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.