Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Week 44: Jack Hammers, Ahi de Pollo, Guadalupe, and Biking with some Swans

Hola family!

Well I'm writing this letter from a laundromat that smells like the
men's changing room at the public pool, not because this is the new
missionary hangout here in Las Arenas, but because our laundry machine
door broke this week and we’re waiting for it to be fixed. Oh also
they're doing construction in the back room with a jackhammer to add
to the experience. Anyways it's been a crazy week of ups and downs
here in the small branch of Las Arenas!

We have some great progressing investigators, including a Guatemalan
trio named Rafeal, Joel and Frederico, who we’ve given the commitment
to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and will talk to us more
about baptism tomorrow. We also invited a Bilbao man named Ricardo to
be baptized after we taught him the first two lessons on Thursday and
Friday. He even accepted the fechas for the 9th of July, but called us
back later that day with cold feet, saying that he wants to know more
first(you've also got to read and find out for yourself!) . But besides
that, the rest of the weeks been good, we've found some amazing new
investigators, one named Guadalupe from Equatorial Guinea, who's seen
the missionaries from her piso, but hasn't had the chance to talk to
them in her 10 plus years here! We have a lesson with her tonight, she
accepted a Book of Mormon and is going to read Alma 32! Overall some
great people found here in the streets of Las Arenas! Now it's all
about bringing them to the waters of baptism!

For the menu this week, I've tried ahi de pollo from a Peruvian member
named Rosa who's going to leave to her country for three months, so we
visited her with us two and the Rhodes, the married missionaries. It's
super good though, potatoes, rice, ginger, and well you've got
yourself a great south american meal set up! We also had some delicious
roast at Manolo's, the nonmember husband of a lady in the Rama who's
never had a desire to get baptized, but who loves the
missionaries(especially us it seems like), to death! He's had a bad
week though, his dad died and we visited him and his extended family
in the funeral home to share our condolences, he really appreciated
that, especially since half way through his mom had an anxiety attack
and had to be pulled out by the ambulance workers. Not your average
Mormon funeral viewing but we brought some peace to the situation said
one of his cousins.

In life I sometimes wish that I could see my life the way God sees it.
He knows who we'll become, he knows where we came from, it'd be
amazing! Well, since that's not possible in the moment, we can do the
next best thing; to "see the end from the beginning". In the talk with
the same name from April 2006 conference, then Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf
spoke on how we can gain a better perspective on life by living a bit
more in the moment, and realizing the importance of each day! One of
my favorite scriptures of all time is in Doctrine and Covenants
64:33-34(I shared this with a Muslim teenager two days ago too named
Ibrahim) which shortened says "be not weary in well doing...out of
small things proceed that which is great". Why are we sometimes so
focused on getting someplace(like the celestial kingdom, the end of the
mission, or just to the next lesson, or so seminary in one piece) when
we forget to look around and serve/do something for someone else? It's
the little things we decide to do daily, reading the scriptures,
eating healthy foods, that over time can make a huge impact on who we
are and who we become! Seek those things which are above, and focus on
where you are right now rather than the future, and I promise you that
you'll find greater enjoyment in doing the little things in life, and
that as you do so, you'll see the "end from the beginning" and see you
goals and dreams come about!

For preparation day today we rented some bikes and biked around Bilbao
and the beautiful museums and parks! We played Mario kart with a
banana peel(we need to have fun too haha), and yea had a great time as
the six of us(Elders Reddish, Morley, Murley, Simon, me and Espinoza).
Seriously this is one of the most beautiful places in the world, just
look at some of these pics! And even better since we're sharing the

I love and miss you all, and am so grateful for all of your letters!
Have an amazing end of summer and Fourth of July!

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸŒ΄Elder Taylor Moulton🌲πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ

 Plaza del Pato

 We drink well as missionaries haha
 Preparation day spent riding bikes and rollerblading through Bilbao

 How many mistakes can you find?:)
 Ahi de Pollo, a Peruvian special brought to you by Rosa, a member in the branch


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Week 43: Soggy Agendas, Rainy Preaching, and our African Brother Papi

Hola family!

