Thursday, April 24, 2014

Apr 24, 2014

Hola a todos!

We had a busy weekend with the district JAS campout. I must say it was a roaring success. We had about 23 kids come from all over the district but only 17 spent the night. Some had to get home for work the next day. But we were glad for those that made it no matter for how long.

We left Vigo about 12pm and arrived  in Carral around 2. The drive there was breathtaking. We seriously live in one of the most beautiful areas on this earth. We found the farmhouse with a little help from the owner who came and found us and led us there. There were two cars from Vigo. Some of the kids were already there and another group arrived shortly thereafter. We had another group come later in the evening and they had to leave when the others went to bed. One group of kids from Lugo really tried to get there but couldn't. They missed their bus and then they found someone to drive them but the car started acting up at the beginning of the trip so they never got there. So sad for them. We're going to visit their branch Sunday and just let them know we care about them and appreciate their effort.

The first activity was an Easter egg hunt where the kids found some eggs with scripture having to do with the Easter story taped  to them. Right after the easter egg hunt the district President gave an Easter devotional using the scriptures from the eggs the kids found. He did a really great job and involved the kids in the discussion as they read the scriptures.
After that we went  to a nearby area that is like a rainforest with trails for hiking. Another place that is so gorgeous. We spent about an hour hiking then we played some games in a clearing. We went back to the farmhouse/camp sight and played more games. Then we a had dinner of hot dogs, pasta salad, chips and drinks. We then built a big bonfire and when it died down we made s'mores but we used Nutella instead of Hershey bars and cookies instead of graham crackers (which they don't have here). So an original version of s'mores. Larry then had a discussion with the group about how they can serve the Lord in this part of the world and he referenced Elder Ballard's talk from a European JAS devotional. Larry mostly focused on the fact that the Young Single Adults are an important part of the future of the church in Europe and they need to be prepared to serve missions, be temple worthy, and help seek out the less actives in their groups.

They had a few campfire activities and games and then went to bed around 11pm. Larry and I stayed in a hotel for the night which was amazing. I know the next morning the kids said they got so cold during the night. We had a breakfast of hot chocolate, bacon cheese muffins, and banana bread. Then we did a couple of service projects around the farmhouse. The boys dug out a couple of tree stumps and the girls cleaned up part of the yard that was over grown. That took a few  hours.

Then we had an amazing BBQ of ribs with great bread that is unique to that part of Galicia. It came straight from the bakery nice and fresh and hot. We had a brief closing and a few testimonies and that was the end. We really felt like our time and effort was worth the time for these kids to have a chance to all be together and strengthen one another. It's not so easy being mormon in this part of the world for young single adults. They just don't have the numbers that we do in the states and other areas. They are such great kids and so happy to have someone here to take an interest in them. We got back in Vigo about 5 Sat evening.
Sunday was pretty normal although I helped out in the nursery the last hour. And Larry spent the Sunday School hour with three of our JAS young men. They don't like the adult Sunday School so they just sat in the Foyer. We would like to have a Sunday School class for them but we need to see what the branch Pres. says. We're not here every Sunday so they would need another teacher. Institute was cancelled because it was Easter so we didn't have that Sun. evening. The Elders came over after church and fixed us dinner. They prepared a spanish tortilla which is basically an omelet with potatoes and onions.
They did a good job and it was nice to have a role reversal.

Monday was so quiet mainly because  neither of us felt good. We both had raging allergies. Tuesday we did our weekly shopping and then came home and made treats for our JAS activity that evening. We had a brief FHE message and then the kids played soccer on the xbox. They had such a blast. They are  now planning on having a big tournament on a Saturday so they can get more kids there. They didn't leave until 10 and it started at 7 plus we had more kids than ever  before come to this activity.

Yesterday we had district meeting and Larry gave a talk about eternal families along with some other messages by two other elders. The focus was on teaching investigators the importance of families in the church and helping them have gospel centered homes. I made brownies for the group. We found a decent Mexican restaurant and ate lunch there after the meeting. Later we had english class and then branch FHE. We had really good groups at both of those meetings.
Today we Elder sat for a while waiting for a companion to return on the train after an exchange. Since one of the Vigo elders is the district leader he does an exchange every week after district meeting and spends a day in another city with one of the elders from that city and that elders companion stays here. It's nice because we get to know the elders better that aren't in Vigo. Other than that we are having kind of a day of down time which is nice.

