Monday, January 26, 2015

CES Training Meeting

This week I am thankful for the opportunity I have to work with these wonderful missionaries.  I love all of our missionaries.  I love their positive attitudes.  I love their enthusiasm.  I love the desire they have to serve the Lord.  I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to work with each of these young people.

Monday, Elder Larsen took two of our missionaries to the airport, Elder Bybee and Elder Hansen. After six months of being here on the island with us, they are returning to the mainland.  It is always so hard to say goodbye to these missionaries after they have served with us for such a long time. Monday was Elder Bybee's birthday.  It is a good thing I had baked him some cookies for his birthday, because the lady at the ticket counter certainly was not making it special for him.  She was not kind about the weight limits and we have a few of his things that we will have to get to him.

 Best wishes to Elder Hansen and Elder Bybee.

The hermanas spent the day with us.  We did our grocery shopping, made homemade pizza and enjoyed some peanut butter blossom cookies.  I also found out that one of my good friends from my freshman dorm at BYU is Hermana Trone's aunt, Linda Dyches.  What a small world!

 Elder Moreland and his new companion, Elder Bartholomew gave the lesson on Tuesday night.  Elder Bartholomew is full of energy.  We are happy to have him here.

Elder Bartholomew plays the piano very well.  Such a blessing!

Elder Ruiz is Elder Priest's new companion.  He plays the piano as well.  
We have been doubly blessed.

Wednesday we had our first district meeting with our new missionaries.  We had delicious meal of apple pork chops, salad, and Jewish Sweet bread.   As always, happy missionaries!

On Saturday, we had a training meeting for teaching our institute classes.  We had the opportunity to be taught by José Morales, who is the Church Education System director over southern Spain.  He is a wonderful man.  This is the third time we have been able to be taught by him.  He is a spiritual man with an amazing ability to draw insights from the scriptures.  This time, he taught us from John 9, about Jesus healing the blind man.

He had us look at this painting, which depicts people watching this event from different perspectives. He asked each of us to choose a person and share what we thought they were thinking.  Would we have been one of the two men who are criticizing what Christ was doing?  Would we be like the tired child who wasn't interested in what was going on and just wanted to go home?  Would we have been the little child that stood in awe as he was in the presence of the Savior, witnessing a miracle?  Would we have been the mother or the father who stood with our family feeling blessed to be in the presence of the Lord?  And what was the man feeling who had been blind from birth?  He is kneeling before the Savior in complete respect, filled with faith, waiting for a miracle.  And most importantly, what does Christ's face portray?  Tenderness, compassion, love?  Can we imagine what it would have been like to have been there at such a moment?  Perhaps, but we do not have to have been there, to learn from the teachings of Jesus Christ.  

After the meeting, we all ate lunch together.  José Morales is the man at the front right.

I decided to try a traditional Canarian dish, ropa vieja, which means old clothes.  
Not sure why it has this name. It has garbanzo beans, potatoes, and several types of meat.  
(I had eaten most of the meat before I thought to take a picture.) It was very good.

We were able to help Paco Cruz celebrate his 50th birthday.

Sunday, before church, we walked in early, while Elder Nash was testing out the headphones and microphone that he uses each week to translate for the Norwegians and Swedes who attend in Vecendario.  We are grateful for his service.

I'm not sure what Elder Larsen was explaining to Elder Sarango, but they both look pretty intent.

I forgot to take a picture, but we changed our institute day for Vecendario.  We had been meeting on Wednesday night, but we had too many students who had classes or were working on Wednesday night.  We are now meeting on Sunday, right after our three hour block of church.  All of our young adults stayed for another hour-and-a-half after church.  They are such good kids.  We fed them sandwiches and chips and afterwards had cheesecake to celebrate Fabio's birthday.  We all enjoyed Elder Larsen's lesson and were spiritually fed as well.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Transfer #7

This week I am grateful for a Monday with nice weather that allowed us to go on an outing with all the missionaries on the island.  We went to the Caldera de Bandama.  It is a massive crater at the center of an ancient, dormant volcano.  It is only about 10 minutes from our house and the views were beautiful.  

After the dry months of summer and fall, everything had turned very brown.  But with a couple of wet months, spring has come to the island.  I love the green!

 There was once a farm at the bottom of the caldera.

There was a paved walkway at the beginning of the trail.

 Of course, we had to stop and take pictures along the way.  
Elders Moreland, Bybee, Norrell, Priest, Hansen, Sarango, Nash, Hermanas Trone and West
Elder Maxfield was our photographer.  
If anyone is wondering about Elder Bybee's pants, they are gypsy pants.  Very interesting!

We put the pretty yellow flowers to good use.

We only had time to go halfway down where there was a nice landing.

It also seemed to be a great day for Selfies!

After our hike, we came back to our house for grilled hanburgers, hot dogs, baked beans and potato salad.  Not quite like back home, but a good second.

We topped it off with chocolate chip cookies.   And here we have Elder Larsen at the kitchen sink.
He has washed many a dish since we got here.

Felix attends our English classes.  He did an analysis of Hermana Trone's handwriting.

We attended district meeting with these four wonderful missionaries.  
Afterwards we ate a delicious meal. 
 Elders Sarango, Maxfield, Norrell, and Nash

Thursday, Fabio received his mission call.  He is going to Manchester, England.  
He reports on April 9th.  We are so excited for him.  He will be a wonderful missionary.

The missionaries celebrated Elder Bybee's birthday early.  The tradition of the ugly angel was added onto and given to Elder Bybee.

Friday afternoon I was able to be part of another lesson with Luis, one of my students from English class.  I enjoy the opportunity to share my love of Jesus Christ and His gospel.  Friday night we had our first Addiction Recovery Class.  It is twelve week program.  The program is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.  There has been great success in using this program. We are looking forward to the opportunity to help these people.

On Saturday, we had an activity with our young adults in Vecindario, but I have no pictures.  We watched the broadcast of a talk by Donald Hallstrom.  Afterwards we had a spaghetti dinner, with snickerdoodles for dessert.

Saturday evening we attended a baptism for Yajira.  She has such a sweet family.

She was baptized by her father-in-law.

 The missionaries sang a special number for the baptism and I accompanied them.
Because Elder Bybee had been on the island for six months, we were pretty sure he would be leaving on this transfer.  The announcement came that night that he would be going to Madrid and Elder Hansen would be going to Acala de Henares.  It is always hard to see the missionaries leave the island.

 Hermana Trone was very animated in a story she was sharing.

Dario taught a great lesson for our Sunday School class.  He has such a strong testimony of Jesus Christ.  He only has a little more than a month left before he leaves for his mission.  We will miss him, but he will serve well in Argentina.
 Amado, Luis, Dario Ricardo, Enzo, Kimberly and Hermana Larsen 

I will close with this thought that Elder Holland shared in his talk at General Conference in October.
I am grateful to know this, and to feel the love of my Father in Heaven on a daily basis.