Monday, November 30, 2009

Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley was a little boy and something fell on him and made him flat. But that is not all that bad, now Flat Stanley can be folded up and sent to different places to see the world in an envelop. Zach sent Flat Stanley to us to show him Spain. We have had a lot of fun with him. First we took a picture of him by Spain on the map in our office. We are on the top of the map on the middle right side. Can you see the little pink area? That is where we are. We are in Las Arenas. We are right next to Bilbao.
We took Flat Stanley on our walk one evening. It is dark out, so the pictures didn't show as much of the back ground as I wanted the to.
A picture of the night we took him for a walk. He got a little cold. He is over looking the river right next to our piso. It is so pretty with the light reflecting off the water.
This is where the cars get onto the Puente Colgante bridge that is right next to our home.
Another one over looking the ocean here.
This is a better view of the Bridge. The car right over the water, is where the people and cars ride to get across. He wanted to stank on the railing.

A little better picture of the bridge.

Flat Stanley wanted to ride the bridge car. You can see the people on the right taking their walk for the day.
We are by a little fountain. Not such a great picture of Grandma. Best I have.
Here we are. He came to work with me. His typing skills aren't the best. But we had fun and the Elders were really good to him. The red book is my Spanish book. Never very far away form it.
Here is Flat Stanley at Thanksgiving. His tummy is flat, so he didn't eat very much. We sure did, however.


Here are our Missionaries that we had Thanksgiving dinner with. Top, left to right. Hermana Fitches, Elder Nelson, Leon, Anderson hiding, Strickland, Rowley,Woods, Cepeda, Bottom left, Hermana Johns, Elder Gordon, Moore, and Ashby, (From Arizona)
Here are our hungery Elders, Strickland, Anderson, Ashby diving in, President Clegg at the very end, You can see Hermana Fitches, (She is the one that reminds me of Kylah. Next to her is Elder Leon and Elder Gordon. This is just before we started. Lots of food.

I got my first picture in to soon. But thats ok. Now Hermana Clegg is telling people where to sit, I think. Do those poor Elders look hungery or what. You can see my rolls. They turned out ok.
They are patiently waiting until all the pictures are taken. Elder Anderson, Ashby, Dad, President Clegg and Elder Cepeda.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