We love facetime with all of you call us anytime except late night to early morning!! Take care of the precious grands. We love you all.

Mom and Dad

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Apr 16, 2014

Hello to all of you!

I am having a terrible night of sleeplessness so I decided to catch up on email. I am a day later again this week because technically it is Thursday morning. So where to start.

Larry has been hit hard with allergies this past week and is so miserable. I am suffering a little but nothing like he is. His cough is better and his back seems to be doing really well. He  hasn't had pain for a few days. He has had a struggle the last few weeks with feeling good. But he hasn't let him stop him from doing what needs to be done.

Out main focus this week is getting ready for the campout this Friday and Saturday. We buy the food etc tomorrow. I  have been baking for breakfast, banana bread and muffins (in the freezer) for Sat morning. We are having hotdogs, chips, pasta salad and s'mores for Friday evening dinner. I need to make the salad tomorrow but I will put it together at the campout. Our Saturday lunch will be churascos cooked by the counselor in the district presidency. He apparently grills this for lots of group activities. We'll have bread, fruit, salad, and brownies. I need to make the brownies tomorrow also. We have rounded up tents and bought a couple of camp chairs for our own comfort. Actually we bought a couple of tents also because this branch has none and we're short a couple. I think we'll donate them to the branch. Hopefully all the JAS will have a good time and get to know each other better. We have a young couple coming to speak to them about their roll as JAS helping the church to grow here in Spain and the need for preparation such as missions and education etc. The district President is talking about Easter, the Atonement of the Savior, and how it is relevant in our lives daily. Larry will say something at the end before everyone leaves but I'm not sure what.

We had three failed appointments last week and one this week. Two with the elders and two with the sisters. It is so disappointing when people cancel and two appointments (with the same person)he just didn't show. He is a less active JAS and the elders are working with him so we were meeting  teaching with them but he never showed, however ( a small miracle) he came to church on Sunday and is going on the campout. Another less active JAS did meet with the elders in our home to watch the video of the Restoration. This person  has been through the temple and is really struggling. Not sure we'll get this one back.

Sunday we were able to have three JAS over for dinner  after the block along with the elders. We had such a great time getting to know these kids in a smaller group setting. One young woman that came to lunch came to our activity tonight and she had never come before so that felt like a small victory. 

We got together with the JAS for FHE tonight to talk about conference and share what they liked about it, and learned from the messages. We had ice cream sundaes for treats. After JAS FHE we went to branch FHE and the lesson was about temple marriage. They asked Larry to say a few words about the blessings of being sealed as a couple because we were the only ones there that have that experience. The brother giving the lesson is preparing with his wife and kids to attend the temple soon and be sealed. There was another recent convert couple there also that should be going soon. The rest were single.

Today was district meeting which is always enjoyable because we see the missionaries from the other cities that we don't see often and it's good to have that time to know one another better.

Saturday we had a lot of people for english class show up so we divided into groups according to skill level. Then when we were done we had a young man from Africa show up asking if we could teach him english. He hadn't been able to get there on time. He has absolutely no knowledge of english so I started teaching him like I did my kindergartners when I taught them to read. 
We started with the alphabet, vowel sounds. He speaks three language already and is pretty smart so we'll see how it goes. Everyone else we are teaching has previous knowledge of english.

We had a great p-day with the elders and hermanas. We took the ferry over to the Islas Cias. They only allow so many people on the islands each day so you have to book your passage in advance. It is the beginning of the season and the hermanas found out about a special so we all went over together. You saw pix on facebook so you know how absolutely gorgeous the islands are. There is only camping allowed on the island, there are no hotels but there is one restaurant and a cafeteria. Just beautiful wilderness. We hiked to one of the lighthouses but not the highest one. It was a long hike and the hermanas didn't want to hike to the farthest lighthouse. Neither did we but we let them decide. Maybe next time.

Hope this finds you all well and happy. I talked to all but Cameron and Stacey today so I have a pretty good idea that things are going well. Take care.

We love you.

Mom and Dad

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wed, Apr 9, 201

Hi family,

How is everything? We are waiting for it to get late enough in the day to call and find out what the pictures on instagram of Stacey's car and the tow truck is all about. We are hoping all is well.

