All Good in Pamplona

1 August 2016

Noche de Hogar (FHE) Tie Failure:  So we were doing a family home evening lesson with a necktie where you need to tie a knot in the tie, but it’s almost impossible unless you know the method (this relates to prayer) and so I said “if anyone knows how to tie it already don’t do it.”  A boy went first and couldn’t tie it, so he hands the tie to his dad and then his dad, who already knew how to tie the knot, just did it. Lesson down the drain. Luckily I’ve learned a lot of lesson ideas so I just emptied my bag out on the floor, told everyone to close their eyes, and then put some stuff back in my bag.  They had to draw something out of the bag and then explain how that item relates to Jesus Christ or the Gospel.

Elder Mendoza’s Top:  All of the little kids here are obsessed with these little plastic tops you spin and do string tricks with, so Elder Mendoza caved and bought one and he always plays with it.  Before he throws it out he always yells “one of these” – super funny.

Piso FHE:  We started doing family home evening every Monday night with the four of us that live in the apartment and it’s pretty funny.  We give everyone an assignment each week. This week I have to give the lesson.

People Call Us Angels:  I think this is one of those moments that makes everything worth it … when we are talking with some old grandma who was converted to the Church and she starts talking about how much she loves the missionaries and what not and then starts to cry a little bit and with tears in her eyes says, “you are my angels.” Those moments just make me stop and think to myself about the impact that we missionaries have on so many people.

Cecilia’s Pics:  We met with a woman that the missionaries taught a few weeks back, and at the end of the lesson we ask if there is anything we can do for her, as normal, and she just goes off on this tangent about how Elder Mendoza and the previous missionary stole one of her pictures and how she won’t come back to church until she gets the back.  In the moment I was like “freak elder why didn’t you tell me this” but then after 25 minutes of accusations and us telling her that we didn’t have the missing pictures we left.  As soon as we walked out of the door, I turned to Elder Mendoza and muttered, “so you took her pictures elder?” and we both just cracked up.  We have decided we won’t go back until she finds her pictures because none of us have ever touched them.

Diego’s Food:  We got to eat with this old Spanish man – a picture of the food will be included. Enjoy, because you all know I enjoyed eating it. Use your imagination – that’s what we did. I’ll give you a hint, there are muscles, shells, octopus tentacles, and other surprises in there.

Ceviche:  We got to eat this classic Peruvian dish (Ecuadorians have one called the same but it is prepared differently).  Catch me living like Wyatt Turner over there in Peru.  It was super good – fish “cooked” by the acid of lemon juice, with potatoes and sweat potatoes and a salad and some other goodies. I guess I like sushi now.

Elder Mendoza Drinking Sparkling Water:  At one of our lessons, we got some “aguita” but it turned out to be sparkling water and I cannot describe to you Elder Mendoza’s face after he drank it – it really is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while. His hand shot over his mouth and his whole body shook as he swallowed his first gulp. He was a champ and finished it all.

Hole in My Shoe: Classic.

Ping pong:  All of the youth from the Church started playing ping pong after an activity. Don’t worry I still got it people. UNDEFEATED. 😉

Elder Turner

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Pamplona

25 July 2016

This past week was good. I’m in the same zone I started the mission in.  Kind of weird.  Pamplona is a big city and it is very pretty. My area is mostly Dominicans, Peruvians, Spaniards and Ecuadorians. I love Dominicans and Peruvians and Spaniards and Ecuadorians – so it’s cool.

Church this week was good.  The ward here in Pamplona is massive and about 200 people attend every week.  There was a YSA (Young Single Adult) sacrament meeting after our sacrament meeting and they asked us to sing in the choir, so we got to go. It was a good meeting and I was able to see someone that got baptized while I was serving in my first area.  It was really nice to see him.

