Sunday, May 27, 2012

We are not "Out of Africa" Anymore

We are seeing miracle after miracle and every time there is a baptism it is a wonderful miracle of conversion.  Elder Mardonnes and Elder Triana would agree that it is happening in Elche.
Elder Rencher and Elders Hales agree. Alicante is always having their share of miracles.
Sevilla experienced a wonderful baptism.  Elder Hafen and Elder Lignell made sure of that.
While Elder Stoner and Elder Roa in Cartagena held a sweet baptism.
And the Hermanas in Murcia are bringing families together through baptism.  Hermana Nelson and Hermana Ross can't quit smiling.
Elder Walton along with Elder Crespo help a young man come unto Christ.
Algeciras is at it again.  One week Elder Mendoza did the baptizing.
Then the next week Elder Barahona did the baptizing.
Three generations of Hermanas with Hermana Rojas as the "Abuela", Hermana Vasquez is the "madre" and Hna Torres is the "chica"  Actually, they are all Hermanas to me.
The members and the missionaries are united in Alicante.
After the Zone Conferences last week a few gathered for some fun with the photos.
Elder Roa is in action knocking doors, looking for those to teach.
Elders Hall, Rodriguez and Elder Barney all bought the same new pants.  I think they look great.
4 former Hermanas saying hi.  Boy do they wish they could still be with us!!  Good to see all of you.  Stay strong and keep moving forward.
Hermana Moreno and Hermana Brimhall don't seem to notice that Hermana Carter is behind them.  
Riding the Ave to Zone Conference is the way to go.
Hermanas, you do know you don't enter places like this right?  
Hermana Torres is demonstrating that she is happy.  Always smiling  and working hard is what a Spain Malaga Missionary knows how to do.
Really, I don't have anything to say about this picture, just who does that leg belong to?
What does Elder Bailey have on his head?  Is he trying to give us all a hint of what just happened this past week?  Notice where his finger is pointing.  Is that Africa?  Is that the Spanish city of Melilla you are pointing to? 
On Monday, the office Elders along with Elder Bailey loaded up the van and along with Presidente and Hermana Clegg we set out on a historic adventure.  Yes, we are going to Africa, to Morocco sort of, but more specifically to Melilla, a Spanish city on the continent of Africa.  It has been since 1996 that the last missionaries were serving there.  There are two families acting as a group in Melilla.  But after much prayer and a lot of work, we are ready to open it up.  
Can we say we are excited?  Yes, says Presidente Clegg.  He decided to let Elder Manning drive and sit back and relax for a change.
Elder Alejandre and Elder Staples are ready to go.  This was the best smile I could get out of Elder Staples.  But we know he was sooooo excited as was everyone else to be a part of history.
Elder Thornley and Elder Manning are a bit confused by the GPS.  
I don't think we want to avoid the ferry.  I am not sure we have the faith to drive the van in the water and float to Melilla.  Of course we don't want to avoid the ferry!!!
That's right says Elder Bailey.  So on the road we go.  Driving to Motril to get on the ferry.

This is our ferry boat.  Those big openings at the back are where we drive in and park the van.
Yup, this is our boat, Motril to Melilla.  The two Elders selected to open Melilla are Elder Bailey and Elder Alejandre.  They both started their missions in Motril and will finish their missions in Melilla.  Who would have thought?
We parked the van, got out and went up on the deck.  
Just before shipping out we had to take a picture of Elder Alejandre, Elder Bailey and Elder Thornley who also started his mission in Motril.  That is Motril in the background and look further, the snow capped peaks are the real Sierra Nevadas in Granada.  Beautiful day for a boat ride.
Presidente's phone says it all.  We are "on-waves"  Isn't technology incredible.  
Now for the next few pictures I won't comment.  I just have to say this is what happens when you take 5 wonderful missionaries and put them on a ferry boat for 4 1/2 hours crossing the Mediterranean to go to Africa.  Let's just say the "little-boy" came out in each of them.
 After all the fun on the deck, Elder Alejandre felt a little tired and the rocking motion of the boat helped to put him to sleep.
 It had the same affect on Presidente Clegg
I am not asleep Hermana Clegg. I am just resting my eyes.  Yea right.
Land ahoy!!  Our first glimpse of Africa.

