Sunday, July 6, 2014

Two Months in the Canary Islands

I am grateful that about four years ago, my husband decided it was time to lose some weight and he did it!  Not only did he lose 50 lbs, he has been disciplined enough to keep it off.  Because he is in such good shape, we are able to take our walk up the mountain for our exercise.  In fact, some days he has to give me a little push to help me up the steepest parts.

This view looks down on the city center of Santa Brígida.

 And a look a little further to the west.

 A very different terrain just to the south.

 I am always fascinated by the crops that are terraced on the mountainside.

We want to explore the mountain peak in the center of this picture.

As I shared last week, Elder Larsen is very friendly with all the people we encounter on our walks.  For the past several weeks, a crew has been busy building a rock retaining wall.  Elder Larsen has had short conversations everyday with José, who is the boss.  He is very friendly and always has a smile and warm greeting for us.  

It has been very interesting to watch them split these rocks 
with a sledge hammer
to get them to fit just right 
to make a smooth wall.

On Friday, we gave José a pass-along card.  We explained that we are missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints and that we wanted to share a message with him.  The card has a phone number that he can call to get a free video sent to him.  We will follow up next week to see if he has called for his video.  Elder Larsen is such a good missionary.

For our Preparation Day, 
our good friends called and invited us to go to lunch with them.  
It's nice to have friends.

I'm embarrassed to say that I ate the whole thing!
Elder McWhorter and Elder Thunell
Elder Wiltbank and Elder Shumway
Hermana Irigoyen and Hermana Grover

Do we feel younger 
or older
 that these young people are 
our peer group?

So, if you have been following along, you know the basic routine by now.  Mondays we plan meals and grocery shop.  Tuesday and Thursday we prepare for classes and teach classes for piano and English.  Wednesday, we cook all day and attend a district meeting at lunch and an Institute class in Vecindario.  Friday is Institute class in Las Palmas.  

Here are a few highlights of what made this week different.

I got up early on Wednesday morning and started my Jewish Sweet Bread first thing.   I was just starting to make a batch of cookies when the electricity went out.  It has flickered before, so I wasn't too worried until 5 minutes passed, 15 minutes, 30 minutes and still no electricity.  I am totally not equipped to prepare meals without electricity.  Elder Larsen went next door to see if the neighbor had electricity. Apparently they posted flyers on the doors saying that the electricity would be out that morning for 3 hours.  Seriously!  Immediate change of plans.  We were late for the district meeting as I had to have a blow dryer before we could go.  Elder Poulson, who is our new district leader, gave a wonderful message about John 15.  He talked a lot about the Lord being the gardener of the vineyard and how He will cut off the branches that are not bringing forth good fruit.  Then in verse 14 it says, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”  What a wonderful message that the Lord truly can be our friend.  That is the relationship that He wants to have with us.  A great lesson from Elder Poulson.  

Afterwards, no home-cooked meal.  
Instead, we treated them to the local Chinese Buffet in Telde.  
The food was tasty and enjoyed by all.  

Elders Dyer, Gentry, Poulsen, Rawlinson, and Larsen

Elder Dyer, the new missionary in Telde

My salvaged loaves of Jewish Sweet Bread.

On Thursday, we did our first Apartment Inspection of the missionaries.  We let them know in advance. They all worked hard on getting their apartments clean.  I was particularly proud of Elder Shumway for tackling the boxes and boxes that have been left through the many years of missionaries living in this same apartment.  He did an amazing job of organizing!  It was July 3rd, so I took them a plate of American cookies-Homemade Chocolate Chip!
Elder Shumway and Elder Wiltbank

Elder Thunell and Elder McWhorter

And Not Pictured:
Hermana Grover an Hermana Irigoyen
Their apartment was very clean as well.
I just forgot the picture.

We ran into the British/American store.  These Lucky Charms were $15 a box.
In case you were wondering, we did not buy any!
Not even a temptation.
I will spend my calories and money on something much yummier.

Thursday night, after piano lessons and English class, we met with Annie Torres.  She is a wonderful woman who is now 31, so she is no longer apart of our Young Single Adult group, which is for ages 18-30.  Annie is so full of energy and enthusiasm.  She is currently serving in the Primary Presidency, working with the children from 3 to 11 years old.  Annie has a wealth of knowledge and ideas and it was good to meet with her and learn a little bit more about some of the young adults and some of the activities that have been done here.  We really appreciated her time.  

Friday we did some house cleaning to start get ready for our party on Saturday.  I cooked apple pork chops, fresh baked potatoes, (so good) brocolli and Jewish Sweet Bread, with carrot cake for dessert.   Cody gave a good lesson and we had some good discussion.  We had six young men.  None of the girls came. They enjoyed the meal and especially the fresh potatoes.  
Elder Larsen, Jhon, Christian, Josué, Omar, Fran

We started in the kitchen first thing on Saturday.  Felix, from our English Class, offered to make paella for everyone.  He has come to the house in the past and has done that.  I made appetizers and dessert. We had barbecue chicken sliders, seven layer dip (with Spanish substitutions that actually worked), tortilla española, and filled bread.  We had snickerdoodles and chocolate cookies for dessert.

Felix was the Master Chef

His paella was quite the masterpiece.

Felix, Fran, Elder Wiltbank

Felix, Elders Wiltbank, Shumway, Fran, Elders McWhorter, Larsen, Thunell, 
Hermanas Grover, Irigoyen, Rafa, Evani

Elder Larsen and Andres
Rafa and Evani
Elder and Hermana Larsen

Today, I played the piano for the baptism of Miriam Briganti.  Her family lives in Utah, but her dad is from the Canary Islands.  They were here on vacation and decided to have the baptism here where his extended family could be with them.  A very special night for a sweet little girl.

Today was the first Sunday of the month, so it was our day for our families to wear the flowers for the ladies and girls and the ties for the men and boys.  I love feeling connected
to the family that we love so much.

Cale, Avery, Katie
(I just love the way she is looking up at her daddy!)

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