12/30/09

12/29/2009

Family and friends! How´s everyone doing? So I´ll start with the good news first. Montse was baptized this past Tuesday, I baptized her, then on Sunday she was confirmed by Elder Morales. It was way good. Then on Sunday Rachel, from South Carolina was baptized and confirmed by her grandpa. They´re such a good family. I´m going to miss them. They go home this week. Rachel and Lauren and such cute kids though. At least it´ll be easier to stay in contact with them after my mission since they live in the same country. Well, now for the bad news, Sunday night President Hinckley called and Elder Morales is being transferred. He´s going to be a zone leader over the Barcelona zone. Crazy. We were both super sad though. We´ve had a lot of success together and we´ve become basically best friends, but now he´s leaving. Actually, we´re leaving to the office in about 1- 1 1/2 hours. He wants to say something though, so here it is:

> > Hey!! I'm leaving, so this is my last oportunity to tell something to all of you.> I've been serving with Elder Ryan David Sommerfeldt for 2 transfers (3 months). We have seen miracles together. This last month has been the most productive month of all my mission. We baptized 5 children of God. Now, I'm leaving, but I trust completely in Elder Sommerfeldt, I know he's gonna do it well here.> Just so you know, you have a really good missionary son (or brother). He is, without any doubt, the best companion that I ever had. (dang it!!, I don't wanna leave!!) Thanks for your gifts for Xmas too!!
> Bye!!

> > Okay, I´m back, I wrote to his family too. He´s a really good companion, so it´s kind of hard to think about anything else that has happened this past week since he´s leaving. My new companion´s name is Elder Nelson. He´s been in the mission for a year and half or so I think. Anyways, this past week was good. It was Christmas. We went over to a family´s house on Christmas day to eat lunch and all, and it was also that day that we did everything, the interview, etc, for Rachel. Then calling home was so much fun. It was good to hear all of your voices again, and sorry Ben, Laurel, and Rachel, for not talking to you guys as much... I´ll try and do better on Mother´s Day. I was thinking maybe I could have a few minutes with each person, but everyone else can listen so I don´t just repeat the same things over and over... Well, sorry this is shorter than normal, but if I´m going to have time to write individuals too I need to go. Have fantastic weeks and enjoy the New Year! ¡Chao!
> > -Elder Sommerfeldt

12/22/09

12/22/2009

Hello everyone! Things are going really well here. I´m short on time today, so to describe some of the things that have happened I´m going to copy part out of what I wrote to President Hinckley to describe the past week. :
President Hinckley, this past week has been amazing out here in Vilafranca. With the help of The Lord we have seen may miracles. The first of which is that we figured out the situation of Montse and Emmanuel, and we were able to find a way that Montse can still be baptized. When we told her what had happened and that we´d learned that she could still be baptized she started crying because she was so happy. It was really nice to see the great desires she has to enter into the covenant of baptism. That was all we needed to have an amazing week out here, but there were even more miracles. One day we went to teach someone and a member was going to meet us there. We got there and the member had a friend, Abraham, who had come with him. We set up a time to visit with Abraham in the member´s house and taught him the message of the Restoration. He believed everything we taught and wanted to learn more. So we comitted him to come to church and to be baptized the 9th of January. He excepted both. He came to church and after Sunday School told us he´d learned a lot. He said he was already a member of another church, but that we were able to help him learn so much more than he´d learned before and he was excited to continue coming to church, learning from us, and progressing towards baptism. Then we were able to see another miracle yesterday. We were reveiwing things with the girl, Rachel, fom the United States who is here with her family visiting grandparents. We found out that the parents weren´t so set on her being baptized, but rather that it was the grandparents who were pressuring it a lot. The family from America has been less active for the past several years and thus they were unsure as to whether or not their daughter was ready. After talking to the daughter for a while, it became clear that she was ready, she just needed support from her parents and the whole family needs to go to church again. They are all great people though. Well, those are some of the miracles that have occurred this past week here in Vilafranca.

> So yeah, there´s a brief summary. So we´re going to be baptizing Montse tomorrow, the 22nd of December. I´m super excited. She asked me to baptize her, and Elder Morales to confirm her. SO that should be another good experience. Our mission has a goal of 400 baptisms for the year, and right now we´re at 387, with 17 planned for this next week, so if at least 13 of them go through we´ll reach it. I think we will, we´re all working really hard. Elder Morales and I will have had 4 baptisms by the end of this transfer, so hopefully the leaders see the success we´re having and don´t transfer us at all. Transfers are December 27th, so we´ll see if Elder Morales is staying or going next week. Hopefully he stays. Along with that, my Preparation Day will be on Tuesday next week, just so you know.

Well, let´s see, what else is new. We had the Christmas Conference this past week, it was a lot of fun. We did some skits using a Disney Song. They were all really funny. Later we ate dominoes pizza, It was so good. I love pizza, and I don´t think I´ve had some good pizza like that since I started my mission. So that was fun. Things are really busy this next week with Christmas a lot of members want us to come over, we´re still trying to teach, we have to do intercambios this week, and we call home this week. There´s a lot going on, but it´s fun and good. Hakuna Matata, it means no worries. Anyways, our heater got temporarily fixed. It´s working now, but they don´t think it will last much longer. The first part of this week they´re planning on coming by and putting a brand new one in, so that should be really nice. Hopefully by the time we talk on Christmas we´ll have a new heater and all. For now though it´s really good. It gets way cold here though. Well, not really. It´s like anywhere from 0-6 degrees celcius here though. Which isn´t bad, but without gloves, and not having a big winter coat it´s cold.

Anyways, I think I said earlier in the letter to president, but we set a baptismal goal with Abraham. He´s from Ghana. We teach him in English. Also, yesterday we taught a girl named Rachel, the grand daughter of a member here, who´s 11 but not baptized yet because her parents have been inactive for a while. There´s a chance she´ll get baptized while she´s here visiting though. She´s from South Carolina, so that´s fun talking to her in English and all. Her dad´s from Texas though, from around Houston, which reminds me, Kevin, what city exactly do you live in. He said the city he´s from there were a lot of accountants that lived there, so it may be the same city. So yeah, that would be cool.
Well, I´m short on time today, so I´m going to end this, have great weeks and MERRY CHRISTMAS! / ¡FELIZ NAVIDAD!
-Elder Sommerfeldt

12/17/09

12/14/2009

Family (and friends who read this)! How´s everyone doing? THings are going well here. We haven´t found Iván yet. I think he probably left, like maybe even left Spain. We´ve passed by daily and called several times and we haven´t been able to get in contact with him. So who knows what happened to him. The last time we talked to him he was thinking about going back to Colombia sometime, so maybe he just did that out of the blue, who knows. So, let´s see, what´s the new news this week. I don´t know if I told you, but Karlita and Raquel (two of the people we baptized a couple weeks ago) are going to go to Peru for a month. So that might not be good. We figured out that there´s some chapels in the city they´re going to, and we´ve made them each a calendar with a chapter or a few versus to read each day while they´re gone. We taught them enduring to the end yesterday, and I think they´ll be okay. The main sad thing is that it´s possible that Elder MOrales will be gone when they get back. WE don´t know yet, but transfers are the 27th of December, so it could happen, hopefully not though. I almost certainly won´t be transferred though. Well, I would say some of the worse news this past week is that we´ve been without hot water for the majority of it. It´s so cold here, and we have no heat, and no hot water, so the only warm place is in bed with the covers over my head. It´s going okay though, and tomorrow someone´s supposed to hopefully come fix it. Now for some good news, maybe. Montse, the mom of Susana (one of the people that got baptized a couple weeks ago), is ready to be baptized, but she´s still living with that guy. They´re super poor, so we´ve been hesitant in saying you need to split up, because with all three of them they´re barely paying the rent, and went the last week of the month with very limited food. HOwever, this past week we had intercambios, I was with Elder Hansen (he´s cool, but he played football at Utah before his mission... Just joking, he´s good). Anyways, on the intercambios I asked them if they could live separately at least until they get married, which they´re planning on having happening in January or February. They said they would think about it and let us know this next week. We really want her to be baptized, not just because she needs it, but also because our branch has a goal of 10 baptisms for this year, and right now we´re at 9... Anyways, yesterday we had Ward Counsel and the Stake Presidency was there. When we explained the situation the stake presidency suggested that the branch could pay rent for one of them for one or two months to be able to live separately until they can get married! So that was exciting. I really hope we can help them except it. WE talked to Montse last night about it and she didn´t look super excited and she said she´d have to talk to Emmanuel and she didn´t know if he´d want to, but we´re going to do all we can to help it happen. I´ll let you all know what happens with that though. Let´s see, what else has happened this past week. We also had a baptism in our district in Tarragona this past weekend. Because Elder Morales is the District Leader he had to go out there to do the interview, and thus we had intercambios. Anyways, we ended up changing back right before the baptism so we just stayed and watched the baptism, it was really good. We´re also working with a bunch of less active families and three of them are progressing really well and are coming to church most weeks now. So that´s good as well. Oh, I don´t know if I told all you that we´re in the branch choir. This past Sunday was Branch Conference and so we sang. We sang Cantan Santos Ángeles, or Angels we have heard on high. There´s a Christmas concert that we´re singing in this next Saturday and we´re singing in Catalán, crazy huh? Anyways, I may have told this story, so sorry if it´s a repeat, but last week in practice they didn´t know how to sing a part of the song and I was like, no, it goes like this, and they were all like, oh yeah, that´s right, then someone said it was funny that an american has come to spain and is teaching them how to sing in Catalán. It was kind of funny. Anyways, everything´s going well here for me, although it´s quite cold. I hope it doesn´t get much colder here, I don´t have the proper clothing for temperatures this cold, so yeah. Well, I´m going to go now, but have a fantastic week. ¡Chao!
-Elder Sommerfeldt

