Monday, June 8, 2015

Trip to Toledo

I am so grateful that we are now living so close to the temple.  I feel such peace and inspiration when I attend the temple.  And I am grateful that this week, we were able to attend the temple with one of our young adults from the Island.  (More about that later.)

Tuesday was a busy day at the office.  Elder Schwenke and Elder Ridd were busy making their calls to all the zone leaders when we arrived.

Then we had our weekly office planning meeting.  Afterwards, the important day finally had arrived. President Jackson announced that the office elders would receive their iPads so they could be familiar with them, and be ready to field questions when all the other missionaries receive theirs.  We had a few moments of "fun," as President Jackson used the sword he had made for him in Toledo, as Hermana Jackson handed out the iPads.

Elder Schwenke                                                                    Elder Hendricks

 Elder Daniels                                                    Elder Ridd and Elder Schwenke


                  Elder Voss                                                   Elder Daniels

Elder Hendricks shared some pretzel M&Ms that he got in his birthday package.
It was a Happy Day at the office.

Wednesday morning before district meeting, I taught a piano lesson to Diana, who is the Relief Society president.  She can already play some, and wants to get better so that she can play for the church meetings.  She is a very sweet lady.

Afterwards, we had District Meeting with this great group of missionaries. 

We had a lesson about how we can turn to the Lord to overcome our fears.  Elder Bednar's talk at the April General Conference was about overcoming our fears. 

"Truly, one of the great blessings of devoted discipleship is “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). . . Thus, we can be blessed to hush our fears because His doctrine provides purpose and direction in all aspects of our lives. "  Click here to listen to his talk.

I am grateful for the gospel in my life.  I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I am thankful to know that He is always there to help me, no matter what fear, challenge, or trial I have in my life.  He loves all of us and will be there to help us, when we seek Him.

Wednesday afternoon, I met Hermana Harper and Hermana Staker to teach with them, but their appointment fell through.  It was nice to visit with them as I walked back to the office.

That night, I taught with Hermana Bingham and Hermana Clements.  I really enjoy this opportunity.

Thursday morning, we were up early to pick up the Bakes and drive to Toledo.  The Bakes live across the street from the temple, and Toledo is about an hour from there.  We were invited to attend a conference for senior couples who are serving or have served with the young adults.  We met up with our group at Zocodover Plaza, which is in the heart of the old city of Toledo.  Josué, a young adult from Toledo, took us on a short tour of the city.  

Thursday was a holiday, Corpus Christi, which is a Christian observance that honors the Holy Eucharist.  We were in a "sea of humanity."  The streets were beautifully decorated and we were able to see the beginning of the procession.

             Here we are with Elder and Hermana Frost who are serving in the Malaga Mission. 

We saw some interesting sights, these statues for instance.  We were trying to make them out to be historic people, but we were told that they were just for fun to entertain the children at the end of the procession.  Interesting!

Also, just in front of this building, you can see what looks like a wet, moldy, mass of roots.  It is actually a work of art, made out of bronze.  I must say, I have a hard time appreciating this type of art.

We did enjoy watching a man do damascening, which Toledo is known for.  It is the art of inlaying different metals into one another—typically, gold or silver into a darkly oxidized steel background

Elder Larsen and I visited Toledo about 20 years ago.  I loved this beautiful art, but could only afford a small plate, about the size of a silver dollar.  It was lost in one of our moves.  I plan to replace it with a larger piece.  But, I am taking my time deciding what I want, since we will return to Toledo in the future.  

In the old city, there is a Muslim seciton, a Jewish section, and a Christian section.  This is just one of the many tiles that are enbedded in the walls and roads.  The streets are very close together with nothing but brick and stones, but many people make their windows beautiful with plants and flowers.

We saw many beautiful views of the city.

After our tour, we headed to the chapel, where Hermana Arjona had prepared a delicious meal for us. We enjoyed baked rice with shell fish, salad and a lemon cheesecake.

We had a good meeting with training from the Arjonas about the young adult program, a presentation from Elder Bake about the Self-Reliance program, and presentation by Elder Larsen about some of the activities that we did with our young adults.  I was inspired by each of these couples with the love for the Lord and their desire to serve him.  Hermana Frost is the medical advisor for the Malaga Mission.  She decided a few years ago to go to school to become a physician's assistant, because she wanted to have this knowledge to share as a missionary. She and her husband also work with the young adults.  The Redds are also in the Malaga Mission. They are serving in a very small town that is 300 km away from another church unit.  They are very isolated, but they are working hard and doing what they can to support this small group.  

