Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Week 57: Gypsie Dogs, Hamster Herder, and Snake Attack!

Hola Family!

Well the title sums up the week, it was strange. We had to drop Joel, since he hasn't fulfilled a commitment nor come to church in several weeks. So that was sad. We also invited our two Paraguayen ladies to be baptized, they didn't show up for the appointment last night to follow up so we'll see what happens tonight. Seriously praying that they'll be there!! But other than them, we've just been trying to build our teaching pool, using various, and sometimes successful methods, including knocking buildings filled with old people, hiking across a mountain in order to find our drug dealer investigator(he's a champ), and walking into a gypsie yard filled with poop, only to find two giant dogs and a kind of crazy looking gypsie woman. We didn't stay very long there. 

We also had some crazy successes in the midst of that, such as this Nicaraguan woman who was working at this house on top of the mountain behind our town when we knocked on the door, and Adam, a Moroccan man we found for the elder elders. That was a memorable contact, after establishing that we're human and missionaries and whatnot, he told us the reason for being on the street, which was to find a way to rid himself of his 14 hamsters without being a sinner(his words not mine) by letting them loose in the street, or handing them to random small children. The elders taught him and he's totally going to be baptized, boom! 

Elder Jacobson and I went on two more intercambios this week – 1) while Elder Perry and Kimball headed to San SebastiΓ‘n to do a baptismal interview(an elder there also got his foot stuck in the bus door, and ended up hopping down the street with the bus moving before people told the driver to stop. Oops), and 2) while my companion was resting his swollen foot from a soccer incident(we do many bench contacts now). We found out though that in each of those intercambios we could only find snakes(aka young flirtatious woman around our age), so we had some interesting lessons. Three of them are coming to an activity this week with us so we'll see where this goes...gosh dang it snakes!

In other news, Pakistani people live here, old people are mean sometimes, matay’s the best(matay is like grass that you drink with hot water and sugar from Argentina, it's the best), and the senior couple here the Rhodes surprised us last night by telling us they'll be coming for a piso check Thursday, aka, the biannual time to scrub your piso(and ours is quite old), so this should be fun! Don't know when we'll have time to clean though..

This week I learned about what it means to be genuine. It's to be you, and always you, no matter what the situation, and to be a Christlike listener. This is a struggle of many missionaries, of relating to people of many back grounds(like us, who contact people from 4 continents daily, and old Spaniards by the dozens), and it's something I found I needed to improve. After our zone meeting this week too, I have focused on sharing personal stories more often in lessons, and just from the few times I've done it, I've seen the impact a personal testimony makes on the people. So I'd like to invite you all to think of personal stories about gospel topics, like prayer, fasting, sacrament meeting, miracles, the priesthood, anything, and to share it with your family and friends! I know that as you do this, people will relate to your testimony more, and the gospel will reach many more people! 

Thank you for your emails and the love I've felt as I've been here, and I hope you all have an amazing week! 

Shout out to my amazing trainee/companion Elder Perry, and Subway cookies! 


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

 Intercambio Kebab with Elder Jacobson
 Zone Enfoque with the Bilbao zone
 Preparation Day cookies!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Week 56: "And then he baptized three pueblos", Sprinting in the Rain, and Soul Prayers!

Hola family!

The highlight of the week was a visit from Elder and Hermana Zwick,
who speak fluent Spanish, have been mission president and wife twice,
and who's a member of the 70. He also spent 11 months of his mission
to Argentina opening up three towns, building a chapel with just his
companion and him, and baptizing all three pueblos on the same
day(1500 people or so, no big haha). So sorta a modern day Peter, but
he taught some amazing lessons on teaching, but mainly on focusing on
our personal foundations, and making sure that we are all the way
converted as missionaries the entire mission(best quote "I won't limit
my own capacity, I'll only let the Lord expand it". Boom!). Elder
Perry was a bit disappointed however with the elders that stayed the
night in our piso from Lleida who ate his cookies haha.

It rained here this week. And I mean like full western Washington
windstorm rain, with fallen trees we ran past on our run, getting
soaked during contacts with nice Peruvian people, and using our
umbrellas as a shields in front of us as we sprinted to our piso, barely
making in back in time as Elder Perry's planner goes flying into a
puddle. The plus was we found some buildings to knock, with some very
strange people inside(including a very nice Catholic man who's wife
forced him to close the door...porque?). But we made the best of it,
and thankfully we weren't in the rain too much!