12/11/09

12/11/09

Hello everyone! How is everyone doing? Things are going great here for me in Spain. Things have been really good this past week, and really bad all at once. I´ll start with the bad I guess. Okay, the worse thing is that Iván, he had a baptismal fecha for the 19th, disappeared. We have no idea where he is. We haven´t talked to him for like 3 or 4 days now. The last cita we had with him was way good, and since then we´ve passed by and or called 50 times or so but haven´t been able to get a hold of him. He was having problems paying rent, so we´re wondering if maybe he was kicked out, but we have no idea. Hopefully we can find him this week though. He lost his fecha though, because he needed to come to church this past Sunday to keep that fecha, so that was a bummer. Let´s see, also this past week one day I had to wake up at 6:30 and get ready to go to do my fingerprints to get my DNI, my identification. We had to go to Barcelona, because according to the paperwork and all I´m ¨living¨at the office right now. It´s so the office elders can deal with all the legal stuff. I had to go get fingerprints and sign some stuff though, and it took the entire morning. We left at like 7:00 a.m. and didn´t get back until after 2:00 p.m. So that was a bit of a bummer, but at least we were able to do it all in one morning, and we ended up having a pretty productive afternoon. Oh, this past week we had a meeting with the whole zone and afterwards we went to a restuarant called Freeway. It´s an all you can eat argentinian buffet. It was way good. I ate a lot of meat and crepes and ice cream and a lot of other good food. It was like 11 euros or so though, which is a bit much... But yeah, let´s see, what else has happened. This past week in church we had three menos activos that we´ve been working with come to church. So that´s good. The number of fechas in the mission went from like 35 to 73 in 3 or 4 days because the leaders said they wanted to double the number invitations by the end of the week. So that was nice to see. I was just thinking about some things that are normal for me, that maybe I haven´t told you about. Every Monday night we do a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) mainly for investigators and single people, or families with just a mom and a son, etc. Anyways, that´s something I don´t think I´ve said. We always do a game or activity to explain a gospel principle. Also, this past week we started English Classes. We had 6 people come the first night and 1 the second night. So we may be switching it to just one night, we´ll see. Things are going well here for me though. We found 4 new investigators and we´re going to see if we can´t help at least one of them to get baptized by the end of this year. That would be nice. Well, I´m just a little short on time, so I´m going to send this, but I´ll talk to you later and have a fantastic week.-Elder SommerfeldtAnd enjoy the SNOW!!!! (That´s something I don´t get here, just cold...)

11/29/09

11/23/09

Hello everyone! How´s everyone doing back home? Things are going good for me today. I got two letters with three weeks of letters from Jen today. I still haven´t read them yet, but it was a long time without getting anything because of the move, so that made me happy. Anyways, this week is going well. I have a list of some things I want to say, so if this email doesn´t sound very orderly, sorry. Okay, so first things first I made a Christmas Countdown this past week! I made it just like normal. I have a star in the middle, then the pattern, red green red green yellow... repeated with the rings. It´s good. The next CDs of pictures I send home will have them on it. I´ll probably send another CD in January, or end of December. The other thing, we went to Cantan por los Ángeles. That´s where we go and sing for everyone that´s going home. So we did that. I got to meet Elder Johnson (my trainer)´s family. So that was a lot of fun. I also saw a bunch of people I knew from Cornella, and I got to see Elder Bodily (my companion in the CCM), and a bunch of other friends. So that was a lot of fun. So if you ever meet an Aaron Johnson, he´s going to go to BYU next semester, he was my trainer. You could try and call him I guess if you want to talk to him, but I don´t know his info. Sorry. Also, just so you know, President Hill, the President in the Spain CCM is going home in December if I remember correctly. You should keep an eye open for that and go meet him when he´s home. He lives in Springville and he´s a really good guy. Okay, also, I don´t know if I told you guys, but our mission has a goal to have 400 baptisms by the end of the year. We´re at about 345 right now I believe, so I hope we can do it. Now the good news for Vilafranca... We´re going to add 3 to that number this weekend! We´re going to baptize Susanna, Karlita, and Raquel. Susana´s 23, Karlita´s 17, and Raquel´s (Karlita´s younger sister) is 14. So that´s good. Susana will be baptized this Friday at 7, and Karlita and Raquel this Saturday at 11. I´m super excited for them. We have to teach them tithing and have the interview, but other than that, everything´s set. So keep them in your prayers this next week. So yeah. It was interesting, this past week we learned that all of them had problems with the word of wisdom. One with coffee, one with tea, and one with tobacco. They´ve all dropped what they were taking though. They´re all amazing. They all had testimonies and had received answers to their prayers before we taught any of the commandments so it´s been relatively easy for them to follow the commandments, because they know what we´re saying in true. So yeah, everything´s going well there. We´re still working with Montse (Susana´s mom). She could be baptized the week after, except she and her pareja, spouse maybe ?, aren´t married yet. They´re working on it though. Hopefully they can get married really fast, then we can get her baptized, and maybe him too. We´re also going to start working with Karlita and Raquel´s parents. I don´t know if I told you, but the branch had a goal of 10 baptisms for the year. So far we´re at six, so after this week we´ll be at 9. I think we´re going to do it. It´s really cool too because last year they only had 1, now we´re going to get 10. Anyways, that´s the gist of my week. I´m sure there´s more to say, but like always I´m short on time. Oh, I guess I´ll say a few more things. We´re singing with the ward choir for a christmas concert for the community and guess what, the songs are in Catalan. So I´m going to know how to sing Joy to the World and one other song that we don´t have in English in Catalan. Crazy huh? Well, I think that´s all for now, but know that I´m loving the mission, and there´s nothing that could be better for me right now at this time of my life. Have fantastic weeks. ¡Chao!

-Elder Sommerfeldt

11/23/09

11/16/09

Family! How´s everyone doing? Things are going really well here for me. I´m in the new piso and it´s super nice. Just for example, I have a king size bed! It´s so fun. I also have two pillows that cost 120 euros each, and they´re the memory foam pillows. It´s so nice. Me and my companion each have our own bathroom, and each bathroom has a shower and two sinks. In our living room we have a super nice couch, a chimney, automatic blind things. Wow. It´s super nice, that´s the gist of it. And we´re paying 5 euros less each month than we were in the old one. The next CD or DVD I send back will have a video of it on it. So yeah. Okay, Roberto didn´t get baptized this past week... He didn´t pass the interview. He´s had some problems that came out in the interview, and he´s not really repentant at all. We weren´t going to baptize him, because we didn´t think he was ready, so we called the Ayudantes and told them, and they told us get him baptized this Saturday. So we did all we could, but when they don´t pass the interview, what can you do. This past week, so that Roberto could have the interview, I left on Intercambios. I went to Lleida for a day. It´s about 3 hours away. In the piso I stayed at for a night there were cockroaches all over in the kitchen! I saw probably about 20 or so at night. It was pretty grose. But I´m gone from there now, so that´s good. But when I was there I was younger in the mission than the other missionary, but I speak better spanish than him,so I was basically the senior companion. I had to do all the calls on the phone, lead all the lessons, etc. It went really good though. We had one lesson where it was so good, the spirit was so strong, and I´m certain if the missionaries there do everything right she, Nurka, will be baptized. Anyways, back to my own area. Susana (23 years old), Karlita (17 years old), and Raquel (14 years old and sister of Karlita) are all doing really really well. They´ve all received answers and are all going to be baptized the 28th of November. They all came to church this past week and all really enjoyed it. It was way good. I don´t see anything getting in the way of their baptisms. Susana´s mom, Montse, still has a baptismal date, but it´s now Dec. 5th, because she couldn´t come to church this past week. So we´ll see how everything continues there. But yeah, things are going really well with all of them now. This past week we had interviews with President Hinckley. He told me everything he´s heard is that I´m doing really well. So that was nice to hear. I´m doing my best, so it´s good to hear a compliment occasionally. But yeah. Things are going well. This past week was the transfer change, that´s why I´m writing on Tuesday this week. My and my companion Elder Morales are both staying,but he´s now the District Leader, which means we´ll be doing a lot moreintercambios in the future. So we´ll see how that goes. Well, sorry this is short, but I think I need to go to write all the individuals now. But yeah, I´m going good here, and have fun with everything that´s going on in yourlives. Have a good week. ¡Chao! -Elder Sommerfeldt

11/12/09

11/12/09

Barcelona
Barcelona

Elders Sommerfeldt and Johnson


CCM




11/9/09

11/9/09

¡Familia! ¿Cómo va tots? The word "tots" is Catalá for "todos," para que sepa. Things are going good here for me. This past week we had another slightly slower week. We had to fix up the Piso a whole bunch, including painting one bedroom, and our main living room area. We also had to replace a lot of doors, putting hinges on etc. It´s basically been a huge pain balancing all the work in the Piso with everything else. At the same time we had to finalize things with our new piso. Just so you know, the new address for my new piso is:

Avinguda Tarragona 16,3,
108720-Vilafranca del Penedés(Barcelona)
Spain/España

So yeah, hopefully I can start getting mail soon. This past week we had a district meeting out in Tarragona again. I don´t think I told you last week, but it´s right next to the beach. Man, I love the ocean. There´s several parts of the city where you´re up on a hill, and the beach is just right below you, then the ocean just goes on and on forever. It´s awesome. After my mission when I come back I´ll for sure go to the beach. Also, this week our heater, for the piso and the water broke. We´ve had about 5 days without heat and with only cold water. It´s been miserable. I´m excited to move and not have to take any more cold showers. Now for the good news, in spite of all of the hardships of moving etc., we set 4 baptismal dates this past week. Roberto is going to be baptized this Saturday, the 14 of the November, the following Saturday, November 21, Karlita´s going to be baptized, and the following Saturday, the 28th, Montse and Susana are going to be baptized. This past week was Stake Conference, an hour to an hour and a half away. We invited Karlita and she came! So that was good. She had to come to that, and then she has to come this next Sunday to still be baptized and all. And this past week we brought a girl named Fabiola with us to teach her, and then she rode home with her from conference, so she has a friend now. Things are going well there. This past week we had some bad news with Roberto. He told us he wasn´t going to be baptized anymore. We ended up having an activity that night, the seminary, then I gave him a blessing, and now he´s still going to be baptized. So that´s good. The baptismal font here in Vilafranca is just a swimming pool. It´s similar to our pool at our house, but the surface area isn´t as big, and it´s a square shape. But yeah, we set it up last night during correlation meeting, so that´s good. Oh, with Montse and Susana, I´ll tell their story. So my companion got this guy´s name, Emmanuel, a while ago on a bus, and his phone number. He hasn´t been able to visit with us for a while, but we got a hold of him this past week and went to teach him. We went in there and he was there, as well as two girls from Cataluña. Their names are Montse (mom) and Susana (daughter). They now have baptismal fechas. The only problem that´s come up is that just a bit ago we learned that Montse and Emmanuel are boyfriend/girlfriend and living together. We´ll see what we can do about that though. But Susana, I think all is well with her. We assigned her with 2 Nephi 31 a while ago to read, and told her to read to the end of the chapter. She was confused I guess and read to the end of 2 Nephi, so like 4 chapters or so. That was cool. Karlita´s also been doing her reading and all, and yesterday when we went to Stake Conference I think we became pretty good friends with her, so all is well with that. Lets see, what else. Mainly that´s what we´ve done, fix the piso and teach those people. Oh, this past week we also made no-bake cookies one night. We make no-bake cookies a lot and give about half away, then eat the other half. Anyways, this time my companion accidentally doubled about half the ingredients, so we had to double the whole thing. Anyways, we ended up with 44 cookies and... we ate them all in one day... All I can say is that I don´t think I´ve had such a bad stomach ache for a long time, and I won´t be eating that many cookies that fast again. They were really good though. Also, as I said this past week was Stake Conference so I was able to talk to Elder Johnson, my old companion. The news is that Isabel (the lady from Cornellá that moved out of her own Piso and let her boyfriend stay there so she could live the law of chastity) got baptized the 30th of October! I was super excited to hear. Apparently it was a huge pain because she wasn´t able to come to church the next day because she works at a hospital and had to work, so they had to make an exception so that she could get the Holy Ghost on Saturday, but luckily it all worked out. Well, I can´t think of much else to say, and I´m a bit short on time, so I´m going to go now. Have a fantastic week!
-Elder Ryan Sommerfeldt

