Opening My Mission Call

Opening My Mission Call
August 16, 2010

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Cuantos Electos Teneis?

Ohhhh good ole Spain, don't ya love it??

Last Monday we were able to visit Real Alcázar in Sevilla. It's an amazing palace with a huge garden right in the middle of Sevilla. I recommend that you should all look it up and look at some pictures, it is absolutely amazing. I should be able to send some pictures next week. There were roaming peacocks and I even got lost in a giant hedge maze. It was actually that last Monday that I met my first LDS Tourists since I have started here in Spain, and of all things they were from Salem, Oregon!! They took us out to eat, and they were really nice. What a blessing it is to have members feel like family no matter where you are in the world.

As for the mission work Spain is progressing. We have a goal of 300 baptisms this year and we have about 208. That means we need to stretch just a little bit to make 300, but I have faith that we can do it. We will reach it I am sure. Of course, Elder Hall and I here in Aljarafe are trying to contribute to that by doing our part. We are still teaching Soraya (The lady in the wheelchair) is coming along. She looks like she will be baptized, if all goes well, on the 15th of October. Her only problem is that she loves loves loves her Virgin Rocio, and so we are trying to understand why she has so much faith in her, and trying to get the entire..... ya'know.... idol worshiping thing across. That, and she asks the strangest questions. We read Mosiah 18 with her and she asked, "Where are the Waters of Mormon?" We tried answering her with the information that we knew, but she wants to know the exact river haha. We aren't exactly sure why it is so important, but we are pretty sure she will forget the question.

I know I gave everyone our little schedule last week, well.... it's about to change. This Saturday we are switching to the Winter schedule which basically just means, shift the entire schedule 30 minutes earlier. Go to sleep 30 mins, earlier, wake up 30 mins. earlier. And now mediodía is only two hours, darn!

That is about it for now. Oh, as for the title, it means, "How many elect do you have?" A member asked us that question, and it made us really think. We have a lot of investigators, but how many of them are actually the ones who can progress and are the elect ones. It has made us think. To make this email of some value, I will throw in a quote that I heard earlier this week during personal study from Neal A. Maxwell about prayer.

"Petitioning in prayer has taught me, again and again, that the vault of heaven with all its blessings is to be opened by a combination lock. One tumbler falls when there is faith, another when there is personal righteousness; the third and final tumbler falls only when what is sought is, in God's judgement - not ours - right for us. Sometimes we pound on the vault door for something we want very much and wonder why it does not open. We would be very spoiled children if that vault door opened any more easily than it does. I can tell, looking back, that God truly loves me by inventorying the petitions He has refused to grant me. Our rejected petitions tell us much about ourselves but also much about our flawless Father."

I know that is true, and I know the work that I am doing here is true, and I am loving every minute of it. Thanks for all of your support!

Elder Steven Card

Oh the Life of a Missionary - September 19th

Well, considering that the blog followers would still want to receive an email, even though the week was fairly "dull", I will go ahead and explain what we as missionaries, and specifically what we in this area, Aljarafe, do. Well... it all starts with wake up time!!! We get up at 730 in the morning, and we work out, eat breakfast, shower, etc, etc. until 9am. At 9am we study. Study the scriptures, read from the Bible and Book of Mormon and the mission guide, Preach My Gospel. Then at 1000 we study again, but as a companionship. We share what we have learned in our individual study and kind of finalize the plans for the day. At 1100 it is out the door!!! We go onto the streets of Spain and.... wait... actually, we are a bit different. In my area, we are one of the few missionaries who have a car, so we utilize that. We hop in the car and drive off to our first cita (appointment). Our area is fairly large, and public transportation in our area is lacking so that is why we get a car. We cover about 6 or 7 pueblos.

We work all morning, and then at 1400 we come back to the house and have a few hours to rest. This is the typical siesta that you might have heard about in Spain. Well, the missionaries get one too. It is more of a necessity than anything else, since it is deathly hot outside at about these hours, and so the Spaniards refuse to come out of their houses to do anything. All they do is nap. We take this time from 1400 to 1700 to nap, cook lunch, read, study Spanish, etc. At 1700 we are out again doing our job until 2200. We come home, plan for the day to come and then eat dinner and what not, and 2330 we are in bed. I really like the schedule, it helps us do our job, and it is nice to be structured and organised. We are also on call for whatever needs to be done in our ward. For example, I am the ward pianist, and the first counselor called us Sunday morning to tell us that we were to give a talk that same Sunday haha. So we do a little bit of everything. In fact, this morning before emailing you, an elderly lady in the ward called and asked for a blessing so we dressed up and drove over to her house to do so. Well, it wasn't too exciting I know. I hope that next week something exciting happens so you will all still be interested in the blog. I will look for the stories. Thanks all for the support though. I really appreciate it.

