Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Stake Conference and Company

This week I am grateful for these two young women.  I am grateful for their smiling faces.  I am grateful for their desire to share the joyful message of the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Spain.

Monday evening we drove them to "Door #66."  They had gotten this address as a reference of someone who is interested in learning more about the gospel.  The picture does not show how is door is right on the side of a curvy mountain road.  Unfortunately, no one was home.

Elder Larsen was kind enough to take us to get an ice cream afterwards.
Hermanas West, Larsen, and Rossberg

I love these missionaries who are always such a help at our English classes.

Tomás and Hermana Rossberg                                                          

Elder Rawson and Juan Carlos

Hermana West and Antonio

Desiree and Elder Bartholomew

We played a fun game of Concentration on Tuesday night to review some of our vocabulary words. Elder Priest was helping Antonio, and when the previous person missed a match, Elder Priest was so excited to tell Antonio what two numbers he needed to pick.  And he was wrong.  Let's just say he was a little embarrassed.  But we all still love him!  Even his companion still loves him.

We had a good district meeting on Wednesday with the Las Palmas District.  I was asked to give a spiritual thought.  It was nice that my Spanish has improved enough that I was able to share my message without having to read it.  The theme of my message was how to be an instrument in God's hands.  I have given that a lot of thought lately.  I always have that desire, but particularly while we are called as full-time missionaries, I want to receive inspiration and be able to act upon it.  I love this scripture form 2 Timothy 2:19-22:

19 . . . The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

"Meet for the Master's use."  I love that phrase.  I obviously still have some work to do!

We had barbecue chicken sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, and chocolate lush for dessert. Very yummy! Elder Larsen splurged and bought a bottle of real pickle relish at the British/American store, $3.30 for 10 oz.  We had been sweetening the pickles that they have here, and then chopping the up. That works okay, but the real thing was so much better! 

Elder Ruiz couldn't finish his dessert, so I caught him feeding it to his companion, Elder Priest.  
Too funny!

Elders Bartholomew and Rawson, Hermanas Rossberg and West

Wednesday afternoon, we made our long drive to Puerto Mogan to visit the Airhimes.  He made us vaffels, topped with strawberries and whip cream.  They were absolutely delicious and he shared the recipe.

We always enjoy our visit with them, and their beautiful view.

Then we drove back to Vecindario for piano lessons and Institute.  We had a great class with these young adults.  They have such a wonderful spirit about them.  They come to class ready to learn.

And I remembered to take a picture of our morning Adult Institute calss on Thursday.  
We had a good group for our evening class as well, but no photo.
 Jesús, Jonathon, Gabby, Los Dos Santos, Elder Larsen, Loida, and Tomás

Thursday night for English classes, Elder Priest was in Vecindario, so Elder Nash joined us.
 Elders Ruiz, Rawson, Nash, and Bartholomew

 Hermana Rossberg and Hermana West

Friday morning, Rafa had asked Elder Larsen if he could pick up a hedgehog from a man who lived in San Mateo, not too far from us.  What a very unusual pet!  Rafa already has a hedgehog, and was very happy to get another one.  

He also wanted a picture with Elder Larsen holding the hedgehog. 

We have had another week of rainy, cool weather, but we did enjoy several rainbows on our drive to the church on Friday night.  Too bad my camera doesn't show how truly beautiful the colors were.

When we got to the church, these elders were just headed out in the rain with smiles on their faces.
Saturday, we cleaned and cooked, and then met President and Sister Jackson, and their daughter Megan at the airport to give them a car.  Elder Larsen took me back home, and then went to his stake leadership meetings in Las Palmas.  I was busy finishing up laundry, making cookies, and getting things prepared for the muffin-tin omelettes that we were going to have the next morning.  Elder Larsen came back and picked me up for the evening session of stake conference.  We had a very inspiring meeting with some very good talks.