So I am late again. I used to write these emails on Monday and last week it was Tue. and this week it is Wed. Oh well there is really not a lot that is new and exciting.
Larry's back is much better but he has had a terrible cough and congestion for almost two weeks and doesn't feel all that great. I think he needs to see a Dr.
We had a great P-day with the hermanas Monday of which I'm sure you are already aware since your dad  flooded instagram and facebook with pictures of the beaches and small towns we saw. It was a wonderful relaxing day of enjoying sights and nature. We first went to the beach of Samil which is the closest, and is actually on the outskirts of the City. The next beach was Playa America in Nigran, the one with the river running right into the ocean. It looked like the river had just decided to make a new pathway through the sand and then flowed right into the ocean on the beach. Our last stop was Baiona, where in 1493 the Pinta ( 1 of Columbus's s ships) landed and it was the first to announce to Europe of their finding of the New World. That was also the pix of the romanesque castle, Monterreal, that has a resort hotel built inside it's ancient walls. We didn't actually see the hotel etc.because you have to be a guest to enter that part of the area or buy an entrance pass. So if anyone wants to visit us in Spain we can go stay there for a few days. The resort has its own private beach and other amenities. I looked online and it looks fabulous.

Later that day we all met up with the Elders at Dominos for an all you can eat pizza, Monday special. The Elders eat there every Monday and have been harassing us and the sisters to join them every week since we've been here. I must admit the pizza was delicious, we tried almost every kind, and the Elders can pack it away. We ended up eating 7 large pizzas between the 6 of us. It's 6.50E per person so if one can eat a lot, it is definitely worth the money. 

We did our weekly grocery shopping yesterday at the Gran Via Mall. I love how in other parts of the world one of the anchor stores at a mall is always a supermarket. We shop at CarreFour a very large Walmart style store that is headquartered in France. It's a great store that carries just about anything you could possibly need.

 The Elders and Hermanas came for lunch (which is at 2:30 here in Spain) and we watched the Sunday afternoon session of conference which we had not seen. It was a really nice afternoon and then we transitioned over to the church for the evening where we had two investigators (english speaking) watch the Restoration video. I can never see that video enough times that it still doesn't impact me anew. One of the investigators afterward said "I believe now, I didn't before but I do now." It is truly a powerful film.

Speaking of powerful wasn't  General Conference just that. We were so grateful to be able to enjoy listening to our amazing leaders this past weekend. We watched the Sat morning session live at 6pm here. Larry and I were in charge of setting up our computer to the big screen TV in the Primary room for all of the english speakers, which were us, the Elders, one hermana, and about 5 ward members. We had to buy an HDMI converter and then the cable to go with it. Luckily we did a trial run Fri. night and couldn't get it to work. Larry took everything back to the electronics store and they tried the equipment for us and the cable just didn't work so they gave us a new one and we were successful! For Priesthood and the Women's meeting, which the branch showed Sunday at 11, at the same time, therefore the women were watching the women's meeting in spanish in the Primary room. The english speakers were relegated to our laptop for the Priesthood session and the ipad for the Women's meeting. There were only two women that needed to watch in english so it wasn't a problem I had already listened to the Women's meeting twice in english so I listened with the spanish speaking women. It was a great meeting in both languages. All the english speakers came to our house to eat after and then we all went back to the church around 2pm to watch the Sat afternoon session. Then later at 6 pmthe branch members came to watch the Sunday morning session and we did an english showing also. I love conference weekend and it doesn't matter where in the world a person may be the spirit is so strong and the messages are alway uplifting, meaningful and timely.

Today was district mtg but I had a terrible headache so I sent Larry with the treats and stayed home. Everyone shared a thought from conference and how that helped with missionary work. I had a good thought prepared but oh well, if I am ever asked to speak without notice I can use this thought. It happens out here. After district meeting all of the missionaries except 4 who had to catch a bus, so 8, came over to see how I was doing. Secretly I think they all wanted ice cream bars that we always have on hand as treats for missionaries. They are all such good young men and women we just love them. Later today we have english class and then branch family home evening. Since neither one of us feel great we are going to rest this afternoon so we'll be on for later.

You all take care. Keep face timing. We never get tired of talking to you and seeing the kids and hearing their adventures. We love you all.