On an intercambio with Elder Jacobson, the other new new elder in our
piso, we were passing by a former investigator in our area when we saw
this extremely old Spanish man named Jesus leave a door across the
plaza. So being nice people we say hello, and him being an oldee
fellow asks us to speak up. Well, he still couldn't hear us so we
ended up having to walk over and speak into his ear about who we were
and about our message. He listened but after loudly proclaiming his
Catholicness, he shuffled away, not before belting out at the top of
his lungs "Nearer my God to thee", in Basque. He was still singing as
we passed by him to leave the plaza, with his voice echoing down the
street! Pretty funny moment after being out in the rain haha! Elder
Jacobson later cut off a super loud Jehovah's Witness woman too so it
made for a pretty good day!

Those two Paraguayans from last week that we found, Melda and Selsa, are
great too! They even invited us to Melda’s birthday party in a
restaurant on Thursday, where we ended up eating fries, Jamon balls and
explaining the fall of Adam and Eve(not what we had planned, but they
and their other friends at the table we pretty open to it too!). Just
goes to show you can talk about the gospel anywhere, even while
drinking Fanta and eating Jamon balls.

Prayer works! As shown through a) finding two news twenty minutes
after praying for someone to teach, b) finding an African man to teach
after a visit firing and us praying to be sent where we're needed, and
c) praying last night for a miracle before heading back to our piso, and
finding Melda with a bag of bread for us and two old woman who want to
learn English, and who have Book of Mormons. The key to it all I found
was praying with a purpose, and acting on even the smallest
promptings, even if it means leaning on a door of a random building to
see if it would open! I'm just grateful for having a new, faith filled
trainee who's excited to work, and is grateful for any opportunity to

Las arenas is the best, basque people, rain, and all!

I love and miss you all! Thank you for all your many prayers and letters

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

 Goodbye Elder Stratton - friends since day one!
 Thank you Elk Run Primary!
 This pic we found on a intercambio with Elder Jacobsen and I in a shirtless Columbian man's piso haha!
 Rama activity with Elder Hemeyer here for the night after the conference
 Happy Birthday Oyer!

 Elder Zwick Conference

 Adios Elder Leon
Pic from the first day training meeting!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Week 55: Summer Days in the Horno, Tender Mercies from Balconies, and Swedish Meatballs!

Hola family!

It's been quite caloroso this week here in Bizkaia. With temps
hovering around 80, and today around 100, we've been sweating
profusely as we've been talking with the basque people(at least we
wear white!). We spent much of our week in the streets between lessons
with members because most of our news couldn't follow through with
their appointments, but we did make up for it in the new friends we
found in the streets! We found some friends of Alicia and Oyer our
recent converts, a Columbian woman with a funny old basque man, and
best of all, two Paraguayan woman on a bench outside our piso in Las
Arenaa! Selsa and Melda had seen the missionaries before in Paraguay,
but had never heard their message, so it came as a welcome surprise to
them during our first lesson that there had been prophets in the
ancient Americas, and one today. So much so, that they both quickly
accepted Book of Mormons, planned an appointment for tonight, and
Melda invited us to eat dinner on her birthday, book! The Lord
prepares people to hear this message, and all it takes is for us to
open our mouths and teach them!

On one of the longer days we had(Tuesday... It was especially hot that
day), we contacted and passed by some members and investigators out in
Leioa. Well, after finding out that all of those members and
investigators don't live there or don't exist, we found ourselves at
the end of our passby list on a bench outside a large apartment
building at about 8. About a minute later, this Romanian man walked up
to the door, who we tried to talk to, but well, he wasn't too game, so
he went inside. Suddenly, a woman named appeared up on the fourth
floor balcony, who I started to talk to, since we only had plants and
an old Kas can to talk to at that moment, who invited us up to her
door, and who accepted a Book of Mormon! Milagros!!! The Lord knows
when and how to help us out, because I was almost about ready to pass
out in the grass, and Elder Perry was able to find one very
interested Romanian woman(small world, the Romanian man was her son,
which was pretty awkward for him in the doorway haha).

Joel our long time investigator finally accepted a baptismal date, but
not before Elder Perry and I realized that the thing he lacked was an
understanding of personal revelation! So yea, we're working on that
now, along with converting his illiterate Catholic friend
Federico(who's the most smiley Guatemalan man I've met).

Also fun story, while I was saying a closing prayer at the end of a
lesson in a park here, Elder Perry was being poked by Manolo, the old
basque man I mentioned last week, who kept asking why he was sleeping.  
After a few pokes by his cane, Elder Perry has to whisper (I'm
not manolo!) loudly so that he could hear him. Old men are funny,
especially here in Pais vasco(they're here in plentiful supply, and
they know how to swear too!). Good lesson though, Paola's going to meet
with us on Thursday now!

