Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nov 20, 2014

Hello dear family,

It's Thursday evening and another week in the mission  has come and gone. It's been a good week as always. I was sick for a couple of days but other than that it has been business as usual. We did miss a few visiting appointments because I was out of commission for a bit. Of course the greatest news of the week is the birth of our 11th grandchild Cruze. How we love each new member of our family and welcome each addition. I know Devry, Quinn, Asher and Beckham are even more excited to have this new brother in their home. Life is good.

Last Friday we and the sisters met with G again (Portuguese lady) and had a good lesson with her. She said she had been praying but hadn't felt anything spiritual. We read the introduction to the Book of Mormon with her and talked about the importance of reading and praying sincerely everyday so that the Lord knows we have a true desire to know the truth. She had said she was busy and didn't have time to read. The sister's reminded her that we have to make an effort to  receive the blessings or answers we're looking for. We talked for a while and she was willing to pray at the end of the meeting after I prayed first as an example. She then gave a really beautiful prayer. She agreed to come to church, read, and pray. She didn't make it to church but we see her again tomorrow so we'll see about the rest.

Not something the Priesthood
 brethren would do.

Saturday I was home all day sick while Larry went to teach english. He pretty much was home with me the rest of the day. I was determined to go to church Sunday since it was the Primary Program and I am glad I did. The program was wonderful, the kids sang so beautifully, said their parts so sweetly, and in general presented a program to be proud of. The Primary leaders had obviously worked with them and it showed. They had little red, yellow, and blue pom poms they would hold up and shake during the song "Our Primary Colors".  Along the hallway that leads into the chapel pictures the children had drawn, about families, were hung. That was a nice touch. Christ had a special love for little children and every year when I see the Primary Sacrament Meeting presentation I feel a small portion of what his great love must be for the little ones of the world.

At Monte Alba - Missionaries love photos of themselves
while they jump in the air.  Senior Missionaries not so much.
Monday I stayed home trying to get over my stomach troubles. Larry took the young elders and sisters to lunch for P-day then drove them outside of town to Monte Alba. From this mountain there are amazing views of Vigo, the Bay, the islands and the beaches. We had been up there in March soon after we got here so Larry thought the missionaries would like it and they did.

I baked all day Tuesday for district meeting, FHE and our JAS activity. Wed was a great district meeting focusing on being diligent as missionaries. It was a good reminder of the  need for consistency in all aspects of our lives but especially as missionaries doing this great work. Since arriving in Vigo there have been about 35 different elders and sisters in this zone of 10 and I can honestly say I have found them all to be diligent, hardworking, willing and just great missionaries. I have enjoyed knowing each of these young men and women so much.
Pizza dough

JAS origami
We had our JAS activity tonight
(Thu. instead of Tue.) trying to include three people that can't come Tuesday. One came for about 15 minutes and then left for work because they have changed his schedule and the other two didn't show up but we still had a pretty good turn out with two nonmembers there. One of them has a baptismal date so that is exciting. The sister missionaries taught  how to make pizza dough and then we later made pizzas and another girl taught some Origami and that was fun. It was a great  night with good conversation and shared talents. I feel like I've know these kids forever and love being with them and watching them interact, grow stronger in the gospel, make good choices and live their lives and prepare for the future. We can get a little frustrated now and then but we are all just doing the best we can and they're young and we have been around the block so we hopefully can be understanding and encouraging when they need it.

Love to you all,

Mom and Dad

Friday, November 14, 2014

Nov 14, 2014

Hey Family.