11/2/09

11/2/09

Family and friends! How is everyone doing this week? Things are going well here for me. So last week I figured out that we need to move pisos. They told us last Monday and said we have to be out by the 9th of November, giving us two weeks to find a new piso, fix ours up, and move. So this past week we spent a lot of time finding a new piso. We have it narrowed down to two and just have to decide between those two now. So yeah. We wasted a lot of time with Pisos though and weren´t able to teach as much as we normally do. This next week will hopefully be better. Next week also I will write and tell all of you what the new address is. As for now, don´t send any letter to the piso on C/ Amalia Soler, because I will probably be gone by the time it gets there. Anything that´s already been sent I´ll hopefully get before leaving, but don´t send anything else. So yeah. Our Piso apparently was the worse piso in the mission. I don´t think it´s that bad, but the leaders do, so that´s why we have to move. Both of the pisos we´re looking at are a ton nicer than our current piso. They´re also cheaper too because of the economic crisis and all, so that should help save the church a little bit of money, and put us in a nicer piso. We did still get to teach Roberto twice this past week. We´re helping him progress, but he doesn´t always seem to have the excitement we wish he had. We still have two weeks though, so I´m pretty sure we can get him some excitement and get him baptized still. We´re going to teach him the Law of Chastity today, so hopefully that goes well. He´s only 14, so you´d think he´d be just fine, but here in Spain he very well could have a problem with it. His friend that´s a member, Josué, told us that he was a little concerned with it, so hopefully we can teach it really well today and get him to be perfectly okay with living it. Claus, interesting story with her. We were told by her friend that´s a member, well, she´s friends with Claus´ mom, that she wasn´t interested anymore because she didn´t have time. We didn´t want to just give up on her though so we passed by a few times to try and talk with her in person. One time we got a hold of her and she said she´d love to still visit with us, but she doesn´t have a lot of time since she´s studying for some big medical exam, she´s a doctor, but hasn´t taken the big test yet. So we are now down to just visiting her once a week. We´ll see what happens with that. So yeah, everything is going well with all of that. We also found a new investigator. Her name is Carolita. We taught her once and invited her to church. She wasn´t able to come to church, but we have a cita for this week, so hopefully we can get her interested too. She´s only 16 or 17. We´re focusing a lot on youth it seems, well, we´re really teaching whoever is ready to hear the gospel, and right now in Vilafranca it looks like it´s the youth. This next week we have a lot of potential. We met a bunch of people that we set up citas with for this next week, so I just hope everything works out and we can get in and teach all of them and help them all to realize the importance of the gospel and of being baptized and following the gospel of Jesus Christ. Well, I can´t think of much more to say, but have a fantastic week everyone! ¡Chao!
-Elder Sommerfeldt Oh, I almost forgot, we had some members take us to a really nice chinese all you can eat restaurant this past week. It was like 15 euros a plate... I felt kind of bad, but they took us and I decided to try some new food so that I could write home about it, so I ate rana! Which is frog! I ate the legs. It was pretty grose, I could see everything just like it was a frog. It didn´t taste that bad, but just the fact that it was a frog was grose. Anyways, that´s that. Oh, I also ate shrimp yesterday with some members at their house. It was grose because I had to pull off the head, then rip off all the legs and the tail, then take off the skin... Not so pleasant. Anyways, that´s that. ¡Chao!

10/29/09

10/26/09

Family! How´s everyone doing there back in Utah? Things are going well here. This keyboard is terrible though, so sorry if there´s any errors. This past week we set a baptismal goal! His name is Roberto. He´s the friend of one of the youth in our branch named Josué. Josué gave the invitation of asking him to be baptized, so that was good. He said he would be, and it´s for the 14th of November. He´s been being taught since like July, and he´s been going to seminary and church too. So he knows everything. The only thing is that his parents aren´t members. So they´re not really against it, but they´re not there encouraging him or anything. We´re going to try teaching them, the only thing is that the dad is not interested at all. We´re going to see if there´s some way we can teach the mom during the days or something though, because she seems to be interested. I´ll let you know what happens there. Things are going well with Claus, and Rosemary. We also started teaching Rosemary´s other daughter, Claus´s sister, Gabriela. They´re progressing well, so that´s good. Rosemary says her only doubt right now is baptism, she said she needs to study it out for herself for a while to know if it´s right. Which is exactly what we want. We were going to commit them all to be baptized this past week, but Claus and Gabriela were gone, and Claus is the one that we most want to commit. She said she´d be baptized, we just haven´t set a date or anything. So that´s that. I don´t know if I told you, but there´s a family, la familia Durán. They´re way good. All of the people we´re teaching that are progressing and their friends and they go with us to all the citas. It´s just hermana Durán and her son Josué in the family, but they´re super good. So yeah. We´ve also been teaching a lot of menos activos and conversos recientes too. Things are going well with all of them. Hopefully we can get some people re-activated, and get the recent converts to stay activated. So yeah, everything´s going well with that. Oh, cool thing. So this past week we figured out that Claus is friends with a girl named Nelly (another girl we´ve taught), and they´re both friends with Yirka (a recent convert that´s way strong, 25, and preparing to go on a mission). So we´ll see what we can´t do to get all of them baptized. This past week we also had Zone Conference. It was good. They took another picture that I´m guessing is probably on the mission blog by now if you want to go look at it. Also, that same day my companion got sick and had thrown up and all. He asked me to give him a blessing and I did. I gave it in Spanish, the first blessing I´ve given in Spanish. Anyways, it was a great experience and he went out that evening and we had two fantastic citas, and is fine now. SO yeah. Okay, now for something I thought of that you guys may not know. In our mission here we have to part our hair. I´m sure Kevin and Bruce are laughing at me right now, but it actually doesn´t look that bad once you get used to it. So yeah. I have it so it´s like still how my hair was before, but there´s a part in it. So yeah, just some interesting info. Also, something you might not know. The Spain, Barcelona mission is called "The Faro," which means the Lighthouse. It was called that by an apostle because all the other european missions look to us. Apparently we have the highest baptizing mission in all of Europe. So that´s good that I belong to the best mission. Well, this keyboard is really bugging me (all the keys stick), so I can´t think of anything else to say. Things are still going good with me and my companion Elder Morales. Also, anyone that sent me letters to my old address, I´ll get them in two weeks, and I´ll reply then, para que sepa (just so you know). So yeah. Things are going good here with me. Have a great week. ¡Chao!
-Elder Sommerfeldt

10/21/09

10/19/09

Family! How is everyone doing? So here´s the big news. I´m in Vilafranca right now, not Cornellá. I think I told you last week about how there was an elder that went home after only being in the mission for a week, and how since the other companionship in our Piso was a trio I thought one of them would leave. Anyways, Monday evening they called me and told me to pack and be ready to leave the next morning. They took someone from the trio and put them with Elder Johnson, my old companion, and now I´m with Elder Morales, a Spaniard. I was way sad when I heard, and even for a few days after, and I still am a bit. I didn´t even get to say goodbye to any of our investigators or anything. I hope they´re all still progressing though and can still be baptized the 30th of October. We´ll see how that goes. So yeah. I´m now in a city called Vilafranca del Penedés. It´s about an hour away from Cornellá, and like an hour and half to two hours away from Barcelona. Just so you know, my address now is C/ Amalia Soler 18,4,1 08720-Vilafranca del Penedés (Barcelona) Spain (España). So yeah, if you can get that forwarded to Jen so she can get it on facebook for everyone, that would be great. And anyone who wants to write me can send it to that address now. I´ll still get everything that was sent to Cornellá, I´ll just have to wait a little bit. So yeah, that´s that. I´m now here in Vilafranca. I´m still getting used to the area and all, but it seems good. It´s a branch, with around 70 people or so I think attending church each week. Our goal is to get it to a ward. We´ll see what we can do about that. This past week we started teaching a girl named Claus who is progressing very well. She´s from Bolivia, but one of her parents is Spaniard, and she´s lived here for a couple years now. She´s living with her mom Rosemary. We´re teaching both of them, but Claus is progressing the most. She even came to church yesterday. We´re going to try to set a baptismal date for her the 7th of November. So we´ll see how that goes. There´s also a kid named Roberto that´s doing well. He has friends that are members and comes to Seminary almost every night and church almost every week. So hopefully we can get him baptized the 7th of November too. I´ll keep you updated on that though. Okay, so funny story. Here in Spain they do besos, where you kiss each other´s cheeks (kind of weird I think, but I hear it gets more normal the longer you´re here). Anyways, so normall when we´re with a group of people everyone gives besos to everyone then shakes the hands of the missionaries. When we first met Claus though she was doing the besos with everyone then got to me and started to go in to do the besos thing, and I was just like, uh... And she realized and stopped and apologized and said she didn´t realize we couldn´t and all. It was just a funny story, and a little awkward for me... haha. So that´s the funny story. I can´t thinik of what else has happened. Oh, we met the Stake Patriarch, because he lives in our ward, and he´s a way good guy. He also drove us out to a Pueblo on Saturday to go teach a girl named Carola. He´s very dedicated to the gospel though, so that´s good. My spanish is coming along pretty good, and it should come along even better now that I´m with Elder Morales, a native. He helps me with my spanish, and I help him with his english. So far we get along very well, so that´s good. It´s weird because we´re the only two people in our Piso. So I went from having 5 elders in a piso to only having 2. Crazy. It´s quieter, but still good. So things are going well with that. Well, I can´t think of much else to say now, so I think I´ll go ahead and start the individuals. Have a great week!
Elder Sommerfeldt

