Opening My Mission Call

Opening My Mission Call
August 16, 2010

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 11 - On the Lord's Errand

Well, I would have to agree with President Monson. I remember one time he said that one of the best feelings was when the Lord uses you to answer the prayer of another. 

We had a lot of great tiny miracles this week. Some of them were a bit more comical but it's still worth telling. On Thursday we always eat with a certain member and she always gives us A TON of food. Well, as usual, she gave us a bunch of food and on top of it all she even gave us some oranges to take with us. Well, I didn't really want them, but I put them in my backpack because I figured I could do something with them later. Well, later that night we were in a cita to drop one of our investigators because he was fairly lazy and didn't want to fulfill any of the commitments we left him. We had the cita, and at the end, we talked about prayer, and we asked him if he had prayed to know if these things are true, and he went on to tell us he isn't even sure if God answers prayers. Well, we couldn't help him anymore and we ended the cita, and on the way out, I picked up my bag and it felt super heavy. I had no idea why so I looked inside, and I saw the three oranges that I had received earlier in the day. I had already been carrying them all day but for some reason right before leaving I felt like they weighed a ton so I thought, "Well, this guy is in a rough economic situation, this is going to be weird and random, but I'll give him the oranges." So I reached into my bag, and I told him if he would like a gift, and I handed him the oranges. At first he just stared at me like, "Are you crazy? What is this for?" But then he accepted them, and told me, "I work in construction and for the past week I have seen my coworker eat an orange during his break for the past 5 days and I thought to myself how great it would be to have some oranges, so I looked up and said 'Can you please send me some oranges?!' " That was the day before. So here I am, a 21 year old missionary who shows up the next day, randomly, with three oranges in his backpack and gives them to his man. Hahaha, he said he now believes that God answers prayers and that he would try again to know if the Gospel is true. Hahaha. How great. I just love it. What an awesome little miracle.

Another similar story happened on Saturday. There is a less active member who was baptized when he was 9 years old, and has been inactive since his teens. He is now in his 40's with three kids. Well, we passed by and chatted with him and this was probably the third or fourth time we had passed by. He has some bad health problems, and every one in the house is without work. Well, we talked and we really learned of how bad his situation is. He needs some heart medicine which costs 4 euros, to control the rhythm of his heart, but he didn't even have enough money for that. Well, after the cita we were moved with compassion so we went to the pharmacy and bought him his medicine and we also bought him some bread and rice for the family. Well, we return a few hours later and he opens the door, and we show up, SURPRISE! We have your medicine and food. Well, he was just speechless, he didn't know what to say. He likewise, after we left the first time prayed for a miracle so he could eat and buy his medicine. Well, the rest of his family are not members and they likewise were super grateful and they all came to church yesterday!! We talked to them and they all agreed to listen to the discussions so we are going to start talking to them on Wednesday. What another great miracle.

Well, those are two great stories for this week. It is a great feeling to know that the Lord uses you to answers the prayers of others. That is easily one of the greatest feelings. It feels good to be considered on the Lord's errand. I know that he really does listen to the prayers of every single person. Well, thank you all for your prayers! I know that the Lord listens to them, and gives me and the rest of the missionaries the strength to continue on. Until next week!!

Elder Card

June 4 - The Legal System

This past week has been pretty fun if you ask me. I have had a great time. In fact, I almost got deported!!! Okay, actually, it wasn't that bad but I had some residency issues that I had to take care of which put a lot of stress on but it makes for a good story.

When you first come to Spain as a missionary you have to do your "empadronamiento" (like a census) in the city in which you are living. After a little bit you finally get a national residency card with your photo, fingerprint and signature. That is the national form of ID in Spain. The Spaniards have a different one, but it is basically the same thing. Well, the first one you get is only valid for one year. Mine expired back in  February but since the paperwork is an extremely long process and such, I just got the paperwork to solicit my second residency card last week. I opened up my packet, and the letter from our lawyer, Oscar, said that he wanted me to go to Alicante (a city 30 minutes away by train) ASAP to get the stuff done. However, the official government paper said that they requested to see me in Almería (a city 5 hours away by bus). The official cita was at 1030am on Tuesday. Well, I tried calling Oscar many times to ask about the contradiction but he just didn't answer the phone over the weekend. I later found out that his number was misprinted on the paper and I had been calling the wrong number the whole time. Well, now it's Monday and I finally got the right number. He told me to go to Almería the next day, so I then called Elder Thornley who is our mission secretary. He told me that I likely wouldn't be able to get it done in Almeria since I wasn't even living there anymore.