 We all came out on the deck to watch as we pulled into shore.
 We have a view of the old town in Melilla.  Melilla is one of the oldest ports in the world.  The trade winds would naturally bring all the ships through the Mediterranean to Melilla.  It is a beautiful setting.
 We were met by Francisco who is the Group Leader in Melilla.  He and his wife are University Professors.  They live in Melilla with their two children.  We were excited to see him as well he was excited to see us. 
 We went right to their piso.  Looks like a great place.
 The kitchen is nicely equipped.
 Look mom and dad, this is where you send the mail we will be waiting for.
Francisco couldn't wait to show them the map of the city and where the good and bad areas were.  We went afterwards to the grocery store and then to get us all dinner.  Then the day was spent and we said good-bye to the two pioneers, Elder Bailey and Elder Alejandre.  We know they will see many miracles as they re-open an area that has been left alone for many years. 
 This is a night-time picture of the beautiful old town.  It looked the same way when we got up because the ferry was leaving at 7:30 a.m. and we had to be in line to board by 6:30 a.m.
 As we were pulling out of port the sun was rising.  A beautiful calm morning off the coast of Africa.
The different parts of the port were highlighted so beautifully by the morning sun.
 And almost instantly we had light.
This gives you a great view of the city of Melilla.  The hills in the background are Morocco.  The entire city is surrounded by a very high double fence that is heavily guarded.  We expect big things to come out of Melilla as our two Elders will invite all to come unto Christ.
Presidente and Hermana Clegg came home and had to prepare their things for shipping to the United States.  We are allowed a small shipment of goods for home.  It starts to let us know we really will be leaving in a month.  So now the house is empty of our family pictures and many of our cloths and books and a few treasures we have found over the last 3 years.  
 On Friday we were invited up to Madrid to attend the Temple and to spend the evening with our Area President Elder Kopischke.  But during our temple session and afterwards for a few hours we were able to enjoy a visit with the Former Elder Ciccio and his adorable new wife from Italy.  Elder Ciccio served with us in the Bilbao Mission.  He went home the week before we came to Malaga.  What a choice afternoon to be able to see him again.  We love all our missionaries.  In this picture we are being "Italian."  We had a lot of fun with them.
 We appreciated our exit interview with Elder Kopischke.  We have had such a wonderful Area Presidency that has supported us over the last 3 years.  Now all that is left is for the new presidente, Presidente Deere and his family to come on June 29th.  That day the keys and the mantle of the calling will be transfered.  Oh my, this time is passing too fast!
 We spent our day Saturday with Presidente and Hermana Hinckley who were also in Madrid for their exit interview.  We enjoyed a wonderful day walking around Madrid and being led by Presidente Hinckley to some very historic sites.  This is a picture of the entrance to the 1st piso ever for missionaries in Spain 43 years ago.  Presidente Hinckley was then Elder Hinckley, one of the 1st 4 to come to Spain.
 This isn't Historic, it's just fun.  Everyone who knows me knows that I can't pass up a great fabric quilt shop, especially in Spain because there aren't too many of them.  Hermana Hinckley is one of my most special friends.  We are sisters for the eternities that is for sure.
 We took a gondola ride over the huge park where the land of Spain was dedicated by President Marion G. Romney 43 years ago.  
 As we walked around the city, visiting the palace and opera house among other things, we found this fellow reading his paper, watching us go by!  People are clever aren't they.
And finally, Madrid has many beautiful and famous buildings, but we found the real charm of Madrid is in and around the city with their beautiful smaller buildings and outdoor cafes.  We left that afternoon on the Ave to come back to our beautiful home in Fuengirola.  Grateful for the many blessings we have seen while serving the Lord in Spain.  It is going to be hard to leave.  

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