Elder Steven Card

PS The Photos are of two kids in the ward who tried to wear Elder Hall and I's suit coats haha

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Man with Two Horses

I'll share that story about the horses at the end... but, what a great week it was! We had the opportunity to have stake conference, and specialized training, back to back days. I loved it. On Saturday we went to the Sevilla stake center and met with President Clegg for a specialized training. He was just in Copenhagen for a mission president's seminar and so he was there with David A Bednar and was able to relate some stories that he heard. Bednar said that some of the biggest miracles he has ever seen in his life, have been the assignments of missionaries and their locations. He knows that it is based purely on revelation.

He then told a story of this kid who sent in his application who said he would be happy staying in the USA and speaking English. His bishop and stake president agreed with that and wrote that in their recommends. When Bednar saw it, he thought, okay, we'll do that then... but then he just didn't feel right about it, so he put it aside, and said he would come back to it. At the end of his session it came back to the same elder who wanted to stay in the states. Elder Bednar really just did not feel like that is where he should go.... he was assigned to go to the Far East learning Mandarin Chinese. Quite the change, eh? Turns out, Elder Bednar really wanted to follow this missionary to see why he was assigned there, so he followed him his whole mission (without the missionary knowing) and just would check up on him, to see how he was doing. Well, he didn't learn the language very fast, but he was a hard worker, and he tried his best. He wasn't Ammon or an amazing missionary, but he served honorably. Now, he is sealed in the temple, and living his life. Elder Bednar, is still following him, to see what the reason was for him to go to the Far East, because he knows he was sent there for a reason. Anyways..... that just gives me a lot of ánimo, knowing that I was sent to this mission, at this time, for a reason. I honestly still haven't found it yet. There hasn't been anything that has happened to show me, "yes.... this is the reason, why you were sent here at this time." I am still looking, and I might not find it, or realize it until after my mission, but I receive great comfort that I was assigned here by the Lord, and not by "man".

In my personal study this week I was just reading through the Book of Mormon (I finished yesterday!!!), and while I was reading 3 Nephi chapter 6, something ran into my mind, actually it was what my branch president told me in the MTC. He was always telling the missionaries, make the MTC a great place, and it can be a great place, if you choose it to be so. Basically, the MTC is the same place for everyone, but some are happy, and others, not. You can apply that to any situation, and any place in life. For example, look at 3 Nephi 6, right before the Savior comes to the Nephites, the Nephites were prospering a lot, and there was a division of classes among them. However, just because this happened, doesn't mean that you have to be lifted up in pride. Read verse 13:

13 Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.

Others were exceedingly humble. They choose for themselves to be humble. Whenever I am called on to give a Spiritual Thought on the spot, I always use a certain scripture in 1 Nephi 17, that talks about this very thing. It is allllll based on your ATTITUDE. You decide to be happy. You decide to murmur. Sure, the things around you can have an effect, but you still decide how to react. Read 1 Nephi 17:20 and the attitude of Laman and Lemeul. Now, read the attitutde of Nephi, on verse 2, of the same chapter. The same chapter, the same situation, the same family, but different attitudes, and look at their life. Anyways, that is what I learned this last week...

Well, our investigators are progressing really well. We had four people come to Stake Conference. I don't know why, but when I see the investigators walk into the building I just get filled with some of the happiest joy. It just makes me so happy to see that they used their agency for good and decided to come to church. We had Soraya, the investigator who is trying to stop smoking and is in the wheelchair, Unai, the little 8 year old kid, Daniella, a 20 year old girl from Venezuela, and Pepé, the brother to the bishop. When each one of them came in I was so happy. All of them are progressing at different speeds but I am so happy to see them come to church, and they came to a great session. President Clegg and Sister Clegg spoke, as well as the temple Presidents, President and Siter Moore of the Madrid Temple. They shared some great stories, and one in particular, was the analogy given by President Moore that I want to share to end.