(Each province in Spain has an office where the foreigners go to request the card. I was now living in the province of Alicante, but the paper and Oscar wanted me to go to Almeria. I had previously lived there earlier in the mission but obviously not anymore. The problem is that to request the card in a certain province you have to live there. It would be like me trying to request a national ID card in Washington even though I live in Oregon.)

Anyways, I listened to the secretary's advice and went to Alicante instead of Almeria on Tuesday. Well, the people in Alicante told me that they can't do anything for me because the official government paper said to go to Almeria since that was where I lived when I started the papers (Another thing: I don't know when I started because it is all done in Madrid for me. So Oscar must have started the papers for me while I was living in that province). Well, now I realize that I can't do my papers in Alicante, but my cita in Almeria had already passed, so I called Thornley and he told me to get on a bus straight to Almeria, and in the meantime he would call and reset the cita. 

On Tuesday night we took the five hour bus ride from Elche to Almeria to make our cita on Wednesday morning. Well, we got there and there was a gigantic line in front of the building. Well, after waiting forever we finally made it in, and it was pretty stressful just because if they didn't allow me to get my card we would be in trouble. Well, we waited for awhile and then when it was finally our turn we went up to the desk and the guy must have been having a bad day because he didn't let us do anything. He said no and then no and then no again. I was trying to explain myself in Spanish as best I could but I didn't even understand fully in English. Eventually I went to the supervisor to talk to him and after a long conversation with him explaining the whole situation and all he finally let us do it. So that was that.

Then we had to catch a local bus to the bus station to catch our bus to Elche that left at 330. We got lost and missed the first local bus that left at 255. There was one more local bus at 309, and we got close to the local bus stops but we couldn't remember which bus it was so we asked the locals and two or three of them told us it was not the 2. So as the 2 passed on the other side of the street we didn't worry about it. We later asked the bus driver of the bus that we were going to get on and he said that his bus doesn't go to the bus stop but that the 2 does..... unbelievable. We had such a long morning and now we were going to miss the only bus to Elche that day. We needed a miracle. We were in the middle of nowhere, 45 minutes (on foot) from the bus station. We just needed a miracle. The bus to Elche left in 15 minutes. I don't think I ever prayed so hard in my head for a miracle. Well, that is when we saw it. The beautiful sign of an available taxi. He was on the other side of the street. We just couldn't believe it. A taxi would never drive over here in this part of the city. So we crossed the street even though it was red and weaved between the cars and pretty much jumped in front of the taxi. STOP!! We yelled. How long to get to the bus station?? 

"I don't know €5 or €6." 
"NO! How fast can you get us there. Who cares about the money!!" 
"Oh, umm... 10 minutes?"
"Okay, Go! Go! Go!"

I prayed the whole way. Just hoping that somehow he would sense our urgency. How "lucky" we were that we caught every green light and our driver was a maniac driver. We hopped off, paid the man, and ran in to the bus terminal. There it was! Our bus was still there. We ran on and showed our tickets, and then sat down in our seats. We could do nothing but laugh. What a great tender mercy from the Lord. Literally one or two minutes later and we would have missed the bus. 

Then we arrived in Elche five hours later and I met my new companion. (Elder Redd had left the day previous and Elder Mardones' companion left the day before as well so we were temporary comps for that day.) I met Elder Barbosa. He was born in Africa, but lived in Portugal for 8 years or so and then Spain before coming on the mission so he knows Spanish fluently, but doesn-t know any English. It will be a great transfer though. We are already having a blast. Perhaps some more miracles are on their way.

That is all for this week.
Thanks for all the support
Elder Card

May 29 - Oh, the things you learn

This week has been fairly crazy. We are trying to manage all of the work we have and it is pretty fun trying to manage it all. Lately, we are stopping by all of our fechas and trying to animate them to keep going strong and it is working. A lot of members and even investigators are bringing their friends and family to church. This week I have also learned how to speak Bambara. It is a tribal language from Mali in Africa. We have an investigator who speaks it and has taught us how to speak a lot of phrases because almost all the Africans we see are from Mali. Now when I stop them in the street I can see, Stop for a second, I want to talk to you. Where are you going? What is your name? My name is... How is your family and a bunch of other random words. It actually has helped. I have been able to get a lot of people's info just by trying to speak to them in Bambara.
Speaking of Africa I just got word of who my new comp is going to be: Elder Barbosa! He is from Africa! He can speak Portugese and Spanish but doesn't speak much English so I will help him with that. Well, I will let you know how it is going next week because right now I am in Alicante and the cyber cafe is fairly horrible. It took me about 20 minutes just to type all of this. The keyboard keeps bugging out. Until next week then!!
ELder Card