Good news, Barbara and Camilla were baptized! Yay!!!!!!!!! And in a
surprising turn of events, President and Hermana Dayton turned down
two other baptisms in Barcelona in order to take the one flight on
Saturday to Bilbao to get to our baptism! I love them so much gosh
dang! The service went great! I mean, it was a bit strange since the
relief society president from Bilbao got super peeved at us for having
the baptism the same night as her activity, which she changed to have
start at the same time as our service only two days before. But it all
worked out! Fun story, I was testing the water in the font to see the
temperature before the service, when my planner, filled with numbers
and plans, swan dived into the Spanish water! Miraculously, it was dry
on the inside, but now after drying it looks twice as big haha! But
hey, well worth the sacrifice for a Columbian and Portuguese teenager
to receive baptism!

It poured all week. Which was great since we, well there aren't too
many pluses to rain as a missionary(maybe sliding across the
concrete?), but we had fun anyways! On one of the days, I think Friday
we were running to a visit on the other side of the zip line bridge
from Portugalete, when we missed the bridge! Rather than angrily
waiting, we talked to these two African Muslima named Abdul and Haz,
who were selling umbrellas in the rain(smart!). But hey, they want to
hear more and now we've got some African friends to talk to when we go
across the bridge now, so blessings there!

Speaking of Africans, our less active Ghanaian friend named Papi (as
wise as Yoda and cool as Bob Marley, that's the best I could come up
with), came to church for the first time in many years! It was so
cool, the Rama had never met him, but he has such a strong testimony
of the Book of Mormon, so he fit right in! His only reason for not
coming before was that his legs hurt(he's 64), but now we know he can
make it!

Other than that, a pretty normal week otherwise! I got the flu last
night so that wasn't too fun, I had it a few days ago too. I got
vitamins and fruits and all that good stuff at Mercadona today so all
should be good now! We also had an amazing zone conference
yesterday(hence why I'm writing on a Tuesday) with the Bilbao and
Vitoria zones of missionaries! So good to get everyone back together,
and to hear some truly inspired lessons on contacting with power,
bringing the spirit into our lessons, and why we are here(like
personally why). It was so good though! As missionaries, these
meetings are some of the best times in the mission besides baptisms!

In a way life can be pretty frustrating at times. Not all of our
visits pan out(some people  might even throw potato peelings at you as
you walk by), people might frustrate you, and sometimes it feels like
life is pushing you along, rather than the opposite. We were listening
to a talk by President Thomas S Monson from the October 2009
priesthood session titled "School thy feelings, o my brother" a few
days ago. The topic? Revisiting and replacing anger and other strong
emotions with Christlike love! As well said by him, "anger doesn't
solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything". In
reality, I thought that anger and these emotions is really giving into
Satan's temptation, since in reality, no one can truly make us angry,
we do so ourselves. "A man’s a fool who takes an insult that wasn't
intended(hello rude basque/Catalan people cutting us in line at
Mercadona, or an old basque man loudly shutting us down mid-contact
with "just leave it!")". So what's the point? Why not replace
every sarcastic/subtlety angry comment(I'm guilty of that one
sometimes), with a hug? Or a high five? Or just compliment them on
something random like their hair or selection of tie that day? I
promise you that the more we "cease from anger and forsake
wrath(psalms 37:8)", the lord will bless us with the Holy Ghost, that
things will get easier! "This is my commandment, that ye love one
another as I have loved you".(John 15:12). You can do it!

Love and miss you all! Also happy late Father's Day!

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸŒ΄Elder Taylor Moulton🌲πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ

 Captain Jack Sparrow stopped by Santurtzi

 Just your average Spanish apartment building

 Got the package finally too!  Thank you so much!!
 Barbara with President and Hermana Dayton
 Camilla with them too

 Missionaries come in all sizes haha!
 The Bilbao river by Hermana Fe's house
 Zone Conference with the Vitoria and Bilbao Zones
 Oh Spain....

 Photos from the bus ride between Santander and Bilbao for our intercambio

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Week 42: Cow Tongues, Throwing Down the Table, A Visit to Ireland, and a Guatemalan Party!

Hola Family!

