Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Canary Islands

We have the unusual opportunity to have the Canary Islands as part of our mission.  They are a group of seven islands sixty miles off the coast of the Sahara Desert of Africa, separated from the rest of the mission by a 2-1/2 hour plane ride.  I thought it would be nice to post a few pictures of the six islands we have visited so far.  All are volcanic in origin and each is uniquely beautiful. So from east to west:

El Hierro is a triangular shaped, mountainous island.  At one time it was used to mark the central meridian of time before it was moved to Greenwich, England.  We passed through seven distinct micro-climates on this small island of fewer than 12,000 inhabitants.  The native people were the bambaches.

Dropping down out of the high mountain pass into the one relatively level settled area. called La Frontera.

A reconstructed bambache village.

The three active members of the church on the island, Piti and Dick  and Marcos.

 La Palma, not to be confused with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is called "La Isla Bonita", the Beautiful Island, for a reason:  it is beautiful.  It is north and a little east of El Hierro.  There is a small branch on this island of about 15 people.

The Post Office

A full-size, authentic sailing ship mounted as a monument about a block from our small chapel overlooking the sea..

The rocky, volcanic shoreline.

View of the capital city of La Palma from airplane.

Gran Canaria is the regional capital of the islands and is in a central position.  Columbus stopped here to resupply his ships before heading west to discover the American continent. 
A statue on the beach of the folk costume of the 'Canarios'.

A couple coming from a wedding where all the guests wore traditional folk costumes.

Typical traditional balconies

Colorful houses line the streets in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Trees in a downtown park.  I wish I knew their name.

Outdoor cafe in the park 

Tenerife is the duck shaped island east of Gran Canaria.  (I also served on this island for five months on my first mission.)  It has a split personality - it is half Arizona and half Hawaii.  There are three branches on this island with two companionships of Elders and a Senior Couple, the Andrews, serving here.

[I don't have photos of Tenerife right now.  I'll have to take some and insert later.]

Fuerteventura  is the long island closest to Africa.  It has wonderful beaches and sand dunes, but not much vegetation.  The early inhabitants were the Guanches.  ( I served for five months on this island during my first mission, and I love it!)
The harbor at sunset

Aerial view of north end of island.

Not much vegetation..

Two native Fuerteventura señoras dressed for the Día de las Canarias party.  The lady on the right made her own outfit with all the beautiful lace and cutwork.

 Lanzarote  is the smaller island to the north of Fuerteventura.  There is an island ordinance that requires all houses to be painted white to maintain its picturesque state.
View of the beach (our hotel was second from the right)

Volcanic shoreline

"Well done, thou good and faithful servants!"

On April 5, 2011 we had to say goodbye to a wonderful group of missionaries who have served faithfully for two years.  This was a high-power group including an Assistant to the President, three former Mission Secretaries, four Zone Leaders, and several District Leaders plus one Senior Couple and a faithful Hermana. 

Elder and Sister Parker served in the Center for Young Adults on the island of Gran Canaria.  

(back) President and Hermana Watkins with Hermana Sandoval.  (middle)  Elders Ketchum, Griotti, Driggs, Whitesides, Knorr and Gomez.  (front) Elders Jackson, Albretsen, MacArthur and Estevez-Garcia.

As much as we hate to see them go, we know it is time for them to move on to the next important phases of their lives.  We know they will reap the blessing of having served diligently for the rest of their lives.

Zone Conferences May 2011

We've just finished off another round of zone conferences.  We traveled to the Canary Islands first, then we held a combined Madrid tri-zone conference at the stake center.  The following week we traveled to Santiago de Compostela for the zone conference followed by the Santiago District Conference, and then a week later we drove to Leon for the last of the zone conferences in this cycle.  It is always such a treat to meet with the missionaries and share principles of the gospel and experiences with them and then watch them as they teach each other.

In the Canary Islands we alternate holding zone conferences on Gran Canaria and on Tenerife.  This time we went to Santa Cruz de Tenerife.  (Back row) Elders Nielsen, Mills, Scott, Hanson, White and Andrews   (Front row) Hnas. Tanner and Kartchner, Elders Simmons, Kunkel, Jeppson, Sanchez, Otteson and Hna. Andrews.  After the conference we sat down to a delicious homemade taco lunch prepared by the Andrews.

 The Santiago Zone is comprised of (back) Elders Cunningham, Howard, Z. Anderson, Holub, Lopez, Coral, Hoskins, Soliz and (front) Elders Zamora, Albretsen, Woodbury, Jeppson, Quevedo, Tirzuman and Earnshaw.  After the conference we lunched on pizzas.

The Leon Zone:  (back) Elders Mateer, Robertson, Beatty, Bundy, Rigby, (Middle) Elders Woolsey, Araya, Gallego, Rivera and Cardoso, (Front) Elders Bermudez, Carey, McGrath and Benson.  Lunch was ham and cheese sandwiches made on great Spanish baguettes.

The Cuatro Caminos Zone covers Barrio 1 and 5 in Madrid, plus Villalba and Segovia.  (Front) Hermanas Jimenez, Peterson, Perez and Long (Middle) Elders Reist, Aston, Saune, Martin de la Sierra and Groves (Back) Elders Thurston, Raiano and Wilkinson.  After the conference, all sixty of us went to the cafeteria in the Temple for lunch.

 The Madrid East Zone is the largest zone with 27 (including two senior couples).  (back) Elders Driggs, Cerro, Slack, Rose, Evans, Zamora, Earnshaw, Bundy and Vogel.  (middle) Hnas. Lewis, Marin, Londono, Read, Nielsen, Delgado, Sister and Elder Jewell and Sister and Elder Ovard.  (front) Elders Tyndale-Biscoe, Ramirez, Pyne, Veintimilla, Mateer, Ross, Jackson, Portas and Cano.

The Madrid South Zone is another large zone.  (back) Elders Iverson, Tirzuman, Ashworth, Jones, Forsythe, Gabbitas, Barlow, and Stock. (middle) Hermanas Benitez, Waters, Wilson, Moulton, Smith, Greer, Bell, McMurray, and Stokes. (front) Elders Blatter, Jaramillo, Carter, Wadsworth, Larrea and Howard.