Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jul 31, 2014

Hey dear Family,

We've talked to all of you today and feel caught up on the happenings in your busy lives. You all seem in good spirits and are pressing forward trying to live good lives. We are so thankful for each one of you and look forward to talking with you and the grands on a regular basis.

So as far as the past week goes there aren't a lot of new and exciting things to write about so I will attempt to make this as interesting as possible.

We are still inspecting apartments so last Thursday we went to Pontevedre to inspect the elder's apartment. Of course while we were there we took them and the hermanas that live in Pontevedre to lunch. We had previously inspected the hermana's apartment so it wasn't necessary to do that again. We went to a Chinese buffet that was actually not so bad as far as buffets go and we had a good time getting to know these four young missionaries better. One elder is from Mesa, AZ so we feel a little more connected with him already, the other elder comes from MT, one hermana from CA and the other is from the south of Spain. Elder Saunders is tall with red hair and hermana Snelson is somewhat tall with red hair and they say sometimes when they meet the same people at different times in the city the people will tell them they have already talked with their brother or sister. Do all red heads look alike? After lunch we were able to meet with a young man JAS age that the hermanas were having their first lesson with, so they asked us to stay while they gave him the lesson. He is such a delightful young man who is so full of enthusiasm and already knows so much about the church. We were supposed to meet again Monday but he cancelled. This happens a lot with investigators and is always a bit of a disappointment but the missionaries just keep on trying and working with patience and faith. I hope the hermanas will continue to invite us to come to his lessons. Larry went with the Vigo Elders later that same evening to help teach an investigator that wasn't there so again patience and faith.

We spent Monday doing some more exploring around Vigo for the upcoming Senior conference in August. We went to a large park in the city and visited a mansion located there that is now an art museum with nice gardens behind it. Since it was Monday the museum was closed. I'm not sure how much the couples would enjoy this since they are coming from Madrid that has the National Palace and its much grander gardens. We did go to the local beach Monday night to walk along the promenade and enjoy the coolness and beautiful sunset over the ocean. We spent about two hours there just enjoying the stroll and people watching. We also ran into two families from the branch and had fun talking to them for a while. 

Our JAS activity last night went really well. Some of our kids are at the Spain Conference for JAS so we weren't sure we'd get too many attending but we had a fair number show up. We had two kids come that hadn't attended for a while so that was nice. From face book and instagram you know we played JENGA and it was a riot. Of course I would be the one who knocked the first tower down but in my defense I had never played before and I was so  nervous that my hands shook a little. (YIKES) We also had a brief practice directing music. Larry started teaching them that while I was gone. We had lots of fun and some good food. We served brownies, lemon bars, veggies and Ranch dip, crackers and a cheese ball. I try to make enough treats to stretch to district meeting the next morning and branch FHE the next evening. I spend a lot of time shopping and in the kitchen but I really love making food for everyone. At FHE tonight several people raved about the ranch dip and said it was so good, how did I make it, and they'd never tasted anything like it before.  The young American missionaries always love it when I bring out the ranch. Maybe we should say as "American as ranch dip" instead of apple pie.

Today after district meeting we took the Ourense Elders home so we could inspect their apt. It's a one hour drive to get there and after the apt. check we went to lunch and had a great chat with these two wonderful Elders, one from CA and the other from Camaroon. These lunches are one of our favorite things to do with the missionaries to help us to get to know them and develop a camaraderie with them. We also get opportunities to teach with them from time to time and really enjoy that aspect of our association with the young missionaries. They usually do the teaching and we share our feelings and testimony plus we're always good for an opening or closing prayer.

Like I said not much new to share with you all but we are still happy and busy serving here in Vigo. Love to you all.

Mom and Dad

Friday, July 25, 2014

Jul 24, 2014

Hi all in UT, WA, and CA,

I have been back in Vigo one week so it's time to start writing again to all of you back home. I spent a glorious two weeks with Mallory, Mark, and baby Griffin and felt so happy to be able to do that. I was glad to see all of you kids and grands. Thanks to the CA family and Wa family for making the trek to UT while I was there. It was great to spend the fourth with all of you and the extended Arnetts and a few extended Mortensens. It's been a while since we were all together on the 4th. Of course we missed Larry and Danny so I guess technically we weren't all together on the 4th. There is nothing better than spending time with family especially darling grandchildren. It was a smidge harder to come back and get in the swing than I had anticipated but one week later I feel adjusted back to missionary life.

