Monday, September 18, 2017

Sept 18, 2017 Elder Holland visits - wonderful

Hello everyone,

Well this past Saturday was the coolest thing ever so I'm just gonna tell y'all about it.
So saturday morning we caught the bus down from sevilla to malaga. The mission just chartered a whole bus for all the missionaries in our zone so that was pretty cool. Anyways yeah so the bus left from Sevilla at like 8ish. We finally arrived in Malaga at about 10:45 where about half the missionaries had already arrived and they were in the courtyard of the chapel arranging everyone to take the big mission picture. We got lined up and were getting ready to take the picture when Elder Hollands car pulled up. Still one of the busses, the one with the missionaries from Cartagena hadn't showed up but we took the picture of us with him anyways. Afterwards we all filed out in rows and one by one were able to shake his hand as he asked us our names and where we were from. We moved through the line of handshakes, his followed by the Europe area president and his wife then President and Hermana Andersen. It was funny because the area president is like a big deal but right after shaking an apostles hand everyone was just in so much shock that we kinda forgot how cool it was that we were meeting the area president too haha. 

So then the conference started, I will just share some of the quotes I wrote down and elaborate on them. 

First off Sister Johnson spoke. She is the wife of the Area president. Her talk was very short and was basically just her testimony, which was very powerful. She spoke alot on the book of mormon and the power that it has. She also spoke of her love for the hymns, especially in spanish because they served as district presidents in Chile some time ago. My favorite quote that she had though was "What greater mission rule is there than love?" It made me think on the scripture in the bible where the lawyer asks Christ- "Which is the greater commandment in the law?" Then Christ replies "Love God with all thy heart soul and mind" then continues- "The second is like unto it, love thy neighbor as thyself." What greater rule is there to live by!?

Second Elder Johnson spoke. First of all he had the microphone passed around and asked everyone what characteristics of good leadership we saw in the Andersens. There were many replies but the majority were based on their love for us and dedication to their calling. Then he had us all turn to 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 we read from verse 3 to verse 13 stopping and examining each verse. 


3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile:
4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness:
6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.
7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

 So I underlined some of the main parts he mentioned but basically he said it describes our work as missionaries today in a perfect form. How we have been trusted with the gospel and are humbly sacrificing this part of our lives to help others to receive the truth, the word of God. How we go about with love, comforting and charging everyone we meet with the invitation to ask God for themselves because we know that he will answer them if they ask with real intent. 

Elder Holland

"So you all know the song Tengo Gozo right?" 
"Pues yo tengo gozo en mi alma hoy." 
(Translation for those of you who don't speak spanish, tengo gozo means- I'm joyful. In english the hymn is Sunshine in my soul but the spanish translation means- I have joy in my soul today.)
"Well I do know some spanish but its not very good"
"Here lets see, La Hermana Andersen es muy linda. Presidente Andersen es muy inteligente". 
(Sister Andersen is very beautiful, President Andersen is very intelligent.) 
He went off with a few other things but I didn't get them all written down haha but it was super funny cause he was saying them in the most gringo accent but purposefully haha everyone was dying laughing. 
Alright so here's some of the next quotes

"People join the church from what they feel"

"They CAN learn without feeling but CANNOT feel without learning" 

"I pray every night for the return of the Savior- for my sake, yours, our children's and grandchildren's" 

"We know that one of the prerequisites for the second coming of Christ is the spread of the gospel to all nations. I'm not sure if that is literally every nation or if there is a certain limit of how many people we have reached or how many countries. I do not know the quota but that is the main prerequisites." 

"I shake your hands to interview you. I don't know if any of you know this but back in the day a member of the 12 would interview every missionary every year. We no longer are able to do that with the vast number of you. However we are given that gift to be able to interview you as we shake your hand and most of us choose to do so. So when I shook your hand you may have noticed I looked you right in the eyes for anywhere between 5-10 seconds and peered into your soul for that moment. I didn't really care what your name was or where you were from that much because by the time I'm three people down the line I have already forgotten it. I just some excuse to hold your hand and look into your eyes for those few seconds." 

"Now I didn't sense any real problems in this mission, just some minor things like overwhelming homesickness and some slight depression, but nothing too serious or unfixable. If you weren't such a wonderful group of missionaries this would not be a pleasant meeting. I am famous for going CRAZY, pulpit tipped over, lights knocked out etc. Absolutely Bonkers!" 

"I don't know if you realize this but you are Apostolic"
"You have the same commission as I do, 24 hours a day 7 days a week you are engaged in the most important work in the universe."
"Do not miss this one chance. Leave it all on the field."

When he was in college at Yale a champion swimmer came to swim for their high ranking team. He said that when the kid arrived they had a little interview type thing that Elder Holland was able to slip into the back of the room to see. The interviewer asked him a cheesy interviewer question like, "So what does it take to become a champion swimmer?"  The kid replied with a phrase that has stuck with Elder Holland throughout his life. 
"You've got to kick when you don't wanna kick and stroke when you don't wanna stroke."

"You've got to be what a missionary is supposed to be, even when the going gets tough." 

"LOOK, (bang) THIS IS REAL LIFE" - (the bang was from his hand smacking the pulpit.)

"I never would have ever used to talk to missionaries about going home. I was afraid it would make them trunky or something. Now this is my message to you. Think about going home, what are you going to tell your future spouse and children, what stories are you going to tell your kids when you cuddle up on the couch with them?" 
"You need to live your mission in anticipation of being home." 
"Think about your younger siblings, the younger children in your ward. You need to be the example for them. They have no idea what you are doing right now they think you are somewhere over Spain with an S on your chest and a cape. (Put his arms out like wings and swayed back in forth like he was flying) - in deep voice- "I see evil, I will go down." Haha 

Then he had a whiteboard brought in and asked someone to give a summary of 1 nephi 1 without looking. He continued on through the first few chapters of the Nephi like that as he wrote words on the board. He wrote them in spanish but I'll just write them in english for your sakes :) 

600 B.C. 

"What does this look like to you guys?"
Someone in the audience. "I think Joseph Smith"
"Of course its Joseph Smith! And every other prophet there ever was! 

