Monday, May 12, 2014

Our First Full Week

We were glad to have our first full week here in Las Palmas.  We have gotten into a bit of a routine.  I wanted to share a little bit about where we are living.  The Canary Islands were organized as their own mission  at one time, and the church bought the home we are living in to be the mission home for the presidents of the mission and their wives and families.  This was in the the 80's.  The house was built in 1968.  It is very large with five bedrooms and five bathrooms, a formal dining room, a study, a very large living room, and a laundry room.  I even have two dryers, which dryers are very uncommon here on the islands.  I am grateful every time I do laundry.  The house is built on the side of the mountain and we have beautiful views out across the valley.  (I just realized that I don't have a picture of the view to post, so I will have to share that next week.  But here is a view of the house from the front and from below.

There is a large basketball court in the backyard.  We plan to have the missionaries and the young adults to the house for meals and activities to enjoy all of the space.

Because the mission was closed in 2006 and this area is no longer a separate mission, and is now part of the Spain, Madrid Mission, there is no need for a large mission home and the house has been for sale for quite awhile.  Most likely, anyone who would be interested in purchasing the property would do it for the land only, and would tear down the house because it is so old and in disrepair.  For this reason, the church is not willing to put any money into the property.  We are grateful for the Buhlers, the couple who were here before us, for all of the money they spent fixing things up to make it more livable.  Unfortunately, there continue to be problems.  One of the problems is the carpet.  Carpet is not common here, in fact it doesn't exist.  There are no carpet cleaners, and this carpet is in desperate need of cleaning.

We did find a can of cleaner at Leroy Merlin, which is similar to Home Depot, and we spent part of our Preparation Day (p-day) cleaning the carpet.  It is better, but it will never be good.  I will just work on small places at a time.  Cody has also been working on some of the bathrooms.  They all have different problems.  We are just hoping that the house doesn't fall apart while we are trying to live in it, because we love the location.  It is in Santa Brígida, a small town up in the mountains, about a 20 minute drive from the chapel in Las Palmas and about the same distance from Telde and Vecindario where we also serve.  We love the quiet, tranquil setting with the beautiful views.  Here is a picture of a Bird of Paradise that is blooming in our backyard.  My Aunt Lavada was always so proud when her Bird of Paradise would be blooming, so I think of her when I look at these beautiful blossoms.

Every morning, we take an hour walk for our exercise.  I thought I would share a couple of pictures each week of the beautiful sites that we see.  The geraniums get so big here, because the climate is perfect for them.

The mountain views are beautiful. And you can see the ocean from here.
Monday, P-day, we did some shopping.  There are several malls and large grocery stores.  There is a store that is very similar to a Wal-mart called AlCampo.  We were very glad to find this as the selection and prices of hair care products, make-up, etc, were terrible at the grocery store we shopped at last week.  Cody is amazed at how much things have changed since his mission.  Of course, I have to remind him that he was here 36 years ago.   This picture was taken from one of the malls.  The major highway we use, and most of the stores are right along the coast.  

We taught our first English classes on Tuesday night.  I was a little overwhelmed, even though I was teaching the beginners class.  Cody teaches the advanced class.  The missionaries are in my class with me, so they are my help and support.  Some of my students know a good bit of English because they teach it here in the schools, but others know almost nothing.  I have a book to use, but it is hard to know what to work on when the class is at such different levels.  They are all very patient with me and my attempts at Spanish.
Leidy, Hermana Larsen, Desire, Victor, Cynthia, Luciano, Rafa, Cristian, Solange

Wednesdays will be our busy cooking days.  There are two districts of missionaries on the island, six in each district.  Both groups meet on Wednesday, so we will take turns attending their meetings and taking them a meal.   I started my meal on Tuesday night so that it wouldn't be quite so crazy on Wednesday.  I made two loaves of Jewish Sweet Bread and it was a big hit.  We really enjoyed being with these young missionaries.  Sister Caballero is a native Spaniard and she gave a very inspiring message.  She talked about the fears that prevent us from opening our mouths and sharing our beliefs with others.  It was a good reminder of the joy that we have in our lives because of the gospel of Jesus Christ and we know that other people can find that same joy if they follow the Savior.  I am so inspired by being with these missionaries who have put aside 18 or 24 months of their lives to serve the Lord. They put everything on hold, jobs, education, etc.  They dedicate all of this time to do nothing but serve others.  They are a great example to me.
Hermana Caballero, Hermana Smith, Elder Nielsen, Elder Beuden, Elder Larsen, Elder McWhorter, Elder Brewer

