Opening My Mission Call

Opening My Mission Call
August 16, 2010

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Madrid MTC

Snow in Alabama before I left!

First off I will send you a bunch of pictures since I have slacked on that. The first picture is of the snow in Alabama one of the first days I was there. The second photo is of me after just landing in Spain. We took a bus to the Spain MTC and it just happened to say my name on it. Finally, the last picture if the view out of my window from my room in the MTC! Pretty much this place is awesome.

I left Tuscaloosa around noon and even got my final pieces of mail and packages (just in time!!) and then got to the airport and checked in and all that. Funny enough, the guy right in front in me in the security line was a return missionary. He went to the Santiago Chile South mission way back in the day apparently. He was really nice and helped me pass the time in the long security line. Then, I got on the flight to Atlanta which was only like 35 minutes. It was way short. When we landed I was starving. First, though, lemme say that the Atlanta airport is huge. To get to the other terminals I had to take this underground subway. I felt pretty awesome with my suit and tie on acting like I knew what I was doing, even though I was completely lost. When I finally got to the international terminal I was way hungry and so I decided to eat at TGI Fridays, considering it would be my last meal in America. When I got to the gate they were just boarding (Great timing!) and I met the other missionaries who were also flying to Spain. We got on the plane and I ended up sitting next to one of them actually. Then, the flight started and they gave all the safety instructions in both Spanish and English, which was weird. Then we just took off like it was nothing. Right when we left the ground the missionary sitting next to me made the comment of, "Well, that is the last time we will be in America for two years." Iwas just like woah.... that just hit me. I didn´t even cherish my final few minutes on American soil.

Well, during the flight, we learned that it would be about 8 hours long. Luckily, they served both dinner and breakfast. Surpringsly, to me at least, the flight was barely even half full on a giant Boeing 767, so there was a lot of open space. So the missionary sitting next to me said he was going to find an open row, which left me with both seats by the window to myself. The dinner came (BBQ Chicken) and wasn´t too good but it was edible haha. Then the movies came on. That was the hard part. I really wanted to watch them because they were all movies that I kinda wanted to see but we were instructed to not partake. So I missed out on watching Wall Street 2 and The Social Network. Dangit! Instead, I took my two chairs, folded up the armrests, and made into a bed. I just went into a little ball and was out for a few hours. The most discouraging thing about these long flights is that I wake up hours later, and we´re not even half way there. Plus, because of the bad position I had a major backache. Anyways, I walked around the plane once and then laid back down and was in and out of conciousness for another few hours. Then the sunlight finally started breaking through the clouds and I watched out over window as we flew into Europe, over Portugal, and into Spain. This was the first time I have been to Europe since I was born here! It was cool to watch the plane fly over the cost of Portugal and see where the coastof Europe began.

Well, we had breakfast (if you could even call it that) and then finally landed. I actually was fairly energized, but the missionary in front of me met someone from BYU who happened to be on the flight and so they talked for like 6 hours straight! Everytime I woke up they were still talking. Apparently, he only got like 30 minutes sleep. Anyways, we landed, and then went through customs and everything. It was scary going up to the passport agent guy. I could only imagine if he looked at my passport and visa and said, sorry, this isn´t valid. I would just be devistated. But, luckily, it all worked out. We waited for the luggage to come, and funny enough, out of all the luggage on the plane mine was the 4th piece to come out of the plane. After leaving the secured area, the MTC President met us and talked to us a bit. He advised us to exchange some money to Euros, and then meet at the bus. It was so weird. Right now, I have Euros in my wallets instead of dollars. Quite a strange feeling, and it doesn´t fill out the wallet as well. (It is way more colorful though). I got even more Euros at the MTC when they reembursed me for my baggage fees, and they paid me back in Euros. In fact, I might have actually made money on that because of the exchange rates.

