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

1 comment:

Bethany said...

I am so happy to hear about you Belnaps. We miss you guys so much! Have a great time!