Sunday, December 27, 2009

I can't believe another week has gone by. Christmas has come and gone and the New Year is approaching. We didn't really take many pictures this week because it rained the whole week, even had lightning and thunder to go along with it. It wasn't really too cold, only if you got wet through and the wind continued to blow. One day, I think it was Monday, my shoes got soaked all the way through just walking to the office. (Jo walked too close to the down spout of on of the builings and it filled her shoe full of wather.) We tried to get everything ready for the zone conference that we had last Tuesday in Malaga. We had a wonderful Zone Conference, and had a program about Christmas, with Scriptures and songs. We had a wonderful meal with the missionaries and enjoyed visiting with the missionaries from the 2 zones. They have 2 zones meet together for Zone Conference and then they try to have a zone Conference about every 6 weeks or so, usually between the transfers.

We were going to go with the Branch back into Malaga to see the lights on Wednesday night but it continued to rain so it was cancelled and we will try to go next week. They tell us that they keep the lights up until 3 Kings Day, which is January 6th. On Tuesday night Roy and I went home teaching to a couple of members, Fred and Bruna Riley, they have been members for about 17 years and have lived here in Spain for 7 years in Mijas Costa. He is from England and she was born in Italy and grew up in Beligum. They met in Yugoslavia at a (Communist Party)conference. She speaks several languages, and he only speaks English. They are a delightful couple and very strong members in our branch. He was in the Branch Presidency when we got here and is now the branch mission leader. She is the Young Women's Advisor, we only have 1 young woman, Holly, and she is a joy to have in any class. Holly has been our Pianist in Sacrament meeting until her brother, Jack, got back from Australia. Jack Tyndale-Biscoe is getting ready to serve a mission and he plays the piano beautifully. He is self taught and studied a very intensive music course while he was in Australia. He will be a great missionary.

On Thursday we got ready for Christmas, that is when we took our preparation day, which entailed cleaning our apartment, doing the wash, etc. I also did some baking. I made a lemon merigue pie to take to the mission home for Christmas dessert. On Friday we went up to the mission home to help with the cooking, but didn't need to do much. We did eat with President and Sister Mellor and nine other missionaries. They were a great group and enjoyed the Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, and yams and salad. It was great food. Then the missionaries hurried back to their apartments so they could talk to their families and then we were able to visit all of our kids on SKPE. It was so great to see all of the grandkids and what they got for Christmas. We really enjoyed talking with all of them.

On Saturday the English celebrate Boxing Day and once again we were out at the Riley's to a dinner about 3:00 o'clock and we had 15 people there. 4 of the missionaries and the rest were members of the branch. We took Aaron Jacobson, who is the member that is from Alaska who is over here working on his Doctor's degree. He is doing it out of England, but is doing research in Germany. He wanted to spend some time in the sun in Spain and then it has rained the last week here. He was here a month ago and decided to spend his time in our branch. He will be here until the end of January. He went to Columbia on his mission and has learned German, so the Meyers, the Germany couple really like to speak with him.

After we were at the Riley's on Saturday we went to the Meyer's for supper and we took Aaron with us. We always enjoy ourselves when we are there, even though Roy doesn't quite understand everything when they speak German.

On Sunday we had 17 people for Sacrament meeting, and we hope in a couple of weeks several of the others will come back from whereever they spent their holiday. It was a great meeting, even though it was small.

We wish you all a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Well we are getting close to Christmas and the sun is still shining. It has been a bit cooler and we had a good rain on Wednesday. But Thursday was a beautiful day. We had scheduled a "Piso" (apartment) check in Nejar and Motril. One Elder from each area had to come into the Mission Home for residencey processing so we were able to take them home. This was good for them and for us. At least we had guides to the Pisos.

The pictures to the right represent an interesting Christmas practice here in Spain. Since, they don't heat their houses there are no chimneys for Santa to come down. Therefore, they have these little Santas and the Three Kings (Three Kings day, 6 Jan) is as big or bigger than Christmas here in Spain) on ladders climbing on the balconys so that they can leave their gifts for the children. They have all sizes of Santas to buy to hang outside on your balony. The children get gifts on both of the holidays, so we are told.

