Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

How grateful I am for the opportunity that we have had to get to know so many wonderful people here in Spain.  I have been blessed by the example of so many good people.  Their love for the Lord and desire to serve Him make me want to be a better person.  We had the privilege of seeing many of these wonderful people this week.

Monday, Hermana Pack and I went downtown to buy fabric so that I can make valances for the two windows in the kitchen of the mission home.  I wish I could adequately describe driving here in Spain.  From the round-abouts that have 6 + lanes and 6 + exits, and cars going every-which-way. and the GPS gives us wrong directions, and having to go down to the next round about to turn back around to go back to the same round about, to not being able to get across the 6 lanes of traffic to exit the first exit, to go down to the next round about and then not realize that we had run a red light, (which by the way, they have these round-abouts so that you don't have to have lights, but then they have too many people and too many lanes, and now you have round-abouts and lights) and we're out in the middle of the intersection of the round-about.  We were about 5 minutes from the fabric store and it took us at least 30 minutes to actually get there.  Let's just say that by the time we got parked in the parking garage, Hermana Pack said she might not ever drive downtown again.  

We were successful in getting fabric, and even managed to find Puerta del Sol and some stores where we found some good sales on clothes for our precious granddaughters.  We ate at the delicious Greek Shop and I wished that the hermanas were with us to show us the way, because the walking GPS is also not so accurate.  But we were happier to walk to all of these places than to get into the car and try to drive there!

Wednesday was a very special day.  It was a little sad that Elder Larsen had already scheduled his driving test, and it could not be rescheduled, but we were happy that he passed the driving portion of the test, and he is now a legal driver.  The license is good for 10 years, so we can come back on another mission and he will be legal to drive.  

Anyway, he dropped me off so that I was able to go to the temple with many of our friends from the islands.  It was their temple week, and Jonathon and Gabby went to the temple for the first time to receive their endowment and to be sealed.  We had attended their wedding on the island, and that day, I so hoped that we would have the opportunity to be at their sealing, that would seal them together as a family for eternity.  I was so happy to be there.  

Here is information from that explains more about the temple:

Temples are places of learning. Their principal purpose is to provide ordinances necessary for the children of God to enable them to return to dwell with Him. Temple ordinances lead to the greatest blessings available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Everything in the Church—the meetings and activities, the missionary efforts, the lessons taught and the hymns—all lead to the work done in holy temples.
One ordinance received in the temple is called the endowment. The word endowment means “gift,” and the temple endowment truly is a gift from God. The ordinance consists of a series of instructions and includes covenants to live righteously and follow the requirements of the gospel. The endowment focuses on the Savior, His role in Heavenly Father's plan, and the personal commitment of each member to follow Him.
Another temple ordinance is celestial marriage. In this ordinance husband and wife are sealed to one another for eternity. A sealing performed in the temple continues forever if the husband and wife are faithful to the covenants they make.
Elder Bartholomew had served in Las Palmas, but is now serving in Madrid.  It just happened to be his zone's day to attend the temple, at the very same session time as Gabby and Jonathon.  It was a special privilege for him to be there with them.

 This is just some of the people who were there for their special day.  

Leidi and Luciano were there from the island as well.  Leidi hand-embroidered this beautiful tablecloth for me.  She told me that Luciano picked the color blue because he knew I would like it.  I can't imagine the hours she put into making this for me.  I love these sweet people!

And Jonathon and Gabby remembered to bring me salt from the island.  When they spent the night with us several months ago, somehow I said something about not liking the salt here on the pennisula. It is very coarse, and is even hard to shake out.  I told them that I had looked for the brand that I liked on the island that Al Campo sold.  They told me that it was only made and sold on the island, and that they would bring us some when they came in February.  They did not forget.

Afterwards, I was invited upstairs to each lunch.  The Hostal is such a nice facility.  Families can pay to stay there for a minimal cost, and they have access to this huge kitchen.  I wish I would have taken pictures while the kitchen was full of ladies busily preparing food for their families.  

