Opening My Mission Call

Opening My Mission Call
August 16, 2010

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wow, now it's getting exciting!

This past week has jut been amazing. I wish I could tell you some amazing stories or that an impossible investigator finally said yes, but instead, I have just been having a lot of fun and I have felt the Spirit so strong that it brought me back to my baptism, confirmation and other historic moments in my life haha. On Wednesday evening we traveled to Sevilla fo this zone conference with an area seventy. At first, I just wasn't too excited to go, but wow. It was just amazing. We travelled the long bus ride and I slept a lot, and when we got to the bus station we were completely lost, because we were staying the night at another companionship's piso. We get off the bus, and we were like umm.... well we are lost. Then we ask for the name of what street we were on, and the lady was like, Oh, where are you trying to go? We then responded that we just wanted to get our friends house. She then said, Oh the missionaries! I know you guys, I know where they live. Follow me! What a blessing that fell out of the sky. The funny thing was that after we got to the house, the missionaries had no idea who that lady even was.

Anyways, all the missionaries I meet, when I tell them I am a convert love to hear my conversion story. I honestly don't even think that it is that exciting but everyone loves hearing it. So when we got to their apartment instead of playing games or whatever, we all sat around and I shared my story for hours it felt, and they kept asking questions, but I am not complaining at all. It was an awesome night. That next day we had our zone conference. The area seventy was Elder Schütze. He grew up behind the wall in Germany but has been active his whole life. He was quite the inspirational speaker. Sadly, I can't remember any of the specifics he said, but that is why I have my journal haha. But I don't have my journal with me, but I try to remember some of the things he spoke of next time.

The bus ride back home was about an hour longer than normal. The bus driver decided to take the scenic route... literally. He didn't once get on the freeway. It was nice though since we drove by the coast. I have already taken for granted the beautiful coastline and the sights of Africa. But still, they are marvelous nonetheless. On the bus ride home one of my missionary roommates pulls out his nice Digital SLR camera, and this guy right in front of us happens to have the nicer model of his. This naturally strikes up a conversation, and luckily he spoke English. But instead of sleeping ,me and Elder White talked to him the whole time.  His name was Gary and he was from Italy! He is in the final years of schooling to become a doctor and he was saying that he actually knows a lot about Oregon because one of his favorite webpages was I dont know why, but apparently a lot of beautiful things that people have taken pictures of. Anyways, long story short, by the end of the bus ride we got his phone number and we have an appointment to teach him this week before he goes back to Italy!!!!

Then, as if it couldn't get better we had chuch yesterday. Wow, it was amazing. It could have been one of the most Spiritually high church sacrament and meeting I have ever been to. First, we had priesthood, and since it was branch conference the Stake President came and taught. Then priesthood was taught by the first counselor and wow was it good. He talked about how the Gospel is what truly makes us happy in our life if we obey the commandments. He had this awesome quote, and I wrote it down and will try to apply it with me everywhere I go. I challenge you to do the same. First, I challenge you to translate it as well haha. "He cometido el peor de los pecado que un hombre puede cometer: No ser feliz."

Then we had Sunday School and it was taught by the second counselor's son since he was gone or sick. His lesson was just as good, and it focused all on missionary work. After he taught for a long while he invited this twelve year old kid to share why he likes going to church and wow was it powerful. Then, he asked Elder White to share his testimony, and that just blew me away. Even though this was all in Spanish I was surprised how much I could understand, and the Spirit I could feel. I am blessed to be with such an amazing group of people. My companion helps me out if I can't understand what is going on, so it is great that he is patient with me. His name is Elder Ward and he is from California. Sadly, he is going home after this transfer so I won't get to see him again until after the mission. But he is awesome.

Finally, we had sacrament meeting.  The stake president gave his talk and it was amazing as well. He was nearly in tears when talking about missionary work and how without the missionaries he would not be where he is today. He then made us all look around and we pointed out the diversity of our congregation. The United States, Chile, Bolivia, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, France, etc. I can't even describe in words how I felt when I looked around and saw everyone and all of their families and how happy everyone was. Then he called up the four missionaries to the front and just had us stand there and he pleaded to the congregation for us to think of people that we can share this amazing thing with.

Anyways, then to top it all off, today I played football for half the day. We took the bus ride up to San Fernando to play with the other districts and we just had a blast. I feel like I am so so so so much better than I was pre-mission. I feel like I can actually juggle the ball and shoot it accurately. It will be fun when I get home. Luckily, there was a Mercadona in front of the field so I was able to get fresh bananas for the firsttime since being in Spain. Man, I miss that so much. I am just havin a great time here. I finally am getting into the flow of things and I am excited to see what happens next. The next big thing coming up are transfer calls this week! I'll let you know how that goes! I hope Medford is doing well, and Eugene as well. Tell everyone I said hello and thanks for all the prayers! I hope I have said something to help you guys out! Have fun!!!

