Sunday, April 27, 2014

La Concha adventure

A week ago Saturday, Rod, the office elders and the APs took a branch member, Bruna and went for  a hike.  I declined to go.  It was going to be a long, steep hike and I had a lot of cooking to do for Easter.  I probably should have tried to go.  Sister Bruna is  about 10 years older than I am, but she is in better hiking shape than I.  Maybe another time.  They were hiking for about 6 hours and I don't think my knee would have stood that.  They had a wonderful time though.  Here are the photos they brought back.
That bandana has really been around!

Comps for ever!

Oh.  I forgot about a 'mini missionary' the APs had.  This is a member that goes on a week long 'mission' with a pair of missionaries.  He says he loved the whole experience and is even more anxious to go now.
Of course, being comps with the APs doesn't give him an accurate image of mission life, but hey!  It's a start.

The office!

High on a Mountain Top!  I have a feeling my comp is giving someone a wedgie.

Tough mountain climbers!

She can 'Fly'

Feel the wind!

Waxing pensive!

The triumph!


Elder D got the camera.

Apparently there is an expression about eating the pineapple (or pine cone) that means necking.  A missionary version!

Mountain women are tough!

This shows the altitude they climbed.

Beauty finds a way.

A good man gives his arm to a lady!
We had our district meeting this week.  One sister got a package from home and shared the fun.  There was this game plus glow in the dark bubbles.  We all had to crowd into the handicapped restroom and close the door to check them out!  They were cool, but they didn't photograph well at all.

A few months ago we had a group of visitors from a military base all come to the branch for meetings.  Rod was able to keep the whole crowd of kids occupied and happy during the class block.  We called him the 'pied piper'!  The sister in the branch that took the photo  sent it to me recently so here you are.
A rousing game of' Simon Says'.

 One last set of photos.  For 3 months, Rod has been growing his hair long on top.  Finally he had enough to tease a couple of our elders. 

The gelling

The styling
The final product.
My sweet husband is always so good at having fun.  He brings a sense of whimsy and lightheartedness to the missionaries which they often need.  I am so grateful for him.

In Sacrament meeting today, a sweet sister spoke.  It was her first talk in church in 12 years.  She has been inactive for quite some time, and has been gradually, in fits and starts, returning to activity for the last 10-12 months.  I honestly feel that 'rescues' as we call them in our mission bring Heavenly Father even more joy than baptisms.  My logic is the 'where much is given, much is expected' idea.  It seems to me that there is a greater 'burden' lifted when they come back as there was a greater expectation.  Actually, it is probably more like loving  your own children.  You don't really love one more than another, because you love each one with all your heart.  Anyway, my heart is full of gratitude for the miracles that we have been allowed to witness.  God Lives!
Have a great week

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

La Pascua

Pascua is Easter in Spanish.  Here in Spain, it is preceded by Semana Santa.  During 'Holy Week' processions are held, I believe from every Catholic church, at least all the big ones.  We went to Malaga to see one of theirs on Friday.  I am told that the people in pointed hats are penitents, who pay money for the opportunity to march in the procession.  They carry long orange or white candles and surprisingly most stayed lit.  The man with the beard is swinging a censer with burning incense.

These processions are very slow moving with lots of pauses.  The candles are held at this angle when they start walking.

There are bands spaced during the procession playing beautiful but mournful music, always with a strong rhythm.

Even when the music stops, the drum continues to help the men carrying the figures in step.

There are men even underneath these things, because they need all the help they can get.  The display is very heavy, and the men are sweating and glad to rest during the pauses.

As you can see the 'porters' are all about the same height and practice so that they can walk in step, lift and move together One I saw wore a blindfold.

There you can see part of the band.

Here is a different display, I don't really know what they are called. I keep wanting to call it an effigy or maybe an icon.  Anyway, Rod noticed that they all included the Virgin. Often they only have her represented.

That velvet is her cape.  You can see how many men are needed to carry this one.

There are many colors, I believe depending on what church or congregation they represent.

There are groups of tiny children participating too.  The onlookers are not barricaded from the route like we would be at a parade at home.  People tend to wander in and out and across the street without anyone getting excited.

There were other costumes too.