November 22, 2009 - Update from Delwyn

As I sit in a warm piso with the sun shining brightly outside, we’ve just had a great Sunday dinner of roast pork, potatoes & gravy, vegetables & salad, Hna Belnap is making an apple pie, we’re making progress in learning Spanish, we had an uplifting experience in our meetings today and I’m thinking - life is good! I reread Elder Holland’s poignant talk in April Conference describing our Savior’s atonement and wonder why we sometimes lose sight of the things that have true importance and spend much time in pursuit of those that have little or no eternal significance. But, since to us, our family has eternal significance, I’m going to write a letter describing our week for you.
We went into the office earlier than normal Monday morning to try to get our emails taken care of – we’d been told to prepare for a trip to San Sebastián to finalize a lease on a new piso for the elders there. But it wasn’t until we were nearly ready to leave that we understood that Flo & I were to drive Elders Anderson & Strickland there to take care of the business. We got the Assistants’ car from the parking lot and literally squeezed out (there was so much congestion with people parked illegally and others trying to get in and out of the lot that we clipped mirrors with another car and had to turn them in to get by each other) and made our way to the freeways. We made all the right turns and exits, missed most of rush-hour traffic and were soon out of town into the very beautiful countryside. The freeway winds thru the hills and valleys passing lots of small villages and towns, the hills are covered with grass and trees with the grass still bright green and the deciduous trees turning the many colors of fall. Russ & Jen Perkins had been on that same route when they visited earlier this month and had described it as beautiful – it really is. Some of the grass fields are so steep that I wonder how the sheep and horses we saw can graze there and not fall down the slopes. Flo took some pictures and was trying to get them on our blog Friday so hopefully you can get a flavor for what we saw. Elder Strickland had been assigned to San Se (as they call it) for several months so he knows his way around the city and tried to guide us to our destination. But there’s significant difference between being able to walk between points A and B and being able to drive them. But by going thru ‘do not enter’ signs (like other drivers were) we were able to get to our destination of a pay parking lot under the local cathedral (apparently every sizeable city has one – just not like León’s), parked in a very narrow spot and met the Elders above ground. We saw the new piso with the real estate agent, walked to a beautiful beach nearby (it’s what San Se is famous for) to use the time we had then met owners and real estate people at the agency. I’m not sure what they haggled over but it took about 30 minutes to get the lease agreement finalized and signed (apparently all it takes from the church perspective is a couple of Elders to sign the agreement). I wanted to help the Elders move as much heavy stuff as we could using the car so I took a couple of them in the car and went to the old piso, parked as close as we could get (the combination of no parking and narrow, one-way streets was a real challenge) and we hauled stuff from their 3rd floor piso to the car 300-400 yards away. On one of my trips I hauled a box of booklets and thought it was going to kill me before I got to the car. We couldn’t find any parking close to the new piso so we returned to the parking garage, hauled a load of stuff up to the new place and waited for Flo and the others to return with food to make sandwiches for lunch. When they got there, we couldn’t find anything to eat with or on so we found a store, got plastic spoons & napkins and the crew put away two loaves of bread and every other bit of food there. I’d liked to have hauled more stuff for them but we had to get back and nearly all the stuff we hadn’t gotten was light or on wheels so we left town. We’d just hit the freeway when the gas warning light came on so we had to make a stop to fill the tank. The return trip was in the dusk, it was foggy and mostly thru a light rain so we couldn’t see the same beautiful scenery we’d had coming to San Se – we made it back safe & sound.
Via email I’d asked the church’s vehicle coordinator for Spain for a little guidance on getting the mission van back into operation but he didn’t ever reply. So Wednesday I put on my sweats, went to the van and pulled the battery. The available tools aren’t very good (I had to hold the head and handle of the ratchet together to keep them from falling apart) but I got it into the back of our car to try to get it checked. Later in the day the Elders came with me, we drove to the dealership and told them we’d like the battery charged and tested. The shop guy explained that the battery gets charged as the car is driven but that he’d test it for us. He came to our car, hooked up a tester, got nothing and told us he’d have to charge the battery before he could test it. We brought it into the shop, he said he’d leave the charger on it all night and for us to return the next day. We tried to get them but he wouldn’t give us his name or phone number – I don’t know why. We returned the next day, found the same guy and he told us he’d charged it and the battery is fine. We asked about paying and he waved it off saying there was no charge – we didn’t argue. On Friday I went back to the van in my sweats, got the battery back into its hole and reconnected – it took a little cranking but I finally got the van to start and it seems to run fine. A picture has gradually emerged that, when the Elders went to the van to get the mileage numbers for October, they’d turned on the key to get an odometer reading and had left the ignition turned on – that’s how the battery went dead. And it’s interesting to me that, although the front & side doors have manual locks on them, the back door will only lock & unlock with the power lock and only the driver’s door has a key lock/unlock. So in the 2-3 weeks it has sat there, only part of the doors have been locked.
A tooth in my lower jaw has been sore for a couple of weeks and it’s been getting worse rather than better so Thursday the Elders went with me to find the dentist one of the Assistants had used a couple of weeks ago. We found him, his receptionist made an appointment for Friday morning and I went alone for that. The system here might be different but I believe that not being able to talk much to each other cuts down on paperwork. He got my name from my nametag (the Elders explained to the receptionist on Thursday why we all have the same fist name of ‘Elder’ and she explained it to the doctor), sent me to a chair where he did some looking and probing and I spoke the universal language of pain when he pushed too hard in the wrong spots. We returned to his office and I’m quite sure he told me the nerve is infected, he’ll do a root canal first and we’ll see if that corrects the problem. He prescribed an antibiotic (750mg) and ibuprofen (600mg) for a week to try to control the infection & pain and I have an appointment for next Wednesday morning for step 2. He says if that doesn’t correct the problem he’ll probably have to pull the tooth but that presents a problem for me because it’s the front post of a bridge and I don’t want to get into that right now.
We’ve been trying to get arrangements made to buy Reliv here in Europe and Flo eventually had communications with the Reliv distribution center in the UK. She doesn’t want to give a credit card number via email so we got the needed information to call them with the card info and to confirm our order. We finally got that done this week (I’d tried to call once using my prepaid phone card but that only resulted in more & faster Spanish than I could keep up with) and should be back on Classic sometime next week. By the time we get past shipping costs and exchange rates, it’s pretty pricey but we think it helps us with our health so we’ll spend a little more of the kids’ inheritance.
The mission work is going well – we got two new Spanish missionaries this week. Both are sharp young men and are glad to be here on their missions. A lot of the Spanish missionaries we have are from families that were members in South or Central America, their families moved to Spain and they have varying lengths of time in the church. I think about ¼ of our missionaries are from Spain, are all encouraged to study English while they’re serving missions and are at different stages in their learning. We continue to get more and more to do to stay busy – sometimes it’s very long days and other times we’re still not real busy.
Flo had a stake RS meeting Saturday at the stake center in Vitoria and, although long distances for meeting attendance isn’t something that’s totally foreign to her, it’s a little different using public transportation. She wasn’t going to go until Hna Clegg (who had to speak) asked that Flo accompany her. She left our piso shortly after 2:00, took the Metro to Bilbao, they rode a chartered bus from the Bilbao chapel to Vitoria, attended the meeting and were home shortly before 10:00. While she was gone I did some work on my laptop, took a walk (for the first time I saw a large ship moving up the river – we see lots of smaller boats but this was at least 5 times larger than those we normally see), took pills and kept myself nourished (like I say – life is good!).
We love each of you, appreciate very much your love and support and pray continually for Heaven’s blessings on you. I might have mentioned it previously but we’ve very excited and thankful whenever we get those nice letters in our emails. We’re thankful to be here (even though we’ll miss families very much this holiday week – Happy Thanksgiving to all!), love being involved in helping bring the gospel to the lives of others and bear witness that it’s true.

