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We are still collecting information on the Spain Madrid Mission. If you served in this mission and are willing to share your experiences with us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snapshot of Spain – Spanish is the official language of Spain, though Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Occitan are all recognized co-official languages in certain regions (mostly border areas). Catalan is the most widely spoken of these, especially in the eastern regions of the country like Barcelona. About 70% of Spain’s population is Roman Catholic, with another 25% being unaffiliated with religious organizations. The remaining population is mostly split between Protestant and Muslim (from remaining Moor influence). Spain has a rich history in art, literature, and architecture, of which the Roman Catholic church has influenced much of Spain’s past and current culture. Semana Santa, or “Holy Week,” is celebrated with parades and other festivities in the country the week before Easter, and many regional holidays are held in honor of local patron saints. Probably the most famous of these festivals is that of San Fermín, which features the running of the bulls.
While Spain is typically associated with flamenco music and dance, today, Spanish pop music, as well as rock, electronica, and hip-hop have all gained popularity. Different regions of Spain also have their unique traditional styles of folk music and dance. Soccer is the most popular sport in Spain, though basketball and tennis are also favorites. Each region of Spain has its own unique dishes, though pork is typical throughout the country and a variety of seafood dishes are enjoyed, especially in coastal areas. Rice, potatoes, and beans are common sides. Bread is served with most meals, and salads are especially prominent during the summer months. Churros are often served as a snack, particularly common with hot chocolate at churrerías. Tapas (several varieties of snacks or appetizers) are also popular.
The church is growing in Spain and is strong in Madrid. There are a lot of young members in this area. A stake was recently formed in the Canary Islands, which is a part of the Spain Madrid Mission, making 7 to 8 stakes total that the mission covers. There is also a temple located in Madrid, dedicated in 1999.
Transportation: Some missionaries have access to cars. Others walk and use public transportation or bicycles.
Spain is a safe country for missionaries. It is also a popular area for tourists from other countries.
Missionaries in this area don’t need to worry too much about replacing missionary attire. Spain has great products for reasonable prices if you need to replace clothing, ties or shoes.
Calle Fuerteventura 4, 2, Office 8B
28703 San Sebastian de los Reyes
Current mission blog: http://spainmadridmission.blogspot.com/
Other (alumni) site: http://madridmission.com/
Straight from the Spain Madrid Mission:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
“Peanut butter, Root beer!, standard sized lined paper, ice in drinks.”
“There was nothing I missed. I had fun with the local Spanish stuff.”
“I can’t remember feeling like I was “without” something; however, I do remember needing some arch supports that my mom sent some to me, they were wonderful!”
“Peanut butter, root beer.”
*What did you eat the most of?
“Paella, shellfish, gazpacho, Murcia (blood sausage), Jamon Serrano, chorizo, tortilla de patata.”
“Paella, chocolate, and Spanish bread.”
“Rice and bread.”
“Soup, rice, seafood.”
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Squid and cow brain tacos.”
“Tuna pizza. Whole shrimp.”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“Unexpected: We were largely disliked in my first area. I was yelled at, had rocks thrown at me, bottles, and even a little old lady tried to punch me. Did it stop us? No way! We happily soldiered on. In my first area, my companion and I forged a unique friendship with the town’s Catholic leadership. We were able to dispel so many misconceptions about our faith, and even developed lasting friendships with many staunch Catholic families. It was an amazing lesson on understanding, celebrating differences, and appreciating similarities.”
“Nothing shocking. In the winter it was nice to walk arm-in-arm with my companion. All women did. It was normal.”
“Milk was served warm and sold on a regular shelf… and everyone kisses your cheek in greeting.”
*What advice would you give to someone going to the Spain Madrid Mission?
“Every day counts. Madrid is a Roman Catholic city, and they will be quick to tell you as much. Never give up! Never lose heart! I spent many weeks disheartened by the lack of investigators on my schedule, but in hindsight I see how many people I brought closer to Christ through our cheerful perseverance. Whether or not you see fifty, give, or just one person baptized, you do make a difference. Your selfless work as a missionary Truly matters. So EVERY DAY COUNTS!”
“Learn the language as fast as you can.”
“If you are going to be serving somewhere where you have to learn a different language, always speak to your companion in that language—try not to be tempted to speak in your native tongue… You will learn the new language so much faster if you speak it all the time!”
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
“The number of people you see baptized is not the only thing that matters as a missionary. The service I provided to the members, the less-active members, and the community will be something that I will forever benefit from! Also… Madrid is rich with history and culture. Read up on the history of Spain and its abundance of cultural opportunities before you get there. The locals LOVE to talk about their amazing history.”
“I really wish I had been more prepared. I thought having four years of seminary was enough, but I really should have taken a mission prep class somewhere. I also wish I had studied more about the country I served in. I knew nothing of its people or history or government”
“Be prepared to leave your heart in your mission. It’s been a few years since I returned from my mission, and my heart still yearns for that amazing country and its wonderful people. I can conjure up the climate, the smells, the feel of the city fresh within my mind as if I left yesterday. I still pray for the members of the wards I served in, the investigators I taught, and for the continual openness of those who are ready to hear the gospel from the missionaries there today. Ah! A mission. Best choice you can make. You will never, ever regret serving a mission.”
“As long as you are living the gospel and obeying all mission rules and listening to the spirit—you will be a successful missionary. The number of baptisms you have does not indicate if you are a successful missionary. Love your companion no matter their personality, remember your only together for a few months and they just might become one of your best friends. AND lock your heart! Don’t allow some guy or girl distract you romantically. :)”
**Did you serve in the Spain Madrid Mission? If so, we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at email@example.com.**