Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 28: Blessings, Drunk Gypsies, Rain, and Bloody Sausages!

Hola familia!!!

As you can probably tell by the title, it was fairly interesting this week. First off, we had five investigators at church, even our former Jehovah's Witness Ninfa! All went well there, except Ninfa was a little offended by the priesthood giving the sacrament to everyone, not just the elected or something like that so that was odd, but the good news is that her boyfriend and her might be separating so she could possibly get baptized! We also had a bunch of second lessons with our investigators, one with Rocart, an older Spanish man who's got a hunch back like nothing, and Yaga(yes that is a name), from Senegal, who we have a French Book of Mormon too and will meet with him this week! The only thing against us this week however, was rain. We had a huge thunderstorm come through all of Saturday and most of Sunday, leaving us drenched and with no one to talk to in the streets, but hey there's always more door bells!

We also had our specialized training this week in Barcelona with the Barcelona and Badalona Zones. It focused mainly on testifying whenever we can, the dress code, and on how we can be better examples of prayer with our investigators. Those are always fun though since with us being up in Manresa, we don't see other missionaries too often(Valencia had the opposite problem). Coming up this week is our monthly zone meeting and transfers, so I possibly will be back in Barcelona twice this week!

While not a miracle so to speak, I did want to mention a spiritual experience we had with a member this week. We had stopped by to help this man, names Jose, with his talk since he wanted some "missionary guidance" on it. After eating with him for a bit however, we found out the real reason for us really being invited there. His wife, also a recent convert, has been in South America with family for a while now. Over the last few days however, Jose found out from her that she's lost her testimony, and her and their son that's with her want Jose and his son here in Spain to fall away also. Jose however, in probably the hardest of spiritual circumstances that I've seen in my short life, told us resolutely after explaining this that he couldn't deny the faith that he has, his testimony of the restoration and this church are too strong, and even though his wife sent a pile of anti-Mormon things from a pastor there(which we helped to explain), he wouldn't give up the happiness he has now. So we gave him a blessing of comfort and headed out into the night. The miraculous part of this story is that for his talk that he gave yesterday, fittingly on baptism, he invited his nonmember brother and some friends of his to come and see him, showing that even in the hardest of circumstances, we can be examples to others. I was just floored with this man’s faith, and I am so grateful that I was able to spend that evening with him, hearing his fervent testimony, and helping to grow mine at the same time.

On the menu this week, I had Spanish chicken noodle soup with the Garcia family, meatball subs in piso, and Blood Sausage and lentil soup with the family of our branch president, President Tiberi from Argentina. While it doesn't taste like blood, it wasn't my favorite thing in the world, but the dessert of crepes with Nutella made up for that, along with their six year old daughter's crazy stories about sharks haha.

On Friday we had the crazy experience of trying to read the Book of Mormon with a gypsie family of 7, all while the dad was flat out drunk. Dang this guy was out of it, even his wife Carmen seemed a bit off at the moment. But the blessing of that lesson was that while Elder Olaso distracted him and Carmen, I was able to teach the Restoration and about the Book of Mormon, in a very streamlined way, to their 14 year old daughter Sarah. She even committed to reading it! While it may have looked like a failure of a lesson with the dad, we now are coming back to teach Sarah and her mom this next week, hopefully when their dad isn't totally intoxicated.

Now for a spiritual tidbit for you all: Enthusiasm; a word that before the mission I thought signified a peppy high school cheerleader or a crazy camp counselor, actually has a very spiritual side to it. In El Clarin, the weekly newsletter that our mission president sends out (it's on the mission blog I believe), the message from Hermana Dayton was all about Enthusiasm in the work, and in life. A quote from her message sums it up pretty well; "Genuine enthusiasm is not something we activate by our own energy. It is harmonious interaction with the Holy Ghost that produces enthusiasm". And it's true! Before the mission I felt that I could be pretty enthusiastic with many things, food, running, finishing homework so that I could sit in the hot tub, normal things I guess. But as I've been here in Spain, I've found that just as Hermana Dayton said, true enthusiasm is when we have the spirit with us, and as we look to life in a positive way. This two together are what make up a happy, positive missionary (and person too). A good scriptural example of this is in Galatians 4:18. So my challenge to all of you is to be enthusiastic about something, life, your work, school, nap time, something, and I know that as the spirit is with you, you'll have genuine enthusiasm in your life!

Overall this has been a very interesting and fun last week of February. While we still don't have a clothes washer after a whole month(hand washing is pretty tedious!), there we so many moment when I saw God’s hand in my life this week, and I've been made more grateful for what I have here in Manresa and Spain!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton
 Specialized training with the Barcelona and Badalona Zones
 They have a very strange style of advertising here in Spain haha!

