is, until we suddenly
found this Romanian, with a name I can't pronounce, with his friend
on a street in the other elders area (long story with that too). We
recognized him, and were about to ask him when we could stop by since
we were on our way to an appointment when he quickly invited us to his
piso, and in order for him to show us where he lived, rather than
giving an address (he had to be drunk, his friend too), he grabbed
Elder Turner over the shoulder and literally dragged/walked him down
the street. Since we thought he was being friendly, we played it off,
trying to tell him in simple Spanish that we couldn't meet right
now, until I watched the man reach his free hand to his back pocket
slowly. Freaking out, I got up right next to him and was relieved to
see that he was only grabbing keys, not anything that could possibly
harm Elder Turner or I (his friend kept staring at me too so that was
unsettling). When Elder Turner was finally set free from his arm he
pointed out his floor and window and suddenly turned to grab Elder
Turner again by the arm, only to have me slide in front of him, and us
saying more firmly that we couldn't meet. After a while of still
trying to pull us inside (he was quite strong) and have us talk with
him, he finally agreed to another day. So we shook their hands and
quickly ran the other way. That is, after he let go of mine, which he
wouldn't let go of since his friend and him were trying to pronounce
my name. Anyways, sorta a scary and weird experience, but now we know
that we need to be super duper firm when telling someone we don't want
to meet. He also appeared during another lesson too later that week
so that was annoying.

Overall it was a fun, weird and interesting week, and even though we
learned about the touchiness of the Romanian people, it's been an
awesome experience working with the people of Spain, and from all the
other countries around here.

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 Our Thanksgiving feast!



 P-day with fries and delicious sauces from the Frietshop
Christmas decorations

video

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Week 14: Doobly Boobly, Chupe, Camarooninites, and Giant Fruit

Hola Family!!!!!

This week has been both weird, fun, and stressful, but overall it was a great week in the mission! We hit pautas (goals in the mission) so it was great to know that we are making improvement in the work! We also had some crazy food this week so that was memorable. We had harichwela, a Dominican Republic dish with a member family, fufu (delicious!), and Ecuadorean Chupe and Caswela soup. Chupe was a weird paste that you put on rice that is made of shaved platano(banana) and shrimp, which wasn't half bad. It definitely looked strange though... And the heart/organ looking chicken in the soup made me sweat a little before we tried it haha. But the good news is that except for the nasty chicken sandwiches a few weeks ago that knocked us out for 4 days, none of the food has made us sick, so props to that! It's definitely fun trying all the food out from the different cultures here, and food is the only way it seems to get to the heart of an investigator so that's the way we work! We also tried out a giant orange at a store while contacting, which had a full other orange on the inside! The bananas here are also huge, which I'll have a pic of too.

On one of our dinner visits, I also learned how the Spanish say American words, which turned to be super funny. One of the words was doobly Boobly, aka, Double Bubble, which took me like 5 minutes to figure out haha. Lesson to be learned here, it always good to listen closely when with Spanish speakers, because you might miss something important!

A miracle that was part of this week happened last night as we were making a call to an investigator to invite him to an activity. We looked across the empty street to find two African Camarooninite women walking along(Africans are the nicest people ever, so we couldn't pass that up!), so Elder Turner and I quickly made our way over and talked to them. Miraculously, I had met these ladies two weeks ago right before my companion arrived after transfers, and they totally recognized me and wanted to learn more about the church, and when it was! Right after giving them a lesson and setting up another, we turned the corner to find another African lady from the same country, and after giving a lesson on the Book of Mormon, we felt that we should invite her to get baptized, to which she responded "no problemo!" And she set up another lesson with us to learn more! Overall, we knew that we were blessed with meeting these three ladies last night, and we are excited to teach them more this week!

Elder Turner and I have been getting along great! It's been fun having the combined mission age of 6 months(he's literally a brand new trainer), so it's been fun learning from each other. One thing we like to do is to end the day telling each other about what happened that was funny with each other, which usually there are a lot of. One of them, was watching him, upon finding his belt missing, turning around just outside our pisos elevator, and not looking running face first into the metal door! I laughed at it the whole way back up to the room haha.

Overall it's been a great week, and while we had no baptisms, we have three investigators with fechas, and a bunch of news, so we're hoping to change that the next few weeks. Love and miss you all, and thanks for the Pics and Christmas box! I only opened the star wars pillowcase , which is awesome by the way so thank you so much(sorry for the custom fees, Spanish government sucks haha)!

Love you all!


Elder Taylor Moulton
 Fufu with Akim Bigdady
 Haricwella with a Dominican family and Elder Putt
 Turia streets while contacting
 
 This literally made my day, week, and month! 
(I didn't open everything, just the pillowcase haha)
 The usual Valencian sunrise
 Ecuadorean food with some menos activas (less active)
 Giant bananas, or platanos here in Spain

 Ice cream sandwiches after a baptism
 Sunday's are a little tiring
 Baptism pic with Sonia and our district
 Our desk
 Gringotts in Valencia
The Good Burger meal that I had today, literally super delicious!

video

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 13: New Companion, Akim Bigdady, and Miracles

Hola family!!!!

How has the week been? It's been a slow but eventful week as I got my
new companion Elder Turner, and as we got used to working with each
other. It's been a little bit difficult getting used to a new
companion after just 6 weeks, but so far we've had a pretty good time
working together. We had a crazy number of 11 new investigators this
week too, even with it being a shorter week, so we've been pretty busy
visiting all of these people.

