Friday, June 27, 2014

Jun 27, 2014

Hi to all the fam,

Well my mind is blank as to what we did last week but I am thinking. I do remember we had missionary movie night at the church last Friday. It was an activity designed to get people to bring their nonmember and less active friends for a relaxing evening. We showed the move "Ephraim's Rescue" which I had never seen. It's really well done and I enjoyed it so much. We had a pretty decent turnout, served popcorn and drinks to make it feel like a real movie event.

Saturday we drove up to A Caruna to check two sets of elder's apartments. I'm glad I'm not a young missionary and I'll leave it at that. We took the elder's out to lunch after the apt checks to a little neighborhood restaurant, which are typical here in the north. There are one or more of this style of restaurant on every city block. They have similar menus, they're fairly inexpensive, and most serve a decent hamburger so what is not to like. After lunch we attended the baptism for a father whose wife and kids are already members and have been recently reactivated. The missionaries love a baptism that completes a family's membership so it was a wonderful event for everyone. After the baptism we had an activity with the JAS in the A Caruna branch. We showed a video about the atonement, the elder's bore their testimonies, we played games, and then ate hot dogs, chips, cookies and brownies. We had a nice turnout and got better acquainted with the kids in that branch. Their was a young women there that is getting baptized next Wed. evening and I am so sad I won't be here to go to the baptism. But more happy that I'll be in UT with Mallory and Griffin.

Sunday night we took Hermana Giler to the bus station to catch a midnight bus to Madrid. She flew home to Barcelona on Tuesday. We had a few problems getting her on the bus because the office elders overlooked the detail that she needed a ticket and not just a confirmation number. We got her on the bus but she had to buy another ticket. We are sad to see her go but happy for her to start another phase of her life. Hermana Seastrand spent the night with us and we had to have her at the train station Monday at 7:30 along with Elder Sargent because they were both transferred to new areas. We got them off and two missionaries came from Pontevedre, Sister Snelson to spent the day with us and Elder Saunders to be with Elder McAllister until their new companions arrived. I fixed what Larry has named our "babysitting breakfast" which is scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and OJ. The missionaries all seem to really enjoy having this typical American breakfast even if they aren't American.

Around  1:30 we all went back to the train station to meet all the incoming transfers. Sister Nydegger, Sister Shoaman, and Elder Hendrix who will all be serving here in Vigo. We went to our apt. and fed them lunch and then made a few trips to deliver luggage, sisters, and elders. It was a long day. 

Tuesday we had the weekly JAS FHE. Larry and I are going to teach a lesson from Preach My Gospel every week. He taught the Plan of Salvation this week. These kids know there stuff and we had really good participation. I have loved studying  Preach My Gospel on a daily basis with Larry. That's been a wonderful blessing for us. After the less we (okay Larry) taught the kids to play 42. They caught on pretty quickly and we had a fun night. I made cinnamon and white chocolate popcorn and cheesy popcorn for treats. I took the same popcorn to branch FHE Wed. night and it was a hit there also.

Thanks to our talented Mallory,who designed them for us, we got all our visuals to a printer yesterday and hopefully they'll be ready by Monday. We are having 7 posters made that we will be using for weekly open houses at the church. The subjects they depict are The B of M, Temples, and Family History. We hope to involve the JAS and other branch members with the open houses. There is so much foot traffic that passes our building on a daily basis that we are hoping to attract a few interested people. People are always stopping to look at the sign with the church's name and at the posters in the window so who knows. 

We shopped earlier today to prepare for lunch after Sunday. We have invited all the JAS to come over and eat and just have some good conversation. I am making Italian food and can't find Italian sausage for the spaghetti sauce so I found all the spices and I made my own. It has to sit for 12 or more hours before it can be cooked . I hope it's good. I am trying to make as much ahead as I can so tomorrow I'll be in the kitchen most of the day.

We just got home from branch council after a two week break because the entire branch presidency has been out of town and the executive secretary is in the hospital. Sunday a member of the district presidency presided and conducted sacrament meeting. The poor executive secretary has the same problem your dad had only much worse. We visited him yesterday and he looked good but is in so much pain and told us he is unable to walk. He will probably end up having surgery. He is in the same hospital Larry was so they commiserated a bit.

