Monday, September 22, 2014

Fun at the Park

I am so grateful for the modern technology that keeps us connected to our family back home.  It is such a miracle that we can use Skype or Facetime and see and hear our family members who are so far away.  It has been so fun to see little Avery as she goes through the many stages of development that happen in that first year of life.  I love hearing the stories that the older grandchildren share with us.  I know we feel more connected to our grandchild when we can see their cute, smiling faces.  We hope they will feel connected to us as well and we will not be strangers to them when we return after two years of being away.

Monday was spent making trips back and forth to the airport for missionary transfers.  It is a much simpler process in other missions where missionaries do not have to fly to their new assignments. We drove the hermanas to the airport and had to say a tearful goodbye to Hermana Grover, who has been such a wonderful missionary in Las Palmas.  She arrived about two weeks after we got here, so it feels like she belongs.  We were very sad to see her go.  Also, Elder Gentry was serving in Vecindario when we got here.  He was the last of the original missionaries who were here when we arrived.  He is a great missionary and has served faithfully in this area.  Vecindario will seem very different without him.

Hermana Irigoyen and Hermana Grover saying goodbye.

Elder Shwanke (from Lanzarote), Elder Gentry and Hermana Grover off to new adventures.

But, we can't be sad for long, because after taking Hermana Irigoyen home with us to grab a bite to eat, we headed back to the airport to pick up three new missionaries.  Elder Sarango, who is originally from Quito, Equador, but whose family now lives in  Southern Spain, will serve in Vecindario with Elder Thunell.  Elder Hansen is moving from Telde to Las Palmas and Elder Tanner, from Las Vegas, is his new companion.  Hermana Trone, from Portland will be Hermana Irigoyen's new companion.  They all arrived with smiling faces and they are ready to work.
Elder Sarango, Thunell, Tanner, Hansen, Hermanas Trone, Irigoyen, Larsen, and Elder Larsen

This week we started our new schedule for piano students.  I now have twelve students and teach lessons on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons.  All my students seem to be excited about learning and I am grateful for the opportunity to teach them.  Piano accompaniment is a wonderful addition to any meeting, and can help bring the Lord's spirit.  If they are diligent about practicing, they can learn a lot in the next 1 1/2 years.  

Wednesday we had our district meeting in Telde.  Now that we have more missionaries, we are back to two districts, and we will rotate every other week where we attend.  Elder Larsen made one last trip to the airport to pick up Elder Maxfield, who is from Holladay, Utah.  He is a brand new missionary and will be trained by Elder Dyer.  They will be serving in Telde.  I really enjoyed our meeting.  Elder Sarango has a great spirit about him.  I felt his love for the Lord and for this work as he shared his testimony with us. We look forward to serving with him and getting to know him.  

 Elders Maxfield, Dyer, Sarango, Thunell

Elder Maxfield showed up with a smile on his face and is ready to get to work.

Wednesday night we were in Vecindario for Institute.  Elder Larsen gave a wonderful lesson and there was a quote that he used that has continued to run through my head all week, "If the Lord gives a command, DO IT!"  What simple but profound advice!  What a better place our world would be if people just lived the Ten Commandments!  The Lord created this world and gave us the laws that we need to follow to have peace and happiness.  It is up for us to follow those laws.   
Elder Larsen, Ruth, Kimberly, Fabio, Dario
We love these young people.  
They come ready to learn and share.
We are blessed every week by being with them.  

It was very different not to be with all of our missionaries this week.  So, I had to grab a picture of these good missionaries after English class.  The hermanas were so busy teaching lessons that they were not able to attend English class.  We missed not being with them this week for District meeting.  
Elders Bybee, Wiltbank, Tanner, Hansen

We had two good adult classes of Institute that were well attended this week.  It is wonderful to have people come who want to learn and a share insights about the scriptures.  

Hermano Guerra is teaching the Institute in Las Palmas on Friday nights, so we attend and bring refreshments.  He is a good teacher and brings out some different insights from the lesson material than what we share. There is always so much material to cover and something has to be left out.  I enjoyed hearing his presentation of the material.  At the end of class he had these two share their testimonies.  They are leaving for missions in just a few weeks.  The photo isn't the best, but I wanted to remember this special time for these two wonderful young people.
Sara- Brazil, Teresina Mission                   Omar-España, Madrid Mission

Saturday morning was absolutely amazing, making it a picture perfect "Eternal Spring" day, as the islands are nicknamed. We could not have ordered up a more beautiful day for our activity with the young adults from Vecindario.  Dario was in charge of our activity, a gincana, with a variety of games, mostly including running, which was a challenge for Elder Larsen and me.  But we gave it our all and had lots of laughs.
 Kimberly, John, Yasmina, Dario, Hermana Larsen, Ruth, Fabio
We were at a beautiful park 
that has to be the greenest spot in Vecindario.

I wish I had a photo of Elder Larsen
when he outwitted Fabio.
Seeing that Fabio is as fast as lightning, 
Elder Larsen knew that he could never out run him,
so instead, he carefully calculated when to fake reaching for the ball,
and Fabio stopped so fast that his feet slipped out from under him, 
and over the line he went.
We all laughed and laughed, including Fabio.

 You can tell that Elder Larsen was really getting into it!

 Somehow we managed to win at tug-of-war, but we landed in a heap.

 Dario was sure he could beat any pair, but Fabio and Elder Larsen managed to pull him over!

I was worn out by this game of tag where each person who was caught, 
had to join the chain to catch the remainder of the group.  
We definitely got a workout.

 Afterwards, we enjoyed a picnic lunch.  
So glad they like good old-fashioned potato salad,
and banana bread.

Saturday evening, we attended a baptism in Vecindario for Andrea.  There was such a good group of members there to support her in this special event.
Elder Sarango, Marcos de la Guardia, Andrea, Elder Thunell

Elder Larsen attended a Bishopric meeting this morning in Vecindario, so we were up and gone early. We attended our meetings in Vecindario. 

Elder Thunell has been promoted to translator 
for the Herheims, the Norwegian couple, 
now that Elder Gentry is gone.

After Sunday School, we drove to Las Palmas to drop off a keyboard to one of my piano students. The main road to the church was blocked off, so we had to go a different way.  And look at the unusual blossoms we were able to see on this tree!  What a variety of vegetation there is here in the Canary Islands!

I was glad to see these two hermanas.
Their smiles make me happy!

I have been studying the conference talks of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.  The words of his talk, "This Do in Remembrance of Me" have continued to run through my mind this week.  He quoted the Apostle Paul, when he said we were "bought with a price" (1 Cor. 6:20).  Then Elder Holland said, "What an expensive price and what a merciful purchase!"  It is my prayer that we all realize the price that our Savior paid for each one of us and how merciful He is to us.  We are grateful to be serving a mission and for the opportunity to share this message with others.  


  1. Can I just say how much you will love Elder Maxfield. He is just the greatest young man and will make an incredible missionary. Please give him our love.

  2. He had wonderful things to say about the two of you. I will give him your message. He came with a smile on his face and a desire to work. And he has a great missionary for his trainer.