Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 23: New Church, Mission Devotional, and a Kabob Investigator!

Hola family!

So the subject line sounds a little boring this week, but in reality
it was actually a pretty cool/groundbreaking (literally) week! On
Saturday we had the opportunity as missionaries, with the American
couple Garrett and Brooklyn to sing ‘How Firm a Foundation’ for the
groundbreaking ceremony for the first real chapel here in Valencia! It
was a big deal, several hundred showed up and the building is supposed
to be a full sized chapel, just like the American ones as the members
say here, so that a big deal. We rent out the building we have
now, so it's a big deal. But it does show too how much the church has
grown here, there were zero members here in 1970, and now there is a
full stake with wards just in this city, crazy! There's also going to
be a new building in the north part of the city too, which will be
crazy as well since it possibly means a new ward! Overall, big
progress with the work in Valencia!

We also had some great progress with our investigators this week. We
gave baptismal dates to both Lola, the Spaniard slightly crazy but
cool lady, and Blessing, the Nigerian wife of Rafael, our other
investigator with a baptismal date. Great progress there, couldn't get
them to church Sunday though which was a bummer, but we still have
faith that we'll have a baptism this weekend before I'm most likely
leaving Valencia (I've been here almost 4 months, what?!).

We also had the first worldwide missionary devotional this week that
they've had in 10 years, and it was a pretty big deal! David a Bednar,
Dallin H Oaks, and Neil L Anderson, with some of the new apostles all
spoke and gave lessons on how to bring the spirit to lessons, and also
about how we need to focus on Christ more in our lessons, pretty
fuerte stuff, but definitely a cool meeting! It's online too so if you
want to watch it it's pretty sweet!

The miracle of the week wasn't as crazy as our story of Eugene this
last week, but it made a pretty big impact on me. I've been working on
making my study time more applicable to those I teach, so I've been
working hard on studying Preach my Gospel alongside the Book of
Mormon and the New Testament, which have both been great. But on
Sunday I was studying in chapter six on the Christlike attribute
Knowledge, which I thought was interesting and good, but didn't think
too much about it. After companion study we headed out and passed by
the member Eugene and his wife to see how they're doing. The miracle
was when Eugene randomly brought up his testimony about how gospel
knowledge has made a huge difference in his life, just like I had
studied that morning! So it was definitely cool to testify alongside
him about how scriptural and gospel knowledge has made an impact in my
life! I now know that study times can make a difference in our lessons
with whoever we teach!

We also got a reference from the other elders of an investigator who
works in a kabob shop, but who's super nice and loves to give free
kabobs! We spent the evening with him and the other elders on Friday
in his shop, and hopefully we'll meet with him this week at his home!

For my probably last preparation day here, we spent the day eating at
The good Burger, where I ate a double BBQ burger filled with fried
onions and bacon and beef, and followed that up with playing an epic
game of soccer with the other elders (totally had an awesome save with
a chest bump while yelling "got 'im!", so I felt pretty good about myself
after haha.

Overall, lots of things to check off my list before leaving presumably
next week, so it should be a fun week! I love this area, but I'm also
excited to see where I'll spend the next 4 to 6 months!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 Selfie the Knight away!  Dumb caption but cool graffiti!

 Giant nepolitana with Nutella inside (75 cents what!!!???)

 Found a nice car for Brian!

 Groundbreaking of new church building - what an awesome experience!!
 Selfie at the groundbreaking with Garrett the coolest guy ever!

 On our way to the center
 I'm guessing this is Vincent?  They helped decorate his Christmas tree last month!
 Walking through The Sciences for lunch today - this place is amazing!
 Got a great deal on a Valencia scarf too! (not to wear but to hang)
 A bar down the street with the name of our mission on it, oh yeah!
Average winter sunsets here in Valencia!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Week 22: Rescuing a Romanian, Black Church, and Deflating a Cat

Hola family!

Good news, I just sent a letter in the mail to you guys, should be
there by next week hopefully!

This week was a little bit strange. We started off by spending a
morning out in Chiva, a small town about 15 miles outside of Valencia
to do some contacting and passing by some members. Well, the town was
empty as heck, but we still had fun talking to the old people and
getting some much needed fresh air(Valencia's air is pretty bad). We
also gave out some baptismal dates to some of our investigators! One
was for Samuel, a man from Ghana who basically accepted everything we
taught him as truth in the first lesson, and sadly won't be getting
baptized until I probably get transferred at the end of the month,
since he missed church(dang it!). We also have been teaching Lola, a
Spaniard woman with a bunch of life problems, and who’s super nice.
Besides the fact that she's got the attention span of a bag of cats at
some points, she's been super receptive and we hope to give her a
baptismal date next week!