As I said Thursday was a beautiful day. We traveled to Motril on the Autovista (Freeway) and then returned on the old coast road so that we could see some of the scenery. This picture is of a bridge for the Autovista and the road below is the old highway that winds its way down the coast. Sometimes we were driving right along the beach and sometimes we had to go through tunnels because the hills go right down to the coast. In Fuengirola where we live there are miles of sandy beaches. We saw lots of peach orchards and citrus orchards where as when we travel to the interior of Spain where it is drier there are miles and miles of olive groves. We were surprised that in the stores the olive oil is more expensive than other vegetable oils.

This picture is of an old castle in one of the towns we went through. It was interesting how it had been built on top of the rock outcropping and almost looked like a part of the rock itself. It took a while before you realized that there was a castle up there. You can see the buildings that have been built up the hill under the castle. Its even worse on the back side. One almost can't see the Castle any more.

This is an example of the coast line. This mountain comes right down to the water and there isn't any beach. In this case the road will go though a tunnel. Along the road we saw a lot of towers setting on the tops of ridges facing the Mediteranian. I don't know how old these towers are but they were built as watch towers to set up an early warning system if invaders were spotted off shore.

The area aroung Nejar and Motril is mostly small farms where they grow fruits and vegitables. They use almost every available inch of land. The mountain side were terraced almost to the top and what looked like lemon trees were planted on them. When we got down in the valley we saw large orchards of what looked like Peach trees to us.

They also had a large number of greenhouse where they grew vegetables. I guess the greenhouses allow them to grow crops year around. There were acres of these green houses plus lots of small farms around them. I could see potatoes growing plus other crops. This area has lots of peaches, and they juice their peaches and there is a lot of peach juice that they drink here called Melocoton. Off course they drink lots of orange juice, pineapple and grape and apple juice here in Spain.
It is still hard to believe that next week is Christmas, I guess after all these years of having white Christmas, it hard to feel that it Christmas now. They put their poinsettias right outside and it look very pretty. We do wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year or as they say in Spain "Feliz Navidad".

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dec. 13, 2009

Can you believe another week has gone by. The time is going by so fast. This first picture is the office missionaries with Pres. and Sister Mellor and the AP's Back row. Sister Mellor, Elder Going, the financial secretary, Elder Barraza, an AP elder from Barcelona, Roy, JoAnne.
Front row: President Mellor, Elder Millerberg, executive secretary, and then Elder Lundin, the other AP and the last time he was going to be there, he was transfered to the Canary Islands. They are an excellent group of elders to work with. Elder Millerberg will leave on the next transfer and is now training his replacement.
The next two pictures are how they decorate for Christmas they string different lights up above the streets. You don't see many homes decorated with lights, mainly because most of them are apartments. There are all different designs and I only put in a couple. We aren't sure how the Spanish all celebrate Christmas, but have heard that they give presents on Christmas and then again on 3 Kings Day on Jan. 6th. One tradition I heard was they put a ladder outside their balacony for Santa to come in their apartment since they don't have chimneys for him to come down.

The next picture is the symbol for the town of Fuengirola, a big sun design and this is in one of the round-abouts with the name of the town in letters around it. So this sun symbol is on lots of things that represent the town of Fuengirola.
The last picture is how they clean the streets, a big water truck with a person behind using the hose to wash down the sidewalks and the streets. Lots of manual labor here. We have seen a street sweeper, but we have also seen people with brooms sweeping up
things along the streets.
We had to wait for him to finish the street before we could drive through it since it is a one-way street. This was taken right outside our apartment building. They do try to keep the town clean.
Church was good today and we had 22 people at church, but next week it will be way down in attendance because we have several that are leaving Spain for Christmas. We had our Christmas party on Thursday night and we had a little program, where everyone participate. We would sing a song together and have a scripture reading that Sister Marion Allen put together and it spelled out Christmas Love and then she told a story how something like this was used by another group years ago and one little boy holding his sign had it upside down and it gave the real message of Christmas. He had the M upside down. That was a great message in itself.
I hope this finds everyone well and we pray that all will go well tomorrow for our son Earl, He is going to be operated on tomorrow for Pancreatic Cancer. Look up the Whipple Procedure and you can see what they are going to do for him. Our Prayers are with him at this time and we are all staying positive for the outcome.
We wish you all a very Merry Season right now.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

We didn't get out much this week to take pictures, but here are some that we took going to the office and or to the post office. The fountain has just had some white poinsettias put into the ground around the base of the statue and fountain. The 2nd picture are some red ones that they put into the ground. It looked so pretty that I took some pictures. The top one with the white poinsettias have red geraniums that are still blooming in December. The Spanish people think it is cold right now and are wearing coats and scarfs. I have worn a sweater a couple of times, but it is only 15 degrees Celsius which is about 59 degrees. At the same time you might see some English tourist still wearing shorts and flip flops.
The last picture is a nativity scene set up in front of a Catholic church. We need to go and see this at night because it is made up of lights like you see on the reindeer placed in peoples yards at Christmas time. All the streets have light hanging across the streets. We have been told that they don't decorate their houses with lights but the cities string up light decorations across the streets, and once again we need to go out at night to see this lights and take some pictures.