10/14/09

10/12/09

Hello everyone! Things are going well here for me. I can´t remember if I told you last week, but we have a goal for 5 baptisms October 30th. We are now at 3. We had four, but one lives three streets out of our area and has to be taught by some other missionaries (she wasn´t happy about that at all). So yeah. We are still on with Isabel getting baptized the 30th. She´s doing great, and we´re meeting with her twice a week still in a member´s house while her boyfriend is out of town, because we need a guy in the house. José Luis is also doing well. He´s the boyfriend of Penelope. The only thing with him is that he has to work weekends. He´s looking for a job, but was only able to find one where he has to work Saturdays and Sundays. He´s looking for another one, but it´s hard for him to quit until he has another one because it´s his only source of income. He doesn´t have all his papers finished, so that´s why it´s difficult. We´re just hoping and praying that he´ll find one soon so that he´ll be able to go church the Sunday after his baptism to get the Holy Ghost. If he doesn´t have a way to take that Sunday off by then we´ll have to hold off, but I think something will work out. The other guy is new. His name is Ricardo. We met him one day when we were walking and he stopped us and asked if we were the mormons. Long story short he went to church a bunch back in Ecuador before moving here, and really liked it. So we set up a time to meet with him in the house of some members that live nearby. We had the cita and he mentioned at one time that he didn´t know why he wasn´t baptized, so right then and there Elder Johnson committed him to be baptized the 30th of October and he accepted. We´ve taught him twice now, and if all goes well that will work out too. The only difficulty is that this past Sunday he was going to come to church (it´s like an hour and half away from his house), but he realized that he didn´t have money right before so he couldn´t take a bus. If we can get him to come these next two times though we´ll be good. So yeah, we´ll see how that goes. So we should be at three now. Yesterday we met with Rossy (the nine year old we´ve been trying to teach for forever, but have never been able to). Things went really well. She likes to draw, so I was able to get in there, and I told her I´ll bring some copies of some of my pictures for her next time, and I´ll give them to her. So yeah, hopefully that helps too. She also loves reading, and we left her with the Book of Mormon for kids, and asked her to read and pray about it. So we´re hoping she can get baptized too. Hopefully the 30th, but we don´t know for there. We asked her, and she said she didn´t know, so we´ll have to wait and see. Hopefully that all goes well too. So that´s the update on investigators I believe. I don´t think there´s much else to update there. We went bowling today for preparation day and I got 164!!! I was excited. It was good. So, some weird things (or things you may not know) about Spain. Okay, let´s see, here in Catalunya (the province), everything is in Catalan. That´s the language that´s the official language of Catalunya. Everyone speaks Spanish (or Castellano as they call it here), but almost everyone that was born here or went to school here also speaks Catalan. So like all of the signs and stuff are in Catalan. It´s kind of nice, because I can look at the words and usually figure out what they´re trying to say, and when I come back, I´ll probably speak just a little bit (not much) of Catalan as well. It´s things like Salida is how you say Exit in Spanish, but in Catalan it´s Sortida. Instead of Pierna for Leg, you say Cama (which is also how you say bed). So yeah, it´s just a little different. That´s one thing. The other thing is that there´s always trash and stuff all over the streets and sidewalks. It´s not terrible because they have people who have the job of basically constantly sweeping a plaza, but it´s still dirty. People here just throw trash and such all the time. So yeah. Also, for trash, like from our Piso, they have a bin for plastics, one for cardboard, one for glass, and another for other stuff. The bins are about a block away from our house and a whole neighborhood shares the same bins. So that´s that news. Well, I can´t think of much else to say. Things are going well here though. Oh, we have a new elder here. His name is Elder Dillon and he´s companions with Elder Romney and Elder Tonge, but living in our piso. It´s actually a lot of fun having five people now. It´s good. He´s a good guy too. However, really close to us, in our same zone, a new elder who´s only been here a week went home, so we´re thinking they may take one of the missionaries from the trio over there... I´ll let you know next week what happens. We should find out later today. Well, with that I think I´ve said everything I can think of. Have fantastic days and weeks and I´ll talk to everyone later. ¡Chao!
-Elder Sommerfeldt

9/29/09

9/28/09

Family! How is everything there back home? Things are going well here for me. This keyboard is really bad by the way. It´s all written on the keys like an english keyboard, but it´s programmed for a Spanish one. So if I mess up at all, just blame the keyboard... Anyways, things are going good here. Things are going pretty good with Isabel, except there´s one big problem. She´s the one living with her boyfriend. We had intercambios this past week, I was with Elder Chávez, a native who doesn´t speak any English, and we taught her and her boyfriend Pedro the law of chastity. They committed to live it, and it was way good. The spirit was there and everything. Anyways, we set a baptismal date for this next Friday, October 2nd. She said yes. The only problem now is that he won´t move out. So we´re doing everything we can to help it happen and go through. We´ll see how it goes though. We were going to meet with them yesterday before church but the boyfriend, Pedro, was "sick." So he didn´t come, but she came. We talked to her and she really wants to get baptized, she started crying saying some people are just stubborn, meaning Pedro. So yeah, you can pray for Isabel to be able to find a way to get this to work. We´re still hoping for this Friday, but if he doesn´t move out really fast then it will be delayed. HOpefully it works out though. We´ll see. So that´s the news there. The boyfriend that we´re talking to we haven´t been able to meet with since Tuesday. We´ll be meeting with him again tomorrow though, with the girlfriend and rest of the family. So that should hopefully go good. We´ll see. We briefly talked about the Book of Mormon last time and gave him one. I believe we´re planning on teaching the Plan of Salvation to him, because he and his girlfriend recently had a child. So yeah. We´ll see how that goes. I´ll keep you updated. We almost had a cita with the 9 year old, but we weren´t able to because the mom works 4 jobs and can hardly ever have time for us. I think with her it´ll be like once every week or two we´ll teach her, and then in a couple months or so she´ll get baptized. So yeah. That´s that update. Let´s see, the list of things I´ve been writing down to tell you guys. Oh, so people here have a really hard time pronouncing my name. So one day Elder Tonge, one of the Elders in my Piso told the member it´s just like "Soy muy feo," which means "I´m very ugly." So now everyone remembers my name, it´s funny. A lot of them are actually not that bad. I told some of the members to just call me "Soy muy guapo" instead of "Soy muy feo." We´ll see how that goes though. Next thing, last week in church I made a mistake. Elder Tonge was teaching the lesson trying to use an example of someone not liking things, so he asked me what´s something I don´t like. I told him I don´t like eating tomatoes. Anyways, long story short, one of the hermanas in our ward that feeds us every week (and has apparently given us tomatoes a lot) was like, oh no! So she apologized after and I tried to just say, oh no, I was meaning when I was younger I didn´t, they´re fine now. I don´t know if it worked or not though. It´s kind of a funny story. And she´s the type of person that wouldn´t really be mad either, she´d just joke about it a lot. So yeah. I can´t think of anything else. Um, when I was with Elder Chávez it was really nice at the end of the day to switch back to Elder Johnson. I´d been talking in Spanish all day, and if I didn´t understand something he said, sometimes there wasn´t anything we could do about it. So it was nice being able to go back to english a bit. Spanish isn´t bad though. My spanish is improving, each week I notice a bit of a difference. Not really much day by day, but week by week yes. Oh, the other thing, like 4 times we´ve given blessings. So far everytime I´ve done the annointing, because I don´t know if I can do the blessing in Spanish and all, but I think the next time I might be doing it, so we´ll see. Who knows when that will be. We´ve been continuing to teach the menos activos we´re teaching. Things are going well with them. We´re hoping to get some references from them soon. We´ll see what ends up happening with that though. I can´t think of anything else to say right now, I´m sure there´s more, my mind´s just blank. Sorry. I´ll just go ahead and end this now then I guess. Overall, things are going well here, Isabel will hopefully be baptized this Friday, and I don´t have any complaints. Have a fantastic week and I´ll talk to you next week.
-Elder Sommerfeldt

9/25/09

9/21/09

Family (and anyone else that reads this)! How are you all doing? Things are going well here for me. We have an investigator that we just about set a baptismal date for, but her boyfriend (who´s a member) is going to be out of town when we had the date. So now she has to look through her work schedule to try and find a time that works, that´s exciting though. It will be my first real baptism. I don´t know if I told you, but technically I have one baptism, just because the person was taught a little before I got here, went to Uruguay to be baptized by a friend, but it went down in the books as our baptism. Anyways though, the one that will hopefully be baptized here soon is living with her boyfriend. We haven´t taught her the Law of Chastity yet, that´s this Wednesday. The guy knows it´s coming, we told him, so we´ll see how they take it... Hopefully good. I think they would both want to get married, but the guys married to someone else, and she won´t sign a divorce with him, so he can´t get married to the girl we´re teaching. It´ll all work out though, I have faith. Let´s see, everything else is going well. The nine-year old we still haven´t been able to visit with. Her mom works 4 jobs and has virtually no time that we can go by. We´ll figure something out though. One of the less active (but they´ve been quite active since we started visiting them) families is doing well. We´re teaching the boyfriend of one of the daughters, and he seems interested. We´ve only taught him about The Book of Mormon so far though. But we have 2 citas with them this week. Okay, onto things I wrote down that are interesting to tell you. We´re really close to the ocean I figured out. This past week we were in Castelldefels and we were on the bus. For about a mile it just drives along the beach/ocean. It was quite hard knowing that I have to wait at least 2 years to go there... Oh well though. The language is coming along well. The members tell me that they can see a difference each time they see me, because I see most of them like once or twice a week is all. So yeah, that´s good. Oh, with the beach being so close, there´s also palm trees all over, so that´s cool too. Let´s see, what else, oh, on all of the windows here they have these shutter things that are like inside the wall somehow outside the building, and you can close them from the inside. They slide down over the window and it gets pitch black. They´re like metal shutters that are designed so they don´t leave any gaps for light to get in. So that´s cool too. Also, I was looking in the January Liahona for this year and I saw a picture in the church news section. Guess who was in it... President Clarke (Kevin´s mission president). That was interesting. It was some thing with Panama. That was fun though. Oh, it´s been raining a lot lately. It´s crazy. It just pours and pours. The streets become like rivers almost. But yeah, that´s my life here. Well, I´m going to go ahead and end this now, but know that I´m doing well here and everything is going well for me. ¡Hasta la proxima semana! Elder Ryan Sommerfeldt

