Friday, September 25, 2009

Pictures from the Mission Blog

Every now and then I go check the mission blog to see if Mom and Dad have made the news. This is what sweet Sis Clegg said:

"What, angels in the kitchen? More than angels, we have the Belnaps to help out. These two are proving to be worth their weight in gold. We love the Belnaps and it's not only for their cooking. This sweet wonderful couple are adding so much love and help to the mission. They are helping with the food and joining us for the final dinner. " are some more fun things : This is Mom with Elder Ashby from Mesa. I told her to tell him she had some available granddaughters when he comes home. What a cutie!

This is the "6th Saturday breakfast" from what I can gather it is transfer breakfast for the Sisters and Elders who are leaving for home (and maybe the incoming missionaries) Dad is at the back table on the right.

September 20, 2009 - Weekly update from Spain

Seems like it’s been a pretty quick week for us – busy but without major events. This was our first time at experiencing transfer week and things were pretty busy around the mission offices. All transferred missionaries had been notified last week so there wasn’t as much anticipation on their parts as we’d seen the previous week but 6 missionaries (3 Elders, 3 Hermanas) came to the office for final interviews and processing on their way back home. And two new Hermanas (Hermana Johns is from Blackfoot; Hermana Stosich is from pick-a-direction-Jordan where she says Taunya Childers is her RS president) came to the mission from the MTC in Madrid where they’d spent the last 6 weeks – primarily studying Spanish. Their assigned companions came to the offices on Wednesday to pick them up, they went thru an orientation regarding finances, residency cards and a PowerPoint presentation showing some of the nice things in the mission. The mission secretary gave them tickets for travel and they left to start their proselyting work. The missionaries being released to return home came, depending on their distance from Bilbao, either Tuesday evening or sometime Wednesday as dictated by travel schedules. On Wednesday morning Pres Clegg interviewed them, gave two of them short-term recommends (I assume the others had current recommends), we had lunch together in the offices, worked for a while then we brought our stuff to the piso, picked up the car and drove out to the mission home where we met two car-loads of people. Hna Clegg has brought stuff from home to make one or more quilts to help remember missionaries so each departing missionary got a quilt-block to put name and other information on and she’ll put the blocks into a quilt. There was quite a bit of help at first to get dinner ready but as they got involved in other activities Flo and I finished preparing Navajo tacos for 10 of us on Wednesday evening. Each missionary had at least two of them and it sure tasted good to me – the single flaw that I saw being that we probably need to get the cooking oil hotter than it gets in the deep fat fryer we’ve used. The fry bread absorbed a little more oil than it should and I think that’d be solved by having the oil hotter. We did clean up while they were having a spiritual session together then slipped out quietly and drove home. The Hnas stayed at the mission home and the Elders stayed at the Elders’ piso in Las Arenas Wednesday night and people got up very early the following morning to get them to the airport for flights home – they all flew to Frankfurt together then had mostly different flights from there. Now you might or might not have noticed the terminology used to describe going and coming – although we had some moments of indecision, we made all the right turns and were never in ‘tour’ mode as some have described the way to handle being lost. When we got into our parking lot we found a spot with a shallow puddle, were preparing to get out when the car, parked on pavement in front of us, had people come to it to leave. We waited a couple of minutes at they got in and drove away, started the car to pull forward and someone (who’d apparently been waiting) backed into the spot before we could drive forward – guess you’ve got to be quicker than I was. Pres Clegg contracted a flu virus last weekend and has been very sick with it – he’s fought valiantly to fill his busy schedule but there have been some days, when he could, that he’s tried to stay close to bed & bath to help get over it. They had mission leader council Friday and next week they have four zone conferences so we’re hoping he doesn’t have any relapse that puts him back in bed. We received word this week that our stake president, Paul Sorensen, was involved in a wake boarding accident that did very severe damage to his arm. We’ve been trying to follow the saga via a blog that some of his children are doing and are hoping and praying for a full recovery. It’s rained a lot more this week than any other that we’ve been here and Friday was a day that it seemed to really rain hard. We saw lightning and