1 Nephi chapter 2 


"Turn to 1 Nephi 4"
(Had an Elder read these scriptures)

6 And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.

10 And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit

12 And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again

18 Therefore I did obey the voice of the Spirit

Chapter 5 verse 21-22

21 And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.

22 Wherefore, it was wisdom in the Lord that we should carry them with us, as we journeyed in the wilderness towards the land of promise.

"Records- Importance of the scriptures."
"Great worth, wisdom of the lord."

Chapt 6: things of God

Chapt 7: visión tree of life. 

"Only 14 pages in and we already have so much proof of God speaking to man."

Killing of Laban- test of obedience to the spirit.

Be prepared to pay any price to obey the spirit. 

"I have NOT given my life to a fairytale!"
"This IS the TRUTH." 

"If you are able to be close enough to me when I die, right up next to my almost non-functioning lips, you will hear this same testimony."

"May God bless your work, may you remember to love this work without regrets."

Grateful for the opportunity to be in the presence and shake the hand of an Apostle this week. It was definitely a life changing experience and a great testimony builder. 

Sorry this email is so long. I'm sure you're all bored by now but I hope you got at least some little piece of inspiration from my notes. Love you all, have a great week! :)

- Elder Childers 

Sept 11, 2017 Pedro Passed

This week was crazy. 

Well most weeks in the mission are but this one was super crazy. First of all it was transfer week and since my comp and I aren't moving we were in charge of helping everyone else move. The elders from Cáceres had to come down and stay in our piso for 2 days so that was fun but also not cause they ate every little last bit of food we had. So that was kinda a bummer... but its all good. 

The worst part of the week was Pedro. He was our new investigator we found about three weeks ago. This past week he felt pretty sick again so they decided to take him to the hospital. So a few days ago we decide to just pass by his piso to see how he and his family are doing turns out he died. Yeah so that was a really sad day. Hopefully we were able to prepare him well enough to accept the message in the spirit world. 
Anyways thats about all of the noteworthy stuff that happened this week. Elder Holland comes this Saturday so we are all pretty excited for that!
Well I'll write more next week to let ya'll know how the conference goes. 

Much Love 💙

Sept 4, 2017 Moses


Hey guys,
Well not a ton of crazy stuff has happened this week. The biggest thing is that the zones in our mission got reorganized because the two wards in Cartagena got combined into one and also the 2 wards in our zone Sevilla they did the same. So to adjust for that they got rid of one zone in Sevilla and one zone in Malaga then combined the leftover parts of each and made a new zone in Córdoba. So that's kinda crazy, but didn't really have an effect on our area since we are still part of Sevilla. 
Since this past Sunday was stake conference we were supposed to get a ride down to Sevilla for it with a member but the night before they called and said they weren't going anymore. So since no other members from the branch were going we had to call the office and try to get bus tickets and everything it was a big mess. Since its the weekend there were no busses that would make it in time. The stake president told the ZLs that they would not broadcast it cause apparently they had given each branch money to rent busses for the members to go down.. so yeah it was weird cause no one in the branch presidency seemed to know anything about it. So I end up Saturday night at 10:30 on the phone with the office and president and they are looking at buying us plane tickets out of Badajoz to Barcelona then down to Sevilla just so we could make it in time for the special missionary meeting in the morning. Finally we just decided it would be best to Skype in on the morning meeting then miss the stake conference. It was crazy thought I was this close --> 👌🏾 to getting to visit Barcelona haha. Anyways yeah this past transfer of training has flown by. Its crazy that at the end of this next transfer I will have been here in Badajoz for 6 months already! The time is starting to fly by.

Today we had a really cool p-day. We took a bus over to Mérida which is about an hour from Badajoz. It used to be the capitol of the Roman Empire so there are some pretty cool ruins there. We got to see first of all the castle at the entrance of he city. That is situated right on the banks of the river. Crossing the river is the longest bridge of its time period in the year 25, yes that is actually 25 haha pretty old. The bridge is 800 meters long! Right after that we headed up to another area were these awesome tile floor murals had been made by laying tons of tiny little pebbles of varying colors. It looked like some seriously tedious work but they were impressive! After that we went and saw the arena were the gladiators used to fight that was pretty cool. Ajoint the arena there is a huge theatre where they still perform shows today! The way they built it has such good acoustics that you can hear everything on the stage clearly from anywhere in the stands with no microphones! Last of all we went up and saw the track were they used to do chariot racing, it wasn't too special because it wasn't preserved too well but it was kinda cool how everything about the races had some type of symbolism to do with time and creation. Then we saw this church that was kinda creepy cause underneath there was a catacomb type crypt where a bunch of tombs used to be of some martyrs but they took out all the bodies it was kinda creepy but yeah I took lots of pictures so enjoy! Afterward since we were all the way out in Merida we passed my this less active guy named Moses. He's from Nigeria and is a super home, we shared a short message with him and it was a good time. He speaks English but it was sooo hard to understand haha the accent was really different from our clear American accent haha. Well yeah that's about it.

Love y'all, the best of weeks! 😘

Monday, August 28, 2017

August 28, 2017 One Year

Hello family and friends,

Well this week was pretty crazy. Well not really but I did hit my year mark so that was cool! 

Okay so for the week, first off Monday night we had a cool noche de hogar (Family Night). Yeah well it turned out pretty good. They brought like 2 friends to it so that was cool. Later on this week we were able to visit them again and Jose Manuel, the dad was just cracking jokes the whole time. I was dying laughing, my poor comp couldn't understand a thing so I explained it all to him later. He gave Elder Cobbley this super awesome real madrid tie clip though thats more than 40 years old! 

Tuesday we had our district meeting with the missionaries here in Badajoz and Cáceres. Okay so this was hilarious. During district meetings sometimes we do these things called practicas where someone pretends to be an investigator and the other two people teach them while everyone else watches. So my comp and I got selected and we were going to teach elder Stephenson. He is like super humorous person like always joking around. So during the practica it just went super crazy and in the end we asked where he got his utah state tie and turns out he was already a mormon. By this point everyone in the room was laughing so hard they were crying. It was pretty funny im sorry y'all were not able to be there to enjoy it. 