9/16/09

9/15/09

Family! How is everyone doing? Things are going great here. This week I wrote down a few things in my planner that I want to write about that I´m not sure if I´ve told you, so that you can know some interesting things. Number one is Public Transportation. We take public transportation all over the place. It´s crazy. We don´t even live in our area, since we live in Cornellá, and we have all of the surrounding Pueblos, such as Esplugas, San Boi, Castelld´efells, Gavá, etc. So yeah. We have to travel anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to get to the different Pueblos in our area. It´s a bit of a pain sometimes. They have a metro, but it´s in obras, works, right now. THey´re doing construction on it and all, so yeah. We don´t use that very much because a bunch of it is shut down. We use the tramvia a lot though. It´s just like Trax in Salt Lake pretty much. We also take busses a lot. So that´s cool. I sometimes talk to people on the public transportation. I don´t know why, but most missionaries don´t. I don´t all the time, but I do when I can. This past week I talked to some girl who´s atheist and says she´s believes in science´s explanation of how everything came to be. I took that opportunity to tell her I´m studying Physics and then went on to tell her my Theory (God, Adam and Eve, etc). It was fun. So yeah. By the way, sorry if I have an typos, I´m just trying to type fast, so my bad if I do. NExt item. The two main sodas they drink here are Coca-Cola and Fanta. They have Fanta Limón and Naranja (orange). I love the fanta, especially the lemonade stuff. Back home I´d always mix lemonade with sprite, and here it´s just already done for me, so that´s nice. And Coca-Cola, mom, I had never had coca cola until the mission. I never thought I´d be saying I didn´t have coco cola until the mission, but that´s what happened. Some of the members offer coca cola all the time, but I don´t drink it a ton. I´ve probably had it like three times or so. THe first time I really didn´t like it. It´s good now, but still not great. If they have something else I take that, so you don´t have to worry too much mom. Next thing, I heard that you can go on Google Earth and find our Piso. So our address one more time is Calle Virgen de Pilar 30,3 08940 Cornellá, in Spain. So if you want to see that you can. We have the roof as part of our piso since we´re on the top floor. So we can go up there and just look out. That´s kind of cool. We decided we might eat up there one meal sometime. Anyways, next item of business, motorcycles and scooters. THey have a bunch of them here too, and, like in Brazil, they can go wherever they want. They go inbetween cars, sidewalks, wherever. SO yeah, that´s cool. WEll, I think that´s just about it for that. Now about some investigators. We´re teaching a lady named Isabel. The elders before where thinking she wasn´t really progressing at all. They´d taught her lessons 1,2, and 3. She apparently just said yes to everything, and she´s living with a less active member who wants her to listen to us. Anyways, this past week we taught her and I shared my experience of coming to know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and how she can know too. THe spirit was strong and she said she´d pray to know about it. So that´s good. Hopefully we can baptize her soon, and after she either moves out or gets married to her boyfriend. Next, the less active family with Mauri and Charo are going good. They have a dad that´s a non member, but we haven´t been able to teach him yet. We´re hoping one of these days he´ll just stay and listen to us, hopefully this next week since we have 3 citas with them. SO yeah. Also, our other less actives, Raquel and Penelope are doing good. The mom and husband of Raquel aren´t members, and the boyfriend of Penelope isn´t, so we´ll see what we can do about that. Also, Rossy, the nine year old. We´re hoping to get her baptized on October 4th. The only problem is that she wants someone back in Bolivia to baptize her, so we´re hoping we can become her friend and gain her trust really quickly so she´ll want someone out here to do it so it can happen a lot sooner. So that´s that. I think that´s everyone. Actually, there´s Ruth. We´ve taught her once, she was a former investigator, and we committed her to baptism. She´s from Bolivia too. We´ll see how that goes. She can only meet with us once a week. Hopefully it goes well though. Sorry if this is all random and all, I´m just thinking of things as I write. We continue to eat with members a lot. That´s fun, but I´m shy with some of them. Some of them talk with such a strong accent and so fast that I just can´t understand enough to participate. Then there´s others that I do really well with. I´m working on being sociable with all of them, even when it´s hard to understand. This past week we did Intercambios, companions exchanges. I was with one of the Zone leaders for a night and a morning, then we switched back. That was good. His name is Elder Sharpe. He´s wanting to play football when he gets back, probably for the U though... I guess nobody´s perfect. Speaking of which, Go Cougars! I was glad to hear about that game. Anyways, so the intercambios went well. Also, we´re teaching an English class every Saturday, that´s continuing to go well too. WEll, I´m goign to end this so I have some time to write the individuals. Have a fantastic week everyone that reads this. ¡Chao!

9/8/09

9/7/09

Family, and everyone else! How are you guys? THings are going well here for me. I tried to send some pictures, but it took forever. I still sent two to Pete, so he´ll forward them around to people hopefully. The internet must be way slow though because It took like ten minutes to download them. So I won´t be sending pictures like was the original plan. Anyways, things are going well here. This past week was good and bad. One day we were in Gavá, another small city outside Cornellá, and yes, Cornellá is kind of a suburb of Barcelona. Anyways, we were in Gavá walking down the street when all of a sudden a lady walks out a door right as we´re passing it and just says, Elders. So we turned around and long story short it turns out she´s from a less active family and so we went and visited them, and have visited them once since then, and are visiting them again tomorrow. The dad isn´t a member, so we´re hoping we can get him eventually to want to hear and listen to the gospel. So that´s good. They came to church too, and they´re from Bolivia Kevin, as are a TON of the people here we talk to. It´s crazy. There´s another family that was less active that we´ve been passing by and they´re more activated now and there´s a boyfriend, and the grandparents that live with them that aren´t members, so we´ll see what we can do there too. Let´s see, what else. Oh, yesterday was terrible. We had four citas, visits/appointments, lined up with a member assigned to come to each one. 3 of our members fell through, so only one was able to come, and they all cancelled on us or didn´t want us to come when we got there. So we went from having a ton of stuff to absolutely nothing. It was way frustrating. But apparently a lot of times right before a really good thing happens, a really bad thing happens. So we´ll see what happens there. So yeah. Let´s see, today´s Dia de Preparación. We went Bowling! It was way fun. It was only 5 euros for shoes and two games of bowling. I got 152 and 147, so it looks like I´ve still got a bit of my talent left for bowling. It wasn´t quite as fun as it was when I would go with Jen, but it was still a ton of fun. The second time was a competition between companions and whichever companionship got the highest score with them added together won and the others had to pitch in and buy them a kebab ( a thing with a bunch of meet and vegetables in it in a tortilla and cooked, they´re all over here). We won, so we didn´t have to pay for our kebabs. That was nice. Then we played soccer at the church, that was fun, but I got hurt. My leg has this huge bump on it, but hopefully it´s better soon. Okay, so now a bit about my schedule now. I wake up each morning at 7:30, pray and exercise for 30 minutes, then get ready (shower, eat, iron, etc) until 9. Then from 9-10 is personal study, from 10-11 is companion study, then from 11-11:30 is language study. Then we go out and proselyte, unless we have meetings or something until 2. From 2-4 we´re either in our Piso for lunch, or we go to a members. It´s called Medio Día here, and basically everything shuts down during those 2 hours. It´s crazy. All the stores, everything closes. And everyone´s home either eating or sleeping for a bit. Just a little different from the US. Then we go from 4-10 working again. We´re not allowed dinner unless a member invites us over (which is usually about half the time or so), then we go there for an hour. Then from 10-11 we plan and read from the missionary handbook, then we get ready and go to bed by 11:30. So that´s the schedule. It´s good. We usually get quite a few eating citas with members. Our ward´s way good. So usually anywhere from 6-10 a week I´d say. So that´s nice, but I have a hard time eating it all. At every single one so far it´s been meat, not fish. The other elders said they´ve had fish a few times, but rarely. So that´s nice. Let´s see, what else to say. Oh, we had interviews with the president this past Wednesday. That was fun. I also got a letter from Jen she´d sent to the CCM in Madrid but it didn´t get to me in time. Oh, that reminds me, if it´s ever near a time when I might not be staying in the same place, you can send things to the mission home and I´ll get them, but I´ll ge tthings faster if you send them directly to me, the address I gave you last week. So yeah. Oh, I bore my testimony yesterday. I had to do it, but it wasn´t bad at all. I´m getting better at being able to talk to people too. So that´s nice. It all depends on the person, some people I understand just fine, others have a way thick accent. Well, I need to run on to individual´s now, I´m almost out of time. ¡Chao!
Elder Sommerfeldt
P.S. GO BYU!!!!! I was excited to hear that.

