Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Week 53: "I believe a witch just hit me on the rear with a broom during the First Vision", and Other Stories!

Hola family!

Well, first week being a father and we’ve encountered the best and the
worst. Tons of mate(herbs they drink with water here with something
called a bombilla, it's Argentinian), crazy gypsy people, fast
talking Spaniards, and the experience of teaching the restoration with
a parade doing down the same street as us, with giant head costumes,
fat Churros, and witches who for some reason wanted to hit me in the
rear with a broomstick during a lesson on the restoration. But hey
good story haha, and the girl Elsa was at church with a baked
investigator of ours(he wasn't baked at the time just when we first
found him haha! His name’s Manuel and he's 22 from Spain).

Well I don't have much time today, so I'll finish this with some info
on my son. His names Elder Perry, he speaks better Spanish then I did
when I had six months in the mission, he sings in an acapella group,
he's 18, and well, he's ready to preach the gospel!

I love and miss you all, and I'll write more this next week! Las
arenas and our four man district is ready to take charge!
 Our district in one piso haha!
 Getting my "son" at transfers
 Bilbao zones training 5 missionaries!

Trio while my companion is in Barcelona

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Week 52: Arctic Baptisms, My companion was sent to Babylon, and I'm gonna be a father!

Hola familia!

Well this about sums it up. A crazy last week of the transfer, a bunch
of running around the city seeing everyone we could before Elder
Morley left to Ibiza(the island party/drinking/beach capital of
Europe, sounds like fun!). It was sad to see him go, we've been through
a lot these last 3 months, and now I'm so excited to train a new
missionary here in Las Arenas! I've only finished a training, so this
will be a first for me. The fun part of being a trainer though is
being able to take the train ride across Spain to Barcelona for the
"future parents meeting" and the training meeting with President
Dayton. With a mission as big as ours, we don't get to see him much so
that's a bonus!

We had an amazing week, and to top it off we had a great baptismal
service for Alicia and Oyer, a mother and son from Bolivia! The water
was a bit cool(so cold that my feet went numb as we went in, and Oyer
had a look of shock on his face when he had to be baptized again since
his arm came up), but it was worth it. Alicia and Oyer each bore their
testimonies after the ordinance, and the spirit was felt especially
during Oyer's, who, even though he's only 8, testified that baptism is
the way to live with God again. The simplest testimony, but still a
powerful one, one that touched the hearts of several people in that
meeting! Alicia during the meetings on Saturday asked for some temple
pictures, a Christ picture, a triple combination, and about eternal
marriage. I’m so excited to keep working with this amazing family! Such
a good family, now it's about keeping all 4 of them progressing with
the gospel, even if they live on top of a mountain(my legs are so sore
from climbing that thing every day).

Here's a quote from my journal this week. "Pilar(an investigator we
taught in Santander during an intercambio) was a bit goofy. She's like
55ish, loves the scriptures, has a thrift store dedicated to Martin
Luther King(even if she's going after religious rights, not civil
rights), and her children look very African... No idea how, she's
definitely Spanish." Just an example of what passes through my brain as
we preach the gospel haha.

If there's anything that I've learned this week, through sweat, odd
food, intercambios, funny people and tall companion jokes for the last
time, is that agency is to be used well. It's a gift from our loving
Heavenly Father, that if we use well, can bless not just us, but the
lives of countless others in our lives. As a wise prophet once said,
"Be wise in your days of probation". And that's not to say that every
minute will be a test, but in reality the test is how we use this
time. After a year of serving the Lord each and every day, I'm pretty
tired. But I'm excited to continue to use my agency to keep serving
the Lord here in the Spain Barcelona mission. Here's my invitation for
you all, don't, as a wise missionary once told me, "sit in the hot tub
of self pity", but rather hop on out and run, and make the probation
the best time of your life!

I love and miss you all, and I pray you all have an amazing week!

Love you!

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

 Alicia and the family pre baptism lesson (couldn't go inside since there was no man there so we had the lesson on the steps)

 Fireworks over Bilbao and the last night before transfers
 One year in the mission - feeling pretty old!
 Intercambio with Elder Ibarro

 Elder Morley and I

 Baptism of Alicia and Oyer
 Last pic before Elder Morley left in a taxi to catch a plane to Ibiza
 Non-alcoholic beer! Tastes nasty though, like a peach that's sat in some old lemon juice, but it's worth it!
 Last ditrict meeting

Monday, August 15, 2016

Week 51: Basque Men, Them Old Folk, and that'd be a large, hairy, shirtless old man reading The Hardy Boys!