Setting: Olden' day, before cars and and all that....

Okay, so there was this rancher who was packing up all of his things and it was time to head out to a new home. He loaded his wagon and his family and sent them off, while he took care of the last things. He realized he forgot two things in the house: Sponges (don't ask me why), and firewood. So he grabbed two horses and and put on one horse's back, all of the sponges, and on the other, the firewood. As they were walking the dusty trail he looked back, and the horse with the firewood was really working hard to keep up, you could say he was getting tired, while the other horse with the sponges was merely... walking. As if there was no weight on his back at all. Then, they came to a river. The rancher crossed then looked back to check on his horses, expecting the worse for the horse with the firewood, but then he saw something very interesting... The horse with the sponges... well, the sponges started to absorb all of the water, and the weight was too much to handle, and the horse sank, and died. The other horse with the firewood started to cross the water, and then.... the firewood started to float, and the firewood supported the horse, and carried him across the river.

At time, the faithful of God look as if they are burdened with carrying the commandments, and it isn't as easy going through the trail of life, with all of these "burdens" on your back. It isn't as easy as the person who has no commandments at all to live by. But in that day when the challenges come, and you need to cross the river, the thing that was a "burden" is actually what will save you in the end, and help you cross the river, and overcome the challenge, while the person with no weight when the trail was easy, is suddenly overcome too fast, and will flounder.

In the 9 months of my mission, I have seen this is so true. I know that the people who are in the Church and living the commandments, are actually living the life God wants them to live and are happier. I, myself, can say that before I joined the church it was technically "easier" since I didn't have any commandments to "burden" me, but now I know for sure, that I am 10000000 times happier, and that the commandments are what help keep me, and all of us afloat. I know that the members in this church are sometime laughed at because of all of the "rules". But in the end, it is the rules that keep us safe and alive. I know these things are true, and I hope everyone takes this time to reexamine their attitudes, and their obedience in living the commandments.

Elder Steven Card

Monday, September 5, 2011

September 5

Our mission has a goal of 300 baptisms this year, and we are short about 122, meaning we need about 30 a month until the end of the year. We usually average about 20-25 so it will be a stretch, but we are all, as a mission, extremely excited about the opportunity to reach this goal. This past week wasn't, once again sadly, too many amazing stories, but it was just a lot of good ole work, which is what I love. The time is flying since we are just working really hard every day. Our closest investigator to baptism is Soraya. She is in a wheelchair and super Catholic but super super nice. We are trying really hard to help her quit smoking. She is the second of our investigators who wants to quit. Well.... she wants to quit, but I don't know how much she is willing to actually do. Every time we try and say, okay, give us all of your tobacco, she pleads with us that we start the next day. No more of that. We need to just snatch them, and tell her it's time to quit. Besides that, she is a golden investigator and hopefully will be baptized on the 24th of September.

This weekend is Stake Conference which means we get to go to the Sevilla Stake Center which is an amazing building. It is like three stories and just an awesome chapel. I am really excited to go this weekend, I wonder if anyone special will be coming. Their last stake conference back in February had Donald Hallstrom and José Texiera. So... the chances of another Seventy or someone coming is slim, but we'll see.

This last Sunday was an amazing Sunday. I love our ward here so much. It is only about 50 or so people, but man, they are all amazing. Even with so little people I can see how happy everyone is, and it is like I am back home. We even have a lot of youth! I love just hanging out with them, and trying to get to know them, they are awesome kids. Also.... it is amazing but no one in our ward can play the piano, so I am the piano player for the ward. Can you believe it?? I didn't know how to play the piano pretty much at all before the mission but now I am the ward pianist. They even gave me an electric keyboard to practice with in the house haha. It is a lot more nerve wracking than I thought, so I have a lot more respect for all of the ward organists and pianists out there haha. One wrong note, and there goes the Spirit I feel haha. Well.... that is pretty much all to report from this week. I hope to have a lot of cool stories from this coming weekend. It should be good! Sorry for the small email this week, but thanks for all of your support and what not!! Much appreciated. Love you all!!

Elder Steven Card

Sunday, September 4, 2011

August 29 - Faith Can Move Mountains?​? You Better Believe It!

