Thursday, January 29, 2015

I love Spain

 I love Spain. This place is quite literally the coolest place in the whole world. I haven´t been able to see a whole lot of it yet because we are in classes for most of the day but we go play soccer every day so we get to see a little of the area then. We also get to go proselyte in the park every Saturday which is an amazing experience but more about that later. The sun here is beautiful. The sunrises in the morning sitting in class is always one of the best parts of the day, and every evening on our way to dinner we get to see the sun set right over the beautiful temple that we live next door to. That’s probably the best part of my day.

 When I was told before I left that a mission was going to be hard I had no idea what they were talking about. I understand now. Never have I had days where I´ve been so discouraged or sad or frustrated in my life, but rarely have I ever had days where I have been so happy, so uplifted and so excited to be doing what I am doing. I love it here. It is only because of these hard things that the sweet days are so sweet.

My companion and my District are amazing. My companion is Elder Armstrong he´s from Idaho. He is a solid guy with a great testimony of the gospel. It has been great having him by my side as we have had to do some hard things like teach 30 min lessons in Spanish, a language that neither of us knows well, but the Gift of Tongues, the ability to speak and the ability to understand a foreign language far before normally possible is real. I know that there have been times when I have been lost for words and I´ll know what I need to say next and how to say it even if I haven´t studied those words since I last took Spanish freshman year. Our District is amazing we have six Elders and 3 Hermanas. They´re all really great missionaries. During district meeting on Sunday we talked about why we had decided to serve a mission. It was probably the coolest and most spiritual experience I´ve had so far. Everyone bore their testimony of Jesus Christ and his role in their lives. It was amazing.

I feel like the time here is going by so slow and yet so fast at the same time. It’s an odd experience. On  Saturday we got to go proselyte in the park which was amazing. Having only been here for three days really and no language training we had to go talk to people in a foreign country about what we believed. It was really neat that as we exercised faith and then went and did the Lord helped us to communicate. It was at the same time hard because we really didn´t have any of the language skills to communicate. I am really excited for this Saturday though because we get to go again and take our language training, and our past experience with us.

It is amazing being here. I love this gospel and I am excited to be able to learn the language as a tool to help me share my thoughts and my feelings about it with the people here. I know that Christ is our Redeemer who wants us to return to live with him.

I love you all,
Elder Gustafson

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Made It!

Saying Goodbye at the Manchester NH airport
So I´m actually here! We just got to the MTC and were handed a laptop  and told to tell our families that we got here. It is crazy beautiful here. I feel like its been a whirlwind of a day. There is so much to tell you but not a whole lot of time. It started to feel real when I touched down in Germany. I thought, what am I doing? I´m in the middle of a country by myself with no knowledge of the language or what I´m supposed to do except to find my gate and get on my plane so I can get to Spain. It was really cool I met an Elder in Frankfurt from Israel who speaks English, Hebrew and Russian, and is going to a Russian speaking mission in Romania. So we hung out together for a while and then we ran into this giant group of missionaries from Utah and got to talk with and meet all of them. Its going to be really fun learning and working beside these great missionaries. (enter button does not work on these laptops) On the flight from Newark to Frankfurt I finished the Book of Mormon which was really cool. I am grateful that I have the truths and the principles found in that book. Without which I would most definitely not be anywhere close to where I am today.  I don´t have any really good stories yet but I´m sure that they will come as I learn and spend more time here. I don´t think I´ll get to write again until next Thursday but you all are in my thoughts and prayers. Sincerely, Elder Gustafson

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Mission in Spain

I am leaving for Spain on the 19th of January. It hardly seems real. It's just a couple of days away and yet it still feels like there is no way that I'll get to go on a mission. I remember as a little boy singing "I Hope they Call Me on a Mission" and thinking how cool that would be to serve but that it wouldn't ever actually come. It still feels that way but it is actually here. I'm feeling all sorts of ways right now. I'm not sure whether to be nervous for what's coming next, or sad that I'm leaving my family and friends, or excited to be able to go share what means the most to me in this world.

I get to go out and share what I know to be the cause of my happiness in life, the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for this opportunity to dedicate my life for the next two years to the spreading of the great message that our Savior died for us and then on the third day was resurrected. That through Him we can return to live with our Heavenly Father, who we dwelt with before coming to Earth. I am grateful for the message that after a period of apostasy, or a time when the fullness of Christ's gospel was taken from the earth leading to much confusion, that Joseph Smith saw a vision of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ and was led to the great restoration of Christ's church. That church, His church, is known today as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know this to be true not because anyone has told me that it is true. I know it because I have felt the Spirit testify of these things to me.

The purpose of this blog is to allow others to follow me in my journey as a missionary and to show that God has his hand our lives and that miracles occur as we follow the teachings of His gospel. I will send out a weekly email and my wonderful mother has agreed to put them on the blog each week as I will not have access to it while I am gone. Many thanks to her for her support on this blog. I am grateful to all of you for your support, and am especially appreciative in advance of any letters/ emails/packages that you feel like sending my way. My contact info is on the side bar of the full web version but for those smart phone viewers here it is again.


MTC Address (First 6 Weeks 1/20/15 - 3/1/15) - (No Packages)

Elder Samuel Gustafson
Spain Madrid Mission
Spain Missionary Training Center
4a. Planta
Calle del Templo N° 2
Madrid 28030

Mission Address

Elder Samuel Gustafson
Spain Madrid Mission
Calle Fuerteventura 4, 2, Office 8B
28703 San Sebastian de los Reyes

I am more than anything, excited to go and serve the Lord, I wish you all a wonderful two years in which it is my prayer that you will be watched over by the angels of Heaven.

Elder Gustafson