9/1/09

8/31/09

Family! How´s it going? Things are going well here for me. Hey, I only have 45 minutes for email every week now. So I don´t know how I´m going to do it. If I ever don´t get individual emails sent off to you guys that´s why. Sorry... I am serving in Cornellá. It´s actually the Pueblos around Cornellá. My companions name is Elder Johnson. He only has 3 months left in the mission. He´s cool though. There are also two other missionaries in our Piso (apartment) named Elder Tonge and Elder Romney. My address by the way, if people want to send me letters is C/ Virgen de Pilar 30,3 08940 Cornellá Spain (España). So yeah, now no one has an excuse for not writing me. I was sick, I don´t know if it was swine or not, but it was a flu that was pretty bad. I´m good now though. I was way tired the first couple days, but I´ve recovered. I´m still tired, but it´s just because we´re always doing stuff. We are hopefully going to have a baptism this next Saturday. Her name is Bertha. However, I´ve never met her. We haven´t been able to meet with her for over a week, and she didn´t come to church this past week... So I don´t know how that´s going to go. We didn´t really have any other investigators, but we got like 4 more yesterday, Sunday, so that´s good. One is a friend of a member who´s on vacation visiting here, but will be here for a month, and she´s living at the member´s house. Her big problem is that we used to have Polygamy, she´s a super feminist, so she doesn´t understand how our religion could be from God since we used to have it. So we´ll see what happens with her. The other person is a boyfriend of a member, we have an appointment with him later. The other two are a mom and her son. We met them yesterday because I said I wanted to try knocking doors, and on the second to last door they let us in, we taught them, and we´ll go back on Sunday. So that´s good. They´re from Ecuador. It´s funny, most of the people that will talk to us here are from South America, but there´s probably more immigrants than natives here that I see. So that´s kind of cool. Also, we used to keep track of all of our contacts, but President Hinckley just changed that. I like it. I´ve heard the other mission president was way good, but I think he had too many numbers and all, and President Hinckley´s changing that some. So that´s nice. Let´s see, what else is new. I can´t think of a whole lot. Today I bought five ties for 2 euros a piece, so that was fun. Also, we played fútbol for a while in the capilla. Our ward is way good by the way. We eat with members at least once a day pretty much. It´s pretty cool. People just like feeding us. So yeah. I can´t think of much else to say right now. Oh, my companion, Elder Johnson. He´s from Mesa, Arizona. Um, I don´t know what else. The other elders here seem to not care about writing home as much, so I´ve hardly had any time to write home, and now I´m having to rush through this email. SO that´s kind of a bummer, but oh well. I´ll get used to it eventually. Well, I´m going to send this, but I hope everything continues to go well with you guys. ¡Chao!
Elder Ryan Sommerfeldt

8/30/09

8/24/09

I get to go to Barcelona!!!! So here´s the news. I´ve been extremely sick since Saturday. My fever hit 102.7 degrees. So it was pretty bad. But the Medic just called the regional doctor in Germany and he said I´m okay to go tomorrow, just don´t shake anyone´s hand for 3 days. So that´s good. A week and half ago or so one of the teachers that was here for a short time went home to switzerland and when he got home was confirmed for having swine flu. Anyways, they cracked down here, because some missionaries were starting to feel sick. A few days later mine and one other elder´s temperatures went way high. So we both had to miss the park. We also both had to move into a "quarantine room." I´ve been in bed a lot for the past couple days, but I´ve been feeling pretty good today. I only hope I´m not just temporarily feeling good, then going to die in the field. We´ll see though I guess. But yeah. Anyways, so there´s a good chance what we had was swine flu, and if it wasn´t that, it was a really bad flu. The other Elder is still above 102 degrees, so that´s not good. His name is Elder Dunn. He´s cool. We´ve gotten to know each other better too sharing a room the past couple days with nothing to do. Anyways, so I really felt like I was going to die several times, I would be freezing and I just couldn´t get warm sometimes. Then I´d be so hot and I couldn´t cool down. Saturday night I only got 2-3 hours of sleep, because I couldn´t sleep. But last night I slept the whole night through, when I woke up my temperature was only 99.3, and it´s been below 100 all day today. So they´re keeping my ticket and flight plans all good to go. So that´s exciting. I´m so excited to go. I just hope I can get back into the missionary swing of things, since I´ve been kind of out of it the past couple days. We´ll see though. I´m not sure when my P-day will be, but I´ll let you know when I know. Oh, so cool story. On Sunday I had a blessing from Elder Bodily, my companion, with Elder Driggs and Elder Cannell (the other elders in my room) helping. After the blessing I took my temperature about every half hour. The first time it was 98.9, then 98.7, then 98.6. 98.6 is the normal temperature, so it was cool how it went down like that. It hasn´t gone over 100 since then. So that´s really nice. The President just came in here to confirm that I´m going. So they´re confirming all my flight info. etc. Anyways, really not much else has happened here due to my being in bed the whole time. It was kind of lame that I missed the last everything. The last park, the last singing by the temple (I don´t know if I told you about that. Every Sunday night we sing out in the temple plaza area and people come out to hear us. So yeah, it´s cool), the last class, etc. But, I get to go, so all is well. Well, I can´t think of much else to say now, sorry. I´ve loved it here, it´s been a lot of fun, I´ve learned a lot, but I´m excited to go to Barcelona now, and I hope and pray I´ll be healthy enough to serve effectively while I´m there. Well, I´m going to write individuals now. ¡Chao!
-Elder Sommerfeldt

8/21/09

8/20/09

Well, things are going well for me here. I will try and hurry and write this. More people wrote me this week, so I have a little less time to write, but that´s okay. To answer a few questions really quick, I believe I get 1 hour to email on Monday before leaving. So I can email the fam one more time before you leaving. You can write me too, but don´t make it incredibly long or anything. But yeah, it´ll be your last chance to write me... So good news, I got 3 letters this past week! Before this week I´d only recieved one letter my whole time here. They were from Jen and Kelly. So that was fun. Oh, I must´ve gotten 4 letters, because I just remember I also got one from Iris Brown. So yeah. Anyways, I leave next Tuesday, so this is my last P-day here. It´s weird. I went to the temple today for my last time. It was really good. I did the session in Spanish (with the headset) today. It was really cool. I understood everything. Also, today was the first time I didn´t need help at all the whole time. So that was cool. I love the Madrid temple here. I hope that I´ll be able to come by here sometime in the future. Maybe if we come back to barcelona we can swing by the Madrid temple since we´d have to fly through Madrid. We´ll see. That´s still a long ways off. Anyways, let´s see, what else is new. The fish is okay, but I don´t think I ever said I liked it. So mom and dad, I noticed you made comments about me liking it, but that might be stretching it just a little bit. The park last week was good. I was with Elder Dunn. We got 16 contacts and gave out one Book of Mormon. It wasn´t the most successful week, but it was still good. I´m surprised how many people there are who absolutely just don´t believe in anything. Not even a higher power. It´s crazy. But there´s a lot who believe in God and Christ as well, so that´s good. Oh, so this past week I gave my first blessing. I was way nervous. Hermana Brown, the hermana in my district, asked Elder Bodily and I if we´d give here a blessing. We asked who she wanted to annoint and who to give the blessing. She said she didn´t care but eventually said to have Elder Bodily annoint and have me give the blessing. So we did that. It was really nice to finally see for myself that words will come into my head. I had no idea what I was going to say before, but words popped into my head and I said them. So it was a good experience. She´s been sick, so that´s why she asked. She´s still sick, but getting better I think. There was a teacher that was here for a week and half just subbing, but went home to Switzerland a bit ago and was diagnosed with Swine Flu. So they´ve taken a few precautions here with that, but I don´t think anyone else has Swine, just bad coughs etc. So yeah, hopefully everyone gets felling better soon. I have a bit of a cough again, but as I´ve told people here, I have the immune system of a fox. Then when they ask what that means I say, "Have you ever heard of a fox dying of sickness...?" It´s kind of funny. Because I´m sure they do, but you don´t ever hear about foxes dying of sickness. Ha ha. So that´s funny. Let´s see, what else is new. I´m excited to go to Barcelona. I feel like I´m doing a lot better with the language, but still not fluent. I can communicate very well though. So that´s good. And Kevin, I understood everything you said in your email, so yeah. Anyways, we´ve continued practicing teaching etc. This week we´re teaching the 3rd lesson, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the commandments (The Word of Wisdom, Tithing, Sabbath Day Holy, Law of Chastity). So that´s what I´m doing over here. All is going well with that. President Hill is gone for 3 or 4 days, so we´re kind of on our own here for a while. But the teachers are all still here and all. And he gave me emergency contact info too if there´s any problems. So that´s good. There´s some mission president´s seminar in Preston, England, so that´s where he is. Oh, also, Hermana Hill, his wife,, helped us sew stuff. My pants below the pockets were ripping. She fixed them though. So that´s good. Well, I´m out of time now. So I´m going to send this. Have a fantastic week. ¡Chao! -Elder Sommerfeldt

8/14/09

8/13/09

Hello everyone! How´s it going? To answer some questions, I leave here in a week and a half. I believe it´s the 25th of August. It´s a Tuesday, so yeah. That´ll be fun. We just got back from the temple, it was way good again.
Okay, so now I´m going to try and answer a bunch of mom´s questions. I love it here. I don´t know if maybe the Peru and Brazil MTC´s were just lacking or what, but I like it here. I´m sure I´ll like the field even more, but there´s no complaints, except for sometimes the food. Mom also asked if we have fish, we probably have about 4 or 5 servings of fish each week. Sometimes it´s not bad, but sometimes it´s just so slimy and fishy and nobody likes it. So yeah. But it´s not terrible. I´m the master at hiding the food that I don´t eat. I usually have a pudding thing, it´s in a disposable container, then the vegetables etc. that I don´t eat I stick in there, put the cover thing back on, and when I take my tray up I just hurry and toss it in the trash so the cooks can´t tell that I didn´t eat all of their food. I think I need to thank Bruce for the ingenious ways of hiding food. I will be flying when I go to Barcelona. We´ll leave early Tuesday morning, go to the airport, then fly to the mission. Right now there are 14 elders and 4 hermanas here, so 18 missionaries total. They´re all really cool and I get along with everyone really well.
So the park continues to go well. My companion for the park last week and I had 16 contacts and 1 referral last week. It wasn´t my best week, but it wasn´t terrible.
Things continue to go well with my district. This past week somebody suggested having a "District Inventory." I wasn´t scared, but a little nervous that there might be some people that just knocked everything other people did, and that it wouldn´t be constructive criticism at all. But, I prayed about it the day before, and had a thought that I should come up with something that I liked about each person individually. So the day of I wrote down in my planner something about each person in my district that was good and that I liked about them. Then I asked if I could start off saying a few things, and went through and personally complimented everyone. It ended up going really well. There were a few things that people still brought up that need to change, which are fine, but they did it constructively and nobody´s feelings were hurt or anything. So that was a cool experience for me.
Anyways, what else. Oh, today we´re going to the Prado Museum. I guess it´s some famous museum. So that´s cool. We´ll see how it goes. I can´t take any pictures inside, but maybe I will outside. We´ll see. So last week we just played fútbol for our P-Day. It was fun. I still haven´t played any tennis here. The only place I know of where I can play has a fee, so I don´t want to pay for it. So yeah.
Oh, I can´t remember if I told you, but Elder Bodily (my companion) and I were memorizing all of the Los Artículos de Fe, 2 Nefi 25:26, and "Divina Luz" (Lead Kindly light, but in Spanish). We completed them all by last Sunday. It was hard, but we did it. This week we´re saying through all of them everyday so we can make sure we remember them longer.
Well, I can´t think of what else has happened. Oh, Hermana Viso, one of my teachers is back now. She was on vacation for 2 weeks. Which apparently is short over here in Spain. Most people take 1 month long vacations, crazy. Yesterday in class with Hermana Viso we all sang songs like "God Bless America," "God Bless the USA," "My Country ´Tis of Thee," etc. It was fun. She was asking if we really are that patriotic or not. I guess in Spain people aren´t really patriotic at all. So yeah. It was funny. Afterwards we are were yelling "USA! USA! USA!..." It´s fun teasing her a bit. Okay, what else, oh, I love Nutella. We have this stuff, it´s actually called Nucilla, but it´s just like Nutella, and we dip crackers in it and eat it. I eat a lot, but I´ve gotten a little better at not eating it all.
This past week for one of our practice teachings we got to have some local youth come in and play investigators. That was fun, but it was a lot harder than when teaching other missionaries, but probably still easier than it will be teaching actual investigators. Oh, I´ve only gotten one letter my entire time here, so Kevin and Bruce, you were right that the letters drop down a ton after leaving Provo. Oh well I guess. Well, I think I´m going to head out now, I can´t think of much else to say. So yeah. Things are good here with me, and hope everything goes well with you guys. And have fun with dinner with Jen this Sunday. Well, this is Karl, signing out. ¡Chao!
-Elder Sommerfeldt