Wednesday I hit my year mark. It was pretty cool because somehow without even realizing I ended up finishing reading the book of mormon again that morning! So that was kind of a cool little thing haha. To celebrate president silva had us over for lunch and we burned a shirt on his roof. For those of you who don't understand this part its just a little tradition missionaries do when they hit their year mark. It was pretty neat cause president told us about when he was on his mission when they burned his shirt. They did it inside their piso 😂😂 

Anyways it feels crazy that I have been here for an entire year, sometimes it feels fast sometimes it feels slow. Looking back it has been good. It has been really hard and I have just wanted to give up a lot of times but I have learned from every one of those hard experiences. I have developed attributes that will help me through the course of the rest of my life and I am thankful for that. 
I love you all and I wish you the best of weeks :) 

- Elder Childers 

August 21, 2017 Raw fish, chicken feet, heart attacks & cookies

Hey ya'll, well this week has been off the wall!
First off Mom and Dad you're gonna be proud of me for this one, and all the rest of you should be too haha. This week I ate ceviche, for those of you who don't know what this is.. It is raw fish that they soak in lemon juice and apparently the acids in the lemon juice somehow "cook" the meat so its okay to eat. It surprisingly was pretty good. The texture and idea of it was a little weird but I ended up liking it and my stomach didn't freak out at me for eating it so that was a plus! Then after that I ate chicken feet. Okay now these on the other hand were pretty gross. How you have to eat it is you put the entire foot in your mouth then kinda pick it apart with your tongue until all the little bones separate from the meat. The bones you spit out on your plate and you swallow whats left. I didn't like that much haha the meat was like pastey and left a bad aftertaste. Anyways though I never thought I would eat two foods that weird in the same sitting. The members we were eating with loved it. They were pounding those feet down like they they were popcorn chicken!
Second crazy thing that happened this week has to do with our investigator Pedro. So he's the guy that was having those weird health problems that he said were from the mosquito disease he got in the army. Well we passed by his house on tuesday and his sister answered the timbre and told us he was in the hospital because he had almost had a heart attack! Yep everyone's having heart attacks lately, but we will get to that later.. so the next day we stopped by with some cookies and were able to get to know his family a bit which was cool. 
Wednesday morning we got to play soccer with our old group of fútbol homies again and we surprised them haha. They split the teams up all us missionaries against their team of all spaniard teenagers which everyone thought would be super unfair. They thought they were gonna destroy us. Well.. we completely wrecked them, it was hilarious. We had scored over 10 goals and they hadn't even scored one when they finally admitted defeat and decided we should mix up the teams. So yeah we have improved a ton with our soccer skills 😏 Now its actually pretty fun to play haha 
Thursday morning a family moved out of the branch here. They live out in a little pueblo about 20 minutes away and they wanted to pack up the furgoneta at 5:30 before the sun came up and got hot so we got up at 5am and the branch president came and picked us up to go help out. Oh yeah and a furgoneta is like basically just a big van, thats what they use to move here. It literally took us only like 30 minutes to load it haha. 
Alright here for the coolest part of the week. So about a week or two ago our brach president asked us to try to track down an old menos activo family. So we had been going around to all the members trying to see if anyone had any way of contacting them. Finally we found an address this week so we decided to head out there Friday morning to visit them. So we walk way out there and ring the timbre. The dad comes out to meet us. He's this short older guy and he has this massive scar all the way down the inner side of his leg. He explained to us that he had suffered two heart attacks this past month and that they had to take veins from is leg to put into his heart. He lifted up his shirt and showed us the huge scars he had there too. It was pretty crazy. So they invited us in and we sit down and he talks to us for about an hour just telling us his entire life story. It was absolutely crazy but also really awesome. He was a journalist for 35 years and lived in 22 different countries mostly throughout south and central america! He has 7 children so thats a family of 9 which is a ridiculous thing for any Spaniard since the average family has 1-2 kids. Anyways so he did all that for years and years then he finally gets back to spain to retire and they give him a pension of 366 euros a month! For a family of 9. That is completely ridiculous. So he has basically written big articles and been interviewed by the news for the past couple of years about it. (For those of you who are spanish speakers I will post the one he gave me on the icloud.) Anyways just saying how unjust it is and stuff because there are literally criminals who have recently been released from prison that they give 800 euro pensions to for just one single person. So yeah its just really crazy his whole situation trying to support that huge family with so little money. So we talked to them for a while then the next day we took them some cookies since we still had quite a bit left over. When we were talking to him he said that night after they left he and his wife were talking and she said "I think its time we start going to church again." So now in a couple more weeks once he feels a bit better they are coming to church, and tonight we are going over to their house to have a noche de hogar! So that is super awesome and exciting. We'll see how it goes :) 
Well cool yeah so thats the coolest thing that happened but besides that I have another talk in church yesterday. My topic was Sostengamos a los Profetas. It was a good one I really enjoyed the preparation part, the talking part not quite as much but only like the first minute was a struggle then I felt pretty comfortable up there. I was able to share a little bit about how great of an effect my goal to read and listen to 2-3 conference talks every day has had on me. How it has helped me to receive personal revelation and inspiration on how I can be a better missionary and as a person in general. 
Here is a short little cita out of the Gospel Principles book that I really liked-
"Many people live in darkness, unsure of God’s will. They believe that the heavens are closed and that people must face the world’s perils alone. How fortunate are the Latter-day Saints! We know that God communicates to the Church through His prophet. With grateful hearts, Saints the world over sing the hymn, “We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days” (Hymns, no. 19).

Preparing and giving the talk made me feel so much more grateful to have a prophets and apostles guiding us today. It is a huge sign to me that God still loves all of his children. Knowing that the living prophet Thomas S. Monson and all of the apostles lead the church today under the direction of Jesus Christ is a great blessing and comfort. Once again I invite all of you to take the time to study the words of the prophets and apostles, they truly receive revelation for those living in the world today. I invite you to set a goal maybe just one a week on sunday afternoons. However big or small your goal is I can promise that you will see the blessings. I have had so many days this past year where I am trying to figure out some problem of my own or of someone we are working with and I read the conference talk and my answer is right there! Anyways so I invite you to do it and I promise you will see the same results! 

Hope you all enjoyed the letter, sorry its so long haha. Have a wonderful week! 

- Elder Childers 

August 14, 2017 Coincidence or miracle

Alright well not a ton happened this week basically just the norm but there are a few main points I will share. 
First off earlier in the week we did a little service project with the ym in our branch and cleaned/organized the storage room here. It was a complete disaster because stuff has just been piled up there for like the past 8 years since they moved into this building. So yeah you can see the included photos it was a pretty good change and it made the branch president really happy. Reminded me of organizing our garage all the time back home haha kinda fun like a little puzzle finding little places for everything.

Secondly we had our zone conference in Sevilla. This time it was really cool because president and his wife did their talk together and this time they made it more of a discussion in english. So it was alot more personable and interactive. They shared a bunch of stuff they learned from the mission president training that happened this year. I guess they got to watch a lot of the sessions because they posted the videos online for them. The focus this time was studying the lessons in chapter 3 of preach my gospel enough where they basically become apart of you. They really want us to know and understand the doctrine of Christ so that we are able to share it easily using our own words. At the end they showed us the beginning of Bruce R. McConkie's final talk just 9 days before he dies called "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane" their main focus was how at the beginning he talks about how the words he has read in the bible, book of mormon and other scriptures and the words he has studied from other prophets have been engrained into him and because he has felt the spirit testify to him personally of their truthfulness they are his own words. When we got home from conference I watched the rest of the talk and boy it was powerful! I would like to invite all of you to take the time to watch it or read it yourselves haha I finished watching it then later that day to watch it again because it was so good. 

Okay last of all another one of those cool little things that happens to us as missionaries that some people think are just coincidences but they happen way to often for that to be. Saturday night we were going up to play soccer with some guys in our branch and some of their friends and we somehow got confused and got on the wrong city bus. So it at least gets us a little bit closer but we are still a pretty long ways away because it kind of took us out at an angle. Anyways so we are going to be late so we decide to run. As we are running up the road we see this older guy walking down some stairs next to a building in this alley and right then he falls and rolls a ways down. So immediately we turn and sprint over there and he is pretty out of it just in a lot of pain. We are able to help him and wave down this nurse guy to come over. It was pretty lucky that we would have been there running through that little alleyway just at the moment he fell. It was kind of tucked up back out of sight where likely no one would have found him for quite a while. Its always just cool to have those random little experiences though where we just look at each other and we are like "Well now we know why we got on the wrong bus." Or now we know why we decided to walk his way today." Just cool little miracles that you have to be looking out for or you might miss em.!  


Alright last of all just a fun little video I wanted to share with you that our little branch activity had as part of the message. Its a short little animated video by pixar called Piper. Hopefully you can find it on youtube or something. It is just a fun little video about how sometimes problems and challenges seem really big but it isn't until we are right in the middle of them, sometimes literally buried under them like the little bird in the video. That we open our eyes and begin to see the experience and knowledge we are gaining. Well just watch the video and you'll understand more, its a little hard to explain writing but yeah its really good :)

Well love you all tons! Have a great week! 

August 7, 2017 Peeing Fire

Well I'll start off by explaining the subject line of this email. Soo we get back to our Piso Thursday afternoon. I'm in the kitchen making lunch when all the sudden I just hear ahhhhhhh!! come from the bathroom. Turns out my comp Elder Cobbley got a urinary infection hahaha. So luckily we had our interviews with president that night and he talked to the mission doctor who called us the next morning. "Good Morning Elder Cobbley. So I hear you are peeing fire..?" Haha it was pretty hilarious not gonna lie, the poor kid was on the verge of crying every time he went pee. Its all good now though. The doctor told us what antibiotic we needed and said that it does require a prescription but that they have a bad habit of just giving out whatever drugs here. He said to go to 3 different pharmacies and try to get it and if they didn't give it to us he could send us an emailed prescription later. So off we went to the pharmacists. The first one we went to I asked for the medicine the guys looked at eachother said "Doesn't this need a prescription?" I said "oh I just got off the phone with my doctor he said this is what I need." Then he just goes "oh you just talked to your doctor, alright" went to the back pulled it out of the cabinet and gave it to me. So that was easy hahaha Spain. 

Cool so what else happened this week. Well we met a crazy new guy. He invited us into his house then went off for an hour about how when he was in the army back in the day they didn't give them a change of pajamas or let them wash them for 7 months so they all smelled terrible and got invaded by tons of mosquitos. So he ended up with this crazy recurring  desease where his feet swell up super big and his lungs too. He got out of breath super fast just talking to us and his feet were massive it was crazy! It was cool to talk to him though and hear some of his story. His name is Pedro. 

Another funny story, so I was just going through this list of peoples names we have and calling them all to see if they were still interested in meeting with the missionaries. I call up this guy named Kevin and he's like yeah I live right by your church and I'm actually passing by right now. So we head over there and no one.. so I call him back, it rings and rings n rings then gets to his voice message. "Que Dios te bendiga soy Jesucristo, deja tu mensaje." (God bless you, I am Jesus Christ, leave a message.) so that was super weird hahaha

Oh yeah other kinda crazy/painful/ funny thing. So my comp was bedridden for a morning because he felt super sick from the infection. So I started cleaning up the piso a bit and decide to try to change some burnt out light bulbs with some I found in the drawer. So I turn off the power go up change it then go and when I turn the power back on there's just this big boom from the light switch on the wall. It like exploded on the inside. So the lights are stuck turned on over our table, the ones by our beds are stuck turned off and the switch is broken. So that was kind of a bummer, then later that night I go to try to turn the light because it is like a swivel on and I touch the casing and just get shocked super bad by the 220V electricity here and almost fall of the chair. Oh and on top of that now these lights wont turn on.. so now we are without lights in half of our piso.. we are going to have to call the dueño later today and try to figure that one out haha.

