Saturday, July 31, 2010
Our week started off with a trip to see the city of Segovia. This is where there is the Roman Aqueduct that dates back over 2000 years. It is really an interesting site. We climbed to the top and got a bird's eye view of it. It stretched from the mountains down through the town and onto the famous castle that Disney used as their pattern for the Disneyland Castle. In this castle is the stained glassed window of our relative King Alfonso. It is really something! He is on a beautiful white horse dressed in his armor and carrying his huge spear. We saw the Cathedral and walked around looking and doing a little shopping. On the Metro going out 3 South Americans were being really friendly and by the time we were getting off they were trying to get stuff out of my old Segovia bag that I carry all the time. It doesn't have a zipper or any snaps so the darn thieves think I am an easy target. I was onto to them so they moved onto some other easy target but it made me want another bag from Segovia so I got a great new bag with a ZIPPER. After our trip we had a wonderful FHE listening to a CD that the Skousens brought on the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was really great. There are 13 CDs is all so we will have a wonderful time listening to them. We were busy in the temple this week and the MTC. Our missionaries are all leaving tomorrow. They are ready! We will have a little time with them tonight for last minute advice and treats. We had a small 24th of July lunch and shared Pioneer stories that helped us all feel a little less homesick for all the celebrations back home. All our missionary apartments are full right now so the work in the temple is humming along beautifully. We are always grateful when the saints from out of Madrid show up to work. One other thing I wanted to mention about the MTC was that a group of the misssionaries wanted to sing so they practiced and practiced with Dick. Yesterday morning(Sunday) one of the Italian sisters who was our sololist woke up with a major problem of bleeding gums. It reminded us of when Leslie had her problem with her tonsils. Pres. Earl took her to the ER and got medicine and she was able to sing beautifully for the fireside last night. The Lord is ALWAYS in charge is He not? We love seeing His hand in the lives of our missionaries and others. One of our Elders reminded us of Jory and Jared with a terrible ingrown toenail. He too received medical help and is ready to hit the streets tomorrow. They are great and we have confidence in them. Just a thought for all our Junior High grand kids. Michael Wilcox on BYU yesterday said that Jr. High is a hell created by Satan and that in their family all the kids receive their Patriarchal Blessings at age 13 to fortify them for their Jr. High years. It seems a little young for blessings but the part about Jr. High being tough is sooooo true. We are busy with housekeeping chores this morning and baking cookies for the missionaries and later we are off to see the Palacio Real. Have a great day, week and month. We were so happy to receive the email about Jory's ordination. Vance sent us the picture of the "Power Group". It definitely made our day. Hope the pictures come through so you can get a feel for some of the things we are doing.
Our Luau turned out really well and was greatly enjoyed by everyone. We dressed in our matching Hawaiiian clothes and handed out leis to everyone yes we were part of the docorations. We had beautiful music from the islands playing in the background and lovely placemats decorated with flowers and beaches. We heard the Hawaiian Wedding Song sung by a sister missionary Sister Leonora Smith from Utah. Our president Moore gave a FHE lesson as well. The food was Kalua Pig(kindof) Sweet and sour Chicken over rice, Passion rice made with grape juice, lots of fresh fruit and Haupia which is a coconut dessert. We also had pineapple cake and sherbet and 7-Up. Great food and company. Our temple was busy all week and we experienced several "tender mercies". Our patrons come with such faith and desires to do as much as they can. Young couples with babies come and stay in the hostal. One comes to the temple in the morning and the other in the afternoon so that the baby is well cared for. Others come early in the morning at 8:00 and stay until 6 or 7:00. We enjoy trying to switch back and forth between the languages but we have difficulties doing this but they are very helpful because most of them know the temple work as well as we do. Our missionaries in the MTC go to the biggest park in Madrid every Saturday to practice contacting people. This last Saturday was very hard on them all. The people in the park were not friendly or willing to listen. We didn't know about their experiences in the park until after we gave our lessons in Relief Society and Priesthood on Discouragement. The Lord had directed us to choose to teach our lessons because that is what they needed to hear. We love the way the Lord works to accomplish His plans. We are just instruments in His hands if we pay attention and take the time to listen. Thank goodness we were listening because we choose our lesson topics ourselves. We had great music in the MTC on Sunday. Our two Italian Missionaries sang a beautiful duet of This is the Christ. Can all Italians sing?
Monday, July 12, 2010
We have had a terrific week with our members from Portugal. They touch our hearts everyday with their willingness to work! They really are hard workers. We have a huge group of elders and sisters in the MTC right now. We have a brother and sister from Milan, Italy who are from Peru but have lived for 9 years in Italy. They will be serving in Rome. They speak Italian and a little Spanish. We have another sister from Rome and another elder from Rome. Today in Relief Society we had our lesson in English which was translated into Spanish by our Portuguese instructor. The Spanish was then translated into Italian by our young bishop's wife who is originally from Argentina but who lived for 4 years in Italy. It was so interesting but we wondered if it was alittle like the "whisper game". Our speakers for Sacrament meeting were the Skousens from Mesa. They were wonderful and really had the missionaries in the palms of their hands. The air conditioning has broken and our building is hot! Madrid is having very unusual weather again. Hotter than normal. The elders were hot but didn't complain a bit. They are learning to roll with the punches. Our fireside tonight was a conversion story by a couple from Valladolid. The have been members since 1978 and are fantastic. They gave the missionaries some really good advice. We are having our luau tomorrow night for all the temple missionaires. There will be about 40 of us and we will have it downstairs in the hostal dining room. I'll let you know how it all turns out....music, table decorations and food. We will be on the afternoon shift this week in the temple and will be working upstairs too. We really don't have time to waste but do love being here. We had dinner today with a couple from Queen Creek. They said that they lived in the Pecansomething or other area. Their name is Everhard. She speaks Spanish and Portuguese and he speaks Spanish. What a blessing they are to us. We pray all is well and that the Lord's blessings are with each of you. We do have time to miss our family and friends. You are the dearest things to us. A spiritual thought for the week is, " When you can't stand it anymore, kneel!"
