Sunday, October 26, 2014


This week I am grateful for this medley.   It is from a performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Santino Fontana.  I love it!  I hope you will take the time to listen.  It makes me smile every time I listen to it.  It has made me think this week about happiness.  The Lord wants us to be happy.  He wants us to have the kind of happiness that will last throughout the eternities.  For this reason, the Lord has a plan for us all.  This is the message that we are sharing with people.  Click here if you want to know more.

We spent Monday with Hermana Trone and Hermna Irigoyen.  First we made a trip to the grocery store.  I see these fish displays every week, but I never get used to them.  I love fish.  But these displays do not say to me, "Come buy some fish for dinner."

 And yes, these fish are real!

 Hermana Trone and Hermana Irigoyen answering emails.

The hermanas wanted to cook, so we made homemade pizza for lunch.

It was delicious!

And then, since the calendar says it is fall, (even though we have had some of our warmest days since we've been here,) we made pumpkin cookies.  Yummy!
 I love these two hermanas and I am so glad they wanted to spend the day with us.

Tuesday night, Elder Hansen and Elder Tanner gave our lesson.  They talked about Christ's Atonement and all that He did for us.  I could feel of their love for their Savior as they shared their testimonies with us.

 And then we had a silly game.  You had to remember what fruit everyone was, and then say your fruit and call out someone else's fruit, never letting your teeth show.  We played this one on another night, and I decided there was no glory in making it to the end, so I conveniently bowed out early.

As you can see, some people really got into it. And Hermana Trone looks like she is really getting into it.  Too funny!

 These good missionaries always have a good attitude about whatever they are doing.  It is a pleasure to serve with them.

Wednesday, we attended district meeting in Vecindario.  We had a good meeting and a good meal, and the missionaries went away happy!
 Elder Maxfield, Elder Dyer, Elder Sarango, Elder Thunell

That night, we were back in Vecindario for a piano lesson and Institute Class.  These are three of our great young adults in Vecindario.
 Dario, Kimberly, Fabio

Friday night was Omar's last night at Institute.  He will be leaving for his mission on Tuesday morning.  He will be serving in the Spain Madrid Mission.  He is very excited for his opportunity to serve.  He will be a great missionary, but we will truly miss him.  
 Omar and Fran

This weekend, we had an opportunity to fly to Lanzarote, one of the other islands.  People had told us that Lanzarote was brown and white.  It is brown because they get almost no rain, and all the buildings are white.  Also, there are no large cities, and only a couple of hotels are taller than four stories.  Here are some views from the air as we flew in.  

The bishop of the Lanzarote ward, Bishop Barriero, and his son, Josué, picked us up at the airport. Josué is eight years old, and our grandson Sawyer had just turned eight the day before.  Josué is a charming little boy, and many of his mannerisms reminded us of Sawyer.

We started our afternoon by doing an apartment inspection with Elder Peterson and Elder Brownell. Their apartment was very clean and we were very pleased.  Afterwards, we took them to lunch.  We were at a restaurant just across the street from a beach.
 Elder Peterson, Elder Brownell, our very friendly waiters, Elder Larsen, Hermana Larsen

These are two great missionaries.  Elder Peterson is a new missionary and has a good attitude and wants to learn.  Elder Brownell is a good trainer.  They are working hard in this area.  We enjoyed visiting with them and getting to know them better.

After lunch, we went to the church and had interviews with some people that the bishop wanted us to visit.  The highlight of our trip was visiting with José and Jennifer.  She has lived a hard life.  She told us that she had made choices as a teenager that took her down a very rocky path.  But for the past year, she has been trying to put her life in order and put the things of God first in her life.  As we visited with them about the things that they needed to change in their lives, José said,  "The important things of life come at a high price."  That is so true!  We need to be willing to pay that price to obtain those things that matter most.  After the interviews, Elder Larsen was the guest speaker for a meeting they had on Saturday night.  He did a wonderful job.  He is so much more comfortable with his Spanish, and his enthusiastic personality and love for the Lord are shining through as he delivers his messages. 