Today our branch president took us out to this super cool castle and then to a big bridge that got bombed in the war here years ago. It was pretty awesome. I put all of the photos on the icloud so enjoy! It would stink pretty bad to be a soldier back in those days. They poured boiling oil off the towers on the people trying to get in. They also had super cool architectural acoustics in this one meeting room so that they could eavesdrop in on the other private conversations in the corner. You could stand in one corner of the room but your face right up to the wall and talk super quietly and the people on the other side would hear it clear as day it was sweet! They also had this "bathroom" for the guard tower that faced toward Portugal haha "TOMA PORTUGAL!" It was pretty funny good times :)

Training my new comp is going really good. Its been fun studying preach my gospel with him. This week we went over a bunch of the points on how to begin teaching and created little hand symbols to remember them it was fun haha. Tonight he is getting the ultimate lesson, I'm gonna teach him how to cut his own hair 👌🏾 should be pretty easy for him because its so curly he basically just sheers it like a sheep haha. 

Well good times, sorry for such a long letter this week but I hope ya'll enjoy it and the photos! Love y'all 💙💙

- Elder Childers 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

July 31, 2017 Trainer to Elder Maiz, "Corn on the Cobbley"

Hello everyone! Another good week here in Badajoz.
Well the week started out pretty crazy! Since I was called to train I had to leave here on Monday and travel all the way down to Málaga . I ended up leaving here Monday afternoon at around 5 o'clock. I then went and stayed the night in Sevilla. Oh yeah funny story so the other Elders who were supposed to pick me up in Sevilla were super late, so I ended up standing alone on the street waiting by the church for an hour so that was fun haha lots of awkward looks as people passed me by. Anyways they eventually showed up and we walked forever to their piso. Then next morning got up early to go catch my train down to Málaga . Yeah I got lucky this time and got a train so that was sweet! So Tuesday we had a little trainers training meeting then we got assigned to our new little gringocitos. Afterwards we got to go to the mission home, it was my first time haha! So we caught the cercanías out to Fuengirola where President lives. Man that city is sooo nice. Basically just feels like a vacation town. They made us some nice taco salads for dinner with ranch dressing! Haha I forgot how good salad dressing was after only having vinegar and tuna on salads for the past year. We all stayed the night there then the next morning we were off again back to Badajoz. This time we weren't as lucky with our travel plans. Our first bus left Málaga at 3 pm. Then we caught another bus in Sevilla at 7. So we didn't end up getting back to Badajoz till 10, so that traveling really wore on me for the rest of the week. 
Anyways so far training has been good. My companion is named Elder Cobbley he is from Illinois the land of the corn so everybody calls him corn on the Cobbley or Elder Maíz (Corn). Its pretty funny. 
When he first got here the branch presidents family and I got him with a pretty funny little joke. So we went to their house pretending they were old investigators who wanted to be taught again. About halfway through the lesson his wife was like I'm thirsty go get something to drink. So they brought out some Tinto de Verano sin Alcohol. So it basically looks exactly like wine but doesn't have any alcohol in it. So im like oh sorry guys like thank you so much but we don't drink alcohol and they pretend to be super offended and are telling us oh the missionaries before drank it no big deal and stuff haha. So eventually they are like alright if you drink just this little cup we will come to church with you guys for the next 2 months. I pretend to hesitate for a minute and am like alright and just chug it. Oh man you should've seen the look on my companions face, it was priceless hahaha. So then we are just like alright whose gonna tell him and President just hands him the bottle. Man it was so funny he was just in shock for the next hour the poor kid but it was a fun little prank that'll make the first day of his mission memorable haha. 
He is learning super fast though, he already speaks way better Spanish than I did at that point in my mission so thats good. We have just been practicing a lot reading Preach my Gospel out loud in Spanish during our comp study to work on pronunciation so thats helping a lot. 

For my birthday the branch president had us over for dinner and some cake. He also gave me this really awesome case for my Predicad mi Evangelio from his mission in Peru some funny socks and some cereal from America yummy! Haha they are the best! Then at the end the best surprise of all, they turned on the tv and there they were my family! They surprised me with a nice little video singing for my birthday. Thanks so much you guys you're the best! 💙💙💙

Okay so last two little things. This Sunday a sister missionary who had served here about a year ago came through with her family to visit. So I got to translate for them in the classes. Man it was pretty rough haha cause I can like understand everything but remembering all of the words in english and trying to make a good translation while listening for the next phrase is super hard. After church my brain was just completely fried haha. It was kind of a fun opportunity though. 

Last of all we had a cool little miracle. So we had left our piso and were on our way to an appointment that was far away so we decided to take the bus. So we were waiting for the bus to come and right as it pulled up I realized my wallet wasn't in my pocket which had our only money in it. So I kind of panicked we looked all over the ground by the bench and everything but no luck. So we ran back to piso and there it was under a piece of paper on our table. At this point though we were going to be late if we waited the 30 minutes for the next bus so we started speed walking across town. On the way some guy sweeping the streets started waving us down. I wasn't sure if he was just one of those people that just wanted to yell at us or what so we kind of approached him cautiously. Turns out he is a member that the other elders have been trying to get in contact with forever but had gotten a new phone so they had no way of reaching him. It was pretty cool that I just happened to forget my wallet so we walked through a way that we wouldn't have ever passed through otherwise right in the moment that he was there. The lord works in mysterious ways.. 

Anyways well thats about all, this ones been a little long sorry haha
 Love you all! 

- Elder Childers 

July 24, 2017 Gladis

Good day family and friends,

Well I got some exciting news. This week we were on intercambios doing our personal study Saturday morning when President called. Its always scary when he calls haha. Anyways he presented me with the news that I will be training! Elder Balukoff will be going to Cartagena near where I started and will be a DL now. So he's pretty nervous about that. I'm super excited but also pretty nervous haha. I'm currently on a bus to Sevilla where I will stay the night then tomorrow morning I will catch a train to Malaga. Tomorrow will be a pretty full day. We will have trainers training which will start at noon. Then we will finally be assigned to our trainees at 5:00 where we will have a little meet and greet type dinner in the capilla. Then Wednesday we will make the long trip back to Badajoz. I'm excited and just want to know who my comp is already but I'm also pretty nervous to be training. I'm sure it'll be a great learning experience for the both of us though! 

