Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 32: Shaved Baby Dolls, Dragon Tales, New Yorker in Manresa, and a Missing Muslim

Hola family!!!

This has been an exhausting week, and we barely were able to rest
today so this should be a fun one. We, as a mission, had the goal given
to us to find 8 news before Easter this week, and amazingly 86% of the
mission did it! We took it a step farther and got 16 though, which was
so crazy for an area like Manresa, a small town in the mountains! We
found Muslims, Catholics, and best of all, a New Yorker from
Venezuela! He was a little of a potty mouth(I haven't heard such
language since high school haha). But he's a great guy, and we have an
appointment with him on Thursday! The Lord has people prepared

We also witnessed a long list of crazy and random things on the
streets... We saw goats, bearded women, and a man carrying shaved baby
dolls..., I wish I had a picture but you could probably imagine how
strange that was haha. Sadly, one of our investigators named Jawwed
flat out disappeared, cell phone doesn't exist and his piso’s for sale,
so we hope he didn't get deported to Morraco or something haha.

I also added to things I've achieved in life this week to defeat a
fire breathing dragon(flirtatious woman over 30). And by dragon I mean
this reactived member from lleida where Elder Woodmansee was serving
named Liah, who since visiting the Rama last week(she brought a
friend), has been calling and texting us to see Elder Woodmansee
again(she's like 45 too..., divorced, and obviously she mixed up some
feelings while he was teaching her). She even went far enough to bring
some investigators who didn't even live in our area with her to
Manresa on Saturday, and to make an FHE to see him. So after getting
help from president, we told her we couldn't meet with her, about
which she was quite sad about. On Saturday though, we were contacting
through the streets on the way to an appointment when guess who we
found? Liah and her gang! We would have ran but Elder Woodmansee’s
knee’s not doing so well so yea, we made sure that she knew about the
rules and all that stuff and why she can't be visiting Manresa to visit
him. But now we're free from that, and boom we defeated a dragon -

While miraculously being able to find a bunch of new people to teach
was pretty great, there were also some other smaller miracles or
tender mercies like Hermana Dayton talked about. The one that comes to
mind happened on Friday, when one of our appointments fired (cancelled). At that
moment, Angel, a less active who we haven't visited in a while because
he wouldn't follow up on any of the commitments or reading that we
were giving him, but who the members have been passing by for a while,
called to have us pass by. We had planned to come by and give him a
lesson to help him get reenergized in the church, but upon arriving
we found him utterly despondent, lonely and many other things. When we
asked what was wrong, we found out that his family had been ignoring
him, and that he would be better off dead then being there because he
thought that no one loved him. Through his sobs, we testified to him
that the only way for him to find his purpose and to feel more love in
his life was to do exactly what we've always invited him to do, read
the Book of Mormon, pray for help from a loving Heavenly Father, and
to come to church to feel the love of the members there. Sadly he
didn't come to church, but I know that without a doubt, that when we
do the simple things, reading, praying and attending sacrament
meeting, our lives will be better. I also know that there was no way
that our schedule opened up at that exact time by accident, and
because of that I'm grateful that we were able to comfort that man in
his time of need.

For zone conference this week, the topic was about finding people to
teach(aka the thing we spend 3/4 of our day doing). President Dayton
talked all about how this really is a work of love, about how if we
just go into the day with faith that we will talk to a fellow son or
daughter of God that's been prepared for our message, we’ll find them!
He also talked about not being "labelers", and talking to all the
people, regardless of race/age/or angry expression that they have
when we see them. He referenced the scripture 1 Samuel 16:7, which
tells us to look upon the heart of the person, and not just what they
appear to be on the outside. So while it's a breath of fresh air to
contact a super friendly Nigerian man, we are here to talk with all
people, even the old Spanish man waving a finger/hand or grumpily
grunting "No!" before we even say anything. And crazy enough, after
finding the ridiculous amount of news that we found this week, and
some were pretty unlikely, I know that the people that are ready to
accept us aren’t always the most obvious! So don't judge people! Be kind
and loving to everyone in school/work/Zumba class/at the DMV, and
you'll find some pretty cool people in the world!

Overall a great week, and I'm pumped to meet with some of these new
investigators this week, and to help Ninfa be baptized!!!(she wants to
be clean to be baptized, sweet!)