May 17


I hope everything is going well in Medford!! This past week was crazy. We had some extra elders come and work with us for a few days and so we just saw a ton of miracles. We talked to everyone and we set 8 baptismal dates and found ten new investigators in four days! MIRACLES!!! Also, would you like to hear some exciting news about how the Gospel is starting to be preached to every nation? President Clegg just opened up Northern Morocco. There is a small group already there, mostly Spaniards, and so President, decided it is time to send missionaries there. Now, THAT is exciting. The work is progressing well, and I am jsut super excited to see how it all turns out. My comp, Elder Redd, goes home next week and so next week I will receive a new comp again! President Clegg is just sending me all of the ones who are going home because that is now five companions in five transfers haha. All of them at the end of their mission. I have learned a ton from each one of them though. For all I know I will receive another one going home next transfer as well lol. 

Elder Card

May 10 - Chicken Pox

Hola all,

No need to fear! In case you didn't hear  I caught the chickenpox.... Yep. I have no idea how it happened but I did. It was one of the last things I did before I left Huercal Overa to come to Elche, I said goodbye to the branch president and his kid had chickenpox. I figured I had no need to fear since I had been vaccinated but I guess I am one of the four percent or so. However, the doctor told me even though that the vaccine is meant to stop you from catching it, it also lessens the severity of it if you ever do catch it, therefore, I was only suffering for a few days and then I am good to go. Now I know why parents give it to their kids early on purpose. It is super uncomfortable as an adult. However, now I am out and about and all is well. 

In the week and a half when I was in the house I was able to accomplish a lot. I cleaned and organized and we played a lot of card games, Elder Redd and I. We played Gin and Go Fish, and Cribbage and a multitude of card and dice games. I have almost completely reread the Book of Mormon and I also turned into quite the chef. With all of my spare time I could cook a bit more, so I have been cooking lunch and dinner for us. The past few days I have made some scalloped potatoes, Au Gratin potatoes, risotto, terryiaki chicken, and others. I loved it, it was way fun. Well, I think you can all understand that there isn't too much to say in this email. I have just been in bed, getting better and what not. Now I am ready to go. I know that all of this was for my good, so I am not really worried about it. Now I just need to work harder to make up for the lost time and enjoy!

Until next week!

Elder Card

Day of Diamonds - April 15th

Well before I start going off about the Day of Diamonds, let me just throw out an announcement: I am getting transferred! That was fast. I was only here for two transfers, but considering I have only 5 left, I will most likely split that between going somewhere for three and then somewhere for two, but who knows. Point is, I am leaving this Wednesday for Elche!!!! This will be the biggest city I have served in and so I am pretty excited. I have only served in pueblos and now it is time to step into the concrete jungle that is Elche! And they have an amazingly beautiful chapel building. I will have to take some pictures for you. It is in the middle of a palm tree grove. I am fairly excited. My new companion will be Elder Redd and I already know who he is and we will do good work together. I am really excited. 

I have learned a lot though from Elder Fagersten and that is what I love about the mission you learn so much from each of your comps and you get to meet people from all over the world. Let's do a quick tally shall we? Two from Utah, one from Colorado, three from California, one from France, one from Kansas, one from Iowa and now Elder Redd is from Idaho.

Anyways, this was a great week. After I emailed you all last week we went to the park that is right across the street from our apartment and we fed the ducks and geese. There was even some peacocks and roosters roaming around. It was really cool and just fun to relax. Then, this last Wednesday we all decided to fast as a mission. We were going to spend all day on Friday to just contact and talk to the people in the stree so we needed to be prepared. The results were just amazing. As a mission we received 1400 people in one day who said that they would listen to the missionaries. We, in this tiny pueblo, received 24 of those people, and the fruits are already showing. Five of those 24 have already met with us and have shown desires to continue listening to us, which is just amazing considering of how the transfer went. This place is about ready to burst with success which is why I am a little sad to be leaving. 