Elder Ruiz de Mendoza was our Area Authority.  I was able to get a picture of him with Elder Guerra and Elder Nash.  Afterwards, he visited with Elder Larsen and me for a little bit.  He speaks perfect British English.  He is actually a professor of linguistics.  He does all of his study and writing in English, so he was interested in hearing us speak English.  He said that Elder Larsen's Oklahoma accent was much stronger than my Texas accent.

We also got to see the Las Palmas elders and the Telde elders.
Elders Rawson, Bartholemew, Bigelow, and Norrell

Afterwards, we went out to eat with the Jacksons. Hermana Megan Jackson had just finished her Spanish speaking mission in Florida.  She flew to Madrid to spend a few weeks with her parents, before returning home to Utah.  We enjoyed the opportunity to get to know her.  We ate at a restaurant on the boardwalk and she wanted to walk barefoot in the sand.

Sunday morning, we attend the morning session of stake conference.  I was able to get a quick photo of Kimberly and Ruth from Vecindario.

Hermana Ruth Jackson, Hermana Megan Jackson, and President Jackson

Hermanas West, Rossberg, Elders Norrell, Rawson, Bigelow, Bartholomew, Ruiz, and Priest

After the meetings, President Deniz and his wife invited us over for a lovely dinner at their home.

After our delicious dinner, we took turns playing a hymn while everyone sang, and then the Deniz girls, Andrea, Maria, and Vicki, each played a song for us.  They are very talented and are working hard at the piano.  They take turns playing for Sacrament Meeting in Telde.

President Deniz has such a beautiful family.  He is such a dedicated man to serving the Lord and helping the church grow here in the islands.  His wife and daughters are so supportive and have such a sweet spirit about them.  It was a privilege to be in their home.
Andrea, Doli, Vicki, President Deniz, Maria

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring Flowers

I am so thankful for the beauties of nature and the beautiful weather that we have been enjoying.  We are enjoying such beautiful spring weather and I just love all the flowers that are growing all over the mountain sides.  The sunshine and warm weather are just perfect!


On Monday afternoon, after getting some things done around the house, we went to Playa del Ingles to relax and read our books for a couple of hours.  It was a nice afternoon, even though the wind was quite strong.  We were grateful for the warm sunshine.

We saw some more interesting sand sculptures.

Somehow I forgot my camera at home most of the week.  We had a good turn out for our family night at the church, and the elders gave a nice lesson.  We attended district meeting in Vecindario and we had chicken cacciatore with homemade noodles, Jewish Sweet Bread, and scotcheroos.  It was yummy!  But I wasn't able to get a picture of Elder Bigelow and Elder Norrell.  I did remember my camera when we were back in Vecindario on that night for piano lessons, so here is a Elder Guerra and Elder Nash.

Thursday night I had these good missionaries in English class.  They are always a great help.  

Friday afternoon, we drove to Maspalomas to visit Hakan Palm who had a stroke earlier this week. We were glad to find him looking good and he had received a good report from the doctors.  We drove to Las Palmas for our Addiction Recovery Class and then we had our planning meeting with Aida for our upcoming conference.  After that we had institute.

And I got this photo of our good hermanas and Aida.  

Saturday we watched the broadcast of the devotional by Randall Ridd, "Living with Purpose: The Importance of Real Intent," that was given in January.  This talk has such a great message.  We had a good discussion after the talk.  I have continued to think about his message all week.

These are a few thoughts that he shared:

Imagine for a moment you are in a lifeboat on the ocean, with nothing but rolling waves in every direction, as far as the eye can see. The boat is equipped with oars, but which direction would you row? Now imagine you’ve caught a glimpse of land. Now you know the direction you must go. Does seeing land give you both motivation and purpose? People who don’t maintain a clear sense of purpose are drifters. Drifters allow the tides of the world to decide where they are going. . . It has been said that “the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why you were born". . . He quoted one of my favorite scriptures, 
“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is His grace sufficient for you, that by His grace ye may be perfect in Christ.”
He also quoted from Elder Tad R. Callister. “Why is it so critical to have a correct vision of this divine destiny of godliness of which the scriptures and other witnesses so clearly testify? Because with increased vision comes increased motivation.”
What a beautiful message!