heard the thunder – it’s a different sound than at home – but it rains hard for a few minutes, lets up briefly then rains hard again. As we go to and from the office we usually carry umbrellas but often don’t really need them if we walk under the overhang along nearly every sidewalk – Friday we were glad to have them as we came home. We had several baptisms last weekend so, as the recommends come in, there’s a lot of things that have to be done associated with getting the information submitted thru CDE and recording data for reports due at month’s end. We also received a lot of piso inspection reports so that’s been a time burner for me this week. Flo has continued to work on the medical forms for Hna Clegg, put together supplies orders, make some preparations for the zone conferences and the other things that she does daily (did a little cooking along the way). But we’re glad when there’s plenty to do because the time seems to go by faster. When the missionaries meet with a single woman they need an extra so I went with them a couple of times this week to teach lessons – I like it. If nothing else it gives me more opportunity to hear Spanish and try to understand both missionaries (that’s easier for us) and the natives (they still speak very rapido!). Monday afternoon Flo went with Hna Clegg to do some cooking and preparing for the next couple of weeks so, when I got home from the office, I went to a barbershop on the corner near our piso. I had some concerns about what might happen but climbed into the chair, said ‘short’ (in Spanish; I’d looked it up and can remember one word for a few minutes) and have no clue what he said and expect I might have missed something important there. I made some hand signals explaining clearly what I wanted and do believe that I got the fastest haircut I’ve ever had – the hair came flying off my head! He did the mirror thing (course that’s so fast I didn’t even get my eyes focused before he was done), paid the man ($15-16) and left. It’s a little longer on top and a little shorter on the sides than I like but it feels good to have less hair. While we were doing clean up last Wednesday, Flo got a phone call from Bill & Carolyn Morrell (former roommate of Flo’s) who are serving in the Baltic States mission (hey – look it up; it’s somewhere around Latvia!). Bill has just been called as a counselor to the mission president so I expect their mission will change a little from here on – it was fun to talk to them. We had an omelet for breakfast Saturday morning and Flo added a little humor to the meal. Our ketchup bottle won’t let the flow start until it’s squeezed pretty hard so she thought she’d squeeze some of the air out. When it released it was pointing up and squirted a stream of ketchup onto the wall next to the table – I was glad she wasn’t pointing it at me! We cleaned the piso, did a couple of loads of laundry and went to a new store for us – a large Eroski Center. It’s much like a Super-Wal-Mart and we found a couple of small packs we hope to use to carry scriptures and other books when we want to take them with us and also got a new electric toothbrush (ours quit this week) and a bunch of groceries. We’ve begun thinking about buying a larger refrigerator for our piso and Pres Clegg indicated the mission might be able to help with it so we’ve been looking at them as we go to the bigger stores. There are a couple of things we have to work thru before we’re ready to take the plunge but it’d sure be nice to have more refrigerator space and we’d consider it tithing funds well spent if they help. Had a lot of rain over the weekend so it wasn’t good weather to be out in but it was a good weekend for us in terms of relaxing in our little piso, studying Spanish and resting. Flo fixed roast pork, mashed potatoes & gravy, corn, Jell-o with fruit and rolls for dinner – it was great! Because of the zone leader council Friday, only we were in the office so it was much slower than usual and Flo had an opportunity to do some updating of her blog. You can check it out, maybe fix it up and see a few things of interest. Hope all’s well with all our family. We love and pray for each of you - we do some of our praying in Belnap Spanish and find that it takes a very long time to say a pretty short prayer and are trusting that the Lord will fill in a lot of detail. Have I mentioned before that we’ve very happy to hear from the few of you that send email? I look at the number of names on the ‘TO’ list and guess it’s about the same response rate we get in the mission with tracting. We’re getting more and more comfortable in our assignments and surroundings, are happy and thankful to be involved in this great work of the Lord – may He be with each of you. Love, E&H Belnap

Friday, September 18, 2009

hi from Spain

President and Hermana Clegg took us to Santander one Sunday when they had to do some business. After, we had a picnic, or ate our lunch by this beach. We figured we had better not get any closer than this. It was windy but way beautiful. Very clean.

