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
Shapakia - Arabic for delicious fried corn flour and sugar!
El Castillo Butron with Manolo
Zumba with Pikachu