Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Week #1 in Madrid

I am so thankful for the opportunity that we had to serve in Gran Canaria for the past year.  We arrived on May 2nd, and we left on May 4th.  It was a wonderful opportunity to work with the missionaries and Young Single Adults.  We are very sad to leave behind the wonderful people from Las Palmas, Telde and Vecindario.  We have made many friendships that we will cherish forever. My happiest memories are of the activities that we had at the old mission home, when it was filled with these wonderful young people.  The house looked sad as we left it empty on Monday morning. 

Where are all the hungry people that ate at this table?

A sad, empty kitchen!
How many meals were cooked, cookies baked, and brownies iced?

Elder Larsen locking the door one last time.

This is the view of the drive down to the bottom of our street.

 And here we are with all of our luggage.

We appreciated President Deniz driving us to the airport.  He is a wonderful, dedicated servant of the Lord.  We enjoyed getting to know him and his family.

The skies were cloudy, so this was my last view of the island.

President Jackson picked us up at the airport.  We had dinner at the Jackson's with the Chapples.  We spent the week at the En Casa Hotel where we stayed when we got to Madrid last year.  They usually have internet in the lobby, but it was only working one of the nights that we were there.   

Tuesday morning, we started our training with the Elder and Hermana Chapple.  There is a lot to remember, and I was glad to have such a sweet, patient teacher.  I had worried about working in the office because I remember it being a mass of tan walls and cabinets.  But, I had forgotten that Hermana Chapple sits right by a huge window that has a very nice view out into a courtyard.  I love to see the green trees.

Elder and Hermana Lopez came up to the office on Wednesday to say goodbye to the Chapples. They have been over the missionary apartments for the past year.  Elder Lopez has been quite ill, so they have not been able to work for awhile.  Hermana Lopez gave Hermana Chapple these cute aprons. . . a flamenco dancer and a recipe for paella.

On Wednesday night, all 50 of the missionaries from the North and the Islands stayed in our hotel. We had the assignment to purchase and hand out food for their breakfast the next morning.  There are small kitchens in the hotel rooms, so we gave them sweet rolls, cereal bars, yogurt, a ham and cheese sandwich, fruit, and juice.  It was fun to see some of our missionaries that have been gone from the Islands for a very long time.

We had a wonderful training meeting with the entire mission.  This was the first time since 2011, when the Canary Islands became part of the the Spain, Madrid Mission, that the entire mission had been together at the same time.  Elder Dyches, from the Presidency of the Area, and Elder Allen, the Managing Director of the Missionary Department for the church, did the training.  The missionaries in our mission have been chosen as one of the test groups for using Ipads.  The meeting focused on the tools that the missionaries have to use in their work, and this will be one more tool.  They also talked about the importance of being obedient, and the blessings that come from obedience.

Afterwards we took a picture with a picture with all 200+ missionaries in front of the temple.

The Jacksons will be leaving in less than two months.  We will really miss them.

We really enjoyed seeing our missionaries.  
 Elder Poulson

Elder Bybee

                        Elder Wiltbank                                               Elders Guerra and Nash
                          Elders Rawson and Ruiz                                                 Elder Beuden
 Elders Mower, Dyer, Maxfield, Priest, and Hansen
 Elders McWhorter and Porritt
 Hermanas Marsh, Rossberg, and West

Las Palmas Missionaries with Elder Roka

We met Hermana and Elder Bake.  They have been here for two weeks.  They are serving at the Self-Reliance Center.  They are from Fruitland, Idaho.  He was the Ward Mission Leader there when Colby was living in Payette and serving in Payette and Fruitland.  Small world!

 We walked in the evenings in a huge park that was only a couple of blocks from our hotel. 
I just love this beautiful flower that grows in all of the fields. 

We checked out of our hotel on Sunday morning.  It was about a 30-40 minute drive from Alcobendas, where we will live and work, so we were happy to make that drive for the last time.  We went to church at the Alcobendas Ward.  Everyone was very friendly.  During the meeting, they asked us if we would share our testimonies.  How very different that experience was from my first time to do that a year ago in the Telde Branch.  I still have a lot to learn, but I certainly have improved.  Here we are with the Chapples and 8 of the 10 missionaries who serve in Alcobendas. We look forward to getting to know them better.
 Hermanas Larsen, Pavez, Staker, Chapple, Bingham, Clements,
Elders Ridd, Bohne, Larsen, Ecklund, Gentry, and Chapple

We spent the afternoon at the office and used the internet to talk to our children and their families and our parents.  It was nice to talk to our mothers on their special day.  We took a short break from phone calls and enjoyed chocolate cake and ice cream to celebrate Elder Chapple's birthday.  They spent their last night at the mission home, and we spent our first night in our new apartment.  A new chapter of our mission has officially begun!

Someone shared this scripture this week, and I have continued to think about it, Joshua 3:5,

And Joshua said unto the people,  "Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you."

I pray that will be the case as we embark on this new assignment.

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