When we arrived, we were told that we need to fill out some paperwork before we can go to the mission field. So I will be staying here for about 6 days or so. I am totally fine with it though, as you can see, my view is amazing. The MTC here is totally different. They have a type of "open campus". For meals and P Day you can just go into Madrid and what not. In fact, tomorrow we are going to the park for contacting, and we are taking the subway to get there. I think normally I would be way nervous and excited to go to the park to do that, but considering I have already been in the field 3 weeks, I feel like I have done it a bunch already. But, the contacting I think is more for the other elders an sisters that are here. Currently, including me and the group that just came in there are 28 people in the MTC. Apparently, that´s actually a high number too. It´s a way small feel here but it is awesome. After my paperwork is signed they will send me off on the bullet train to Málaga. Until then, I get to go to the temple, travel around Madrid, and play soccer with real Spaniards.

The meals here I can already tell will be awesome. After a brief orientation we had lunch. It was this Spanish white bean soup, grilled salmon, and then a bunch of Spanish breads and fruit, and yogurt and sweets. It was all so so so so so so so so so good. Normally, we have the same schedule as in the field and MTC, but today is a special day. After our gym time and dinner, we get to go to bed. They are forcing us to go to bed at 7pm since we are all majorly jet lagged. I am looking forward to it though. I am so tired. This place is so amazing though. I wish I could´ve gone here for all 9 weeks. It´s okay though. I am so ready to get out to Málaga!! Wish me luck all and I will talk to you soon!!!

Elder Steven Card

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spain Here I Come!

Well, the time has finally come!!! Adios Tuscaloosa, Hola Malaga Spain!!!!! I just got word about an hour ago that I will be finally leaving for Spain!!! I got my visa and leave on Thursday!!!!! It's surreal that it is finally happening, but the time has come!!! I am so excited! It is bittersweet though, I was really loving the people of Tuscaloosa and Alabama was starting to grow on me. I was starting to really love the ward and all of the people. We had this investigator that is even getting baptized this Saturday. He is totally awesome and is just a great guy. His testimony is strong and I just wish I could see him get baptized. I was bummed when I realized that I would miss it.

Anyways, some items of interest.... Considering I leave Thursday, everyones letters to me need to be sent to Spain now. I sent a bunch of people letters today so just know that that return address is wrong. I'm not entirely sure what happens if I receive a package after Thursday, but if it gets sent back to you, it's because I am in Spain!!! Anyways, this past week has been awesome as well. There isn't something that completely stood out as awesome, it was just a good week. My birthday was kinda strange. I didn't tell anyone it was my birthday because I just wanted it to be another work day but it was still weird to be out and about working on a day that is usually filled with celebration. Once people did figure out it was my birthday we celebrated in small ways. For example, they know how much I love Krispy Kreme (To my horror there was one right across the street of our apartment) and how much I was tempted everyday to get some and buy dozens, so they went ahead and got me some donuts. It was a nice little gift. Other than that most of the week has been normal. I got my haircut yesterday and it is way short. It is the shortest I think I have ever had my hair.... ever. But, now I don't have to worry about it for awhile which is good.

I wish I could talk more but I don't have much time. I need to start packing and what not, so I will talk to you all later!!! Thank you all for the love and support and all the birthday cards!!! I loved every single one!

Elder Steven Card

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

Oh, the sweet Alabama air is filled with love from all the couples walking around. It's quite something. The weather here has been absolutely fantastic!! Today it's about 70 degrees and clear skies. After emailing we are all going to get the BBQ out and play some sand volleyball. I'm really looking forward to it. Anyways, so how has my first full week as a missionary been? Well....

It has been completely INSANE. The fast pace and everything I have gotten used to but it's still way different. I have gotten a huge amount of culture shock while staying here. The ward that I go to is way awesome though and is really helpful with the missionaries. They like to help us out a lot. One thing I am really sad about is that the people don't have the missionaries over for dinner at all. We've only had one dinner appointment since I've been here and the rest of the days we work through dinner so I don't get to eat until 9:30 at night. It's a lot of hard work, but I am loving it - but also starving at the same time. Anyways, the work has been both a lot of Spanish and English. I am in a trio and one of the missionaries is English speaking and the other one is from Colorado but is assigned speaking Spanish. So I get the best of both worlds and get to preach in both Spanish and English for as long as I'm here. The English lessons are pretty fun to teach. They are real people and I enjoy interacting with them and try to get them to grow closer to Christ. But the Spanish...... I try so hard but it's difficult to speak with them. Sometimes my companion will let me go for it and teach a good chunk of the lesson and then I go off, and when I am done I am pretty sure the investigator had zero idea what I said. That's pretty discouraging because in my head it made 100% sense. But I am trying....

