Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Raise Your Vision

June 13, 2016

Anybody that has driven in Spain, including Spaniards themselves, will tell you that all the drivers in Spain are crazy. On Sunday after eating lunch we headed out to visit a recently married and baptized couple in our ward. We got lost a couple of times because of bad addresses and crazy one way streets. During that time we got cut off several times by cars and people crossing the street in random places without looking. By the time that we got there I was pretty frustrated with what had happened. I parked the car and sat there for moment, I asked God to help me to change my attitude and to be able to bless the lives of this family. I got out of the car and looked up into the sky where there were the most beautiful clouds. That view, peeking out from behind the buildings was enough to help me remember who was in charge and that everything was going to be okay.

I think many times we get caught up in our daily lives and don´t remember that we need to look up. The Lord asks us to do exactly this. In Doctrine and Covenants 88 he teaches us "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you;" Our Savior wants us to turn to Him when we have difficulty, and when we do we will receive the rest. Anyways, when we sat down with the family we talked for awhile about what they were going through as a recently called Relief Society President and a husband struggling to find work to support his family. The Spirit testified to them of their need to make sure that they were doing the most important things first and that the Lord would take care of the rest. The Spirit testified to me of the same thing in my assignment.

This week we have had several unexpected changes in the mission and as such President Pack sent my trainer up to Gijon in Asturias, about 4 hours away by train. So, this is going to be a grand adventure with a lot of problem solving and figuring things out as I go along. I´m just hoping that over the next couple of weeks the mission still has power and water. I´ve decided this week that I am a fireman. I run from one fire to another putting it out, from a moldy piso in Alcala to a broken washing machine in A Coruña to a leaky piso in Santiago etc.

Anyways, my invitation for all of us is to look above the leaky, moldy pisos when the time is appropriate so that we can better deal with the problems when they come our way.

I love you all!

Elder Gustafson

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Moments to Minister

June 6, 2016

I know I´ve said it before but this has probably been the busiest, craziest week of my mission. I´ve gotten a lot of questions about what I do and what my responsibilities will be.
  • What will Elder Maxfield be training you to do? Where is he from?
Elder Maxfield will be training me to manage all of the pisos of the mission, this includes making sure that bills are paid, the owners are happy, missionaries are taking care of their pisos, and organizing repairs that come up on the 100 pisos that we have in the mission. (piso = apartment) He is from Utah.

Elder Kirby is training me to drive in Spain, and because we are in Europe I have to learn how to drive a manual, which will be a great skill, but I´m learning in a 9 passenger van on the narrow streets of Spain, so it is quite an adventure.
  • Will you get to proselyte in the evenings?
I do get to proselyte in the evenings. We try to leave the office at 6:30 every night. It is quite dificult sometimes because the work never stops. There is always more to do in the office but we are working to get out in time and develop a proselyting area as well. We serve in the same area as the APs, and the area where President Pack and his family live.
  • Do you live close to the temple and Church offices?
We live about 15 minutes in car from the temple and will have the opportunity to go once a transfer.
  • Will you get to travel the mission? 
I will not do very much travelling outside of the Madrid area. Inside of Madrid we seem to always be running people from the airport or train station out to an area of Madrid.
  • Is this assignment for 5 transfers, until the end of your mission?
I am unsure as to the duration of my stay in the office. Because I am getting my driver´s license it is very probable that I will stay until the end but President has told me that we will cross that bridge when we get to it. I for sure will be here 4 transfers.
  • What is your daily schedule like?
My daily schedule starts like any normal missionary at 7:30 studies from 9-11 and then in the office until 6:30 that night, with a short break at some point for lunch. At 6:30 we start to proselyte, usually. This is the normal schedule that we follow about 20 percent of the time. The other 80 percent crazy random things come up, and that may just be because it was transfer week this last week but we´ll see.

If you have more questions please feel free to ask I enjoy responding and very rarely know what would be interesting for you to know.

One of the things that I have learned this week is to treasure the time that we have. There are many missionaries who just long to go home, back to their girlfriends and families. What they don´t realize is the spiritual nourishment that they are receiving. Coming into the office on about Thursday I realized that I was feeling down and couldn´t figure out why. I asked the other elders in the office and they explained to me that I was feeling what most missionaries feel when they go home. When they stop spending all of their time out preaching the gospel and get caught up in the workings of life. They helped me to understand that I would need to make a real effort in praying, studying, and looking for the times to minister.

I recommitted myself to doing those things daily and since then have seen small increases in my attitude and disposition. I want to share two experiences when we were able to minister this week. First we got to teach a man on Saturday night named Toño, As we finished the lesson he testified of how what we had just taught to him had been worked by the Spirit. That he had been meditating on the topic and that he just needed an invitation to act. Second, on Sunday during our lunch break we got a call from President calling us into the office. We grabbed our lunch, two pots of arroz and lentils, and flew over to the office. We talked to the security guard earlier that morning and told us that he had a long day ahead of him. As we had a short down moment in the office we ran downstairs with a bowl of rice and lentils and gave it to him. It was a small act but a moment to feel like we could serve individually in the midst of a high tense situation.

I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord and show the God´s love for his children in a small way.

Elder Gustafson

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Office

With the Family Garcia - A Coruna

May 30, 2016

When President Pack calls on Saturday morning of transfers you know that he isn´t calling to chat. He called me to serve in the office of the mission as the secretary responsible for apartments and vehicles. It has been kind of a storm of emotions and thoughts and feelings about this new assignment but I understand that the Lord´s plan is much better than mine.

Anyways this last week has been amazing! We have had some of the most spiritual lessons of my mission. We met with Lola on Saturday and we were able to teach her about the plan of salvation. She has a son who is serving a mission and because of the sacrifices that he has made, she wants to learn more about what is so important to him. There was a moment during the lesson when she expressed a doubt about not being able to be perfect enough to gain the celestial kingdom. We talked about the atonement of Jesus Christ and how God does not require us to be perfect, instead he requires that we progress. I am so grateful for that, I don´t need to be perfect, just keep progressing.

Life on the mission is already super crazy! I got here (Madrid) last night, they flew me down first class in order to get me and my suitcases in on Sunday night. It was pretty much the nicest flight I have ever taken, I got two drinks, almonds, and as much leg room as I wanted. I got in at about 11:00 and then began running around picking up more people. We got home at about 12:30. We currently are 7 elders in our piso which is a lot but it will be a whole lot of fun, until we can find the APs a new piso. This morning we went running out the door to get more people to the airport and have been going all day long. It is going to be a whole lot of fun in the next five transfers here in the office.

Anyways, I love you all, have a wonderful week!

Elder Gustafson

With Patricio
With Rafa

Rainbow in Galacia