Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sep 16, 2014

Hi to all,

I can't believe it's Tuesday and I'm  already a day behind in  my writing.  Last Tuesday most of the JAS came to the  church in the evening to help decorate for Andriv's good bye FHE party on Wed. We really decorated everything so nice with the colors red, green, and white. It looked very festive.  Wed. night so  many branch members came and everyone brought food so we had  more like a meal with lots of desserts. The party was such a lot of fun. We showed two videos of Andriv's life one of him growing up,  and the other with picture of his JAS years. His mom spoke, along with your dad, and Justino (his temple escort) and of course Andriv. Then it  was party time with music and dancing. It was such a lot of fun and a good send off for a missionary.

Saturday morning at 8 we went to the train station to see Andriv off to Madrid to be set apart by President Jackson. His mom  was able to go with  him so he wasn't alone and his older sister lives in Madrid and they have friends there so I am sure he had a  good support group at his setting apart.
Later in the day we met with Tairi, our JAS leader and planned the  next few months of activities. It can be a  challenge coming up with a variety of activities. We are limited by lack of transportation and budget but we do okay and the kids seem to be enjoying our get togethers.

We met with the RS pres. last week for a couple of hours and she talked to us about some of the couples in the branch that are struggling with staying active and getting to the temple to be sealed. She asked if we could start visiting and spending time with them and help encourage them in their efforts. So that is something new we will be doing that we are looking forward to. 

There is an LDS JAS age American here in Vigo until January as an exchange student from Ut State. That will be a nice addition to our group. In fact he was called Sunday to be the other JAS leader in the branch. He seems like a great guy, a returned missionary from Argentina, so excited about everything. He brought 3 other exchange students to Andriv's farewell party and invited them to church Sunday but they were too tired after going to Portugal and getting home late Sat. night. He said he would bring them tonight to the activity.

Institute started Sunday and we were so thrilled to have 8 kids show up. There are actually three  more enrolled that weren't there. Last year when we got here there was an average attendance of 3-4, so we are really trying to get these kids  excited about this new year.
We still have our regular routine of meetings, english classes, baking, dinners here, visiting etc. that keeps us busy most of the time. We do have an occasional lull in our routine but we enjoy the down time also and can go and see some things or just read and keep up with other odds and ends. Missionary work is so rewarding and just a happy time. We feel so blessed to be able to serve this mission here in Spain.

We loved being part of Griffin's blessing and all the other times we've face timed this past week. Take care and we love each of you so much.

Mom and Dad

Sep 8, 2014

Hola familia, 

It's a new week and today is P-Day so I have come full circle in my writing. I started off writing on P-Day and then the e mails started being written later and later in the week until I have caught back up or something like that. We had a busy wonderful weekend. There was  the Seminary and Institute opening for the new year Saturday in Santiago. We met some of our JAS at the church at 9:45 to be there by meeting time at 11. The meeting lasted until 2 and then we had lunch which was sack lunches bought by everyone and the district furnished the drinks and dessert. After that we had a district JAS activity at a nearby school, (a local  member lives on sight and manages the physical facility part of the school) which we were in charge of. We focused on missionary work and spotlighted two of the JAS that have mission calls and will be leaving soon. We had some videos,a great discussion about the actual process of paper work and medical requirements for a mission, the two future missionaries spoke about their decision to serve, and we gave them personalized pillow cases which everyone could sign. After that it was game and party time. They seemed to have a lot of fun and it was hard to break up the party when it was time to go. There was a Seminary and Institute training after the opening so when that was over at 5 the kid's rides were ready to go.

Our fast and testimony meeting yesterday was another memorable moment in our mission. Three of the JAS bore their testimonies and one young man said because of the JAS activity the day before he has decided to go on a mission. His mom was crying and everyone around her was patting her or holding her hand. The other JAS were beaming. It was truly a moment when you know the Lord's hand is guiding the work and we are his instruments. 

There was also a baptism last night of an 8 year old baptized by his father. The primary sang and three children gave talks and it was such a lovely evening followed by pancake night.

Larry went to Madrid last Thur. and came back Fri.  He went to take Andriv to pick up his visa for Mexico. At last that visa hassle is over and Andriv will fly to the Mexico MTC next Tuesday. While Larry was in Madrid I made the pillow cases and all the treats for the upcoming Saturday activity.

We had such a fun JAS activity Tuesday. I made up an amazing race game based on gospel tasks which we played at the chapel. It was fun. We built a scripture pyramid, drew Lehi's dream, had a word of wisdom photo shoot, and feasted upon the words of Christ and popcorn. It was a little more complicated than my description but it turned out really well. The kids hung around for quite a while afterwards and planned Andriv's farewell party which is this Wed. for branch FHE. We're in charge of the whole thing so that has taken quite a bit of planning. I am so delighted that they have Asian import stores all over this city where you can get just about anything you need for cheap. We took some of the JAS Thur. and went to one of the largest in the city and we were able to find almost everything we need to decorate for a "Mexican Fiesta." We bought ponchos, sombreros, red and green decor etc. 

Wed. was district meeting which we had missed the week before since we were in Madrid and I really did miss meeting with the young sisters and elders, learning, and being motivated. We had a great meeting then we took the Pontevedre elders out to lunch and drove them home. We needed to check on the sisters Pontevedre and make sure it was emptied of food and garbage since they have taken the sisters out of the city. Because of contracts the apt is still being rented by the church. Hopefully we can get some sisters back there soon. There is a shortage because so many sisters went home last transfer.

We had to postpone our anniversary trip to Portugal because of so many things going on. We're going to try to go next Monday or the next. President Jackson gave us permission, in fact he really encouraged us to go. We did manage to go out to dinner Friday night after Larry got home from Madrid and have a small celebration.

That's most of our past week in a few written paragraphs. It seems so short especially since this week was so busy. We are loving every minute of our time here and wake up happy and excited about each new day. We hope you all are doing well. We love the face time calls we receive even if it's just for a few minutes. And we love, love, love, talking to the grands. Love to you all.

Mom and Dad