Mom and Dad

Friday, April 4, 2014

Tue, Apr 1, 2014

Well, wow time is getting away from me these last few days. It's already Tuesday afternoon and I realized I hadn't written anything for the last week.

We drove up to Santiago with the hermanas last Wed. for our last zone mtg. with elders Ponsoda and Ortiz as the leaders. They have returned home as of this morning. Sad to realize some of these young elders we've gotten to know and love we may never see again. But such is life (especially in the missionary world)and we just have to move on. We had a great meeting with the zone (24-4 sisters, Larry and I, and the rest are young elders.) We were encouraged to improve our weekly planning, and set a goal of getting the investigators to understand the importance of attending Sacrament meeting. Apparently that can be a problem when teaching prospective members. We watched a 2008 conference talk given by Elder Oaks "Sacrament Meeting and the Sacrament" a good reminder of how very sacred this meeting is. Larry gave a short presentation asking the young missionaries to be of help encouraging the JAS and seeking them out when they may be in a part of town where someone might live. He also gave them a copy of Elder Ballard's devotional talk he gave to all the JAS in Europe in 2012 when he told them they were the future of the church in Europe. That is going to be our focus as we work with these young folks here in the district. They need to understand how important it is for them to stay faithful and help strengthen the church here in this area of the world.We celebrated the last meeting with our zone leaders afterward with cake and zucchini bread. It's nice to have sisters that are willing to help bring treats. We went to lunch afterwards with our local hermanas at a pizza place before driving home. 

Larry was in too much pain that night to go and teach english and attend FHE so we spent a quiet evening at home. 
Thursday we had a JAS movie night at our house. One of the young men in our group who is waiting for his mission call has been making pizzas to earn money for his mission so we had him make 4 pizzas for our activity. I added cut up fruit, chips, soda, cookies, and one other young lady brought popcorn. We watched "Man of Steel" and had a fun evening.

Friday night was the Relief Society Birthday dinner. The attendance was great and these ladies know how to party. Hermana Rojas the Pres. gave a talk about Visiting teaching then some of the ladies did small vignettes portraying good VT and not so good VT. They were hilarious. Then 4 ladies did dances from their native countries. That was really fun to watch. By then it was after 9 and they were ready to serve dinner. I'm not sure what they ate because I slipped out just before. I know I am a dud but I have a hard time wanting to eat a big meal at 9 at night.

Saturday we went to Vila Garcia with one of our young men to judge the cake contest at their ward party. They meet in the basement of a hotel and have an interesting arrangement. You probably saw pix on facebook. It is such a small little branch but the Branch President told me there are many less active members that have been leaders in their home countries but after coming to Spain have just stopped attending church. They are needed so desperately. 

Sunday we drove out to the branch of Ourense to meet any JAS that are there and just get to know more of the members in 
the district. It was a little over an hour to get there but we really enjoyed meeting the members there. Another struggling little branch with lots of less actives that just don't come. We had a district skype meeting Sunday night with the counselor in the district Pres. and JAS leaders in the branches to finalize plans for the campout the middle of April. Our branch is in charge of most of the food. I can do food so I am not too worried about that. We also spent time, just us, with hermano Rodriguez (counselor) talking about JAS and updating the lists in the branches.

Monday was hectic because of transfers. One of the hermanas from Vigo got transferred back to Madrid so she had to be at the train station at 6:45 am. Larry and I were up early to pick her up and get her there. Then her companion needed to stay with us us until her new companion came at 1:30 pm. We came home and had a nap, after that  I made breakfast then hermana Giler and I made chicken soup and took it to a sick lady in the ward. We went to get Hermana Seastrand at the train station but the train was late. We ate a quick lunch and went back. We got the hermanas to their Apt. then went home. They came over later to use the internet, then the Elders came for the same reason. Fun busy day. I am so glad we didn't have any other transfers out of Vigo because I just love these missionaries but it will come eventually.

We haven't done too much today except go grocery shopping, but I am getting ready to make muffins for our district meeting in the morning. I'm making bacon cheddar, and Amish cinnamon muffins. YUMMY.

We are so happy about all our new grand babies to be born within the next year. Maybe we'll get some girls. You can do it Stacey and Devry!! We love you all and we are so glad we can facetime with you so often.

Love, Mom and Dad