Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Zone Conference!

On Feb. 15, we had a zone conference for the three Madrid Zones:  Madrid Este, Madrid Sur and Cuatro Caminos.  Including the three senior couples there are  72 missionaries in those three zones.  We met from 10:00 to 2:45.  President and Watkins spoke, as did the two Ayudantes (AP's), Elders Driggs and Ketchum.  We heard a lovely musical number from Elders Knorr, DeHaro, and Raiano.  We then broke up into zones for workshops led by the three sets of Zone Leaders:  Elders Middleton and Jackson, Elders Griotti and Carter, and Elders Cerro and Gomez.  Following the workshops, we went to the Temple cafeteria for lunch.  All that was left to do after lunch was sing Happy Birthday to the January and February birthday missionaries, enjoy No-Bake Cookies and pick up mail and supplies.   Zone Conference is always a great time to recharge our missionary zeal and spiritual batteries!   

Hnas. McMurray and Marín of Guadalajara with their Heroes

Elder White reading a letter from home, the fuel that keeps missionaries working full force!

Elder Jones and Elder Hoskins

Elders Thurston and our brand new Elder Barlow

The Hermanas love getting together:  Hnas. Waters, Londoño, Moulton, Smith, Bustamante, Read, Stokes and Pérez

Elders Jeppson, Griotti, Garcia-Estevez, Hnas. Huntsman and Long, and Elders Gomez and Stone

Elders Bartholomew and Middleton showing us the love, with Elder Carey supervising.

The former Bilbao Missionaries have a special bond:
Back: Elders Stock, Pyne, Jackson, Griotti, Estevez-Garcia, Araya, Driggs and Reist
Front:  Hnas. Marín, Moraza, Sieverts and Huntsman

Three of our newest Elders are demonstrating their enthusiasm for the work:
Elders Beatty, Gabbitas and Groves

Preparation Day Activities

Preparation Day provides missionaries with well-deserved time to prepare themselves for the rest of the week.  They have to do all their shopping, cleaning, letter writing, hair cutting and other chores.   They almost always find time for a little fun. Those who live in the Madrid area also have the opportunity to go to the Temple once every transfer. 
A favorite Preparation Day activity - futbol (soccer)

Canarios visiting a 1,000 year old tree:  Elders Ross, Slack, Hna. Nielsen, Elders Kap and Scott with Hna. Benitez in front


Hnas. Bell, Waters, Reina, Londoño, Moraza, Smith, Benitez, Moulton, Sharp and Sieverts on Preparation Day in Toledo (Yes, Hna. Benitez is in both photos; there was a transfer in between!)
The Tenerife missionaries with their Thanksgiving feast 

The Gran Misioneros of the Canary Islands on Gran Canario    
 Back:  Elder and Sister Andrews, Hnas. Nielsen and Benitez, Elders Sanchez, Mateer, Martin de la Sierra, DeHaro, Hna. and Elder Parker
Front:  Elders Slack, Hodges, Ross and Kap

Elders Mateer and Sanchez on the great island of Lanzarote

Elders Middleton, Jackson, Meek and Holub showing off their dancing skills on preparation day at the mission home.  I assure you they are better missionaries than they are dancers!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sloppy Joes for 60? No Problem!!!

Elder Griotti, one of the zone leaders of the Madrid South zone, asked me if their zone could come to the mission home for a Preparation-Day.  Naturally, I said yes.  A couple of days later, he called and asked if they could invite the Madrid East zone.  Naturally, I said yes.  A few days after that he called again and asked if the Cuatro Caminos zone could come, too.  Naturally, I gulped and said yes   That added up to 58 missionaries!  

Mireya, our housekeeper, boiled about ten pounds of potatoes and a dozen eggs on Tuesday.  Then Wed. morning I made potato salad, a big cheese cake, and seasoned potato wedges.  Hermana Jewell made two huge chocolate cakes and with the help of Hnas. Moulton and Smith, I made about 10 kilos (22 lbs.) of Sloppy Joe meat.  I bought 120 hamburger buns!!!  They also went through three bags of tortilla chips and two quarts of salsa.  The only food left after lunch was a little meat and a few buns.  My, those missionaries can eat!

The mission home sits across the street from a public activity center, so the missionaries can play soccer, basketball, or tennis, and we have a pingpong table, croquet game and a piano.  Everyone scattered to play for a few hours. We also have some fine pianists in the mission and some really excellent singers, so there was lots of singing and playing, which delighted me no end!