Elder Turner

Bandeja Paisa

4 July 2016

This week went by super fast, but it feels like nothing really happened at the same time. We started off the week with a family home evening with a Nigerian family.  They’re the best – Lucky, Helen, Osawie, and Osa. We did some splits with some other elders and worked with Francis before he left for England. Basically, we just did normal missionary work for the whole week and then finished the week with a family home evening with some families from the branch. We had bandeja paísa with a Colombian lady. It’s the traditional plate of Columbia – a bunch of meats, lots of rice and beans, avocado, a fried egg, arepas, all topped with a big fried plátano. It was way good. Today for preparation day just went to Dominos with Bryan and Kevin.

Well sorry this was way short this week. Next week is transfers.

Elder Turner

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Stick Shifts and Safety Belts

27 June 2016

Fellow countrymen,

So what happened in Vic this week?

: )  The biggest fiesta in Catalonia

: )  “We are serving the right God”

: )  “I Nephi”

: )  Barbecue

: )  Siete Fuentes

This week Catalonia is having two of the biggest fiestas, well I guess it’s just one, but they basically celebrate New Year’s on Thursday and then on Friday nobody does anything until the night and it’s like the Fourth of July on steroids. What does that mean for missionary work? Well, not much, everyone’s leaving for Barce for the weekend, or sleeping all day. There are a bunch parents of little kids’ buying fireworks and letting the kids run amok, doing whatever they want with them. It’s like we are in Nam out here. The whole week there have been kids lighting off fireworks in all the streets.  It’s all fun until the “wise guy” thinks it’s funny to throw them at the two Americans dressed in white shirts and ties. I guess it’s some kind of karma for the times … I would drive around Irvine throwing firecrackers out of the car (sorry mom and dad). Things go full circle don’t they? The positive side of this fiesta is that some people who don’t have work on Friday actually agree to meet with you, so that’s nice.

This week started off with a nice tender mercy of the Lord. We had a lady come to church with us last Sunday, Cinthia, and she had been having ear pains with severe headaches and could barely hear because of it. So, after the services we gave her a blessing, explained to her what we were going to do (use the power of God to invoke a blessing of healing upon her) and that we knew it would heal her if she had faith as well. After the blessing, she went home. We finished up at the church and decided to head to Cinthia’s to see how everything was going. We asked her how her ear was as she was setting up chairs for our lesson.  She stopped, looked back chuckling with childlike joy in her smile, and said “since that moment, the headaches have gone away and I feel no pain.” She then went to grab another chair, I was stoked out of my mind and I couldn’t help but blurt out “thank you, Lord.” She comes back with her chair still with that same smile and said “I know we are serving the right God.” I was speechless, the only thing I could muster up was, “me too” and give her a big smile.

We had a barbecue at a member’s house, which was good. We were helping set up everything while waiting for President to come with the meat. As I was sitting in the house making some calls, I hear a huge boom. Because of the fireworks I was expecting it to just be some kids outside, then I see elder Cook’s face. I thought the chimney barbecue had fallen over (It’s not a normal barbecue it was like a chimney type thing set up in the corner of the patio). I step outside to see the tray with the fire moved a little bit and coals from the burned wood scattered everywhere. Godofredo, maybe the funniest man I’ve ever met, steps outside and asked “what happened?” I told him I had no clue. His response was, “well it’s all set up well now,” in reference to the coals being spread out. We put the coals back in and start cooking and realize that the tile of his patio beneath the tray of coals had exploded. Science. We put some stuff underneath the tray and began cooking, I was left to man the meat. President came out to inspect how I was doing, and somehow my meat flipping skills got his approval. President Merchan is maybe one of the wisest men I’ve ever met, and everything has to be done perfectly, so to get his approval was a miracle. He went on to teach me how to know when the meat is done. Lookout world, in 2k17 I’m going be having some mean barbecues and you’re invited.

Friday we went to a place called siete fuentes, for a hike through some small mountains and what not. We had two families come that weren’t members, and they loved it, so that was even better. This world is a beautiful place, how lucky we are to live on it!

This whole week has been pointing me back to 1 Nephi 1:1. “I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.”

How incredible is this scripture?  I’ve always loved this verse and I could talk for hours about all the different points of this verse, but I will select just two.