We have not done any traveling this week, except with our feet to the post office etc. I usually have to go down about 3 times a week to pick up packages or to pay bills and it is only about 5-6 blocks away. I always cut through the church plaza where the nativity scene is set up. They have benches place around on this plaza and it is right in front of a Catholic Church. We have lots of homeless people close here also and they sleep on the steps of the church.

We have been mainly in the office doing things, like finishing the cookbook so it can be printed and given to the missionaries for Christmas. Sister Mellor had me copy 100 discs with pictures on them to give to the missionaries also. She had 423 pictures on the disc and it took some time to copy all of them. That has kept us quite busy doing that. We have enjoyed working in the office and it has been really nice to get to know the elders here in this town.

Last Sunday we had 20 at church and one was an investigator and we had lady from France, who speaks some English and said she would see us again in March. After church we had the Turners to lunch. Judith and David Turner from Yorkshire, England. I'm not sure which town, but they definitely have an accent. They were the hardest English people to understand when we got here, but it is getting easier, being around them. He is the Elder's Quorum president, which is really over all the priesthood holders, whereas Judith is a teacher in Relief Society and is also the Branch family history counsulatant. You have to hold several jobs in this branch. They are also our home teachers, so we had a very pleasant time with them.

Next week is transfers again. How fast time flies we will be getting two new Elders in the Office. Elder Barton in coming in to train as the Executive Secrteary and Elder Harville in coming in to replace Elder Lundin as an AP. Elder Lundin will replace Elder Harville as ZL in Grand Canary. ElderMillerberg, the current Ex Sec. will be transfered on the next transfer or before if Elder Barton get up to speed quickly. We have a new elder coming in the mid-transfer at the end of December which will requre some moves to be made.

We hope your week is a delightful one.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Well I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving day. We ate with the Mission President and his wife and 20 of the missionaries in Malaga Zone and the elders from Algeciras. We had turkey, yams, potatoes and gravy, salad, homemade rolls and cranberry sauce. It was very good. We even had some pies, pumpkin, lemon merigue and one of the elders made an apple pie.
It was an overcast day and it even rained on the missionaries as they were playing soccer, but they still played as we, Roy and I and Sister Mellor got the dinner started. The Missionaries got there after 1:00 p.m. and we ate about 2:30 and then most of them had to leave to catch the 5:00 p.m. train back to their apartments. It's great getting to know all the missionaries.
On Friday, Roy and I left about 7:00 a.m. to go to Jaen, which is a 3 hour drive from our place to check the missionaries apartment. That is one of our duties is to inspect the apartments to make sure they clean it regularly. There were 4 elders in the 1st apartment. Elder Han, Elder Mullis, Elder Salls, and Elder Iglesias. 2 of the elders were going to go do a service project and were dressed in their p-day clothes.
The next apartment was in Granada which is over an hour's drive south of Jaen. There were saw the ZL'S apartment. This is Elder Gleason and Elder Martin. They had worked very hard on their apartment to get it ready on Thanksgiving day. They had celebrated Thanksgiving with the rest of their zone on p-day (Monday). Afterwards we stayed in Granada and found the sister's apartment, which is in a very, very old building, where the ZL's were was a very new building.
Here we have Sister Goins and Sister Byers. Right now we have 15 sister missionaries, but by April we will only have 12. All of missionary force will be reduced by April. But the missionaries are still baptizing, even though the numbers are smaller. Before we got here they had 120 missionaries and by April we will only have 72 missionaries. They met their goal for baptisms for the year back in October. They had a goal of 134 baptisms and now there is over 156 in the mission right now. I'm not sure how many will be this weekend. Roy has to call and make sure they send the paperwork in so that they get recorded.