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 To celebrate Katie's birthday, I bought  myself delicious spanish candy and attempted to give a Book of Mormon out!  Happy 15th!
 When there's absolutely no one on the train to Manresa!
 Barcelona/Badalona Zone Conference in the Barcelona Stake Center
 Thank you for the package!

 Gypsie farm fence, enough said!

 When the town be empty on Sunday .....
Sagrada Familia!!!!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 31: Brazo Buds, Moosa's Hungover, Navarcles, and the Sound of Music

Hola family!

With all the new people we've been finding, there's always the
possibility that some would be duds, with fake numbers and addresses.
But there's also the amazing chance to find someone who'll progress,
which we found a few of this week! One was a guy named Jonathan, a
Colombian 19 year old who just wants to find a church that he can
believe in, another was Abdul, a Senegal man who doesn't believe as
much in the Muslim Faith and wants to try out some others!

After witnessing many miraculous things on the streets and during
lessons with our investigators this week, it takes a lot to narrow it
down to a certain miracle that happened. One of the most impactful for
us was our lesson with Ninfa our former Jehovah's Witness
investigator. We've been struggling to get her to humble herself
enough to apply what we teach. On Thursday we taught her the gospel of
Jesus Christ with a member named Toni Garcia, and we witnessed her
mindset change almost miraculously on the gospel. Elder Woodmansee and
I were able to bear fervent testimonies on tithing, the gospel and on
the restoration with a loving prophet, and while she began with many
questions, we all left uplifted, and she left with the contentment
that what we were teaching wasn't just a good word. We challenged her
again to read and pray, and were excited to see a deep believer of the
Jehovah's Witness doctrine receive her own witness of what we’re
teaching! I’m grateful for the power of the spirit in lessons, without
which the people we teach wouldn't feel the love of God and the
understanding that comes with this Spirit!

We also had some crazy contacts and passbys this week. My favorite was
with Abdul, at Senegal man, who I asked at the end of the contact of
we could razar, or pray with him. He didn't understand me I guess, so
he just hugged Elder Woodmansee with a confused look(because raza and
brazo(to hug)) are super similar haha). We were laughing pretty hard
after that contact haha! Africans rock!

We also had this amazing reference for a man named Javier, who lived
in this little village about thirty minutes from town called
Navarcles. There was literally no on there haha, there was like one
bar... But Javier was great, he's from Spain, has a pet bird and two
cats(ones named Mogul..., it just stared at us during the lesson), and
also a house filled with plants and marijuana blankets haha. He was
quite the character, but he's happily progressing and we're going to
visit him on Thursday!

Also one of our investigators named Moosa, who we thought was game for
church, surprised us by being flat out wasted at 9 am after being up
with his friends. In his own words "I drank allloooot...". Crud, well
we know what we'll talk about for our next lesson haha!

For preparation day today we had an awesome time exploring the
cathedral and this cool mountain just outside of the city with the
elders from Terrassa, and as you can see from the pics, it looks just
like the grassy hill at the beginning of the Sound of Music. It was
also super sunny today and it felt great just to goof off a bit and
relax! Manresa is pretty amazing. Also I had shark soup for the first
time this week from a hole in the wall Chinese place, quite an
experience, but super delicious(and I'm still good a few days later)!

In my studies this week, I was very impacted from the scriptures,
conference talks and the mission newsletter about initiative as
Hermana Dayton called it. She quoted Jesse Evans Smith as she says
"Happiness is doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done,
whether you like it or not". As Elder Gregory A Switzer said last
conference, true disciples don't look for ways or excuses not to share
the gospel, but are always working to spread it! In the mission there
are a lot of things that are very routine and sometimes boring(weekly
planning, daily planning, yea), but that doesn't mean that as
missionaries we need to be sad about it. As people too, life and
happiness is doing all that is necessary and important with a positive
attitude. So don't let yourself or other influences control your
happiness, do what's necessary with a bright attitude, and the Lord
will bless you with happiness and satisfaction!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 Ate some delicious shark soup after district meeting!
 Delicious lunch of sandwiches and tortilla de patata by some members for us
Gypsie farms we contacted through on Sunday
 Smallest delivery truck ever!