Hola family!

This week I’m feeling a bit worn out, one because its hot and humid(I'm currently sweating in a latino locutorio as I type), and I've climbed up Lamiako Hill where Alicia and her family live about 4 or 5 times(it’s like climbing into Mordor, except not since its to help a family get baptised this weekend). Other than that it’s been a great week! We've had a ton of quality lessons(they were home too! yay!), and we had a big group of friends in church(6!). Oyer, the son of Alicia too has been excited as ever to be baptized, now we're hoping that Alicia gets as excited about it too(she's been a bit luke-warm, which worries us). But we have a fun family home evening with the senior couple and them tonight so that should be fun!(Holy Ghost and desserts, yes!)

Basque and Spanish culture are pretty fun. Where else in the world will you find that almost every person has a small dog, everyone loves their cafes, Elder Morley is seen as a giant(he's a well-known person in town, everyone asks for "the tall one" when we have intercambios haha) and where its customary for the men to unbuckle their belts after they eat. That’s something that only happens in Basque country, but I'm still planning to keep my belt up and tight at our eating visits haha. Also while not everyone here speaks basque, everyone says the basque word for goodbye(Argull!), just like how in Catalunya everyone says Adeiu!. So the next time you visit Bizkaia, remember to say Argull!

We contacted almost every person in the streets this week. Like, every single one, even the 90 year old woman sitting on a park bench who’s almost 100% deaf. We did have some success with us finding a man named Ceferino, from Paraguay, who’s super pumped about Christianity and will meet with us Wednesday after his trip to Germany(Alemania as they say here). But even if we had a little less success, the important thing is that we testified to all those contacts, and gave them a chance to hear the gospel!

The biggest miracle this week other than the schedule of Alicia opening up(finally!) is Joel, our investigator who's only issue between him and baptism is him. But the miracle came during a lesson this week, when he began by telling us about a dream that he had a few days earlier, all about the holy ghost(He dreamed about the dove that came over Jesus after his baptism, leaving him wanting that dove). Afterwards, he basically bore his testimony to us about the truthfulness of this church as he explained why he’s been coming, and all that he's done these last few months to bring his friend Federico to church too, even if he’s catholic! We invited him to be baptized once again afterwards but sadly he still wants to wait until he knows for sure. It seemed like a pretty big sign to me, but we'll keep praying that the spirit will touch him to help him receive that answer he's looking for.

Fun story, we were talking to this one 20 something friend of ours named Manuel, when an old homeless man who always sits outside our apartment walked over to talk, wearing only dirty socks on his feet. Remembering that there’s a bag of old missionary shoes in my closet, we ran up and got him a pair in the closest size we could. Sadly, he wouldn't try them on because they were too big. Disheartened, we walked away, but I know now the importance of always giving and always serving, even if it isn't accepted!(I've yet to meet an old lady with grocery bags who wants us to help with them, but we still ask!).

This week I've learned the importance of working on character. That might sound like a daunting task(I think we all lack in some way with character), but Hermana Dayton, through this card she’s given us with over 50 attributes, has been helping us improve our character one attribute at a time, to become "even as I am"(3 Nephi 27:27). I'm been working this week on Dependability, which for me is being me, and the best me that I can be, always.(I hope that makes sense). But just through focusing on this trait, I've felt a difference in my week, and this week with my attribute of Attentiveness, I hope to do the same! So I invite all of you to find some attributes of Christ, or any attribute you'd like to work on, and focus on one a week, praying for support along the way. I know that as you do this, week by week we can all become better disciples of Christ!

For preparation day today we spent our day eating ice cream cones(It’s so hot), playing basketball, for a bit, and cleaning the piso and breathing for a second(5 minutes of relaxing does wonders as a missionary!). 

Over all, a great week, but a very short week coming up with Judgement day and transfers. Sadly though it’s Elder Morley’s last week here, so we're going to have to say a lot of goodbyes...

Anyways I love you all, I love this work, and I know the gospel’s true! 


