Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas in Madrid

Dear Loved ones!
Today is Saturday here in a very cold Madrid, Spain. We were on the morning shift in the temple. I was assigned to the Celestial Room for a couple of hours and I want to share with you some of my feelings. We had many many people in the temple this morning from all the countries in our district. One couple from Italy was here for several days. He could barely walk and had to have help in sitting down and standing up and dressing. His wife helped him alot and so did the temple workers. The wife shed many tears in the Celestial room and I thought about her and how hard she works to help her husband come to enjoy the temple. I saw people hurrying to go on another session today because this is there last day for several weeks to be here. I thought about how different the people are. Some are smiling and happy, some are very serious, some seem sad and unhappy and I thought about the love our Heavenly Father has for all his children. He wants them all including us to be happy and successful. It isn't that hard for most of us to get to a temple as often as we want but most of these people this week came long distances and great expense. The air traffic controllers went on strike today so many of the members are having to find other means of returning to their homes. I wondered about one sister who I never saw smile the whole time she was here. I wish I could have helped her in some way. One other sister who I was training was from Barcelona. She told me that she had not had too much schooling but that she could do anything she wanted and needed to. I noticed that she couldn't write very well. I also found out that she is the Stake Relief Society President in Barcelona and has been the Stake Primary President as well as President of the YW. She is a very elegant and charming sister. She is a professional seamstress and was wearing a beautiful white dress in the temple that she had made. She was so warm and loving with me and tried so hard to learn what she needed to be a temple worker. She gave me many hugs and kisses as she left today. I will miss her! We really learn to love and appreciate the wonderful members here. I think that you will enjoy seeing some of the attached pictures. The Skousens and us went down to the Plaza Mayor on Monday to see the Christmas decorations and kioskes. While we were there it started to snow! The first snow of the season came quite early this year. We will get out the heavy coats and hats now. Our missionaries have gone and only 2 new ones came in. We have 30 waiting for visas in the states. These two are from Portugal and speak perfect English. Hurray! We can teach in English. Just trying to share feelings in a different language is muy muy hard!! This last week our friend Hugo Morelli asked us to be with him when he came to the temple for the first time. We loved being with him and tried very hard to help him get ready. After the session in the temple he expressed his love for us and told us how happy he was to finally have his endowments. It was a special day for all of us. He joined the church after reading about the church on the internet. He is a successful business man, 32 years old, single and very nice looking. He is part Italian, Swiss and Argentinian. We hope he will visit us sometime in Arizona.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Spain

We are thinking of all of you and feeling very grateful for your love and support to us. We are blessed beyond words. Our time here is rushing by and we are seeing things for the last time. We have had a busy week in the temple with many fine patrons from Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. We had families that came with their children and young adults to do all the ordinances. We were deeply moved by their willingness and for their sacrifices to be here. On Monday of this week we had our Thanksgiving dinner with 51 people attending. It was so nice of everyone to celebrate Dick's birthday. Thank you all for your gifts and well wishes. It was a super day! In thinking about past Thanksgivings we remember many wonderful times. One that comes to mind is the one in 1999. We had dinner at our home and then went to Vance and Tina's for pies. We played games in the park across the street. We will always remember seeing Vance come over to join with the games. It was his first time to really be up and about since the transplant in August. How happy we all were!! Another one was in 1991 when we went to the church and joined with the Pickles and Draughons. This was when we all met Trisha's Chris Lloyd for the first time. Another one was when we joined with the Thompson and had smoked turkey for the first time. We have had the best time in remembering our blessings and most of all we are and will be eternally grateful to have all of you in our lives. Family and friends are forever. We pray that you will have a wonderful day and feel the joy and peace of the gospel in your lives. Nothing is more important than our testimonies of our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. We pray for you all! Be happy! Don't get discouraged! Keep believing! Things will get better. The gospel is True!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