Other than that the culture here is so different to me. There are Baptist and Methodist churches every street corner as well as Waffle Houses on everything street corner haha, and a lot of people we run into are Methodist or Baptist. Surprisingly - to me at least - the people are way nice. I thought that they would hate Mormons but they are actually really polite and even though they have zero interest in the message they will smile and say no thank you. Then if you try and push, that is when they get fierce. There are times though when you do meet some hostile people.... There was this one lady we ran into earlier in the week and as soon as we walked toward her house, she ran out of her house and said, "Leave!! I know who you are, I am NOT INTERESTED!!" We were kinda shocked, but you know were still polite. We contined to talk to her saying things like, "Well, you don't even know what we have to say." and stuff like that, but nope. She was not happy we even considered talking to her. Then my companion was like, "I think you might be confused about some of our beliefs." And that is when she went balistic. "CONFUSED?!? You think I am CONFUSED?!?" Then she went off and like for five minutes straight told us we were going to hell and all this stuff. Now, maybe it's because I am new and naive, or just am ignorant to the whole thing, but I was laughing in my head the whole time. I was not afraid, in fact, I kind of wanted to keep talking to her. I had fun with it. But like I said, I haven't at all felt in danger since I have been here and Idk if that is because of my ignorance or because I have the confidence that God is watching over me and protecting me.

Anyways, there is still zero word from my visa, so I am just not worrying about it, but i do want to know what the status of it is. Starting Wednesday, I am moving to another apartment just like 5 minutes away with my companion so we will be more in the middle of the Spanish area, and the third member of our companionship will get a new companion. Meaning, that starting Wednesday I will be pretty much 100% Spanish which is both good and exciting and bad and disheartning. Luckily, we will still go to the same ward. We have quite a bit of Mexicans attending so me and my companion sit in the back and translate what is being said which is SO HARD. It's almost impossible for me to keep up. So if I fall behind I usually have to make up something that they said that goes along with the rest of their talk.

Well, Alabama isn't the same as Oregon. That's for sure. I miss everyone back home! It's been insane though. I don't even think too much of the "outside world" even though I am driving around in it. I actually forgot it was my birthday tomorrow until my companion was talking to me yesterday about birthdays. I am just losing myself in the work I guess. Well, It is time for me to go but I hope to hear from you all soon!! Thanks for the support!

Elder Steven Card

Monday, February 7, 2011



Wow these past few days have been crazy!! Saturday was pretty hard to leave the MTC. I learned to LOVE that place and it was actually hard to leave. I grew comfortable there and learned to love the teachers and the routine and the other missionaries. Well, I eventually had to go, and so I departed at 5am in the morning and then left for the SLC airport. When I got there I rushed through security so I could get a nice meal and what not, and so I got my first meal in months: Burger King breakfast, oh yeah.... that was delicious. I then boarded my flight to Dallas.

On the flight I was bombarded with attention and gifts haha. First, the flight attendent gave me free food and always specifically asked if I needed anything. Then the couple I met and sat next to on the plane at the very end of the flight stood up and extended a hand. As I went to go shake the man's hand he said, "Go do work out there son, we are proud of you." And then he handed me money! Haha. I tried to refuse but I was in the middle of the airplane and so I went with it, and got myself a nice meal at Dallas. I ate at what USAToday was, "The best place to eat at the Dallas airport" and went all out. Finally, on the flight from Dallas to Birmingham I met this airline attendent. She was really nice. Her son was currently on a mission and so came up to me and gave me water and food. It was really nice of her. When I landed in Birmingham I was met by a senior couple missionary and they took me out to Ruby Tuesday.

After dinner, we drove to the mission office - met with the President very briefly - and then were dropped off with a companionship. Right then they took me to an appointment with them in Spanish!! I was freaking out in my head but I finally calmed down and was able to share my testimony about the Atonement and talked to them briefly about principles. I thought I did not bad, and was surprised with myself. But then of course what happens? You get humbled....