Elder Taylor Moulton

Barcelona Spain Mission
 A beautiful morning in Las Arenas
 The streets of romo where we do our contacting

 Yes, that man's being chased by a bull on live tv!
 My desk!
 Birthday desserts  - yesssss!
 Last lunch with Blanca and Fernanda her daughter before Elder Morley leaves
Little whipped Spanish pastries!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Week 50: Zumba with Pikachu, Throwing Door Handles, and Visionary Investigators!

Hola familia!

I’m going to apologize right away about my spelling, we are typing in a locutorio so that my companion can use a computer, since his iPad was stolen this last week on the way to an intercambio. But hope you enjoy the letter anyways!

This week has been fairly long. We've had appointments, but a lot of them couldn’t meet, leaving us to fend for ourselves on the streets of Bizkaia talking to anyone or thing that could breath or accept a Book of Mormon(funny story there, there are absolutely zero Book of Mormons in Spain, or in Germany where they’re printed, so at the moment we're focusing on folletos, since we have no idea when we'll get more books again...). Alicia and Oyer still have the goal to be baptized this week, but they didn’t come to church, and they’ve flaked out for a few appointments this weekend so we're really praying that they’ll make it to the one we have tonight with them in the chapel! They're so good, they just need to be there! We did find miraculously this amazing hutano, or gypsie family on the street after one of our visits fired with Alicia. Maria, the grandmother, was excited to meet with us, and in the next visit we ended up meeting her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, with over 8 or 9 in all. Woah. Pascual, the son had a slashed scalp when he met with us(he acted like it was no big deal, it was like the grand canyon on his head!), until his wife came out and sent him to the hospital haha. Romanians are funny people haha. But miracles happen, even when you least expect it, like when visits fire! 

Also that’s where the door handle thing came from. We were opening the door of the hallway where Maria lived, when I ended up yanking the entire handle out of the hole, screw included, sending them flying down the hallway! Didn't know where I got super strength..., but I had a hard time not laughing as we tried to fix it and talk to Maria afterwards haha.

Alejandro would have to be another miracle of the week. He's a past investigator who we've met with several times, but hasn't been too into praying and starting on the path to an answer. That all changed when he followed through on his commitment to pray about Jesus Christ, and during which, he drifted off and dreamed/had a vision all about the atonement and Jesus Christ. He didn’t even believe or know much about him before that prayer, so this came as a shock to us last night, and though he wants to go slow, he wants to meet with us more. I know for sure now that there is power in a simple invitation to pray.

This week was also a week of holidays here in Las Arenas, meaning concerts out our back window until 7 in the morning, drunk people wandering the streets(that’s normal actually), and parades with floats of varying levels of modesty, and the occasional giant shark. Elder Morley was surrounded by a paparazi of teen girls wanting to take pictures with him, since they were all like half his size. Super awkward as a missionary, but still, makes the days interesting here! Oh yea, they also had a Zumba exercise class with a man in a Pikachu costume, along with his friend in a kiddy pool next to him. Just normal day here in Las Arenas!

Today for preperation day, we did our shopping before I stopped by a muslim shop to pick up some shapakia, Arabic for delicious fried corn meal with sugar. My guilty pleasure here haha! We also left with Manolo, the non-member husband of hermana Fe, to visit the castle Butron in the countryside, that place is amazing! Pics will be up later! So a fairly relaxing day overall before our lesson with Alicia tonight!

Yesterday we had the amazing opportunity to have a zone training in Bilbao with the Bilbao and Vitoria zones, all about combating discouragement, sharing the Book of Mormon, and overcoming fear and being bold. Big things, even for non-missionary folk, but the one that stood out to me the most was President Dayton’s talk on discouragement. He put it simply, that discouragement is Satan’s number one tool, and one that we encounter every day of our lives. But the key is to put the focus not on our own problems, but rather on focusing on the needs of others. "We are as happy as we make our minds up to be. Joy is not in things, it’s in us!" Abraham Lincoln. His biggest suggestion to having discouragement is to testify, talk and smile, and know that sometimes we don't know the good that we do! So I invite you all to do the same. Hop on out of the hot tub of self pity if you’ve found yourself there, and do something more to help those around you. I promise that as you do so, all the problems and sadness you feel will disappear, bit by bit, as you do so!(DC 121 through 123 are great sections on learning about discouragement!).

I love and miss you all, and I know the Lord’s hand is in this work, through every day, long and short, and through every person he puts into our paths!