President and Hermana Clegg.

Of course, here we are also.

This is a picture of a light house. It was on the peninsula right behind the beach.

One of our great secretaries that is going back into the field. He was so patient and great to work with. His name is Elder Barber.

We fed the office secretaries and assistants breakfast. Kind of a going away for Elder Barber and Elder Bingham. Elder Ashby is the one with the spatula. Elder Andersen, is one of the secretaries over finance. Elder Ashby is from Mesa.

Here are our secretaries, Elder Barber is in the middle. He left us. Elder Andersen on the left and Elder Strickland, (over resident cards, etc. He has helped me a lot) on the right. That is their office behind them.

Here is our going away breakfast for Elder Bingham. (He is in the center back with the dark blue jogging outfit on) He was one of the assistance's. The couple on the left are the Burtons from Bountiful. They were here for the weekend visiting the Cleggs. Elder Andersen in the middle and Elder Strickland on the right.

President Clegg and Elder Ashby our new assistant from Mesa.

Delwyn, Elder Ashby, President and Hermana Clegg and our other assistant Elder Moore.

Here is some more fun information about the area we live -
The red building on the left, in the middle, is our piso. Ours is the balcony on the left, second floor from the top. We are on the third floor. You can see how the building are, close. All the floors above the 1st ones , are pisos or condos.

This is the famous Puente Colgante bridge close to our piso. You can see the tram better here. You can see the people in the side cars. In the middle you can kinda see the back of a car. They carry 4-5 cars at a time.

This is the famous bridge, Puente Colgante. It is the first bridge of its kind. This bridge, you can either walk on the top to get across the river or down below, in the back, you can see a tram that hangs down form the top. It carries cars, people or what ever across.

This is only 2 or 3 short blocks from our piso. They also have many activities on the other side I would guess similar to the Cricket Pavillion at home. We can hear it from our piso. Also, they do fire works for any holiday, which they have many, and we can see them from our window. Quite fun. But the fireworks go on until midnight or 0ne in the morning. Pretty loud. You can see Delwyn in the left hand corner. The picture above, shows a good picture of the tram that carries car, people,etc.

