Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Week 35: Drunken Gypsies, Confused Muslims, Strange Object Lessons, and Baptisms!

Hola familia!

Manresa booming! I came here in February with there only being three
lessons a week before me, and now three months later we have two
investigators ready to be baptized this next week! There's been so
much growth here it's ridiculous! While we are still working on the
Rama (ward) and getting them excited, we definitely don't have boring days
here! As you can see from the subject though, the word of wisdom isn't
a popular item on a Spaniards to-do list, especially for this one
gypsie family we've been teaching. We came in, everyone's waiting for
us, and then boom, Santi, this middle aged man who's super tan and
loud, comes in, and proudly declares that he's been drinking wine(a
lot of it). One thing led to another, and we spent the next twenty
minutes just trying to get a return visit with them as he would
respond to everything with "hombre Claro"(aka-no duh!), and his
sister, who's more interested then he is, was left laughing her head
off at this(it was so ridiculous that we were laughing too haha).
Well, they didn't come to the return visit, but lesson learned, if you
teach Santi or any gypsie, ask if they're drunk BEFORE proceeding!

We had the most amazing baptismal miracle this week! The Sunday before
last, one of the recent convert member couples in the Rama brought
this 50 year old lady named Mar that was renting a room in their house
to sacrament meeting. She ended up loving the meeting, and we were
able to set up an appointment for last Thursday with her and this
couple. When we arrived at the lesson, we asked a few questions about
her beliefs, and basically found out that the day she moved into this
new apartment, she had been told by her evangelical church that it'd
take a year or so for her to be baptized(since she's never been).
Frustrated and confused, she found this member Jose on the street that
day, who's the son of a good friend of hers, and moved pisos to his
because she wanted a better atmosphere. Long story short, Jose talked
to her a lot about baptism, Joseph smith, and the Book of Mormon, and
well she basically asked us to be baptized!!!! Manresa's going to have
a baptism!!!! Since then we've had two more lessons with her, she's
reading and praying, and she shed quite a few tears when we showed her
the video of Christ's baptism last night. That and Javier our other
investigator with a fecha for the same day(May 7th), who came to
church this Sunday, and it's been a miraculous week for baptisms in
Manresa! (And they're both references!)

We also learned to make back up plans, because you never know when an
investigator will drop on you, when they give you a fake address(there
are some really creative ones haha!), or if your lesson goes way over
because they made a pile of food for you(hard to leave for that one).
On one of our backup visit pass bys to this Muslim man named
Jawwed(who we found after a month living in the piso above his old
one, having left because I kid you not, "magnetic waves and forces
weren't working out for him there!" His words not mine haha). We found
out the reason why he's also not been answering is because he thought
we were racist, because he interpreted a scripture about people in
darkness being about people with dark skins. Once we cleared that one
up, he was more willing to meet with us(don't know how to explain the
magnetic forces though haha, that's a new one haha).

We also had a fun lesson with an investigator named Augustine, a poor
spanish man with a wife who's literally crazy, and a house filled
with cockroaches...
😧. What made the night fun though was him trying
to explain something to us by him running over to the fridge, dragging
it across the room(it's a pretty small place so it wasn't overly
necessary haha), and comparing it to the bread and water representing
Christ. Random but hey it works!

The conference talk of the week is from April 2000 conference titled
"The Power of Self-Mastery" by James E Faust. I found this one
completely by accident, but the title stood out to me so I decided to
read into it a bit. It was basically a call to all the priesthood(and
everyone else too), to look back on themselves, trim the unkempt
branches that have grown over the years, and be true to who you are!
I've been needing that, since as missionaries we always have the
constant struggle of personality versus productivity, and knowing that
the best missionaries have both of these things! He quoted David O
McKay in saying "Spirituality is the consciousness of victory over
self, and of communion with the Infinite. Spirituality impels one to
conquer difficulties and acquire more and more strength. To feel one’s
faculties unfolding and truth expanding the soul is one of life’s
sublimest experiences". We as God’s spirit children have been blessed
with many things; love, materials, family, and many others. But God’s
greatest gift to us through the gift of Agency has been and always
will be the ability to gain more faith and spirituality by our own
will! Because faith isn't faith unless we really love doing it, so why
not work to be more faithful and happy? I invite all of you to look
back on yourselves, trim those branches, correct the things that need
correcting, and become true, happy and loving disciples of Jesus
Christ. I promise you that while the journey and the path to do so
will be tough sometimes(I would know, Spaniards can be pretty critical
of our Spanish, even after 8 months haha), the blessings are there for
those who are trying to do so! Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best "That
which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the
nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is

Overall a miraculous week! From finding new investigators who
conveniently have friends who've been on missions, to last minute
contacts becoming a whole family of investigators, Manresa is the
place to be(even if we are the tip of the spear out on the edge of the
Barcelona zone).

