Sunday, May 17, 2015

Zone Conference #5

I am so grateful for the blessings of technology.  Because of the internet, we have the scriptures available at our fingertips, anytime, anywhere, on laptops, or mobile devices.  We also have the talks from the semi-annual general conferences available on the internet.  These are talks given by apostles and prophets of the Lord.  They always give inspired messages that help me want to be and do better.  I love listening to the conference talks in the morning while I am getting ready.  I have listened repeatedly to this talk by President Uchtdorf, "The Gift of Grace."  (Click here to listen.)
In Romans 3:23 we are told:

  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

President Uchtdorf said, "We cannot earn our way into heaven; the demands of justice stand as a barrier, which we are powerless to overcome on our own. . But all is not lost.  The grace of God is our great and everlasting hope. Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the plan of mercy appeases the demands of justice:

 “and [brings] about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.”  Alma 34:15

Monday was a busy day as we unpacked and tried to get organized.  We spent several hours at the store looking for things that we needed for the apartment.  It was a busy day, we were able to accomplish a lot.  

We have a decent-size grocery store one block away.  We made our first trip and took the little pull cart that the Hermanas had given to Hermana Chapple.  The pull cart worked great, but we bought more items than it could carry.  We will have to do a better job of planning what we will buy on our walking trips.

We had felt like we were going to be "thrown into the fire," this week since the Chapple's flew back to the States on Monday.  It literally felt like "the fire," because Madrid had record-breaking temperatures the first part of the week, getting to 100°, and the air conditioner was broken at the office.  We were miserable.  There is no air conditioning in our apartment, but by pulling down the outside blinds during the days, we were surprised that it wasn't unbearable at night.  The temperature cooled off on Friday and Sautrday, so we were very grateful.  

Friday, we had a Zone Conference with the five zones that are in the Madrid area.  It was fun to see some of our missionaries again.  Last week, I wasn't able to visit with Hermana Irigoyen, so it was fun to visit with her.  She left the island in October.  She is such a sweet girl and a wonderful missionary.   

 And it was good to visit with Hermana West again.  Both of these girls stayed in the island for 6 months and I have really missed them.

Afterwards, we ate pizza and some of the missionaries had packages and letters from home.

Here we have some of the missionaries who challenged President Jackson to do push-ups.  
He stayed  in almost to the bitter end.

Not quite the cozy group of just 30+ missionaries that we had on the islands.

After the meetings, we attended a temple session with the Bakes.  The building where meeting was held and the temple are located in the same complex.  I have seen posters of the complex, and the sky looked too blue to be real.  That's how it was on Friday.  My picture doesn't do it justice.

 Afterwards, we were going to go out to dinner.  We took the Metro to an area where there were several restaurants.  Unfortunately, because it was a holiday, they were all closed.  Our only available choice was Burger King.  Oh well!  We enjoyed visiting with the Bakes and look forward to spending more time with them.  Their office is at the complex and their apartment is right across the street.

Saturday night, Hermana Clements and Hermana Bingham asked me to go to a lesson with them. They are sweet girls and I enjoyed being part of their lesson.  They asked me to share my feelings about the Sabbath day.  It is such a blessing to me and I am so grateful for the opportunity to partake of the sacrament every Sunday, ask for forgiveness of my sins, and covenant again with my Savior to take His name upon me, to lift the burden of others, and to remember Him always.  It is a spiritual renewal that prepares me for the week ahead.

 Hermanas Clements, Larsen, and Bingham

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this little one during Sunday School class today.  
She was just precious.  It did make me very homesick for my little grandchildren.

We wanted to have the missionaries over for dinner today.  Because we have 11 missionaries in our ward, and we have a small apartment, we had to only have half of them come today, and half will come next week.  I forgot to take a picture until they had left the building, so we snapped this shot through the kitchen window.  We work with these elders in the office and they are a great group of young men.
Elders Gentry and Ridd are the APs-Assistants to the President, Elder Hendricks is the mission secretary, Elder Nielsen is over finances.  He finishes his mission next week and he is training Elder Daniels as his replacement.

I made barbecue chicken sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, and chocolate lush for dessert. We had to buy a few more plates, and more silverware to serve 7 people.  I only have two pots, and I had to use both of them to cook my potatoes.  Then I didn't have anything large enough to mix the potato salad in.  It was quite the feat to prepare the meal in the tiny kitchen.  Years ago, Elder Larsen's sister moved into a house with a very small kitchen.  She called it a "Barbie" kitchen, because it was small enough to be in a Barbie Doll house.  For years now, we have been using that phrase.  And now, I truly have a Barbie Kitchen.  It is cute, but so tiny.  When we got back from our big grocery shopping trip (in the car,) there was no room on the cabinets for all the sacks, so Elder Larsen sat them on the floor.  Then there was no room to open the refrigerator doors or cabinet doors.

And who thought this tiny sink was going to work for washing dishes.  It's only been a week, and I have soaked myself three times already.  This kitchen is definitely going to be a challenge!

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