This was just one giant testimony builder that God will always help. Some might have said that this was just all coincidence, but I believe it was truly that God doesn't cease to be a God of miracles. When we show faith we can achieve remarkable things. Here is a cool story:

This last Saturday we had a baptism here in Huercal Overa for the members of Lorca. They had two baptisms. Only one was planned though. What happened? Well that special day on Friday, named Day of Diamonds, one of the old investigators of the Lorca area called the missionaries and said that she wanted to be baptized.... tomorrow!!! So they just so happened to have a baptism already planned on Saturday so now they just made it a double baptism. It was a great miracle. A lady called and just says she wants to be baptized the next day?! How awesome!!! Well, another miracle happened during the baptism. One of the missionaries, Elder Avellar, prepared a special musical number for one of the people being baptized. Sadly, we had an electric keyboard in the chapel instead of a real one, but the power went out, in just the room of the keyboard. Well, we all gathered, went into the other room and prayed that if be the will of God that He allow the keyboard to somehow work for the baptism. Then, the miracle happened. The power came back into the room and the keyboard worked just long enough for Elder Avellar to perform his musical number (which brought the lady to tears) and afterwards the keyboard turned off again, and it wouldn't turn back on. In fact, we tried it again yesterday and it still doesn't work. It was just for that 30 minutes that it worked. Miracle! It was really cool.

Yesterday, all of the members were pretty shocked and sad to hear that I was leaving. One of the members invited us over for lunch and she made all of my favorite food of hers. She made me Spanish meatballs, this delicious soup that she makes, and jamón serano and cheese. AMAZING. Then we went to say goodbye to these British investigators that we have, and they invited us in for dinner as well. They fed me a legitimate English meal. Roast beef and gravy, Yorkshire pudding, peas and carrots and roasted parsnips. It was amazing and delicious and I was extremely grateful to say the least. I will miss them as well. Well, I will send you better pictures next week of Elche! Thanks for everything though!

Elder Card

Easter Time!!

Well ladies and gentlemen, we just got done with Easter. It was quite a week in Spain I must say. Here, the Catholic church is king and so this Holy Week was filled with processions (parades) and full of little miracles as well. This week was truly special. For the last few weeks we have had a really hard time with the amount of investigators we have. People will tell us to come back and then they will end up failing us. Or they will have interest for a lesson or two and then drop us. We just haven't been able to find those elect. However, we know that the Lord is always preparing people and that with time all will come through. We were talking about it a bit this week, my companion and I, and it's amazing to look at how our missions have gone. We both have had ups and downs but the truth is that there is no better place or thing to be doing than where I am and what I am doing now. 

I think about it almost daily. Where would I be if I didn't go on a mission? If I didn't join the church? My life would be so different that I cannot even fathom what it would be like. I started out as an innocent little kid who joined the Church because I felt like it was the right thing to do, and now Easter Sunday of 2012 I feel as if my testimony of the Church and of Jesus Christ is so grand that I can hardly sit still; the Gospel needs to be preached. Three years ago I didn't even think in God. To me, even talking about the subject was awkward and weird. Now, I feel like everyone must hear about it. Not one person can go pass without at least having the chance to hear it. The thing is is that I am still the same person. My family still knows me as Steven, my friends know that I am still the same laid-back, funny, easy-going person, and I am still all of that, but now I am all of that with a purpose. I am still the same Steven Card of three years ago, but improved. The Gospel makes bad men good, and good men better. Not to classify myself as a good person, but I know that this Gospel has made me a better son, a better friend, a better person. 

I now realize that there is a purpose to everything. That God does exist and that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all mankind. I still smile when I say it (or type it) because a few years ago you would never hear me say those words. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet as well, and that this Restoration just makes sense. After all is said about the church and the gospel, I remember that this Gospel just makes sense. If anyone sincerely listens and wants to know the truth they will find it here. I often dream about sharing what I have received so freely to everyone, and then I wake up and realize that my dreams have come true! Day in and day out I do nothing but walk around in the streets and tell people that the True Church of Jesus Christ is on the Earth. 

This Friday the whole mission is doing something extremely special. The whole mission is cancelling all of the appointments they have and they will spend the whole day in the street to just talk to the people about this great message. The hope being that "perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we are supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some." I would spend all day in the street and sweat and go without food and water if it meant that just one man or one woman would listen and accept this message. 

Anyways, Easter is always an amazing time of year. Instead of chocolate eggs and bunnies (which they don't do here) I spent it watching videos of Christ's life and studying the scriptures and I have never felt happier. Perhaps, one day, all of my friends and family will be able to partake in the fullness of joy that I feel nearly everyday. I hope that my happiness and joy is manifest. I have never been happier. Pray for us that we might find some of those that are waiting for us this Friday. It will be a day full of miracles!

Elder Card

Elder Card in April visiting the animals
"The chicks just love me!"
Semana Santa
Watching a video of the Restoration
More Semana Santa Photos
Virgin Mary
PS I attached some Semana Santa photos