  1. “I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents,” I have been born of goodly parents. It’s because of them I am the person I am today, if they had not raised me with the morals that they did, I promise you all I’d be a lot worse off. More than anything, out of the thousands of things my parents did, they taught me through example and for that I am forever grateful. I have been born of goodly heavenly parents. Of this I am sure. God is my Heavenly Father. He is yours too. There is no way he isn’t goodly, he’s God. He’s perfect. He has done more things for me that I remember, or that I have even realized. He loves me perfectly. Perfect love. Think about that for a second, because he has it for you too. And as if that wasn’t enough, he gave His Only Begotten Son, a perfect son, to suffer everything (pains, sickness, sin, temptations, addictions, etc.) so that we can have everything (happiness, eternal life, a friend who knows us exactly, a way out, etc.).
  2. “Having seen many afflictions in the course of my days” For those who don’t know the story of Nephi, and for those who do, he was called and chosen of God, he was obedient with exactness, he was a leader, he was a follower, he was always faithful, he did not complain, he was a servant, and he saw many afflictions in the course of his days. Nephi went through harder things than any of us have gone through, he did them without complaining, without the “why-me’s” and he did them even if he was standing alone. Why? Because he had the perspective, knew the promise, the outcome and the final project.

Going back to my parents, they are great parents, but I can also say they brought me much “affliction.”  I put it in quotes because sometimes it seemed like affliction, but in reality I was just a teenager. There were things they did, or rules they had, or whatever that I sometimes wondered about and tried to understand “why.” On the contrary, there were a lot of things they did, or rules they had, or whatever that I didn’t need to wonder about to know the “why.” And now looking back I understand it all helped me become who I am today.  Now, sometimes we think “why?” or “why me?” When an unplanned affliction comes into our lives. A lot of the time, those questions are directed towards God and we blame Him for the things that go on in life. “Why are you doing this to me?” might be a common question asked. Instead the question we need to ask is, “what am I supposed to learn from this?” Or “what are you trying to teach me?” Even better yet, than these questions would be, “Father help me be patient enough to learn what you want me to learn.”

Shoutsouts go to:  Anna for sending me pictures, Godofredo for the barbecue, Rama Vic for being so sick, and the Hale 6 boys because they’re the boys.

Rock easy people

Elder Turner

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Silver Lagoon

20 June 2016

Hello World,

First off forgive me for not sending anything in .. well, I’m not sure how long, but a while … I will try to be better. This week was a good one as usual. We had a chance to do some more service, and we were able to help a man move some furniture that is probably four times as old as me – literally. It was good until the old frail wood unexpectedly snapped and president Merchan almost died. Just kidding, he didn’t actually almost die, but it got sketchy on his side.

We ate our normal lunch at President’s, but it wasn’t normal at all. We ate jamon and melon, and we set the table as always and I put one plate at my normal spot and President said “no Elder that’s mine because I eat less.” And I had no idea what to do, because I didn’t want more jamon, so I switched plates and then regave myself one of the smaller stacks (had 5 pieces of jamon instead of 7) so I ended up with 13 instead of 15 cuz I knew there would be no way to finish all of President’s food.  He always has two or more plates for us.  So long story short, after I ate all my jamon, half of a long melon, half a plate piled of rice, with the other half being a half of a chicken, a few pieces of tortilla de patata, and some bread President asked me if I wanted more and I said I couldn’t. We then began to talk about how I used to be able to eat more than I can now, and they said that I had eaten a lot and after President listed all I ate, his wife, Teresa piped in with “yeah and he stole some of your jamon.” Everyone was red in the face laughing – President, Teresa, and Abel because President told me I need to repent for taking his jamon, and elder Cook and I because we both knew I was just trying to get less jamon. Guess you had to be there, but it was definitely one of the top 10 funniest moments of my mission. We did a noche de hogar with a Nigerian family in the branch, and his son Osawie came out with these rad slippers. He is six and his brother is eight.

We had zone conference which was incredible as usual. Got to see Elder Sedgwick again and catch up on what’s gone on since the last time we were together. Always grand. Learned a ton, was super inspired by President Dayton and his teachings as well as a Sister Dayton’s.