We really only saw 3 different groups.  There are 5-6 each evening of Holy Week.

That cross was carried by one group.  I believe they are taking it into the Cathedral.

I was intrigued that they have to hold the bottom of the headdress up against their faces so they can see out of the eye holes.
We hadn't eaten supper before we came, so we stopped at a little café on the street and had some French fries.  Watching the people was the best part.

Yes, I felt very cosmopolitan having supper at 11:00 pm in a sidewalk café in Spain.

There was a great contrast between the Catholic attitude toward Easter and our own.  They seem very focused on sin and penitence.  We are so much more focused on the resurrection and Salvation we receive from our Brother, Jesus Christ.  How blessed we are.  We know we must repent of our sin, but we have a 'brightness of Hope in Christ' and a confidence that he wants us to join him, to receive Life Eternal. 
Rod was in charge of our Sacrament meeting, so we had another program, with written parts which he hands out before meeting begins, spaced with songs.  This is because we never know how many people will be there, and because so many of our members find it difficult to give a talk in English.  What we take for granted at home!
After a very nice meeting, we had the Fuengirola missionaries over for Easter Dinner. 

I had to make a treat.  I was asked why chicks are Easter symbols.  I suppose it is because an apparently 'dead' egg opens up with new life, the chick.  The rabbit is harder, but again I think because of the new life.

Rod made his rabbit napkins again.  The missionaries were very impressed.

There are little toy surprises inside of the eggs.  I was surprised at what a hit they were.

Ham, cheese potatoes, broccoli salad, home made rolls... a feast!

We have such fun with all of the missionaries.  They almost make up for missing our kids.
We both find it hard to miss out on the baby blessings coming up.  Please know how much we miss you all and how much we love you.  Give the babies a hug from us. Oh, and lots of kisses too.
We are so deeply grateful for our Savior.  Through Him, we have the hope of eternal families.  We can't do enough to show Him our gratitude.
Love you and Happy Easter!

Monday, April 14, 2014

La Mancha

We are nervous.   Rod had sworn that he wouldn't bring more books home. We still have way too many in storage as it is... Well maybe a copy of Don Quijote....
As you can see, we now have 2 books (of his) to send home.  He found Platero and Yo at a book store here in Fuen.  The author is a Nobel prize winning writer and this was a centennial edition.  It is a children's book and the illustrator is well known.  You wouldn't believe how happy buying this book made him.
Theeeen .....we had a zone meeting in Cuidad Real (in the 'state' of La Mancha)  So he had to go shopping for his copy of Don Quijote.  He liked the illustrator, and he found it in a store across from the Don Quijote museum.  Meant to be.

The Don himself, ready to tilt with a giant windmill.


I think the comments were in a British accent.

Our Fuen sisters.

Me Too!

A sculpture of Cervantes was near by.  I will miss all the public art.

A new kind of water fountain.  The tie got a taste too.

Semana Santa or Holy Week features treats in the shape of the penitents.  And you thought eating a rabbit's ears was creepy.
See how the hood comes off ?  Gives new meaning to 'bite your head off'.  We hope to go see a procession this week. 

We got back at 8 pm and went to institute.  Afterwards we had supper.  We are getting so Spanish.
 A super size hamburger at 10:30 pm
Then, to celebrate Spring, another softball game.  Thanks again Aunt Cheryl.  Unnumbered missionaries bless you for "the Best P-day Ever".

Warming up.

Reading the rules:   Elder Castillo is in charge of all rules.

Everyone bats.


That rule about waiting to run till a fly ball is hit or caught is confusing.

See, I told you it was Spring.  Even the weeds are pretty here.

Pres. is a good teacher, even on non gospel topics.

Watch out!


The wave!

We are prepared!

Afterwards we went to the mission home for a BBQ. 

I always catch them With their mouths full!

Pres is a great hamburger and hot dog cook!


What a beautiful view!  I think the food had everyone's attention though.
We have such great missionaries, and our President and his wife are FANTASTIC!
Hope you are enjoying Spring.  Happy Easter to everyone, too.  None of the beauties of this life would matter, without the hope we have thanks to our Savior's atonement and teachings.  My advice?
Count your blessings... then share them!