Friday, July 3, 2015

The Aranguren Family

This week I am particularly grateful for my wonderful companion, Elder Larsen.  Here is a picture that someone posted of him on Facebook this week.  He is the second from the left.  This picture was taken about 37 years ago, at the end of his service as a missionary in Spain.  He was a hardworking missionary back then, and he is a hardworking missionary today.  He has always loved the Lord and has put Him first in his life.  I am grateful to be able to share this missionary experience with him.


On Monday, the hermanas wanted to come over and spend some time.  We made delicious homemade pizza and just enjoyed visiting with each other.  They are wonderful young women.

Also, on Monday, Elder Ruiz joined us at the office.  He will be the AP (Assistant to the President) after Elder Ridd goes home on July 7th.  I loved serving with Elder Ruiz on the island and we are very happy to have him in the office with us.

Elder Daniels had his one year mark this week and decided to wear his party hat one more time!

Tuesday night, we had the opportunity to go out to dinner with the Jacksons and the Arnetts.  The Arnetts had been serving up north in Vigo.  They flew home on Wednesday morning.  We drove down to Temple Square, to meet President Jackson.  We were going to take the metro to the downtown area, to the restaurant, but a thunderstorm rolled in.  So, we went back to get President Jackson's car that seats seven people, just barely.  There is a third row of seating, but no space for legs. This is me crawling out of the backseat.  Elder Arnett sat in the back on the way home, but we didn't get a picture of him getting out.

 It rained so heavy that water was running down into the underground parking.  Sister Jackson was trying to keep us dry!
 We enjoyed a very nice dinner at an Italian Restaurant.  It was good food and good company with these two wonderful couples.
Then we went to a tapa bar.  This is where you can get a little bit of every kind of food, all in one place.  There is everything from fresh fruit, pastries, appetizers, to raw fish.  We were there on a Tuesday night and the place was packed.  The Jacksons said it is always full of people.  Next time, we will have to go hungry and eat there.

We received an amazing thank you and box of chocolates in the mail this week.  Elder Kirby's mother sent a sweet note to thank us all for the work we do in the office.  She says she knows it is behind the scenes and she just wanted us to know that our service was appreciated.  Was that sweet or what?!

We had a good lesson at our Friday night home evening at the church.  And afterwards, we celebrated Karen's birthday.  She is a very sweet lady and is learning and growing in the gospel.

Because we were going to be out of town on Sunday, we had the elders over to eat on Saturday.  I fixed sour cream chicken enchiladas, refried beans and Mexican rice.

It was definitely a hit with the missionaries!

And afterwards, we had apple pie and vanilla ice cream.  Delicious if I do say so myself!

Sunday morning, we were on the road at 5:45, headed to Santander to attend church with a family that Cody had known as a missionary.  He was serving as the Branch President in Valladolid right after the Aranguren family had joined the church.  They were new members who loved the Lord and wanted to learn and serve.  Elder Larsen got to know them very well and Leandro Aranguren is the man in the middle of the first photo of this post.  Elder Larsen was so happy to make contact with them after all these years.  Leandro has been ill with Parkinson's disease for some time.  He was in the hospital, so we went to church with Julia and her daugther Laura and son Jonai.  Also in this photo, on the left is Julia , Mari's sister.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner and were grateful for the opportunity to visit with them.

Then we went to the hospital to visit Leandro and Mari.  Leandro no longer recognizes people.  My heart broke as I watched my sweet husband talk to Leandro, and express his love for him, even though Leandro was not aware of what was going on.
I also wish I had a photo of Mari when she saw Elder Larsen.  There was pure joy on her face as she hugged him.  I think our reunion with loved ones in the next life will be just as sweet as their reunion was.  I was strengthened as she shared her testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how following His teachings has brought true happiness to her.  Even as she has cared for her husband round the clock for the past couple of years, she still has a positive attitude and her heart is filled with gratitude for the Lord.  
                                      What a privilege it was to meet this wonderful family!

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