This picture of Roy shows the Alhambra in the background. We were trying to go and visit it, but they only time available was when we had to be at the Elders apartment, so maybe another time we will visit it. The Alhambra was the last
Moorish outpost in Spain. The Moors were finally driven out of Spain in 1492. It is built up a hill overlooking Granada. The next picture is me at the same place as Roy but overlooking Granada. The last picture is a picture of Geraniums that were still blooming in Granada on the 28th of November.
I hope that this finds all of you nice and happy. I'm so thankful for the gospel and the redeeming love of our Savior. I'm also so thankful for my family. It was great being able to spend Thanksgiving day with you through Skpe. It seemed like I was just in the other room and I could almost smell the turkey. Have a wonderful week. We love you all, and thank you so much for your support and prayers.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hi there for this week. It has been a busy week for us with Roy's new calling etc. On Monday night the Tyndale-Biscoe family had us over for Family Home Evening. What a delightful family they are and no I don't have a picture of them separately, but they were in the picture last week. They are from England. He was the 2nd counselor in the Branch presidency and the Sunday School teacher and now he is the Branch clerk and the Sunday School teacher. She was the Relief Society president and taught Relief Society, but now she teaches Relief Society. They have 3 children, the oldest we haven't met yet, but he will be returning from Australia where he has been studying and then filling out his papers to go on a mission, his name is Jack and he has bright red hair. Holly is 16 years old and plays the piano for Sacrament meeting. She has a younger brother named Seth and he is our only deacon and just turned 13 years old.
On Wednesday we went home teaching, yes in the middle of the day and we only got lost about three times before we got to the Chapman's place. They are a less-active couple that live a two hour ride from where we live. We had a very enjoyable time with them. They fed us and we got to know them. This is a picture of them. We took some pictures of the scenery on the way to their place. We had to go over a mountain, not very tall, but there were windmills on it as you can see. Another picture shows the orange groves on the way there. When we went to Granada we saw mostly olive groves and I think that the olives grow in a dryer part, where they were irrigating the orange trees. It looked so pretty. Also on the way there we saw lots of farms that probably raised wheat, barley or oats. They were all plowed up and it reminded me of the dry farm. There were lots more smaller villages on the way to Chris and Pam Chapman's house. We will go visit them another time.

On Thursday night Roy took his ward clerk and went out to the Meyer's, who is the 1st counselor. He came back and got me in case I needed to translate, which I had to for a few things, but I guess that is alright since as the Relief Society president I have to meet with the branch presidency once in a while. I can't believe how much German I have had to use since coming to Spain, and I am very rusty with my German also, but I'm surprised what has come back to me because it was forty years ago that I served a mission in Germany. Sister Meyer speaks pretty good English, but still asks me questions. She speaks a lot to me in German. She is my 1st counselor and will do okay. Sister Leonila Garcia took charge today in Relief Society and did an excellent job. She has been a member for two years and she is from the Philippines. She is a great member and an asset to this branch.
Today Roy had to conduct the meeting, we had 20 people there with 3 visitors and 2 missionaries. He had Brother and Sister Jones bear their testimony, because they come to this branch quite regularly, so we will probably see them again in the spring. He is retired and they come here to vacation, etc. They are from Wales and she has a great singing voice.

We wanted to show a picture of this house that we see from our apartment. It is kind of moorish and we walk through this little park to go to church. It is a separate house which is different from most of the other individual houses, because they usually connect on to each other, but this one is separate and they have a separate gazebo on the property. They have two separate garages also. We don't usually see much activity there, except maybe the care takers.

