Sunday, August 24, 2014

Our First Visitors

 I am thankful this week that the post office has been so efficient.  We got the package from my mom without any problems.  It was just like Christmas!  Thank you post office, and thank you Mom and Karen for all of your efforts to get our package ready and sent to us. 

Then another miracle!  I had ordered five keyboards through a program that donates keyboards and books so that people who do not have pianos can use these keyboards in their homes to practice.  We have several teenagers at church who want to play the piano, and we need more pianists for our meetings.  The keyboards have been here on the island, in customs, since June 26th.  I was beginning to think that they would be sent back and I would never get them. But no, they were finally delivered! The young women will be so excited to get started with their lessons.  We are working on a schedule for September, when school starts.

This week seemed short because we didn't get back from our trip until Monday.  We were busy with our usual schedule of piano lessons, English classes and cooking.  Wednesday we had a good district meeting with our missionaries.  One of the messages that was shared was about the blessings that we have seen in our families because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I enjoyed hearing each of these missionaries talk about their own personal blessings.  There are so many challenges in our world today, and each of the missionaries shared how Christ's gospel gives them direction and helps them to strive to be better people.  The Lord has shown us the way to go and the path to follow.  These missionaries are happy to be inviting others to come unto Christ.  
 Elder Bybee, Wiltbank, Thunell, Gentry, Hermana Irigoyen, Grover, Elder Hansen, Dyer

We were in Vecindario on Wednesday night.  These two great young men are always at the church with a smile on their face.  They will be young adults next year.  We will enjoy having them in our group. Luis's sister, Irenis is serving her mission in Barcelona, Spain.  We have been emailing each other, and I send her letters as well.  This week I got a letter in the mail from her.  I love feeling of her spirit and the joy that she is experiencing as she teaches people about Jesus Christ.  

 We invited a couple of leaders to join us.
They felt old with our young group, but they are younger than us.  

Elder Larsen teases me that my blog could be entitled, "Cooking Adventures, " because of the adventures and near disasters that we have in cooking and transporting food.   This week, we had another adventure, and a little miracle.  We had sent texts to our young adults to get an idea of how many would be at our class and dinner on Friday night.  I fixed pasta salad for about 8 people, and had a batch of Jewish Sweet Bread.  I also had a small cake for dessert and I thought we were all set.  Then about 1 1/2 hours before we needed to leave, we got a call from the missionaries.  They said they would be coming to our meeting with an investigator.  Then I was concerned that I would not have enough food.  I quickly boiled some more pasta, and decided to make some banana bread, because the cake would not be enough.  When I opened the oven door to put the bread in, there was no rack in the oven.  I looked everywhere, but no oven rack.  Then I realized that I had probably left it at the church. I have to use it so that I can stack pans on top of each other in the small ovens, so that I can keep food warm when I take it to the church.  The clock was ticking, I had less than an hour to bake the banana bread that takes 65 minutes, and no oven rack.  Elder Larsen found this pan that fit on the shelf holders, but I couldn't bake the bread on that.  Then I remember seeing this other odd rack and the bread pan fit on it.  Wallah!  I was able to bake the bread, and it cooked in under an hour.  We arrived at the church 7 minutes early!!

And some of my favorite people were at the building.
 Hermana Grover, Elder Bybee, Elder Wiltbank, Hermana Irigoyen, Aida Cruz

The hermanas were there because they had two investigators that were going to come to our class. 
Now I was really glad that I had prepared extra food.  And then we waited.  Andres, Sara, Aida, and Omar came, and that was all.  The other four young adults who had said they were coming, didn't, and the investigators never showed up.  All the rushing around, making more food, fixing the banana bread had been unnecessary.  Oh the joys!  But the missionaries are always grateful for our leftovers.  I had fixed the chicken pasta salad for both groups on Wednesday, so Elder Larsen and I were tired of it. We loaded up two containers, sent all the leftovers home with the missionaries, and they were happy! More importantly, Elder Larsen gave a wonderful lesson and we had a really good discussion. Andres is investigating the church and Elder Larsen was able to answer some of his questions.  That is much more important than any of my cooking adventures.  

Elder Wiltbank, Omar, Andres, Elder Bybee

We have our first visitors at the old mission home.  Hermana Smith and her parents arrived Saturday night.  Hermana Smith is going home and her parents have come to tour the mission.  She served here on the island for 7 months, and she was here when we first arrived on the island.  They will be visiting members and some of the people who she worked with.  They came bearing gifts, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, maple extract, almond extract, cream of tartar,and karo syrup.  It was like Christmas all over again!  I could list why each one of these ingredients is a precious, coveted item, but I will spare you the details.
The Smiths are a wonderful family and we have loved having them in our home.  Sister Smith is from North Carolina, so we have many things in common with our Southern upbringing.  How happy they are to be here with their daughter and how proud they are of her, for her devoted service!

We attended church in Vecindario.  Elder Thunell spoke and gave a good talk.  He has a great spirit about him and a desire to serve the Lord.

Here are three of our young adults.   Jenny just got her mission call to London, England, Kimberly was just called today to be the rep for the young single adults, and Ruth just got baptized in April.  These are three great young women that we are privileged to be with.
Jenny, Hermana Larsen, Kimberly, Ruth

After Elder Larsen taught a good Sunday School lesson to the young adults, we drove to Las Palmas because Elder Larsen had a meeting.  I was able to visit with some our young adults.  These young people make me smile.  
Sara and Sara

I truly feel blessed to have this opportunity to serve the Lord.  I am reminded daily of the blessing that I have in my life because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  True joy comes from following the path back to Him.  

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