It's that time of the again to write an email about this past week in the mission. The main activity this week was zone 
conference in A Coruña yesterday. We drove up Tuesday with the sisters and spent a fun afternoon at a huge mall. We mostly had lunch and then frozen yogurt and walked around. We don't have any amazing malls in Vigo so it's fun to go to see a really big mall. There was a bowling area, go cart racing, carousel, video games, tons of restaurants and stores. We checked the sisters into their hotel and then went to ours to rest until the devotional at 8. President, Sister Jackson, and the assistants were driving in from Oviedo where they had a zone conference there that day and didn't arrive until around 7:30. The zone leaders planned the devotional and had gone to a lot of work to have a meaningful experience. The messages were about the Savior and his atonement, then role playing about repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Our meeting started Wed morning at 9 and ended at 1 and then we ate pizza and left for Vigo along with Pres. and Sister Jackson and the assistants who flew back to Madrid. Most of the Elders that were headed south had to wait for a 5 o'clock train to get back to their various cities. Sister Jackson talked about listening and the importance it plays as the investigators are being taught the gospel. She emphasized the need for silence and letting the Spirit work during the silent times. President Jackson gave a 10 minute instruction about leading music. The poor missionary who was asked to lead the music was so awkward and nervous that Pres. decided right then to give an impromptu course. He handled it very tactfully and the missionary was a good sport about it. We are constantly teaching our JAS how to lead music and giving them practice time to get comfortable doing it. Always a good skill to know. President Jackson also talked about the importance of teaching about the apostasy in more depth so investigators will understand the need for a restoration. He said there are 70 scriptures in the Bible that talk about the apostasy.

We got home and collapsed until english class and FHE. Larry and I are teaching the advanced conversational class now and we have about 3 students. It takes some planning to come with ideas to make the class interesting, fun, and give everyone a chance to talk as much as possible. Luckily there are lots of online sights that help us with ideas. 

Last Friday we had a chance to go again with  the sisters to teach the Portuguese lady from the cruise ship that lives in a tiny town about 30 minutes from Vigo. She lives there with her partner of some years and his two kids. The kids however don't like country living so they have apts. in Vigo. She is sincerely looking for something and knows that she shouldn't be living together with a man outside of marriage because she has mentioned it a couple of times to us. He won't marry her because it would affect their income. (must be taxes or govt. subsidies) They have a really great house and it is filled with lots of items indicative of their various talents. He draws she sews to name a couple of things. He wants nothing to do with the missionaries or religion but is fine if she wants to explore different religions. She invited us to return and said she would pray.

Sunday we were invited to dinner along with the sisters and elders to have dinner with a Brazilian member in the branch. I had always assumed she was single and childless because she was always alone at church. We found out she has a husband in Brazil and two grown children and they have been sealed as a family. The kids when they turned 18 told their parents they were done with the church for a while but they would come back someday. They are JAS age and live here in Vigo with their mom. We met them for the first time at dinner. We didn't know they existed until a couple of weeks ago. They are really personable young adults and we had a great time talking to them and getting to know them. The elders told them about our JAS activities and the son said he might start coming. The daughter didn't say much but she was so friendly and talked freely about the gospel. They would be such a wonderful addition to our group plus they need the gospel back in their lives and sooner rather than later.

Sunday was branch conference and our little chapel was filled to capacity along with the Primary overflow room. We need a bigger building. They have land for a building but problems with various neighbors in the area where the sight is located. We had a great meeting. Our branch President, President Rey, gave such a good talk about the progress the branch has made and areas where improvement is needed. Then the district president, President Bamio, spoke and I honestly don't remember much about his talk. But that is my problem not an indicator of the value of what he said.

The institute teacher was sick Sunday so she asked Larry to substitute for her. He did a great job talking about the challenges the Lord gives us in our lives and how we respond is the key to if we progress in this life and go on to live our lives dedicated to the service of the Lord. He was a bit nervous which is unusual for your dad.

Monday I made a meal for the institute teacher and her family and went to her house to take the food and visit for a bit. She is such a good teacher and I love talking to her. He youngest son was born the day after Griffin so I am always interested to see him and what he is doing. He is a darling little boy with a mop of black hair. I asked her if he'd lost any hair since he was born (like most babies do) and she said yes because he has had two haircuts. That is one way to look at it.

Well the sisters are coming over in a few minutes to burn a CD so I'll say goodbye for now. Take care. We love you all!

Mom and Dad

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Nov 6, 2014

Hi all,

We feel like two wonderfully blessed people this week. It was good to have the 10th grandchild arrive safe and sound and miraculously at the hospital. We are glad Stacey is fine and their little family has grown once again. Life is also very grand in Vigo as we go about our missionary duties. 