As for the rest of this week it was pretty good. During the intercambios we had one really awesome lesson. Friday night I went out with Elder Moore and one of the young men in our ward Gabriel who just turned 18. We taught a woman from Ecuador named Gladis. She was pretty down because she just lost her job about a month or so ago and is really struggling trying to support herself and two kids. We taught a really powerful little message to her about how God gives us trials so that we can grow. I testified to her about the power of prayer and the comfort and guidance it brings. It was really awesome to see her smile at the end and thank us. Gabriel the young man I mentioned just was called as the new branch mission leader. He's an awesome kid, we are trying to get him out working with us more because he is preparing to go in a mission. Elder Balukoff and I are hoping he gets called to Boise haha :) 

Anyways yeah that's the big news this week. Hope y'all enjoyed it. 
Have a good one! 

- Elder Childers 

July 17, 2017 - Fried Rice

Dear Mom and Dad, 

Hey first off thanks so much for sending the fried rice recipe. I got the email from you this morning and it sounded really good so we came home and made it for lunch. DELICIOSO!!! Y super fácil! We were going to make the Hawaiian haystacks this past week but we could not find cream of chicken soup anywhere. I don't think canned soup exists here... any thoughts on a replacement for that? I know its kinda like the main ingredient soo... idk haha. 
Anyways this week has been a bit slow. Mostly cause its been really hot here. As a result of the heat here everyone does like a reverse hibernation. They just try to spent the whole summer asleep in their piso. We can call people at 11 am or at 8 pm same result always asleep, its ridiculous. Also another crazy thing, everyone here has "summer vacation" basically they all just go take a month and a half off work. Businesses just completely close up its weird. Its just hard cause the time when everyone starts coming out is just an hour or so before we have to be. Also whenever we do go and try to contact people in their homes or call them they are almost always angry cause we've woken them up haha its like well its not my fault you sleep 14 out of the 24 hours in a day! And they wonder why this country has so many social and economical problems.. Well anyways this week we have just been trying to find some investigators. We found one new guy named Vicente on the street but when we passed by his house his wife answered and said he had left on vacation with some friends and would be back the first week of August so that'll have to wait. Like I said things are pretty slow right now cause no one really has ganas to do anything. What else happened.. well we had our last district meeting up in Cáceres because it was the Gibsons (the senior missionaries in our district) last week in the mission. So from now on they will be here in Badajoz every week. For the last one though she made us pulled pork sandwiches and cupcakes for mine and Elder Nye's birthdays. Normally our bus back home leaves at 2:45 so we left at the usual time and got there at about 2:40 to find out he bus had left at 2:30 just 10 minutes earlier because they had started the new summer schedule this week and we didn't know about it. Anyways so we got stuck up in Cáceres for a solid 4 hours which wasn't terrible just had some extra studies in the bus station. 
This week we also started trying to work with some of the young men in the branch. There are 3 and our branch president wants them to come with us and do like a mini mission just during the day. Since we have a new rule that no one can come in our piso except for other missionaries we planned out to meet him at the church and do studies and stuff there but he never showed up. Turns out he had lost his phone the day before and never got our last text confirming the time. This week we plan on doing it again though so that should be fun. 
I think thats pretty much about it. We started up the push up challenge again this week which has been fun. I decided to step it up a notch this time and do 75 every morning and night so 150 a day. Maybe in a week or so ill kick it up to 200 we'll see haha. 
We also cleaned our piso up super well and moved the beds into the main room so now we'll have air conditioning at night cause its started getting too hot to sleep. We'll see how that goes. It'll be nice to have a room with some floor space to work out in now. 
This upcoming Sunday we will get transfer calls, unless I end up training then president would call on Saturday. Everyone seems pretty dead set that I will train so I'm kind of nervous about that. I think it might be kind of fun but stressful and hard at the same time. I'm excited for transfers but not haha its been really fun with Elder Balukoff we get along super well. On the other had though its good to have different companions because I grow and learn so much from each and every one.
I miss you guys a lot. I hope everything is going good there. I love seeing all the pictures each week and hearing about what you are all up to. Excited to hear about you guys headed off to trek. That was a fun experience it'll be cool to see what Zach gets out of it. Make sure to take tons of pictures! 
I've been going super hard on my scripture study lately, took up Tori's challenge to read the BOM in 50 days. I just got to the part in Alma where it talks about Moroni and Teancum and their special ops missions haha. I love this part so hard to put it down :)
Fun to think back on our family scripture studies when we read these parts. 
Well I love and miss you guys a ton! Thank you so much for all that you have done and continue to do for me. Thanks for encouraging me to serve a mission. It is no doubt the  most challenging thing I have ever done in my life but also the greatest learning and growing experience. Thanks for the support and prayers. 
I love you the mostest toastest!
 Your son,

Elder Childers 

Monday, July 10, 2017

July 10, 2017 - Fingernail, Fútbol, and Portuguese

Hi everyone we'll this week was super busy a lot happened. First off our district meeting happened to fall on the 4th and our whole district is American here so we had a fun 4th of July themed meeting. It was pretty cool and a fun little way to celebrate. Afterwards we had the Elders from Cáceres stay here in Badajoz to do intercambios.

During our intercambios we saw some really awesome miracles. 
The first afternoon I went out to work with Elder Rich. We went by a lot of people but the citas we had fixed failed us so we ended up knocking doors and contacting people. During our conversation a less active in our branch came up she had moved here to Badajoz directly from the ward in Malaga where Elder Rich had been serving. She is about 60 years old and struggles with Spanish. Since she got here we have not had very much contact with her she had come to church about two times but didn't have interest in meeting with us. Anyways so I tried to call her to see if she had just a few minutes that we could pass by to see Elder Rich but she didn't answer. We decided to send her a text just so she could see what we wanted. Just about a minute after the text was sent she called back and said to meet her in a park. We got there sat down on a bench and Elder Rich asked how she was liking Badajoz. She said she wasn't enjoying it much because she didn't feel like she had many friends or people to talk to in Portuguese (she is from Brazil). Just in that moment out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of the family from Brazil in our branch. So I waved for them to come over and we sat down with all of them there and shared a little message. They became good friends with her and having Elder Rich there with me helped us break the ice a little bit and gain a better relationship with her. A few days later she showed up to our English class then on Sunday to church! It was awesome to see how the lord put everything perfectly in place to have Elder Rich there with me that day. Then meet in that very park then have the other members come through at just the right moment. It was a great miracle! 
Elder Balukoff and Elder Stephenson also had a cool miracle happen. They went and knocked a door and right when it opened the people's dog took off running across the road and they started freaking out. Elder Balukoff and Stephenson were able to capture it and because of it the family allowed them in to teach them. They received the message well and we have a return cita this week! 

