What a crazy up and down week. It has been a huge change but I am loving it. It's always good when you go to another place that is just as good. It makes the change a little less difficult. Well, to end my final P Day in Sevilla I decided what I really wanted to do was just hang out with the other missionaries, but ithas to be an adventure, so we took about 14 missionaries to... the Sevilla Bullfighting Ring. Nowthat was fun! I tried taking a bunch of photos but you might not get them in this email, but I will try.
I also said goodbye to all of the members and investigators which was pretty sad. They were my family and friends for 6 months so to just leave was tough. They all tried to leave me with something to leave a mark, which they didn't have to do. Bishop is an explorer and he likes to visit the close Roman ruins in his free time, and one time while digging (they encourage exploring) he found some old pottery and coins, and so he gave me one of the old Roman coins he found. What a nice memory. Some of the other members decided to give me other types of "thank yous...." For example, one of the people owns a luggage store and so he decided to give me a nice piece of carry on luggage hahaha. Now I have three pieces of luggage and let's just say that that made packing super stress free.
After packing everything I went to go stay the night at some of the Sevilla elders piso since my bus left at 0745. We stayed the night, and well.... you can guess what happens when elders stay the night over. Well first it starts with a barrage of oranges being thrown from the roof. They live on the 11th floor of this huge apartment building and let's just say that they thought it would be funny to throw fruit off their balcony as we tried entering. I had dodging skills though so no one got hit. I got some orange juice splattered on me though.... sick. Well, then, everyone just loves chatting and so no one got to bed at close to a decent hour. I am pretty sure that throughout the night I had maybe 3 hours sleep before my 745 bus... horrible. I did still call those elders that I was leaving behind in Sevilla and said my goodbyes. It was pretty touching to say bye to some of them. When you work with them side by side for 6 months you get pretty attached, but I am sure I will see them again in the future. It's weird how attached you get to an area too before you leave. When I left Puertollano to come to Sevilla I said to myself how I would never be able to forget Puertollano and what not and how it was my home. Well now I am leaving Sevilla to go to Huércal and I just don't see how anything can ever replace Sevilla. It is the best city in the world!
Well, I took the long long long bus ride to Huércal. I didn't arrive until about 4pm and so I was just plain exhausted but we had places to go and people to see! So I dropped off my bags and went to work. The apartment is super nice. I am pumped. It is extremely comfortable and just large enough to be spacious, but nottoo spacious like our three story house/mansion in Sevilla. I even have my own bathroom. Elder Marchello has his, and I get the luxury of having mine. The only downside is that the piso has no heating and it is SUPER cold in the morning. Why? Well, just like all of Spain there is no carpet and it is just marble or whatever flooring and so it is like stepping on ice getting out of bed. No heat ever stays in the building so we have two space heaters that we turn on and leave in the main room with the doors closed and that is basically where we survive in the morning. I actually have found that I am getting 100% fully dressed in the bathroom right when I get out of the shower because it is too cold to walk around with just a towel. I freeze to death. So I go in to take a shower and I come out in a white shirt and tie haha.
Well, we already had some pretty interesting things happen to us the first week. On Saturday the Lorca elders had a baptism but they had to come to Huercal to use our baptismal font. Why you ask? Remember that earthquake about a year ago almost that happened in Spain? Well, it hit Lorca hard and it destroyed the chapel pretty bad. It even hit the Elders' piso really bad too and they had to move out for awhile. Well, anyways, they had a baptism on Saturday and Elder Marchello and I set up the font on Friday night for them. Our plan was to wake up early on Saturday morning to start the water since it takes about 4ish hours to fill. Well, on Saturday morning we hear a knock at our door at 730 in the morning and it was the Lorca elders! They all came fully dressed and super tired. They didn't look at the bus schedule til the last minute and they realized that it was either arrive at 730 or arrive at their own baptism late, so they did the former and arrived at our piso super early. That was a nice surprise. So we shoved them into the room with all of the heaters and made them hot chocolate and all haha.
The baptism went great as well. Super cool, and the people were way happy. There was one problem though afterwards. How are we going to drain the font? Well before they just had a giant tube in the wall, and they poured the water down that. But now they just recently installed the kitchen so now there is no tube. We had an electric siphon so we tried using that and pumping it into the sink, but this thing was made for swimming pools and it just dumped gallons and gallons of water into the sink. Too fast for the sink to handle, so it just got the place soaking wet. So... we can't do that, now what? Let's pump it into the toilet! Perfect.... Wait, another problem.... the tube isn't long enough to get around the wall into the bathroom and into the toilet on the other side. Well... if we can't do it in the sink.... and we can't go around.... what if we went..... through the ceiling? We removed the tiles in the ceiling and fed the hose through the insulation and dropped the tube down into the women's bathroom. The tube was still short.... about three feet short. It was hanging three feet above the toilet. Well.... we might as well go for it so one of the elders threw the pump into the pool while I stood in the bathroom trying to aim gallons of water being pumped into a target: the tiny small Spanish toilet. Actually.... it worked haha. That's the funny thing is that it worked. We took pictures of the whole thing, and I don't have them yet but we will get them to you no worries. That was all in the first 4 days!
Then yesterday was the first day of church. It was fairly normal. Not a lot of members. The branch just was made back in April so there are not too many members. The President was talking about how all of the members need to help and be active in missionary work. He said at time it can be discouraging because we might see ourselves as failures if we don't baptize anyone or if our invitations get rejected. Yet, he compared missionary work and people to, for example, apples. You can count the number of seeds that are in an apple but you don't know how many apples can come from just one seed. Same goes with missionary work. You can count all of the baptisms you have, but even if you baptize just one person you have no idea what good that person will do or how many people he will bring into the Gospel. In fact, you don't even have to baptize anyone at all. I read of a story of one missionary giving a Japanese man a pamphlet and that was all he ever did with that one man. Well, years later in the future he re looked at the booklet after having a touch experience and he wanted to get in contact with the missionaries. He was eventually baptized and then helped his family and extended family get baptized which numbers like 45 people. So.... even just seeds planted, you never know what good it can cause. So that gives me hope on days where it doesn't seem worth it. That gives me hope when someone rejects me, and it gives me hope when I teach someone and spend a lot of effort and time with them and then they never say yes to baptism because I know I gave them the base and they will say yes eventually when another elder comes their way.
Well, that was my first start in Huercal. Sounds like it will be a pretty good area eh? Only one week done, and who knows how many to go!