What a nuts week here in Bilbao! My language skills are coming along(yay!!!), I hit 10 months this week, and I ate a cow tongue! Very stringy and tender, but not my favorite meat haha! The member who made it made sure it was super spicy(I don't do well with spicy), so I had to cool that down with some potatoes and other things haha. But hey, bucket list. Other thing I crossed off that list, taking a selfie with a herd of cattle in the middle of nowhere in Basque Country in the rain and wind, see the picture below for evidence haha! That was part of our preparation day activity to head to a light house by a little town in our area called Plentzia, the light house looked more like a battery or a blender than un faro, but hey it was worth it(we were in a rush so we ended up jogging through the middle of these fields that made it feel as if we were in Ireland, it was crazy!). I love this part of Spain, the people, the food(maybe...), and the weather all feel like home!

We had planned to focus on boosting our investigator pool with new investigators, and after fervent prayer and just jumping out there, we found 16 new investigators! All of them were miraculous too, some even contacted us to meet with us, it was crazy! One of the most miraculous happened after having a lesson fire on us in Algorta. I felt prompted to pray, and a few seconds after the prayer I felt to head down some steps near where we were standing. At the bottom were 2 homeless men, Jose and Cristian, who were eating some sandwiches and wanted to talk with us! So we sat on the ground and taught them for about 20 minutes on faith and a bit of the plan of salvation, and they want to meet with us this Tuesday! It so amazing to feel how Christ felt talking to all people, even homeless and beggars! We also had a recent convert bring 5 Guatemalans to church that she found, who are going to meet with us tonight with our ward mission leader! They've been super prepared, they just arrived from Guatemala, and they got super excited talking about service and the Book of Mormon in gospel principles! There are so many miracles here it's ridiculous! We find less actives that have just moved from South America about every other day too so that is also ridiculous!

We had some fun lessons this week too! Elder Morely and I taught a super fuerte lesson to an internagator(eternal investigator) named Gabby about the word of wisdom. He didn't catch on but him and his member girlfriend(who are living together gosh dang it!) are still come to church! He's super good in every other aspect, he just doesn't want to be humble enough to receive the rest of the blessing that church has to offer! At our noche de Rama this week too, Elder Rhode taught us and some investigators the restoration, which at one point involved him picking up the table and dropping it very hard to make a point. That man is intense on the gospel, his wife's an angel though from Peru who has a harder time speaking Spanish then he does haha! So fun having a senior couple in the Rama!

“Examine ourselves"(2 Corint. 13:5). A pretty bold statement from a pretty bold apostle almost 2000 years ago. But a statement that should be put into better practice today. This week during our "Zone Enfoque"(monthly two hour zone meeting, we have a tiny zone of 14 so it's super different here in Bilbao), the topic given by President Dayton for our zone leaders was about being agents of our lives, and not objects. We talked about our excuses we make daily to make ourselves objects in our lives(self pity, I forgot, self denial, blaming, procrastination, denying ourselves blessings for things that don't really matter, it was fun too since we all took turns writing one of those things on a water balloon to toss across the alley behind the chapel haha), there are a lot of ways to take away our blessed gift of responsibility and agency. I quoted Paul at the beginning, not just because he's awesome, but because in order to take the step towards responsibility, we need to look at our faults and ourselves. "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." It's pretty simple! Just make the changes, and be accountable and responsible for your life(it reminds me of one of my dad’s famous quotes, "it doesn't matter what he/she does to me, I can only control what I do to him!"). So I invite all of you today, to take the advice of Paul, examine yourselves, pray to know what to improve('What Lack I Yet?' Oct. 2015), and I promise you that the Lord will provide a way for you to improve and be happier! Boom life rocks right?!

So yes, crazy week, a bunch of funny moments with people staring and asking funny questions to my 7 foot tall companion(he gets asked about basketball like 5 times a day), and miracles! I love this area and I'm pumped for the week to come!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton
 The Plentzia light house we went to today
 Elder Espinozas, yo, Carlos and Elder Reddish

 Night Time view from Astrabadua
 Elder Rhodes 

 You know your area's good when this is the view while contacting!

 Ignore the face, but hey cows!

 I don't know if I'm in Scotland or Spain haha!