Thursday, September 30, 2010

What happens when you have 4 wonderful Spanish women in the kitchen and one American watching? Well, you get a great lesson on the art of Spanish cooking. These wonderful women are the wives of 3 of our Stake Presidents in Andulucia and the wife of the Director of Seminary for all of Andulucia. We had our quarterly Coordination Council at the mission home on Saturday and while the men met and talked, the women cooked and talked. It was a great morning.
We enjoyed a wonderful meal of Gazpacho, Pasta Salad and Spanish Tortillas with potatoes, onions and peppers. I threw in my French Lemon cake for desert and we had a feast. It was the first of many such meetings. Elder Faustino Lopez is our Area Authority who presided. Presidentes Blanco, Munoz, and Lopez and their wives and Pres. Marmol from the Elche Stake and Bro. Morales and his wife who is over the Seminaries of Andulucia and Bro. Parreno who is over the Seminaries of Elche, LaMancha and Badajoz.
Also this past week my youngest sister Carolyn came to visit. We had a wonderful, but short time together. We could only spend a day with her and had to leave her and her son and daughter-in-law alone while we went to Lorca for the weekend. But they did great and had a wonderful few days. They left for France on Monday for a family wedding that is taking place this weekend.
Here are Andrew, his wife Whitney and Carolyn in the beautiful town of Ronda. A great place to visit.
Monday was transfer day and all the mission is in a flux. Elder Birnbaumer and Elder Larsen are getting on their bus for their move.
While the Hermana's are in Sevilla waiting for buses and trains. It is a busy, difficult day, but they all did great, getting to new areas and meeting new companions. Change once in a while is good for everyone in the mission
Back at the ranch the two ranch hands (ayudantes) are busy helping me get the food ready and then cleaning up. We have 8 missionaries that are going home and we want to make the night special. I caught Elder Solari sneaking a little extra while Elder Halverson is washing the dishes. Now Elder Solari, don't eat too much!
Here is our wonderful group that have served well and are having many wonderful, little bit frightening thoughts as they pass their last night in the mission field. They are Elders Wiehe, Serrano, Hna's Eberly and Bentley, Elder Andersson, Hna Gum, Elder Going and Hna Ball. A great group.
The sunset was beautiful so we decided to take our picture by the pool
Then they decided to try to throw Elder Halverson in the pool. He was suppose to go home with this group, but that has been postponed till next transfer. Hey guys, don't get him wet!
After a 4:00 a.m. wake up to get the 8 off to the airport, we readied ourselves for the arrival of Elder Alejandre from Barcelona. We are so glad to get a native missionary. He is the first one we have received since we have been here and we are so excited. His Spanish is of course perfect, his English is wonderful and he will definitely be a great missionary in the New Malaga Mission. We loved him from the first moment we saw him.
And guess who this is? Elder Bullen, our newest office Elder. He is coming in the office to replace Elder Goodman. He is eager to learn everything and we are so happy to have him here. He is a great Elder and we know he will learn everything fast. Welcome Elder Bullen. Hey, guess what Elder Bullen did before the mission? He became a pilot!
Elder Aljeandre is the first missionary in his family. He is the oldest and setting a great example for the rest of his family.
And he is showing you that he is going to Motril to be trained by Elder Kusseling. He is so lucky to get our Frenchman to train him. They are going to be a dynamic pair in Motril.
The office staff, Presidente, and Elder Alejandre. Makes for a great picture.
This is my spanish daughter, Ines Faci. She really isn't but I love her like one of the family. We got to know each other as she helps me with my Spanish. She lives in Zaragoza and we chat by skype. She and her wonderful husband, Johann came down for a little get away from their two children to have a little vacation. We were so happy to have them come and say hello.
They are two of the finest young people we have met. They are leaders in Zaragoza, Johann serving as the District President and Branch President of both of the branches in Zaragoza and Ines serving currently in the nursery but she has been President of the Primary among other things. They both speak fluent German, Spanish and English.
We almost surprised Presidente by pushing him in the pool. Johann, don't push so hard! We loved their visit and off they went to Nerja and Granada before returning home to Zaragoza. Now you might be wondering why I published this blog a little early. I mentioned earlier about a family wedding in Paris. I have been given permission to attend the wedding of my cousin's daughter as my whole french family will be gathering in Paris this weekend. I haven't seen my aunt's and uncles and most of my cousins for over 18 years. This is going to be a special weekend but it will be so full I knew I wouldn't get the blog off if I waited for the weekend. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend listening to conference. I will be watching it by computer between all the wedding activities. A toute a l'heure!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It is Harvest Time

