Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hostile Takeover or Growth and Change

At the end of Monday's Zone Conference we were allowed to let the news out to our missionaries. Something very radical is about to take place in Spain and will affect the Spain Bilbao Mission. We told the missionaries in the Vitoria Zone, but we were all too shocked and emotional to take a picture. So on to Leon. Elders Pederson and Ciccio were excited and unsure of why Presidente and Hna Clegg were coming to visit them in their piso in Leon .
Elders Strickland, Alvarez and Garcia are a little unsure. Elder Pederson and Alvarez were up in Leon for their District Meeting and were staying the night
Elder Cairns entertained us with his chapa on his nose. Elder Dredge knows the news and the look on his face says a lot.
Just say it aint so!, not a very happy district of missionaries. We went on to Ponferrada and broke the news there. Those missionaries were very surprised!
The next morning it was over the pass and on to Oviedo, Aviles, and Gijon.
All the missionaries gathered in the capilla to hear the news. This picture was taken before the news was let out and they thought we were just bringing cookies to eat. Didn't have the heart to take a picture afterwards. Lot's of questions.
It was Santander's turn next. They did not like the news and were completely blown away!
On to Bilbao, on a beautiful sunny February day.
Bilbao loved the cookies, but were shocked by the news as well.
The next day it was on to Ourense where Reese's peanut butter cups softened the blow.
We had to go into their piso and see the totem pole they were making for the rama party in a week. Elder Roldan was a big help to make the news sound o.k.
Vigo was confused and dumbfounded by announcement. Only Hermana Sanchez and Elder Johnstun weren't too affected.
We ran to Santiago and then on to A Coruna. Hna Calderon really doesn't know what to think as well as the other missionaries in A Coruna.
But alas, the Ferrol Elders were able to figure it out before we came. They had 3 guesses, that Hna Clegg was expecting (that would take a miracle), the President wanted to give a personal pep talk, (why, we just had Zone Conferences) and that the Spain Bilbao Mission was being closed. Well, number 3 is correct. Effective July 1st, there will no longer be a Spain Bilbao Mission. The Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga Missions will be realigned to absorb the Bilbao mission. Actually the mission will be split in half and the Leon and Vigo Districts will go to Madrid, the Vitoria Stake will go to Barcelona. The Canary Islands will go to Madrid while the Elche Stake, the LaMancha District and two independent branches will go to Malaga. We just didn't see it coming when we are just coming off the most successful year in 20. So why?Because the vision of the church is for the members to do the missionary work. More Stakes should mean less missions. It is a sign of true growth in Europe. Spain is the fastest growing country in Europe and with the members help, it will explode. We are excited for the growth, but so sad about the change. The missionaries will know where they will go by where they are serving come July 1st. But what about Presidente and Hna Clegg? We won't have a mission.
The tears were flowing when the word was received, and after the shock we received the words, "REASSIGNED" to the Spain Malaga Mission!!! July 1st will find us in the South. We are excited for the change, but so sad to think we will have to leave all of our missionaries here. This wasn't in the plan. But we know that there will be wonderful missionaries awaiting us in Malaga. Presidente and Hna Mellor will be finishing up their assignment and we will take over. We love this country of Spain and are honored to be able to stay and help the work grow. Many of our missionaries live in the South of Spain and are excited to be able to see us there after their missions and for us to meet their families. That will be an honor! After this race around the mission we think we will take a rest. Well only for a few hours. As we returned to the mission home tonight, we have a few hours until we are having visitors from Germany. The physical facilities manager, Bro. Worthlin tonight and Elder Causse tomorrow. Never a dull moment in the mission.


  1. Oh no :( We heard the news today. We're so sad Hermana Clegg. All of the RM's are completely confused also. Now we just have to have Faith and know that the Lord works in amazing ways. Hopefully this will mean more growth, and as you said let's see Spain explode! This doesn't mean that we won't have as many missionaries though right? I hope not. And I guess I'll just have to visit Malaga this summer :) Thank you for this wonderful blog.

  2. I am blown away!!!!! Will "talk" soon. Taking Grammy to doctor but will email ASAP!!!!

  3. Just change. I served with elders and sisters who were in Barcelona/Madrid when they created our mission in 1987. I'm sure your elders and sisters had the same looks on their faces. It was an exciting time, and Spain will continue to grow in the gospel.

    I still have no doubt that there will be multiple stakes in the Bilbao area one day, and perhaps another temple on the peninsula.

    I've been a part of too many miracles in that blessed land to think any different.

  4. When I served in Bilbao from 2001-03 there were 5 missions, now down to 3. I know this will all work out for the best but I'm saddened by the news.

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  6. For hearing such shocking news, you know how to make the best of things - love your blog and your build up to the big announcement. You have been the BEST mission president/mom for Elder Ryser. I'm sure you will keep up the good work with whomever you will have in your mission.

  7. (Shelvin's mom) My son was just called to this mission and we have been following the blog. What a wonderful way to get acquainted with you! Imagine his surprise to hear that he no longer has this mission or this mission president (he already felt such a connection to you) to go to. However, Pres. and Hna. Clegg, you will be serving in my old mission, España Sevilla, where I served fall '85 to spring '87. I served in both extremes, from Badajoz, Extremadura to Granada. I feel the sadness as your group of dedicated missionaries gets reassembled unexpectedly, and I am glad to hear the words of encouragement that tells me this time of change will bring even greater blessings in the wonderful country of España! (Entre flores, fandanguillas y alegrías, nació mi España, la tierra del amor...)

    Sister Adrian Booher (formerly known as Hermana Trabajo even though my chapa said Hermana Work)

  8. You will love Malaga! I served there in 1996-1997 under Faustino Lopez. It's a beautiful part of the country filled with wonderful people. Enjoy Malaga!

  9. Mixed emotions with the news! I served in Bilbao 97-99 and love the mission. I'm wondering if there is a chance I can get an update on Angel Maria Martinez and his family in the Bilbao ward. If you have the chance to ask, I would love to know how they are, I've lost contact.
    Thanks! Kevin Schmidt

  10. such sad news. It seems like there were a couple cities given to the Madrid Mission the first month I was there, I think segovia and salamanca?. I was there from 91-93, best mission in the world and a little re-alignment won't change that. Are there fewer missionaries there now? seems like we had around 200. I started in San Sebastian and served in bergos, ferrol, coruna, bilbao, barakaldo. Sounds like you guys are baptizing more then when I was there and that is great!. They also didn't have any wards or stakes. I am glad to hear that things are moving forward there, I still think about it all the time. It is nice to hear there are a lot of members that are still active and strong in the church. If any are reading the Original Elder Holmes says Hi.