 Blood sausage and lentil soup
 Asian style door knocking

 Fake address level 100,000
 Hail storm during contacting!

 Medieval festival here in Manresa this weekend
 When there's no one out.....
Our branch with President and Hermana Dayton - President Tiberi (Branch President from Argentina) is the man to the left of President Dayton

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 27: She's not married??!! "They definitely were on painkillers", and the Miracle of the Gypsies

Hola family!!!!

Glad you all made it back from your trips safely, dang that must have
been crazy fitting two whole trips into one break, well at least you
can all get back on track this week! The week here has been anything
but relaxing as you can see by me falling asleep today, but it was a
week of progression, we have a man named Jesus(see miracle story) on
for a baptismal date, we found a few new investigators through the
ones we already had, which was sorta miraculous in itself, and overall
we taught a lot more lessons in people's homes then we did last week!
One miraculous find was knocking on this older ladies door in the
evening on Tuesday while Elder Olaso was on an exchange, and finding
out that her daughter of about 48 years died of cancer recently, so we
were able to come back later and teach her and her son the plan of
salvation(we hope it stuck!!). We were just more excited to be invited
back again so small victories there!

Elder Olaso and I have been working pretty well together, we've been
steadily improving in numbers and success since I got here, and now
that we've seen some change we've been more motivated to keep going!
It helped too that President and Hermana Dayton made a surprise visit
to our humble branch on Sunday(the pic of us is on the mission blog),
miraculously the topic was on missionary work! He didn't even
know that so it was cool to see the branch president cry as he bore
his testimony on missionary work and seeing His hand in our lives
because of them being here. On top of that, I was assigned a talk the
night before so president and Hermana Dayton witnessed my iffy Spanish
too..., they said it was great though - it must have made some sense!

The miracle that really stood out to me this week was another timbre
contact, which we've been having a lot of lately. We were knocking
this building's timbres when a man named Jose Manuel answered and
invited us up. Walking though the building we passed this younger man
in his door along the hallway named Jesus who was this man's brother,
and wanted to hear about the church, so we told him that we’d come
down and teach him after we met with this other man. Jose Manuel ended
up being a great new, so we headed down to teach Jesus. These men were
both evangelical Hutanos(gypsies), so it was even more miraculous that
they were listening in the first place. The real miracle happened here
with Jesus, who told us of his troubled life of drugs(he was like 21
too), alcohol, smoking, basically he listed off the Word of Wisdom as
his trial in his life. As he told us of his desire to change, we both
felt the spirit guide us to ask him if he'd work towards being
baptized and being clean of these things in his life. Tears in his
eyes, he accepted, and we made it a goal for him to be baptized on the
12th of March! I don't know how we ended up contacting that specific
building or how Jose Manuel's brother was outside his door when we
passed by, but I know that we were there that Friday morning for a
reason! The Lord puts people that are ready to hear the gospel in our

Along with strange things that happened this week, we taught some
investigators named Augustine and Bonny in their home last night while
they were both on some form of painkillers. He was recovering from
something in his back and she was just smoking and saying weird
things. Mummies came up in the conversion about God being our Heavenly
Father, so yea. Kinda was an odd lesson, but he read the Book of Mormon
so we're getting somewhere!

With Ninfa, our progressing investigator from last week, we found out
that she's not married to her, what we thought was her husband, and
with no intentions to do so... Apparently this is why the Jehovah's
witnesses stopped teaching her(they apparently stood up and left after
she said that, dang), but we still have hope for her. She understands
that marriage is very important to God’s plan, and her boyfriend
really wants to get married so it'll take a bit of praying and a
miracle for them to do that!

For some reason, I've found myself studying scriptures and talks this
week about trusting in the lord and the spirit to help us out of tough
situations, which we encountered a few of this week. The best talk I
found on the subject was called, ironically, " Trust in the Lord", by
Richard G Scott from the October 1995 conference(dang that's old).
Basically the takeaway from the talk could be summarized in one fairly
awesome quote: "To get you from where you are to where He wants you to
be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort
and pain". Boom!, We all have trials, big and small, but we need to
remember that they are placed there by the lord to help us become the
people he wants us to be! So while it’s sometimes hard to do some things
in life, always know that the Lord knew you could get through it,
since no trial given to us is too hard for us to accomplish!

Overall a great week, and with specialized training this week and
lessons planned it should be even better!