Well.... this week... I was looking back on my journal to figure out what to write to everyone, and well, the truth is, there isn't that many amazing stories, but I feel like it was an amazingly productive week. Just good ole missionary work, and I am finally getting adjusted to my new area. Right after I sent my last email we went to the Sevilla Cathedral which is the largest Cathedral (based on area) in the world. It was amazing. I have a lot of pictures, but I will try and pick out the best ones to send, sorry if you don't receive them. It's because they are too big for your email to receive and I don't know how to shrink them.

Well, we had a goal of 20 lessons this week, and we worked so hard to get 20 lessons. It was just nothing but non stop prayer and hard work, since this area had never had 20 lessons, and I wanted my first full week here to be a great one. Well.... we saw miracles let me just say that. With faith you can accomplish everything. We had a slow start and only had 12 lessons going into the weekend, but we saw miracles. People with cranky old husbands who hate us, even called us back!! We set citas and got lessons out of nowhere. Sadly....... we didn't get 20, haha (I know, a little anti-climactic) but... we did get 19 lessons and that is a new record for the area! The thing is too we didn't even do too much differently than I guess they normally do, but with faith, the Lord will always help out, and look 19 lessons!!

Some of the people we are teaching are way cool. One is named Unai, and he is a 9 year old kid, and it is a bit difficult to actually teach him at time (the attention span thing....) but he is an awesome little kid who loves the missionaries. His mom is a meno activo, so we are trying to teach them both. He is coming along really well. Since he is 9, it is now the missionaries who come in and help.

We are also teaching this 17 year old kid named Kevin. He is pretty much.... me. He is really close friends to this strong active family in the ward and he is actually dating the daughter. Well, the daughter gave Kevin a Book of Mormon and now he is taking the discussions, much to the disliking of his mom. The difference is he has a hard time getting to church since he has no car.... but we will find a way!! I want to see this kid turn into a missionary just like I am. He is an amazing kid, it is way cool. Now I know, a little, what it is like to teach... well.... myself. To be in Elder Crandalls shoes.

Well, those are our top investigators.... a 9 year old kid and 17 year old teenager haha. But the work is coming along and I am having a blast. I am loving it.....

Well, remember awhile ago when I told you all to read the parable of the Good Samaritan... well I finally have the explanation and I hope you all learn something from these symbols and you can read it differently. Well.... it starts off with a lawyer questioning Jesus, and talking about who is our neighbor... Well, the parable starts with a certain man and we can put ourselves in that position, and it is really quite interesting the setting of Jerusalem and Jericho. Jerusalem is "a city on top of a hill" and is high up, while Jericho is the lowest inhabited city in the world, more than 800 feet below sea level. The road between the two cities is notoriously dangerous and winding. This can be seen as the fall of man, as he descends to go to Jericho. The man, or us, gets then attacked by thieves, or Satan and his temptations, and is left half dead. This can be seen spiritually dead, obviously not physically dead. Then a certain Samaritan comes along. A Samartian is a half Jew, half Gentile, and so who is this certain Samaritan? Jesus Christ. He heals us with the oil and wine or the Atonement and his Spirit, and he takes us to the inn, or church, and is always saying that he will pay what is necessary. Well.... I hope you all got something out of that haha... I think I through out all of the symbols I can remember.

Anyways.... I hope that you all have a great week, and thanks for the support!! I will talk to you all later!!

Elder Card

August 22

So..... as some of you may have heard.... I got emergency transferred this last Tuesday!!! It has been such an intense up and down week!!! President Clegg called me on Tuesday morning and said I needed to pack my bags because I was going to be on a train to Aljarafe that same day at 6pm. Quite an adventure..... Since I had zero time to say goodbye it was kind of difficult to leave a place that I called home for 19 weeks of my life. I didn't even get to take a picture with any of the members. Hopefully, I can see them again. I quickly packed, which was horrible, then hopped on the AVE and took it so Sevilla.

We arrived and I met my new companion, Elder Josh Hall from West Jordan, Utah. He is the same "mission age" as Elder Hatch, so nothing new really. Just a new face. He actually is pretty similar to Elder Hatch in personality, so it should be an easy transition lol. Our new piso is actually a 4 story house. It is pretty narrow though so don't get the impression we are in a mansion, just a small house, but tall. It is way old fashioned, so its a bit scary at night, but its extremely comfortable. We even have a piano in the house!! I have found myself playing on it a lot during my free time. I need to be practicing considering, I am now the ward pianist. Can you believe that in a ward there is not one person that plays the piano, or I am just the best that plays the piano out of the 40 plus members that we do have. Take your pick. It's a miracle I learned how to play that well considering before the mission I could barely play anything.

