Saturday, July 24, 2010

Great Zone Conferences in The New Spain Malaga Mission

This week was the week of Zone Conferences but the weekend before Elders Salls and Fetzer sent me their baptism photo of Raquel in the Chiclana Ward. Thanks Elders, because we want everyone to know that we Baptize in The New Spain Malaga Mission. Presidente Clegg announced all week in the Zone Conferences that we are "The New Spain Malaga Mission" because it has never had the boundaries it has now.
We got on the road to do the Zone Conferences and just thought you might enjoy a view of a typical little Pueblo along the roads of Southern Spain. The many towns of white houses, red roofs and church steeples. A beautiful landscape filled with olive groves or vineyards or ocean views. It is magnificent in the South!
The ayudantes are ready to help Presidente Clegg with anything in the Zone Conferences. They have on the "ayudante ties" that have been worn by all our assitants both in the Bilbao Mission and now the New Malaga Mission.
We held the first Zone Conference in Murcia with the Elche Zone. What great missionaries and it was wonderful to see them again. We had a fabulous morning and then enjoyed some tasty sandwiches. The Zone Leaders planned all the food and did a great job. Elder West is sporting a smile of approval as well as Elder Paolinelli with Elder Ferreira looking on with his white tie. He told us that he is always ready to baptize.
The Hermanas are ready to bite into their lunch. Hna's Brown, Gum and Bentley look content!
Elder Waite received a call during the conference telling him he had to go to Madrid that night for a residency issue. We thought they were going to have to leave early to go back to Lorca to get his passport but the wonderful Branch President of Lorca drove the hour to Murcia to bring it to him. What a great example of service.
A great group and we enjoyed the day thoroughly. This is a hard working Zone who are experiencing many miracles.
After it was off to home. The Cartagena Elders have the luxury of being driven to Zone Conference by these wonderful members. Elders Andersson, Taylor, Black, Fredrickson, Brian, Wilson and Burdette look happy and ready to keep the work moving forward in Cartagena!
Two days later we were in Malaga with the Malaga and Granada Zones. Elders Hurley, DeMolino and Bedar all look happy along with Hna Hidalgo.
Elders Bassurto and Heywood are all smiles along with Hna's Millan, Ramirez and Stolk.
Let me introduce you all to Elder Kusseling. He is from Lyon, France. Now that makes a fellow frenchwoman very happy. The only problem is that now as I have been learning spanish I can hardly speak french. He will have to help me with my french. Mais Oui!!
All the great Hermanas like to have a picture together. Hna's Hidalgo, Ramirez, Stolk, Clegg, Millan, and Hna Hunt. We all love Elder and Hna Hunt. They sure do a wonderful job in the office keeping everything straight and on task. We love them.
The first group shot is the Malaga Zone. A great looking bunch of missionaries.
Next we have the Granada Zone. Hey, wait a minute, do they all have the same tie on?
Yes, cleaver Zone Leaders. They all put in their 3-4 Euros and bought all the zone a matching tie. Even the Hermanas are matching with a light blue headband that the Hermanas are trying to point out. Hey, but no one bought one for El Presidente!
The last day of Zone Conferences was in Sevilla with the Sevilla Zone and the San Fernando Zone. The food looks out of this world good!
That's because the Ponce family lovingly prepared and served us. Here we have Beatriz Ponce. Her father is a chef and prepared the food while she came to serve it. It was such a treat. Elder Ponce you can be proud of your family who is getting excited for your return home in a little over a month!
After a great lunch we returned to hear the Presidente's words. Elder Wallace seems to be the only one to notice I was taking pictures!
Hna Ball is so enthusiastic about her Predicad Mi Evangelio! We are just as enthusiastic about her, she is an incredible missionary in Caceres.
The San Fernando Zone is ready to ask for more references by using the Batman Belt of Tools? (They know what I mean.)
The Sevilla Zone is ready to contact anyone! This was a great zone conference.
The Hna's don't realize that Elders LeBaron and Hughes are in the background trying to get into the picture. Well they succeeded! Hna's Clegg, Nelson, Ackerman, Ruiz de Mendoza, Ball, Cannuci and Cluff make a great team of powerful Hermana's.
On the way to the car at the end of the day Elder Halverson is contacting everyone. And we leave you with the picture of the week sent in by Elder Bennett. What a great shot of our dear Elder Larsen talking with a nun. He is such a kind and happy Elder, I wonder if he is getting her address?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Leadership, Training and Members

