We love going around the mission during interview time. Our two Elders in Burgos, Elders Sayaz and Esteves-Garcia are two happy campers in Burgos. They are best friends from their home in Barcelona and were ecstatic to be able to work together. They are working so hard and have seen many miracles in Burgos. They are standing in front of the bulletin board done by Elder Esteves-Garcia and his former companion, Elder Holmes. This has the branch mission plan on it. Great things are definitely coming out of Burgos.
Interviews are a great time to get closer to the missionaries and to do our best to help and motivate them in their work. We take the ayudantes along to do mini district meetings and to provide another time to practice and perfect their skills. We review the principles taught at Zone Conference or those brought to us by our visiting authority, Elder Causse, to raise the level of missionary work in the mission. Here in Gijon they are all over it. They are great missionaries who are seeing a lot of success. They have 4 baptismal fechas and teaching as many as 15-20 lessons every week. They are incredible.
We found the missionaries in Aviles doing fantastic. They have 2 baptismal dates and are working so hard with the Branch President to activate many members. Elder Southwick had to bring out his Real Salt Lake Championship t-shirt. Yea for Real Salt Lake as they won the MLS Soccer Championship. Don't be jealous Elder Ashby, just because you don't come from Salt Lake.
Being fit is a part of missionary work but Elders Frank, Ashby and Dredge are taking it a little to the extreme in Pontevedra! Ballet is actually a wonderful form of exercise, and the turn-out on these young men is to be envied, but they need to work on their grace! (It is amazing what Elders will do for a picture on the blog)
We found the Santiago Elders working so hard. Elder Nestvogel is a machine and Elder Nye is doing his best to keep up. You can tell by Elder Nestvogel's shoes that he is a missionary in the field! We always enjoy our visit to Santiago, including this one!
The beautiful smiles of the Hermanas in A Coruna. Hna's Moraza and Calderon light up the room when we see them. We had a wonderful lunch in A Coruna furnished by the Elders and the Hermanas. They also performed a little skit for us, written by the Hermanas. It was to help us feel the spirit of Carnival! Well, missionary style is pretty tame, but the dancing of Elders Driggs and McClanahan was the show stopper.
We are getting ready to eat. We had the famous "Chaws" lunch. The missionaries affectionately call it heart attack on a plate. It is very rich but good. Then with the Hermanas making cheese cake, needless to say we were full. The Presidente will always interview the missionaries either before or after lunch. It is a wonderful way to spend a few hours with these dear missionaries.
We found Ourense very engaged in their missionary work and willing to learn. We are working on teaching with unity and switching off between companions more often. Elder Holland taught us in the MTC that missionaries need to be changing more often allowing for the Holy Ghost to be more present in the lessons. Missionaries aren't to be teaching just a presentation, there needs to be lot's of questions and switching every 2-3 minutes with their companion in a lesson. This takes practice but the missionaries are doing great with it and finding that when they don't put limits of the spirit, they both feel the spirit more in their teaching.
Hey, who are these hombres on the board? They look like some of the top 10 most wanted. They are actually the 4 missionaries in characature. They are having a Rama activity and the creativity of these Elders is evident. But hmn, I think that is just a pencil in Elder Ryser's mouth, isn't it?
Ah, we knock on the door in San Sebastian and find ourselves in a very not so authentic french restaurant. We are ready for anything when we knock on the door of Elder Webb.
Oui, Oui, says the waiter, Elder WEEEEbb. Oh what a character! We love Elder Webb. He lead us through the candle lit hallway to the restaurant Chez ??? Anyway, we were seated down to a wonderful meal, but first, the peasants?
The ayudantes were sent to the bathroom for their lunch when they were jumped by Elder Zamora from the shower and ordered to put their hands up. Elder Howard, who was the master chef, aided in the show!
Two young, hard working missionaries, Elder Zamora and Elder Howard are doing their best to keep up with Elder Webb. They had a baptism last week and have another baptismal fecha set, so don't let the fun and games fool you, these are 3 hard working missionaries who are giving it their all in San Sebastian. But there is a time for fun, and this was a great little event. Elders, are those squirt guns loaded?
Baked chicken with vegetables. We don't get this good looking of meal too often. Way to go Elder Howard.
After lunch during our practice, they enjoy their cookies and rice krispie treats as their Valentine treat from me and the Presidente. A great lunch in San Sebastian with 3 wonderful missionaries.
We drove up to the capilla in Logorno to find Elders Crocker and Harris contacting someone on the street as they were coming for their interviews. You can't see the investigator, but I wanted a "real action shot." They are living the principal of contacting everyone. We are so proud of our missionaries.
"Whew" says Hna Rudder as we are taking note of Elder Crocker's tie. In probably all missions, there are ties that are passed down, or represent something. Elder Crocker was given the Pocahontas tie from Elder Moore. Elder Ashby spied it on Elder Crocker. The Traveling Trainers had been in Logrono the week before and Elder Moore was so impressed with Elder Crocker, that he passed on this tie. That's an honor for you Elder Crocker.
This is the backside of the tie with the names of the missionaries on the back who have owned the tie. The hard thing to decide is what to do with the tie now that the mission will be closed the end of June? We will let Elder Crocker make that decision.
Hna's Rudder and Huntsman are a little sad that they didn't get to go shopping and bowling with me last week. I would have loved to have them along, but we will have to try to find another time. They are working very hard in Logrono.
We went on to Leon on this day where we found Chef Ciccio, cooking us real Italian pizza. He is the Branch President in Leon and doing a wonderful job. He set the goal to have 60 people attending church in the rama. When he came there were probably around 25-30 coming. Last Sunday they had 48 in church, with 14 of them being investigators. They have two baptisms this week, and a few more in the weeks to come. The Zone Leaders also live and work here and they are part of this great success that they are seeing in Leon. The missionaries have to have the vision and the faith to find, and the Lord does bless them. We are seeing this in Leon. In the Leon Zone every companionship has at least one baptismal fecha, many have more than one. They are leading the mission in baptisms right now. Way to go Leon Zone.
We can't get this pizza down fast enough. Elder Strickland, in the glasses, is Elder Ciccio's companion and the District Leader and Elder Cairns, on the right, is one of the Zone Leaders. Elder Ashby with Presidente Clegg are also enjoying the food. We were well fed and left the ayudantes there to do exchanges while we pushed on to Benevente.
Elders Alvarez and Pederson are giving us the thumbs up as Elder Strickland is interviewing one of their baptismal candidates. She passed and will be baptized this weekend. They have two more, but they aren't ready yet, but hopefully soon. They have been working very hard in Benevente and it shows in their enthusiasm and energy. We weren't able to put all the missionaries on the blog but let me say we are so pleased with all of them. They are working hard, eager to learn more, and excited to share the gospel. We love our missionaries! We also love all the parents for raising these great young men and women and for supporting them on their missions. They do love mail and packages from home.