Hola a todos!
We're going to spending P-Day in Ceuta this week, which is so coooool. We're going to hopefully do some shopping and check out the local sights of this beautiful little town. In any case, my mind is still struggling with the fact that I get to be in this town as part of my area. I'd honestly love to serve here full time, but Algeciras needs us too.
Last week, we met up with our zone in Cadiz for a zone P-Day and workshops, which was so fun. We played soccer with a bunch of 12 year-olds who absolutely wrecked us without breaking a sweat while we were panting like old dogs. We also bought some delicious bocadillos from a famous local shop, and walked down to a bridge and watched the sunset together. It was also super cool because we were right next to the ocean and I loved smelling the salt on the wind again.
Some fun facts about Cadiz:
• supposedly it is the oldest city in Europe.
• According to legend, it was founded by Hercules himself
• Julius Cesar visited it at one point to pay respects at the Temple of Hercules
• Also has the building with the most people living in it in Europe. Not sure how that works vecause it's not super tall but a lot of families lives together so it makes sense.
We had some really interesting lessons this week with some new folks, one of which was the lady Pepi that we were talking about last week. We tried to teach her the plan of salvation, but she kept on interrupting us a bunch with random tangets and just arguing about everything. It was super frustrating. But for some reason Elder Stafford thrives in that environment and we ended up closing out the lesson with getting her to promise to read the Book of Mormon with her roommate Ana, who is a super strong member. Turned out OK somehow!
We also met with a Brazilian guy who wanted to learn more from a Facebook ad and we had a super dope lesson about the Book of Mormon. Here's the thing though: he only spoke Portuguese. We tried to get a member who spoke Portuguese with us, but he canceled. We didn't really know what to do, so we just decided to exercise faith and hope he could understand us. And guess what: he did! And even though he was speaking Portuguese to us, we could understand him! We left him with a Portuguese Book of Mormon and he said he'd start from the beginning and read the whole thing, because he "had never been able to listen to us before, but he wanted to hear what we had to say." Needless to say, we're very excited for him.
And we had one lesson with a member who's husband was very against all religion, especially Christianity, but he respected us totally. He appreciated our belief, but he said it wasn't for him. We chatted a little more and learned that he had had a really hard life, with some really messed up stuff happening. He had prayed to God a bunch for relief and it never came. He saw relief come to those who didn't profess a belief in God. He looked around at the world and saw so much suffering and he couldn't understand why God would let that happen. To put it plainly he was angry. Super shut off. We asked him if he even had a DESIRE to know the truth, to know of God lives and he said no. We talked a little more about suffering in the world and why it happens, and at the end we prayed together. He respectfully joined us in prayer, and we left with smiles on our faces. That strange thing about this meeting was, even tough he was almost yelling and getting quite angry and in our faces, I could still feel the Spirit present. It was there, testifying of the truth that God lives. And I knew he could feel it too. He was just denying it entry and trying to turn away from it. I was reading in the Book of Mormon and in Alma it says, '[I desire] that ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God..." The Holy Ghost is there to testify to truth that your hear and see, eternal truth. Don't shut yourself off from it because you're scared of what it might tell you. It's real, and it testifies of all truth. I hope that one day, this man will let the Holy Ghost into his heart and feel this confirming power.
¡Cristo vive! ¡El Libro de Mormón es verdadero!
Papa Stafford with his lemon boys
The fortress in Ceuts at night
Literally a cat just vibing in a cathouse provided by a local charity in Ceuta (they love cats here)
The biggest lemon I've ever seen
Sunset in Cadiz