Monday, September 14, 2009

September 13, 2009 Update from Delwyn

If we’ve had a routine week since we left home I guess it’s been this one – we’ve been busy but not much exciting stuff has happened. We’re continuing to learn how to do our jobs – Flo has been making two-sheet medical forms for each of the missionaries (Hna Clegg, the mission president’s wife, apparently has responsibility for the missionaries’ health and asked Flo to make the pictured forms to help her with medical history and any on-going issues they might have) and I’ve been on my own most of the week for entering info needed for convert baptisms. On Monday, for mediodía, we went to the mission home (Pres Clegg’s residence) for a ‘picnic’ to honor Elder Barber on his last day in the office. He’s been here for nearly 6 months as the finance secretary and carried most of the load alone between April (when the Jones left for home) and early August when we got here. He’s a very amiable Elder from Oklahoma (even after we saw the BYU-Oklahoma score Monday morning) and we’ll miss having him here. He’s going a week early to his assignment in Avilés because both the current missionaries are being transferred this coming week and this gives him an opportunity to learn his way around the city and meet their investigators. We grilled hamburgers (I must tell you the gas grill at the mission home is a pathetic piece of equipment), had some of Flo’s potato salad she’d made for the weekend, made French fries (made us really appreciate the stuff we have at home to make such things) and had a couple of desserts – it was great. And after the activity we realized it was Labor Day in the USA so it was a fun diversion for the 17 of us there. After cleanup we returned to the office and worked till 6:30 then came home to do our evening routine. We’re in another cycle of piso inspection reports by district leaders so, as they trickle in, I enter the report information into a spreadsheet so we have problems documented and tracked. As the number of missionaries decreases we’ll have to close some pisos and there have been some disputes with landlords in the past so we try to make sure we know what’s going on in each one. One of our Sister missionaries reported that she’s being bitten during the night and we haven’t been able to establish what’s doing the biting. Her companion hasn’t experienced the same thing so I did some research on bed bugs and the stuff on the internet says we’d need an experienced and/or trained exterminator to get rid of them (if that’s what we have). Apparently, in an apartment building like that, you can have an infestation that spreads throughout the complex so we’ve got to try to solve that issue. On Tuesday I went to the office early to meet with the man (Miguel Becerril – if any of you know him) who’s in charge of all the church’s cars in Spain. Our President’s 2006 VW van had over 130K-KM on it but they had one nearly identical to it in Barcelona that the mission president couldn’t use because he was so tall he wouldn’t fit in it (<40K-KM). So Miguel drove that car here and took ours to Madrid to sell at a dealership they have agreements with. While here he spent some time with me going thru the things we’re supposed to do to track the cars we have then we went to the parking lot where we keep three of them and did inspections on them. While looking at our car he decided we should have some scratches taken out of the back doors the next time we take it to the dealer for service. The lot where we park is only partially paved and, while sitting in the dirt section, our car has gotten very dirty. We’ve got to get it to a car wash but I’m not sure I’ve even seen one yet and, living in the piso as we do, there’s no water or electricity available on the street to do the cleanup myself. I’m wishing we’d get a good rainstorm to help me out a bit. Miguel drove our VW to Madrid and, a couple of days later, I got a call from him saying the dealership couldn’t find the papers (title, registration, etc) for the car. Last week Pres Clegg had mentioned that the papers weren’t in the glove box so the Elders sent an email to former Pres DuVall asking about that and received the reply that they were in a small compartment in the rear of the van. Pres Clegg and I had looked and found them but the little compartment wasn’t obvious at all. So after 3-4 attempts to explain to Miguel where we’d found them he said he’d call the dealership to tell them what I’d told him. Since I didn’t get any more calls about it, I assume they found them. One of the features in our piso is the fairly light colored rugs under the coffee and kitchen tables. They’re pretty dingy looking and apparently have been for quite a while. From notes left in the office for the couple living here we learned that one couple took a rug to the dry cleaners, paid 100€ to have it cleaned and it didn’t look much better when they got it back – we won’t try that. While we were at the mission home Monday, Hna Clegg offered us rugs that belong to the mission so the Elders put them in their van and dropped them off at the office with plans to bring them to the piso. One evening I grabbed one of them, rolled it as tightly as I could and put it on my shoulder to bring home. We found another rug under the head of our bed so we were able to replace the living room rug and put one next to the bed on my side – I like the softer surface – and rolled up the dirty living room rug and stored it under our bed. We’re undecided about replacing the dining area rug – it’s much more likely to get spills and we have no carpet cleaners we can call on or it’d look better than it does. We’re gradually getting the cupboards stocked and have gotten a few things (like storage containers) to make life a little less primitive. The refrigerator is a weak point here (small and not very cold) and, because the washer is so small, we have to do our laundry at least every other day which includes hanging it on the balcony and hoping sunshine exceeds rainfall so it’ll dry. If it’s rainy or too threatening, we bring it inside and turn our fan on it to dry the clothes. On Saturday we followed the Elders to the mission home for another celebration – this one a breakfast to honor Elder Bingham (Florida - Assistant to the President; amiable even after hearing the FSU score Tuesday morning) who’s re-opening a small city (Benavente) where we have a branch but have not had missionaries. He’s another very good Elder and it’d sure be good for him and the branch if he can have success in bringing new converts into the branch. The Cleggs have friends visiting from their ward in Bountiful (Kim Burton – grew up in Blackfoot and is now an orthopedic surgeon, mostly joint replacements) and they joined us for breakfast of French toast, waffles, bacon, scrambled eggs, apple & orange slices and juice – it was great. The Elders (whom we followed in our car to get there) were gone when we’d finished helping with cleanup so we set out for home. Things went well enough on the journey that we decided to stop at Carrefour to do some shopping. We did, put our stuff in the car and drove straight home – it was great. Flo remarked that it doesn’t take nearly as long to get home if we don’t get lost and I’m forced to concur. We rode the Metro to another baptism service in Bilbao Saturday night – the chapel was packed with people (including several investigators and people being reactivated), they had a good service (three were baptized with some very interesting stories of conversion) and an adult man remarked as he came out of the water that there were a lot of sins coming off as the water ran off him. We shared in a very nice buffet table set up in the overflow area, visited a bit and rode the Metro back to Las Arenas. Because of the stake conference last week it was fast Sunday today – we’d been incorrectly informed on that point and had fasted two weeks ago so were a little out of sync. They passed out fliers this morning informing the members of the availability of a new bible that has the same features that our English version has – many have been looking forward to that. Guess that’s about it for this week – we love all of you and very much enjoy it when we get even a short note from you. We know you’re busy and think that’s a good thing. If there are problems any of you are having with format, font, etc. of the letters (don’t whine about content – that’s up to the author), let me know and we’ll try to solve them. I’ve been wondering about getting them to Dennis & Sandra and to Elaine for their information – any suggestions? Hope all’s well with you and your families – we’re praying for you and your success. We’re thankful to be involved in building the Lord’s Kingdom! E&H Belnap