The branch just decided to feed us a bunch this week.  Saturday came around and I think it was our 4th eating appointment not including all the pizza we ate at zone conference, and we ate at Otto’s.  He served us a huge plate of rice with a stew. In Ghana and Nigeria, they make these “stews” that are really just a sludge of meat, bones, and whatever else they want to put in – and they are generally very spicy. Otto decided to put in spinach and some raw egg thing. It was good, but let’s just say it was a rough dinner.

It was an action packed week which we ended with a good three hours of church, and the classic game night at Francis’ home. In the beginning of my mission I remember I said to feed the missionaries and feed them a lot … as I have gone on I have realized it’s great to sit down and eat with a family, but my new advice is to open your homes to them to have family nights with games and a message, that they can bring whatever type of investigator, less active or recent convert.  Even better you can (and should) invite your friends and neighbors over. I promise you that any missionary that’s focused on the reason they are serving, would prefer that than just coming to eat.

Something I learned this week is that the 90-10 rule is real – that 90% of the people do 10% of the work. Let me just start out by saying if you’re the 90% try to become part of the 10% so that wherever you are can reach an equilibrium of everyone doing the same work. But I want to address more to the 10%. First off if you are a part of the 10% you’re lucky. You’re blessed. So don’t complain about it. We read in Doctrine and Covenants 84:106, “And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also.” The 10% has the responsibility and privilege to help the 90% become self-sufficient and join the ranks of the 10%. In the mission I’ve very realistically applied “am I a blessing or a burden.” We can all do this in whatever we are doing whether it be church related, or with anything else.  We need to strive to be a driving power instead of an anchor. That being said if you are one of the only people who comes to set up some activity every week and you complain about it every week, are you a blessing or a burden? A burden. That slapped me in the face pretty hard since my time here in the Rama.  We missionaries and about seven other branch members are the only ones who do anything here, and I was getting super selfish and kind of angry and complaining as usual, and then the scripture that, “God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7) came into my mind. I was not being a cheerful giver – I was being a selfish giver. If you’re a part of the 10% you are part of it for a reason, someone needs you to go tell them that they’re worth it, or a leader is waiting for someone to remove some of his burden, there are a million reasons why we should be grateful to be a part of the 10%, but the greatest might just be that we know God loves us and trusts us with the soul of one of his special spirit children.

Have a great week everyone.  Regardless of where you are at in your life, realize you’re not the only person to go through it – Christ went through it so you wouldn’t have to. Use that and put your sins, afflictions, infirmities, addictions, and whatever else is weighing you down on His cross, because you are the reason why He carried it.

Shoutsouts: the human body for being able to fix itself, my family for going to Europe without me, bounce houses for the hours of fun they brought me as a boy, and ice cream for being there on the hot days.

Elder Turner

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Blue Jeans White Mate

17 May 2016

Hello everyone!  Monday was a huge holiday here so we switched our preparation day so that we could actually do things like get food for the week. Actually, we were basically told we had to. So, here we are on Tuesday.

The week was pretty interesting … filled with a lot of rain, sickness and miracles. It was raining all day Monday and Tuesday and the work was pretty slow because there was almost no one out on the streets.  Plus, all of our visits bailed on us. Then on Wednesday we had a pretty good meeting with our Branch President and talked about all the changes we need to make as a branch to improve our missionary work together (i.e. actually do our branch mission plan). The meeting was really good, the only problem was that I ended up leaving the meeting with a fever and a pretty nice flu. Then on Friday the Lord pulled through as He always does.  We worked a few hours with Francis in the morning and found a large amount of new people to teach and got to pass by (i.e. meet with) a lot of people.

Another miracle this week was when Bryan, our branch mission leader, came back from the United States – so we got to see his pretty face again as well as talk about the mysteries of God together. Sunday was good – I got a surprise invitation to translate a talk right as Otoo, a Ghanaian, was going up to give his talk. It was actually a pretty good talk about the Church of Jesus Christ today. Should be a crazy week this coming week, we are super excited though. The Lord is forever blessing!

Let’s see what else … advice for the week:  just be happy.

Elder Turner

Shoutsout Video

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