Monday, March 30, 2015

Gracias a que Él vive

The beautiful Galicean Coast

Familia y amigos,                                                                          

I have had several requests wanting to know what my daily schedule is like here in España. It begins during the winter at 7:00 in the morning. (During the summer everything moves half hour forward so it starts at 7:30) We wake up and exercise for 30 minutes. Starting when it gets a little warmer we´ll start going running but for now its push-ups, sit ups, etc. After exercise we shower and eat until 8:30 when we begin personal study. This is one of the best parts of the day. We have an hour to study from the scriptures and conference talks and prepare ourselves spiritually for the day. This is the most important part of the day for me. Without this preparation there is no way that we could teach with the Spirit and with the power that accompanies this great message. We then have companion study which is a great opportunity to learn with my companion. At 10:30 we have language study for 30 minutes. At 11:00 for the first 12 weeks of the mission I have an extra hour of companion study where I get to practice teaching and learn to be a better missionary.

Pueblo with a beautiful view
Then we get to leave the Piso and hit the streets. Usually, we go contacting on the streets as we try to pass by different investigator´s pisos. This quite often is difficult because most people work during the days. One of the first phrases that I learned out of the CCM was "Tengo prisa" which means "I´m in a hurry" or literally "I have hurry" Many people here have this terrible disease and so street contacting often requires imagination. This week I was on intercambios (exchanges) here in Pontevedra with an Elder from Vigo and we were talking and I asked him how to say female lion in Spanish. He didn´t know and so we asked a lady sitting on a stoop what it was and she sort of laughed at us, gave us an answer and then we had a quite pleasant conversation about our beliefs and her beliefs and got her number to share more with her on another day.

At 2:00 we go back to the Piso for medio dia. Medio Dia lasts for two hours. It is an opportunity to eat food, and prepare more for the day. Food, for me, usually includes yogurt, fruit, meat, and rice or potatoes. I have definitely improved in my culinary skills, some of my finer dishes have been, canned beans with rice and hamburger, hotdogs with fried potatoes, and my favorite to make and eat chocolate covered potato chips. At 4:00 we leave the Piso with different appointments to go to and more contacting on the streets when those appointments fall through. Sometimes we will take a train or bus to one of the pueblos around Pontevedra to meet with someone out there. The public transit system here is very nice. We return to the Piso between 9:30 and 10:00. We plan for half an hour, eat dinner, and are in bed at 11:00. We then wake up the next morning at 7:00 and start all over again.

The thing that I love about our schedule is agency. We have been given the schedule to follow and can choose to follow it or we can choose to disobey. Nobody except my companion and the Lord would know if I decided to spend my study time in the morning sleeping or goofing off or eating. The thing is though that we are blessed according to our obedience to the schedule and in non-missionary life. We have been given this wonderful gift to choose for ourselves the actions that we will make. Nobody compels us to do anything we have that choice to read our scriptures and to go to church but what we cannot control are the consequences for our actions. When we choose righteousness we are blessed. When we don´t, we simply don´t receive blessings. We were talking with a less active member that asked us why God had turned His back on her. The answer always to this question is that God does not turn his back on His children. It is always us turning away from Him. This does not mean that everything will be perfect but it does mean that we will receive the blessings that he has promised us, in His time. God always without exception will honor his word. He will bless us as we keep His commandments. I love the words found in D&C 82:10 "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."

In this Easter season I am grateful for the agency that I have been given. I am grateful that I am able to have that gift and also return to live in the presence of God only through our Savior, Jesus Christ. As we go into this Easter the Church has come out with a wonderful video that exemplifies my feelings about Christ.


I would encourage you to watch it and with an open heart feel the joy that the knowledge that our Savior lives brings. I know that he lives and loves us. Through Him we can live with our families for eternity. I am grateful to be serving a mission to bring this great knowledge to all those who will listen.


Elder Gustafson