Incomings, outgoings, baptisms, and everything in between.
Information for New Missionaries.
Welcome to the Spain Málaga Mission!
We are so excited to meet you and know that you will love it here .... in the BEST mission in the world! In order to make your stay here as effective AND as comfortable as possible, we have compiled a list of things that will help.
Get your visa going as soon as possible!It is so disappointing when our missionaries are visa delayed and have to go to an in-country mission first. We want you here where you belong, bringing the gospel to the great people of Spain.
Driving. We need drivers! Here in Spain it is very difficult and expensive (over 1,000 Euros!) to get a driver's license. However, an international driver´s license, which can be obtained at your local AAA office (no membership needed), will allow those assigned to drive to do so for the first six months of their mission. It's only about $15 and easy to get. Bring your license and a small passport style picture with you if you have it, but if not they will take a picture for you for a small fee. Make the effective date the first day of your mission. We do have a few cars, and are using some "mission younger" drivers to conform with the laws of Spain, so PLEASE do us a big service and bring your US and international licenses with you. Those from other countries please bring the equivalent. Those from the EU are especially encouraged to bring their country's valid license as it will allow them to drive their entire missions as designated by President Andersen.
Things that are hard to get in Spain that you might want to bring with. 1. Antiperspirant/Deodorant. They don't have antiperspirant at all here, and the deodorant leaves much to be desired, so you'd be doing yourself and everyone else a big favor if you bring enough to last your mission. 2. Shoes. Bring a couple of really good, comfortable pairs of shoes, including a good pair of sandals for Sisters (which are allowed in the Spain Málaga Mission and are really nice to have on those very hot summer days). Remember that you will be walking a LOT. There are only a few cars for missionaries, and no bikes. Feet problems are one of the most common medical complaints in the mission field. 3. Medications. Bring at least a couple of months worth of any medications you need and if possible (and if stable and won't go bad), consider bringing enough for your whole mission. Check with your current insurance for their travel refill policy. Also, make sure to leave them in their original containers. Another option is to google to see if your particular medication is available in Spain as an over the counter drug (most drugs are) and get them here. Make sure you know the generic name of what you are taking. Drugs requiring prescriptions include antibiotics and antipsychotics. ADHD drugs like adderall may not be available in any way here in Spain (not even through a doctor). If you are using birth control pills for medical reasons, try to get as much as possible (at least 6 months to a year) as the hormones are different here. Make sure to bring enough of everything you are taking to make it through the MTC and to get established in the field. If necessary you can see a doctor here (insurance will cover it) and get an equivalent prescription that way. A prescription from a US doctor for things that are prescription here won't be accepted, but it might be nice to have to show the doctor here. As a note, mailed packages with medications may be confiscated or returned as shipping them into Spain is prohibited. 4. Helpful medications to have on hand include triamphenicol cream for eczema or skin cream, Tums (they don´t sell the flavored kind here), a headache remedy, Pepto Bismol, and Amodium. The last three they have here, but if you´re in need, it's best to have a small supply on hand! 5. Plan on bringing most if not all of the clothes you will need with you. Clothes and shoes here are expensive and more for fashion than comfort. 6. Any particular favorites like toothpaste brands (they do have Colgate here), spice packages, Koolaid, cooking mixes, etc. If you like syrup, bring some imitation maple flavoring. Taco mixes are another favorite. You can't find syrup or Mexican food here.
Things that would be very helpful to learn BEFORE you get here. 1. You will be with your companions 24/7, so prepare yourself to get along with a variety of different personalities. 2. Learn basic cooking skills and master 5 simple meals. You don't want to be eating the same boring thing every day! 3. Learn how to do laundry, separating colors from whites! Basic ironing skills are also helpful. 4. Cleaning basics are another must. Apartments will be inspected regularly.
Information for sending packages. Actually, we discourage packages as postage is expensive and they are often held by the "black hole" of Customs in Madrid, at which point we really can't do anything. Sometimes they do send it through but charge extra postage or "duty" (we've had packages cost 60 to 70 euros in addition to postage). A better idea might be to make sure your missionary has a debit (bank) card that you can put extra money on for birthdays etc. Then if you really need to send a gift, make it something thoughtful that doesn't cost much, sent to the mission office. Missionary mail slots are very small, and in the past, packages that have been left by the door have been stolen. Also, if they are transferred it may be difficult to get their packages to them. Hint - a picture or sticker of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child on the outside seems to help packages get through. :)
Last thoughts Southern Spain is wonderfully warm in the summer and even fall and spring, but it DOES get cold in the winter, so a decently warm coat is definitely needed. A warm robe is also very nice. It's probably best to bring more short sleeved shirts and blouses than long sleeved as it's warm more often than cold. You can always wear your short sleeved shirt under your coat. Sweaters are also good - think layers. However, make sure you follow the clothing guidelines!
We are excited to get to know you and know that you will totally love the Spain Málaga Mission - the BEST Mission in the World!