8/11/09

8/6/09

Hello everyone! How is everyone doing? Things are going well here. This email is being sent a little bit later than normal. The computers weren´t working forever, but there´s a guy here now individually changing each computer so it will work. Anyways, things are going good here. This past week all of the missionaries that were here before us left. There were 12 that left, so for Tuesday and a lot of Wednesday there were only 14 missionaries.
Anyways, a couple spiritual experiences. The Sunday before missionaries leave we watch the Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration movie. It was so good. Long story short, I felt the spirit so strong and am so grateful for all that Joseph Smith did for us. So that was way cool. Also, I had one other spiritual experience. Well, I had more than one, but one more that I´ll mention here. So Elder Bodily and I were teaching this past week. We were teaching some "investigators" (other missionaries) the second lesson. It wasn´t going really well. It was okay, but not great. Anyways, I had the thought that I should use the pamphelt for The Plan of Salvation. So I grabbed it and opened it. I ended up finding the picture of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and just felt that´s what I should do. I showed it to Elder Bodily really quickly so he´d know where I was going, then we started to teach and talk about the Atonement. It was so amazing how much the spirit changed in the room. Before the other missionaries were just kind of chilling, leaning back in their chairs, etc., and after that, it was very apparent that the spirit was there. It was a good experience for me at seeing how much listening to the spirit can really benefit you, and just how important it is. So yeah. That was good. I hope I can keep it up in the field as well with real investigators. So those are my spiritual experiences.
Another thing I don´t think I´ve told you that you´ll be interested in hearing is that for the past few weeks our district has played review games. It started off when Elder Bodily and I decided to play Jeopardy as a District. So we were in charge the first week, then the next week Elder Driggs and Elder Cannell did Jeopardy too, then this past week Hermana Brown did a vocab review game with drawing, acting, and explaining. So far they´ve all been fun. Elder Cook and Elder Kellar have the game for this next Tuesday, and I´m sure that one will be fun too. So things are good there. I just thought I´d continue a bit of my FHE lessons tradition out here... :) Anyways, for Gym most days now I play fútbol. It´s fun. We play in this concrete pit/stadium thing. I like it. I don´t know for sure what we´re doing for P-day today. We were going to go to the Prada museum, but we´re going to wait until next week, because there´s one new Elder, and three new hermanas that want to go with us, but since they just got here yesterday, they don´t have a P-day until next week. So yeah.
Oh, so Elder Bodily and I have been memorizing a lot this past week. Our goal is to have all of the Articles of Faith, 2 Nefi 25:26, and "Divina Luz" (Lead Kindly Light) all memorized by this Sunday. I have 2/3 verses of "Divina Luz" memorized, 9 of the articles of faith down, and I´m almost done with 2 Nefi 25:26. It´s way hard remember all of them. We´ll get it though, hopefully. Well, I can´t think of a whole lot else to say. Oh, you should be getting my CD soon, let me know if you do. Also, if anyone emails me in the next few hours, I´ll be writing the individuals in about 3 hours or so, probably. Well, I´m going to send this out to everyone, then do generals later. ¡Chao!
-Elder Sommerfeldt

7/30/09

Family! How is everyone? Things are going well for me. It sounds like you all got the pictures from Elder Sproul. I saw him a couple times, but I don´t know when all he took pictures. This past week was way good at the park. We go every Saturday, by the way. Our job is to do contacts, and try and give out either a pamphlet, Book of Mormon, and the best thing to be able to do is get their contact info. (phone number, address, name, etc.) and have the missionaries out in the field go teach them. Oh, also, they mix us up on Saturdays, so we´re not actually with our companion. They try to mix it up so at least one of the companions can communicate fairly well in Spanish. This past week I was with Elder Close. It was way good. We were able to give out two Book of Mormons, and we got the contact info. for both of them. They both seemed golden, so we´ll see what happens with that. Actually, I may never know what happens. I just get the info and pass it on, but it´d be nice if I find out someday that something happened. Who knows. So that was fun. Their names were Juan, and Carlos. Juan was a construction worker and at first told us he was tired and didn´t really want to read or talk to us. By the end though he just kept on reading scriptures that I was giving him from the Book of Mormon and gave us his contact info to hear more. Carlos was about 50 and he had just finished running and was sitting on the curb resting. We talked to him (and Juan too) for probably about 15 minutes each. It was good. Carlos is Catholic, but thinks that there could be more revelations. He wanted to take the Book of Mormon and read and pray about it. We were able to give him a few scriptures about why bad things happen to good people, because he was wondering about that, and also we left him with the pamphlet Family: A Proclamation to the World. He said the most important thing in his life is God, then his family. So hopefully things go well there. So that was fun. The other cool thing this past week is that we´re all legal residents now. They sent me and my district, plus two other Elders who arrived here late, to the government building where some lawyers did stuff, and then we signed a paper. So yeah. It was crazy, because I was in charge of the group since I´m district leader, so they sent me with an envelope that had over 200 euros, which is over $300, to give to the lawyers. I made sure I was hanging onto it the whole time. I didn´t lose it though, so that´s good. Things continue to go well for me and my companion, Elder Bodily. I don´t know if I told you this, but Elder Bodily is the one that was in Jen´s singles ward at BYU that I talked to for a bit on Facebook before my mission. So that´s cool. Let´s see, what else. Oh, Elder Bodily and I have our lesson plans for lesson 2 done. We´ll be practicing it tonight in the Prácticas Sala Grande. That´s where we teach other missionaries acting as investigators. We have that every night, but twice a week it´s a full lesson, rather than just a principle. Tonight and Saturday night it´s a full lesson. So that should be cool. They give us situations and all. Not as cool as the park since it´s not real, but still cool. But yeah, we practiced it once, and lesson 2 is harder to teach than lesson 1. But I think we´ll be fine after a few times of practicing it. It´s hard to not share more information than we should. Because you don´t want to share everything we know, it´d just confuse them. But yeah. Anyways, that´s that. Our teacher, Hermana Viso has been out of town this past week. She´ll be gone next week too, but then she´s back. Oh, also, a bunch of people are leaving next Tuesday. So that´s weird. There´ll be a lot less people here. Two of them, the portuguese missionaries are really cool. They only speak portuguese, well, a little bit of Spanish, and a little bit of English, so we talk to them a lot. It´ll be weird having them leave. But yeah. I´m probably going to try and get some pictures developed, or put on a CD or something to send home to you guys soon, hopefully you enjoy that. I´m not sure when though. Maybe today, maybe next week. We´ll see. Oh, I got to go to the temple again today. I love the temple here. It´s really nice. One thing I love is the Celestial room. It´s so much whiter than most. Most are bright, but it´s kind of a yellowish bright, this one is like a white bright. Most of the light comes from the windows/sun. Anyways, I´m going to end this now. I can´t think of much else to say. I hope everything´s going well there. ¡Chao!
-Elder Sommerfeldt

