Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week I am grateful for Thanksgiving.  We had Thanksgiving dinner here at the house with the missionaries.  After we ate, we went around, the table, sharing what we are thankful for.  It was a wonderful experience to hear each of these missionaries express their gratitude.  These young people are truly amazing!

We had a nice lesson on Tuesday night.  Afterwards, we played a game of charades.  It was very entertaining.  (Sorry about the red eyes that make Elder Moreland look a little crazy.)

 Marta was such a good sport!

I think Hermana Trone was watching her calories earlier in the week,
 so she could enjoy her Thanksging dinner.

We had district meeting on Wednesday.  Because of all the cooking I needed to do for Thanksgiving the next day, I decided to go with an easy meal of spaghetti.  
 Looks like it wasn't very easy for Elder Moreland to get his plate to the table.

The missionaries said he was in big trouble, so I had to give him the "mom lecture."  
I'm sure all of my children recognize this pose.
I was just glad it happened on a tile floor, and I didn't have to clean it up!

We had a great group of young adults for Institute in Vecindario on Wednesday night.

For Thanksgiving, the hermanas did a little cooking, 

     and a little art project.

Thanksgiving Day was wonderful!

We were able to find turkeys, but they were only 7 lbs.
Just slightly bigger than a chicken.
But they tasted good when they were cooked!

When the missionaries arrived,
they were all ready and willing to help out.

Some decorated...

Some washed dishes...
(It looks like these three elders were ready with the "mouth-wide-opened" shot!) 

Others prepared food...

 Elder Bybee made us a delicious salad.

Elder Larsen is always in charge of the turkey!

Hermana Trone and West 

The food was spread before them, 

they each received a plate,

And the plates were piled high.

I don't know if I have ever served a Thanksgiving dinner to a more appreciative group.

After we washed up the dishes,
some people were feeling good,
 Elder Thunell

while other were feeling stuffed!
 Elder Moreland

And a few just passed out,
(only momentarily!)

There was even time for a couple of rounds of Phase 10 before dessert.

We had pumpkin pie and pecan pie.
(Not the prettiest display of our pies.)

But they sure did taste good!

And all too soon, it was time for our missionaries to get back to work.

Someone snapped this beautiful photo as they headed to the bus stop.

They left with full stomachs and smiles on their faces!

A couple of hours later, we were back at the church for English classes and Institute.  My English class was so happy that I wanted to get the leftover pecan pie out of the house, so that it wouldn't tempt me.  They were all very willing to enjoy a piece.  

Friday night before Institute, we needed to go to the fabric store to buy fabric for blankets that the young adults are going to help me make for our missionaries who are out serving from this area.  I was not happy with the selection or the prices.  Where is JoAnn Fabrics when you need them?  We were very surprised to find "Black Friday" signs in three of the stores in the area.  Too bad they didn't have 30% off at the fabric store!

We did see these beautiful Christmas lights along the way.  

And now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we can focus on Christmas and its true meaning.  I hope you will take a couple of minutes and watch this video about the very first gift of Christmas.  

This year, serving a mission and being away from much of the commercialism of Christmas, I hope that I will truly be able to focus on the birth of the Savior of the world and the wonderful gift that was for all of humanity.  May this season be filled with the true meaning of Christmas for each of us.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Zone Conference #3

This week I am grateful for President and Sister Jackson.   We were with them on Monday and Tuesday and I was impressed once again with their love for our Savior and their desire to serve Him. They have served for almost 2 1/2 years and have 7 more months to serve.  I am grateful for their example and for the spiritual messages that they shared with us.  We are truly blessed to have them over the Spain Madrid Mission.

We left dark and early on Monday morning to pick up the sister missionaries and be at the port in time for our ferry ride to the island of Tenerife.  The elders all made it on time as well.  Even with the clouds we were able to get some shots of the sunrise.

After our last trip on the ferry with everyone getting sick, I had some dramamine sent to me.  Several of the missionaries were grateful for the dramamine as well.  It is interesting that since our zone conference in early May, we have had a complete turnover of missionaries.  It was a bit windy outside, but we took a few fun pictures. 