Ok so Elder Turner’s from Orange County California, has only been on
the mission for 4.5 months(I only have 1.5, so it's crazy that he's
training... That could be me soon too in this mission), and served in
Vitoria Spain before coming here. He went to BYU Hawaii for last year
too, so that's pretty awesome. Overall, it's been fun getting to know
him, but hard at the same time -  it's hard since I see Elder McArthur
like 3 times a week, who lives just across the city. But we are pumped
for the upcoming week to get some real work done.

The nights are getting chilly here, even though the highs during the
day are in the 70s, the lows at night are almost in the 40s, so it's
definitely sweater season. The good news is that it hasn't rained in
forever so that keeps our spirits up!

One of the coolest days this week was working with a member
named Akim Bigdady, who's from Nigeria. Yes that's his real name, and
he has one of the strongest testimony and conversion stories I've
heard. His wife's not even a member, but he and his son are always at
church each week. A funny thing about him though is that even though
he can't speak Spanish that well, he still contacts every breathing
thing in his path, so we ended the night up having like 6 news, and a
bunch of lessons under our belts. But the real miracle happened later
that night, when we contacted this man after setting up an appointment
with a new we had. We contacted this random guy named Cristian, and
as we asked for directions to a certain street, we found out he was a
Bolivian man, who speaks English, and who had read the Book of Mormon
and met with some sister missionaries in DC. So the random guy we had
only asked for directions, turned out to be an amazing new that we are
meeting with this week! It's crazy how God puts people who are ready
to hear the gospel in our paths, even when we don't expect it!

So far on the mission, one of my favorite times of the day has been personal
study, because any time to read talks and the scriptures is awesome.
Because of the study time I've had, I found my new favorite talk,
called "We're the architects of our own happiness" by Gerald Causee as
a young adult talk. It's a long talk all about how we decide our
happiness level, even in times of struggle, and since any mission,
especially European missions, are hard, I learned a bunch from this
talk about how I can be a happier person. Overall, it's my new
favorite talk and I'd recommend it for anyone to read!

So while this week has been a bit long, and filled with new experiences,
I still had some random experiences and memories, and I know that this
week will be even better now that I'm getting used to my companion!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

Pictures from his last week at the MTC (probably from his camera)
 Departure Devotional

 Our amazing district!  With our teachers Hermano Ostler and Savage

 Our two districts that left
 Last pic at the Provo Temple

 Map pics before we left

 The Hunger Games like Frankfort Airport
 I stayed my first night in Spain at this piso (it rained too)
New pictures from this week:
 Soccer with most of the zone...still working on my soccer skills though (Elder Turner is the one in white in front of me)
 Bad pic of us eating at The Good Burger
Sunset from our kitchen window

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Week 12: Greenie Power, Fu Fu, New Companion, and that time I called a kid Oboe

Hola family!

This week has been crazy! We are all healthy again, and with the
inspiration that we got from our zone Enfoque (focus) this week, our
companionship found 16 new investigators, taught 35 lessons and
basically killed it in every other way(we are also baptizing our
progressing investigator Xiomara this Saturday so that'll be great!).
The sad thing though is that with transfers, my companion got called
to be the new zone leader for our zone, leaving me trainer less
halfway through. Good news is that I'll get a new trainer, Elder
Turner, tomorrow night. So while it's hard to have a new companion
already, I'm excited for the change, and to have more experience with
new companions. Elder McArthur's nervous to be a zone leader, but
he'll be a great one once he gets used to it.

So one of the craziest miracle days this week was when we had
intercambios (exchanges), which left me working with my fellow greenie in our
area, Elder Heymeyer. We went contacting to Alequas and downtown
Valencia, and over a few ours we taught 6 lessons, found 3 news, and
had a funny experience with what we thought was a deaf guy(I said
senor to him like 6 times and he never looked up, so we awkwardly
walked on laughing at the experience). Overall, the miracle was that
even though we collectively had the Spanish knowledge of Spanish kid,
we still taught a bunch of people and were able to invite a bunch of
people to learn more, showing that even if we greenies don't have the
language down, we definitely have the faith to try(we had a good
attitude about it too so that helped).

For correlation meeting this week, our ward mission leader, Victor,
who's from Nigeria, made a huge dinner of Fu Fu, which is a
dough/potato dough that we dip in a delicious chicken peanut soup. It
was delicious, but it filled me up like nothing. His wife also fed us
some delicious banana bread cake that I could barely fit in
afterwards. Overall it was a fun experience trying out real African
food.

So while my language skills have improved, they're definitely not
perfect yet. A funny experience that I had because of that was when we
visited this member family a few weeks ago to see how they were doing,
and leave them with a message. They had this son who was like 3,
but while his name was Hugo, because of the Spanish accent here I
heard Ubo, or something of that sort. So when I was asked to give an
opening prayer, I ended up calling him Oboe, since I didn't know that
the H in Spain is silent. It was pretty funny to find that out
afterwards though haha.

Overall, it's been a week of ups and downs, with a bunch of lessons
and things happening in our area, and the huge change of losing my
first trainer, but I'm excited to see what this week will bring as I
get my new trainer. Thank you so much for your prayers and emails, and
I hope that you'll all have an awesome week as we get closer to the
holidays!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton
 Doodles that sum up life here in Valencia

 A field of cattails in La Plaza de Virgen....random but cool!
 Contacting near Alequas
 Nesquik bar!
 Jose Carlos, and awesome member here!

 Ronny, our favorite member missionary
 Eating fu fu with the ward mission leader - it was the bomb!
 Victor, the ward mission leader's baby Vinn Axxel - best name ever haha!
 Torre de Torrent
 On the metro with no one riding haha
 Elder McArthur's yoshi hat
 Piso pic during lunch yesterday

 Elder Vickery, Reddish, Islas, Heymeyer and I waiting for the new companions to come
 Preparation day spent rollerblading by the City of Sciences