Saturday we went with a few families from the branch to Ponte de Lima in Portugal. We took a nonmember single mother and her seven year old daughter with us. We attended an annual flea market that is held on All Saints Day. It was huge and all set up in a big open field. There were mostly booths of clothing and shoes, with some furniture, crafts, baked goods, plants, and lots of birds for sale. Many many places to eat were available with meat grilled over wood fires being one of the most popular selections. We just followed the lead of the branch members and wandered the booths for a couple of hours. I think they bought mostly clothing items. I did buy some boots that were inexpensive and a little unusual but I'll probably only wear them with tucked in jeans. After shopping we were pretty hungry and I was looking forward to eating some of the grilled meat etc. but they decided it was too crowded there so we all drove to a restaurant which was also crowded. They eventually got all 17 of us seated but we had to wait forever for our food. We did have a lot of fun just talking and laughing while we waited and the food was actually pretty good. We got home in time for Larry to drive to Pontevedre and pick up the  Vigo elders that had an intercambio and needed to change back but because of the holiday the buses weren't running on their normal schedule so the elders couldn't get back.

After SundaySSchool I saw Tomasa (85 year old convert) walking down the hall and asked her how she was. She said she was feeling dizzy and sick and was going home to rest. She has no car so I knew that meant waiting to catch the bus and then a long bus ride to her home so I offered to take her home. She was so relieved so Larry went to get the car while we waited. As we were waiting a branch member suggested she get a blessing. So I went to find the Elders and they went into a vacant room with a member of the Branch Pres. and administered to her. I stayed in the foyer watching for Larry because he would have to double park and wait. We got her to her building and as I was walking her in she said as we were driving that her dizziness and sickness left her and that she felt so much better. She then said how the Lord always blesses her and that when she trusts in him and has faith her prayers are answered. This faithful dear lady does have so much faith and she is so humble and so grateful for the gospel in her life. She is a wonderful example to me to stay humble and faithful to the end, to love the Lord, and trust in his care and love for us. I did tell her she still needed to go up to her apt. and rest which she said she intended to do. Later that night we had pancakes for members and investigators at the church. The lady and daughter whom we had taken to Portugal were there and we had fun talking about our adventures at the flea market. This lady loves to socialize with the branch members and comes to different activities but she has taken the missionary lessons and just doesn't feel like she needs to be baptized again and any church is fine. We'll just keep loving her and being her friend and hope someday she feels differently.

Monday it was pouring rain and the young elders and sisters invited us to have lunch altogether. We went to Foster's Hollywood in the Mall which is our old standby and the missionaries love it. We had to pick everyone up and take them to various locals after lunch because of the hard downpour of rain. Still a fun way to spend part of P-day. I baked pumpkin bread later for zone training meeting which was yesterday in Santiago. 

Friday we headed out to a small pueblo an hour from Vigo with the sisters to teach a Portuguese lady that is probably 50ish. She met an LDS woman from the south of Spain while she was on a cruise and spent a lot of time with the member lady talking about the church. When they ported in Vigo the member from the ship brought this woman to the church and all of us missionaries were there finishing up district meeting. They asked if someone could meet with them right then and have a lesson which the sisters did. This happened a few weeks ago and the sisters were finally able to have another lesson with her Friday morning. She seems like a good lady and says she has been seeking for the truth for years. She has been with the JW's for about 3 years but has never felt good about being baptized into their church. She made an interesting comment and wondered why we didn't get together with the Jehovah's Witnesses and talk because we are all good people and have some of the same beliefs. It just doesn't work that way.

We had lunch with a member family and the young missionaries. The dad is a fisherman and goes to sea for a few months and then is home for about 3 months. When we first got here I assumed the mom was single until he showed up about 2 months ago then I figured it out. He leaves again in January and his ship goes to Canadian fishing grounds where they fish for halibut. 

Tuesday  evening we watched the movie "Wait Until Dark" with the JAS. I think they were a little bored at first but eventually got into it. It was a simple night and not a lot of work so after the Halloween bash the week before it was good to low key it a bit. They did love the cookies and cream popcorn I made for a treat. We had 3 nonmembers at the activity which was good although one young man left about 1/2 hour into the movie. Maybe he was bored who knows but he was at FHE last night.

We had a great zone training meeting yesterday. The focus was on setting goals and taking specific steps to obtain the results we desire. We also watched Elder Lynn Robins talk from October Conference when his subject was which way do you face as in towards Christ and his leaders here on earth. Later that evening we had english class and then FHE so a long busy day.

It's been a fairly calm and routine week but again we have enjoyed every moment. You all take care. We love you.

