Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sweet singing in the choir (Written the second week of December)

Well, it's been that kind of week.  We had a group of 6 missionaries head home Tue, so Wed was spent getting them to their various trains and airplanes.  The ones going stateside invariably have to leave here at 3:30 am.  It makes for a long day and broken up sleep schedule.  This time we also had some Spanish missionaries who left in the middle of the day and a sister who's father is now a mission president in Argentina so she 'went home' to Argentina at 7 pm.  We did find out something new.  When we went to pay for her second bag, we found out that they didn't allow extra bags going to Argentina.  We had to sort through her suitcases and split her stuff into keep and leave while standing there in the airport.  Fun! We did it though and I think she made it safe and sound.  She was our first Fuen sister and so is extra dear to us.  But then everyone of them feels extra dear.  Argh.  I knew from the start that the hardest part of this mission would be letting go of these wonderful missionaries.
Then on Saturday we had our Christmas Choir performance in Granada.  It had started out quite modestly, a small group of missionaries to sing a song or two during the  Christmas concert put on by the municipal band of Granada.  It has been a yearly event with a large community attendance.  The expectations of our missionary choir gradually grew from a few missionaries singing a hymn or two to a large choir singing 3 Christmas hymns from the hymn book, a secular carol, and a solo number, plus battle hymn and White Christmas sung with the band.  We (Rod) had to rent a bus to haul the missionaries from Malaga and Fuengirola, we had to rehearse everyone and get some idea of what we were doing with the Band.  Rod was quite nervous that we might disappoint.  I was sure they would sing wonderfully well, but I ended up being the director and that had me going.  It turned out well though and the music was beautiful.  We had a triple quartet do a jazzy version of 'Walking in a winter wonderland' that was really fun, and Sister Roan sang a beautiful Oh Holy Night.
I didn't get any photos of the whole choir because we locked up the purses and my camera was in mine.  Sister Deere put some on the mission blog so you can see them there.

About half of them sang songs the whole way home (2hrs)

The Sister on the left was our soloist.  Her voice is wonderful.

They gave the Band director, our soloist and I all bouquets of flowers.

My sweet husband got me a flower too!
Usually the Mediterranean is calm but it was stormy and I loved seeing the waves.

Friday night the branch president called and invited us to see this concert.  The violinist and the pianist were  both amazing.

A lady in the branch was getting rid of this doll, so I took possession of it, made a cap and cape, and now there will be a doll under the tree come Christmas day.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Cavern

Back in November we visited a cavern in Nerja.  I didn't get any of the photos on the blot then, so I am catching up on that this week.

This was on the way there.  I was just struck by how beautiful the sky was.

We had an employee take a photo of our whole group. The sculpture in the background shows the group of students that discovered the cave.  I guess I should look up when that happened.  We have the office elders, Sister Chantrill, and the Fuen Sisters.

It is a pretty good size cave, but has had lots of visitors and it seems that some took souvenirs.

All these photos are hand held and most are a little blurry because of the low light.

My cute cave man!

He is still pretty adorable isn't he?

This is called the ballroom.  They really do have dances here.

I don't know what the caption was supposed to be.  He just had me take the photo.


 After exploring the cave, we went into the town and met up with the elders there for dinner.  It was one Elder's birthday, so we had to bring his birthday package.  It is a beautiful little town.

This is called the Balcon de Europa.  A beautiful view point for the Mediterranean Sea.

These canon are so cool. There was one facing each direction along the coast.

 We had a wonderful lunch with all the missionaries.  They are so amazing!

This past week I put up the Christmas decorations.  I only have 3 Nativities so far.  Aren't you proud of me?  Such self control.  Rod really wants to get a Lladro, but so far I haven't found one I liked that much, especially given the price. (Lladro is a famous Spanish ceramic artist) I just adore the white Nadal though so I am perfectly happy with it. 

This was the first one, from Sevilla Cathedral.

We found this 'brass' one in the ferria (a kind of huge flea market). I love that one of the kings is riding side saddle.  It also has a turkey, a goat and a dog. 

This is the Nadal

Our apartment came with 3 Christmas trees but they are all little.  We just had to make this one taller.  Thanks for indulging me, husband.

Aunt Fern got a star and lights too
Rod made another pie to wish aHappy Birthday and Farewell to one of our APs, little B! 
This next week we will have a special Christmas concert in Granada. It is a yearly community event where the municipal orchestra performs, but this year they asked for some missionaries to sing. Rod was asked to put together our part.  That wasn't too hard except that 'our part' kept expanding both in the size of the group and how many songs we were to perform.  Rod was getting rather worried about it, but we had a rehearsal last Fri with the Malaga half of the group and they sounded wonderful so he was comforted. We will report on that next time.
We have felt so strongly, your love and support.  We are so very thankful for our Savior and love this wonderful time of year to celebrate His loving gift to all of us.  We really do feel privileged  to be able to serve full time here in Spain.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanks fully given for abundant blessings

*First Blessing:  Another Baptism!
I was able to help teach her.  She is from Iran, had to leave her daughter behind as she is divorced from her husband and he has forbidden her to see their daughter.  Her family know, though and are pleased and interested!!!

We have to wait for the Spanish ward to finish their meetings before we can have a baptism, so we had everyone over to our house for soup and sandwiches.

Branch members (English snow birds) and Sister Chantrill

She asked President to baptize her. 

She invited a friend too!

*We found another restaurant we really like.

*We get to have wonderful missionaries over to eat dinner.
*Or we take some out to dinner.
We drove to Badajos almost 5 hours away to see 'My Turn on Earth' that the missionaries and the branch put on.  They did a great job

A member works at this restaurant and so we ate Japanese food.  Yummy.

*Another blessing....I found roses for the 'director'.

*We got to meet up with our friend from Merida.  She is amazing!

Some of the youth performed and all of them came. 
*The sisters worked so hard and it really paid off.  An inactive sister was reactivated and several more came besides investigators.

*We got to have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with about 40 missionaries.

*We got to have a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner with about 40 missionaries and the Deeres
Pies by Rod

 We had a wonderful meal and everyone contributed
 You're eating what???

That turkey gets around!
 Our APs

We ate and ate and ate!
*Christmas has begun to arrive in the form of packages of love for our missionaries.

We put up decorations and felt the Christmas Spirit begin to show.

Our newest office elder put up the star!
Our wonderful Mijas Branch Family including our new members and some less active members that are trying to come back!
 They can't take the place of our own family, but we feel such love, dedication and support from them.
 My Greatest blessing this Thanksgiving is the Plan of Salvation.  My beloved Father died 2 weeks ago.  I will miss him greatly, as will the whole family. There were so many blessings through this trial, but the greatest is the knowledge that we will be together again in the due time of the Lord, and that our loving Heavenly Father always has our best interests in mind and I can never come up with a plan better than what He  has already made for me and my loved ones.