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 Plaza Espana in Barcelona on our first day trip there this week!

 Katie, the bird of Javier, who's getting baptized next week!
 I really don't know haha - make up a caption I guess
 When nobody by home haha (ghetto rigged)
 I'll try knocking..... haha
 Plaza San Domingo at night
 San fruitos de bages on the bus back from an appointment
 San Jordi Festival, with giant people, tons of books, and roses for days!
When you say you need to leave but they need to give you something to eat.......

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week 34: Greasy Chicken, Preaching in the Square, 'He's Seen Dead People', and a Castle on a Cloud

Hola mi impresionante Familia!

This was a strange week as the subject line shows. Add to that finding
out that Elder Woodmansee's anemic, and yep this week was one for the
books. But the big plus was that Ninfa brought her 12 year old German
speaking daughter Victoria to church, and she's reading the Book of
Mormon! That family's going down as soon as Ninfa puts away the idea
that prophets are unnecessary for our day... Kinda key haha! But we
also lost another fecha, Patrick, who disappeared after us giving it
to him, the third in the line of the 'fecha curse of Manresa', because
they all disappear haha it's so nuts, Satan’s a real party some days.
But we do have Javier now on one, a little goofy Spanish man with a
high voice and weed blankets, he's great!

We had probably one of the most miraculous lessons this week on a park
bench in Plaza San Domingo, right in the middle of town with a Spanish
man named Miguel Angel. We had written down his number a few weeks
ago, and messed up one digit, so we thought we had just been given
another fake number. But then, last week, we found him again on this
completely random side street with his sister, got his real number,
and had a cita with him on Friday. When we got to the bench to teach
him, we found his mother there also named Montse, who was excited to
hear about the church also. As we began talking, Miguel angels wife
and baby daughter came up and sat down also, along with his father,
Miguel. Then followed some brothers before we were teaching 7 the
restoration on a park bench on a fairly busy day in Manresa. While it
was a bit terrifying having a bunch of people stop and listen from
behind the family too, we taught the whole first lesson, and now we're
going to meet with them all again tomorrow, since Miguel Angel was
doing a 50 km walk event yesterday. And the crazy thing about this is
that Montse was friends with Toni Garcia, the member we were with,
since they actually are neighbors! All this because we found this man
on a random street at mediodia to help correct the incorrect phone
number we had, that we almost got crossed out! God has a way of
correcting our mistakes and making it up in the end!

Another fun lesson, we found Angelo our New York/Greece/Venezuelan
investigator who's had a crazy past, with I kid you not, real
experiences of seeing stuff from the other side(and not the good
kind). It was pretty spiritually intense though, because after telling
these stories to us, and us leaving him with a prayer, he suddenly
wasn't so against the idea of there being a god! Heck yea the spirit’s
real! Now we just need to make sure he doesn't beat anyone up on the
street, he's a bit on the rough side. But he speaks English and has a
cat named 'awesome cat', so he's a keeper!

Last night the Garcia family fed us some deliciously greasy Spanish
chicken called Pollo a'laste, which is code for cold, delicious, and
slippery chicken that has yet to have cause problems in our bodies, so
it obviously wasn't tainted! But it was super delicious, and they're
our go to source for members that will help us, so we've made sure to
get to know them!

Also today we spent the day visiting this castle called Castellet
south of Manresa, up on this super high mountain! We brought food so
we sat and ate way up above the valley. Not a bad way to relax after
another not so boring week!

I studied humility this week, because, well, we could all use a bit
more humility in our lives. While there are the famous scriptures such
as Ether 12:27 or the one in the New Testament about the camel and the
needle, the one that I found that impressed me was in Doctrine and
Covenants 64:34- which says that the "willing and obedient shall eat
of the good in the land of Zion" as in those who are humble and are
good followers will receive the blessings of the church and the Lord.
What impresses me the most about the scripture was the fact that it
didn't say that only the best and the cleanest and the strongest of us
would receive the good in Zion. No, instead only the willing and
obedient will be able to reach this place of blessing. I've applied
this by listening more closely to my leaders, District, Zone or
Mission President, and acting straightaway on these, rather than being
prideful by doubting them or talking against them. Just as Elder Owens
said in conference a few weeks ago, the best leaders and people in the
world were always the best followers, especially Jesus Christ. So I
challenge all of you to write down what our leaders say, whether it be
your bishop, Sunday's school teacher or yoga instructor, and do it!
The blessings are in good supply for the humble and willing in this

