Sunday, July 31, 2016

Week 48: Mountains to Climb, Ringing lucky Bells, and Sniffing some flour!

Hola Familia!

Ok, this week we climbed some mountains, 4 or 5 I think, and I'm not even kidding. We were running all over the place this week with lessons firing(canceling) on us, people giving us fake addresses to mountain tops(in summer too? Come on!), and our trip to a super tall rock with a church on top today. But it was worth it! Our area may be huge(6 or 7 major towns in it), but there are more than enough miracles to make up for the moments when I feel like Frodo hiking through the green hills of Basque Country. People like Joel, the Guatemalan man from that family I mentioned who's progressing towards his goal to be baptized the 6th of August! And people like Adoma, our favorite almost homeless, a work in progress with drinking, and super Christian Nigerian friend who's been meeting with us this last week, and who even testified to some drunk people last night during our lesson about the Book of Mormon being the word of God(in Spanglish since he's still new here). 

And funny story, we were walking through Algorta the other day looking for some people to talk too about the gospel(we don't ask for much as missionaries, just food and people to teach), when we found Adoma talking to a Bolivian man named Marcello on a bench we've met before. It took a minute to realize, but Marcello, who's been interested to meet with us for a while now, is actually the dueno, or landlord of Adoma, and straightaway invited us to come to his house to read the Book of Mormon! Small world haha, that a Bolivian man I met my first week here would be the man who owns the house of one of our investigators now! The Lord’s hand is in this work!

I’ve been reminded several times this week too about the lords ability to humble people. Whether it's seeing it in the lives of others, or the moments I have daily when I realized my shortfalls. These include, but are not limited to, falling on my face walking up the stairs, tripping on my companions long legs, tripping over wood signs in front of stores, falling in between two women on a train when the train stops, calling people by their wrong name during a lesson, learning that a word I thought I knew doesn't mean the same thing, the list goes on! But through all of these, and more, I've learned that I wasn't called to Spain for my abilities, but rather for me to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to help these people come unto Christ! And only in the mission have I been able to learn that!

Another miracle happened last night, when Elder Morley and I were called by one of the members that she'd be at the house of a less active who we were going to visit later.
Alicia had come to church that day, and her daughter, who's been baptized, has been at some activities with this member Miriam over the last few weeks, the only problem being Alicia's schedule with work. But during the visit, we taught the plan of salvation, with Oyer the almost 9 year old son listening too, and were surprised by the spirit we felt in this room. Helen the daughter testified of her baptism, and randomly, we both felt promoted to invite Alicia and Oyer to be baptized the 13th, which they both excitedly said yes to! Alicia even told us after that she's had the desire to receive baptism for a while now, since she's met us and talked with Miriam, but just didn't finalize when. The date worked for her and the family though, and we’re now going to help them prepare for that day to be all baptized as a family! All well worth the climb up Lamiako Hill for that to happen!

I read an amazing talk this week by Elder Edward Dube called "look ahead and believe" from 2014. The message to me was simple; in the service of the Lord it isn't about how much we've done, or where we've been, but it's all about what we'll do right now. As Jeffery R Holland says, "Faith is always pointed to the future". So in those moments when you feel the grass was greener back in the day, or that things are looking pretty dry now(missionaries are no strangers to this), stop it! You only have a short life here on earth, and since we can't edit or change the past, how much better is it to focus on right now, and put your faith to action! So I invite you all, to smile, think for a minute on how the Lord has blessed you, and then pray to know how to make the most of this life he has blessed us with! (DC 64:34)

Overall, a fun and crazy week, made better by a fun preparation day visiting the church of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, and playing a game with flour during a Rama activity(I'll explain that later haha, let's just say it involves flour, a coin, and a nose). I know that Heavenly Father and our Savior direct this work, and that all these things that happen, happen for a purpose!

Love and miss you all!

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸŒ΄Elder Taylor Moulton🌲πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ
 Spent the day with the Rama at the San Juan church!
 Sandwich and bonbons!

 San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
 We ring the bell with a wish for good luck, boom!

 Manolo, the best nonmember husband of a member ever!

 Ramiro the ward mission leader, his brother, and Manolo

Week 47: Sweaty Weather, Charming Contacts, Revelation & Alcohol

Hola Familia!

Wow this week has been a crazy one! From interviews to failed district
meetings because of a lack of buses to Santander, to being almost hit
with a belt with a group of homeless men, it's was pretty
interesting(and don't worry about the belt, the man was wasted beyond
belief, super great man though, his names Javi). But the good news is
that we now have three out of the four Guatemalans on a baptismal date
for the next week or so(30th of July, and the 6th of August). That's
all thanks to my companion Elder Morley, who randomly and boldly
invited Joel, the third one to be baptized just this last night! Boom,
just out of training and going strong! This last Sunday too we had a
crazy 7 investigators in church and 4 less actives that hadn't been in
quite some time so we were pumped as they all came in the door!
Overall, a fun and busy week here in Las Arenas.

