Monday, Hermana Pack and I were at the store once again, buying food for the Farewell Dinner for the December missionaries. We made muffalottas and shrimp gumbo, yummy! Muffalottas are my new favorite. So glad that Hermana Pack introduced them to me. And of course, Hermana Pack found another weird cut of meat to hand to me!
It was fun to have Caroline home on Monday and Tuesday to cook and visit with us.
It is always sad to say goodbye to these missionaries, but they have served well and it is time for them to move on with their lives.
Caroline, Hermanas Grenfell, Finch, The Packs, Hermana Shurtz, Seegmiller, Mattson
And just moments after the one group leaves, in walk the new missionaries. I love seeing their happy, perhaps a little bit nervous faces. They are starting out on their new adventure and they are ready to serve.
I was very happy to have Hanna helping me again with the food. She is a great cook and good company. She leaves next week for home. We will miss her.
After a day of training at the mission home, we drive all the missionaries over to Pavones to be given their new assignments and to meet their trainers. It looks like the stress of the day got to Hermana Pack and Elder Dugan. (Not sure where they found this very interesting glasses!)
It was dark when our meeting was over and we were able to enjoy the beautiful Christmas lights that adorn the Temple grounds.
Elder Guerra is our new Assistant to the President. We love this young man. We had the opportunity to serve with him on the island and he has to be the most positive, happy missionary that I have ever met. He is a humble young man who loves the Lord and wants to serve Him. Welcome Elder Guerra!
Friday morning, we had two new senior couples fly in from the States, the Esmiols, who will be serving on Gran Canaria (I am trying not to be jealous that they are headed back to my island and my friends. But seriously, they are amazing people and they will do a wonderful job serving in the Island,) and the Woodburys who will be in Gijon. They had a long day of filling out paperwork for their residency cards, going to their fingerprinting appointments, and then joining us at the mission home for dinner.
A funny side note. I decided to try making Country Style Pork Ribs for this dinner, a recipe that has been a family favorite for years. One of the main ingredients is homemade chili sauce, which of course I don't have with me in Spain. Every summer I make several batches of chili sauce from the tomatoes that we grow in our garden. The recipe calls for vinegar and several spices, which has to be cooked down for several hours. Because the smell is very strong, for the past several years, I have cooked it outside so that the smell wasn't in the house. I have always wondered if I could make the sauce with canned tomatoes, so I decided that I would try it. After I had cooked it for several hours in our apartment, there was a knock on the door. When Elder Larsen answered the door, a very pleasant man was standing there. He said he lives on the 5th floor (we are on the 1st floor) and he was just checking to see if that was where the smell was coming from. Apparently, when our apartment was being painted a couple of years ago, he had to sleep somewhere else for several nights because it was as if all the smells are vented directly to his apartment. He said he smells everything that I cook. He had checked with floors 2, 3, & 4 and apparently they don't smell anything. I felt bad, so I turned off my chili sauce and opened up the windows to air out the apartment. The next morning, I had to finish cooking it down, so I dressed warmly and opened up all the windows in the apartment. We didn't receive anymore complaints. Just one of the inconveniences of living in an apartment!
So, the Bakes came down from the North, and the Schwartz, and the Guerreros joined us. It is always a nice time to have all the senior couples together. We also had Elder Paul Johnson, of the Quorum of the Seventy, and his wife join us. They had flown in from Germany for a stake conference, and it was a pleasure to have them with us.
Guerreros, Bakes, Schwartz, Larsen, Woodburys, Esmiols, Johnsons, Packs
The next morning we all met at the temple. It is such a privilege to be together with these wonderful people in the Lord's house. I love being with these people who are willing to leave their families to serve the Lord full-time.
On Saturday night, we toured Madrid with the Bakes and saw the beautiful Christmas lights. We enjoyed having them stay with us for the weekend. They are good people who are doing a great work in Santiago.
We loved the nativity on the temple grounds.
Some of the Christmas lights of downtown Madrid.
Hermana Figueiredo has a new companion. Welcome to Hermana Freestone.
The Pack's invited us over on Sunday night. The Nickerls were there. They came to tour Spain with Elder Nickerl. They brought unbelievable amounts of Christmas candy, pudding mixes, brown sugar, shortening, etc. Their generosity was truly amazing! We enjoyed the opportunity to visit with them.