Monday, April 27, 2015

A Week of Lasts

I am so grateful for the peace and strength that come through scripture study.  This past week, I decided that everyday, during scripture study,  that I would write down the thoughts and impressions that came to my mind.  My scripture study has been more focused as I have been doing that.  I feel like I have recognized the Lord's promptings more clearly.  I love this video that explains how scripture study and prayer are the spiritual bread, or nourishment that we need everyday. I hope you will take 3 minutes to watch. Click here.

This has been a week of "lasts," as next week will be as well.  Monday we had our last activity with the missionaries at the house.  For a couple of them, it was their first and last activity.  We ate sour cream enchiladas, Texas Caviar, Mexican rice, and pecan pie.  Not a bad way to go out!

We had our usual activities with emailing,
Hermana Marsh and Hermana Rossberg

playing games,

and ping pong in the entry hall,

We also had a few new activities, such as wrestling, (oh boys will be boys,)

Elder Bartholomew exhausted after wrestling.

Elder Ruiz serenaded us with his trumpet.

And the missionaries found this ugly creature!

And of course we had to take a few photos.
Elders Bigelow, Stevenson, Nash, Guerra, Priest, Bartholomew, Rawson, Ruiz, 
Hermanas Rossberg and Marsh

Elder Stevenson did a great job of "Return and Report," by showing me the things that they had cleaned up in their apartment after our inspection.  What a good elder!
No more mold on the tub and no more crumbs in the pantry.  Nice!

Afterwards, Elder Larsen had to take the Telde and Vecindario missionaries home because they no longer have a car.  The Vecindario missionaries were the last ones in our mission to have a car.
Elder Stevenson and Elder Bigelow

Elder Nash and Elder Guerra

Wednesday, we cooked for the Las Palmas District meeting.  I made my last batch of Jewish Sweet Bread, (I wonder how many loaves I have made in the past year) and crockpot steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and apple cake.

Once again, they were full and happy!

We made our last drive to Port Mogan to teach the Herheims.  There are many round-abouts here on the island, and some of them have very odd artwork in the middle of them.  But this is one that I really like.

Afterwards, we drove to Vecindario.  Elder Nash was happy to get his wallet back that he had left at our house.  And we were grateful for Elder Guerra's knowledge of three languages.  He speaks Swedish, Spanish, and English.  Amazing!  He was able to translate a notice from Spanish to Swedish that was put on the Herhiem's door.  What a talented young man!

And I had my last piano lesson with Laura.

Thursday we taught our last two adult Institute lessons and Thursday piano lessons.  We also inspected apartments for the last time.  Of course we found the sisters' apartment to be very clean.

Overall the elders apartments looked good as well.  The four elders are living together now, but only two of them were there for the inspection.  The other two needed a little more work on their bathroom.  We will see if they "Return and Report."

After English class, I was able to participate in teaching a lesson to Yamilka.  She is such a sweet young woman and she is enjoying reading The Book of Mormon and learning more about our beliefs. Afterwards, we found Annie in the hallway.  It is always a fun opportunity to visit with her.  I am going to miss her smiling face when we leave. 

Friday, I made my last pans of cinnamon rolls for the young adults and missionaries.  We had our last Institute class.  Then on Saturday, we had the young adults to our house for barbecue chicken sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, chips, and their favorite banana cake.  

Francisca had come over from Tenerife and we were so glad to have her at the party.

Bryan sent in his mission papers, so he is now waiting for his call.

Aida made a video, with pictures from the blog, of our past year here on the island.  She also had recorded the young adults sharing goodbye message for us.  She had done most of them during the young adult conference, and I never even knew it.  Thank you, thanks for all your work and giving us a way to go back and see our wonderful young adults!
 Aida and Sara watching the videos.

Mosiah, Francisca, Bryan, Andrés, Josué, Kimberly, and Enzo watching the videos.

They also gave us a photo frame with pictures from the conference.

And Andrés gave Cody a shirt and he gave me a shirt and a necklace and earrings.  He is a wonderful young man and we will really miss him.  We hope that he continues to study the gospel and has a desire to join the church someday.

 Wow! We are going to miss these great young adults.

After the party was over, we got things together to drive to Vecindario to teach a cooking class.  I had made a salad for the Ward Christmas Party and they were still talking about it.  It was just lettuce with mandarin oranges, kiwi, pomegranates (had to substitute dried cranberries this time,) and candied walnuts.  It does have a delicious honey, mustard, lemon, garlic dressing.  And they wanted to make snickerdoodles as well.  

Nancy made papas arrugadas.  This is a traditional Canarian dish that I love.  It is served with mojo sauce, which originated form the Canary Islands, which is made primarily of olive oil, salt, water, local pepper varieties, garlic, paprika, cumin or coriander and other spices.  Everyone has their own special way they make it.  You can use red bell peppers or green bell peppers.  It is absolutely delicious.  I was glad to have an opportunity to eat it one more time before we left the island.  I need to learn to make this yummy dish!

The missionaries were at the building when the food was ready, so of course, we invited them to eat with us.

