Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tender Mercies of the Lord


I´d like to start off apologizing...I forgot my camera so there are no pictures again this week. I really don´t have any great pics anyway because we´re too busy to take many pictures. Also I need to clear up some things from my story two weeks ago about Sergio. He´s Bolivian and he doesn´t have relatives who are members. His girlfriend whom he met on the internet and who lives Peru is a member.

I forgot a bunch of things last week. Now I can´t remember them again. Oh well.

This week has been...well interesting. I have a lot of stories to tell some are spiritual, some fun, and some are....interesting. I´ll go through day by day.

Monday: I weighed myself at Mario, a member´s house during FHE. It turns out that I had lost 2 lbs since leaving the MTC!

Tuesday: I spent the day on intercambios with Elder Ames. James, a member, came with us to several appointments. At one point we stopped at his piso for a minute to pick something up. Elder Ames is very friendly and likes to get to know people. He´s a lot like Dad. Thus, Elder Ames was asking James all kinds of questions about his life. We finally split up after one of our visits. James started heading back to his piso and Elder Ames and I to the bus stop. We got a call at the bus stop delaying our next appointment by a half hour. While Elder Ames was on the phone, James passed by us on his way home. Since we had extra time, we decided to go visit a new convert, Juan Carlos (sweet name, i know). On our way we passed by James again. Well James is from Nigeria orignally and had lived all throughout Africa. Thus, he is a bit paranoid. Later that night he ran into Elders Lara and Shields. He told them that he suspected Elder Ames as being a terrorist and was about to call the police, especially if Elder Ames tried to talk to him again. This may sound funny now, but the 4 of us were FREAKED out that night. We envisioned Nigerians breaking in our house and beating us, or worse Spanish police rappelling into our piso. We were so scared we almost called President Hinckley, but Elder Ames didn´t want to get transferred. Nobody slept well that night. We were paranoid the next day too. Luckily nothing happened. And Elder Ames and James talked things out at church yesterday.

Wednesday: Every Wednesday the ward mission leader teaches a Preach My Gospel class. The missionaries always go and teach a 10 minute lesson on something from PMG. Afterwards, Maria took us out for dinner. She took us to a Chinese buffet. There were tons of sea food. I went crazy. I ate octopus, mussels or clams, calamari, and more! I didn´t feel too well the next day.

Thursday: Afterward correlation meeting, Victor, who is also African and speaks English, gave us a ride to our next appointment. He was listening to inspirational music. This particular day I was feeling super down about my Spanish and lack of ability to teach effectively as a missionary. I had just attempted to talk to a Spanish investigator on the phone. It didn´t go too weel. The very first song played from that CD was a song about believing in yourself. the lyrics were something like, "yes, you can. if you just believe in yourself." it was just what i needed to here. I don´t believe in coincidences. I know that my Heavenly Father and Jesus knew I needed to hear that song. It made me feel a lot better.

Friday: Friday mornign we had interviews wiht president hinckley. i am so lucky to have him as a mission president. he is great. and so is hna hinckley! she is so excited about missionary work. they went to a mission presidents conference in germany last week. one of the area authorities from the 70 said that the harvest in Europe has not yet begun! i am super excited and lucky to help prepare the people of Europe for the restored Gospel!!
Thursday afternoon we started a fast to find to new investigators. The other elders ended up having a surprise dinner appointment so they ate. Elder Lara lasted until friday morning. I was the only one who fasted until our lunch appointment. But we were blessed for it. The evening we stopped my a less active man´s piso. We met his wife and children who aren´t members and are now teaching them.
The best story from the week happened here. Elder Lara and I were looking for a less active member´s piso. The address we had didn´t exist. So we were standing on the side of the road making some phone calls. All of a sudden we hear, "Elderes! Elderes! Esperen!" A man was yelling for us out his window. He came running downstairs to us. His name is David. He is a less active member who just moved to Valencia two weeks ago. He had been looking for the chapel and the day before (thursday) he had emailed a friend for help finding it. Well a different friend of his answered him; even so that we were standing outside his window when he felt inspired to look outside.

Saturday: We vistited David again to get to know him some and make sure he knew how to get to church. He´s originally from Ecuador. He told us the story of his conversion and his mom´s conversion. I¨m short on time so I´ll do the quick version about his mom. His mom was against him and his siblings getting baptized but let it happen anyway. After a year or so she noticed a change in her children...a change for the better. So she decided to meet with the missionaries. She was still unsure so she said that she´d get baptized only if one of the same elders that baptized her children baptized her. By now the elders were finished with their missions and back in the States. Well guess who was on vacation in Ecuador visiting his old mission. Yep, one of the elders. So guess who got baptized? It amazes me how the Lord knows our needs and he watches over us. He helps us with his tender mercies. My faith was greatly strengthened by these stories. He knew that I needed to hear that song for encouragement, he knew that David was looking for a way back to church, and he knew that David´s mom need to be baptized to start the path back to Him. I just cannot express myself on this email how wonderful this is! In the MTC and here in Spain, I have learned to look for the tender mercies of the Lord and my blessing in life. And it makes me a lot happier!

Sunday: We stopped by Veronica´s piso. She is a recent Nigerian convert. She doesn´t have much money and her husband is without work often. But she always insists on making us drink a 2 liter each of fanta when we visit. Today she offered a choice between that and hot chocolate. So we took the hot chocolate, thinking it would be less. WRONG! she brought out these HUGE mugs. Elder Lara couldn´t drink his cuz it was too hott. like a good companion i drank half of it. we ate lunch with the Mambos like we do every Sunday. and we were overstuffed like we are every Sunday! We ate dinner at Mario´s again. I couldn´t resist weighing myself. I gained 2 kilos since Monday. Do the math yourselves...it´s not pretty! I am taking this as a lesson on obedience and waking up on time. I keep sleeping in through exercise time....well that won´t happen anymore.

Well i spent way too much time on this. that´s all for now. ¡hasta luego!

elder buchkovich

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