Straight off of those intercambios we went to Sevilla the next day to have ours with the Zone Leaders. They were pretty cool I learned a lot and we had some really powerful lessons. 

Now this was the more painful part of the week. So we went to play soccer with some of the guys in our branch on Friday night. As we were playing the last goal of the game I had the ball and was running up when out of nowhere Elder Nye came in from the side and I just got knocked to the ground. Somehow in the collision his foot came around and landed right on my finger. The impact hurt quite a bit but I just thought it was like a little jammed till I stood up and looked at it. My fingernail was bent up and back then the nail had creased and the arc of it was inside out. It was super nasty and stung really bad. So we headed to a members house and tried to clean it out as good as we could then proceeded to try to get it to flip back. We tried for a while but it hurt super bad and we didn't have any hemostats or anything so the members just wanted to take me to the hospital. We called the mission president's wife and she was like yeah definitely go to the hospital. So we got there, this hospital which is apparently pretty new was like super ghetto and sketchy, end up waiting for about an hour till they finally would see me. I walked in and this old doctor guy just took a huge bottle of iodine doused it then just started yanking on it until it finally flipped back and popped into place. It was rough haha I tried to ask him to numb it but he's like nahhh you're fine. (Yeah so free health care isn't all that great mom) I was so mad hahaha but yeah we didn't end up getting back to piso till like 12:30. It was rough.. 

Well yeah so that's about all... hope y'all enjoyed. Have a great week! 

- Elder Childers 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

June 19, 2017 Ghosttown

First off happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!

This ones gonna be short, not much has happened this week. We had transfers and the new missionary here is Elder Nye. He was Elder Hammond my first district leaders comp during that first transfer so I already know him. He's a super cool guy. Oh yeah so the day of transfers we were a trio for the day and we had a lesson with the other areas investigator named Norman. It was so awesome we were teaching him L3 the gospel of Jesus Christ. I asked him to read a scripture so he read it, we commented on it then he all the sudden just started reading the next one, then the next, then another. He ended up reading the entire chapter he didn't want to stop. It was pretty cool when he finished I asked him how he felt. He said he felt something so powerful as he was reading and that he didn't want to stop and that now he knows for sure that the book is inspired from God. It was a really awesome lesson. I wish I could go back to teach him again!
The rest of the week we have just been trying to do visits with the members to show them how the area plan for Europe works. Its gone well with the few visits we've had. That's the challenge though a lot of them have cancelled on us or just not been home when we went by. 
Its starting to get really really hot outside haha. Its not only that it's uncomfortable that is annoying but because if the heat there is no one out in the street during the day. From about 11 am till 9 pm the place is a ghost town. Everyone just goes in and sleeps for the day then goes out all night. So it's super loud at night cause everyones partying in the plaza right next to our building till about 4 am haha. Should be an interesting next few months since the heat is just starting 😅
The last thing that happened this week was they had a fund raiser activity for the young women's. We were in charge of the games and we thought up some pretty fun ideas. For most of them we used balloons so we had to blow up a pack of 100. I've never felt so light headed in my life haha. It was super fun though and the kids loved it. The branch president also brought just dance and everyone was going so hard it was hilarious. 
Yeah well that's about it for the week, love you guys have a good one! 

- Elder Childers 

June 12, 2017 HOT

Nine Months!!

Hello everyone,

Well not a ton of stuff happened this week so I'm just going to keep
this one short.
We had another really good lesson with Godwin our investigator from
Nigeria in the end he said he would come to church but he didn't show
up. We tried to find him a ride because his house is a 45 minute walk
from here but the only few people with cars didn't have space or
couldn't for some other reason... He is a really awesome guy though.
Like the majority of the people here right now he has been out of work
for the past 10 months. So we are also looking our to find him work.
Its crazy how bad the economic situation is here. We were taking to a
guy yesterday in the branch about the crisis that happened here a few
years ago and it's crazy. Even now about half of the houses in the
town this guy lives in (Cerro Gordo) are vacant.
The best thing this week that happened was yesterday. We had a noche
misional, basically just like a family night with everyone. So we
assigned one person with a message and others with games, treats,
musical number, etc. It turned out super good we had about the same
amount of people who come to church show up! It was pretty fun and
everyone else seemed to enjoy it a lot too.
We also got transfer calls yesterday morning. Its crazy that 6 weeks
have already gone by since I got here. I will be staying here another
transfer with the same comp, Elder Balukoff. I'm happy about it, we
get along really well.
Just out here in the heat haha its supposed to hit 106 today. 😅
Everyone is like "oh this is nothin, summer hasn't even started
yet"..... 🔥🔥
Well love you guys, have a great week :)

- Elder Childers

June 5, 2017 Columbians and Rainbows

¡Hola a todos!