We attended church today in Lanzarote with these two wonderful missionaries.  Everyone was so friendly.  They really have a wonderful ward and we enjoyed getting to meet with them.  Elder Larsen gave another great talk and I was able to participate by playing the piano.

This was the view out of our hotel room.  We were in the hotel with many tourist, but did not have any free time to even walk along the beach.  It was pretty to look at this morning!

Here is Elder Larsen in his Sunday attire.  We were not dressed for the beach.

We have transfers tomorrow.  Even though we were sure it would happen, we are sad to be losing two of our missionaries.  Elder Wiltbank is leaving us and Hermana Irigoyen is headed to Barrio 2 in Madrid to train a new missionary.  I am so sad to see her go.  She arrived here 1 1/2 weeks after we got here.  To have her leave seems very strange.  Transfers come around every six weeks, but it doesn't get any easier for me to say goodbye.  But we always love the new missionaries that come to serve with us here on the islands!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

New Car

This week I am particularly thankful for my husband.  One of the first things I noticed about my sweetheart was his wonderful smile.  How blessed I have been to have this man by my side throughout these years, with his positive attitude and big smile!  This week we have felt a bit challenged, and one afternoon, he wasn't quite himself.  But by the next morning, he was back to smiling and trying to make the best of the situation.  It was a reminder to me, once again, what a blessing it is to have a spouse who faces each day with a smile on his face!

Because I don't have as much to post today, I want to share an experience we had a couple of months ago.  We walk in the mornings over to the next little town, Atalaya.  Even though we walk at different times, we kept passing this same man walking his dog.  We would say hello as we passed, but he would barely acknowledge us.  But as the days went by, and we continued to be friendly, he started to smile at us and speak.  Then one day, as we were walking by a house, this same man was working in the front garden.  We spoke and he invited us into the yard to see his garden, fig trees, goat, and chickens.  He was very proud of his place.  He took us over to the house to meet his wife, but she was not happy to meet us. The man's name is Eulogio.  He told us that when his figs were ripe that we could have some.  There are many fig trees.  Some grow wild on the roadside.

Several weeks after this, Eulogio was out in the yard as we were passing by, and he invited us to come and pick figs.  He got a ladder out and helped us.  His wife stuck her head out of the second-story window.  I spoke, but she did not even acknowledge me.  Eulogio also gave us several bunches of cilantro.  

A few days later, I baked some snickerdoodles and we took them to Eulogio with a pamphlet about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A few days later, we walked by again when he was outside.  He thanked us for the cookies and said he and his wife both enjoyed them.  As we were visiting, she stuck her head out the window, smiled, and thanked us for the cookies.  Eulogio does not seem to be interested in learning more about the gospel, but we have a friend in Atalaya!

We had a nice lesson from Elder Wiltbank and Elder Bybee on Tuesday night.  Elder Bybee went around the room and asked us two questions.  The first was, "What is your name?"  The second was, "Who are you?"  

Most of us answered both questions with our own name, but Desiree, the beautiful young woman answered the second question by saying, "I am a child of God."  And that was the message that the elders shared with us.

I love this sweet, simple message.  If everyone believed this simple fact and acted accordingly, our world would be a better place.  I want to share a beautiful rendition of the song, "I Am a Child of God,"  that was presented in a General Women's Meeting last March, watch here.

We attended district meeting in Las Palmas with this wonderful group of missionaries.  They were all very happy after we had delicious crockpot steak.  Because beef is expensive here, this was the first time that Elder Larsen and I have had beef, other than ground beef, since we arrived on the island. The missionaries don't get much beef either.  It was heavenly delicious if I do say so myself.  Then, because it is fall, even though it doesn't feel much like fall here, we had my favorite Apple Cake with carmel sauce, that I love to make in the fall.  It was a hit with the missionaries as one said, "I have loved all of your desserts, but I think this one has to be my favorite."  Another one said, "Can we eat the leftover carmel sauce with a spoon?"  Not a bad idea!  (Sorry, no photos of the food!)

Saturday morning, we had a service activity of cleaning the church building with our group of young adults in Vecindario.  They all came willing and ready to work.  Afterwards, I served them French toast and bacon, which they loved.  It should have been an easy meal, but was not because I forgot my griddle and had to use a skillet to cook the French toast.  With a stove that heated unevenly, it was quite the feat, but I managed to fix enough pieces to feed everyone.  