We had quite a few great experiences with revelation this week. We had
been praying to find some new people(sheep we like to call them), to
teach is week. Our prayers were answered when one day after passing by
an old investigators piso we contacted the only person not drinking on
the street, to find that's she was a baptized member from Brazil
that's lived here for 12 years and never knew the church was here in
his part of Spain! Elisa didn't end up going to church, which was sad,
but it goes so show how much revelation on the part of where we
contact or visit, and who we contact we have as missionaries and with
the Holy Ghost! Things like this make me grateful for those tender
mercies the Lord gives us, making each day even better!

So besides our homeless friends from Algorta(a part of town where we
always find miracle lessons), we also had an alcohol story with our
friend Adoma. He's a Nigerian man we found in the street last week,
who showed up to his first lesson absolutely drunk, so drunk that,
well he was just drunk I'll just say that. But through his drunken
Spanglish and prayers in the lesson, we felt a good spirit to him to
we made sure to meet with him again. Thankfully we did, because we
were able to commit him to quit alcohol and smoking, and is
miraculously progressing with that goal! He still showed up to
sacrament meeting a bit tipsy(he's getting there), but the difference
we've seen in him the last few days has been amazing. Also he brought
a friend to church who wanted to learn more about Jesus Christ, boom!

Through the driving 48 degree heat yesterday(118 degrees Fahrenheit,
that's what a sign showed in Bilbao after interviews), and some
amazing weather the rest of the week, we struggled with contacting.
Not because of us, but because we've been denied by about every person
on the street, or if not, given fake numbers and other normal things
we deal with as missionaries(the best on being when some man very
strongly told Elder Morley that he didn't like him, and he's talked
with us for like 10 seconds haha). So while not every person on the
street is ready for the gospel, at least we've found a few choice
spirits who we've been teaching, and who truly want to learn more
about the gospel!

Miracles are everywhere, and through all of the crazy sweating I've
been doing(I sweat so much I don't even know why, I think I have a
hormone disorder or something like that!) During my studies I learned
today about the miracle of Joseph Smith, and the blessing we have to
know of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ! Just like it
says in D&C 135:3, Joseph Smith left a fame and a heritage that cannot
be compared with anyone except Jesus Christ, and we owe so much to him
for the blessings we enjoy today as members of Christ's church! I know
that he's the prophet of the restoration, and I know that through him,
the Book of Mormon was translated, and the priesthood and many other
key principles of the gospel were brought back to the world! I'm also
grateful for President Dayton for helping us during our interviews to
realize the importance of this man, and the blessing we have to
testify of him every day!

Overall a great week, filled with miracles, sweat(why body?), and some
great things going on here!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 Preparation Day sports!

It was hoooot!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Week 46: False Alarm Judgement Day, Babies, Battle of the Consejo, and Tree Prayers!

Hola family!

This has been a good week. We taught some good people, we found some
old investigators after some many many years(one that lives across from
the chapel too...), miraculous references from the members(Columbian
family!), and yep, I cumplido 20 years! I'm so old, haha just kidding
but still, I feel old not being able to tell people on the streets
that in a teenager sharing the gospel. You wouldn't believe some of
the faces I've gotten telling people that! But some of the members and
investigators celebrated with cake and candles and some of those party
blower thing that mom sent! And I got hugs from our Guatemalan friends
too! Best present ever!

Some recent converts from a little ago had their baby this week too,
Paula and Vlad! It was super early too, like two months early so she's
still in the hospital, but we got to visit them, and the babies names
Alicia! She's so tiny! She weighs exactly half as much as I did when I
was born(which isn't saying much since I weighed like 10 pounds haha).
But it was fun to visit them in the hospital and get funny stares as
we walked down the hallway(we’re a pretty tall duo).

A duo which will be together another transfer! While it was almost
certain before that I was going to stay and Elder Morley would leave,
the entire district stayed the same! Kinda lame, I love having
changes, it keeps things interesting! I mean not like our weeks aren't
interesting to begin with! So judgment day(our nickname for
transfers), was a false alarm.

We found out too last night that this old investigator we have named
Francisco lives with this other man we found named Jorge from
Honduras, small world! The good news is that we're going to have a
lesson with them both, and hopefully their families tonight! I love
miracles like that! And ones like sitting on a bench to make calls and
having a less active man of over 10 years find us and introduce
And want to meet with us! And his name’s Germann too! Just
feeling good with the tender mercies around here!

In other news, Carol our building’s cleaning lady explained to us the
art of tree prayers, as in hugging a tree and praying. Alright carol
you do that! And last but not least, Elder Morley got squid
besoed(kissed on the cheek/ear if you're unlucky)by an old woman in a
Chinese restaurant. Boom!