Our other investigator is Rafael from Nigeria, who've we been teaching
since before Christmas. He's a super religious man, so trying to
humble him down to go to church has been a struggle. So we ended up
making a deal. If we attended his church, he'd come to ours. So that
we did. It was called Mountain of Fire and Miracles, and the meeting
was probably the strangest experience of my life. We were the only
white people in the building, so we stood out like crazy. Luckily for
us, they were all super nice Nigerians who got super excited when we
came in. But from the super bad translator changing the lesson from
English to Spanish (" por favor sit down!") to the freaky dancing
during the choir numbers, to the fake flames behind the pastor the
entire time, we were ready to leave after like 45 minutes haha.
Overall definitely a cultural experience, and because of that, him and
his wife attended our church!

A miracle that occurred this week strengthened my testimony also that
God knows where he needs us to go, at exactly the right time. We were
contacting on our way to an appointment in downtown Valencia, when we
passed by Eugene, a little Romanian member who was going to cut some
plants for his wife's sore throat. Not thinking anything of it, we got
to the appointment, only to have them fire on us, so sort of a bummer.
As we sat in the square next to her piso calling people, we heard a
yell from an alley down the street, which sounded a lot like Eugene!
So we quickly jogged down there to find this angry(and I mean angry)
African man who looked like a construction worker squeezing Eugene arm
with a death grip and yelling at the top of his lungs that he was
going to call the police on him for cutting what apparently was a rare
plant from a sort of old and unkempt garden(it was a cactus). This
drew a crowd, so we began to reason with this angry man to let him go,
since this was the first time this ever happened. Still not convinced,
he dragged Eugene along the road to the garden to point out which
plant it was again. He now was pretty much shaking this poor old man
by the belt and arm, so we, more forcefully, with the help of Ronny
the member we had, tried to convince him to let the man go. Finally,
after a bunch more people came and convinced this man to let him go,
he gave in and took his picture as a warning before storming off.
Obviously shaken up and hurt from the experience, we helped to walk
this man back to his wife and home. I know that without our being
there, Eugene would have never had the support/witness of us with that
man, and because of that I'm grateful that God had us go there at that
time, even if our appointment didn't go as we wanted.

We also were able to participate in a bit of service for a recent
convert of ours. Hermano Washington, who's super great, has two cats,
who are, well you know cats. That was a no duh statement haha. One of
his cats is super old, so it has a lot of issues, heart conditions,
and an issue where it's body is filling up with proteins every two
weeks. So since he's too nice to put it down(it really should be that
poor creature haha), he asked our help to restrain the head and feet
while he sucked out 2 liters of off white protein from its body with a
needle and syringe. This we did for about 10 minutes before the cat
flipped out, and we had to keep restraining the thing. We didn't get
all of it out, so it's still quite giant haha. The best part was that
he served us this lukewarm peach shake afterwards that was the same
color of the proteins so that was bit hard to swallow. But hey,

This week during my studies, I read some amazing conference talks from
some of the apostles. The one I enjoyed was the CES devotional from
last week from President Nelson and his wife, called Becoming True
Millennials. It overall focused on how even if the world doesn't think
so, our generation has tremendous power to help others and be powerful
missionaries in the world. It also spoke on how we should
instinctively use the powers of heaven and the church(temples,
prophets, scriptures) in order to answer our questions on life. On the
mission this isn't that hard to do(since all we got is scriptures and
conference talks haha), but in life this would help many not to get
distracted by other untrue influences of the world. Overall, it's a
great devotional, and one that can apply to all of us, since we all
live as part of the millennial generation(since, you know, it's been
the new millennium for like 16 years now haha).

Overall great week, and even better since we had our interviews with
president this week(who's the coolest and most spiritually in tune man

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 Spent a morning contacting and passing by people in Chiva, a tiny pueblo with great views, clean air, and a bunch of old spaniards!  (orange groves above)
 Three giant king statues on a mountain - they celebrate big here in Chiva!
 The town watering hole/pond
 The dry riverbed, since there's never water here in Spain haha
 Waiting for our train home
 The view from one of the passby's home

 New food this week - Spanish churros and chocolate!
 Deflating a cat - that counts as service right?

 Delicious Italian pizza for lunch today
 Valencian Cathedral
 Yep we climbed 270 steps to get to the top of that!  

 Valencia and the sciences in the background
 Elder Turner and his new "gang sign"

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 21: Holy Crepe! Investigators! Trip to a Spanish Emergency Room, and the thing in the drain...

Hola family!

