Monday, June 1, 2015

Beautiful Temple Experience

I am very thankful for the life of Elder L. Tom Perry, who passed away yesterday, at the age of 92. He has served as an apostle of the Lord since April 6, 1974.  I was about sixteen when he spoke at the Melbourne Ward in Houston, Texas.  I have always remembered his big smile, positive attitude, and strong testimony of Jesus Christ.  I read a book that he wrote and he started out by saying that he was the only one of his siblings that didn't have a real talent.  He said some of his siblings were athletes, some musicians, some were artists.  He didn't have any of those talents.  He said he wasn't good at anything.  So, he decided that he could be the known as a positive and enthusiastic person.  I would say that he definitely succeeded.  I will miss his inspired talks and positive example.  He was a disciple of Jesus Christ.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.

Here is a video about an experience that he had as a Marine in Japan after World War II.  He was truly a man who "went about doing good."

This was a busy week with transfers.  Sunday night, these two sweet hermanas spent the night with us.  They have finihsed their missions.  Hermana Caroll's parents were meeting her at the Pavones building.  She was very excited.  Hermana Chavaria's family lives here in Spain.  It was fun to visit with them.

Hermana Caroll with her parents.

All the missionaries from the Madrid area, who were getting new companions, were at Temple Square.  Elder Larsen and I had driven over to pick up a load of suitcases that belonged to the 12 new missionaries.  When we got there, Elder Larsen got a phone call saying that he needed to make a quick trip to the train station to pick up some elders and take them to the airport.  Because of small cars and luggage, there was no room for me, so I stayed and enjoyed the beautiful morning.  I was able to visit with Hermana Irigoyen and Hermana West, and I had a great visit with Elder (Omar) Roka.  He was one of our young adults in Las Palmas.  It was so fun to visit with him.  He said my Spanish has improved a lot and I was able to understand him.  That is improvement.  Elder Roka loves being a missionary.  He has his father's same big smile and love for people.
Elder Roka with his new companion, Elder Bennett.

Monday night, Elder Davis and Elder Cantero spent the night with us. They have finished their missions as well.  We had a very early 5:30 a.m. wake-up call, but I managed to serve them pancakes to fill them up before they headed for home.

Elder Larsen dropped the elders off at the mission home to catch the bus that was leaving for the airport at 7:15 a.m.  We had 28 missionaries going home.  There are only a few of the suitcases that were at the mission home. Just imagine two suitcases and a carry on for 28 missionaries!

And this group of missionaries live in Spain and were going home by train.

After the early departure of the outgoing missionaries, then the new missionaries were picked up from the Mission Training Center at Temple Square and they went to the Mission Home for training. We were invited to come join them for lunch after the training.  It is fun to be around these new missionaries who were so excited and ready to begin their service.  (Are these missionaries looking younger and younger all the time?)
Hermans Harper, Cheret, Freestone, Grancagnolo, Vasas, and Clements

 Elders, Escobar, Farmer, Schenke (who is not new) Harris, Neilsen, Wagner, and Douglas

 Elders Hendricks, Voss, and Daniels and Hermana Jackson

President Jackson has a fun tradition of playing his accordion for the new missionaries.  He is definitely a man of many talents.  

After lunch, we drove back to the chapel on Temple Square for a meeting with the trainers who would be companions of the new missionaries.  The new missionaries were excited and anxious to find out who their companions would be and where they would be serving.  I must say I was very homesick when they announced that Elder Wagner was headed to Las Palmas to serve with Elder Ruiz.  

Elder Schwenke is the new Assistant to the President with Elder Ridd.  They both play the ukulele.  I love hearing them as they strum along while they are working and planning.

Monday was Elder Hendrick's birthday and he was very happy with his mint brownies.  I forgot that I did not have any green food coloring here, and it is very hard to find in stores.  But he still loved them.

Wednesday was a wonderful day. We spent a few hours working in the office and then attended our district meeting.  Elder Daniels gave a great message about service.  I love seeing these young people who have given up 18 months or 2 years of their lives to give service to the Lord.  

Then we headed to the temple to meet Leidi and Luciano.  They had asked us to be their escorts for their first time of attending the temple.  They are such sweet, humble people.  I have missed teaching Luciano piano lessons twice a week.  I feel spiritually uplifted every time I am around him.  After their endowment session, they were sealed to each other for all eternity.  It was a beautiful experience.  

Raquel had prepared a meal for everyone that we were able to enjoy after the sealing.  On Temple Square, there are rooms for rent for 10 euros a night, and there is a huge kitchen with a couple of dining rooms that people can use.  It is a wonderful facility.  We enjoyed spending time with our friends from Las Palmas.

On Thursday afternoon, we drove back to Temple Square to take Leidi and Luciano out to eat.  We found a very nice Chinese restaurant and enjoyed visiting with them.

Friday evening, Hermana Staker and Hermana Harper needed me to help them teach.  Elder Larsen had gone back up to the office, so I walked a very brisk 20ish minutes to the chapel.  I enjoyed sharing my experiences that I have had with prayer and receiving answers from God.

After their lesson, the other hermanas (forgot to take a picture) walked in and needed me to help with their lesson.  We had a very interesting lesson with a man who is very knowledgeable about the Bible, but he is trying to intellectual prove spiritual things.  It was interesting when he said that he knew that he was not being humble enough or praying with real intent.  He said that he knew that was why the Lord was not answering his prayers.  He committed to study and prayer everyday will real intent.  It will be interesting to see what experiences he has to share this week.

Friday was Hermana Harper's birthday and she said she loves chocolate, so I made her brownies.  She was very happyand  seems to be adjusting well with Hermana Staker.

Saturday, I did some cooking to get ready for our Sunday meal.  I made two loaves of Jewish Sweet Bread and it turned out terrible.  I do not know what happened.  I am struggling with this oven.  It seems to cook too hot.  I had turned down the temperature, but it still cooked too fast.  In 20+ years I have never, ever had any bread turn out as bad as this did.  But, I didn't have time to bake another batch.  Saturday night, we went back to Temple Square to meet the Duffins, who are serving in the temple presidency, and the Bakes, who are serving at the Self-Reliance Center.  They had asked us to go to an Italian Restaurant.  We took the metro and changed lines a couple of times.  The food was good and we really enjoyed visiting with both couples.  

We had these fine missionaries to dinner on Sunday.  We had apple porkchops, baked potatoes, salad and terrible bread, but they ate it all.  Just think how much they will like it when I bake a good batch.
Elders Hendricks, Daniels, Larsen, Shwenke, Ridd, and Voss (who is a new office elder.)

After dinner, I asked them to sing a song.  They sang a beautiful arrangement of "Families Can Be Together Forever" that Elder Schwenke had composed.  

Their voices really blended well.  What a great group of young men he have to work with!

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