Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 13, 2015

My update on mission life seem to be stretching into two week periods. It doesn't seem like we are more busy than normal but my writing hasn't kept pace with the passing time. Where to begin. Really mission life is moving along as always and our routine stays fairly steady as we chauffeur, companion up with single missionaries during transfers and intercambios, visit branch members, help the elders and sisters with lessons, work with the YSA, teach english and serve branch members however we can. 
Conference weekend was wonderful, and is, no matter where you may be in the world. I get as excited here as I do back home where we are just a forty five minute drive to the heart of conference happenings. I felt just as much a part of the wonderful spirit of conference being an ocean away and on a different continent. We planned an Easter dinner for Saturday after the first session of conference which began here at 6:00 p.m. All the YSA were invited to come and not one of them showed up which really disappointed me however, we fed all the branch members that came to the church to watch the session as well as the missionaries. We had a wonderful dinner of lasagna and the people that came were happy and surprised to have a nice dinner after the meeting. Sunday we were at the church for the women's session and and priesthood at 11 am then back at 6 for the Sunday morning meeting. As usual we were in charge of setting  up for any who wanted to watch in english. There are always a handful that prefer english.

Tuesday for our YSA activity we watched Elder Ballard's talk from the Priesthood session after a lasagna dinner. We had an entire pan of lasagna left from Sat. night so once I got over my disappointment from the lack of YSA attendance I decided to go ahead and feed them Tuesday night anyway. Elder Ballard's talk was so powerful and directed at young adults so I hope the kids listened and will be inspired to follow his counsel.

We took one of our YSA adult women to lunch with the sisters last week. We just wanted to spend some time with her since her work schedule prevents her from being able to attend any of our mid week activities. She is such a delight and we thoroughly enjoyed the couple of hours we got to be together with her. So many of our group have gotten jobs which they need and it's great for them but our attendance has been diminished because of conflicting schedules. We are so grateful for our time that we spend teaching them during Sunday School since not all of them are available for activities. We are trying to be more proactive at spending time with them in different ways.

Tomorrow is transfers and Sister Hillman is leaving for the Madrid area and a new sister will come to replace her. Sister H. is Canadian and the sister replacing her is from Canada as well. There are only a handful of Canadians in this mission so what are the odds of having Canadian sisters back to back in Vigo. This new sister will continue to train sister Edmonds for the next six weeks. We'll have sister Edmunds all day tomorrow because her  new companion doesn't get here until 7:30 in the evening and sister Hillman leaves at 8am so we are taking her and the elders on an excursion around the city to some lookouts and ruins then to lunch. I'm  not sure what we'll do when 6pm comes and P-day is over but we'll figure it out.

The elders and sisters came for lunch today since it was the last time to be together for all of us. They were all so excited to have a typical mormon Sunday dinner of roast, mashed potatoes, and carrots etc. Everyone they eat with makes great food but they said it's nice to have some American cooking like home.

We spent the afternoon at Tomasa's home visiting with her. She is such a delight and has reached her year mark of church membership and is trying to get to the temple. Her health is decent but she has knee problems and cares for her sick son and daughter-in-law. She is 87 and someone needs to be taking care of her but she never complains and is always so cheerful. She has more faith than most lifelong members and we just love being around her. We're going to see if we can get her to the temple or possibly take her ourselves. She said she dreamed her husband told her she needs to get there and get his work done. I know she would love to be sealed to him.

We went to hear the Galicia Symphony this past Thursday and spent a really nice hour and half listening to wonderful music. I didn't recognize the composers or the pieces but enjoyed the concert anyway because the musicians were excellent, the hall was beautiful, and it was nice to do something different. Before the concert started and we were outside waiting for the doors to open a photographer from a local newspaper asked if she could photograph us. I don't know if our photo made the paper. 

A few weeks ago a newspaper photographer came to the church Saturday morning and took pictures of our english class and a YMYW activity that was going on at the same time. The photos were to go with an article in the paper about the chapel that the church is building here in Vigo. Finally all the obstacles have been overcome and within two years there should be a normal freestanding church building for these wonderful members. They have been crowded into what is referred to as a "bajo" which is the street level of a high rise that has been converted to serve as the branch meeting house. The church does a nice job with the conversions of these buildings but when the branch has outgrown them it is really tough. There are no cultural halls so the chapel double as a multipurpose room. We are constantly setting up, taking down, and rearranging chairs in that room. The baptismal font is actually set up in the chapel when there is a baptism. The members here are so excited to finally have a building that will meet their needs. It will be a great blessing for this branch.

The economic situation here in Spain is not improving in fact it is getting worse. Some of our branch members have lost jobs and are really struggling. One family is moving to the states, another single sister is leaving for the Canary islands, one father has gone to Canada to work for 7 months and two of his adult kids (our YSA) are following him the beginning of May. It just breaks my heart to see how difficult life can be for some of these dear people. I know I need to count my blessings and take nothing for granted and also to try to be of help in anyway I can. I often think of the words to one of my favorite hymns "Because I have been given much I too must give." I feel very keenly the meaning of those words and think about them often.

I hope you all have a good week and are enjoying life and all it has to offer. We love each of you.

Mom and Dad