Thursday, October 29, 2015


October 26, 2015
Hola a todos!

This week I have been thinking a lot about consecration. What is consecration? Why should we be consecrated? What does it mean to be consecrated? How do we become consecrated? Etc. I would love to share my thoughts with you all. On Sunday in one of the classes we talked about the story of the Rich Young Man. In this story a rich young man comes up to Jesus and his disciples and asks how he can inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus tells him to keep the commandments, and the young man replies that he has done that since his childhood. Jesus then tells him to sell all that he has and to follow him and as the scriptures say he went away sad. The young man was not willing to give everything that he had to follow the Lord. As I thought about this story I thought about the applications in my life. Am I giving all that I have to the Lord? The answer is no. There is always something more that we can give to the Lord. As we ask the Lord he will let us know exactly what else we must do to become more consecrated to Him. We must be willing to accept that counsel and act upon it.

So why was I thinking about consecration? Leo. Leo is a great man who I love with all my heart. I have spent much time studying, pondering, and praying, about him and how to help him progress towards covenants with God. We all have or have had barriers that separate us from God. Sometimes it is being disobedient to his commandments, sometimes it is pride, sometimes it is not repenting, sometimes it is focusing too much on the things of the world. Whatever it is we must take the step of faith that, in that moment, the rich young ruler was unable to take.

Consecration is not easy to achieve because it has a cost to it. In a talk by Elder Tad R Callister called Becoming a Consecrated Missionary he talks about the cost of becoming consecrated. He says, "Some time ago I saw a movie on the life of Martin Luther. He was about to be tried for heresy. Shortly before he was to meet with the Court of Inquisition, his spiritual mentor (a monk who had trained him and loved him) was cutting his hair with a razor. At one point the monk reprimanded Luther for having turned the world upside down, leading the world in revolt - Protestants against Catholics. Then in a stirring moment, Luther grasps his arm and asks: 'You wanted me to change the world. Did you think there would be no cost?'" As a missionary my purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ. There is a cost for both myself and those that I invite to come unto Christ. We met with a man named Steven (an investigator of the Coslada elders but they were sick so we filled in) and he told us that he wanted to come back to Christ after having turned away in his adolescence. We talked about the path back to Christ he knew that he would have to make changes in order to return to Christ and is willing to make them. He knew that he will have to consecrate himself completely to Christ in order to conquer the obstacles that will come up as he works his way back. We as missionaries have to do the same we must dedicate ourselves our whole heart, might, mind, and strength to the work of the Lord. As we do that we see miracles. As members when we put Christ first and do everything in order to advance his kingdom that is where we find true joy!

I believe it was Elder Holland that said you cannot have one foot in Babylon and the other in The Kingdom of God. It is true! I know that this gospel is true I love it! The gospel makes us free! I am here to give freedom to all who will accept it. I get to be a part of the best work in all the world!

My invitation for you all is to find out through prayer how you can become more consecrated to the Lord and then make the changes that you need to. It is something that one of the APs challenged us to do and it is a beautiful invitation and one that will make us even happier.

I love you all,
Elder Gustafson

Fun following District Meeting

Torrejon District at the Night of Nations

Gluten free sandwiches provided by members at the Night of Nations.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Changes in Torrejon

Torrejon District at Stake Conference at the Temple complex

 Today as a District we went to the mall here in Torrejón and we were talking about the ward here and the changes that we have seen over the last couple of months. As we talked we realized that there has been a change in attitude towards the missionaries here. It really is one of the greatest blessings that we have seen here in Torrejón. Even though we haven't had the greatest number of lessons every week or the most number of investigators who have committed to baptism I am grateful for the change in attitude from the members and the missionaries in working together as opposed to working against each other. It is true that a ward will not grow without a focus on missionary work, working with the missionaries and the missionaries will never have success if they forget that they must serve, love, and work together with the members in this great work of the Lord. 