This next week is going to be a busy week for you all with Thanksgiving and also for us. We will be having Thanksgiving dinner with the mission president and his wife. President and Sister Mellor and also with the 4 missionaries that work here in Fuengirola. We are also going to spend 2 days this week traveling to different parts of the mission to inspect this missionaries' apartments. Roy is getting the hang of driving here in Spain, but I have only driven home from the office once, I'm still hesitant to fight the traffic. They drive crazy here. If you want to turn right at the roundabout, you have to be in the left lane, crazy huh. And the people on the left have the right of way, at least it seems to me. You have to stop for all the people crossing the streets, unless there is a red light for them, and there aren't a lot of them here in this town, but in the bigger towns, yes.
Have a fun day on Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This is the Mijas International Branch that had a munch and mingle after sacrament meeting to say goodbye to President Matthew Brown and his wife Carmen and their baby, Elizabeth. These are mostly the active members of the branch with a few visitors also. They are such nice people, you can just love all of them. We had a nice potluck dinner at Bro Fred Riley's and his wife Bruna. We are just in front of the common swimming pool. We had a new Branch presidency sustained today. Elder Roy Hunt as the Branch President, Ralf Meyer 1st counselor from Germany and Augusto Padre from the Philippines, and Clerk Shaun Tyndale-Biscoe from England. You can see that it is definitely an international branch. We took the lady from Finland and her son with us out to the Riley's. She is definitely a nice lady and has grown up in the church. She will only be here until right before Christmas and then she will go back to Finland. We had a couple from Australia, a couple from Wales, and a couple from England visit the branch today, and we had a young man, who was taking the picture from Alaska visit today. A very diverse group. We love it here in Spain and we hope we will magnify our callings, both in the branch and as missionaries.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Here is a picture of our Zone Conference with Elder and Sister Hill sitting down from the MTC in Madrid. They were just a delightful couple and all the missionaries speak so highly of them.
We really enjoyed being with them the few days that we were in Madrid. It was a great zone conference and I think we understood a few more words than 6 weeks ago.

Last Sunday we drove up to Granada, 1 1/2 hours away for Stake Conference. It was a different stake conference. At the same time as the adults were meeting, the youth met with the Madrid Temple president and his wife. They later spoke in the main meeting. They had a 1/2 hour intermission where the people just visited with each other. It is a long way to stake conference.
In fact the leadership meeting that is usually held on Saturday was split into 2 sessions. Those in the west and south met on Friday night in Malaga where they showed the broadcast about welfare and self reliance, yes it was in Spanish, and we had a copy of the words in Spanish, which was easier to follow than listening to the translators. We did have someone come and sit behind the Mijas International branch and interpret for us. He was really good, an elder who served in London 20 years ago on a mission. He is a lawyer in Malaga and we can't remember his name, but he was good and we thanked him. One member of the stake presidency is from Switzerland, but speaks really good English and Spanish. He learned English on his mission and he married a Spanish girl and he works for the consulate in Spain. The 2 pictures are of the countryside going to Granada. It looks a lot like the scenery we would see in Utah, but there are thousands of olive trees planted everywhere.

This next picture is for Dennis. We couldn't resist taking a picture of this green bathroom sink. It is a little pricey. 300 Euros is about $450 . Just the green that Dennis used to like.

The next pictures are of flowers that I took on November 14, 2009 on the way over to the church for district meeting. The flowers are still blooming and still look good. I wonder if they bloom a lot more in the spring. This was taken in a little park that is right to the west of our apartment complex. There is a little path that we take as we walk to church. Aren't they really pretty flowers, some of them are just like the ones that Ila and I took when we were in Guatemala. The weather is still nice here. I wanted to tell Kathy that when we woke up this morning it was 19 degrees in our apartment, and she was telling us that it was 22 degrees. Of course ours was reading celsius and not fahreheit. Which makes it about 69 degrees. Still not sweater weather, but Sister Mellor is really worried that we are going to be super cold in our apartment, because of all the tile floor or granite floors in the lobby. She says that we will see later if that happens to us.

Tomorrow we will have a new branch president, because Brother Brown is moving with his wife and little girl to Florida. He is from Colorado, and his wife is from Spain. They will be truly missed here in this branch. We were very impressed with his spirituality, even though he was quite young.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

These two photos are of the same building just off our balcony.
The one with the man hanging off the roof was taken a few weeks ago. Man has been painting the building for some time and is now filling in the cracks that appear on the wing of the building. We watched him paint the building for several weeks. You need to realize that it is at least fourteen stories he is hanging from the roof. He would keep going down during the day until he got to the bottom and the next day slide over and do the middle section, etc.