 The hills are alive...... with the sound of music!!
 Hiked to the top of this cliff by Manresa with the elder Elders to see the tower Santa Catalunia

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 30: Smoky the Bear, We went to Jawwed, and the blessings of Faith!

Hola Family!!!

First week as a companionship, and dang we killed it! Elder
Woodmansee, with only 8 weeks in the field (president didn't realize
when he was doing transfers that he was still in training haha so
that's what happened), he has a pile of faith, and since we both want
this area to become better, we found a pool of new investigators(like
15), which is amazing for a small town like Manresa! The good news of
it is that this week we have a bunch of citas for people to meet with,
and that we have people to invite to be baptized! The area of Manresa
has been improving since I got here, and now Elder Woodmansee and I
want to make it even better!

For something miraculous that happened this week, Elder Woodmansee and
I saw many examples of the Lord guiding us to where we needed to be,
at just the right time. One of the prime examples of that happened on
Thursday night as we passed by one of our investigators(haha, his name
was Jawwed so we went to Jawwed get it?)towards the edge of town,
where there's a big pedestrian bridge that connects the old part of
Manresa to the newer section. After talking with that man, we headed
to cross that bridge when we found Ingrid, a friend of one of the
members here that has been at church for two weeks now, and we were
able to talk to her about an appointment to teach her with that
member, and to invite her again to church! Knowing/feeling that
couldn't have been a coincidence, we kept walking across the bridge
towards the passby we were heading to, when Elder Woodmansee contacted
the father of the family that we were going to pass by! He wasn't that
interested before in the discussions, but he had a Book of Mormon, and
we found out from him there that he had been reading it to his family,
and that his cousin in Valencia had been contacted by the missionaries
there also, and had told them all about us! His wife we were teaching
was in the hospital so we were able to include her in our prayer with
him. We were able to testify to that man that we can see God’s hand in
our lives every day, and that finding him on that bridge after finding
Ingrid too. From this and many other experiences this week, I can
testify with boldness that if we have faith and let ourselves be
guided by the spirit, the Lord can lead us to the people that need our
help, or those who are ready for the gospel!

Smoky the Bear might as well have contacted with us this week since we
ended up finding several new investigators that smoked like
chimneys(one was an old Catalan man named Jose who argued for twenty
minutes on why we should be teaching in Catalan haha, we had to nicely
explain that we were called to teach in spanish, but being a true
Catalunyan he wouldn't have it haha), leaving us smelling like
ashtrays and with headaches. Not the most desirable way to
teach, but the good news is that it's worth the sacrifice of smelling
like a Spanish bar at the beginning to have them be free from that
addiction in the end.

We also found this super cool man named Moosa on the street on
Wednesday, who's from Nigeria, and during our lesson with him on
Saturday we invited him to be baptized, and he accepted!!! He wants to
come to church this next week so we're pumped for that! There are
people ready to be baptized in every city!

In the conference Liahona this week, one of the talks that I studied
was "Choose the Light" by Vern P Stanfill. Basically it talked about
how important it is to have the light and example of Christ, the
church, the scriptures, and everything good in this world always in
our sight. In order to have this light, we also need to know how to
avoid the darkness also, which he tells us how in three steps. My
favorite was the first, which states " No matter how intense the
darkness of doubt, we choose how long and to what extent we allow it
to influence us". Boom! Isn't it so true and amazing that we are the
ones that are in control of our happiness and spirituality in this
life? With agency, we have the ability to have happiness, but in order
to do that we need to "choose the light" like the title says, and live
within the commandments and standards that our loving Heavenly Father
has given us. After being in the field for 7 months now, I can say
that there is so much joy in having a consecrated Christlike life, and
that there should be no reason to give your happiness over to the
devil! So choose the light(by scripture reading daily, praying with
real intent, following promptings immediately, putting our phones away
to talk/have fun with our families), and feel the true and wholesome
happiness of a Christlike life!