So how did we begin to see the change take place in this ward? First, prayer and fasting to the Lord to know how to help them. Second, forming relationships with the members in order to understand really what their needs are. Third, serving the members according to their needs. We have been privileged to be asked to give members blessings in times of need, to make members cheesecake, to accompany members to the hospital for an operation that they are going to have, and the blessings go on. As a result the members are engaged and want to help us in the missionary work. After a lesson on Saturday with Estafania and a member that we brought with us, the member asked us to call him every time we were going to visit Estefania and he would be there to help us teach. Another example, we brought Diego, a young man in the ward who will be leaving on a mission to Argentina in a couple of weeks, to a lesson with Leo and he was able to clearly and specifically identify the need of Leo without having talked with him too much beforehand. It was a solid lesson and he also told us to let him him know when we can go visit more investigators. I am grateful for the work that the Lord is doing here in the ward of Torrejón.

Speaking of our awesome investigators, we are still meeting with Felix. He is going through some hard times right now and could use all of the prayers that he can get. He especially could use prayers for him to get Sunday's off at work so that he can come to church and work towards his baptismal date in December. Also we are meeting with Leo who is progressing really well and wants to be baptized. He however is still looking for a job and so doesn't want to get a job where he has to work on Sunday's and go inactive after being baptized. It is a great desire but he needs many prayers for him to find a job in the afternoons or Monday through Saturday. He is awesome and a great man but just needs a little boost this week! We also have Estefania who has great desires to keep learning and progressing we had a great lesson with her about faith and repentance the first two points in the gospel of Jesus Christ where she told us that many of her questions were answered and that she is feeling really good about what she is learning in the church.

Anyways life is good! My companion is a champ and you can all thank him for the photos from this week. He is doing really well changing into missionary life but as always with any change could use your prayers as well.

I love you all!

Elder Gustafson
District traveling in the Metro

My Companion loves taking selfies.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Many Miracles

Beautiful sunset!
Torrejon District with Felix
I love miracles! I believe that as we see miracles in our lives that is when we know that we are doing the will of God. We have seen so many miracles this week and I am grateful for them. 

Miracle of Felix

This week Felix our investigator from NYC sprained his wrist! It was a miracle! It was a miracle for us because for the first time in almost three weeks we were able to spend P-Day with him and then teach him again later on Friday. It was amazing. His wrist has healed and he is back to his busy life of school and work but has committed to prepare for baptism by meeting with us every week and asking for Sunday mornings off at work.

Miracle with Leo

I don't know how much I have said about Leo but Leo is awesome! Leo has real desires to learn and progress which is a real blessing. He comes to everything, baptisms, Ward activities, general conference, stake conference etc. his only problem is that when he ends up finding a job that if he is required to work on Sunday he will do it and stop coming. He is an amazing guy with a testimony of the principles of the gospel he just can only see how much he needs a job. We have been praying that he finds a job Monday through Saturday and can continue progressing in the gospel. One of my favorite parts of the mission is being devoted to others all my time, always trying to better myself so that I can help others along their journey.

Miracles in Coslada

This transfer they opened a brand new area inside of our area if that makes sense. They essentially put another set of Elders here in Torrejón and assigned them to work in a city that is just next to Torrejón which is also in our area. Anyways so to help them get started over there this week we spent an afternoon contacting. Contacting is one of my favorite things to do because we see so many miracles when we do it with an attitude of prayer, faith, and hope. We went on mini splits for the afternoon and I was with Elder Phillips. We had three distinct miracles from Coslada that I would like to share.

#1 The Little Boy on His Bike

We were walking along and saw a little boy ridding on a tiny little bike. He stopped and said hi and asked who we were and what we were doing. We crouched down and started talking with him, his dad walked up and Elder Phillips went to talk with him as I was in the middle of this conversation with this little boy. Turns out the guy was from England and spoke English to Elder Phillip's delight, (Elder Phillips has been in the mission for about two weeks now). Then the mom walked up and I began talking with her and we were able to receive an invitation to call them and speak more with them, all because a little boy wanted to talk with some funny looking Americans.

