Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 28, 2015

It's Saturday afternoon and we, along with the sisters, just got back from visiting our dear friend Mavick. Our main activity while there is singing hymns and after an hour of singing my voice is a little hoarse but it was a great hour well spent. 

 For english class this morning your dad had the idea to make and eat pancakes with our group. We taught cooking terms and they learned the names of kitchen tools with the added bonus of eating. Larry found the McDonald's pancake recipe online so he wanted to use that for the class. The recipes uses Sprite or 7up 
as the liquid instead of milk which I imagine is cheaper but not very nutritious. The pancakes were actually pretty good and surprisingly similar to those from McDonald's. We used the last of the maple flavoring with the batch of syrup we had for the class so I hope we have no more need for maple syrup. You can buy it here at the import store but it is so very expensive.

Yesterday we drove to Porto, Portugal to make a trial run to the airport so that we know what we're doing when we pick up my family in 3 weeks. We left the car at the airport and took the light rail into the city. After we got there we discovered they have hop on hop off tourist buses so we bought tickets and spent the day seeing the city via bus. The city was very picturesque with the Douro river running through it into the ocean. The city is built up on both sides of the river and along the ocean. It is a city of 2 million people so it also reaches inland quite a bit. We had lunch at a restaurant right on the river and really enjoyed the view and watching all the happenings on the water. 

 Last Thursday we spent the day a couple of hours north of here part of the time in the city of A Coruna and the other part at Cathedral beach. The tide was in while at the beach so we couldn't walk on the sand in between the rock formations but there are several lookouts along the top with stairs leading down to the beach so at one point we did go down as far as we could. The rock formations look like they have randomly risen out of the ground at different angles which makes a very impressive sight. We also visited the world's oldest functioning lighthouse and saw the chapel that is being constructed in A Coruña which is the first chapel in this district. 

 This past Wednesday I made a huge batch of chicken noodle soup and your dad chauffeured the sisters and me around the city as we delivered it to sick families. There are two young families in our branch with all kids and the mothers sick so we thought a meal of soup and bread might be a bit of help. We also took soup to a couple of other families that we though could use some extra love. 

This past Tuesday we watched the movie "Secretariat" with our JAS. The movie teaches some valuable lessons and is such an inspiring true story. At first the kids seemed not super interested but they finally got into the movie and by the end they were all cheering and clapping. It was a fun night. The week before we used the ping pong table for the first time, played Forty two, Jenga, and Uno. One of our young men text that he was coming and bringing his girlfriend (non member) but she was at a practice of some sort and couldn't get away. They showed up just as we were all leaving the church so I took them and the rest of the JAS that were still there to a nearby restaurant for some ice cream and we had a great time getting to know the girlfriend and just chatting in a relaxed atmosphere. At the time Larry was taking the elders and sisters home but he was able to join us a little later. She came again to watch the movie this week and the elders are teaching her the lessons so we hope she will listen and come to know. Another one of our JAS brings his girlfriend every week to the activities and the elders have just recently started teaching her also. We have high hopes for these two darling girls.

 Sunday Larry had to speak in our branch as the district high councilor and then go to another branch and speak there also so that left me to teach Sunday School for the JAS. All went well but thankfully two of our JAS speak fluent english and helped me when I was stuck for words during the lesson. Your dad also gave two very good talks even though I only heard one of them. 

 Another two weeks gone in a flash but busy and filled with good experiences, great people and wonderful opportunities for growth. We love the time we get to spend here doing the Lord's work. We pray that you all will be blessed and happy. We love you. 

 Mom and Dad

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015

"Time flies on wings of lightening" has taken on a new meaning as we serve a mission. It amazes me how quickly the days have passed over the last year and few months since we have been here in Vigo. It has been ten days since writing my last email and it seems like only yesterday. 

We spent last P-Day with the sisters and drove up to Monte Alba to see the magnificent view of Vigo, the bay, and surrounding countryside. It was a little hazy so the scenery didn't have the pristine appearance as past excursions but still impressive. We then drove to the beach for a relaxing stroll and enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of the ocean. I never get tired of the beach and its enchantment. We then went to an Italian restaurant for some good food to top off our fun day.

We had planned to watch a regional YSA devotional for our activity with the kids this past Tuesday but when we got to the church that evening a ping pong table just arrived and was still in the box for our branch meetinghouse. So we decided that we would set it up for a "service project" and then play ping pong and other games instead. Everyone pitched in reading instructions, sorting parts, and figuring out how to put it together. It was a larger project than we thought so we only had it about half complete when it was time to go. We organized everything and tucked it into a corner of the foyer hoping to get back to it with the Elders during the week but we never got the chance. We'll finish it with YSA this Tuesday and then take them for frozen yogurt afterward for a reward.

We had a typical Wednesday with district meeting in the morning then English class and FHE that evening. Your poor dad was sick the whole day with a fever and chills but he pushed through and participated in everything and drove missionaries to and from the bus stop. In between I made him rest. 