We even had a beautiful rainbow as we were pulling away from the port.

Part of our trip over was spent analyzing Hermana Trone's bug bites.  She has been battling them for about a week and has been miserable.  Hermana West has even gotten a few.  We came to a firm conclusion that they are flea bites, and she is pretty sure which dog gave them to her.  I am happy to report that she hasn't been by the dog this week and she has no more new bites.  

We also had a little cleaning session on the way over.  I had managed to get a little something on my skirt.  I was grateful that Sister West had a Tide to Go pen with her.  

Elder Bybee had an accident with some oil while he was cooking.  He tried the Tide to Go pen, but it might have made things worse!

As we got close to Tenerife, I was surprised once again at how much greener the island is and how close the mountains are to the ocean.

  Santa Cruz is a very pretty city, very green with lots of trees!

The elders and sisters spent the afternoon playing soccer.  

Hermana West played well and was fearless as goalie.

We had some exhausted missionaries after over three hours of soccer.

Because Pres. Jackson pulled his hamstring las zone conference, he didn't play.  But as we were leaving, he had to see if he could score against Elder Maxfield.  It took a few attempts, but he finally did it.  Pres. Jackson spent his time interviewing the missionaries while they were playing soccer.

 Both of these guys look pretty serious about something.

Two happy hermanas.

Elder Larsen and I remembered where the Subway was and a big group of us enjoyed a taste of America.  

Elder Larsen interviewed this young man, EfraĆ­n to serve as the new representative for the young adults.  He has a wonderful smile and a positive attitude.  He will be turning in his papers soon to serve a mission.  What a great young man!
We enjoyed some yummy ice cream!

There was a beautiful park next to the hotel where we stayed on Monday night.  We took a quick walk through it on our way to the church Tuesday morning.

We weren't quite sure what this interesting artwork was supposed to be that was hanging from the trees.

I accompanied these missionaries as they sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me."  They really did a great job.

All the missionaries from The Canary Islands.

Pres. Jackson is an orthopedic surgeon by profession.  Elder Dyer had him check his very badly bruised foot.  He hurt it playing soccer the day before.

Our boat ride home was about 45 minutes late departing.  We had been told that there were storm warnings and that the boat might be cancelled.  We were a bit worried, but it was actually a very smooth ride.  We were all tired, but not sick.  

Elder Thunell still managed to smile.

Hermana Trone tried to sleep, but was never successful.

Elder Moreland entertained himself with a few selfies.

Elder Maxfield and Elder Tanner played a little "coin football."

The next day Elder Thunell received a package from home.  That is always a happy day!

I made pumpkin cookies for our Institute class.  I love seeing the look on people's faces when I tell them that they are pumpkin cookies.  They don't expect something so yummy to be made from pumpkin! 

Saturday night we had a Day of Nations party in Vecindario.  Someone said we have people from ten different countries in that ward.  The young women had put together a dance.  Two couples from Ecuador did some of their traditional dances.

This man played the traditional panpipes of the Andes.

Fabio and the missionaries did a silly skit about chewing gun.  I had to laugh at Elder Thunell's very large state flag of Colorado that was predominantly displayed on the wall.  Not exactly a flag of a nation, but he is very proud of his flag.

 And he was also dressed in a very patriotic shirt.

As we prepare for our Thanksgiving dinner with the missionaries on Thursday, I am very thankful for many things.  I am thankful for our friends and family and for all of their love and support.  I am thankful for the opportunity that we have to spend this time serving here in the Canary Islands.  We love these people and enjoy the association that we have with them.  I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am thankful for the teachings and example of our Savior.  I am thankful for His atoning sacrifice and for the blessing it is to be able to repent of my sins and wrong doings.  I am thankful for the scriptures that teach us the things we need to do in order to become more like our Savior.  I pray that you will all have a wonderful week and enjoy your time with family and friends.  
Happy Thanksgiving!