Monday, June 22, 2015

Peñafiel and the Burgos Cathedral

This week I am thankful for these two wonderful people.  June 21, 2015 was there 60th Wedding Anniversary.  We were able to be part of the celebration for a few minutes by talking to them on Facetime.  I am grateful that they raised my husband to be the great man that he is.  I am particularly grateful that that taught him to love the Lord and to put Him first in his life.  I am grateful for the love that they have for my children and grandchildren.  Their acts of service to others continue to be an example to me.

Last Monday, I was able to observe the administration of a language test for Hermana Pavez, that was done on the internet.  Several of the native Spanish-speaking missionaries are able to work on their English with their companions, and this test ranks their speaking ability.  They can use the certificate when applying for jobs after the mission.  I will be helping with the testing after the Jackson's leave. I wish my Spanish was as good as her English.

Later on Monday, we had some heavy rainstorms.  As I sat in our apartment listening to it rain, it reminded me of being in Houston, where we have lots of heavy rainstorms.  It was rather cozy to be reading my scriptures, safe and dry, while I listened to the storm outside.  Unfortunately, our hermanas were not inside, safe and warm.  They share this photo with me.  Poor hermanas! They ducked into a metro station to get out of the rain and make some phone calls.  What dedication!

Elder Barlow has joined us in the office.  He is going to  replace Elder Hendricks, who will complete his mission on July 7th.  Another wonderful missionary who is willing to serve, whenever, wherever, and however he is needed!  Elder Hendricks did the honors of presenting him with his iPad.

Tuesday, Elder and Hermana Lopez joined us for their last office meeting.  About two years ago, they were asked to serve as service missionaries over the apartments for the mission.  They live here in Madrid, and were able to serve while living in their own homes.  They were first asked to serve 6 months and that turned into almost 2 years.  They have served well.  We will miss them.

Wednesday morning, before district meeting, we had a momentous event.  They came and picked up four cars to be sold.  Many months ago, the cars were pulled from the missionaries because it was determined that they were more effective without cars.  There have been many issues with taxes, registration papers, etc.  Elder Larsen had worked with the cars while we were on the island, and now he is over all of the cars.  It was a beautiful sight for him to see them rolling down the street.  

We had district meeting on Wednesday, and Elder Daniels shared a great message.  Because our missionaries now have iPads, they have a great tool to use to access the scriptures, church pamphlets, videos, pictures, etc.  But also, there is the temptation to access things of the world, or to waste their time surfing the internet.  They have been given very specific guidelines that can apply to all of us. They are to determine a purpose for using their device before turning it on.  And they are to turn it off when they have accomplished that purpose.  I like that.  Elder Daniels used parts of a talk that Randall L. Ridd gave in the April 2014 general conference.  His message is powerful:

You are growing up with one of the greatest tools for good in the history of man: the Internet. With it comes an elaborate buffet of choices. The abundance of choice, however, carries with it an equal portion of accountability. It facilitates your access to both the very best and the very worst the world has to offer. With it you can accomplish great things in a short period of time, or you can get caught up in endless loops of triviality that waste your time and degrade your potential. With the click of a button, you can access whatever your heart desires. That’s the key—what does your heart desire? What do you gravitate toward? Where will your desires lead?

I love this thought.  It is a good one to remember.
You can read the entire talk here.

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve with these four wonderful young woman.
 Hermanas Clements, Bingham, Staker, and Harper

Hermana Clements shared a yummy dessert with us after the district meeting.

And of course, all the elders were happy!
Elders Hendricks, Barlow, Daniels, Voss, Larsen Ridd, and Schwenke
    Elder Daniels was very excited to get his birthday package, even though it was a little late. He             actually wore his birthday hat a couple of days in the office, and has played his kazoo for us. He purchased a ukulele last week, so he can work on being a one-man band!

These good sisters have worked so hard this week, but they have had several people who have not shown up for their appointments.  I was going to teach with them twice this week, but both times were "no shows."  Somehow, they just keep smiling, and making phone calls to contact more people,

We played a fun game after the home evening lesson.  Elder Daniels got these fun balloons in his birthday package.  We used them to play a type of line volleyball in the dark.  Everyone participated and had a good time.  Several people noticed the length of Elder Larsen's arms and determined that he had an unfair advantage.

 Not too sure what this expression is from Elder Voss.  Was his drink too sour?

Since we had worked in the office on Monday, we took our p-day on Saturday and did some sightseeing.  We started out by driving just under two hours to see the castle of Peñafiel.  We had been driving along looking at wheat fields, and grape vineyards, when we caught our first glimpse of the castle.  It sits up on a knoll, where it has a view for miles and miles.  

Elder Larsen visited this castle with some missionaries almost 40 years ago.  At that time, there was not even a road up to the castle.  They hiked up to climb around the ruins of the castle.  Today, there is a road, a fee to enter, a tour guide.  Also, on one end, there is a wine museum.

This model of the castle is made out of wine corks.  

The castle is sometimes referred to as a battleship because it is long and narrow.  It was built in the 13th century and was mainly used for defense.

I feel like I am transported back in time when we are in a castle.  I really cannot imagine living at this time period with so many wars and having to constantly defend your territory.  

Both ends of the battleship.

When Elder Larsen was talking to our guide, and told him that he had hiked around the castle 40 years ago, the man was very surprised.  He told him that it would not have been safe and that Elder Larsen must of been very daring.  That probably describes 19 year old boys fairly well!

As we were leaving, Elder Larsen commented that the weeds growing on top of the wall in this one area reminded him of how the entire castle was full of weeds, not the wood and gravel walkways that we were on.

At the end of the tour, we saw an amazing medieval Playmobil castle and village.  I wish our grandchildren would have been with us.  They would have loved it.  

Next we drove to the city of Burgos and grabbed a bite to eat before touring the cathedral.  Elder Larsen ordered a hamburger with lettuce and tomato, but they brought him a hamburger with a meat patty, ham and a fried egg.  We had noticed that fried eggs were the most common side dish on their menu.  I guess since we didn't order one, they felt like they needed to bring us one anyway.  I was grateful it was on his hamburger and not on my baked chicken.  I do enjoy the outdoor tables at all of the cafes.

Then we toured the beautiful cathedral that was started in the 13th century and was finished in the Gothic style in the 16th century.  The architectural construction of this cathedral is amazing.

The doorways and altars were amazing.

The vaulted ceilings in the long hallways were majestic and I always love seeing the organs.

I am amazed by the detailed work on the marble sculptures.

I love the stained glass windows.

But my favorite things are the ornate ceilings.  In each room, I would think I had found my favorite, until I went to the next room.  They are supposed to represent the beauty of heaven.  

Sunday we had the hermanas over for lunch.  While we were waiting for the food to get ready, they were busy with their iPads.  It has been interesting to hear how they are using them with their teaching.  

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