Happy Birthday! Hope that everything at home is going well, I know that all will be better in the long run because Wyatt and I are in the field! You know that I was quite homesick, I prayed a ton, I feel that you and the rest of the family are being watched over and that we ALL will be blessed for our sacrifice. As President Monson said in General Conference, "A mission is a family affair." It truly is... :)
Not sure if you know the purpose of a missionary, but I feel that I should write it down for you, I'll write it in Spanish first, then in English:
Inivitar a las personas a venir a Cristo al ayudarlas a que reciban el Evangelio restaurado mediante la fe en Jesu Cristo y Su Expiación, el arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepción del don del Espíritu Santo y el perseveriar hasta el fin.
Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
Had a really cool experience in El Parque Retiro yesterday. We go out into Madrid every weekend to proselyte (you know this because of what Dr. Cope sent you), we either go to Calle de Goya (Street of Goya, they do all directions here by the name of the street, no numbers or grid systems like Utah, it's pretty difficult actually!) or we go to Retiro Parque (it's like Red Butte Garden but 5 times the size of Liberty Park, it's beautiful). Anyway, my temporary companion was Elder Malan, he's from the Draper area of Utah and boy is he an eccentric guy (hope I spelled that correctly!), he's a great guy though. So we were walking around the park and he kept just going up to people and say "¿Cómo estás?" which means, "How are you?"-- That's a rough approach, seriously If someone in a suit and tie with a name tag and a book just came up to you and asked How are you? out of the blue, without expecting it, it'd be tough to try and want to hold a meaningful conversation with them. So people kept getting away from us as quickly as they could. I had a tough time telling Elder Malan that, too. So I just dealt with it by taking the lead on the approaches. I saw a man who was walking very slowly, he was actually looking at a squirrel that was climbing a tree, so I told Elder Malan to look at the squirrel and that we were going to let this man come to us. So we did, and it worked! He got close enough, then I said, Hello Brother, how are you doing? (¿Hola hermano, como esta usted?) By the way"usted" is a formal way of speaking here in Spain, they ask the missionaries to speak this way). This man said, "Oh sorry, I don't speak Spanish." Then I said, "Oh good! Neither do I!" haha! We then began to talk (about literally everything), he's from Istanbul, Turkey, but that he didn't practice any religion. He did believe in God and Jesus Christ, though he had never heard about the LDS church, so we explained what we believed in, after we explained what the Holy Ghost was, we bore testimony of Faith and the Spirit (which was definitely present!). We then asked him how he felt, he said "peaceful, calm.. I FEEL LIKE EVERY HUMAN SHOULD FEEL THIS WAY!!" I could hardly believe it Mom! Hearing him say that was a tender mercy from our Heavenly Father. The Holy Ghost definitely witnessed to me that the church is true, and that serving a mission is the best possible thing for my life! Think about the purpose of a missionary, then think about what that man said... THAT is exactly why I'm on a mission, I can already feel myself growing. It's an amazing feeling to be a missionary.
You probably weren't expecting this letter at all. I know you weren't because I'm not going to tell you that it's on the way! Surprise, surprise!
I really hope you have a good birthday this year, I wanted to tell you once again how much I love you!
I'm sending you an SD card with some of the things we've done out in the mission, too. If you have any questions about any of the photos , just shoot me some of the questions in your next email Also, the little strip of paper with the pink back and the magnetic stripe is a metro ticket I used up this past week. "10 viages" means 10 trips, the metro is the underground subway, which I'm sure you already know.
Alright, well I'm going to finish this up now and get it in the Correos mail box in the morning. I can't wait to hear from you again. Thanks for all of the love and support you send my way--it means a lot to me and it keeps me going!
Once again, Happy Birthday, this is as much as I can do, have Wilder bake a cake and have Shane take you out to dinner for me.
I love you more than I can adequately express in words! xoxo
Elder Walker J. Koeven
P.S. You can put anything on the blog or Facebook that you want! :)