Thursday, August 20, 2015

Multi-Miracle Marathon

I am so thankful for the Lord and for the little miracles that he provides in the my life and the people around me.  We were able to view some miracles that took place for this lady on the left, Hermana Dayton, on Monday and Tuesday that were pretty amazing.  Her story is amazing as well.  She is the mother of seven children.  On April 21, 2000, which was Good Friday, her husband, Bill Forrest, was struck and killed by a gravel truck.  In April Conference of 2010, Elder Andersen shared their story which you can read here.  About a year ago, Sister Forrest married Merrill Dayton.  Four months after they were married, he was called to be the president of the Spain Barcelona Mission, so they have only been here in Spain for a little over a month.  Her youngest son is serving a mission in Ghana. She had planned to pick him up from his mission, with one of her sons, and she thought she had everything planned out, 4 months ago.  On Friday, her son found out that they had to have a visa to enter into the country, and that they had to have a yellow fever shot, even though she had been told that they did not need one.  There was nothing she could do until Monday morning.  She found out that all of the clinics in Barcelona were booked up for shots, and that she would have to come to Madrid for a shot. She also talked to the Ghana Embassy in Madrid, because the one in Barcelona had been closed.  She rode the high speed train from Barcelona and we picked her up at the train station.  It was fascinating to hear her story of the trials and blessings that she experienced as she raised her 7 children, after the death of her husband.  Some of her children really struggled with the death of their father.  It was particularly hard for her youngest son, who was only 5 years old at the time.  He struggled with separation anxiety up until the time he went on his mission.  That is quite the story as well.  Let´s just say that many miracles fell into place and he has been able to serve as a faithful missionary and has had some amazing experiences.  Because of losing his father, he felt great compassion for the many orphans who are there in Ghana.  This is an article about major floods that took place in his area in Ghana. Because of his mom getting married while he was on his mission, it was very important to him that his mother would come and tour his mission and that he would have the same homecoming experience that his brothers and sister had.  

Sister Dayton was a little overwhelmed when she found out that things were not all in place for her flight on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.  Her son in Arizona had to go to Houston to get his visa.  He obtained the visa, but he had problems with the ticket that she had purchased in his name, but with her credit card.  Monday night, we were at the airport from about 10:30 p.m. to midnight, trying to get the situation worked out.  The people at the Madrid airport were not able to help, but another miracle happened an they finally refunded the money for her ticket, and then let him purchase another ticket at the same price.  We were grateful for another miracle.  The next morning, we took her to the Mission Training Center, where President Lovell met her.  They have a person who helps with the vaccinations there, and that man was going to drive her to a city about an hour away, where a clinic said they could give her the shot she needed.  After waiting at the clinic and then going to the hospital nearby, she finally got her shot.  Then she met us at the Ghana Embassy, which looked anything but official.  The man who was working with us was very rude and unreasonable.  We were grateful to Elder Larsen for his ability to connect with people.  They never really connected, but he was certainly able to get the man to calm down.  Finally with much persistence and silent prayers, she got her visa. Let's just say that we were a little surprised to see the handwritten visa, but as it turned out, she did get into the country.  We got her on a plane back to Barcelona, where she arrived at 5:30, and she was on the plane at 7:00, headed to Ghana.  We got a quick email from her and she was having a wonderful time.  Truly a Multi-Miracle Marathon.  I love to see the Lord's hand at work in the lives of his children.

Wednesday, we had our office meeting and afterwards, Hermana Bingham and Hermana Olsen came to the office to help Caroline with her Chemistry.  She is grateful for Hermana Bingham's knowledge of Chemistry, since she has already graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering.

On Thursday we had District Meeting with these great missionaries!

And here we have a rather dramatic presentation of documents by Elder Barlow to Elder Daniels. Getting our residency cards when we first get to Spain, and then renewing them at the one year mark requires quite the procedure.  Elder Daniels is happy to have his official paperwork that he needs for his upcoming appointment.  

While we were at the MTC on Tuesday morning, we ran into the Dos Santos, from Las Palmas.  They were spending the week attending the temple.  So, Thursday evening, we attended a temple session with them.  I love these two people.  They love the Lord and they have spent their lives in His service.  It is always a blessing to be with them.

When we came out of the temple, we saw Hermana Irigoyen, who had served in Las Palmas.  She is such a wonderful young woman.  I was so happy to visit with her for a few minutes.  It is hard to believe that she goes home in November.  She was just starting her mission when we arrived in the Canary Islands.

I am in charge of the cedulas for our mission.  These are the baptism records that the missionaries send to me, that contain the information about the people who have been baptized.  I received a cedula this week from Hermana West.  She included a Canadian flag and a cute little note.  That really made my day!

And I was able to teach with these sweet sisters.  I always enjoy being with them.

I realized that I didn't have any pictures of Elder Schwanke and Elder Ruiz this week, so I snapped this quickly in the hallway of the church.  We have seen them a lot this week, but for some reason, no pictures.

The hermanas came over for dinner.  We had Cafe Rio sweet pork, Texas caviar, fruit, and Black Forest Cheesecake for dessert.  The fruit to the right of the watermelon is a type of cantaloupe, with green meet.  It is so strange to eat something that you expect to taste like honeydew, but it has that distinctive cantaloupe flavor.  We haven't seen much cantaloupe, so I really enjoyed it.

It was a little bit sad to all be together for what could be the last time.  Transfers are next week, and there is a possibility that one or two of these sweet hermanas could be transferred.  We are grateful for the time we have had to serve together.

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