On our way home, we drove by an address of a new investigator that the hermanas were given.  This address was down in the next valley, where we had never driven before. We saw more beautiful views around every corner.



Sunday, we attended church in Vecindario, had Institute, and then visited Hakan Palm again.  We taught another lesson to Andrés that night.

 Elder Nash, Elder Guerra, and Enzo

Monday, March 9, 2015

Welcome Home Yanira!

I am so grateful that a few days ago our weather changed and it doesn't just look like springtime.  It actually is warm and sunny like springtime.  I love the sunshine and I am very hopeful that we are in this nice weather for good!  This is just one of the beautiful weeds that grows everywhere.  It may be a weed, but the flower is so pretty and it makes me so happy when I see it.  

At 5:00 a.m. Monday morning, Elder Larsen took Elders McAlister, Peterson, Sarango, and Maxfield to the airport.  Elders Davis and Lopez spent the morning with us.  We had a big American breakfast and they enjoyed a little computer time to email.  Then Elder Larsen took Elder Lopez to the airport to get his new companion and they headed back to Fuerteventura.  Elder Larsen took Elder Davis to Las Palmas to stay with the missionaries there until Wednesday when his new companion came in. Elder Larsen picked up Elder Bigelow, who is Elder Norrell's new companion in Telde.  He stayed with us for a couple of hours and enjoyed a homemade pizza for lunch.  Then Elder Larsen made another run to the airport to pick up Elder Guerra, who is Elder Nash's new companion in Vecindario. By 7:00 p.m., Elder Larsen had all the missionaries where they needed to be.  Hermana West and I just spent the day cooking and visiting with the elders as they came and went.  

 Elders Davis and Lopez

 Elders Barlow, Bigelow, Rawson, and Lopez

 Elders Guerra, Nash, Bigelow,  and Norrell

I am sure that Hermana West was very tired of us by the time Wednesday afternoon rolled around. She was a wonderful guest and a good helper in the kitchen.  On Wednesday morning, we made lasagne, salad, garlic bread, and banana cake.  Actually, we made two banana cakes.  The first one failed miserably, so I had to whip out another one.  Oh the baking woes!  After district meeting, Hermana West and Elder Davis went with Elder Larsen to pick up their new companions.  We are happy to welcome Hermana Rossberg to the island.  She just finished her training in Madrid.  

Wednesday night we were in Vecindario and I got to meet Elder Guerra.  He is very friendly and ready to work.

Elder Bartholomew's new companion is Elder Rawson.  He is also the new zone leader.  As you can tell by his smile, he is happy to be here and ready to work.

Saturday night we had a welcome home party for Yanira Parilla.  She served her mission in the Spain Malaga Mission.  We are glad to have her home again to be part of our group.

We had one of the young adults favorite dinners, chicken enchiladas, refried beans, and Texas caviar. with banana cake that did not fail.

Afterwards, we played very competitive games of Pictionary and then Wheel of Fortune.  Everyone really had a fun time.

And Joan volunteered to wash dishes.  I think he is just getting ready for his April wedding and is practicing being a great husband.

Sunday morning we attended the first two hours of church in Las Palmas.  Then we drove to Vecindario for Institute.  We had a good lesson and finished up with one of my favorite videos about the life of John Tanner.  If you want to be inspired, take the time to watch this twenty minute video. This man is the perfect example of giving his all for the Lord.  I feel humbled every time I watch it, and it causes me to take an inventory of where I am in my journey of coming to the Lord.  It makes me think of this quote by C.S. Lewis, from Mere Christianity:

“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self---in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.”

I have a long way to go!

We always love the opportunity to see our missionaries.

And after class, we had a belated celebration of Mosíah's birthday with his favorite, cinnamon rolls. He put his mission papers in last week, so we are just waiting for his call.