Lots of love, E&H Belnap

November 15, 2009 - Update from Delwyn

Well, until Friday, it’s been another hectic week– particularly for Flo. After we’d processed and sent our emails Monday morning we hurried to get the stuff done that we’re responsible for in the office. In the afternoon we had another of those marathon shopping sessions – some for us but most for the mission. By the time we got back to the piso and unloaded our stuff, finding a spot to park the car was another nightmare – I finally found a spot and got out by wading thru a mud puddle. Flo spent that evening and much of the next day cooking and baking stuff for the rest of the week. And to show appreciation for the help they’d given us in trying to get a refrigerator bought, we agreed last week to fix tuna melts on Tuesday for all those in the office. Seems like every day this week we’ve gone to the office with a load of stuff to carry then carried more stuff home in the evenings. Flo spent Tuesday afternoon at the piso preparing food for Wednesday and beyond and Tuesday evening we loaded the mission van with as much stuff as they could haul then filled another car that we were to drive to the conference. And added to all that, it rained hard and often into Wednesday so it was miserable trying to haul stuff and load cars. Elder Caussé of our Area Presidency has been here for a tour of our mission so he presided at the zone conferences held this week. The first was a conference in Vitoria for the Bilbao & Vitoria zones so we drove ourselves, the Secretaries and a load of stuff to Vitoria – took us about 1:15 because of slow traffic and cost us ca. $6.50 each way for half an hour on the toll road. We immediately began setting up to warm the food to be ready at 2:00 (we assume there’s an outlet for the refrigerator but there are no other outlets in the kitchen that we could find and this is at one of the two free-standing chapels in our mission). The conference was in Spanish except for Elder Caussé’s part – it was great to be able to understand the things he taught. They had US missionaries translate for the Spanish missionaries who don’t speak English and it seemed to go well. About 12:30 Elder Caussé asked if lunch was ready – we scrambled for about 10 minutes to finish getting things ready, served soup, spinach salad, Flo’s rolls with chicken salad and lemon cake – there wasn’t a lot of anything left. The meetings lasted till nearly 4:30, they organized a quick picture, we packed up and drove home (we could see snow covered mountain tops close by as we drove) – it was a lot easier coming back than going but the parking problem was the same as always (search then park in the mud).
Thursday they were in Gijón for a conference for the León & Vigo zones with Elder Caussé – we weren’t at that one but they said it went well. As part of the meetings with Elder Caussé, they held zone leader conference (8 zone leaders plus the Elders in the office) on Friday at our mission home so Thursday we were hustling to get ready and most of the food responsibility for that fell to Flo. While she worked on that Thursday evening (cinnamon rolls, Hawaiian haystacks, banana split cake) I went for a walk (up the river this time) to see if I could find the car dealership that services our cars – we have four cars due now. Google Earth showed the address in an open field so it didn’t make a lot of sense but I found the place – appears to be a fairly new facility and isn’t far from us. Flo made a couple of crock pots of corn chowder, we hauled it to the office Friday morning and spent a quiet day with just the two of us there – chowder odors floating thru the air. To celebrate my birthday we went to our local Chinese restaurant and had a nice dinner. This time, we were the only customers in the restaurant for the entire time we were there. The food we’ve had has been very tasty and the service was courteous and quick so I’m not sure why there aren’t more customers. My only complaint about the place is the 2.80€ we have to pay for a liter of water (about $16/gallon) – we might have to learn to eat without drinking anything. The zone leaders’ conference moved to the offices about 6:00 that evening but we weren’t needed so we came home and went for a long walk along our usual waterfront route. The Elders told us that, when they’d tried to use their van to transport missionaries this morning, the battery was totally dead – wouldn’t even unlock the doors.