After our midday meeting and meal, then we came home to finish preparing the meal for the young adults in Vecindario.  We met with them at 8:30 p.m. and then ate after the lesson.  The Spanish custom is to eat around 9:00 or 10:00 p.m.  Very different for us.  It was nice to meet the young adults in Vecindario and get to know them a little.  I forgot to take a picture, so I will include that next week.

Thursday we had go to Vecindario, about 30 minutes to the south, to pick up the missionaries and drive them to Las Palmas.  There are usually 3 cars on the island for the missionaries, but just before we came, there were problems with two of the cars.  We have the only functioning car right now.  We had our English classes again and I felt much better prepared after having done it one other time.  I hope I am able to help my students learn more English.  Cody has several people in his class who speak English very well.  One man wants to go to the United States.  He is very grateful for the opportunity to talk with Cody and to improve his language skills.  

After class, we had a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) for people in our ward (congregation) who are single and don't have families of their own.  Elder Nielsen and Elder Beuden gave a great lesson about the importance of serving only one master, that being Jesus Christ.  They had a good object lesson and then shared the scripture Matthew 6:24.  Afterwards, we played the craziest game where two people made a house, one person was a renter, and we had to change when they said, Casa (house), Inquilino (renter), or Terremoto (earthquake).  It was chaotic and very fun to see adults having such a good time doing such a silly activity.  They are a great group of people.  

Friday, we made another trip to the grocery store.  This was our fourth trip and they have each lasted about 2 hours each.  We have gotten smarter and realized that we need a dictionary with us because Cody's vocabulary of grocery items is not always the best.  Prices are very expensive here, so we have been doing a lot of comparison shopping.  We will be glad when we get this down to a smoother process.  We had our first meeting with the leaders of the young adult group in Las Palmas, Aida Cruz (who just returned from a mission to Leeds, England) and Sara Marcos.  We planned activities for May and chose a course of study for Institute for the summer.  Then we had our Noche de Hogar and again, ate a very late dinner and enjoyed a beautiful and delicious cake that Aida made.  We enjoyed visiting with the young adults and getting to know them.

Sister Larsen, Johan Peña, Fran Marcos, Sara Marcos, Aida Cruz, Omar Roka, Sara Gomez

Saturday we had to make another run to Leroy Merlin because a couple of our showers weren't working and we knew we might have some of the missionaries staying here because of transfers.  Cody has been the fix it man on the bathrooms.  He recaulked and demolded one.  He caulked up cracks in the tile on the wall of one.  We are hoping that since it will rarely be used that is will hold up okay.  The entire wall needs to be redone.  He has unstopped drains and replaced hoses and showerheads.  I made a batch of cookies to take to the baptism that night.  I forgot to take a picture, but the baptism was for Rafa who is pictured in our English class.  It was a wonderful service and he was so pleased to be baptized.  My snickerdoodles were a hit both times this week.  Most of the people had never had them and asked what they were.  But when I told them that they were covered with sugar and cinnamon, everyone tried them and they were all eaten.  It was nice to visit with a few more of the members of the Las Palmas Ward.  


  1. Cheryl, I just got home and was able to check out your blog! I love it and it is inspiring to see you serving the Lord. I am looking forward to following along and feeling a part of this wonderful journey you are on. Love Sue

  2. It is wonderful to be able to both hear and see how/where you are serving. What a beautiful part of the world! I have to admit, I wouldn't be walking barefoot in your home.... :) Enjoy the experiences, both good and not so good. All of this will make this a time to remember. So proud of you! I know you will both touch the lives of the people you are serving. love, Tari

  3. How fun to hear about your adventures and successes! What a beautiful place you are in! Did Cody serve in the Canary Islands while on his mission? Thanks for taking time to post! Love to you both -Halli

  4. I loved reading about your first week there! You are my hero! I hope to be as positive and amazing as you are when we are on our mission. We are so excited to get going!! You are in my prayers every day! love you, Susan

  5. I looooooved seeing all the pictures!!