Where is everybody! That's what Elder Phillips seems to be saying. Actually, we are getting the family room in the mission home ready for Zone Leader Counsel. This is a wonderful time to gather the Zone Leaders and counsel one with another.
Here is the finished product! 10 Zone Leaders, 4 Office Elders, 2 Hermanas and the Presidente and I. What a great night. We gather for dinner and the evening meeting, and the next morning we finished by noon.
After our evening meeting Elder Del Molino and Hna Ruiz de Mendoza are with me on the patio. These two are both from the Vitoria Stake in the North and they both have the most wonderful parents. We love their families at home and it is so exciting to be able to work with them as missionaries. And believe me, they are wonderful, hard working missionaries.
The morning counsel was very edifying and afterwards a group picture under our favorite tree in the front yard. Great Leaders with lot's to do to help their Zones improve.
Elder Ponce waves good-bye, till we meet at Zone Conference next week!
The next morning we had the pleasure of a visit from the Holmes Family. Elder Holmes, in the black shirt, was one of our office elders in Bilbao. He helped us till the end. He went home and then just 2 weeks later his entire family came back to visit Spain. We spent a wonderful few hours getting to know his family. What a wonderful family with 4 more great missionaries to serve!
That afternoon we went to the Fuenrigola train station to greet 4 new Elders, but something went wrong.
Where are the Elders? A quick call to Malaga where they were to make a change found them their safe and sound. There was a slight miscommunication and the Zone Leaders in Malaga thought they were to keep them for a few hours. So they put them on the next train. No pasa nada!
All smiles when we finally saw them arrive. New missionaries bring new excitement.
Elders Talbot, Stowell, Pratt and Masterson are the newest Elders to come to the best mission in the church! We are ready to get them oriented and put them to work, we need them!
Here we have 4 great trainers, ready to find out who they will be training. Elders Heywood, Langston, Bullen and Wiehe are ready for action!
We had a wonderful training meeting with all 7 of the new missionaries who came to the Malaga mission over the last 2 weeks. Even though they can't get in the pool, we thought a picture by the pool might be nice!
No Elders, don't do it! I am not to great at capturing this shot, but they are trying to look like they are jumping in. Hey, who said white men can't jump? (He was probably right)
The weekend was spent discovering the wonderful District of La Mancha. Here we are with Elders Talbot and Wiehe who are working in Ciudad Real along with the Branch Presidente, Pres. Montes and his son in Puertollano. His son is preparing his papers to serve a mission. We are excited for the miracles to happen here!
We drove up to Valdepenas, and over to Manzanares to the home of Pres. Moreno and his darling family. We are excited to get to know all the members of this wonderful branch. We loved being in their home and feeling of their wonderful spirit.
We pushed on to Alcazar de San Juan where Pres. Rivas and his family were to be found. This town is the birthplace of Don Quijote. We enjoyed seeing the windmills and being with them. We also have Elders Adams and Becerra who are working in this wonderful town.
On Sunday we attended church in Ciudad Real. Pres. Sanz is the branch president there and here I am with his wonderful, talented wife and absolutely wonderful daughter, Adriana! She played the piano for the entire sacrament meeting and she was incredible!
We ended the afternoon with a wonderful lunch at the home of Pres. & Hna Pedraja. He is the District President of this district. We ate a wonderful meal along with the best desert. He is a baker by trade, so we were treated like kings.
Just outside the capilla is this beautiful catholic cathedral. Ciudad Real is a wonderful town with a great spirit. We know that this district is going to be experiencing many blessings in the upcoming months. We are excited to watch it grow.
So it was good-bye to the heartland of Spain. We loved our two days here and look forward to more in the future.
And as for the windmills, watch out, for you might find Don Quixote somewhere near one of these!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

