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.