Monday, October 18, 2010
Tuesday morning we arrived in Barcelona. we went up to the castle on a hill that overlooks the city on one side and the mediterranean on the other side. it was gorgeous. everything was! we spent most of the day in the office. we had lunch with president and sister hinckley and had orientation and stuff. we finally got our companions and first assignments. my companion couldn´t come pick me up so i had to wait until wednesday to meet him. those of us coming to the southern part of the mission were supposed to leave tuesday evenign, but the train was full. so we had to stay overnight. this was cool because every tuesday evening during transfer week, those at the office go and sign hymns in downtown barcelona. it was a really cool experience. however it was cold and rainy...no wonder i have a cold now. haha. it was fun and a lot of people stopped and listened seemed interested. wednesday bright an early we boarded a train down to valencia!
My first area is Valencia. I love it here! It is a beautiful city. Palm trees line the streets and the old architecture is quite pretty. My apartment is near the soccer stadium for Valencia´s team. It is so awesome. I love the soccer culture here. People are constantly playing soccer on the sidewalk, in the park, etc. It´s truly wonderful! My companion is Elder Lara. He goes home after the next transfer I believe. He is really great. They split up the zone leaders down here. so, he is one of the zone leaders. the other zone leader and his companion share the same apartment.
I already love the people here. The members of the Valencia I ward are amazing. They´re so sweet. They love the missionaries and even though I can´t communicate well with them, they all try talking to me. and even say ¨welcome¨ which is funny cuz i know ¨bienvenidos¨ President hinckley mentioned that they might split the ward up soon. i noticed that the chapel was quite full yesterday. They feed the missionaries well too. We have a lunch (instead of dinner) appointment almost every day in the afternoon. They cook tons of food for us and expect us to eat everything. It´s intense. I feel like i´m gaining so much weight already. the food is all amazing....except for the blood sausage; i could have gone without trying that. usually i have no clue wat i´m eating, but since it´s mostly delicious, i don´t mind not knowing. it´s probably better that way.
There were three baptisms this Saturday, one from each area actually in Valencia. Sergio was the one baptized from my area. He reminds me a lot of charlie. Anyway he is really cool. He is 20 years old and is originally from somewhere in south/central america...i want to say guatemala....anyway he has relatives back home who are members. one day he decided to find the church and be baptized. he saw elder lara on the subway but was too afraid to talk to him. but he vowed to talk to the next missionaries he saw. some days later, he saw to elders. the zone leaders were in barcelona for a mission counsel meeting. so it was their two companions, two relatively new missionaries. sergio came up to them and asked to be baptized. they thought they misunderstood him but wrote down his info anyway. two weeks later i got to witness his baptism. apparently stuff like this happens a lot in valencia. the missionary work is on fire here! missionaries get contacted more than they contact. and we teach people from all over the world. there are a lot of immigrants from africa and south america. we teach a lot of nigerians. i like these lessons because they speak english! i can actually help out a lot more. we have several more baptism dates set and a few investigators without dates but are really close. for example joanna is a 16 year old girl who is waiting for her mom´s permission. her cousins are really strong members, but her mom doesn´t feel that she is ready. however, we´ve been teaching her mom a lot and she seems to be making progress, even if she won´t admit it.
Church yesterday was interesting. I had to introduce myself during sacrament meeting. i´ve never been so nervous before in my life. i´m pretty sure i messed up my spanish a bunch of times. the language barrier is hard. hopefully i´ll get over it soon. the whole mission is hard. i can`t talk to anyone, i´m exhausted, and now i have a really bad cold. but i still love it. i can´t help being happy knowing i´m serving the Lord. the great thing is that even when i have now clue what is being said, i can still feel the Spirit in our lessons. this is going to be an awesome 22 months! i kind of wish i had more time!!!
I´m going to send my address to Mom. If you want it just ask her or ask Michelle (via my account) on facebook. I attached a pic of me and Sergio. I´ll send more next week.