Saturday night we hosted a party for the Single Adults, who are over thirty years old.  We provided a clean house, and everything else was taken care of.  We enjoyed a delicious paella dinner provided by Willy Roka.  

Afterwards, Willy taught everyone some dance steps.  I was pleased to see everyone get in and have a good time, whether they had dance skills or not.

I have always loved entertaining.  It is wonderful to have this large house full of good people!

Elder Larsen found a surprise in his closet this week, as he was selecting a pair of pants to wear for the day.  At first he thought the light from the window was causing an unusual pattern on the pants. But when he took them out of the closet, he could see that mold was growing on his pants.  This is a pair of all cotton pants that are rather heavy, so he had not worn them for awhile, since we have had hotter weather.  Because it is humid here, and we don't have any air conditioning, the humidity level in the house is higher than what we are used to.  We aren't sure why the mold grew on these pants and not any others, but after soaking and washing them, several times, we can happily report that they came clean.

For the past few weeks, Elder Larsen has been trying to work out the details for getting the current mission cars traded in and new cars picked up from the dealership.  He thought he was ready to have the cars appraised and the new cars picked up, only to begin a new, "not-so-wonderful" chapter in the saga of the cars.  (But it did have a happy ending!)  When he drove the first car over to get it appraised, they asked to see his paperwork.  He looked in the glove box, and there was no paperwork. The man who was helping him looked as well, and they were amazed that there was no paperwork on the car, no proof of insurance, no registration, nothing!  They told Elder Larsen it was a good thing that he had not been stopped by the police because it would appear that the car had been stolen, and he most likely would have been put in jail!  Needless to say, he could go no further on the appraisal of the car, and he came home very upset.  When he looked in the other car, that has been sitting on our driveway, there was no paperwork in it either.  Now he needed to find out what to do to get these cars registered.  It made us more than nervous to be driving this car, but with all of our responsibilities, we had no other choice.  After looking on the internet, making phone calls, and a few sleepless nights, he decided to look in the car one more time.  He kept thinking that there was no way that anyone would have thrown away the paperwork for those cars.  He decided to do one more thorough search of the cars.  He lifted out the mats, looked in every nook and cranny, and then decided that maybe, somehow the papers had fallen behind the glove box.  As he looked in the glove box one more time, he couldn't see behind the glove box.  He then realized that there was an extra shelf, and on it was a black book, that made it look like part of the glove box.  To his utter joy, when he pulled out the black book and opened it up, there were the papers that he had needed! He then went to the other car, and found the same shelf, a black book, and the papers.  He was absolutely giddy with excitement when he came in to tell me the good news!  Not only would this save him a lot of time and hassle, but it saves the church a lot of money!

On Friday, Elder Thunell and Elder Sarango were able to drop Elder Larsen off at the dealership to pick up one of the new cars.  Elder Thunell is proudly displaying their paperwork!

Elder Larsen was very grateful for the sweet lady who has worked so patiently with us through this entire process.

Fall has arrived here, though it just means a little cooler temperatures and a little rain.  We have seen many beautiful sunrises as we drive on Sunday mornings to Vecindario.  This morning, once again, I wished that I was a great photographer with a great camera, so that I could take a great picture of the sun coming through the layers of very unusual clouds, out over the ocean  But instead, you get a picture taken with a regular camera, by me, through the window of a moving car.  It doesn't do the sky justice, but I can remember how beautiful it was.

We are always happy to be with these three wonderful young men.  We enjoyed hearing a talk from Fabio in Sacrament Meeting.  What a great Ward Mission Leader he is!