Here is the group from Telde.

The Packs flew to the island on Thursday morning, so we were in charge of Caroline and Jonathon.   The youth, from the island, had a fireside and then were going to do baptisms afterwards in the temple.  We picked up the kids after school and attended the fireside with them.  Elder Larsen translated for Jonathon.  Caroline is always happy to be with President Deniz's daughers.  I got a picture of her with Andrea.

As we were walking across the square to the temple, after the fireside, I was surprised to see Irenis Morillo talking to Josué.  She had finished her mission on February 2nd, and we had not exchanged contact information on our last email, so I had not yet had the opportunity to see her.  I was ecstatic to see her.  When she left for her mission in July, 2014, her family was living on the island, but they have since moved to Madrid.  Elder Larsen and I had the chance to visit with Kimberly, Josué and Irenis for about 1 1/2 hours.  It felt like old times being with our young adults again.  I love these young people with all my heart.  

 Elder Larsen took Caroline, Jonathon, and I to the mission home, and he and Josué spent the night at our apartment.  Josué had been waiting for over 8 weeks to receive his mission call.  Shortly after they got to the apartment, his mother called and said that the call had arrived in the mail.  Of course, he had her open it, and he is going to Barcelona and he reports on May 11th.  We are all so excited for him.

I spent Friday morning, measuring and cutting for the the valances and then Elder Larsen picked me up to have lunch with Hermana West and her family.  We enjoyed visiting with her sweet family.   I will miss this wonderful young woman! They flew home to Canada on Saturday morning.

We ate at Foster's Hollywood.  They had added a new page to their menu advertising their TexMex selections.  I couldn't believe what it said! We actually lived in McAllen many, many years ago, and they do have some delicious TexMex there.  I just wouldn't have imagined seeing that in Spain!

Friday I baked Banana Cake and Sour Cream Enchiladas, Josue's favorites.  Kimberly's birthday is next week and she asked if I could make a Banana Cake, and I had already made it.

Saturday, our district met in the office and they all enjoyed bocadillos from our favorite sandwich shop.  Elder Larsen and I ate our non-carb food from home.  We do love these missionaries.

And, Elder Regehr, our financial secretary, was happy to get a new cash box.  We get pretty excited about the simple things in the office.

 We worked at the office all day on Saturday, and then about 6:00, Elder Larsen dropped me off at the mission home.  The Packs were speaking at a stake conference, but Caroline and Jonathon were at home. I always enjoy visiting with Caroline.  I made a batch of sugar cookie dough so that I could put it in the fridge while I was sewing.  Elder Larsen picked me up at 9:30, and I headed home to start baking cookies.  Recently, I had used Harina Fuerza, strong flour, for several baked goods and I was very happy with the results.  I had not used it with sugar cookies, but thought that would be better since I would not have to add so much extra flour.  Apparently not!  The dough rolled out nicely, but when I baked them, they did not rise.  They were basically the same size as when I put them in the oven, and I know I put in the baking soda and cream of tartar.  Anyway, they still tasted okay, so at 10:30 at night, I was not starting over.  Putting the smooth coat of icing on the cookies went well, but when I started trying to decorate them, I had more disasters.  I tried using a plastic bag with a decorating tip in it, because I didn't have any decorating bags.  That lasted for the first cookie, when the seams split open and icing went everywhere.  I tried another bag and that didn't work.  I tried decorating without a tip, and that didn't work either.  Finally, I emptied my ketchup bottle, washed it out, and filled it with icing.  The plastic guard around the top was less than conducive to decorating, but at least it squirted out some icing.  By 1:30 a.m., I still had 6 cookies left to decorate, and I just could not squeeze that hard plastic bottle anymore.  I was done!  Elder Larsen was kind enough to finish them for me this morning.  Oh, the things I do!

The Elders and the Hermanas were happy to receive their cookies, so I guess it was all worth it!


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