And the list keeps coming, finding former investigators who've read
the Book of Mormon, small world Paraguayans, less active Columbian
member parties in a Columbian shop, almost catching a pidgin, it
wasn't a boring week! So while it's been hard training a new
missionary when we've had next to no progressing investigators, it's
been made up for with the miracles we've seen, the members we've
passed by, and just having fun learning Spanish in the streets! It's
weird to be asked questions about Spanish though, I don't feel that
good at speaking yet!

One topic that kept coming up in my studies was Hope. "Hope is an
abiding trust that the lord will fulfill his promises", "hope is
realistic anticipation taking the form of determination, a
determination not merely to survive but endure to the end!" It's
really putting your faith in the Lord, and doing the work, going
through each day, and knowing that the Lord will help you out! I know
after this week, and many weeks of putting this to the test, that when
we ask the Lord for something, he will bless us with help! He will!
Don't you dare deny it! Don't let one bad day ruin the hope for a good

So yea, hard, hot but fun week, made better by a trip to Ikea to eat
meatballs. Simple pleasures haha!

Love and miss you all!
πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸŒ΄Elder Taylor Moulton🌲πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ

 Columbian lunch with Arturo, Amalia, Nayla and Maria, her mom!  We ate Sancocho (meat, soup, and corn, yes!)
 Lunch trip to Ikea, because meatballs haha!

 After a long day contacting, a last minute run in with our Columbian friends isn't so bad!
New ties - 3 for 9 euros!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Week 54: Dancing Robots, Flojos, Doctor Dolittle, and Word of Wisdom Problems

Hola Family!

Well, we found a lot of new people this week. They include, but are
not limited to, Peruvian families, a Columbian woman that has the
voice of Eezma, a basque man who can't speak Spanish, and a family of
Gypsies who really wanted my clothes(the mom wanted her son to look
like I look...), and a Book of Mormon too! But as life would happen,
they were all a bit flojo(sorta a word we use to describe people who
don't follow though), so we had a few citas fall through. But that was
all redeemed by a few successes we saw this week! And a giant
dancing robot man in a plaza on the way to English class.

One of which happened when we visited our Spanish friend Manuel, who
was at church last week, in his basement apartment out by the
factories in Lamiako. We were surprised to encounter inside 1,
Dolores(a pregnant gypsie woman we met who we didn't believe at first
was Manuela girlfriend, but once finding her inside on the bed we knew
it was true), 2, them smoking some not healthy substances that weren't
just tabacco(we arrived at the family home evening in the church after
smelling a bit like pioneer square), and 3, them totally ready to
receive the gospel! We were able to testify about the Book of Mormon,
they accepted a copy, tears were shed(them through emotion, me a bit
from the fumes),and yep, those who'll accept the gospel aren't always
the most obvious! (1 Samuel 16:7)

Between visiting a member and having lunch at our branch mission
leaders house, we found this woman on a bench named Maria Del Mar(like
the woman we baptized in Manresa). She had a shaved head, and looked
pretty busy, but upon talking to her we found that she was super
spiritual Spanish woman from the next town over! We also found out
that she had enough pets to keep a pet store in business(2 dogs,
birds, snakes, cats, you name it), and a huge family(I want to see
this house if she can keep all of these animals and a big family
inside for a meal, the pisos here aren't that big!). But just another
example of how we never know who'll accept the gospel, which is why we
should share it with everyone!

We also had the opportunity last night to give a blessing to a two
month old baby of a less active recent convert couple named Vlad and
Paula(a Romanian and an Ecuadorian woman, I guess it works!). Alicia
was the premi who we visited in the hospitals 2 months ago, but is
still sick and can't breathe very well out of her lungs, so with her in
Vlads arms, as our very large hands on her tiny little head(lightly of
course), I was able to give her a blessing of health. It was a small
moment, but after a whole week of people firing on us, it brought
peace to our hearts to help this little baby and family. If there's
anything I've learned here in the mission, it's that the miracles come
not always with fire and "the spirit of God" playing in the
background, but rather in the small moments. Such as blessing a tiny
baby, or being there to witness Alica our recent convert shake Hermana
Dayton's hand at the stake conference.

But overall a good, but long week here in Las Arenas, with my son
Elder Perry making headway by calling out Catholic men on false
doctrine and chasing after basque men to later set up another lesson
with them. He's been the best, his Spanish makes me laugh about how
much I've grown this last year(treinta nefi does not exist haha), and
how much I need to keep growing to be his trainer!

I love this work, and I'm excited for what's to come this week!

Love and miss you all!

Elder Taylor Moulton

 On the way to Vitoria to attend stake conference


 Intense practicas with our four elder district
 Preparation day at Arxanda

Post district meeting ice cream