Sunday, May 3, 2015

Goodbye to the Island!

Today I am so grateful for the opportunity that we have had to serve here in Gran Canaria.  We arrived on the island on May 2nd.  We thought we would be here for our entire mission, but plans have changed.  We have been so blessed to get to know so many wonderful people while we have been here.  We have seen the love and devotion that these people have for the Lord.  We have been enriched by seeing the dedicated service they give.  We will miss them dearly.  How grateful we are for modern technology that we have today, that makes it so much easier to stay in touch.  A part of our hearts will always be here in on the island.

Monday we were busy trying to get things organized to leave.  We seem to have accumulated a few things in the year that we have been here.

Tuesday, I taught my last piano lessons.  What a good opportunity it has been to work with these young women and with Luciano.  I love to share the gift of music and to see how it can bring joy to people's lives.  I just hope they will all keep practicing.  We also hope that another couple comes behind us soon, who can also teach piano lessons!

The sisters taught our last Home Evening Lesson.  That started out by giving everyone an Oreo cookie.  I was very blessed that they were one short, and didn't give me one, because we were supposed to put the cookie on our forehead and try to get it into our mouths without using our hands. I did get some fun photos.

And the winner is Elder Priest!

And of course there was a point to this activity.  Trying to get the cookie in our mouths represented our journey here in this life.  Without the use of our hands, getting the cookie in our mouths was very difficult, and for some, impossible.  Then they let us eat the cookie by using our hands.   Easy, right? Our hands represent pray, scripture reading, prophets, personal revelation from God.   If we use these tools that the Lord has given us, our lives are so much easier.

Afterwards, we played a group game that was actually pretty fun.  We were line up in two rows. We all held hands.  Everyone, but the first person in line, on each team, closed their eyes.  A coin was flipped, and if it landed on heads, then the first people squeezed the hand of the person next to them and so on down the line.  The last person in the line then grabbed for a water bottle that was on the chair at the end.  

 Here we have Felix winning one of the rounds.
But, by far, the funniest part of the evening was watching how uncomfortable the missionaries were as they were holding hands.  It was just too much for Hermana Marsh.

 Here are just a few of the people that we are going to miss when we go to Madrid.
Cynthia, Juan Carlos, Victor, Luciano, John, Felix, Elders Bartholomew, Priest, Hermana Larsen, Rossberg, Ximena, Elder Ruiz, (Row 2) Elder Rawson, Antonio, Christiani, Hermana Marsh

Afterwards, we celebrated Elder Rawson's birthday with a cake that the hermanas made for him.

And I also made him brownies, that he was kind enough to share with his companions.

After Home Evening, the hermanas showed me the gifts they received from one of their investigators.  Pretty sure Hermana Marsh will use hers for pajama pants.

For our last district meeting, the two districts decided to have a joint meeting.  We enjoyed, Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Burritos, Mexican Black Beans, Cilantro Rice, Texas Caviar, and Brownies.  Yum, yum! What a great group of missionaries we have been able to serve with.

Thursday we had our last English classes.  It's hard to believe that we have been teaching for a year. Afterwards, I was able to teach a lesson with the hermanas to Yamilka.  She is such a very special lady.  I love having the opportunity to share my beliefs with her and to share my testimony of Jesus Christ.

Friday morning, this great group of young women, from Telde, came to the house for a two day conference.  It gave us an excuse to drive down to the south one more time.

A couple of photos of the view from our hotel balcony!

We enjoyed resting and relaxing before we start our adventures in Madrid.

This is a modern statue of the Canarian dog.  These dogs were native to the islands.  The Canary Islands get their name from the Latin word for dog, "canis."

Saturday night, we were able to attend the baptism for Jessica.  
It was also Jonathon's first opportunity to baptize someone, so that was special as well.  

When we got to church this morning, we had a powerful looking group of missionaries 
wearing their red ties.  Quite a handsome group!

It was nice to attend our meetings in the Las Palmas Ward where we started a year ago.  I was able to get a few photos of some of the friends that we have made here.  I wish I had been able to get a photos of everyone.  These people will always hold a very special place in our hearts.  I am so glad that many of them will be in Madrid this summer to go to the temple, so we will be able to see them again.

 Here we are a year ago, just beginning our adventure!

And here we are a year later, still happy, and still grateful for the opportunity to serve!  I am wearing my flower pin, and Cody has on his tie.  We count Fast Sundays, the first Sunday if each month, to mark how much time we have left on our mission.  All of our family members have flower pins and ties.  We love the support we feel from our families.  

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