Saturday morning after we’d had breakfast I went to the offices, got out a short backsaw and half a sheet of particle board planning to cut some pieces to patch two openings in walls in the Hermanas’ piso in Bilbao. The workshop consisted of a couple of chairs to put the board on, I cut off what I think I need, cleaned up the mess and left. I met the Assistants at the van and we tried to diagnose the problem with the battery. We finally had to read the manual to even find the battery – it’s under the footboard of the driver. We found a pair of jumper cables and tried to jump start the engine off a second car and could get it to turn over but it wouldn’t start. We tried to call the dealer for help but they’re closed on the weekend so we were left without knowing what to do. As I’ve thought about the problem I guess we should try to pull the battery, take it to a shop for charging and testing to see if it’s only battery or if there’s something else wrong. What I know about these cars is next to nothing and I seem to be regarded as the authority. We’d been told about a fairly new mall close to us so, after we’d cleaned the piso, we drove to it to do some shopping and looking. Flo got a couple of things at a discount clothing store in the complex and we wandered around the inside of the mall – it’s by far the largest mall we’ve seen here. One side is occupied by a huge Eroski Center and the other side is lots of specialty stores including a McDonalds. After our tour of the mall we returned to McD’s and had lunch – my advice would be to buy stock. The menu is much like home, the prices are about double and the place was teeming with activity all the time we were there.
When Pte & Hna Clegg came into the office on Monday morning they announced that his cousin (a former mission president) had received a call to our mission for a proselyting mission – to come in March. That’ll add a couple more adults in our mission and I’m sure the areas they’re assigned to will benefit significantly from their presence. The branches we’ve visited all plead for senior missionaries to help them in their branches.
I’ve wanted to tell you a little more about things we saw on our trip to León two weeks ago – it was very interesting to us. As we traveled the freeway we often saw signs referring to the Camino del Santiago and, as we got closer to León we could see sections of the trail - sometimes with people walking along it. Apparently, for hundreds of years, devout Catholics have made pilgrimages from many parts of Europe from their homes to Santiago (on the west coast of our mission) joining this trail at whatever point is convenient. In some places they’ve improved the trail to make it an easier path to walk even to the point of planting trees along it to provide shade to the travelers. And because the Cathedral in León has become a stopping place for the travelers, they have provisions there to host the many people that come thru. The present cathedral had a couple of predecessors that fell into ruin and this one was built on top of those ruins. It was begun in the early 1200’s under the direction of a Spanish king and completed about 100 years later. Because of the unstable foundation on which it was built it has undergone several repairs and improvements to make it stable. One of the most impressive things about it is its massive size and structure. There are two main towers visible from a long distance – one is 63 and the other 68 meters high. We walked thru a massive door into a large, open area where the ceilings range from about 60 to 90 feet from the floor with a few supporting pillars 40-50’ apart. There are a lot of large & beautiful stained glass windows high up the wall and into the arched ceilings. Since we were there in the evening it was starting to become dark and we didn’t have direct sun on them but I’m sure it’s spectacular. 100-150’ from the door we came in was a chapel where a wedding was just concluding so we soon were mingling with guests as they left and we looked. Surrounding that chapel were smaller alcoves – most the size of a large living room and all with restricted access – with lots of sculptures, carvings and scenes from Old & New Testament accounts including a lot of gold leaf in many of them. I am so impressed that, in a period we call the Dark Ages and without power tools and modern construction equipment, that they could build such a massive but intricately sculpted structure – maybe they’d learned from the Egyptians or the Mayan-Incan civilizations. I’d sure like to go back when it’s light and we have more time to look and take pictures of the outside (no cameras allowed inside).
Thanks very much to all of you who sent birthday greetings – I find I look forward to birthdays for an entirely different reason now than I used to, the alternative just isn’t appealing to me. Even though most days seem to be busier than ever, we’re loving being here. As we integrate into the branch (mostly a matter of understanding and speaking) we’re finding so much love and concern for us among the members – they truly love the Lord and are doing their best, some under very difficult circumstances. It’s the work of the Lord and it’s moving forward – with 15 months to go, in our mission we’ve already had more baptisms this year than we’ve had in any year in the past ten+ years. That with fewer missionaries - it’s pretty exciting! We love and pray for each of you (sometimes it’s a little ragged but HE has the gift of tongues), we’re making progress with the language and hope everything is well with you.