Mom and Dad

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Oct 30, 2014

Hello to all,

I need to get this week's email  done before I forget what has been happening. The days just fly by and sometimes I feel like I don't get enough written that I want to say about our time here.  Saturday was a pretty normal Saturday with the RS actiivity taking place at 5:30. We made gratitude jars and learned how to make madelenas and a main dish with eggs, peas, and ham. The RS president wanted to send a plate home to Larry but I had to tell her that for as long as I had known my husband I had yet to see him eat peas so I declined. We helped clean up and drove sister missionaries and the RS presidency home and were back in our apt by 10:30

Sunday we left at 9:00  to attend church an hour away in Ourense. Larry was the visiting district council member and one of the speakers. We had been to church there once before shortly after we got here and there were twice as many people attending than before so there has been some significant growth in the branch. We talked to a young family in the branch after sacrament meeting. The husband is American and his wife is Chilean plus they have three little boys. The wife is a Dr. of Radiology and is doing a 4 year residency there. Her brother and his family have also moved there for the same reason. The brother is the Dr. So those two families have added a lot to the strength to the branch. 

Elder Rawson on the left upon his arrival
from Leon
Sister Braithwaite in yellow with Sister Nydegger
Later Sunday night after Pancakes at the building it was the start of the weekend transfers. We put Sister Braithwaite on an overnight train to Madrid. She finished her mission and flew home Tuesday morning. Larry took Elder McAllister to the bus station at 10PM to go to Madrid where he would catch a flight to the Canary islands. He has been in Vigo for almost 5 months so we will really miss him. I met his parents when I was home in July. Great people from Pleasant Grove. Sister Nydegger the other sister here in Vigo came home with us to spend the night until her companion arrived the next day. 
Elder MacAllister in the suit with Elder Beudin

Sister Bennett on the right - the newest
Sister in Vigo
Monday morning at 7 Larry took elder Beudin from Pontevedre, also the district leader, to the train for his next assignment in Madrid. Later that day around two we picked up the new sister and elder coming in from
Madrid. We brought them all to the house for lunch and then Larry delivered elders and luggage to their apts. The sisters stayed until 6 and did their emailing then we delivered them and the luggage to their apt. It was a long busy day. I'm glad I am not in charge of transfers for the entire mission, what a logistical nightmare that has to be, every six weeks. This transfer every companionship in our district has one new member. 

Later that night we went shopping for all the things we needed for the JAS halloween party the next evening. We went to the large Asian import store for decorations, face painting supplies and other game items. Then to the grocery store for refreshment items. I took it easy and just made a carmel cake and hot spiced cider and two of the JAS brought the rest of the food. We went over Tuesday at 6 with a couple of the JAS to decorate and set everything up. It was a lot of work to pull it together but we had great attendance (three nonmembers) and most of the JAS in the branch. The party was a lot of fun and the kids really enjoyed themselves. We started at 7:30 and finished at 10:00. There was pumpkin carving, face painting, donut eating from strings, mummy races and more. Simple but fun. Most of them had never carved pumpkins but they actually got the hang of it and were pretty creative. It was a challenge getting them into the face painting but by the end everyone was doing it, if not on their faces then their hands and arms. We just love working with these kids and have grown so attached to them. We just want to see them make good choices so they can have happy lives as active strong members of the Church. 

Wednesday was district meeting with Elder Rawson, the new elder in Vigo, as the new leader of this district. He did a good job at the meeting and we discussed many ways of improving our work and then discussed specific needs here in the district and set some goals for improving our effectiveness. I am always so impressed with these young elders and their abilities to lead and guide a district, not to mention the other missionaries in the district and their sincere dedication and desire to serve the Lord with all that they have. They inspire me every week to do better while I am serving here.

Today we decided to dress in casual clothing and have a real P-Day. We went to an Italian restaurant one of our english students recommended and it was well worth the visit. We had a delicious lunch and then went to Samil beach and walked on the boardwalk for a while and just enjoyed the sound of the waves, the warm sun, and smell of the ocean. There were people on the beach but nothing like during the summer months. The weather is so warm that it feels like summer again and the skies are clear and blue although there is rain predicted for tomorrow. Larry just got back from a lesson with the elders so we are going to have our study now since we skipped it this morning and slept in. We both had terrible nights last night.  Anyway, bye for now and you all take care.


Mom and Dad