7/27/09

7/23/09

Hello everyone! How are you all? Things are going well here for me. I´m liking it a lot in Spain. So we do get to go out of the MTC. Everyday actually if we want. For Gym if we play soccer or a number of other things we go to a concrete pit (kind of a medium stadium with grafitti and such all over) to play soccer, or we can go to the gym in the stake center right by us which is what I usually do. We get some pretty intense games of basketball going. Oh, so with pictures, I can´t open them here. The server´s too slow. They´ll let you open them but you have to go to President Hill´s office to do so since he´s on a separate server or something, but I don´t want to have to do that everytime. So yeah. Probably just don´t email me any pictures yet. Thanks for them though, I just won´t get to see them for a while. So yeah. Things are going well for me though. Oh, also, we can go running every morning if we want, and we can just run out and about Madrid. We have breakfast at 7:30 so we have an hour to get ready, which leaves time to go running if we want. I´ve been once, but I´ve been feeling sick this past week, so I haven´t gone for a couple days. I´m getting better though. I´ve just been so stuffed up and coughing and feeling terrible. I think I told you my companion, Elder Bodily, was sick, so a few of us got sick. I´m improving though. So companions, I was in a trio, but Elder Kellar go put into our district, so my other companion, Elder Cook, got put with him, so now it´s just me and Elder Bodily. We get along really well. It´s good. I don´t think we´ll have any problems really the whole time. Oh, also, I´m District Leader, so that´s cool. We have six elders and one hermana in our district. We all get along really well, so that´s good. Okay, so the park last Saturday. Every Saturday we go to this massive park in Madrid. We´re there for an hour just contacting. So I was put with Elder Cook last week. We got rejected so many times. So many people would just stick there hand at us saying to leave, some one just completely ignore us and stare in another direction, and some would talk, but then tell us they didn´t want to hear more or take anything. But, here´s the story, we had five minutes left, Elder Cook and I decided to do one more. So we started walking. Then we noticed a guy walking up from behind us, like walking for exercise. So we just walked at his pace and walked with him talking for probably 15-20 minutes. It was awesome. He used to be a Catholic, but had changed a couple years ago because he didn´t think the Catholics had the full truth. We went on to tell him that we believed the same thing. Then we explained a little about God calling a prophet in our day and gave him a Book of Mormon. We had him read Moroni 10:3-5 right there and so yeah. It was awesome. He was from Colombia. He said he walks there every day, so we´ll try and find each other this upcoming Saturday. So that´s really cool. Also, we take the Metro over to the park, so we have like 8 minutes either way to do contacts on there. My companion and I had 5 I believe. I had two, one each way, and he had three. So that was good. I´m looking forward to it tomorrow. Okay, so now for important visitors. Brother Allen was here this past week. He´s the mission director, or something like that. He´s the head of the mission department of the church. Since there´s only like 25 missionaries or so we all got to meet him and talk with him. He had Elder Bodily and I teach him, so it was just the three of us in a room, and he was playing an investigator. He taught us a lot about applying lessons to individuals. We´re not teaching lessons, we´re teaching people. We always wanted to get into the lesson and just start teaching, but it´s really important to get to know them really well, asking questions, and get them to open up to you, until the Spirit tells you, that´s the route you need to take this lesson. So that was way cool. Oh, my district´s doing the musical number in Sacrament meeting this week. We´re going to sing The Spirit of God, but in Spanish. It should be good. I think we´re going to try and do like one verse normal, then an acapello verse without the chorus, then a quick solo by the piano, then into the last verses. It should be good hopefully. Well, it sounds like you all had fun in Canada. That´s good. I´m glad you played horseshoes in remembrance of me. That´s always good. And there was only one ringer the whole time? Crazy. As always, remember to forward this to Jen so she can put it up wherever. Oh, I´m going to Sol today, it´s in the center of Madrid, a tourist area. I´ll be gone for 3 hours. I´m excited. I´ll let you know how it is next week probably. I´m going to send this so I don´t accidentally lose it or anything. Have a fantastic week. -Elder Sommerfeldt

7/16/09

Hey, how is everyone? This keyboard is way weird, it´s European, so yeah. Anyways, I´m in Spain now. The flight was way long. It´s good though. We landed just before 10:00 Madrid time. The MTC President met us there and we got on a bus and took a fifteen minute ride back to the MTC (CCM, in Spanish). So that was good. My P-day will usually be on Thursday´s just so you know, but I don´t think I get one tomorrow. They´re having us stay up until 7:00 PM tonight to try and help with the jet lag, and I am so tired... The flights felt like they took forever. From Salt Lake to Atlanta was 3 hours, then it was another 8 hours to get to Madrid. It was only dark for about 2-3 hours, since we´re traveling backwards with the time and all. I don´t know if this email makes a ton of sense, but I´m tired, so sorry if it doesn´t. Oh, I´m in another trio companionship. My companions are Elder Cook (Who was actually the companion I was supposed to have in Provo, before they moved me up to Intermediate) and Elder Bodily. Elder Bodily´s the one that was in Jen´s BYU ward that I talked to a little bit on facebook before. So make sure to tell Jen he´s my companion for my stay here. Anyways, so that´s that. We´ve had lunch already today, so that was good. Oh, I think I may not write individual letters today, if I have time I will, but if you don´t get any, don´t worry. so yeah. Oh, something that´s kind of lame, I have a ton of US stamps, right? Because my call packet said to bring enough postage for my whole mission, well it´s pretty much useless. So I´ll have to be buying all new stamps here and such. I think I´ll probably mail you the stamps back, because I think there´s like 50-60 stamps or so. But yeah. Oh well I guess. It still feels weird that I´m here. It hasn´t quite hit me yet. Maybe when I wake up tomorrow and have had more sleep. There´s 24-27 people here in the CCM, so that´s kind of cool. Lunch was a lot different than lunch at the Provo MTC. It was a lot nicer, like the room and all, because it was so much smaller and such. I get to go to the Madrid temple tomorrow, so that ought to be fun. I´ll be going every week, so I´ll let you know how that goes next time I get to write home. So at the Provo MTC they would put money on a card for us, $6/week, but here they just give us 32 euros every 3 weeks. We already got our first little bit. So that´s cool. We do any shopping we need to just at like grocery stores and such around here. We´re allowed to leave the MTC/temple area, so that´s a big change. Oh, for gym, they have volleyball, but one of the best things is they have Tennis! So I´m excited about that. There´s five of us in our room, and one of them used to play for Timpview. He wasn´t ever Varsity though, so I imagine we´re fairly similar on our ability. So I´ll play him as well as another guy from my district back in Provo. So that´ll be fun. There´s some Russian missionaries here too. Apparently every three months or so they have to fly out here to Madrid to get their Visas renewed, while they´re out here they just stay at the CCM here. So that´s kind of cool. My teacher seems pretty cool, but it´s hard to understand her. Everyone speaks so different from what I´m used to. I´ll get the hang of it soon enough though, hopefully. I´m glad I was able to call for a few minutes to talk to Pete from Atlanta, I guess that means Kevin was the only one I didn´t get to talk to in our immediate family. Such is life I guess. Kevin, I hope your accounting thing went well. Well, I´m going to go now, but good luck with everything. I´ll talk to you maybe tomorrow, but probably not until next week. ¡Chao!
-Elder Karl
Ryan's Provo MTC district (before Elder Stull came) from left to right: Elders Astleford, Cannel, Hartle (DL), Figueroa, Kellar, Carlson, and Sommerfeldt
Elders Astleford, Sommerfeldt, and Carlson - trio companionship



7/14/09

So how is everyone? Today's kind of like a half P-day for me. It's weird. I'm still trying to go to class and such, but the three of us that are leaving are doing our laundry and writing and all that fun stuff as well. It's good though. So how is everyone doing? It sounds like you all had fun at Bear Lake. Hopefully Canada's fun for everyone next week too. With the exception of the drive it usually is. Make sure to play horse shoes in remembrance of me while you're up there. I leave here tomorrow morning at 5:00, and I imagine I'll be calling you from the Atlanta airport. We have a 4-hour layover there, so sometime then. I have all the calling card info. from dad, so that's good. Thanks for the accordian folder by the way dad. It's really nice to have to separate letters and such. That's crazy about Joe's boat. It seems like something happens to it at least yearly these days. Hopefully things work out with the truck, I'd hate to have it die. Let me know what ends up happening with that. I'll be curious to know. The only lame thing about leaving tomorrow is that it means I can't go to gym today, but oh well. I played volleyball on Saturday, and it was probably my best day yet. Good way to go out. We played indoor volleyball the past week and half or so. It's a lot of fun. On Saturday one of the MTC gym workers played with us, so we were setting each other up all day, so both of us had a bunch of good spikes and such. It was fun. Well, let's see what else is new. I saw brother Cardon again on Sunday. I don't know if he'll tell you. I can't remember if I told you last week, but Brother Croft was the one that helped me at the temple last Tuesday. So that was kind of fun. Things are going well for me. Oh, biggest thing probably, on Friday Elder Stull and I set up a teaching appointment, and we taught the entire first lesson in Spanish!!! I was excited. The people here still have 3 weeks before teaching in Spanish, so yeah. It was fun to get to do that. I wanted to do it at least once before going to Spain. We did pretty good too. Afterwards, when they tell us how we could improve, he said that we needed to focus the lesson more on him as an individual, we were thrilled to hear that, because we were just trying to be able to say what the basic principles were and describe them in Spanish. So that's good. Well, everything kind of blurs together these days, so I can't really remember everything. I have pictures, but I probably won't send them until I'm in Spain, no time today. I might mail some actual pictures (as in, not email attachments) today. We'll see what time brings. Well, I can't think of much else to say, but thanks for all of your emails and I love you all. Don't worry about me, I'm doing just fine. I'll talk to you all (well at least family) tomorrow.
-Elder Ryan Sommerfeldt

7/8/09

Hey everyone, things are going well here. I don't have nearly as much time as I did last week though. I used half my time reading all of the emails... Things are going well for me. I leave here a week from today. I leave the MTC at 5:00 a.m... So that'll be a bit earlier than usual. I fly through Atlanta, but I can't remember the time I'd be calling. The papers are in my room. I'll write a letter and mail it so that you know about when I would call. I assume I'll be calling from the Atlanta airport sometime in the afternoon. We'll see though. Anyways, this week has been good. It feels like I've been here forever, but it's only been two weeks. I got my haircut today. That was fun. Oh, so with swine flu, I can't remember if I told you, the quarantine area is directly beneath my floor. A few times this past week they've been out in the hallway with the doors open and everyone gets mad because we don't want to get sick. I'm the only one in my district that has my visa, but hopefully the others get them soon enough to fly out the same time as me. We'll see. So I got a new companion. His name is Elder Stull. He's really cool. He was on BYU's Track and Field Team as a thrower. He threw shotput and javeline. He can bench 320, and squats somewhere in the 400's. So he's pretty strong. I always tease him that I'm just as big and strong as he is. We get along very well though. So now for the spiritual experience of the week. In class our teacher had us each draw a name and then prepare a message that we felt they needed to hear, after praying and asking for revelation. I was way scared because I didn't think I'd come up with anything. I prayed though and had some thoughts come into my head that I wrote down. Anwyays, long story short, while I was teaching him the spirit was so strong, and it even brought him to tears. I don't know what it was I said, but he needed to hear it. It was way cool. Anyways, volleyball's still good. We did get to watch the fireworks. They were good. I think you guys probably left early. There was about 5-10 minutes with no fireworks, then they came back. The second half was way way good. My companion and old companions wanted to leave early too, but I said let's wait, so we did, and they were way good. We didn't get to bed until 11:00 that night, but they told us that was okay for that one night. Anyways, I need to go, and I'll write you that letter about my travel plans.
-Elder Karl