We always enjoy our time in our Sunday School class with these wonderful young people.  Kimberly is doing a great job of teaching us, as she took us through several chapters of Isaiah today.
Dario, Elder Larsen, Ruth, Luis, Mosíah, Enzo, Kimberly, Jenny, and Abínadi

We feel very blessed to have this opportunity to serve the Lord here in the Canary Islands.  Someone had posted an aerial view of the earth this week, talking about Ebola.  And there, siting out in the Atlantic Ocean, I could see the Canary Islands.  Being here strengthens my faith in my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know that this world is filled with God's children.  I know He loves all of them and He desires that they all "Come unto Him."  We love being apart of His work, inviting people to "Come unto Christ."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Omar's Farewell Party

This week, I am grateful that we were able to have our wonderful missionaries spend their P-day (preparation day) with us.  When those ten wonderful young people are in our house, it feels more like a home.  My favorite moment was when Hermana Irigoyen ran in the door saying, "Mom, we're home!"  And then she gave me a big hug.  We have served with this wonderful young woman for five months.  What a blessing she is to this area!

The missionaries wrote their weekly emails.

We had some yummy Honey Lime Enchiladas, thanks to my mom for sending some key ingredients.

 Hermana Trone and Elder Sarango handwriting letters

There were some very serious games of chess,

                    Jenga Tetris                                                                                  Mexican Train

And several games of good old UNO.

Elder Tanner's birthday was the next day, but we celebrated as a group.  He requested Boston Creme Pie.  I had never made one before, but I must say my first attempt was quite delicious.

 Happy 21st Birthday, Elder Tanner!

 Hermana Larsen, Elders Larsen, Sarango, Thunell, Hermana Irigoyen, Elder Hansen, Wiltbank, Bybee, Hermana Trone, Elders Maxfield and Dyer

We walked outside with the missionaries as they headed down our street to the bus stop.  With their backpacks on, I felt like we were sending our kids off to school.  Instead, we were sending them off to participate in the great work of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

On Tuesday, we had piano lessons, English classes, and afterwards Family Home Evening.  Since it was Elder Tanner's birthday, Hermana Trone made brownies and we had ice cream as well.  Elder Tanner looks happy, so hopefully it was a good birthday. 

 We attended the district meeting in Vecindario this week.  We had a good meeting and afterwards I filled the missionaries up with spaghetti.  They seem very happy to have some leftovers to take home.

 Wednesday night was our Institute class in Vecindario.  Elder Larsen taught a very inspiring class about justification and sanctification.
We also watched this video which is one of our favorites.  (My attempt to attach a video did not work last week.  I am trying again.) It depicts Christ's role as our Mediator. How grateful I am for our Savior and for the precious gift of His atoning sacrifice.  

                    Kimberly                                                                                               Abinadi

 Old-fashioned American brownies are a favorite with these young adults.

Fabio and Dario

Thursdays are very busy now.  We have an adult Institute class in the morning with a piano lesson afterwards.  We have time to run home for a bite to eat and head back to the church for five more piano lessons before English classes start.  Then we have another adult Institute class that night. Attendance at my English classes is booming.  People are back from summer vacations and we have had several new people join us.  We also had a total of 13 adults that attended Institute classes on Thursday.  We are enjoying the opportunity to learn together with these good people.

Here are a few of our young adults who attended Institute on Friday night. 
 Maria, Sara, Aida

Johan, Fran, Josué, Andres

I cooked all day Saturday, making barbecue chicken sliders, chicken enchiladas, seven layer dip, chocolate peanut butter cookies, banana bread, and cinnamon rolls.  The cinnamon rolls were a special request from Omar, and they are loved by all of the young adults.  (No photos!)  The food was for a going-away party for Omar.  He will leave for his mission in two weeks.  He is serving in the Spain Madrid Mission.  If we are visiting on the peninsula, we might have an opportunity to see him again. We are so happy to have these young people leave to serve missions, but it is sad to know that we will not be here when they return.  

We love it when we get to have both or our young adult groups together!
 Andres, Omar, Johan

Fabio, Xoimara, Josué, John
Yasmina, Elder Larsen, Dario

Aida, Denisse, Sara, Kinberly, Ruth

 Not too sure if some of the techniques that were used on the limbo are allowed!

A fun night with a wonderful group of young adults!

Because we had General Conference last week, we had Fast Sunday this week.  It is nice to feel connected to our children and grandchildren by wearing our matching pins, hair clips, and ties. Thanks to all our family members for their love and support.

Sawyer, Sophie, Cascia, Steve, Cooper
Do I have the cutest grandchildren?