This week has been strange, hard, funny and also pretty spiritual! We
had a great zone meeting on Thursday talking about us getting focused
again on missionary work after the holidays, and also about
repentance, which turned out to be a very applicable lesson to us all!
It was also fairly sad too since we had 6 departing missionaries in
our zone give their testimonies about what they learned on the
mission, and after working with most of them for the last almost 4
months it was a pretty emotional thing. After that, we were given the
goal to all have a baptism by the end of February in the mission, for
every companionship, which should be an achievable goal! Overall it
was a great meeting that got Elder Turner and I, and the rest of the
zone back on track!

A miracle that happened this week that made an impact on me was our
crepe activity that Elder Turner, Hemeyer, Parker and I put on for our
investigators and less actives in our ward/stake. The real miracle of
it was the super insanely good turnout that we had. It was basically a
family home evening, with a lesson at the beginning, crepes (I'm
grateful that my dad served in Paris France on his mission so that I'd
have the recipe and toppings), and a game to finish it off. While we
expected only around 15 people at the maximum, by the end of the night
there were around 40-45 people that came to the activity! Luckily our
church building was near a Mercadona since we had to run out to get
some more ingredients at one point, but in the end it was a super
successful activity that we’ll continue to have every few weeks for our

So about the emergency room. I had injured my foot in soccer I think a
few days before Christmas, and thought I'd just walk it off. Well the
pain kept coming, and it was suuuupeer swollen, and two weeks later I
couldn't take the limp any more so I called into the mission home to
get me into the doctor. They in turn got me into the emergency/urgent
care center in downtown, where I had the fun experience of trying to
understand and speak Spanish to a bunch of fast talking, not ugly, and
a little bit weird nurses. The doctor gave the good news that it
wasn't broken, but that I had tendinitis on my left foot and I'd need
to take it easy. So they left me with pills and a foot wrap and I
skipped (sorta) my merry way to the church that night to bake those
crepes for our investigators! It's a lot better now, but dang I'm
definitely going to study my medical vocabulary before I head to the
doctors next time!

We also had the great experience of cleaning out our kitchen drain,
which wouldn't let water through any more. We pulled the bottom plug,
and the water that filled the sink came flying into our mop bucket,
but not expecting this much of it, the bucket filled up, leaving Elder
Turner to fly under and catch the rest with a mixing bowl. What
followed out of the drain looked like a mix of salsa, alien goo, and
fecal matter, and we all (I'm not even kidding here haha), let out some
pretty hilarious screams when it came flopping into the mixing bowl.
Once the creature had been pried from its home, we disposed of it out
on the patio drain, which didn't make it look any better. Overall it
was a strange experience, and now we know that in Spain it's a bad
idea to put food down the drain!

On a side note too, those three stories happened this last Tuesday, so
pretty crazy of a day!

This week for personal study, I've had a pretty diverse week in terms
of things that I studied. I went from pride to diligence to even
finding out that the word metaneo is Greek for repent, who knew right?
But one topic that I studied that made the biggest impact on me was
being a disciple of Christ. For that, the verse 3 Nephi 5:13 made the
biggest impact on me. I also found out, fun fact that the word
disciple is from a Latin word for learner, so while the apostles,
prophets, and basically any follower of Christ are disciples, it's
also comforting to know that for all the righteousness that some
people appear to have, they still are in reality learners of the
example and gospel of Christ just like all of us! Sweet!

Overall, while we struggled to get many people to listen on the
streets, it was a pretty fun week, and with possibly only three more
here in Valencia, I hoping to get the most out of these next ones!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 My goals for this year, go moleskin for having super good goal notebooks!
 This would be a giant croissant on a wall...graffiti here rocks!
 Crepe night was a success!  Elder Turner, Hemeyer, the British Elder Parker, and me
 Thumbs up from the chef!
 Great turnout!
 By the way, I went to the emergency room for my really hurt foot!  It wasn't broken, but it was tendinitis so I'm on pills and had this cast on!
 This is Kpof Kpof (pronounced Bof Bof), made by our mission leader Victor, who is Nigerian for fried banana bread!  Pretty amazing!
 Contacting and passing by people on the back streets of  downtown Valencia

 Visited a Romanian member behind this sketchy Sirius Black door - the door opened 6 floors up by a rope tied to the door handle!
 Weird pic but this is where we spent our preparation day, Nuevo Centro
 Our favorite Patraix/bingo circle where we go for the metro, had the encounter with the Romanian man, and where our locutorio is
 Thank you moleskin for helping me keep track of my money better!
Officially a resident of Spain!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 20: New Years! African Names, and Captain Salami!

Hola family!!!!