Over the past week I have learned the new area, and we even have a car, so I am in the process of getting my international drivers license. It's a good thing I learned how to drive a stick before the mission. All the members here are really nice, and super caring. I have already had a bunch of eating citas and I am loving it. This last Sunday at church I got to speak and I basically just told my conversion story and said that we need member references because that is where the true success comes from. The stake president was there and afterwards he came up to me and told me his conversion story and told me how he too was the only member and convert in his family. He is a cool guy. Well... what more to say?? I am just trying to figure out where I am right now. I am in Aljarafe, a pueblo of Sevilla, but man.... I got so lost this past week. Here is my new address

C/ Jara Nº14
41927 Mairena del Aljarafe

I hope to get some nice stuff at my new home, wink wink. Okay. Adios for now!!!

Elder Card

August 19th

So I was in my loving home of Puertollano for 19 weeks.... and I just got emergency transferred with only 8 hours notice to pack.... point is.... I was way way way way way way way way way sad. Not happy at all. But tahts life in the mission. But... now I am serving in Aljarafe a pueblo about 5 minutes from Sevilla. New Address, and I will talk again Monday. Send stuff for a warm homecoming to my new home :

Elder Steven Card
Calle Jara Nº14
41927 Mairena del Aljarafe

Thanks. Love ya

August 15th

Well this week has been quite good. Just another good hard week of work. The stories.... well.... they'll come, and the ones I have from this past week are probably not the funniest to share, since they are mostly inside jokes, but I will see what I can share!

First, every Monday night we have a Family Home Evening with the Branch President and his family. We do it without fail, and this last Monday we invited our recent convert. Now, President Montes was feeling in a singing mood, and so..... We started with an opening hymn, and then he said, "Yeah, yeah yeah, let's sing another one.... Brother León, what is your favorite hymn??" Okay, awesome. Let's sing that one!!! Tonight, is going to be a night of singing and glory to God. Elder Hatch and I then look at each other and are like, "Ummmm.... oh boy....." We sang every one's favorite hymn, including the missionaries. We opened with a hymn and a prayer, sang 11 more hymns, then ended with a prayer. I don't think I have had my voice hurt so much in a long time. Then our recent convert said, "Man, this is awesome. A FHE with all hymns, and how about next time we do one with all scriptures!! Then another one we will do one with all prayers!!!" Hmmm, I don't know how that would work..... Well, luckily, the wife of President Montes said, "Prayers?? Maybe.... instead.... we can do... umm... testimonies??" He agreed to do that instead. Whew.... saved.

Afterwards we all went to get ice cream, and I made the biggest mistake!! We NEVER go out to get ice cream, and so I needed to this opportunity for all I could. The ice cream parlor was filled with a great aroma and just amazing amount of flavors. Sadly, I decided to go for the.... horchata. Worst. Mistake. Ever. It is like a milkshake with Cinnamon and other type spices. Basically, I wasted the only time I had ever gone into that ice cream shop for a disgusting drink. I was so disappointed. If you are ever in Spain. NEVER order horchata!!!

We then had a great district meeting Tuesday and it was a lot of fun. Telepizza (a local pizza chain) has a deal where medium pizzas are only €5 each. So..... Call em up Tuesday morning!!! We would like 8 medium pizzas please!! They didn't open for another two hours, but they agreed to open up for our order! haha. We then all wore blue, and so we decided with the elderly missionary couple that we had we would all pose for our District Christmas card haha. It looks pretty good if you ask me. The La Mancha district is going places!! We also just got three new missionaries in our district, so the family is growing!!

Then, yesterday, for church, I realized how much small branches rely on missionaries. Technically, the branch president doesn't have any counselors, and so when he is gone we are the acting branch president. Also, President Montes, no fault of his own though, is not the most computer literate and so I also act as the branch secretary and I use MLS. I don't know what it is called in English, but it is the program to track all of the members and tithes. So I also count and send off the tithes. I don't know how he ever managed in the past so I have been trying to teach him how to use the system more and more so he can become more self reliant. Basically, just a lot of work these past few days.

Now, today is a festival day so a lot of stuff is closed. It looks like a nice rest day in our piso! Well, stay in touch all!! Thanks for everything!!
Elder Steven Card