Elder Taylor Moulton

Barcelona Spain Mission
 Shapakia - Arabic for delicious fried corn flour and sugar!
 El Castillo Butron with Manolo

 Zumba with Pikachu
 Holiday party!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Week 49: E.T., Phone not Home, Slippery when Wet, and the Miracle of Urkijo!

Hola familia!

This week was different! Each day we had appointments that went
through, we've got this part member family on the way to baptism, and
we had eight of our friends in church yesterday! That's crazy for
Spain! We had fun too, we had a sports activity on Saturday, which
Oyer, the 9 year old getting baptized this next week, was able to
go too! He's pretty good at soccer too, which isn't much since I've
really only just learned how to kick a ball straight(yay!). We also
had success with one of our investigators, Tomas, a middle aged
Spanish man who accepted a baptismal date, but can't follow through
with it since he’ll be out of town the next 15 days. But he came to
church yesterday and liked it(he even knew about Thomas S Monson from
the missionaries 2 years ago!). It might be a crazy area, but the
miracles are in the small things!

Like, this one! We had received a reference from the elders in Bilbao
for a couple from Bolivia and Paraguay named Juan Pablo and Marisol
last Sunday, with an appointment set for this last Saturday. We had
found what we thought was their address in the next town over, but the
address didn't exist when we got there, so we called them again to
make sure. After a few spelling changes to the street name(it's Urkijo
not Urqijo!(duh? Don't you know basque haha?)), we found the
house(next door to the Rhodes(the senior missionaries here)), and had
a great lesson with them. Joan Pablo had been meeting with the
missionaries about 6 years ago before he met his wife in Bilbao, but
lost contact with the missionaries after transfers. The most
miraculous part of this was that his wife, Marisol, is actually the
sister of our haircutting investigator Miguel, who's known the
missionaries for several months now! Small world! The Lord prepares
people through so many methods! And they have a three week old preemi
son named Antoni!

Another kink in our plans was that after we lost our phone last week
on the bus, we've had to scrounge for a phone or a way to communicate
with our investigators and leaders! We had borrowed a cell phone from
a member, until he borrowed the phone for a call Saturday night, and
we hadn't seen him since! Our district leader Elder Allen got pretty
excited when we called Sunday night from Arturo's locutorio on the
landline, he hadn't heard from us in like 4 days... So we're in the
process of getting a new one from the office across the country, so
hopefully this week things go back to normal! But the good news is, we
have another reason to talk to people as we ask to borrow cell phones
across town!

Fun story, Elder Ibarra were walking down the hill of Santander after
a district meeting on Tuesday to head to Las Arenas for our
intercambio, when I slipped and fell right on my back on the wet cross
walk! We were laughing at how ridiculous I looked in my wet suit when
I did the same thing again, next to a wall and fell right into it!
Can't a man get down a hill without almost breaking a bone? Haha
lesson learned, wet cross walks are dangerous to one’s health! Also fun
fact, here in Spain the word for crosswalk is actually zebra, which
means the same thing as it looks! I love this culture!

I read this brilliant talk by Thomas S Monson this week called 

"Finding Joy in the Journey". Sort of like my thought a few weeks ago
about using time wisely, he focused on us being able to find happiness
in even the most normal of circumstances. He also taught against
something I've been guilty of sometimes, which is focusing more on the
next day, than what's going on in the moment. He quotes the play "The
Music Man" when he says "You pile up enough tomorrow's, you'll find
you've collected a lot of empty yesterday's." Short but powerful isn't
it. Why wait for that "illusive moment when you'll have time for all
that you want to do", when you can do some of those things right now!?
I have less than a year left in the mission(almost a week less than a
year), and this quote really hit me, I've got some things to do! So I
invite all of you, with however many years you may have in your lives,
to find joy in the moment(like singing "this girl’s on fire" as you
take a hot shower), and live! Follow the commandments, pray for
guidance, and use this time to please the Lord! I know that as you do
this, you'll live free of regrets, and be grateful for what you've
done, rather than what you haven't done. (DC 59:21).

Overall, a busy week of tall jokes about Elder Morley from contacting,
getting bananas from old investigators, eating Membrillo(search it,
it's the bomb), and yea, this's fun! I love the work, and though this
may be the hardest part of Spain to teach in, there's still work to be

Love and miss you all!

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

Preparation day lunch at Pans and Company