Above the building is now mostly done. The other day there was a scaffoled hanging down in front of the windows and balconys on the left face of the building and it appears that it now ready for a fresh coat of paint too.
On the right is a picture off the balcony of the purple flowers that were all over these trees when we first arrived now these two a the only ones left. The weather is holding quite nice. Still in the 70's most of the time. we are getting a little more wind (breeze) coming in off the Medeterainen. For the first week of November it is quite comfortable.
Last night we attended the leadership meeting of the Granada Stake Conference. It was all in spanish but there was a brother who sat behind us and translated for us. I felt a little bad about this but there were two men from the branch who have been here for over seven years and still needed a translator so I guess we're not too bad. The meeting was about the welfare (bienestar) and self reliance (autosuficiencia) program. Because of the world wide "Crisis" there is a lot of unemployment in Spain and the wards really need to understand this program. After the meeting President Mellor shared some missionary finding stories with us. There was a man that lived in an apartment (piso) above the chapel there in Malaga. After several Sundays of listening to the music from the church servecies he decided that he would come down and visit the meeting and find out more about the church. Another women lived close to the sister's and watched them come and go every day. Aparently she could see them studing their scriptures and have their morning and evening prayers. She called to them from across the way and asked if they could come over and teach her. Sometimes the Lord bring those who are prepared for the gospel into contact with the missionaries in his own way.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

This picture got cut off of the last blog and would be that last picture I talked about. Have a super fantastic day.
Love JoAnne

Friday, October 30, 2009

This first pictures is the pictures of the garbage and recycling containers that are right outside of our apartment. These are the ones that they pick up in the middle of the night that used to wake us up at 2 or 4 in the morning. The green one is for glass and you can hear the people dropping their glass bottles into that one. The next one, blue is for paper and cardboard. The Yellow one is for plastic containers, which there is a lot of, like water, juice bottles, etc. The last one is for the rest of the garbage. They have these kind of containers throughout the cities in various location. This ones doesn't just serve our apartment, but others in the area.
The next picture is a picture of the Mission president, Elder Mellor and his wife Claire Mellor on the very far right and then in the middle is Elder Harper who was going home with his parents. They live in Georgia, but his Dad was born in Barcelona. They said he was a very good missionary, and we only met him that day. There are lots of excellent missionaries here in our mission. This picture was taken in the mission office that is right in downtown Fuengirola. We have 2 suites on the 3rd floor, but in America we would call it the 4th floor. There are 54 steps going up there. I usually walk up them and I let Roy ride the elevator. The elders just laugh at me. You know me and how I like to run up the steps, well I am a little more dignified that at home. I don't really run up them, but try to walk fast up them. I can go down them pretty fast also. At our apartment there are only 40 steps up to our level
Ila wanted to see some of the beach. This city wraps around the beach. It is long city, but narrow and there is miles of beach along here. I made it down to the beach one time trying to find some yarn to knit with and I took some pictures of the beach and the umbrellas they sit under. I took the two close beach pictures about a month ago. There are still lots of people using the beach, but probably not as many as during the summer. There are still lots of tourists here in Fuengirola. Generally you can tell because they are wearing shorts, etc. Most of the Spanish people here now are dressed warmer. In fact about a week ago it rained and was very windy, my umbrella turned inside out. It was warm to us, but we saw Spaniards dressed in coats. For them I guess it was cold. It is still in the 70's here, so to us it isn't very cold. Sister Mellor is worried that I will be cold in the apartment, mainly because of all the tile floors. They get cold and don't warm up, but we haven't experienced that yet. They don't heat or cool these apartments unless you buy you own airconditioner and install it on the outside of the building. We see lots of these throughout the city.
The next two pictures are taken at the top of the castle that we went to last week so that you can see that the beach is right below the castle. It is built on top of a small hill. I think you can see how the city wraps around the beach in the first picture. The other picture was taken through an opening in the castle wall at the top where they could look out and defend their castle. On this first picture you can see a bridge going over the river out to the Mediterrean Sea. I think the funnel it underneath the beach here, because the beach brings in money to the town. They do groom the beach, we saw a tractor once with a blade on the back of it, smoothing out the sand.
The picture of the lady is Sister Scott from Scotland that I told you about in the last blog. She was amazing and the Elders were very impressed with her because she came up to the church on Saturday to find out what time church was. And she came and stayed to all of the meeting and then she came back that afternoon for a baptism for the Spanish ward. She enjoyed it, even though she didn't understand what was being said. She especially enjoyed the music. She is the choir director back in Scotland. She told us about her conversion. She was born in South Africa, Zimbamwae. She didn't join the church there, but when she was little and could go and visit friends, she would always pass by this brown meeting and always had the desire to enter and see what was in the building. This went on for years, and then she moved to England or Scotland. She then tried to find a church to go to and I think she went to an Epistola church and as she went and kept studying the Bible she would go to the pastor and talk with him about the things she was reading in the Bible and wasn't found in the churches. He would pat her on the shoulder and tell her to wait. She did this for several years and after she found the LDS church and decided to join, she went back to this pastor to tell him that she was joining the Mormons. He patted her on the shoulder and said: "Now you know." She was very friendly and invited us to come and stay with her in Scotland if we went home that way. She and her husband work in the temple in Preston England. They had a calling for that for 5 years and now they go and spend a couple of weeks at a time down there. I was impressed with her testimony. She was born about the same place as our second counselor in the Branch presidency.e His name is Shawn Tyndale-Biscoe and he related to her about the same experience that he had with the same brown building. He and his wife are members and have been here 7 years. He doesn't have a job right now, but his wife Belinda is teaching English for some Spanish children and some resource children. She is also an amazing lady. We will tell about her later.
The last picture is a picture of the office Elders and Juan Pablo who was getting baptized that afternoon, but there was a 12 year girl, Lucia, that finally got permission from her Dad in Italy to be baptized, just the night before, so the Elders were happy. The Elder in the dark tie, Elder Dold was transfered to the Canary Island this week. He went to Tenerife, and he was training Elder Going, the one in the white pants. I found out he was from Richmond, Utah, not Murray like I said last week.
I hope this finds everyone well and happy. We love it over here and we hope we will be making a difference even if it is only in the Branch where they need us so desperately. The Gospel is true and will make a difference in the lives of the people who join the church. Have a wonderful and pleasant week. Til later. Love JoAnne