I will be home Tuesday night as we booked my ticket today a few hours before Mallory went into labor so I most likely won't be there when she comes home from the hospital. I feel so bad about that but it I'll be there soon after. Can't wait to meet baby Griffin and see all of you again for two weeks. I love it here but there's no place like home and no people better than family.

Love to you all,

Mom and Dad

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Jun 19, 2014

Hi dearest family.

The past few days in Vigo have been warm and we now know our apt can double as a giant oven. The sun pours in from the north and the east all morning until early afternoon, about 2 when it finally is past our windows. Our mornings begin cool because thankfully the nights are cool. We close up the blinds and windows as soon as the sun begins to shine through the glass and the coolness lasts a bit longer. But when the sun is directly on all the windows it heats up our metal blinds which in turns raises the temperature in our apartment until it is uncomfortable even with fans blowing constantly. Today we are having a respite from the heat with much cooler temps, slight cloudiness, and a mild breeze. It feels like heaven. 

Last Friday we spent our day with the elders and sisters painting a bedroom for a family in our branch. They are expecting a new baby in a week or so and the sisters volunteered to help with the painting so we all decided to join in. You know how much your dad likes painting?!! But he does know how to do it and he got us all organized after sending some of us to the store to get the right materials, and back again and again. He had us taping, draping and cutting in the edges before we knew it. We actually got three coats of paint on the walls and it looked very nice. It took us from 11-5 which included a lunch break at Domino's Pizza, while the elders went to lunch at a members house. The elders also scrubbed the mold off of the ceilings and walls in the bedroom we painted and two other bedrooms. Mold is a huge problem in this part of the world and so unhealthy especially for a new baby. The family seemed so appreciative of our help.

Saturday was the beginning of our District Conference. We had a visiting Area Authority Seventy, Elder Donaldson, from Wales. What an incredible man he is and what an impression he left here in just two short days. Larry had a two hour Priesthood Leadership meeting starting at 4 and then there was a special meeting for the JAS and YMYW with Elder Donaldson at 6pm. He came and sat down by us in the chapel before the meeting and chatted for a few minutes. He and Larry know some of the same people so it was fun to get to know him a bit. During the meeting he spoke with the young people in such a personal gentle way that involved humor and participation. It was a great meeting and I think everyone fell in love with him that night. Then we had the adult session at 8 and his approach was again so personal and engaging that anyone there couldn't help but feel the spirit and the strength of his message to bring our lost friends and family back to the fold. Sunday we drove up to Santiago for the Sunday session that took place in a large rented auditorium. As choir members we had to be there an hour early. This meeting was very powerful also hearing from Pres. Bamio, A counselor in the mission Presidency (forgot his name), Sister Rodrigues ( wife of a counselor in the district Presidency).  We also enjoyed testimonies from two YA preparing to serve missions. Brother Donaldson did not disappoint once again. He shared some very moving personal experiences, shared scriptures and likened them to our life and our experiences as parents, youth, and members who are trying to live the gospel each day, serve, and flourish in a world that in which it is difficult to live. He is a very kind and understanding man that speaks from his heart through the Spirit.

The sisters came over and made gourmet hamburgers for my birthday Monday and the elders made Skor bar cake for dessert. Everything was delicious and very enjoyable. Later that night some of the JAS came over and surprised me with roses and more cake to eat. Again lots of fun.

Tuesday we pretty much got ready for our JAS activity which was a Photo scavenger hunt. I was busy part of the day making refreshments for the activity and District meeting the next morning. I made mini fruit pizzas and cheesy pull apart bread and both seemed well liked by both groups.
Wed. was district meeting and after that we went to visit a ward member in the hospital that had just had her baby. It made me really antsy to get home and be with Mallory and her new baby. Later that day I made finger sandwiches for Branch FHE which doubled as a going away for Hermana Giler who will leave Vigo Sunday for Madrid and fly home to Barcelona Tuesday. We are going to miss her so much she is an excellent missionary and has been a joy to work with. Today we took her out to lunch for a more personal farewell.

Larry just left for guitar lessons. He is going to be doing that every Thursday at the church for anyone that is interested. We know one of our JAS is interested. He has a guitar and has had a couple of informal lessons with Larry so this will just be more formal and consistent. I better close for now so I can go to the store and pick up items to make dinner for the new mom just home from the hospital.