Yesterday, I went to Spanish Branch Testimony Meeting was completely lost and what was going on. I didn't know what the members were saying. Afterwards, the Preisdent picked me up and we drove to my first real area which was like an hour away in... Tuscaloosa!!! I am in the heart of SEC country and can see the University of Alabama football stadium all the time!! It is awesome. Today, the president told my companion that he had a special assignment. He was oredered to 1) Take me to see the stadium and 2) Take me to the best BBQ place in town.

Anyways, yesterday we went out tracting and I was just not there mentally. I kinda understood like 90% of what was being said, but I myself couldnt speak. I was like a deer in the headlights. It was so bad. Then we tracted into this one guy standing outside of a church crying. He was getting divorced and was sad. We talked to him for like an hour! Well.... my comp talked to him for about an hour. Yesterday was pretty hard on my morale. I feel like I don't know as much Spanish as I thought I did, and it is hard. Plus, I am starting to feel the homesickness and then on top of it all I am in a trio! I feel like I am just the third wheel on a date every appointment, and that I am more of a burden. Plus, since I am a visa waiter it is hard to tell how long I will actually be here. It is all kind of scary, and I am hoping it gets better in the next week! I understand it is going to be hard, but I just hope, that I personally, can understand what is going on more. I am trying really hard though. Anyways, I just wanted everyone to know that I am alive in Alabama and trying to cope with this new culture. There are seriously waffle houses every block, it is insane! Alright, well I hope to hear from you all soon!! Thanks again for all the support!!

Elder Steven Card

Friday, February 4, 2011


So.... I am here!!!! In the MTC..... Sorry, I haven't been able to update everyone lately, but I am actually still here in the MTC. Here is the deal... Last Friday night i had this killer toothache so I called the doctor because it actually had kept me up all night because it hurt so bad. i got only two hours of sleep that night. I figured that since it didn't hurt when I took Asprin that I could live off of that. Well, i did that all saturday and then I had already taken 8 asprin (the max for the day) and it was still hurting so that is when I called the doctor.
The doctor went ahead and - over the phone - gave me a prescription of amoxicilin and lortab and said he would see me on Monday (the day of my departure), therefore meaning I was delayed. Quick funny story about that: The prescription was to take 1 amoxicillin 3 times a day and 1 lortab as needed. Well I thought it said take one packet not one pill. So I took packet of amoxicillin which has 6 pills in it, and I took one packet of Lortab which had two. So I OD'd on those drugs by like 400%. I was surprised I didn't have to get my stomach pumped but apparently (according to my zone) I was wasted and completely out of it. Well I saw the dentist Monday and he said I needed a root canal. The rest of that day was interesting. There were only 3 of us left in our district. Me (who was delayed), my companion (Who suddenly got his visa so he was leaving Tuesday) and one other who also got delayed. So Tuesday came and my comp left and then i went to the dentist to get the dreaded root canal. it was not that painful but i was numb forever afterwards. The doctor wanted me to stay at the MTC until he felt that i was healed fully, so i had zero idea when i was going to leave.
On wednesday, me and my new companion basically just did a lot of service that day. We cleaned some of the dorm rooms, became hosts for new missionaries and even volunteered at the TRC to become "investigators" for missionaries wanting to practice. Finally, at the end of that day I got my new travel plans. So these are my new travel plans: The exact same as before, except now it's on a Saturday. So tomorrow I will board the AA flight to Dallas at 8am and then go from Dallas to Birmingham and arrive at around 4pm. So if you sent me mail this past week to Alabama, sorry but I haven't got it yet. I will collect it all at once on Saturday!!
But it is finally time to go into the mission field unless I fall and break my leg or something. I am really excited. In fact, I am more comfortable now to go into the mission field more so than I was on last Saturday. I feel like I can speak Spanish pretty well. I actually feel like it is easier to teach the Gospel in Spanish and I, without even thinking, speak some words in Spanish when I am trying to talk to someone in English. Of course, I know that when i actually get out in to the field i will be shell shocked and realize I don't know much at all, but at least for right now I feel good at where I am at.
So I know everyone has been thinking I have been in the mission field, but I actually have been here in the MTC this whole time, sorry!!! But I am for sure leaving tomorrow at 5am to the SLC airport. Wish me luck and I will talk to you all soon!!!