Thursday, February 19, 2015

Humility is the way!

Nephi District with President and Sister Lovell of the Madrid Missionary Training Center

This has been an amazing week here at the CCM. Last Thursday we got to go to the big Archeological Museum here in Madrid. It was really amazing to be able to learn more about the culture of Spain through archeology and history. On Tuesday we got to go to the Prado which was really cool! My only regret was that Uncle Scott wasn´t there to help me understand and to talk with about the art.

Last Saturday in the Park was amazing! But it started on Thursday. I was praying to learn and have greater patience and love for some of the Elders here at the CCM. It has been hard for me to love everyone who have all come from such different backgrounds and have such different views on the world. At the Archeological Museum there was an Elder who kept doing little things that were just bugging me. I was frustrated and when we got back to the CCM the spirit had left because I was so focused on what this Elder was doing. My companion and I talked about it but we both were just frustrated. Later the list of companions for the Park came out and, lo and behold, I was paired with that Elder. That night before bed we sat down to make our goals for  the park. We talked for some time and I was able to tell him about how I had felt in the Museum and that I was working through the process of learning patience with those that are so different than I am. It brought us close so that on Saturday we could have unity in the Park. That Saturday I talked to three times as many people as I had before, handed out more copies of the Book of Mormon and had some of the best experiences I ever had in the Park. I also learned that everyone has their strengths their weaknesses and we need to love them as Christ would especially when they are so different. It was a powerful lesson.

Second story from the Park about having humility… As my companion and I were walking through the park we would walk up and talk to those who were sitting on benches. We came up to a teenage couple asked them how there day was, etc. and then asked them if they had heard of the church. The guy started to smirk and told us that, no he hadn´t. We started to share a little message and then bore our testimonies of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and he started to laugh at us. Never has anything hurt so much. I had been rejected before but never laughed at to my face. I share that story not because I want you to feel sorry for me. I share that story because the Lord has a way of humbling us even while we have success and because I want you to know that I have a knowledge of the truthfulness of the message that I have this great opportunity to share. I am grateful that the Lord has a plan for me and that He is in control and that it is only by submitting to His will that we can ever become who he knows that we can become.

I love you all.
Elder Gustafson

With President and Sister Lovell

MTC Missionaries

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Teaching in the Park

Singing in the park

Hello All!
This has been a great week! I can´t believe that I am more than halfway through the CCM (Spain MTC). It is a real blessing to be here. I take it for granted sometimes that probably at no other time in my life do I get to study the word ofGod 24/7. Even in language study we focus on the words that we need to teach. I love being here even though it can feel like a prison at times it is only a prison of the body while the mind and the spirit are exercised to their fullest. I love the opportunity though on Saturdays to go out into the Park to talk with people in their native tongue. It is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do and yet for some reason I am always super excited every Saturday morning. The hardest part is trying to talk to people on the metro. But I keep learning and working to do better each week I go. At the park we always go with different companions than our normal companions at the CCM. This week I was with Elder Kirby (from England going to the Madrid Mission with me) and a native Russian Elder going to the Samara Russia mission. At first I was very nervous about going with an Elder who we could not communicate with because he speaks neither English or Spanish but he was a huge blessing. We ran into a man that spoke only Russian. It was really cool because he really wanted to know more so our Russian companion talked with him for about 30 minutes about the book of Mormon and the message of the restoration, or at least I think that’s what they were talking about. Elder Kirby and I felt pretty useless, but it was cool to see that God knows where His children are and how we can best help.

I am grateful for all of you and I am grateful for your letters and emails. When the days get hard and the language seems unattainable and then there is a letter sitting in the mailbox with my name on it, or I can go back up to my room after dinner and read the counsel and love in past letters to me, I know that with the Lord is at my side and I can do it. Thank you for your prayers. I feel their effect in my life.

Elder Gustafson

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Lord teaches us what we need to know.

All the missionaries at the Madrid Spain MTC with President and Sister Lovell. My companion is to the left of President Lovell.

What a week and what amazing experiences I have been able to have here. My favorite part of the day every day is the hour right after breakfast when I get to have personal study of the scriptures. We heard a recorded devotional from Elder Bednar last week where he challenged us to seek for examples of the Character of Christ in the scriptures. I have enjoyed doing this as I have started reading the New Testament. The reality and truth of Jesus Christ and His gospel has become even more plain to me as I have begun studying even more His life and His Atonement for each of us. I am beginning to love the scriptures in a way that I have never felt before.

This Saturday we got to go to the park again as we do every Saturday but in the center of Madrid there was some protest going on and so they sat us down beforehand and told us the emergency plan if anything went wrong while we were in the park. I was kind of hoping that something would happen but it didn’t, probably for the best. We did hear a lot of sirens and we saw a couple of helicopters but it wasn´t a big deal. We did have a lot more success in the park than I did last week. I made a goal to be bold and not to be afraid of the language that I do not know too well yet. It was really cool we met a couple of ladies who stopped us and asked us what we were doing there in Madrid, after seeing our name tags. We told them that we were missionaries and had a gift for them. We gave them a copy of the Libro de Mormón and their eyes lit up when we told them that it was another testament of Jesus Christ and that like the Bible it contains the word of God. They told us how excited they were to go home and read it. It is amazing that we can overcome the language barrier the help and aid of the Spirit.

We got to go to the center of Madrid for Pday last week which was really cool. We got to go to all the shops and cafés in the area. It was a real treat to be able to take a break from the classroom that we sit in all day and go see that we are actually in Spain. This afternoon we are headed to the Stadium where Real Madrid plays futbol. Speaking of futbol we go play everyday and one day there was a Spanish kid, probably 6 years old and his dad practicing so we invited them to play with us and I got schooled repeatedly by this little kid. It was really fun though.

Our classroom with Elder Armstrong

The language is difficult but at the same time it is amazing how much the Lord is able to teach us if we humble ourselves and submit ourselves to His will. Life here is amazing! My companion Elder Armstrong is amazing! He is great at helping me and the whole district focus on what we need to be working on. I love the gospel, I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I love the opportunity that I have to be a missionary.

Elder Gustafson

The small little shop where we do our shopping for little stuff. Its
like a dollar store but with more stuff in a smaller space and very
little organization.

Plaza in the Center of Madrid
Elder Armstrong and other missionaries at the Plaza

Madrid Spain Temple with the MTC on the left.