Overall, a fun, emotional, tiring, and busy week, and a sad one since
we had to drop a few of our investigators, but good since we found
ones that are more interested for this week!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 The Garcias and Reuban in the corner
 Got the postcard!
 That's a horse!
 Pollo a'laste with the Garcia family, with matching table cloth bibs for us haha!
 Had a few extra minutes before interviews to walk through Plaza Catalunya
 View from Montserrat from the top

 We are in the middle of nowhere haha!
 Lunch trip to Castle Casstellet near Manresa
 River Cardoner
 The castle

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 34: Rubi, Miracles, Crazy Gypsies, Fallen Angel, and an inquisitive Hobo!

Hola Familia!

Dang your trip that week sounded amazing! Was it hot? I love the story
about the horses, especially with dad getting the slowest - haha!

This week in our little mountain retreat of Manresa, we had probably
the most stressful week of my mission. To start off, Angel, a less
active of ours who's been baptized for about a year now, called us
Thursday morning to tell us that he's apostated from the church.
Like flat out ditching ours to go back to the Catholics or Jehovah's
witnesses! And all because he was offended by a member, he hasn't
even attended since January! It's just like that talk by Elder Bednar
about not being offended, but yea he chose to do just that. All Elder
Woodmansee and I could do was go to his house, and testify with some
power I didn't know I had! He got all offended at us for that too, so
we had to leave him. I feel so bad for him, he's depressed too, which
could have been fixed if he listened to the missionary’s invites to
read and pray! Sadly, there's only so much we can do as missionaries!

On a happier note, we invited a Nigerian man named Patrick to be
baptized this month, Ninfa was excited to hear about temples and
eternal marriage, and we found some great new investigators this week!
Sadly our whiteboard is like a train station and because of not being
able to get into contact with some of our people we've had to move
some of them out. We have some great ones to replace them with though
so there's hope! We also had intercambios this week so I spent the day
with Elder P Miller in Rubi, a town filled with South Americans! The

I can't really narrow down this week to one miracle that really stood
out to me, but I did see a pattern in all the miracles that we did
see, which is that God through many means puts us exactly in the place
that we need to be. Moments like trying the first door on a street to
find a lost new, finding out that we found them the first try, to
finding a new and a very interested investigator just outside of the
building of another investigator that wasn't home, or having a store
owner named Marta we gave a Book of Mormon to show us her
reading/highlights in alma 7 that she wasn't that interested in at
first! Sometimes the miracles are huge, others a bit less life
changing. But all of these tender mercies, and the others we had, all
changed the lives of someone, whether it be us or the people we are
teaching! And for me, it's daily reassurances that the lord is
watching out for us, even if we don't notice it at the time!

This Sunday was crazy too, we walked into find an African man named
Reuban sitting in the seats, who's a hobo, but had a Book of Mormon
and was interested in our church. He asked a bunch of pretty crazy
questions during gospel principles though which gave our very capable
teacher a run for her money haha. He also stood up during priesthood
and went to the pulpit to ask for food and money. Sadly, he was only
really there for the food or money so he wasn’t interested in the
missionary lessons, we have his number though so we'll have to find
him someday! We also had Teresa a gypsie woman that we are teaching
attend, she has some crazy family husband problems that we got roped
into this week too, but she's progressing! I’ll leave that story of what
happened with the husband and us for after the mission though haha, it
was a crazy week let’s just say that!

This week in personal study I've been studying King Benjamin's speech
and teachings in Mosiah. For anyone who's read the Book of Mormon, you
know that there are some amazing teachings in these chapters at the
beginning of Mosiah, but the one that stood the most out to me was in
Mosiah 4:19, "Are we not all beggars?". There's a bit more context to
it than that, but I hadn't had a scripture impact me in a long time as
much as this one did. We might all have different incomes, childhoods,
families, cultures or ages, but we are all in the same boat, finding
our place in this life, being good, and preparing for the next life.
As missionaries, it's good to remember this because as we talk to some
real characters in the streets(crazy Andalusian Catholic priests,
Jehovah's witnesses, drunk people on trains, the crazy lady yelling
Catalan around Manresa all day), it's sometimes very easy to think
about how much more we've got in our lives with the church and the
gospel. But really, what we should be thinking is how we can help each
other in this life be more perfect, to love one another, and to put
aside all judgement. So I invite you all, and fellow beggars and
hobos in this crazy life on earth, to treat each other with kindness,
love and respect, no matter if they're Muslim, atheist, or Buddhist
Spaniards! Also read Jeffery R Holland's October 2014 talk on this
scripture too, it's quite awesome.