Love, E&H Belnap

Friday, November 20, 2009

Trip to San Sebastian

While in San Sebastian we saw some fun thing. On top of the hill, there is a statue of Christ. Can't see very well, to far away.
One of the old Cathedrals there.

This is the largest one in San Sebastian.

Here we are in San Sebastian. These are the Elders from there. Elder Howard, Elder Strickland is one of our office missionaries, Elder Blazian, Delwyn, (Elder Belnap) Elder Nielsen, Elder Anderson the other office missionary, and Elder Crocker. They had a dump for an apartment, so we went there to help them get another one. It is really nice and they are sooooo excited. We are standing by the Bay.

This is one of the beaches we were by. Not to many people on the beach. It was a little bit chilly for me. I wouldn't want to be on the beach

We are looking out toward the ocean. San Sebastian is in the north east corner of Spain. It is about 20 min. away from France. So pretty.

These next few pictures are taken from the car to show you some of the views we saw on our trip to and from San Sebastian. This one isn't very good.

I wanted to show you the little sheep ranches. The little white spots are sheep. I counted the sheep and I never got any more than maybe 25 sheep. Small sheep ranches unless they have some some place else.

Sorry, car got in the way. Pretty country side.

More country side.

Sorry, our windows were pretty dirty.

Notice the trees. After they cut them down, they replant them. It is very interesting to see trees all in a row here. Maybe the states need to take a lesson.

More country side.

Some ranch homes.

More of the same. I think it is interesting how they terrace their farms.

Pretty mountains. The pictures don't do them justice.

Last Saturday, we went shopping. At this mall, they had a McDonald's. It is quite different than the ones in the states.

Here is a true picture of McDonald's in the mall. It is much more crowded than any other restaurant we have seen here in Spain. Except the bars at medio dia time. (Between 1:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon). They are full. So we stopped and had lunch at McDonald's.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November 9, 2009 Weekly update from Delwyn