General Conference and Tapestry Factory

We are having a day to catch up on household things and emails. We realize that we have been busy but when we see how long it has been since we sent anything home we are astounded!! We are sorry! The month of October went by very fast. We loved General Conference and have made copies of the talks so that we can review them. Many of the talks are right on the dot for us. We had our combined FHE with all the temple missionaries. I made my home made noodles and chicken over mashed potatoes. I wasn't sure if the Spanish would like it but they ate every drop. Whooee! We went to a Tapestry Factory with the Skousens and were so amazed how how much work has gone into the wonderful wall hangings and the carpets that we have been seeing in the palaces and castles. During one of our shifts in the afternoon we were the leaders of the 1st session but we had already attended the early morning session with the MTC missionaries so we were a little surprized when they sent us as patrons on the the 7:00 PM session. I decided that that was a good way so spend a day and that 3 sessions a day is A-okay. We attended a concert one night in our Stake center. One of our teachers in the MTC is from Italy. He played beautifully! We knew he could play but were really impressed with his concert. He has returned to Italy to continue his education in music. Can everyone from Italy sing or play instruments? One of the high lights of our month was a trip we took to see the King Tut exhibition. We went by Metro and walked a little but found it okay. That is always a problem the finding of things but we are getting better and better at getting where we want to go. We had a special experience this month. A couple from Barcelona asked Dick to perform their sealing. We didn't know them and wondered why they had asked Dick to do it. The day of the sealing he found out that the wife is the niece of our good friends in Bolivia who came to see us the week before we came to Spain. He had told his niece to ask for Dick. It was a very touching sealing as they had their deceased baby daughter sealed to them. Many tears !!! There are many things in the temple that reaffirm our testimonies of the love our Heavenly Father has for all of his children. Dick did not expect to be asked to do live sealings here. We love the Ayaviri family in Bolivia. Maybe you remember them when we had our farewell for Spain. We had a lovely FHE at the Wilson's home. There were 21 of us gringos invited. It was an hour and a half metro and train ride each way but we made it okay. 3 kinds of soup, my homemade rolls, salads, root beer and dessert. It is our last time with the Wilsons because he has been reassigned to the Pentagon. This about wraps up our October. Maybe this is too long so we will try to write more often and not so much at one time. We love you all and are loving our mission!! The blessings and tender mercies are abundant and we are so grateful to be members of the church. We keep you in our thoughts and prayers especially for our Trisha's husband Chris at the passing of his father Mike Lloyd. The gospel is true and we love our Heavenly Father and His Beloved son Jesus Christ. We pray we can be faithful and serve until the end of our lives.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

NATO headquarters and Lisboa Temple announcement

It is Sunday night here in Madrid on General Conference Sunday. We are so happy to have been able to see sessions of conference yesterday and today and will see the final session tomorrow morning. We have been watching the sessions upstairs with the missionaries. The messages have been powerful and very much what we need to know. We are so grateful to have our prophet and the others leaders to inspire and guide us. We are also grateful to each of you for your love and support. We could not be here doing what we are doing if we did not have your love and support. We love each of you more than ever and more than mere words can express. Thank you...thank you. Our week started off with the missionaries leaving for their areas. We have mentioned that the last few weeks have been different in that we have had all 5 languages in the MTC. We have included a picture of us with the missionaries taken by the temple. We look at these precious young people and appreciate so much their families who have prepared them to serve. We have received a few new elders so we still have some Italian, American and one from Spain and one from England. We were somewhat busy in the temple this week with some French and a few from Portugal. The one thing that happened this week was when we were asked to go to NATO Headquarters and help a fellow church member be promoted to LT.COL. in the USAF. Brother Wilson asked Dick to "PIN" his new rank on his uniform on one shoulder as his wife Karen did the other shoulder. It was a great experience for us and we have included a picture for you all to see. It has turned cool here in Madrid. The leaves are turning but the flowers on the temple plaza are blooming their heads off. We also have included a picture for you. We are doing well as we reach our one year mark. The next 6 months will go very quickly. We are looking forward to being home and spending time with our children and grandchildren. We have nothing that is more important to us than serving the Lord and our family. Please start making lists of the things we can do for and with all of you. We look forward to the opportunity to get better acquainted with our family. We felt that many of the speakers in conference were speaking directly to us concerning what we hope to do when we get home. We pray for you all and know that our greatest blessings come from keeping the commandments and by loving our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ. One thing that thrilled us in conference was the announcement of the Lisboa Temple. Our friends in Portugal have sent us emails saying that the tears are flowing throughout Portugal in thanksgiving for this blessing of a temple in their country. We wept as well at the announcement.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Busy Busy