Thank you for your letters and everything! Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 Meat Locker, brought to you by Foot Locker
 The view from the park where we played soccer with the branch on Saturday
 When Ninfa isn't married, you  might need a longer baptismal calendar haha!
 There were candles everywhere as part of the Festival d la Llum (medieval/Catalunyan Independence festival)

 The moment when you make calls and there's absolutely no one out, but we did have a great 2nd lesson after this so it all worked out!

 Pics of us on top of Parque Puigiterra during our morning run
 Sweaty and slow, but we ran to the top of Manresa!
I passed out before emails, the alarm was going off for 5 minutes before Elder Olaso finally woke up and turned it off!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Week 26: Ding Dong the Mormons are here! Righteous, and the Cuban Missile Crisis

Hola family!!!

This week has been a biggie, sorta. We weren't able to put anyone on a
baptismal date, but what we were able to do was find some solid new
investigators!! We found this African family of 7(yea yea!), this
super good Spanish man, and some others, but mainly some good street
lessons with Muslims and goofy Democratic republic of the Congo
evangelicals(that was fun, he gave us a great African prayer and a
fake number, oh yea!). Elder Olaso is pretty great too. A bit goofy,
his hobbies include calligraphy, being a great Spanish speaker and My
Little Pony. I'd give you the explanation on that last one but it'd
take a while. He's a great teacher though so I've been able to grow
from that, and also in my Spanish ability. Let's just say I thought I
was good until I realized I was surrounded by South Americans in
Valencia. The Spanish here is quite different, faster, slurred, and
most of the time people speak Catalan to you so that’s even more
confusing! But I'm ready to grow here in Manresa, even if I'll still
sound gringo for a while!

We've been teaching this less active named Angel for a while. He's an
old Catalan man who's a bit lonely, so usually these lessons get
pretty interesting. For example, while teaching him about following the
prophet on Tuesday, he decided to clarify it a bit but comparing
prophets to the Cuban missile crisis. I guess he was talking about
prophecy or something, but it was pretty hilarious. I also learned
from him this week on the tradition of pooping in your field for good
luck, Catalonia is a strange place ha ha. Someday that man will get too
church though!!

Like I said earlier, we had a load of miraculous contacts this week,
with people who were very ready and excited to listen and hear more of
the gospel! But the contact that was the most miraculous happened as
we were timbreing(door belling) buildings along a road just behind the
main avenue here in Manresa. We hadn't had too much success other than
a few people giving us a day to come back, that is until we hit this
one timbre. The lady who answered listened as we introduced ourselves,
and then suddenly realizing who we were, told us to come up to her
front door! This almost never happens(maybe once a week/month) so we
were both excited and nervous as we made our way up the
elevator(because the Jehovah’s Witnesses are known to do this
sometimes) . When we reached the door, we met Ninfa, a Colombian woman
in her 40s, who was raised in Germany, and who spoke Spanish, German
and a little English(she was like a color wheel of languages during
the lesson so that was a little difficult). Her husband was home so we
ended up teaching her the restoration, finding out in the process that
she had met with the missionaries in Germany about 10 years ago, and
that she has wondered since if they'd ever come back! She was very
receptive, and before she left she got teary eyed as she said that we
were an answer to her prayers(she's been praying for answers to some
questions about life), and that it was a miracle she even heard the
timbre since she was at the back of the house. Overall I'm so grateful
that we found this woman, and since Friday when we met she's become a
progressing investigator and who's excited to learn more! The Lord has
people ready to listen in every area!

Also on the topic of news, from that African family we found, I
learned that in African culture, if your Christian you name your
daughter after a Christ like attribute(Righteous, blessing, precious,
just to name a few), and your son after a biblical prophet or apostle.
Pretty cool right? It does make for some funny names for girls though,
Righteous was my favorite.

Thinking back this week on what I've learned in my studies, I looked
in my study notebook and realized I had like 10 pages of notes...,
but one of the things I've learned this week was from our Zone
Enfoque(monthly zone meeting), where the message we got from Hermana
Dayton was about the 10 types of negative thinking, and how we could
combat them throughout the day and week. I thought of myself as a
positive person before the meeting, but by the end I realized that I
still have some work to do. I'll attach a picture of the list, but
overall I found that we have a TON of things to be happy about during
the week, a good contact, the weather, the fact that we're in Spain
teaching the gospel to people, the list goes on! A lot of times
missionaries have a hard time in the mission because they take it too
seriously, or themselves most of the time. We need to focus on
laughing off the problems and crazy things that happen during the day,
and focus on the basics of life, both in the mission and at home for
all of you. If we can simply go through everything with the mindset
that we'll learn from our challenges and that we have so much be
happy/grateful for, I know that we can live more positive, productive
and happy lives! So yea, don't be negative!

