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."