This has been a wonderful week for us here in Madrid. Our missionaries are about to leave for their areas of responsibility. We want to tell you some of the things that have happened and have touched our hearts. We have 2 elders from the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa. They arrived here with little carry on bags with all they had to serve their missions. They have been trying to fit in and because they speak Portuguese we have had a translator to help them. She has been great. They are small and very humble and have the greatest smiles. We really love them! We have a young man from Sweden who is 6ft 10in. He is very thin. He speaks English perfectly. We feel like he is a giant sent to Spain to share his strong testimony. Another of our elders is from Mountain Home, Idaho. At age 14 he became inactive in the church. When he was 25 he became active again and had the desire to serve a mission. He sent his papers in when he was 26. He was refused. He went on with his life but asked his bishop if it was time for him to go to the temple. His bishop said let's try again for a mission. They called Salt Lake and got permission for him to serve. He is now 27 and loving every minute of his time in the MTC. He is doing very well and we love him! As you can see we have all kinds of missionaries who have touched our lives in many ways. We continue to learn and grow and pray that we can become better everyday. President Monson tells us to "turn our backs on our problems and face our blessings." We try to do this everyday and want you to know that our family is the dearest thing to us! We love you all so very much! We thank Heavenly Father everyday for the opportunity to be your parents and grandparents. We know that we will be together forever in the Celestial Kingdom with our Heavenly Parents and our beloved brother Jesus Christ. The gospel plan of happiness means so much more to us at our age. We pray that you are well and having all the blessings that you need and want in your lives. If we can help you in any way...please let us know. We hope that you have enjoyed the 4th of July and remember how much we have to be grateful for as citizens of the greatest country in the world. Remember, remember that as long as we keep the commandments we will prosper in the land. We know this is true doctrine.
Just in case you were considering coming to Spain to be sealed. Today I was given a letter from President Monson which authorized the Temple President to activate me as a sealer here in the Madrid Temple, which means I can seal any couple who comes here and requests me as their sealer.
We are back home after a delightful trip to 4 different cities in Spain during the temple close down for cleaning. We went to Zaragoza first. It is a medium sized city with beautiful cathedrals and historic sites. We enjoyed being with the three other missionary couples. We stayed 2 days in this city and saw an incredible castle and 2 beautiful cathedrals. We had good food to eat and a great hotel. We walked and walked and saw different people and different stores. I saw a beautiful statue in a store window that caught my attention. It was of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. At first I didn't understand what had caught my eye. As I looked at it I realized that this was the Holy Family with a different twist. Joseph was holding the baby! It was such a tender and sweet piece of porcelain. I did not buy it but I wish now that I had. We had ridden the Ave train from Madrid to Zaragoza which is the fast train that runs on a ribbon track so there are no clicking sounds...just smooth smooth! It went about 180-190 miles an hour. We next went to Barcelona on the fast train. We stayed 2 days here and were amazed at the number of people visiting this city. It was fun to see the sites and ride the skyride, the museums and the statues of Christopher Columbus were wonderful. We walked alot here as well in order to get a feel for the city. We rode the double decker tour bus for almost 5 hours. I took a little nap during the tour so I missed a few things. We visited a wonderful art museum. We next went to Valencia for 3 days and really enjoyed this city. We were there on Sunday and Bro. Skousen had his Garmin with him so we put the church address in and began walking. We arrived at church right on time after an hour walk. After church we were invited to a church member's home for dinner. She served us rabbit and chicken paella. It was delicious. She had salad, bread, drinks, nuts and fruit. She then brought out dessert. It was a dessert plate with one half peach, a piece of flan, an ice cream slice , a slice of fresh pineapple and a piece of pineapple cake. These were the same for each of us. We really needed our walk back to our hotel after this meal. She, Sis Plume, insisted that we all have a nap before we left to go back. It was a great time. We went to the Lladro factory and had a wonderful tour to see how they produce such beautiful pieces. We went on the train to Alicante and stayed right near the Mediterranean Sea. We had a great time here but didn't spend too much time at the beach because they have a few people who don't wear bathing suit tops. I did stick my toes in the Sea. We walked around and saw the parade for the Fallas which is a religious holiday. We were here 2 days then took the train home to Madrid. We had a wonderful 9 day trip. After arriving home we saw a few sites in the Madrid area such as: El Escorial..a palace, Segovia and La Granha..more castles and palaces. We saw a huge group of people making hand made lace at one location. It was fascinating. We have experienced some "tender mercies" of the Lord during the last few days but will save those for another email. We are anxious to have the temple open on Tuesday. We have 3 elders from Portugal who will receive their endowments then. We also have 12 elders and 2 sisters from the USA. We love them!!!