Overall it's been a great week! I'm excited to teach some new people,
to talk to Muslims, and to continue to get to know this small Spanish
city, and it's funny cultures.

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 Doing their laundry in the tub until the washer/dryer gets delivered!
 Thank you so much for the Valentine's Day package!!  I ate it all but it was delicious!
 Street art with chairs
 Only kiss I got for Valentine's Day haha!
 That'd be a very realistic looking fake dog on Angel's tv (pronounced onhel here)
 Catalunyan pooping statues, a tradition that's been around for centuries to give luck to your crops..... can't make stuff like that up!

 Night view of Manresa!
Look what we had today!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Week 25: Possums behind Timbres, Montserrrat, Killer Pigeons, and the Miracle of the Angel

Hola family!!!!

This was what you'd call an insanely busy and tiring week. Since I was
new to the area, I had to get myself used to the tiny streets and huge
hills of the city(so the opposite of Valencia, which was flat as a
pancake), and also meet new members of the branch here(it's tiny! Like
only about 20-30 show up most weeks! That'll change!). They're all
Spaniard too so I need to work on my Spanish skills. But we basically
spent all of our waking time contacting and finding people through
ringing timbres(doorbells, they have a bunch at the bottom of each
building in a grid, sort of a games since you never know which one will
have someone who yells at you behind it haha(in Catalan I might add)).
So yea we basically did that, but the good news is that apparently we
quadrupled the amount of lessons they had last week, so I think we're
doing good! I also started a list of the funny and strange things that
happen at timbres, since there are some weird ones. One is that
there's a weird thing people do here when they don't want to talk to
you, and they're not one to yell, and that's possuming. After I give a
little intro, that we're the missionaries and such, there's just
silence. When we break it by saying hola, they still think we'd leave,
so they leave the phone on and then hang up randomly. Sort of weird,
but that's how a lot of those contacts work out haha.

Today we also had the opportunity to go to Montserrat, the giant
pointy mountain behind Barcelona and Manresa. It took us an hour or so
to hike up with us and 8 missionaries from our zone, but it was
definitely worth the view! You could see the Pyrenees mountains by
France, and almost the ocean by Barcelona! There was also the
monastery, with its huge gothic insides and gold and brass and granite
statues everywhere. Today was also a balmy 65 degrees so it was
perfect for the hike and the top.

A truly miraculous moment that happened this week happened later one
night as we were on our last round of contacting for the day. We were
walking down the passejo(the main road here in Manresa), when the name
of an old investigator came into my head, named Maria Angeles(get it,
Angels?), one that Elder Olaso had mentioned briefly during weekly
planning. I brought it up, but Elder Olaso reminded me of his phone
call with her earlier telling us not to call again, so I pushed the
thought aside. They(the elders) had also being passing by for over a
month and haven't been able to talk to her. Five feet later I again felt
this impression to stop and visit this investigator. So I got Elder
Olaso, and we both sped walked across the crowded shopping area of
town, and across the bridge to this lady’s apartment. Because I had
only heard her name once, I didn't realize that she was outside her
apartment talking to someone when we walked up the stairs, only
realizing it when she gave us a surprised look. What followed was a 45
minute conversation on her doorstep, where we learned about her
loneliness here, her grandkids, and her fear for where her mom was,
who had died from a fall a few years earlier. When she tearfully asked
the heartbreaking question of "is she ok/happy?", we were able to
testify to her about the plan of salvation, and that her pain was
taken away. I know that we were told to visit that lady’s house for a
reason that night(whether to comfort her or to show that God loves
her, I don't know), but because of that prompting, we now have a
return visit with her on Tuesday!

To add to the fact that we are contacting basically all day to the
Catalonians, we also had the opposition of the pigeons! I was walking
along the passejo, minding my own business when this pigeon came
flying right at my face! So I swatted at it in the air, and then like
three seconds later it happened again! What the flip? It also happened
to the hermanas on Montserrat too so I didn't feel so alone about
that, but dang the birds are mean!

Overall a great, but long start to my time in Manresa, and we're
excited to get some work done here, and to have some progressing

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton


 On the hike up
 The valley below Montserrat
Trail on the way up

 The Monastery

 In front of the cathredral

 Inside the monastery of Montserrat

 It's pretty cold here
 Pipican aka dog pooping area haha
 Carnival, a crazy parade to celebrate Manresa, which happened to be going on during church 

Weekly planning lunch (our piso)