You all  take care.

We love you.

Mom and Dad

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Jun 12, 2014

Hi all,

Vigo has finally put on its face of summer. Apparently there is a local saying that the "40th of May" is the end of the cold rainy weather and the beginning of sunshine. It must be true because we have had sun the last  few days and the temp is climbing a bit. The people have given up their boots for sandals, jackets for short sleeves and summer wear and the umbrellas have disappeared. There is definitely a different feeling in the air. Also the cruise ships are porting at least twice a week and we see lots of cruise ship tourists in the city. We talked to an elderly couple from England at McDonald's the other day and they had left England and gone to the Canary Islands and were on the return trip back to England. They said they had done this cruise before and love seeing Spain this way. I think I would love seeing Spain this way also.

We spent today inspecting the young missionaries apartments here in Vigo and in Pontevedre. Pontevedre is about a 25 minute drive from Vigo. We have been asked to do this for the entire district so that will mean some travel on our part but we enjoy that and it gives us a chance to make contact with the JAS in the other cities. We went to lunch with the sisters in Pontevedre and had a nice chat with them. We sure do love associating with all these young missionaries. It has been such an unexpected blessing. Pontevedre has such a charming old town that we want to go back and really explore sometime. The GPS guided us into the city a through the streets of the old town, which are very narrow and we were the only car on some of these roads or wide sidewalks as they appeared to be. Larry was so nervous that they were pedestrian only paths and kept saying "I've got to get out of here." It seemed wherever we turned there were more narrow streets. I was loving drive because everything was so quaint and charming. I told Larry nobody is giving us a second glance so cars must use these streets. According to the sisters cars can use the streets but there is normally very little traffic. We finally made our way out of the old town maze and found a parking garage and walked from there. Live and learn.

Yesterday was zone meeting in Santiago. We left here about 10 and got home about 4 and then add english class and branch FHE and the day was pretty much over. It was a long day but very enjoyable. It's always so good to see all the other missionaries and I love making treats for them to have when the meeting is over. The meeting lasted 2 and a half hours and
everyone was starving by the time it was over. We had snacks and then a group of us went to lunch. I would love to make lunch for all of them but that is just not possible.
Our JAS championship xbox soccer playoff activity was such a lot of fun. We actually had two JAS come that had never come before so we consider that a success. Tairi who is our JAS leader said it was a great night. She seems to think we are doing okay working with the Young Single Adults. It is a matter of patience and consistency with these kids. We are here for 13 more months so we'll just keep on keeping on.

Monday I spent the whole day baking for the zone meeting and the JAS activity. I made banana bread, carmel apple bread, zucchini rosemary bread, and cheesy pull apart bread. It was a lot of work but everyone seemed to enjoy the food. We also made ice cream sundaes after the xbox competition with the winner getting a big pedestal cup in which to make his extra large sundae. I also made nacho cheese dip for FHE that was a big hit. I am never sure if some of the American food is going to be enjoyed by everyone but so far so good.
I don't know if I mentioned that Teo our African investigator showed up at church last Sunday. We were so excited to see him there. He seemed to enjoy the meeting and we gave him a lesson the next day but haven't seen him since. He last said he was too busy to see us. Hmmmmm, we aren't giving up.

We had a sick elder this past weekend. He showed up at branch council looking really pale and we could tell he didn't feel good. Larry talked him into going home and drove both the elders home for the night. Saturday he was still bad and kept getting a fever of over 101. Sunday his fever reached 102 so after sacrament meeting Larry took him to the emergency room after getting the okay from the Mission President. Turns out he had a gastrointestinal infection so they gave him antibiotics and he is fine now. With all the people that have meningitis here in Vigo, two in our branch, we were a little paranoid that's what he had.
It's late so I better say goodbye for now. You all take care and know we miss all of you and love all of you.
Mom and Dad

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Jun 6, 2014

Hi guys,

Today has been kind of a slow lazy day with lots of rain. After our companion study Larry spent time writing his talk for Sunday since it is going to be "missionary Sunday". One member of each of the three companionships will speak as well as  Andriv the young man recently called to serve a mission in Mexico. Larry was assigned to talk about "hastening the work as church members." The others are teaching principles out of "Preach My Gospel. It should be a good meeting. Larry is the last speaker so he thinks there won't be a lot of time left for him but we'll see. I have been doing laundry and whatever else needs doing. We went grocery shopping and tried a new supermarket and didn't like it at all so it's back to Carrefour for us. It is just such a nice store. 