Other funny highlights this week include our new washing machine
walking itself out of the laundry room since it's not anchored yet, a
crazy woman walking alongside us and yelling at the top of her lungs
nonsense in Catalan, and a bunch of funny moments with the people here
staring at us very awkwardly(it's kinda a culture thing to stare at
people, they don't really notice but for Americans like us it's super
odd, it happens the most in the line at the grocery store when we
have a full cart, since everyone here buys there food every day,
instead of every week like us, so it's sorta otherworldly to them to
see that much food haha). So yea funny week with that, and playing
mafia for Noche de Rama(FHE for the branch).

Overall great week, and we're pumped to teach all the people this week
we found the week before!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 Delicious chocolate croissant that our ward mission leader bought us!
 Got Katie's letter!
 The view of the River el Cardener and the mountains while contacting

Quote from Katie

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Week 29: The Washer has Arrived!! Ski Walking, and I'm Kinda Sorta Training!

Hola familia!!!

This will be a shorter letter this week due to the crazy schedule that
we had today and us arriving into Manresa late, but here you go! We
had a very successful, but super hard week this week. Lots of lessons
taught to Spaniard people, and also a bunch of other strange and
spiritual experiences! The miracle above all was the opportunity we
had to find and teach Yadaily, a lady from Cuba that the hermanas
referenced to us during our zone Enfoque this week. We contacted her,
set up a visit, and she seemed super excited to meet with us! So when
the lesson came around, we were surprised to learn that she had been
taught a tiny bit two years ago by the hermanas in Barcelona, went to
church, and received a Book of Mormon which she brought to our lesson.
We taught the restoration to her, and Elder Olaso and I both had the
strong impression to give her a baptismal fecha for the 26th(happy
birthday Katie!), and she accepted!!!!! We have more lessons planned
with her, and we’ll see how it all goes this week!

In other news, Elder Olaso was transferred to Sabadell, which is like
a district away so we'll see each other again later this month during
Zone Conference. But my new companion, who's name is Elder Woodmansee,
fresh out of Murray Utah, and has only 8 weeks in the mission under
his belt. But the funny thing is that even though he isn't done with
training for like another month, I wasn't called as his trainer, so
either President thought I was good enough off without any trainer
training myself, or this should be an interesting experience. I asked
him in my email so we'll see what happens haha!

Also, after 7 weeks of being lost in the rickety shipping system of
Spain, our washer arrived!! As you can see from the picture, it was a
pretty emotional experience, and my hands and I are glad to be done
with washing everything in the tub! Also, ski walking, which I didn't
know existed, was what we witnessed as we were contacting and saw this
Morracan man ski running down the street past us, I guess they do
things differently here in Spain, who knew?

After finding an English Liahona from conference in October on a shelf
in the chapel, I began my goal to read one talk a day from it until
conference in April. Starting with the women's session, I was impacted
by the talk from Dieter F Uchtdorf titled "A Summer With Great-Aunt
Rose". It's basically a giant parable, all about an 11 year old girl
who's forced to spend the summer with this great aunt, and comes out
enjoying it. But at the end of the parable, Great aunt rose is asked
"How are you so happy?" She then tells the girl about how life hasn't
always been perfect, but over time she figured out that "now is part
of eternity(forever is composed of nows)", and that "faith in the
savior taught me that no matter what happens in the past, my story
could have a happy ending!". There's more to her sermon to this girl
then that, but it really impacted me how this short life is part of
eternity, that we shouldn't/can't be unhappy with what is wrong in our
lives, rather we should live now, and push forward. In the mission,
this is key, because each day here could be a drag since it's
basically the same schedule, but in reality, if we live now, each day
is filled with priceless spiritual and life experiences. And it is
only by living now, in the moment, that this can happen! I know
without a doubt that it isn't called the plan of happiness for
nothing, that we can and should be happy in this life, no matter the
circumstances! So yea, go and smell the roses (DC 88:33), live to the
fullest this life, and then your troubles will fall to the wayside!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 Finally broke down and went to the super expensive laundromat!  Worth it!

 Sunset in Manresa (no filter either!)
 Contacting by some more strange Spain advertising - dress pants taken literally!!
 Monkey business in the alleys of Manresa!
 Pasta with Mario and Ada
 The washer finally came after 6 weeks!  And at the last possible moment for Elder Olaso!
 We were genuinely almost crying haha!!
 Adios Elder Olaso!
New companion - Elder Woodmansee from Murray, Utah