Well this doesn't invoke the saying "The Field is White" but it does show us a fun old tractor in an olive grove. Thanks again Elder Bennett for some great photos. The harvest we are talking about is baptisms. And we do baptize in the New Spain Malaga Mission.
We have pictures from two cities that are "hot." Elder Fetzer and Palionelli in Chiclana are doing their best to grow the church with not one baptism,
but two!
Cartagena 3 wasn't going to be outdone. So Elder's Fredrikson, Andersson and Smith are with two baptisms,
3 baptisms and another missionary, Elder Redd.
Let's just make it 4 baptisms this past transfer. Way to work Elders! We know that the members in this ward are sensational, but so are the Elders.
The first part of this week we were in Sevilla to finish the first round of Specialized Training with the Sevilla Zone. Isn't this a great shot of the beautiful new Stake Center. It is great and so are the missionaries in Sevilla.
We had a great day with them and found that all felt like they grew and learned a lot.
We had to hurry home because for some reason the CCM in Madrid sent us two Elders by nightfall.
Hey, we don't care what time they come, just keep sending them. Here we have Elders Stoner and Dunoskovic. They went out that night with the Ayudantes and taught a little bit. They are ready to go to work now that they are finally in Spain.
After Breakfast that next morning it was time to find out where they were going.
They are both going to areas with lot's of work to do, Almeria and Cartegena,
Off they go to get on the trains and buses to get to their first areas. Looks like the flowers want to go too, but no, they have to stay at the mission home.
We happily spent the weekend in Lorca. Here we are with the newest member in Lorca. He is so excited about the gospel.
Presidente is with his two best Elders in Lorca, Elders Froberg and Waite. They are fantastic. They have a family now with a baptismal date and a few more almost ready for baptism. Way to go Elders.
We are outside the church with the Guevara family. They are stalwarts of the church here. They first joined the church 26 years ago in Almeria. Our Stake President in Bountiful, Pres. Brian Taylor baptized them. He is their "Angel."
3 wonderful women who all shared with me their conversion story. They were so sweet and special to hear.
We ended the afternoon with lunch in the home of the Luis Garcia family, the current Branch President in Lorca. What a special day to be with the great saints here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Specialized Training Has Begun

Before we start on the training, why not share some of the baptisms that happened last week. Elder Basurto and Christensen are doing great work in Malaga 3

Elders Black and Romney with their miracle baptism. This man was taught in the past and came to them and said, I want to be baptized. We always love experiences like these.
Elder Fetzer and Paolinelli are seeing success in Chiclana.
As well as Elder Waite and Froberg, lighting up Lorca.
Now we are in Murcia, eating lunch after our first specialized training. The Elders and Hermanas did great and now we get to eat after our work.
Whoa, Hna Guerra and Elder Halverson seem a little surprised by the camera.
The next day in Elche, Elder Ward is busy getting everything ready.
Again, lunch after the training. We had homemade apple pie from Hna's Bentley and Brown. Yum, yum.
We drove on to Granada where we spent a wonderful hour with friends enjoying Tapas. It was a nice little reunion.
The next day in Granada there was a lot of excitement with the missionaries. Here are some of the missionaries of LaMancha, Elder Bader, Siddiqui, Talbot and Wiehe.
Elders Heywood, Kusseling, Becerra and Ward are all smiles and ready to go.
The Almeria Elders are always smiling. Who wouldn't when you work with the wonderful ward in Almeria. Elders Fagersten, Marchello, Hurley, and Adams love it there.
Elders Beck and Pratt are fine sharing the table with Hnas Millan and Ramirez.
The ayudantes round out the room along with Elders Gold and Del Molino, the Zone Leaders of Granada.
We gave a lot of time for the Granada Zone. Each Specialized Training we will highlight a different Zone. What a good looking group of missionaries.
The Malaga Zone did great in all the practices. We all learned a lot this day.
This is an enthusiastic zone in San Fernanado. After 5 days of training, we are ready for the weekend.
Saturday night we headed for the baptism of these two fine young men in Dos Hermanas. Elders Larsen and Bennett have worked very hard. The baptism was held in the new Stake Center in Sevilla. These two were the first in the new font. They won't be the last, in fact Sevilla was having a baptism Sunday night. Great work Elders.
Sunday was Stake Conference in the Cadiz Stake which was held in Jerez. Hna's Montes de Oca and Ackerman are with Elder Fetzer and El Presidente. They set up a great display outside of Stake Conference which was held in a theater in Jerez. They were able to get several references which always makes missionaries happy. The Mayor of the town of Jerez allowed the church to use this theater for free. What a sweet tender mercy.
And we end the week with this sweet picture of Elder Avellar and Giler with the newest members in Jerez. This is a sweet couple who enjoyed the Stake Conference. We love the members all throughout the mission, and this day in the Cadiz Stake was very special. We felt of their wonderful spirits and were edified by all.