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekly Report September 6, 2009 from Delwyn

It’s letter time again so I’ll try to describe our week to you. Our Area Presidency is coming (at least Elder Kopischke (Germany) and Elder Caussé (France) are coming; Elder Teixeiro (Portugal) didn’t come. BTW, a few years ago Pres. Hinckley told a conference of mission presidents that the day would come when the area presidency would all be Europeans and they’d all be General Authorities – since February, that’s what we have) to organize the first stake in our mission so it largely falls to our mission president to host them this weekend and although their office and our district president have made a lot of arrangements, our week has been filled with trying to get things planned, organized and ready for them to come. Hermana Clegg is responsible for feeding them (after they’ve called the stake president – they’re fasting until then) so you might guess that Hermana Belnap has been a major help in getting food planned and organized. In the early afternoon Thursday we followed the Cleggs to Makro (Spanish Costco) where Flo had been tracking some sale items (they send ads to the mission office) and I pushed our cart and we picked up a few things as we went along but the focus was to get food & supplies for this weekend onto the big flatbed that the Cleggs had – took us about 1.5 hours. We checked out and I went with them to the cars where I unloaded stuff for potato salad into our car, helped load the rest into their VW van and they left to go home (they were excited because, while we were there shopping, they’d gotten a phone call telling them their shipment from home – sent in early May – had finally arrived). I rejoined Flo in the store and we spent most of another hour shopping, had a long wait in line and finally left for home just before 7:00. Unfortunately we were driving (guess I should say I was driving) which, so far at least, pretty much equates to getting lost – you’d think we’d learn. We’d used Google to map out a simple, short route to the store and planned to take our GPS to help us but the Cleggs changed the plans when they arrived at the office so we didn’t have any of our crutches. I remembered enough from our map-making that we had to take a round-about to get on the street leading us home but (after checking Friday) I got out one exit too soon and, since we’d never been on the road before, we’d gone quite a ways before we realized we were lost. When we got near Mungia (based on freeway signs) we knew we’d gone in a very wrong direction (it’s like we were in Mesa when we wanted to be in Glendale). We turned around a couple of different times to back track, went in and out of the airport (where we asked for directions but didn’t understand the Spanish reply) and began recognizing things we’d seen before we knew we were lost. Suddenly, we were back to the Makro after who knows how many KM. So we tried the route we’re most familiar with (we’ve described some toll road horrors on that very route) but this time – for the first time – we made all the right turns and got home shortly after 8:00. We parked illegally (not unusual for here, just illegal) and got our cart and big bag to unload our groceries. After our first load to the elevator, Flo stayed with our stuff to hold the elevator while I hauled stuff from the car to the elevator. Unfortunately there’s a locked door (opens only with a key) between the car and elevator so I’d haul a load, set it down to unlock the door then haul it to the elevator where Flo packed it in. We got it all in, went to our floor and one of us had to hold the elevator door (we lost it one time and it took us all the way to the bottom before it’d go back up) while we unloaded and carried our stuff into the piso, all the time worrying that the local sheriff would write us a ticket – I was sweating like a butcher. When we’d gotten everything inside I drove the car to the lot where we park it – the place was more jammed than I’ve ever seen it. It’s only partly paved (all those spots were full) and the dirt part had cars parked between the two rows of cars that are normally there. I tried to drive around the dirt area hoping to find some spot but, three cars in front of me, a car was trying to park next to one of those ‘in between’ cars but that didn’t leave enough room to drive by it. He finally gave up and moved on followed by the other two cars. At that time a car backed out of a spot right in front of me and drove away so I parked in his spot – I don’t know whether to characterize it as dumb luck or a tender mercy but I was glad to park. I walked to the office to get my laptop then went home where Flo had scrubbed the potatoes and was getting ready to boil them. When they were cooking she put on a couple of pieces of salmon we’d gotten today (frozen salmon filets are probably cheaper here than at home). With