It has been such a happy and busy time for us here in Madrid but our thoughts and prayers have been about all of you. We find ourselves thinking of things that are so meaningful and important in our lives. We feel that a prayer of gratitude is hardly adequate to express how much we love you all. Heavenly Father has a great plan for us all and it involves many tender moments and many challenges. We have experienced some tender moments lately that have helped us feel the spirit deeply and often. Our work together in the temple is sweet and at times very demanding. Dick is doing sealings in Spanish and also doing everything there is to do in the temple. He gets tired and needs to rest but recovers quickly which we are grateful for. He is constantly thinking of ways to improve his teaching in the MTC and tries so hard to relate to each missionary. They love him! As August draws to a close we have 120 people from Portugal here for the entire week. They are so happy to be here and come here to work so that means we will be working our heads off too. Our bed feels really good at nights. It is a blessing that some of them are workers themselves so we will have their help. This past Sunday Dick and I both taught our lessons in Spanish. It was quite stressful especially for me but we survived and were really glad when Sunday was over. We did okay and had help from the Lord and the missionaries themselves. They are kind and sweet and help us with the words that we don't know. It makes us stretch and that at times is painful. We will be getting missionaries from Italy and France and Portugal in the next few months so we are in for some stretching! Please keep us in your prayers. We need all the help we can get. It is great to know that we are all in this together. We need each other so badly! Keep close to the spirit and one another. Make phone calls, make visits, send emails and say prayers. We pray that the Lord is blessing you as you need and want. One thing we have learned through serving these missions if that the Lord has a time table that is different from ours. Patience is waiting on the Lord and his timetable.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Saying Goodbye

We just got back from saying goodbye to our group of missionaries. We are all emotional wrecks! We have such mixed emotions. Our elder from Britain will be here for 3 more weeks with our 7 new Spanish missionaries. We have so much to be grateful for and we have so much to have hope in. These young people are preparing to be the leaders of the future church. We have great confidence in them and love them. We have had the chance to learn many things about the intelligences, light and truth and other deep subjects concerning the gospel. What a treat for us! We will be happy to share with you what we can of what we are learning. The spirit teaches and we listen and learn. We are not sure if the spirit will travel through an email so we will have to wait until we get home to discuss very much of what we are learning. Sorry! We do know that what the MTC president tells the missionaries is true that they need to serve their mission, go home, get married, have kids, and have a current temple recommend, and stay active. We share this with you all. It isn't so very hard. Most of us are doing alot of the right things for the right reasons and are receiving many blessings. It is the enduring to the end and knowing that if things are not great right now that they will get better in the future that is hard for most of us. Keep trying, don't get discouraged, things will work out is the counsel we heard from our beloved prophet Gordon B. Hinckley. We know this is true. We had the French in the temple last week and will have the Italians and Portuguese this week. Tomorrow morning we will have 10 new people for their endowments.....lots of work! Yea and more Yea! Here are a couple of pictures. Hope you like them. They grow like trees...tall and handsome. One is from Idaho and the other is from Sweden.

Friday, August 13, 2010


The time gets away from us so this is not exactely a weekly update this time. We have been working with our French, German, British and American missionaries and one from Tahiti for the last couple of weeks. It takes some time to get to know them but once we do we feel their goodness and faithfulness. They treat us so kindly and tell us that we are examples to them when in reality they inspire us daily. We have had a visiting area authority this week. He is from France. He served in Madrid as a Mission president back in the 80's. The Skousens realized that he was the mission president for their son-in-law Chris Jorgenson. The Skousens had a wonderful time visiting with Elder Paya and sharing things about Chris. We certainly live in a small world and a big church. The temple has been busy with many patrons from outside of Madrid because the Spanish people as a rule take their vacations very seriously so the Madrianos leave Madrid and the other . come to Madrid to be in the temple. We have had the people from Hospitalet and Barcelona. We had alot of work done this week. There is a custom in Spain of eating Tapas at about 5 or 6 in the evening. These are small treats but not sweet treats so for FHE last Monday we had everyone bring Tapas. What a grand time we had tasting all the different treats. I made sweet and sour meatballs and everyone of them was gone. Two things we want to share this week is a quote from our prophet and an experience we had. The quote is: " You can never be wrong when you do right and you can never be right when you do wrong." Our experience this time is when we finish our Sundays we look at each other and say, "It doesn't get any better than this." We love our Sundays and our days in the temple. What a fantastic time in our lives. Thank you all for your love and support. We couldn't be here doing what we are doing if we didn't have all of you in our lives. We love you all and pray that you are well and happy.