Dang your New Years sounded great! How was the food and fireworks?
This week has been a bit of a crazy one with us running across our
slightly large area between investigators, taking a taxi for the first
time(for New Years the metro shuts down at like 10.....), eating
snass (pretty interesting African pastry with surprises on the inside
depending on which one you get), and being blessed with 4 pm church!
(It's great for the missionaries since we get to actually study on
Sunday's!). But the highlight of the week had to been our
investigators specifically Rafeal (a short, spiritual Nigerian man who
loves to talk). Compared to last week not having too many lessons to
go to, this week was a welcome change since we were able to get off
the streets (which with the wind and humidity we’re freezing this week!)

For New Years we went over to Hermana Jenny's house with her kids to
eat fried chicken, the bomb. She also mistook the strawberry jam as
ketchup so I ended up putting some of that on my fries, not bad
actually buy definitely a different taste than ketchup. We stopped by
the party at the church before attempting to go home, only to find our
way blocked by there being no metros and no buses. So for the first
time for most of us, we took a taxi, which drove at about 100 mph
around some crazy skinny streets to get us back (he was trying to
follow the Hermanas taxi). In all, a pretty fun New Years even if we
celebrated from our beds (midnight woooh!!!).

A miracle that occurred this week that stood out to me happened with
one of our (now) progressing investigators named Rafeal. Rafeal and
his wife Blessing(I love African names) were old investigators of the
Hermanas a few months back, and we were handed this couple’s teaching
record just before Christmas. One of the problems that we've been
having with him has been that he's had too much pride to ask the Lord
in his prayers if he should get baptized/if the Book of Mormon is
true. So for three lessons straight we basically worked to get him to
at least pray for one of those things. However, on Tuesday as we were
teaching him, we felt suddenly that we should ask this man if he'd get
baptized on the 16th of January(even if he's said many times he's
already been baptized, and that he'll only do it in a river(there's
none here haha)). Surprisingly, he accepted!  When he received an
answer, and he told us that he's asked God twice in his prayers about
baptism! Small miracle, but the Lord definitely works in small and
simple ways to help people become better and more like Christ!

I was also given an African name! I'm Esosa, which means God’s gift (not
to brag but...), but it's kinda cool to get one, now I'm part

On one of the nights this week there was a huge costume party/run that
happened here in Valencia, so that led to some weird things happening.
On an intercambio with Elder Busath (from Ohio, pretty goofy though so
that was fun), we were walking back to our piso at 10 when we passed by 4
teenage boys dressed in salmon/meat colored morph suits with only
white capes and whitey tightys on, with the name Captain Salami across
their chests. Random, but probably the strangest thing we saw during
the week!

This week in my personal studies I've been reading in Helaman in the
Book of Mormon, which is the bomb! One of the chapters that stood out
to me was in chapter 10, about Nephi (the greeeaaaaaaaat (plural)
grandson of the first one) being blessed by God for his hard work
among the Lamanites. The coolest verses were 4-6, talking about how
Nephi always put the Lord's will over his own, which I'm sure every
missionary tries to do (even if it's super difficult!)! Overall it's
just a great chapter on missionary work, and also to learn that "faith
precedes the miracle, it does not follow it". (I read it with the
Institute Manuel so that’s where I got that quote from).

Elder Turner and I have been working great together though! We made
our New Years goals for 2016 for weekly planning, which I have some
good ones (like not getting fat, and also memorizing 3 scriptures a
week!). Overall, I'm just pumped to start my only complete year in the
mission (the consecrated year as we call it).

Happy New Years, and thank you so much for being the best family I
could ask for (and sending videos, letters and pictures every week
because some missionaries don't.... Sad but true).

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 View from the balcony of one of the Dominican members house that we ate at
 Delicious Dominican food with Candido, Rosa and this random member who had her birthday that day!
 Emenadas, rice, fish, and Yucca (super dry but good vegetable like a potato)
 Made calls here in Parque Parterre in downtown Valencia - too many people with selfie sticks haha!
 Empty bus ride at 8 pm, brought to you by the holidays in Spain!
 Empty train too!  There's absolutely no one out during the holidays!
 Snass - African for super fatty oily bread that may or may not have insanely hot chicken inside (like an evil version of that hollow chocolate ball with toys inside)
 Non-alcoholic beer given to us by an African investigator - so terrible that it literally tastes like old Malt-o-meal!
 Thanks Dad for serving in France so that we could make a crepe night to 
bring investigators to!
 You know you're in Spain when there's a huge backup to use the escalator, when there are stairs right next to it!  The crowd was there for like 5 minutes too!
 Spent our New Year's Eve with the super crazy family of Hermana Jenny

 Nights on the streets of Valencia
 This would be rabbit a bag, only at your local Mercadona!
Taxi whaaaaaat?