Hola a todos! This week was wild. So much traveling, we barely spent time in our own piso. But it's always fun to see lots of parts of Spain. And I got to meet tons of more people.
We traveled up in Tuesday to Madrid to participate in a brief mission conference with a general authority Seventy, Elder Aliud. We had a beautiful temple session, and then received some great instruction from our awesome mission president, Elder Aliud, and their wives. It was super powerful and I received some great insights about myself and our area. It was also fantastic to see some other missionaries and I got to hang out with my old comp Elder Coello, which was SO much fun. We stayed the night in his piso and we shredded guitar the entire night. Super fun.
We came back spent one day in Algeciras, where we taught a lesson to our young friend Lucas. He's from Argentina and his "sha" accent is in full effect, which is awesome. We got to know him a little more, and talked about the restoration with him. He seemed super open to learn more and wanted to come to church. We have a lot of hope for him. He also cuts hair for 5 euros, so that's a plus.
On Friday we went down to the puerto and took a boat across the Strait of Gibraltar to our little favorite coastal city in Morocco, Ceuta! It was so much fun. We visited with the members there, made sure everything was going well, that they had everything they needed, and strengthened them spiritually. Some of the members there (there are about 10 or so, it's tiny) definitely need some more strengthening and love, so that's our main focus there. Some members drove us to a beautiful lookout point on the very top of the whole city. We got a fantastic view of the whole place, as well as a part of Morocco and a super dangerous neighborhood called Príncipe (I'm pretty sure there's a Netflix documentary about it, yall should look it up).
The day we came back, we played some basketball with one of the members and we actually met a big group of Muslim kids and played ball with them. (There are a bunch of Muslims in Ceuta, a lot of the signs have both Spanish and Arabic) They taught us some Arabic phrases, and proceeded to WRECK us in basketball. But we got their numbers and were gonna play with them more next week when we come back down.
We unfortunately had to leave, but we came back and had a sacrament meeting in Sunday. Right now in Algeciras we don't actually have a chapel due to some very frustrating things that I will not get into, so we had church in a hotel. It was still super awesome and spiritual, and we had two friends show up! We're so ready to inject some ánimo in this branch, because you can see they need a little extra juice. Please pray for this branch! They need all the help they can get.
Anyways, quick spiritual thought before I go. I was reading once again in the Bible this week and I had a thought about the way that Christ addresses his followers and those around Him. Over and over in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and other scripture we see Christ and God referred to by many names, but a lot of them have to do with royalty. Names like LORD, KING of Israel, the PRINCE of peace, and so on. These are absolutely appropriate when describing the majesty and omnipotence of God and His Son Jesus Christ.
When we look at it the other way, though, we see an interesting contrast. Christ doesn't refer to us as "subjects," "peasants," or "serfs." (Sometimes we are called His servants, but that is a pretty dignified term when we thunk about who He is) We are often referred to in familial terms. Take for example the scripture, "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." Or these: "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." "Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole."
What does that say about our relationship with God and Christ? I think it says that we are worth a lot more in their sight than we realize. We are not just little humans that God put on the Earth to amuse Himself. We are His children. God is not a far off, cold, calculating God. He is a close, personal God. He is a shoulder you can cry on, Someone you can hug, and talk to. He is our Father, and Christ is our Brother. They are closer to us than we know, and are cheering us on every step of the way.
¡Cristo vive! ¡El Libro de Mormón es verdadero!
Cuenta from the top of the mountain
Stafford vibing on the boat
Temple in Madrid after session
Ceuta with the bright blue water
Elder Clive con perro
I love this dish. They do a rice cheese and better dish and its SO good