Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 8 - A Coruña

Well this week has been absolutely insane!!!  We left the MTC and went to the mission home, met with President Jackson and talked with him for a while about being missionaries and just studied the scriptures with him.  We then had a meal with him and it was awesome because it was a real homecooked meal so it was nice to get away from the MTC food.  He and his wife are incredible and will be an amazing mission president and wife.  I am so excited!!!!  He is so energetic and funny and he plays the accordian so that was really random, but hilarious. 

Then the next thing you know we are in the stake center getting assignments and when I found out I was going to A Coruña I was sooo excited!!!  I couldn't believe it because, yes, that is where I wanted to go.  The Lord answers prayers!!  I then went out with the assistants to the president and went proselyting with them.  It was crazy.  We taught a guy on the street the first lesson and I shared the First Vision, then I went to a couple lessons with them.   It was an amazing experience the first day.  

That night they dropped me off at a train station and I took a night train up north.  The night trains are crazy.  They have these tiny rooms with 2 bunk beds built into them and you just sleep until you get to your stop.  So it was me and 3 other men who spoke spanish.  We left Madrid at 10:30 pm and I arrived in A Coruña at about 7:30 in the morning.  A policeman came in and told me it was A Coruña and it was the last stop so I needed to get off.  haha.  I was so scared and I slept the whole night but Ii was super groggy and I stumbled off the train to meet my new companion.  He is Elder Gentry from California and he is awesome!!!!!  He was the student body president at his school too and he reminds me a lot of myself.  He is pushing me and helping me learn the language and he is amazing.  

Now, history wise, and other stuff about A Coruña, you probably know more than I do.  We have been working so hard I have hardly had a chance to learn about it but today were gonna maybe do some touring around.  What I can tell you about it is this.  We hardly ever see the sun.  It came out one day and it's been overcast every single day we've been here.  It rains almost every day and it's just kinda gloomy.  The rama (branch) is the second largest in the Galician Zone.  We had 71 people at church yesterday and there are 4 of us elders in the city.  Our area is basically the city of A Coruña and the surrounding areas and pueblos (small towns) surrounding it.  Everything here is apartment buildings and its all very narrow roads and its like you imagine Europe to be.  All the signs are either in Spanish or in Gallegan which is the language that is a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese, so I am really confused a lot. 

 Everyone speaks Spanish and most of the work we do is the same thing every day.  We either have appointments set up with investigators, recent converts, or menos activos (less actives).  One problem, we get cancelled on or people just don't show up a lot.  We've had multiple appointments that have been set up and we have called again to reconfirm that day and then they either won't show up to the capilla (the church) or won't be home or won't let us in.  It's very frustrating.  Then, instead of tracting because we can't really tract because its apartments we contact in the street.   Most of the investigators are immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Peru, and we teach a guy from Senegal, Africa tonight. We have been teaching a guy named Andres about getting an answer from the Holy Ghost about this book.  We had a lesson the other night and we read Moroni 7 with him.  A recent convert bore his testimony and it was just an incredible experience for all of us.  The recent convert Miguel was super bold and said this book will change your life, you will get an answer!  The problem is Andres will not answer any calls from us.  We are really worried about him.  So keep him in your prayers.  

We are also teaching a family, Luis the 20-year-old son was baptized recently but the parents won't let his sister, Leslie, be baptized.  Luis and Leslie both attend church but the parents aren't very interested and won't let Leslie be baptized.  We had a lesson last night with them about feeling the Spirit and receiving an answer and I'll share what we taught in the spiritual thought for the week at the end of the letter.  They didn't really want to listen.  They committed to pray but we´ll see how that goes.  Other than that all of our other investigators aren't progressing because they haven't been meeting with us, but we just keep working hard and continue to have faith in the Lord.  We teach English classes and that is a lot of fun!! We had one person show up his name is Abdulai, from Senegal, and we taught him some things and now we have an appointment with him to teach him the first lesson tonight.  He is a Muslim so we will just try and figure out what he believes and then discuss things so I'm excited for that.  Other than that, lots of rejection.  

This is the hardest thing I have ever done and I am struggling.  But something my companion shared with me helped.  Elder Ballard visited our mission in October and he said he was on a plane and thought to himself, "What in the world am I doing?  I'm an 80-year-old man, I'm exhausted.   Why am I going to all these random places and doing this when I should be with my family?"  Then he said the reason he does what he does, and the reason we do what we do (missionaries), is because we know what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane.  We understand what the Savior did for us and that is why we do what we do.  This is so hard for me and I'm in tears right now just typing this.  I miss home, I miss my friends, I miss the U.S., but I know I'm where I am supposed to be.  I love you guys more than anything and I know this is worth leaving for two years.  It's a long time but in the grand scheme of things it's not that long.  I feel alone, yet I know the Savior is by my side.  I love this work and it gets easier to be away when I just work hard. 

Dad, the 12-week program has been good!  We just do a lot of role playing and we use the district and go over situations using examples from our real investigators.  That's been this weeks focus. Oh and Elder Cahoon is in my zone so we will see each other at zone conferences.  It's been a wild first week and I'm excited for more. 

I cannot express how much I love and miss you.  Especially you, mom.  Thanks for all you did for me and never apologize and say you could have been a better mother.  I could not have asked for a better woman to raise me.  Thanks for everything.  I love you with all of my heart!!!  Your card you gave me before I left gives me hope. Faith to follow, to bring hope into this hopeless world.  That's why I´m here and it's been interesting to see how everything in my life before this prepared me for here.  I've been asking myself why I went through what I went through in high school with baseball, and the hard times at school with student government and feeling like no one cared, would listen, or showed up to anything.  Well this is why.  Because I am serving my mission in Spain.   No one seems to care, listen, or show up to anything, but I will push through and with the Lord's help all will turn out okay.  No matter what happens.

I love you all and thanks for the support!!!!  Oh and I want to send a souvenir or two home so Hannah can use it for her country report, so I'll try!   But if i can't, I'm sorry.  She can use some pictures I'll send.  I love you all.  If you can send me my small English Preach My Gospel?  If not, that is fine.  Once again I cannot express how much I love you.  Thanks for everything. 

For the weekly spiritual thought. Read 3 Nephi 11.  In the first few verses we read that the people heard the voice 2 times and did not understand. The 3rd time they opened their ears and looked to where the sound was coming from and they understood. In our day, we need to open our ears and learn from the prophets.  Look to where the sound is coming from, read the Book of Mormon, and we will receive answers from the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost will testify when we do our part.  So listen to the prophets and look to the Book of Mormon.  I testify our Savior lives.  I know this church is true!  I love the Lord and this is His gospel. I love you all. 

with love! ((hug)) and kisses, 

Elder Anderson

El reino de dios o nada