Too many to name!

Hnas. Bustamante, Perez, Bell, Londono, Long and Sieverts

Standing in dining room:  Hna. Bell, the Jewells, E. Knorr and Jensen
Sitting on step:  E. Iverson, Veintimilla, Otteson, Cardoso
Standing and sitting against glass doors:  E. Hoskins and Araya

Five Hermanas back to front:  Perez, Bustamante, Read, Sieverts, Peterson

Hnas. Moulton and Smith spent several hours helping me shop and frying hamburger!
E.Raiano, Jensen, H.Jewell, E.Cerro, E.Jewell, Hna. Peterson and Hna. Moraza

When it was time to eat, EVERYONE was willing to help!  Everyone also pitched in to clean up and tidy the house, and everyone contributed 3 euros each to help pay for the meal.  (I don't have a budget for feeding missionaries on P-Days!)
After everyone else left, Elders Jackson (far) and Driggs (near) practiced "River Barn Dance" duet for the Alcobendas Ward talent show the following Saturday.  (They were a hit!!)

It was an exhausting, but very fun day!  These missionaries are wonderful!!!

(p.s.  looking at these pictures has convinced me I need a better camera!)

And AWAY we go.......

A new year brought some new faces:  We welcomed six new Elders on Jan. 8. Three of them had been waiting on visas so had been out working in other missions for some time.  The other three had come straight from the MTC in Provo.  Since it was in the middle of a transfer (when the visas come, they ship them out immediately!) the President decided not to disrupt six established companionships.  He paired them up and assigned them to areas with excellent, experienced missionaries and sent them out to work!  They are doing a great job!!!

Back:  Elders Gabbitas, Gardner and Beatty
Front:  Elders McGrath, Jeppson and Groves
(they are matched with the one right in front or back of them)

Three days later, we had to say good-bye to three of our great missionaries.  Sister Jessica King returned home to Idaho, Elder Cesar Murga to Barcelona and Elder Curtis Ellsworth to Showlow, Arizona.

"Well done, thou good and faithful servants..."

Our first zone conference of the new year was in the Canary Islands.  There are 10 missionaries and two senior couples serving on three islands, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.  Despite the distance from the mission office and the distance between islands, they are a united and dedicated group!

Back:  Elder Hodges, Hna. and Elder Andrews, Elder Scott, Hnas. Nielsen and Benitez
Front:  Elders Kap (ZL), Martin de la Sierra, Slack, Mateer, Ross (ZL) and Sanchez
Missing:  The Parkers
The Andrews on Tenerife and the Parkers on Gran Canaria are performing a "marvelous work and a wonder" in reactivating and retaining the young single adults on the islands.  In addition, they shepherd, feed and entertain the full-time (young) missionaries.  We couldn't manage without them, although eventually they will be going home.  We just hope the church sends replacements to carry on the great work they have begun!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Christmas Celebration with Madrid Zones

Three days after Christmas all three Madrid zones came together for their celebration.  Same format except we ate in the Madrid Temple cafeteria since there were 70 of us!  We had several special musical numbers and a great time!  You may notice that a certain tall, blond Elder appears in all three photos.  Cute, but sneaky!

Back:  Elders López, White, Griotti, Pte. y Hna. Watkins, McArthur, Araya, and Iverson  Middle: Hnas. Bustamante, Bell, Moulton, Waters, King, Stokes,   Front:  Elders Stock, Jones, Hoskins, Coral, Carter and Veintimilla

Back:  Elders Jewell, Cerro, Esteves-Garcia, Pte. Watkins, Elder Knorr, Hna. Watkins, Holub, Gomez, Tyndale-Biscoe    Middle:  Hnas. Jewell, Peterson, Moraza, Marín, and Huntsman   Front:  Elders Cano, Raiano, Cardoso, McArthur(again!) and Ottesen.                                                                                                      

Back:  Elder Jones, R. Driggs, Bartholomew, Scott, Z. Anderson, Pte. Watkins, Thurston, Nielsen, T. Jackson, Vogel, Earnshaw, Jensen, W. Anderson, S. Jackson, Ketchum     Middlel:  Hna. Jones, Pérez, Sieverts, Long, Read, Londoño, McMurry and Anderson    Front:  Elders Reist, A. Driggs, Kunkel, León, Ramirez, Carey, Middleton, McArthur (again!!!)