  The Arjonas, Frosts, Bakes, Larsens, and Redds

The Redds and the Arjonas left after the meeting and the rest of us went to our hotel to check in.  We had originally planned to stay two nights, but realized that we only needed one night, and were disappointed to find out they would not let us cancel our second night.  We took a short walk to a restaurant to get a bite to eat.  Hermana Bake and I were not too hungry, so we ordered a guacamole and chicken wrap.  What were we thinking?  First of all, everyone had almost finished eating before we got our food, and then it wasn't edible.  It tasted like the guacamole had soured and the chicken was soggy.  Ugh!  Hermana Frost said she had some fruit and carrot sticks in her room, so Elder Larsen and I headed to the elevators by their room.  As the four of us stepped into the elevator, we commented on how it is a larger than normal elevator for Spain.  We were grateful because when the doors closed on the elevator, it moved slightly and then the lights on the control panel started flashing.  We were stuck!  We pushed the button to open the doors and we could see part of an outside set of doors and a concrete wall.  There was an emergency phone in the elevator that did not work, and when we rang the alarm button over and over, no one came to help us.  We were grateful for cell phones, and called the Bakes, who had wisely chosen a different elevator, and they called the front desk.  We waited about 30 minutes and still no one came.  Then Elder Larsen remembered that he had the number of the hotel and he called the front desk.  They asked which elevator we were in.   After educating us on where to look, we saw that we were in elevator #6 and after a little while longer, we were finally rescued.  While we were waiting, we had plenty of time to read all of the names that were written on the concrete wall.  Apparently, we were not the first people to get stuck in this elevator.  And the hotel employees were not the least bit concerned.   Their customer service was definitely lacking.

We did decide to add our names to the other 100 or so that are on the wall, to document that we too had been stuck in the elevator.  Our names are inside of the hearts!

Tuesday night, we had received a phone call from President Deniz, who is the stake president on the Island.  He wanted to let us know that Mosiah would be going to the temple for the first time, since he will be leaving for his mission to the Dominican Republic at the end of the month.  Of course, we wanted to be there with him, so, we got up early on Friday morning to drive back to the temple in Madrid.  Just as we got on the highway, the power steering went out on the car.  We decided to continue driving and pray for a miracle.  It was a long, tense drive, but we were blessed by having the power steering begin to work as we slowed down to exit the freeway.  We were so grateful to have arrived safely and on time.  We were so happy to be in the temple with Mosiah, his brother Abinadi and his wife, Mairi, and their precious mother.  

After the temple session, Elder Larsen talked to the man incharge of the cars, and he told him to park the car in the garage parking, below the complex.  This time, the power steering did not work at all, and it was quite the trick to get the car parked.  We were grateful that these good elders came to pick us up. We drove north the half hour plus to the mission home to get another car, and then started our trip back to the south to Toledo.  We finally met up with the Bakes at 3:00 p.m.  

We headed to the Alcázar, which is a fortress that was first used as a Roman palace in the 3rd Century.  Now part of it is a library, and the other part is the Museum of the Army.  Our only disappointment was that we had less than an hour to see what would usually take 2 1/2 hours in the museum.  We will definitely go back there again.

 This is the beautiful courtyard at the top of the building.  It was set up for a wedding reception.  Hermana Bake and I wanted to come back that night and crash the party.  

Instead, we pretended that we were Cinderella running down the staircase.  I wish all of my pretty granddaughters could have been with me.

We enjoyed the beautiful views.

There is a city regulation that if a roof is repaired in the old part of the city, it has to be done with the old style of tiles.  It is very pretty.

We also toured the Santa Iglesia Cathedral.  This is an amazing piece of architecture.  It's just hard to get good outside shots because of the narrow streets.

These ceilings just amaze me!

This is one of several large frescos that were painted on the walls of the courtyard.   

I just love this beautiful city!

We even took the bus to back to the old part of town to see the sights at night, which is after 10:00 before it starts getting dark.

We couldn't get a very good view of the Alcázar because of the other buildings.  

But when we got back to the hotel, the Bake's invited us to their room to see the view from their balconies.  It was spectacular.  My camera wouldn't focus from that far away, but we loved the view. We were on the opposite side of the hotel with no view.  We would have felt bad about it, but the Bakes got to hear the party music that went on to 4:00 a.m.  Pretty sure we are glad that we did not have a room on that side of the hotel.

We drove back Saturday morning and I had time to come home and make scotcheroos for Elder Daniels.
I also cleaned the apartment, did laundry and cooked.  I made Jewish Sweet Bread again.  It was delicious, except that the bottom of the bread was overcooked.  I am thinking it is the old cookie sheet that I am using.

Sunday, we had the hermanas over for dinner.  We had crockpot steak, rice, salad, bread, and strawberry pie (the strawberries have been so good that I just can't resist!)  I just love visiting with these happy girls.  I admire them for their desire to serve the Lord.

And I have saved the most exciting news for last.  Yamilka, got baptized on Saturday.  It was very hard to be here and not have the opportunity to participate in this special event, but we were thinking about her the entire time.  In my post, "Happy 35th Anniversary to Us," I talked about how I was inspired to share the gospel with her.  I received an email from Yamilka on Saturday night after the baptism.  How sweet it was to hear the spiritual experience that she had!  She already has felt peace and joy by making this decision to be baptized.  Truly, miracles can happen in our lives when we have Christ at the center.  
Hermana Rossberg, Yamilka, Hermana Marsh


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