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The first picture here is our district in Fuengirola, it consists of the AP's, the office elders and us who also work in the office. On the top right going counterclockwise are first the AP's, Elder Barraza from Barcelona Spain, then Elder Lundin from St. George, Utah. We are very impressed with both of these elders. Next comes Elder Dold, who comes from the state of Washington and who is over the finances of the mission for right now and will be transfered this week to the Canary Island. He has been in the office for 8 months so he is excited about getting back to more missionary work, even though they have investigators here and have baptisms. Then comes Elder Millerberg from Sandy, Utah, he is over everything else in the mission office except the finances, like an executive secretary, like over the residency, baptisms, etc. Sitting by me is Elder Going who is going to be over the finances and has been here a transfer learning the ropes of the finances, and I think he might be from Murray, Utah, but I'm not really sure. We sure have enjoyed working with these Elders here in Fuengirola. We hold district meeting every Saturday before the Elders play basketball or soccer with whomever wants to play, usually investigators. They hold the meeting in Spanish and I'm still having a hard time learning the Spanish, I catch several words that I know, but without all of them together I don't get the whole meeting was what is going on. But I haven't given up yet. Roy and I still read out of the Book of Mormon in Spanish everyday. It will come eventually if we keep trying, but we have been able to get by just fine without knowing much at all.
The next pictures are taken of the castle that is here in Fuengirola that is very old and is now mostly just a shell as you can see by the pictures. There are some very old cannons that are up there as you can see in the pictures and behind me you can see how close the mountains are and some of the city and cities that are up on the hill. This is quite a big city in population, there are lots of high rise apartments that people live in. In fact we live in a 6-7 story one ourselves. I say 6-7 because there are really seven but the bottom floor is not the first floor but the bottom floor, and not a basement. We live on the 3rd story but here it is called the second floor. The castle was built a long time ago, after the Roman were here. It was built by the Moors. They have found some Roman ruins just below the castle though. The beach is just below the castle. Fuengirola has lots of beaches and lots of apartments or hotels along the beach where lots of people come for vacation or holiday as the people call it over here. The castle is now a tourist place and they do hold events here at night, There was a picture of an orchestra in the brochure we were given as we went in. It was also in English. They do hold other festival events here.
We are surely enjoying our work here in Spain and the life here. We are happy and we seem to keep busy. To let you know about our branch here. Even though it is in Fuengirola it is called the Mijas International Branch, which is the name of the town just north of here. Very very international. In fact they just reorganized the Relief Society Presidency here. The President is American, the first counselor is German, just moved here on Friday, the second counselor is from the Philippines. The two teachers for Relief Society are from England. We have visitors almost everyweek from somewhere, mostly from the United Kingdom. Today we had a family from Germany and they knew the son of the !st counselor, but she is an American and he is from Austria and they are living in Bonn. They brought another sister with them from Spain, I think who served a mission in Oakland three years ago. There was also a Sister Scott from Scotland and she knew someone that one of the members from England knew. It is a very small world.