We had our last Sunday at Vecindario.  Our meetings were wonderful because we had their Ward Conference and our Stake leaders were there to speak.  Hermana Peinada gave me this embroidered placemat and and Gran Canaria picture frame.  She is such a dear, sweet lady.  We have loved the opportunity to get to know these good people in Vecindario.  They love the Lord and they are devoted to their service to Him.  It has been a pleasure to be with them.  We also had our last Institute class with Vecindario.  It was a tearful goodbye for me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Happy 35th Anniversary to Us!

This week I am very grateful for my sweetheart, Cody Larsen.  On Saturday, we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary!  There are not words to express how much I love this man.  I hear people say that making the decision of who to marry was the hardest decision that they ever made.  But for us, it was the easiest.  I am so grateful that I have had this wonderful man by my side for all of these years. And it has been great to have him as my full-time companion for the past year.  We first started talking about serving a mission together as soon as we got engaged, and now we are enjoying this opportunity. 

Monday morning, we started "dark" and early as we had to take one of my favorite people to airport. Even though we were pretty sure that Hermana West was going to be leaving us, it was still hard to say goodbye to her after 6 months of being here on the island with us.  She will be serving in a suburb of Madrid, so we will be able to see her occasionally when we get to Madrid.  We do love Hermana West and we have thoroughly enjoyed serving with her.  

Because we had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to pick up the sisters and get to the airport, after we dropped off Hermana West, Elder Larsen, Hermana Rossberg and I went back to the mission home and slept for a couple of hours.  We had waffles for breakfast, yummy!  Then we went to the Botanical Gardens.  







I just loved all the flowers! 
Even though I am not a cactus lover, I thought the cactus blossoms were beautiful.

After we finished at the gardens, we headed to the airport to pick up Hermana Marsh, who is Hermana Rossberg's new companion.  She is from Murray, Utah.  She is enthusiastic and ready to work.  I think they will make a great companionship.

We also got to meet Elder Stevenson, who will be Elder Bigelow's new companion in Telde.  I am thankful for these young people.  They are so positive and so ready to serve.  They inspire me and make me want to be better.

We needed to drive the hermanas to get groceries before we took them to their apartment, so we decided to eat at a little hamburger place that we have been to a few times.  The hermanas seemed to like it too.

Tuesday night, after piano lessons and English classes, Elder Rawson and Elder Bartholomew gave the lesson for home evening.  

We played a game of grapevine.  We played this game when we very first got here, and I couldn't even understand the words in Spanish, let alone pass them on.  But this time, I actually understood the message and was able to pass it along.  But, of course, by the time the message made it down this long line, the message was completely wrong.

 Aren't these two hermanas the happiest things?

Wednesday, we had district meeting in Vecindario.  This is such a great group of missionaries.  And they all have a smile on their face because we had just finished our meal of apple pork chops, baked potatoes, salad, and Jewish Sweet Bread.  Or maybe it was the strawberry pie that brought the big smiles!

Afterwards, we inspected their apartments.  Elder Nash and Elder Guerra did a pretty good job on their apartment.  They only had a couple of little things to clean up.

And they even entertained us with their masks from the Chinese Wok.

Then we headed to the aparment in Telde.  We were a little disappointed with Elder Bigelow and Elder Stevenson's apartment.  Some things looked good, but there were several areas that were in need of some elbow grease.  They promised that they would get to work and report back when they had things cleaned up.  And they had smiles on their faces when we left.

Rafa, Evani, and Moroni invited us to have dinner with them on Saturday.  We enjoyed a delicious meal and we also enjoyed visiting with them.  It will be hard to leave these good people when we move to Spain.

Sunday morning, we attended church in Las Palmas.  We were asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting. I spoke about how we can become instruments in the Lord's hands.  That is something I have been thinking a lot about for the past few months.  I want to be able to serve others and reach those who the Lord would have me serve.  In this past general conference, Elder Ringwood gave a talk entitled, "Truly Good without Guile."  He said:

"The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that the desires of our hearts can be transformed and our motives can be educated and refined.  When we are baptized into the true fold of God, we begin the process of becoming new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17; Mosiah 27:26).  Each time we renew the covenant of baptism by partaking of the sacrament, we are one step closer to that ultimate goal."

Elder Larsen spoke about the Savior's atonement, and did a wonderful job, as usual.

And I had to snap a few photos of these great missionaries.

This is Yamilka.  She was at church today.  We just love this young woman.  She has attended English classes off and on since September.  Last week, I felt very inspired to ask her if she had ever visited with the missionaries about our beliefs and she said no.  When I asked her if she was interested in learning more about our beliefs, she said yes.  She has had two lessons with the missionaries and has attended church the past two Sundays.  She is interested in learning more.  She is such a sweet person.  I have felt so close to her.  These goodbyes are going to be so hard.

Yesterday, they had an activity to get the youth ready for the conference this summer.  The theme is "O Ye that Embark in the Service of God."  Eli was showing me the boat and posters they had made for the activity.

Mosiah got his mission call this week.  He has been called to serve in the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo West Mission.  He reports July 1st.  We are so excited for him.  He will be a great missionary.