We hope everyone is doing well, especially Liam since his surgery today. Sure hope the tubes help him overcome his ear infections. We miss you all and love talking to you via facetime. Thanks for keeping in touch.
Today was the first day of our Senior couples seminar, or as Larry named it "the retreat from the heat" since all the couples are coming from Madrid or other hot parts of Spain. We met together at 9 for some presentations, one by your dad about using the buildings as a missionary tool, and then from the Lopezes who are the couple in charge of housing for the mission. We also watched a video about the purpose of temples. We played a getting to know you game then had district meeting with the young missionaries when they arrived at . The Pontevedre Elders, Beuden and Johnson missed their bus to Vigo and since Elder Beuden is the district leader and in charge of the meeting he was a little panicked. They arrived at the bus stop a little early but the bus had already left or it didn't come at all because today is a national holiday and the bus schedules can change. Elder Beuden called your dad while he was just finishing the presentation and for some reason he handed me the phone to answer. After hearing the Elders plight and a plea for a ride I reassured them he'd come right away to pick them up. It's a twenty minute drive one way and they were only a half an hour late instead of hours if they'd had to wait for the next bus. We had an excellent meeting conducted by Elder Beuden with all of the young missionaries participating. Then we had a lunch of Dominoe's pizza, salad, and desserts.
Larry and I were in charge of setting everything up for the meeting since we live here. We went over to the church last night and with the help of the Lopezes, who are staying with us, we got the tables set for lunch and chairs arranged for the meeting. Then we went and bought drinks and put them in the fridge at the church to be cold for lunch today. I came home and made salad dressing and cut up all the veggies for the salad.
Well it is now night and all of the Seniors have returned back to Madrid and other locals. Our meeting was enriching and light hearted. The Arjonas from Madrid gave training for the JAS program and lots of good ideas, inspiration , and encouragement. They are over all of the JAS for all of Spain so they go train to all three missions. It was good to have some real direction and help with what can be less well defined than other church programs. They are both amazing people with some very good insights. President and Sister Jackson gave praise and instruction that was needed and helpful. After that was a talent show. Now that was fun and relaxing. Such cute ideas some of these couples came up with. Your dad had all the men come up and sing "Besame Mucho" to all the wives and it was a show stopper. At the end of the song all the wives ran up and kissed their husbands. I know cheesy but fun. President Jackson played the accordion and of course "Lady of Spain" was the chosen number. Great fun.
The afternoons and evenings of and were free time so all the couples took advantage of seeing some of the beautiful sights in this area. Some went to Portugal and others to Santiago . everyone went to La Toja, an island north of Vigo with a famous luxury hotel on it. A pretty exclusive island to be sure. Many wealthy Madrilenos go there to spend their vacations and escape the heat of Madrid. I do think one couple went to the beach here in Vigo rather than the island.
All the senior couples came to Church today and the people in the branch were so welcoming and glad to have all of them there. One couple sang a beautiful arrangement of "If the Savior Stood Beside Me", part in spanish and part in english. Both of them were Tabernacle choir members so that tells you the quality of their singing. Some couples left after sacrament meeting and others right after the block. The Jacksons stayed behind for zone conference so we had them over for dinner.
We visited a lovely elderly Cuban lady today along with the hermanas. She's pretty much homebound and the sisters have been working on arranging for priesthood brethren to bring her the sacrament. She's been in Spain for 20 years but lived in Cuba before that. She talked a lot about the devastation in her country and the hardships the people face because of the corrupt government and dictatorship of Fidel Castro. Never a day goes by here in our mission that I don't stop and realize all the blessings that I have enjoyed my entire life when so many others face such difficult hardships and challenges. We have been given much and it is our responsibility and blessing to give back.
There is so much more I could say but I am so exhausted that I am going to end now. We love you all and could use a few more facetime calls.
Mom and Dad