all four stove burners and lights going, we blew the breaker – we finally had to turn off a burner to get the breaker to stay closed. Around 9:30 we had salmon, baked potatoes, frozen peas and fruit for our supper (we hadn’t had time to eat anything since breakfast) then Flo made lots of potato salad to feed people this weekend. We finally got to bed after midnight and were both totally exhausted but we did make it out of bed and into the office Friday morning. Since it’s end of month time, there are a lot of reports and wrap-up work that have to be done in each of our domains so I’ve been preparing and sending baptism, vehicle and piso stuff thru much of the week. Flo got a huge supply order Friday so she’s had that on top of her other work – it makes the days go by pretty quickly. The mission has transfers in 10 days that sends an Assistant and one of the office Elders back into the field so there’s been a lot of excitement and work associated with preparations for that – this really is a busy place most of the time. We’ve been asked a couple of questions I’ll try to answer. When we arrived, our first names were changed to Elder and Hermana – that’s E&H. Persianas are (mostly) wooden slat shutters that are integrated into the construction of virtually all the pisos that we’ve seen – they’re much like the shutters we have on some of the windows of our house. But here they’re built with the roll-up box inside the wall and the shutter goes down the outside so it’s much harder to slap one on after the place is built. There’s a spring-loaded box in the wall that houses the strap which holds the shutter in any position desired and we operate them by hand, pulling the strap down to lift the shutter and pulling it out of the wall to lower the shutter. As long as the shutter slides up and down in the track and the strap doesn’t break, they’re very nice. We have one on a narrow bedroom window that, either because of its light weight or a balky track, comes only about halfway down unless we reach out to pull it down all the way (which we nearly always do at night to cut down noise). Another unusual thing we’ve observed here is the pillow cases. Some are normal (if we accept those at home as being the norm) but others are just a long tube – mine’s about twice as long as my pillow – and open on both ends. So it has to be folded over to keep it resembling a pillow and would allow you to have two pillows in one case. On our double bed there’s no room for anything like that. On Saturday we did our cleaning and some errands, took a walk out a path that ends at an ocean inlet (lots of sailboats in the bay there), had our dinner and got ready for the adult meeting of the stake conference. We met the Elders near their apartment and rode with Elders Bingham & Anderson to Vitoria (I guess 50-60 KM away), finally found the hotel where the conference was to be held and sat in the back section for the meeting. There were several talks in Spanish, a choir and Pres. Caussé and Pres. Kopischke spoke in English with translators giving Spanish. It makes the talks longer but we liked it because we could understand the English and immediately hear the Spanish. There was a lot of excitement among the members about the stake organization and much anticipation about the new stake presidency. We hung around for a while visiting (several missionaries there) and all 7 of the office missionaries came home to Las Arenas in the mission van – everyone seemed very upbeat after the meeting. Sunday we rode a city bus to a university in Leioa (between Las Arenas and Bilbao) where the church had arranged for a large auditorium to hold the first general session of the stake conference – there were a lot of very comfortable seats and they were nearly all filled. In the meeting (first new stake creation I’ve ever attended) they presented several men to be ordained High Priests then released the District officers, sustained a new stake presidency, clerk, executive secretary and a high council (we’ve met one high councilor in Las Arenas – don’t know any of the others), had testimonies from outgoing and incoming officers, Pres. Clegg spoke then Presidents Caussé and Kopischke spoke (with a translator) and did some excellent teaching. After the meeting we met Pres & Sister Larkin who’d presided over the mission starting in 2000 and that was a delight for us. We rode with the Elders to the chapel in Bilbao where we met and served lunch to most of the brethren – all who were there to be set apart and instructed by the Area Presidency and Elder Camargo. They’re all very impressive people. Got home a little after 4:00 and relaxed to do some reading and computer work (must write those letters, eh?). That’s our week – how was yours? The Spirit bore strong testimony again today that this is the Lord’s work – we’re happy to be involved. May you all be blessed – we love you very much. E&H Belnap