Elder Card

Monday, March 21, 2011

Not the Most Interesting Week


This past week was once again just normal missionary work. The week did go by really fast though and I am trying my hardest to understand all of the Spanish around me. Funny enough, the majority of our current investigators are Bolivians and other South Americans. They are usually a bit more open so we can teach them better. Currently, we are teaching this guy from Bolivia, Jimmy and he is way awesome. His house just got hit by that flood, so he is moving and his wife is a member but he isn't. We thought he wasnt really progressing but he finally came to church yesterday so that was way awesome. We are also teaching this other Spaniard whose name is Juan. At first we were kind of freaked out by him because he didnt seem the most open and made some funny - but inappropriate - comments about whatever we were teaching. He is a young guy so you would htink he would be way open, but he is different. He doesn'twatch TV cuz he thinks it brainwahes people and that is his fear for reading the Bible.He is afraid it is going to brainwash him. BUT we finally broke through to him and when we taught him a few nights ago he agreed to try to pray, and he even gave the closing prayer. It was awesome, it was just a little thing, but thats how it starts. I am way excited to teach him again.

Other than that, I am trying to just get adjusted to Spanish life, especially here in Algeciras. We walk everywhere, and the entire city seems to be on a hill like San Francisco where it can just get way steep. The buses dont have the best routes in the city so we just walk the entire time. I remember the first week or so I was dying, but now I am doing a lot better. We get €140 a month and so I am trying to budget my money good enough so I can always eat. I am just always hungry, always. Not even because the food is bad, but just because I am always hungry haha. We go to this supermarket called Dia and its small, but its big enough. I found that a staple is a lot of pasta and a lot of cereal haha. Also, I have just got addicted to Nutella. I'm already on my second jar this past week. I just love that stuff. Spread it on bread, and it is just amazing. Surprisingly I havent lost or gained any weight since leaving Alabama. I would think thatI would lose some since of all the walking, or even gain some cuz of all theNutella but I havent moved at all. Usually on P Days we will hav something fun planned but today we are just going to sleep all day, and I am way pumped for that. On Saturdays we try to play futbol with the locals and members of the branch. I knew I was bad at soccer but when I play againt Spaniards I see how bad I really am. It's still way fun though!! Well.... hopefully something really excitin happens this week so I will have more to write about. But until next week then!!!

Elder Card

Monday, March 14, 2011

Another Week

I wish I could say that the past week was really exciting. But it was just a normal work of week in Spain!!! Everyday we walk up and down huge hills in order to bring the Gospel to those who need it. We finally broke through with some people and they just got baptized yesterday!!! How exciting to see people finally make that decision. I was surprised that even though I barely knew them, I had so much joy and happiness for them because I know of the happines that the Gospel brings. It is kind of hard to show people how this is the true church when you are only in a branch and there are not many members. But luckily for us, stake conference was yesterday and it was a great chance to show investigators that the church is not just a small room in a building but the true church!!

The entire conference was in Spanish so it was hard to stay caught up with, BUT luckily for me the final speaker spoke in English and had a translator for everyone else. The final speaker was Elder Claussé (I think that is how you spell it) of the Seventy. I am so grateful that he spoke in English because it was such a great message. Yesterday, he shared a quick story of this movie he saw. It started out with this 40 year old woman who just had her birthday. She then started receiving letters from an 8 year old girl every week or so. In these letters were the dreams and aspirations of this little girl. After investigating she realizes that the 8 year old girl is actually herself from 32 years ago. She wrote herself the letters and gave them to a friend to send to her when she turned 40. She then realized that her life as a businesswoman was not the dream she wanted at all. She wantd to be filled with service and charity, so she totally changed her life.

The story has a parellel with all of our lives. We have written, our friends have written, and our Heavenly Father has written letters to us when we were all living with Him before we were born. We now have these letters, the Bible and the Book of Mormon. With these letters we can change our lives if we let it. And with these letters we can answer the question of Who we are and what our purpose is. I really wish that he could just share the message with all of you because it ws just an awesome message.

Anyways, today for PDay I went shopping at the Dia market, and then went to Gibraltar. It was was cool and fun. It was only about a 40 minute bus ride away, and it was cool and interesting to have to brng my passport to get in. It is basically a mini England and it totally felt like it too. We then climbed the rock of Gibraltar and played with all of the monkeys along the way! It was really funny. We carried pasta with us, becase the monkeys go crazy for pasta and the monkeys would climb over our heads and backs and everything. It was a unique and crazy experience. I live in Spain, got to visit an English territory and even look into Africa. What a unique and crazy day. I am absolutely exhausted though, but it is time to start the real work again. Maybe something eventful will happen this week!! Until next time!! Stay in touch!!