Well, the time has come that, if our family is to receive an epistle this week, I have to get after it. We just returned from our church meetings (where I was asked to read from the priesthood manual and give the closing prayer) so I’m working on this letter while Flo works on our dinner – she’s better at her stewardship than I am at mine but we do our best, huh? The week has gone by quickly (at least when we look back) and it’s pretty sure that winter has come to our part of Spain. We’ve had a lot of rain with wind – it rains for a lot of minutes, stops for a few minutes then rains again. We’ve been able to walk only three evenings this week and Friday evening we had to take and use an umbrella to stay as dry as we did. I guess they’ve built a pretty good system for handling runoff because, regardless of how much rain we get, we don’t seem to get many big puddles (our parking lot excepted).
On Wednesday about 11:15 am, Russ Perkins called from San Sebastián where they were getting ready to board a bus for Bilbao (they’d hauled some stuff from Phoenix to Spain for us). We got instructions from the Elders about how to get to the Bilbao bus station, took our stuff to the piso and caught the Metro to Bilbao. We arrived before they did and it was a cold, rainy day so the wait outside was a little chilly but they got there ahead of schedule, checked the departure schedule to return to San Sebastián and we got back on the Metro to get to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. While I’d heard the name ‘Guggenheim’ a lot of times and seen the building – both on purpose and by accident – I sure didn’t have a concept of what it’s about. From the information we received at our visit I’ve learned that Solomon Guggenheim collaborated with others, donated his art collection to a foundation and Frank Lloyd Wright designed the first Guggenheim in New York City. They’ve subsequently built sister museums (not designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) in Berlin, Venice and here, they share some of the art works on a rotating basis plus each has its own works that are permanent in a museum. The museum here is built on a slope that goes from city level down to river level and is an unusual but impressive structure; we hurried inside (it was too cold and wet to be outside any longer than necessary), paid our money (old people get in cheaper than young people because we can’t see as much nor have endurance to stay as long) and were given hand-held devices to guide and explain stuff according to the room of an exhibit. In my frame of reference, to call this a museum is a misnomer – it’s an exhibit hall. Virtually all the things there are exhibits of modern or avant-garde designs and were interesting but not exciting to us. The largest exhibit is eight separate shapes that are designed for and large enough to walk thru – aisles with walls that bend and lean in different directions, spirals that take you to an open center from which you must backtrack to get out, concentric circles with leaning walls, etc. In an adjoining room are scale models of each figure with an explanation of how they were made by rotating ellipses, spheres and tori in different directions – quite interesting but not very practical. It apparently took a long time to find a manufacturer who could make the metal walls and do the bending needed to produce the shapes. The second floor is dedicated to a display of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture work and was more interesting to me – especially the exhibits and explanation of Taliesin (including Taliesin West in Paradise Valley). But there seems to be an inordinate number of architectural designs that were never built – I expect it was because the would-be builder ran out of money paying the architect and had nothing left with which to build. The third floor is more dedicated to art that hangs on walls but also has a number of videos – some silent, some with filthy language and some that appear to be more mistake than finished product – and other exhibits that fall into the class of modern art. There are a few other things scattered thru the building but there’s lots of open space and lots of glass that make it appear even more open than it is. We spent 2-3 hours going thru it, went outside to take pictures of the building and surroundings (had a little break in the rain but not the cold wind) and left for the Chinese buffet we’d visited the preceding Saturday. We had a nice dinner – even tried the stir-fry grill and liked the results – and were nearly finished when I got a phone call that was so broken up I couldn’t even tell who it was. Flo persuaded Russ & Jen to come to Las Arenas to see our piso and the Puente bridge so we returned to the Metro for the ride. I called the number from the restaurant call and it was Hna Clegg telling us Macro had called that our refrigerator had arrived – that was welcome news. We showed our piso, walked to the Puente thru rain & wind and, if you can’t go up on it (way too cold for that), it doesn’t take long to see what’s there. Russ & Jen headed back to the Metro for the bus station and, since they didn’t call, we assume they made their connections and are home now.
Thursday morning we went to the office with plans to go to Makro to buy the refrigerator. We asked the Elders the best time of day to find a parking space in Las Arenas and they suggested we go immediately – we did. With an ad, a little broken Spanish and lots of hand waving and pointing we went from the front desk to the appliance desk to the checkout stand where we paid for a refrigerator (there’s compelling evidence that 16% sales tax is a non-trivial number when buying a refrigerator) and a couple of ties, got delivery set up at the exit and rang the alarm when we went thru the doors. It turns out that there were two security tags on one of the ties and one had been missed at the register. We drove from there to Carrefour, got some groceries – including peanut butter (the price has actually gone down on it, just not as much as the $$ has devalued relative to the euro since we last bought) – and were checking out when we got another call that Makro was ready to deliver the refrigerator in half an hour. We hurried home, parked with most of the car in a mud puddle, got space prepared in the piso and waited for them to come – they were a little late but brought the thing up to our floor, unboxed it, installed it, gave us instructions in Spanglish and we went back to the office to work. We were barely back in the saddle when the Elders came with a proposal to join them for a pizza buffet at Telepizza – we went. The program there was to order three pieces, eat them and repeat the cycle as long as we wanted to – the Elders helped us out after the first round. But we were pretty well caught up in the office so it was a nice break for us to sit and visit with the missionaries as we ate and watched them go thru pizza.
On Friday we had an interesting experience with one of the Assistants’ investigators who had planned for baptism on Saturday. He called the Elders and was totally against baptism and the church and refused to meet or even talk to them. We all joined together for prayer in his behalf but, as of now, he hasn’t responded to any attempts to contact him. We’d like to get him to read the account of the First Vision and see the parallels in Satan’s work in trying to thwart the work of God. While we were studying Spanish Saturday a pair of the Elders came by needing new pants hemmed and, while they were here, a batch of bread came out of the oven so they stayed around to take care of a small loaf. We went Saturday night to Bilbao for another baptism – it was a very good service with 40+ members and investigators there. I’m impressed with the way members come out to support such events even though the weather was nasty and the service didn’t start till 7:30.
We haven’t figured out yet how to control the temperature in the piso – it seems like the thermostat is pretty sensitive on the high side but not so on the low side. It gets pretty cold in here before the heater kicks on and we don’t have enough experience with it yet to know where to set the thermostat to try to be comfortable. Even though we don’t move the setting, it gets colder in here than I can comfortably stand so I’m having trouble sleeping because I get cold in spite of covers and thermals – I’m thinking electric blanket if I can find one (with dual controls of course; Flo says she’s hot most of the time).
Well, since I started this earlier this afternoon, we’ve had fried chicken, potatoes & chicken gravy, vegetables and Jell-o salad for dinner, Flo has nearly finished making a batch of raisin-filled cookies and I’m nearly out of letter for the week. We love each of you and are delighted to get news from home. Be faithful, keep praying for us as we do for you.
All our love, E&H Belnap