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pictures from the mission ~ Danette

When I did a goggle search to make sure friends/family could find this blog - I found the mission blog. On that blog I was able to download some really fun pictures I thought I would share....

Delwyn and Flo with President & Sis Clegg their mission president/wife.

Delwyn and Flo with their mission district.

This is Flo's receptionist desk!

Delwyn at his assigned computer area.... having a good time!

Flo and Delwyn visiting with some other missionaries.

The Bilbao Spain mission is truly blessed with Flo's ability to cook GREAT FOOD for LOTS OF PEOPLE!! Here is cooking for zone conferences.

And of course - where Flo is... so are her famous cinnamon rolls. Now it is official - Flo's cinnamon rolls are world famous!! (We always knew they would be!)

August 30, 2009 - from Delwyn

It’s been a fast but good week for us – not much out of the ordinary as we continue to learn our jobs at the office, study and practice Spanish and be more comfortable walking around to see more of the part of Las Arenas we live in. We haven’t been very lost but we haven’t driven anywhere either – we’ve been able to walk everywhere we wanted to go. The weather has been a bit rainier than we’ve seen previously – it rains more at night and is overcast during the day so it doesn’t get as hot and uncomfortable. I assume our weather is largely determined by the closeness to the ocean – three blocks away at the end of our street is a waterway that opens into the Bay of Biscay which is part of the Atlantic Ocean. Friday evening after we got home from the office we changed clothes and took a walk along the river – it was cool, there were no mosquitoes to bother us and we had a pleasant stroll. We’ve had several reports from family (including a great letter from Mom via Brian) telling us how things are going – that’s certainly a highlight for us and we appreciate your taking time to send your news. We got email this week from our friends, Lloyd & Donise Price, who finish their mission (Lloyd was the director there for the latter part of his mission) and leave this week for home from Adam-ondi-Ahman. Our mission Pres & Sister Clegg have been traveling most of this week to do interviews (they do that every six weeks) with the missionaries so the day before they left they interviewed all the missionaries in our office – it was our first in-field interviews and we apparently passed because they’re letting us stay. One evening they came by the piso and gave me temple recommends that needed to be activated so the next morning Elder Strickland taught me how to use the computer and optical reader to activate temple recommends. We ran into a problem with a couple of the membership numbers being illegible or wrong but made some fortuitous guesses and found the right names. One of my jobs this week was to prepare and mail the forms that our district leaders use to inspect the pisos once each transfer cycle (6 weeks). I got them ready, checked with the Elder who is training me and we fired them off to the printer – 56 of them. We have to print both sides of the paper and, after we’d run them thru for the second time, I started folding them and stuffing the envelopes to mail them out. It was then I discovered that the area of the spreadsheet that I’d entered for the last round of piso reports was missing from all the reports. I decided that, rather than reprint everything, I’d send a note of explanation and invite them to call me if they needed something from the last set of reports. So I composed a short note, apologized for the blunder, added it to the envelopes, sealed and mailed them that way. We continue to be fascinated with some of the things we see here. For example, across the street from the mission office is an auto garage right next door to a Chic Bambini that just went out of business. There’s a 12’ roll-up door at the street then the shop goes around the back of the other store (haven’t been in there so I don’t know how far around it goes) but there’s just no rhyme nor reason to the stores we see next to each other and they’re all on the ground floor with pisos or condos above them. During mediodía and at night, they ALL have rolling shutters or metal grates that close to keep the places secure. The area doesn’t look at all like it’s run-down or crime-ridden it’s just that all windows and exterior doors have shutters or grates (our piso does). We had a guy ring our bell one morning before we left for the office so I took a look at him (there’s a video camera that shows us in the piso who’s ringing – like a caller-id screen), he asked to be let in, I told him we didn’t speak Spanish so he tried in English and told me he needed to get in to check the water. I had no idea what that meant so I told him I couldn’t let him in – he eventually went away. He was not wearing a uniform and didn’t show any ID so I had no idea if he was honest or not. But Friday afternoon only Flo and I were in the office and someone rang to come in. There’s no video system there so we always push the button to let them in and soon a guy was in the office. It happened that the Elders came at the same time so they could talk to him – it was someone needing to read the water meter and I’m pretty sure it was the same guy who’d rung our bell – a very affable man. Maybe when we get a little mileage under our belts we’ll be able to deal with the situations more positively. One night this week we took a little walk down our street in the opposite direction that we normally go and ended up in a little grocery store a 1-minute walk from our front door. We bought a few things including some cookies – most of the things that are sweet seem to be very expensive (like $1 for a raised donut) – that weren’t as pricey and took them home to try. They’re pretty plain when it comes to cookies but they taste good and were a pleasant surprise for us. We used the last of our skim ‘milk’ and moved on to the 2% stuff - I can’t tell that there’s any difference in the taste and awful is the best word I can think of to describe it. They have juices in the same 1-liter cartons and it’s only a little bit more expensive than the ‘milk’ so I’m thinking ‘milk’ on my cereal and juice for drinking – the expiration on a carton of juice we have is August 2010 so whatever preservative they use should keep us alive till the end of our mission. Saturday morning we had a mixture of oatmeal and most other grains known to man for our cereal and, for the first time, the taste of that ‘milk’ was masked enough that I couldn’t taste it. We’ve tried for the month we’ve been here to find out how to pay our tithing and it now appears that sending it home is the answer. They don’t have our membership records in the branch, we haven’t tried but don’t think we could write a check in Euros and the branch doesn’t know what to do with a check in dollars – President Clegg’s advice was to send it to our ward so that’s what we’re trying. If that doesn’t work out we might have to call on the family to pay tithing for us and we’ll keep you on our Christmas list for being so thoughtful! Saturday, after we’d cleaned the piso, we went to the office so Flo could work on her blog. Trisha (I think) had given us key-by-key instructions about how to do it but she left out the part about a window of Spanish that pops up right after sign-in. We finally got past that (I truly hope this blog doesn’t lead to either divorce or suicide) but Flo says that, in the end, she had pictures and a column of text 3 characters wide so we gave up for the day. Someone with blogging skills and a recovery plan might be seen by us and any other blog visitor as a genius. Sunday morning we got up with the alarms, got ready for church and Pres. & Sis. Clegg picked us up and drove us to Santander (a little over an hour with Sunday morning traffic) with the ocean on our right and green, mountainous terrain on the left – much of it was like the pictures we see of Switzerland. In Santander we attended the meetings of that branch - the people were very friendly to us and we understood a little more of what was being said. They’ll be a ward in the new stake being formed next week and there’s a marked contrast in the number of Melchizedek holders there compared to our branch here in Las Arenas – this branch just isn’t ready yet. After the meeting, Pres Clegg finished his round of interviews with the 4 missionaries there then we found a nice park area overlooking the ocean and beach, sat on a bench and had our lunch of sandwiches, potato salad and carrot sticks – it was great. From there we could see a peninsula across the bay with a golf course and light house so we drove out there and walked around to a vantage point – it really was beautiful. Flo took a few pictures so, when she gets them on the blog, you’re get a glimpse of a bit of our mission. I guess that’s about enough for one week. Hope all’s well with each of you. We pray a lot for you and appreciate your prayers and thoughts of us. The gospel is true – may God be with each of you. E & H Belnap