Well this week started off kind of funny haha. So Monday afternoon we went and played soccer with some guys we met last week that just randomly called and invited us. So we are there just talking with some of the guys while the others were still playing and we noticed that they all had their legs shaved. Thought it was kind of weird so I decided to ask. They told us "yeah of course we have our legs shaved, everyone shaves there legs here in the summer.. its so much cooler that way" Anyways so I'm sure you can see where this story is going, but that night inspired by our new spaniard friends we decided to try it out 😂 bad decision... hahaha it feels so freaking weird, yes it is a little bit cooler and it felt good for like the first day but then as soon as the hair starts growing back in it turned super itcy and annoying haha. Its alright though we tried it out and embraced the culture a little more... 😂

The rest of the week has also been pretty crazy. We met with this guy from Columbia who was completely nuts. He was part of a pirate gang in Columbia. He was just going off for like an hour about how he travelled all around south america with this gang that killed soccer referees. Pretty crazy stories.. we didn't really ever get the chance to say much cause he's one of those people who just likes to talk and talk and talk haha. It was kind of entertaining to listen to though. In our area book he was an old investigator and it said that he was a very religious person and everything. First thing he says when we sit down- "I am 100% against all religion, it is the great lie of the world." He went off about how Christ and Mary aren't even real and a whole bunch of other things. He named his kids Jesus Christ and Virgen Mary just to prove a point to his mom that the names aren't sacred. It was one of the most interesting experiences of my mission so far. Its always interesting to learn about all the crazy beliefs and ways of thinking. Anyways yeah so that was pretty cool. 

Another day this week we went out with one of the 17 year olds in the branch, Gabriel. He's working on his mission papers right now. The plan was just to pass by a bunch of addresses of members and old investigators with him and also go and teach Godwin the guy from Nigeria we met a few weeks ago. He said we could come over at 5 but he lives about an hour walk from us so we left at 4 and walked in the heat of the day. When we got there no one was home and he hasn't answered his phone since so thats kind of weird.. We continued on though and went by 12 other houses. Not a single one answered and there was no one in the street cause it was mediodía. We felt bad that we didn't really get any opportunities to talk to people or teach having Gabriel with us but it was fun talking to him about the mission. 

Our branch president took over the role of branch mission leader this week cause the other one we had just wasn't doing anything. So we had our first meeting with him this week. It was really cool, he talked about different things they did in his mission to get the members involved in the work. He wants us to base our efforts for the next couple of weeks solely on working with the members. He stressed on how we are called to teach. Not to find, friendship, retain recent converts and all of that. He said alot of time the people here mix that up they think "oh missionary work is only for the missionaries." When really its not. Every member is a missionary. Our job as full time missionaries is to help the members to bring their friends and families the gospel. They are the finders and friends, our calling is to teach. He said, yes when you aren't busy teaching then you should be out finding service and talking to people but that shouldn't be your main focus. So basically the new mission plan for the branch is to go visit all of the members and pass that message along. Show them how easy it is for them to share the gospel with others and gain their confidence as teachers. Should be good, we'll have to see how it goes..
This week here in Badajoz is the 2nd largest Gay festival in Spain. So thats a little bit crazy. There are literally rainbow flags everywhere. On every single store and like half the peoples balconies! It just started yesterday and we have already been hit on by two gay guys so that was weird.. haha this weeks gonna be interesting...

For our morning exercise this week we found this T25 workout video. Its a 25 minute workout but it freaking kills you haha. We were like oh perfect that can't be to bad so we decided to try it. By the end we were like dead on the ground and my calves and bum have been sore for the past 2 days 😂😂

Last of all Real Madrid won the champions league Saturday night. As we were walking back to piso all the sudden the whole city just freaked out. Everyone was honking kids are just sprinting up and down the roads yelling and fireworks were just going off everywhere. It was pretty crazy haha soccer is life here. 

Anyways thats about all for the week, were going to go play soccer for a bit then I'll be back to write some more :)
Love you all! 

- Elder Childers 

May 29, 2017 Vicente

Well hello everyone, 
Its been a pretty long and full week. First off we had zone conference in Sevilla that was a really long day. Left our piso at 6 AM and didn't get home till 10:45 PM. Super long day of meetings and bus rides. Then the next two days we had intercambios with the other elders here in Badajoz. I spent the whole afternoon with Elder Moore and not a single person we passed by answered the door. It was a long afternoon haha but it was good. 

Oh yeah funny story about Elder Moore, so he decided to buy a guitar last monday and tried to take out 650 euros from an ATM to buy it which of course instantly just froze his card. Later on in the afternoon though he figured out that it would let him take out 20 euros at a time. So he ends up doing that 20 times, gets 500 euros and goes and spends it all that afternoon. He's content though and I've enjoyed playing it haha 

We also had a pretty interesting street contact this week. The guys name was Vicente. The second crazy Vicente we've made contact with this week, ill talk about the first one after. So first of all it was pretty normal he's just asking us what we do as missionaries and how old we are and whatnot. Then as soon as we bring up Jesus Christ he just goes off. Apparently this guy is on level 23 of the illuminati, which is apparently higher than the level christ made it to....? Oh yeah and he also explained how he is planning on being mummitized like the Egyptian pharos. Which he explained to us are still alive, they are just in a special deep sleep. He said in 30 years he will wake back up and I quote in his own words "levanto incendio el móvil y vamos a fumar algo" (wake up, turn on the phone and we all go smoke somethin.) at that point I just started dying laughing. He just grins with a straight face and says see ya later my friends. It was awesome. 

So for the first one, he's this guy I met my first week here in their street. So we call him the other day and he rejects it. A few minutes later he sends us a text that says "Right now I can't talk, my mother is crazy and is thinking of locking me up" so I just text back and say like no worries just call us when you can haha he replies a few minutes later.. " If they end up locking me up I will most likely be in the infantil psychiatric center, if I don't send a signal within the next two days bust in throwing punches and we out." 
Yeah so that was interesting too, the people in this country are a little crazy. I think it's because of all the drugs and alcoholism..

Anyways yeah we were gone or in the other elders area almost all of this week so we didn't find a whole lot of new people. We were able to teach Pedro twice though, he's the guy who got baptized the week before I got here. That was good cause he's like the busiest guy ever and hasn't been able to meet at all. 

Yesterday night we did a little ward missionary activity. We basically just went over the area plan of Europe and helped them set goals to complete it. Later on we showed them how easy it is to share the gospel through social media and helped them to link the church videos and other quotes they liked to their social media threads. It was pretty fun we had a good turnout like 13 people came!

Other than that nothin much, it reached 97 degrees this week. Really hot haha I've never wanted to go jump in a lake so bad. Today we are just here in the church playing ping pong with the he branch president. Instead of basketball gyms here in Spain every church just has a ping pong table to set up in the sacrament room 😂

Well love you guys, until next week ✌🏽