I arrived in Madrid Wed. afternoon and it was so hot. Not much hotter than UT but it just seemed hotter. More humidity I think. There is a lot to be said for "dry heat." We had a hotel for the night near my old Residencia during my semester abroad days so we did some visiting of old haunts. After a short nap we went to dinner then took off walking to see all the old familiar places we could make it to in one evening. It was such a lot of fun to remember younger days and be glad for where we are in life now. 

We headed back to Vigo Thursday morning and made two stops to visit the cities of Avila and Salamanca. Another hot day and we were out in the heat so much. Avila is the sight of an old Romanesque wall, built  in Medieval  times as a protection for the city. Avila is also filled with Gothic and Romanesque churches. It is one of Spain's several World Heritage Cities.I had been there back in "73" and I do remember the wall but nothing else seemed at all familiar to me. The next stop was Salamanca that boasts Spain's oldest University. Nothing about this city seemed familiar from my visit 41 years ago. As a side note I was jet lagged and very hot, so I wasn't that excited to be there but Larry enjoyed seeing everything and I think we'll need to go back and spend more time there in the fall, when it is cooler.

Thursday I crashed and burned trying to get over jet lag. I don't even remember doing much except restocking the fridge and cupboards with food from the grocery store. Friday Larry's cousin's daughter (Maddi Moffat) came to stay the night from Leon where she had been studying Spanish with a group from ASU. She was on her way to Portugal to meet her brother and do some backpacking through a few other European countries. We picked her up at the train station during a rain storm and then took her home for dinner and chatting. She left the next morning around 9. We got a call from her as the train was pulling out that she had left one of her phones here with some of her stuff she had asked us to mail home for her. It was her European phone so she needed it. Larry made a last minute trip to Porto Portugal to meet her train and give her the phone. Good times!!!

It was so great to see everyone in the branch again 
Sunday morning at church. It is amazing how attached I feel to the members here in Vigo. Larry and I taught the YMYW /JAS Sunday School class. All together we probably had about 14 kids from ages 12 to 20 something. Interesting dynamic. Later that afternoon President Jakson's wife and 2 sons arrived in Vigo while Pres Jackson was with the District President at a meeting in another city. We had them all except President over for dinner then we took them out to see some of the gorgeous views around Vigo, to visit old town, and then to see the beach. Around 7 Pres Jackson was at our building doing temple recommend interviews and we ( the missionaries) were doing "pancake night" for members to bring their nonmember friends to eat pancakes and watch a church video. We had an awesome crowd that night because of all the people there for interviews. 

Monday we spent with the Jackson's taking them to Valenca in Portugal, Porto in Spain and then ending up in Baiona for lunch where we parted ways so they could have some time at the beach and then head to the airport and back to Madrid. We had such a good time with them and their sons. They are lovely people so dedicated to the missionary work here in Spain.
Tuesday I had to get back in the food making swing for JAS that night and district meeting the next day. I baked 6 dozen snickerdoodles and made cheese balls for these activities. Everyone said how much they missed me as they were chowing down on the refreshments. Hmmmmm! For JAS  we watched the movie the "Saratov Approach." We have several young men mission age that I hope were moved a little bit by the movie. There are some very powerful moments during the telling of the story of the missionaries'  kidnapping. 

District meeting was a shot in the arm that I was in need of. It was a timely reminder of the importance of this work we are here in Spain to do on behalf of the Lord. It was also great to get back together with the young elders and sisters. FHE was well attended last night as was english class. Not to be redundant, but I do feel back in the swing.

Today was a fun day for us. President Jackson asked us to find things for the senior couples to do in Vigo while they are here in August for a special two day conference. So we took the tour bus around the city to see what that was like so we could recommend it as a worthwhile activity. Even though it's a mission conference there will be a fair amount of free time to fill for relaxation and sightseeing. There were two cruise ships in port today so the bus was full of cruise ship tourists, mostly older couples (like us). However we were the only missionaries. 

We just got back from taking the hermanas home for the night and then we're going to bed ourselves. We were up so early this morning that bedtime sounds really good to us.

Take Care and know we love you all.

Mom and Dad