Overall a crazy week, I love the work here in Manresa, and I'm both a
bit nervous and pumped to get into a new week! Thank you for all the
letters and pics!

Love you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 Happy Birthday Hermana Stanley!
 Pique macho, Peruvian style!
 Ready to give out some Book of Mormons to the Muslims!
 We've had some long days haha!
Found some Tang, just as impressive as in the U.S. haha (it was like 75 cents here too!)
 View during lunch today
 McDonald's and a view!

 Toured the Convent of Sant Ignacio here in Manresa - place had the coolest cave ever!

 Outside the convent!  Spain's awesome!

Week 33: Snail Trains, Wheat Clog, Finding Teresa, and German Hospitality

Hola family!!

You crazies all off in Las Vegas and Utah for conference! Still
sounded like a fun time! Which hotel were you in? This week was fairly
normal with a bunch of great lessons, and our monthly zone meeting
where Elder McArthur shot us with confetti cannons(they cost like 50
cents here it amazing!). But then it got strange. We ended up getting
on the most empty and slow train I've ever been on to Manresa, I left
my planner on it, and we almost missed a lesson as we arrived 45
minutes late haha it was nuts! We had a great few lessons with Ninfa,
our favorite Colombian German woman who introduced us to her Spanish
"husband"(dang it....), and she gave us a pile of delicious potato
casserole and German chocolate(she made sure it had no gluten in it
for Elder Woodmansee! She's amazing!). And that leads us to the wheat

We had just taught a lesson to Ingrid, a younger woman who we invited
to be baptized in two weeks, when just as we finished praying, the
very uncomfortable looking Elder Woodmansee ran to the Baño, and well
long story short, that gluten and a virus going around the mission
don't go well together. He was so in pain that he just laid on the chapel
floor while calling Hermana Dayton for some advice(she just
sent us to our piso for the rest of the day, like 7 hours, so we watched
the testaments, and every other video we could find around the place -
staying in during the mission is killer boring!). So because of that,
we missed the Saturday morning session Saturday night, but we were able
to see it the next day. That is after we fixed the wifi that
conveniently died just as we got there to see conference. But thanks
to prayer and the faith of all the priesthood here in Manresa waiting
for the priesthood session, we did it! Take that satan!!

Speaking of he who must not be named, he was working big time against
us as we miraculously found this Antiguo investigator named Teresa,
who hadn't been taught but wanted to learn! We prayed to know which
door she was, since we only knew her building, and miraculously it
turned out to be the very first door we knocked on the floor we chose.
But we were barred from entering due to her absolutely nasty mean
sister and grumpy/super anti-religion father, who only wouldn't let us
in because God hadn’t answered his prayers. Hello, when the only two
missionaries in Manresa miraculously find your door out of 15,000
others, how is that not an answer? We also both had the most powerful
impression to give that woman a blessing, since she was on her death
bed. But anyways he wouldn't budge, even after basically begging him
in our rudimentary Spanish, so we called president about what we
should do since we both felt that impression. After talking to him, we
ended up praying for her to be blessed outside the door, and we had to
leave. Probably one of the most spiritual experiences we've both had
in the mission, and while it was easy to be extremely angry after
that, I know that Teresa will get her chance to hear the gospel
someday, whether from us, or other missionaries or after this life!

Other than that, conference was amazing, we ended up watching 4
sessions on Sunday because we missed the session Saturday, and one
this morning so we are all caught up! Great messages, I especially
loved the one by Dieter F Uchtdorf on Sunday, and the one by Steven W
Owens during the priesthood session. But overall a powerful and
uplifting conference! And Ninfa was impacted by the Sunday morning
session and wants to talk about baptism and temples now - heck yea!
Re-watch those talks!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 Zone Enfoque

 Celebrating Easter with donuts and chocolate!
 16.3.3 by butt!  (we are assuming they gave the elders the wrong address)

 When your companion eats gluten when he shouldn't, things get rough in the chapel as he tries to call Hermana Dayton!
 German chocolate and cakes from Ninfa - an investigator of ours!
 Gosh dang it Satan! (Wifi shut down for conference!)
Ready for Conference!