2nd Week and Still Running

Last week we did see the Elders in Malaga, but for some reason I didn't get their picture up. This is a wonderful group of Elders. Elder De Molino is from Bilbao and we know his family and love them. Next to him is Elder Siddiqui who is a convert from England along with another from England, Elder Phillips. In the rear is Elder Hughes, a great young man from Nevada. This is a strong group of missionaries.
We started our week by welcoming 3 new Elders to the Spain Malaga Mission. We were excited to have them arrive. They come to us from Madrid via the fast train. We are waiting for 8 more, due to visa problems. 4 will be coming next week but 4 more are re-assigned temporarily in the United States. Elders Marchello, Bennett, and Ferguson look ready to go to work.
We enjoyed a wonderful lunch on the patio. Here's to wonderful summer weather in Fuengirola. The mission home and office are located in Fuengirola, a wonderful pueblo on the Mediterranean.
After a little orientation they are off to contact with the ayudantes and secretaries. I think they look excited.
Later that evening they found out their assignments and they were definitely excited. Elder Bennett actually guessed where he was going. I think the ayudantes were wondering how he knew? Just beginners luck.
They spent the night at the mission home and now they are rested and ready to work. We have high hopes and expectations from these wonderful missionaries. What a great start for a great week.
Hey, are we eating again? Actually that very afternoon we had 12 missionaries come to the mission home as they were all going home the next day. We didn't know them very well but we sure wish they could stay a little longer. We decided to have pizza and drinks along with homemade cookies and ice cream. They all seemed to enjoy it, even though it wasn't fancy.
Here we are with the leaving dozen! We spent a wonderful evening with them. After we shared a nice bit of advice, the whole group took a vote on what they wanted to do their last few hours in the mission.
Watch Spain defeat Germany to make it to the finals in the World Cup. This is the first time that Spain has made it this far and with 3 natives in the group, they were so anxious to see history being made. We had a great time together watching the second half.
Elder Leon had to get his Spain flag as Spain won and is now in the finals. He is definitely happy!
Early that next morning Elders Brossa and Leon had to leave to catch their flights. It still wasn't light, but their smiles were giving us enough light for a picture.
We took the rest to the airport a little later and look who we found, Elder Himmer's parents. They sure look happy. There is nothing better than seeing your son or daughter after they have served faithfully for 2 years. What a pleasure to meet them and experience a little of their joy.
Such a wonderful group that have great futures ahead of them. Stay strong Elders and go forward with faith. We are grateful we at least got to meet all of you. Cuidense!
We left the airport and started a two day trip to visit the rest of the missionaries. Here we are in Lorca with two incredibly good looking Elders. Wow, we sure found Elders Gold and Waite in fine shape and very happy. We were visiting the Elche Stake this day. This stake and missionaries are what we received from the Barcelona Mission. We were thankful that we could finally meet them. Even though it had been only one week, we felt like it had been too long.
Elder Bedar, is that red purse the new look for Elders? He just can't quit helping me with my things. Even after it was a sad day for Elder Bedar. He is from Germany and Spain defeated Germany to go to the finals. There is always four years later to try again.
We drove up to Murcia where we found our Zone Leaders Elder Nielson and Ponce. Elder Nielson was part of a transfer, so we already met him. Elder Ponce is from Sevilla, a city in our mission, but he will be going home soon, so we won't have to worry about him serving in his home town. We are still going to have to wait to meet Elder Romney. Oh well. The wonderful Hermana Gum and Montes de Oca were there to make us feel welcome. We feel like we have won the world cup of missionaries because everywhere we went we could feel the love and strength of these great servants of the Lord.
Cartagena was next on the schedule with 3 wards and 6 wonderful missionaries. Elders Black, Taylor, Burdette, Wilson, Fredrickson and Brian. Again we see two Elders from the Malaga side of the mission have moved over to Cartegena and two others have moved elsewhere in the mission. We need to mix them up so that we can all learn from each other and feel like one mission. These missionaries are doing great things in Cartegena. The wards offer great support which is always a plus for missionary work.
You've got to love the Hermanas. Here I am with 4 wonderful Hermanas in a beautiful forest of Palm Trees. The Elche Stake Center is nestled in this beautiful forest. What a wonderful place for a chapel. Hermanas Bentley, Brown, Eberly and Guerra are such a delight to be with. They shine with such beauty and hope.
We had half of the Elche Zone meet in the Elche Stake Center. We were so excited to meet them and be with them. Two of the Elders are from the North of Spain (Elder Serrano and Ferreira). It was fun to see them here. The Elders pictured are Elder Velasquez, Smithson, Moss, West, Paolinelli, Serrano, Ferreira and Christensen. Then again the Hermanas Brown, Eberly, Bentley and Guerra. We spent a wonderful hour getting to know them and love them instantly. We drove west for a few hours after spending the entire day getting to these different cities in the Elche Stake.
The next morning we found these 3 super missionaries in Ciudad Real. This is in the area of La Mancha. It is beautiful up there, an agriculture area with all types of food being grown. This is a small district and we plan to get more missionaries here to help the area. Pictured with us are Elders Adams from Cache Valley, Elder Becerra from Bolivia and Elder Wehe from Germany. Quite a diverse group and a group of Elders working hard.
Pushing west we found the church in Caceres. We visited two wonderful Hermanas, Ball and Cannuci. Hermana Cannuci is from Italy. We also were delighted to meet the Branch President there, Pres. Blanco. A wonderful devoted man.
Our last stop on our whirlwind drive around Spain was in Badajoz. We were also greeted by the Branch President and his wife, Pres. Silva. The 4 Elders that are working here were super. Elders Wallace, Giler, Sanchez and Froberg. Elder Sanchez is from A Coruna in the north again. We love finding missionaries from our old home. There was a lot of enthusiasm in this branch and we felt it. It took us 4 hours after this to get back to the mission home. In 2 days we drove from the Southern tip of Spain over to the east coast and then across the entire country of Spain to Badajoz which boarders Portugal and back home. Quite a triangle to make but we so much wanted to meet all the missionaries. We still haven't met a few as they were transfered just before we got to them, but don't worry mom's, they will be pictured in the zone conference pictures in a week and a half.
Saturday night we went to the capilla in Fuengirola for a baptism of a young woman named Anahis. She was very excited. Our office secretaries, Elder Goodman and Stanley were the ones who taught her. It was great to be a part of her baptism.
On the way home we drove by the beach road of Fuengirola. You can see the sign that is over the street. There is a lot of excitement as Spain is playing in the finals of the World Cup.
You can see the flag of Spain flown everywhere. This country is so excited as Spain has never has been here before. Viva Espana!!!
As the sun was setting of the side of the mission home, it brought about the end of a very busy week. Actually, a very typical week in the life of the Spain Malaga Mission. The missionaries are working hard and are happy. We love being here and have been so warmly welcomed by members and missionaries alike. We are going to like it here and are ready to do all we can to move the work forward.