In my studies and during our zone meeting on Wednesday, I've been
studying about and learned a lot about the art of not comparing
ourselves to others! Elder Murley, a good friend of mine leaving the
mission(along with my trainer), compared life to a race, or the
mission too. If we keep looking to the side, comparing ourselves to
others, and forgetting who you are and what you're here to do, you
won't do the best you can do! That's why instead of comparing
ourselves to others, we need to live up to our potential, and become
who we are as Elder Causee says! Become who you are, and be grateful
for where you are right now, and all will turn out all right!

I love and miss you all, and I'm so grateful for your amazing emails,
the package from my family, and the love I felt this very different

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

 District meeting

 Elder Murley (middle) who headed home to Canada!
 Decorations from home!

 Birthday party with the gang!

 Thanks for the package!  haha
Already wore out a pair of shoes!  We told him to buy more before he goes home!  Nice!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Week 45: Romanians to the Rescue, Miracle Mountain Climbing Lessons, and BAE!

Hola Familia!

Ok sorry for what looks to be a less then spiritual subject this week,
but there are some miracles happening here! We were counseled by our
district leader Elder Allen to go through our area book and clean it
out to find some new investigators. Well, because of some downsizing
in the mission and the fact that this area at one point had 6
missionaries, we ended up going through four area books! Because of
that alone we found many miraculous people, Alejandro for example, who
had been taught by the elders a year ago, but lost contact with them,
and who was the first person we called! He's been great in lessons,
and were planning to invite him to the FHE this week! He can speak
English fluently, he's secretly rich(he's got property here and in
Burgos), and a vegan, not that that's bad or anything but bacon really
is a great thing. Another miracle was this family from Bolivia, who
had been taught for a while, but had also fallen through the cracks.
They live in this neighborhood in Lamiako, up on this mountain, which
we climbed with Arturo to get there! But it was worth it! Samuel and
Alicia gladly let us in, and miraculously Miriam, a long-time member
of the Rama was there too! She had just shown up to try inviting them
to church again, so we taught them the restoration, and because of
that lesson and the invitation to attend, the children(3 of them) all
were able to attend, and had a great time in their classes! I'm so
grateful for that counsel that we received, not just because we
cleaned out and organized the 4 books down to 2, buy because of the
many new and potential investigators there that hadn't been touched in
many months/years(dating back to before I was baptized myself..., so
grateful we get the online area book next week!)

Our washer was also fixed this week! This random Romanian man, I think
named Jorge or Raul, I can't remember, called us during weekly
planning, came by 15 minute later, fixed the broken door, and boom now
we can wash our clothes for free! That had been a huge stress on me
before, but thankfully that's taken care of. Now we just need to fix
the electricity in half the piso...

We had some great lessons with our Guatemalan friends Rafeal, Joel and
Frederico. We had the wonderful opportunity too to bring them
food(they're quite poor right now as they're searching for a job),
that a generous member bought for them with our help! They and us were
on the verge of tears when we brought 4 stuffed bags of food to their
door. I love being a missionary!

I also learned a few things this week! I learned to not lose your
footing on a grassy hill in front of the branch(I even took a selfie
after impact haha). I also learned that BAE here is Spain meets
something else: Bacon and Eggs. So you could imagine our confusion
when Arturo, this member we go out with all the time uses that haha!
The culture here is pretty hilarious sometimes!

This week in my personal studies, I've been going through the war
chapters of Alma(46-63). While for some, they might be pretty dull,
for me as a missionary I found a pile of things to learn from the
amazing examples of the people in these chapters! The 2000 stripling
warriors example of following the examples of our mothers(love you
mom!), patience, and a small one about the assurances of the Lord. In
Alma 58:11, it talks about these as being the little things each day
that show the lord's love for you. And they are things that only you
can see! I see them daily when we contact someone who isn't atheist,
when a question I had in my prayers gets answered at a mission
conference/general conference, or even just peace of mind when I know
it'd be really easy to give up! These daily assurances are designed
specifically for us, and are for those who want to serve the Lord, but
are having a hard time continuing because of the opposition and
craziness all around them! I promise you that the Lord’s assurances are
there, and that if you pray for the opportunity to see them, you'll
feel the love of the Lord every single day!

Overall, a sort of normal week, I'm grateful to be serving here in Las
Arenas with a tall companion with a very similar name to mine(Morley,
Moulton), and to have had such a great time here this last 5 weeks!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 On the way down, Bilbao's amazing!

 Last district meeting with the Santander district!
 Riding the bridge at sunset
 Preparation day in Muskiz

 This gecko was living in that broom in a members store haha!

 The rama and friends for the hike today!
 Happy Fourth of July!
 The beach!
 Family Home Evening with the Rama and investigators! We had five there!

The mountain!