Friday, November 13, 2009

My new post on Del's Birthday

This is my amiga and her daughter. We never know their names because they never tell us unless we ask. Then, I'm sorry, I never can understand them. Once in a while I'll ask them to write it for me. That helps. Next time I see this sweet sister, I'm going to do just that.

This is Elder Olds. He just left to go home. What a great missionary.

Hermana Fraga, Garcia, and Johnson. They just left for home also. Hermana Garcia was my daughter here. I love her. Such a wonderful missionary and she really make me feel loved and wanted. Hated to see her leave. But she needs to find her mate now.

This is Hermana Garcia. She didn't want to leave. She hid under my desk when it was time to leave. She lives in Madrid, Spain.

This is a picture we see every time we go to the Bilbao chapel. It is right off the Metro. I think it is so pretty with all the flowers. I love the landscaping.

We went to Leon, Spain with President and Hermana Clegg. This was our room. It is a mess now, but it is a very modern room and had a king size bed. That was so nice. Ours in our piso is so small.

This is a picture of the bathroom. Very nice. All bathrooms here are either tile or marble from floor to the walls. Easy to keep nice and clean.

The land around Leon is farm land. Now it has been harvested and ready to plant next spring. It is fall now and starting to get cold.

This is a small town we drove by. Very similar to all the other homes in Spain. Very neat and clean.

We are into the hills now. So pretty and green. This is how it is in Las Arenas where we live. Except, we live in town. We are right next to Bilbao. Like Phoenix and Glendale.

A lot of their farm land is on hills. They have to terrace then. They use all the land they can.

When the Perkins were here, we visited the Guggenheim Museum. Very interesting. We've decides they put more money into the outside and the inside leaves a lot to be desired. However, after a while of being in it, we really became more intrigued with it. I would love to go back when we had more time.

This is Del standing in front of it. Can you see the Frank Lloyd Wright sign? While we were there, they had a floor all about Frank Lloyd Wright. We enjoyed it because of his association in Phoenix.

This is a little park by the musium. I didn't get any pictures of the Perkins. I thought I had, but they are on the other camera and I don't have that with me now. Darn

Right in front of the Guggenheim. See the red bridge on the left. That is one of all the bridges here in Spain. They are all different and very interesting. We got lost once and that bridge helped us get found again.

We are in the back of the Guggenheim. See the steam coming out of the water. It was cold that day, but the steam was coming from something underneath it. Special effects.

A spider in the back. Many interesting structures here.

We are looking at it from the back. See all the different shapes!

More of its shapes.

This is the cute little (Big) puppy in front of the Guggenheim. We see it every time we go to the Bilbao Chapel. It is one of the land marks to tell me where I am and that I am close. It is only about 3 short blocks from the Guggenheim.

A picture of our last Zone Conference. We had Elder Causse with us. He is our General Authority here in Spain. He did the Zone Conference. We had 2 Zone together that day.

This is a quick picture of him. He and President and Hermana Clegg had to get to their next city for the other Zone Conference. We is a very remarkable man. Really gave the missionaries a lot of great ideas to improve their teaching.

My two daughters here in our Zone. Hermana Johns is from Blackfood and Hermana Fitches is from California. Hermana Fitches reminds me of Kylah so very much. She looks a lot like her and she has many similar traits. She makes me happy.

My hair is growing. I've had the back cut once and the front is growing also. I am trying to get it so I can bring it to one side and pull it behind my ears. I just don't want to pay what it cost here to get a hair cut every 5-6 weeks. It looks like my gray is showing, however, that is the light. I don't have any gray do I Kay? See our new refrigerator? I am so excited to have it. You can't even guess how excited I am. I love it. Nice Christmas present.