Elder Card

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Hola and bienvenido!!! I am now in Algecias, Spain!!!!! This place is way intense. The south of Spain is nothing like I thought it would be. Not in a better or worse way, but just way different. I met my trainer, Elder Ward, at the bus stop and then we took our bags and walked to our apartment. The entire city is on a hill. Everywhere we walk I feel like I am walking up hill, and even when we walk back, for some reason it is like walking up hill again. I feel like I am never walking down hill! My calves will be ripped after this transfer. Anyways, we had to take my bags up this massive hill to our apartment and I just was dead. Our apartment is on the seventh floor or this nice apartment complex. The actual apartment is pretty nice, and is comfortable. The only thin I don't like about it is that it has like tile floors (so its freezing in the morning) and the water pressure on the shower is lower than low. Other than that though this place is pretty cool!! Our view is amazing, and I can see a lot of the city and mountains in the background.

The past few days have just been pretty much settling in and unpacking and hard work. The accent here is differnt. They have the zeta, but on top of that they usually drop the last letter of the word, which makes it difficult for me to understand. I am trying really hard to participate in discussions and understand the language but it's really frustrating and hard. I am hoping that I start breaking through at least a little bit soon. Sunday was an absolutely insane day. We started walking to church and it was clear. After a little bit it starting to sprinkle. Then, out of nowhere a massive downpour. We tried running the rest of the way to church but it was too late - I was soaking wet. I felt like I had just got out of the shower. The weather can be a killer to church attendance here. We didn't have too many people, but we still made it work. It's amazing the Spirit you can feel even though you are in a small  branch in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, we were able to get a ride back to the apartment, and we were kinda bummed that because of the rain it caused a lot of our investigators to skip out on church.

Finally, the rain stopped and we went to go to some of our citas. We started walking to them and they are closer to the beach area. EVERYTHING was like destroyed. There was mud absolutely everywhere and people's businesses were destroyed. We asked what happend, and apparently that same storm from earlier caused everything to flood. We talked to one guy who said that he saw a tornado touch down on the water. We kept walking and we saw a giant pile of snow, and we were curious so we got closer. It wasn't snow, it was hail. It had hailed so much that it was piled up on the side of the road. The hail was the size of airsoft bb's. When we finally got to the investigator's house, he hold us that the water got up to knee height in their house. We then spent the next few hours setting up everything in his house to dry. He explained to us that the city was supposed to be cleaning the sewer and septic system and they had been delaying and slacking, so that in combination of the storm caused stuff to flood. She said that water was coming up through the toilets even at first. So that stuff that was mud, was actually mud and poop. That explained the smell. Well, everyones business and houses over in that area were ruined. We are going  back later today and going to help them out, and see if they need anything. Other than that, the weekend has been "normal". This week should be a good one and I should stay busy. Wish me luck and I will talk to you later!!!

Elder Card

Thursday, March 3, 2011


It's snowing outside!!!! What the heck... I can't get away from the snow. First in Provo.... then in Alabama, and now in Madrid??? I didn't even knew it snowed in Madrid. ¡¡¡Esto es loco!!! Ahora, no sé si iré visitar la ciudad. Veremos.....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Free Week

Well, the time for me to leave the Spain MTC is near. I leave on Friday morning at 0530 by bullet train to the beautiful city of Málaga Spain, and then another hour or so by another train to get to Fuengirola, where the mission home is at. These past few days have been awesome. The Saturday after I arrived we traveled to this park in Madrid by metro. The metro was crazy, but really fun to ride. We contacted a few people on our short ride. Then we got to the park and just spent hours there contacting and tracting. We placed a lot of Book of Mormons and even got a few referrals to give to the Madrid Spain missionaries. Sundays here were pretty awesome as well. We got really cool speakers for our firesides and sacrament. On Monday we watched a devotional from Jeffrey R Holland which was awesome. After the devotional we went into class and were told that we can do pretty much do anything we wanted until we left on Friday. So since the Spain Temple is about 20 feet away I have gone already three times this past week. Another one of the days I went to the park again to contact. Tomorrow (Thursday) we are going to downtown Madrid to sightsee and shop and then we leave Friday morning. These past few days have been quite an experience and quite a humbling one as well. Four of us came in here together, we were all the visa waiters, and some of the missionaries who have spent their whole time here learning Spanish are already more fluent than us. That goes to show you 4 weeks in the country vs. 12 weeks in the classroom don't even compare. I really wish that I could've been here for my whole 9 weeks, so it is a little frustrating to see everyone else be so much better. But then again I have to remember to not compare or what not, but it is pretty hard. I am really looking forward to finally getting to Málaga though by the end ofthis week! Look for me on the mission president's blog!!

Thanks again for all the support, I will talk to you all again soon!!!

Elder Steven Card