#2 Little Kids in the Plaza

We went and approached a woman sitting on a bench in a Plaza and tried speaking with her. Turns out that she hasn't been in Spain very long after moving here from Romania, but her little kids and their friends spoke Spanish. We had about ten little kids 6-8 years old running around all trying to ask us questions and talk with us so we went and sat and on the next bench right next to their mothers and started answering their questions about who we were and what we were doing their in Spain. As we answered their questions about what are missionaries one little girl asked us "did you come from heaven?" It was a neat experience and when we left they all had their little pass a long cards with pictures of Jesus and one of the women who had been listening to us talk to their kids accepted a Book of Mormon and the invitation to keep learning more.

# 3 The Women with the Dogs

As we continued throughout our afternoon talking with absolutely everyone that we could we ended up in a small little park surrounded by trees. We saw a woman sitting on a bench with two little dogs. Elder Phillips made the approach and we started a conversation with her. As we talked we learned about some of the trials that she was going through in her life. She told us about how hard the passing of her parents, the year before, was for her. As she opened up she gave us the opportunity to testify of the Plan of Salvation, that we know that we can live with our families again after death. There is more to life than simply this time we have on earth. I felt the spirit so strongly sitting on a park bench talking with a woman who I had met maybe ten minutes earlier. It was a beautiful miracle we had the privilege to be a part of.

We saw a rainbow on the way to send our emails.
I am so grateful for the miracles that I see every day in my life and in the lives of those around me. As we seek to find the miracles that happen every day I know that we can be happier and we can better align ourselves with God's will. I love being a missionary. I can't believe how fast time seems to be flying right now, it makes me nervous that if I blink I might miss it. I love my Savior and what He did for me and for all of you. I love you with all my heart!

Elder Gustafson

Homemade GF corndogs with Elder Hendrix

Paola, a recent convert and baker, has been making me GF cookies so I am happy here :)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Faith to keep moving forward

Torrejon Elders
Hello to all of my wonderful friends and family back in the United States! This has been an absolutely wonderful week here in Torrejón. I am here with Elder Hendrix from Arizona. He is a boss! He is super excited to be here and to work hard. We also received two other elders into Torrejón and they live just down the street from us which is a blast. We go eat lunch with them and we played basketball with them and with our investigator Felix. Life here is awesome!

This last conference was absolutely awesome! To me I received many answers and a rejuvenation of the soul. I am grateful for the many inspired messages which were shared by our leaders in the church and look forward to going back and reviewing them again. I especially enjoyed the emphasis on faith that I heard in this conference. For me personally one of the strongest messages was faith. Make sure that you have the faith that you need and proceed according to your faith. Faith is more than just an idea or a concept. Faith is actually taking that step into the darkness and having the confidence that as you live worthy of His guidance he will give it to you. The Lord will not always tell us exactly what we must do in every situation but must learn for ourselves through study and we must pray that He will guide our paths as we take these steps of faith. Sometimes we start out crawling with the faith that we have but as time goes along we will be able to get up and walk as we gain trust in God and as we follow more closely the inspiration that we receive. This was one of the best lessons that I learned during the conference. I am grateful for the Spirit that was there and testified to me of the truthfulness of the messages.  
With Elder Hendrix

This last week we had a great week. There have been a couple of moments with the Spanish language that is sometimes complex that have led to some funny moments but it is really through our mistakes that we learn the most. We have this great opportunity to teach, help and love our companions which is amazing. I love being here with Elder Hendrix he is helping me to have a great time while working hard in our service to the Lord.

I know that the Lord loves us and that He watches over us. I know that our savior died for each one of us and wants us to be happy. I encourage all of you to re-watch and re-study the words of His Prophets and Apostles.

Elder Gustafson

Helping set up for General Conference