We have a repairman here right now to replace one of our blinds, that has been broken for a while, and the microwave. We haven't had the microwave for a month and at first I really missed it but I have gotten used to heating things up on the stove and hardly care if we get a new one. I'm sure after I start using it again I'll be glad and wondered how I lived without it. 

We had a semi decent turnout at the the education/employment training seminar this past Saturday. Only one of the JAS came so we were pretty discouraged by that. However the Elder's Quorum pres. wants to do some workshops on a branch level and get these young adults committed to come so that may work out really well. Brother Serrano did an amazing job and those that were there learned very valuable skills for job search and how to access the PEF and much more. We helped him set up everything Friday night after choir practice then Larry went over at 9 in the morning to help with the final details of getting the computer up and running onto the screen and what not. I went over to help and ended up taking care of a little boy so his mother could take part in the seminar because he wasn't cooperating so well. He wasn't thrilled when I took him but we got used to one another. He finally fell asleep and his mom put him in the stroller. I then went and bought drinks and treats for everyone to have when the workshop finished up. After 4 hours I knew they would be starving. Brother Serrano took us and Amanda out for lunch afterwards and we all had a good chat. Amanda is over Employment on the district level and also is our branch Relief Society president. I don't know how she does it. She is also raising her two nephews since her sister passed away. Two of her kids are grown so she just has one at home but still she works and is the sole support of her family. I assume she is divorced since there is no husband around.

We had a great P-day outing this past Monday. We drove down the coast to Baiona and A Guarda with the hermanas. Again absolutely breathtaking scenery along the way. We went to see the Virgen de la Roca which is a statue of Mary on a hill near Baiona but it is being refurbished and was completely covered in scaffolding so we couldn't see it at all. The views from the hill though were worth the drive. We could see the islands and beaches-so gorgeous. The Celtic ruins at A Guarda were quite amazing. The settlement was built on the highest hill in the area so again stunning views all around. The Galician valleys below and Portugal to the south,  Rio Mino that divides the two countries and the Atlantic Ocean. Santa Tecla is the name of the old Celtic settlement. You could see the stone fences that were animal pens and the outlines of their small huts they lived in. We have to go back because I would like to spend so much more time there. The museum was closed and we didn't get to see the reconstructed huts up close because our time was limited.

Our weekly JAS activity turned into a night of Karaoke and was such a lot of fun. One completely inactive young man, that has chosen a lifestyle completely outside the gospel teaching, came to the activity. We were happy to see him and hope he'll come again. He has been a couple of times but we rarely see him. It is sad to see someone that has been so active, from all we've been told, turn his back on truth for fleeting pleasure. 

Yesterday Sandra invited me to her salon for a mani and pedi. She did the manicure and Catarina the pedicure at the same time. I felt really pampered. It took a couple of hours but during that time we had such a good talk about their lives, how they came to join the church, their families and whatever else came up. I enjoyed listening to them share their feelings about the gospel and the love they have for the Savior. They both have such great faith in the power of prayer and guidance of the Spirit. So much of what life long members have always been blessed with is something new and precious to them. Two very special ladies that want to get married and have children but with not a lot of prospects here in Vigo. Catarina is planning to move back to Brazil once her divorce is final and seems excited to be where the church is more well established and the membership is greater in number. While I was there Larry went with elder McCallister to administer to a young boy in our branch that is in the hospital with meningitis. There is another member of the branch recovering from the same malady. Apparently meningitis is a real problem here in Spain.

Nothing much new and exciting just routine stuff. We're trying to find some spanish visuals that we can set up outside the church and sit and talk to people as they walk by and maybe get some interest in that way.We'd probably do that a couple of hours a couple of days a week. There is a lot of foot traffic that goes by the chapel everyday so we want to take advantage of that.

Take care all of you and keep in touch. We love you all so much.

Mom and Dad