Friday, September 25, 2009

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

No comments: