It's been a pretty typical and enjoyable week and this email is long overdue. We missed the branch New Years Ever party mainly because it didn't start until 11:30 and Larry was fast asleep by then and I was tired. And the fact that it lasted until 5 in the morning was just not something we were up for. As I have talked to various members of the branch they have said the party was fun and they danced and danced. Oh to be able to dance like a Latin. They definitely have a natural rhythm and the limberest of hips.
I have been able to help the sisters teach a gentleman from Ghana 4 discussions. It has been such a pleasure for me to be included in the teaching of this humble man that is searching for the truth. I hope he will listen to the spirit as he reads the Book of Mormon and prays.
Sunday Larry and I gave a Sunday School lesson to the JAS about the Book of Mormon and elaborated on the ideas that it is the keystone of our religion. Larry has been giving the Sunday lessons pretty much himself but we decided I need to help him so that the kids hear from me and know that I have a testimony of all that is being taught. We challenged them to read the Book of Mormon everyday this year. They need the power of the Book in their lives ,as we all do, but some of them have so many challenges besetting them.
Tuesday was Dia de los Magos here in Spain which is an equal, if not more celebrated, day as Christmas. All stores and businesses are closed and families give gifts again and have a big dinner. This time the gifts are from the three Kings instead of Santa. We could here our little neighbor boys open the door in the morning and excitedly yell "regalos regalos." Apparently the gifts are left outside the door since the tradition is to put straw in shoes and leave them outside and the the king's camels can eat the straw.
We had a JAS activity Tuesday night because it had been two weeks since having one and we didn't want to wait another week to get together. We only had about 4 people come because of the holiday. Although in addition we did have the sister missionaries there. It's so good to have them come because it really adds to the activity and they are setting a great example for our young adults.
Wednesday was zone conference in Santiago. Another great meeting taught by Elder Hendrix and Elder McFarland. The mainly talked about the need to avoid competing, comparing, and categorizing. A good reminder for everyone. Also we were reminded of the need to plan carefully to set and achieve goals, use our agendas effectively, and review our progress everyday. It was a helpful meeting, taught by two faithful missionaries, and we came away with some good practical ideas for being better servants of the Lord.
Our english class attendance has been less because of the holidays in fact twice there has only been one person in attendance. She got some good six on one attention. This past Wednesday the numbers were back up and we divided into two groups again.
Yesterday we went to a hospital to visit a branch member that has been very ill for a couple of weeks. He has actually had to be on kidney dialysis. He is one of the kindest men, so willing to serve, and devoted to the gospel. He is from Angola and has been here in Spain for a few years. He had actually been discharged from the hospital so we were unable to see him. After that we went to a hair salon owned by a Brazilian woman in our branch who is moving back to her country. The elders and sisters have been helping her pack up her entire salon to ship overseas to Brazil. We went to help with loading it into the truck but they had finished when we got there so we followed them to the shipping docks to help unload and reload into a shipping crate. When we got arrived the shipping crate she had scheduled was too small so she had to arrange for a larger one so instead her items were unloaded into a warehouse. Most of it was unloaded by forklift but the smaller items and the awkwardly shaped items we helped unload by hand. It was interesting to get so close to the shipping docks and see all that goes on there. I am so glad this young woman (she's in her early 30's) is moving back to Brazil where the church is so much larger there. She joined here about a year ago and has been very faithful but she wants to get married and have a family and there just isn't much opportunity here. I think it's such a smart move on her part.
Today has been kind of slow so we went for a long walk and took Larry's suit to the tailor to have new buttons put on the cuffs. We discovered after several broken buttons that as we closed the closet doors, because the closest aren't deep enough, the sleeves were getting hit by the doors and breaking the buttons on the suit sleeves. We had his other suit fixed a while back and just haven't bothered to take this one in. He wears his suits so seldom that one has been enough. But we might as well get it fixed especially since the tailor shop will do it for free. Easier than buying new buttons and me doing it. We came home and studied for a while and we'll go to get groceries in a while. We did run into a branch member while we were walking, that had just left the Doctor's office and was waiting for the bus. She has been in a lot of pain because of shoulder problems, an ongoing malady. She said a member of the Branch Presidency was coming to her house in the afternoon to give her a blessing. Larry offered to come and help if he didn't have anyone to assist. We'll see if he gets a call.
I'll end for now and say goodbye until next week. You all take care.
Mom and Dad