We did some Elder "babysitting" and transporting Thursday and Friday so the Elders could have intercambios. That can be a challenge for these missionaries if there are no matrimonios around to pick up the slack during the time travel gaps. We're always happy to do that for them. We made a few visits, delivered food to an elderly lady, helped with a couple of lessons and just had the usual missionary days. Friday night Larry got a call to speak in sacrament meeting since the man assigned was in the hospital so his evening was devoted to talk preparation. 

Saturday morning Larry got a call to go help move a sister in the branch from her apt. to a different location. He and the elders barely made it in time to teach english. After english I hurried home to make cupcakes for a YMYW movie night activity and after we were invited to have lunch along with the elders at the home of a sister in the branch. She made us delicious paella and we had the biggest sweetest strawberries for dessert. She has the most adorable house that reminded us of a 50's CA style Spanish bungalow. Which is ironic since said style has its origins from Spain. We had great conversation and it was an enjoyable afternoon. We then went to take the cupcakes to the church and to support the activity. Later that evening we were invited to our YSA leader's, Tairi, home to celebrate her birthday. Both the Elders and sisters came and we had such a fun evening just getting to know the family better and hearing her parents conversions, and wedding stories along with how they ended up in Spain from Venezuela.

We arrived at church Sunday morning and a counselor in the Branch Presidency pulled Larry aside and told him he didn't need to give a talk as there would be a lot of branch changes made that would fill the time. A new branch president was called as well as a new counselor with the other counselor remaining as part of the presidency. The new counselor had been serving in the district presidency as a counselor so he was released and our old branch president was sustained as the new counselor in the district presidency. A good trade off for all concerned. Our new branch president has only  been a member a little over a year but is the best and most humble man. As he walked up to sit on the stand he looked like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. The meeting was very sweet and emotional for these men that shared their feelings as they ended and began new phases of church service. I am so glad they made the change while we are here in Vigo it's so exciting to be part of change in the leadership of the church units. 

Our most happy moment these last several days was of course the birth of our 12h grandchild and 2nd granddaughter Zoey Marie. We are glad she is the newest member of our family and well loved by all. Take care dear children and know that we love you.
Mom and Dad

Friday, March 13, 2015

March 5, 2015

It's time for an update as to what we are doing here in Vigo as we continue our mission. There was a branch baptism Sunday evening for an eight year old boy that we attended. The family except for the grandmother is less active. She is faithful and brings her young grandkids to church. Two of her older grandkids are JAS age and actually came to the baptism so we were able to talk to them and invite them to our Tuesday activities. We knew the young man but had never met his sister. The missionaries also invited them to a family home evening with a branch family. They didn't come to either activity but we are going to take some of the JAS and try and visit them at home and see if we can help them become enthused again about the gospel. They have both been active in the past.

Sunday evening was the beginning of transfers. One of our Elders left Sunday night so Larry was companion to the remaining until the elders from Pontevedre came to stay the night because one of them was leaving the next morning and his companion would stay here. We were at the train station to say goodbye and then hurried over to the baptism. We picked up the sisters early Monday morning to put one of them on the train to Madrid and the other stayed with us until Wed. morning when her new companion came fresh from the Madrid MTC. Another "greenie" Elder arrived also to be companions with the remaining Pontevedre Elder. The new Elder that would be in Vigo arrived  Monday afternoon at 1:30.  It's hard to be new in the field but everyone goes through it and it is amazing to see how fast these young missionaries grow and progress in such a short time. But they do have the "deer in the headlights" look when they arrive. One thing that is constant in the mission field is change. I didn't like it at first but I now see the blessings that come with changes and am amazed at how quickly everyone adapts to new situations and fits right in with new companions, districts, and branches. The members here are so used to the constant coming and going of the missionaries that they seem to get to know and love them in record time.

Monday a family in the branch, that has recently immigrated from Venezuela, invited all the missionaries to their home for FHE. They were just recently able to move into their own apartment and were so  excited to offer us their hospitality. They are a wonderful couple with two adorable small children. We had such a nice time together with them and the young missionaries. They are still in the process of furnishing their home so we had to bring our camping chairs and two folding chairs so we could have enough seating. They are starting with nothing since leaving their home country but they have a lot of faith and a very positive attitude. They have been called as branch missionaries so we have been able to get to know them really well as we work together.

Since 4 of the JAS have March birthdays we decided to have a birthday celebration as  our activity this past Tuesday. We played games, danced, ate pizza and cupcakes, and made birthday tributes. Also we had a JAS that was moving out of Vigo so it was a goodbye party for him as well. I hope Domino's Pizza appreciates our patronage. We had a great turnout and it was a lively party.

We continue enjoying our work with the Young Single Adults, the other branch members and the young missionaries. There are so many wonderful people here in this part of the "vineyard". We feel very blessed to be having this experience, far more blessed than any kind of sacrifice involved in serving a mission. The Lord always rewards one in numerous ways as we serve so that the gains far exceed any losses we may incur from service. It even feels wrong to use the word loss in regards to service in the kingdom of God. Take care and we love you all. We are excited to hear soon of the birth of our 2nd granddaughter.

Mom and Dad