Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Elders, why are you running so fast this morning on your way to interviews? Elder Flory and Nestvogel are in a hurry to get to the Vitoria chapel. There must be something exciting happening this morning on March 24th!
Yes, it is Birthday time and who's birthday is it? Hna Bell, who is not in the picture, made this delicious apple cake. Well the word was out, it was Hna Clegg's Birthday. El Presidente e-mailed all the missionaries about my birthday and bright and early the phone calls were coming in. I was sung "Happy Birthday almost as many times as my age! It was fun.
We walked into a surprise in Logrono. They had made these cut outs for a ward party and then used them again for my surprise. Cleaver missionaries! Elder Crocker even shared some of his special brownie from home. Thanks Hna Crocker, it was delicious!
We had lunch in Burgos and then out came Elders Esteves-Garcia and Sayaz with a Hello Kitty cake. It was great!
In Leon that night they thought maybe we would be tired of treats so they all wrote me a letter. That was very special! Thanks Elders!
The next day seemed more like business as usual. We spent the night in Benavente and then went to Ponferrada. These are two nostalgic ayudantes. They both served in Ponferrada and missed their room with a view!
Elder Dredge and Woods loved their time in Ponferrada. They saw the beginnings of a great awakening in this city. The branch is growing so fast here and these two Elders had a lot to do with that!
They did sing me Happy Birthday, but Elder Gerber wanted to do an old fashion stick pull with his trainer, (father) Elder Dredge. Who won? I better not say, we don't want to hurt someone's pride!
Lunch was in Ourense where Elder Renshaw made stuffed peppers. Wow, they were great. Quite a sight.
Elder Oscanoa is impressed! But then he realized that Elder Dredge got the biggest one. Elder Dredge is proud of himself.
Elder Renshaw doesn't want us messing with his food! It was deliciosa!
In Vigo Elder Nelson was excited about getting banana nut bread! But he knows that they have a surprise for me.
Peach pie and cookies were the food from Vigo. Hna Huntsman, what are you doing? Hna Fitches doesn't know anything about it.
Pontevedra made a cake full of candles. Elders Frank and Aston, you shouldn't have. It was great. These Elders are great cooks. They made me work to blow out all the candles. I didn't do a very good job.
They also made me a card. Such goooood Elders!
The next morning was on to Santiago where I had a long awaited order for Elder Moya. He has vision problems and wanted the new Spanish Bible in the Large print. It finally came and we were both very excited.
Elder Nye and Moya are striking a pose. They are doing great in Santiago.
We walk into the A Coruna chapel and to our surprise, balloons and two pies. Thet were so good. If you really want to know my age, you can count the candles. I think they had enough for this old lady! It was hard and took me a few times.
The Hermanas made the pies. Elder Sanchez is excited to get a taste. Hna Sieverts, Calderon and Moraza did a great surprise on the 3rd day of birthday celebrations.
Aviles was all decked out with balloons and signs. They made a brownie cake to eat.
I guess they thought I needed help to blow out these candles. Elders Southwick and Jackson, where were you when I needed you in A Coruna?
The 4th day we were in Gijon. The Ayudantes told the Gijon Elders and Traveling Trainers that I had had enough treats. Boy, my ayudantes don't know that there are never too many treats! But I will forgive them and really, so will my waistline after this interview swing.
We had a few interviews left the next week. And what wouldn't be more appropriate than to leave you with a picture of Elders Webb and Zamora in San Sebastian. Elder Webb is always coming up with crazy ideas. As we entered the piso we blasted off into space. They are wearing the helmets. He has a light shining on his face. Believe me, you had to be there to appreciate the creativity. I don't know how Elder Webb gets everyone to carry out his ideas, but we love him. One thing about Elder Webb is that he knows when to be serious so when he is funny, we can always enjoy it. Thanks to all our wonderful missionaries for making my 1st Birthday in the mission field a real treat. Days and days of treats! I received so many sweet phone calls and notes. Almost everyone remembered. I won't mention those who forgot, I still love them too. My family was great and we heard from all of them and the Grandkids. Another year has come and gone, I look forward to another great year. Life is super! Feliz Cumpleanos a mi!

Movie Announcement

Hola to everyone. We just wanted to let everyone know who might be in Spain to watch on Thursday, April 1st at 11:30 p.m. on the E.C.V channel, the program that will have the interviews of our missionaries and of members here in Bilbao. We hope it will be a great program. Just thought a picture of Basque country with Presidente and his two ayudantes, Elder Woods and Elder Dredge would go well with the announcement. Adios!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baptisms are Incredible!

We are having lots of baptisms in the mission and I want to feature a picture of all of them. I plan to put a lot of pictures later on, but this past weekend we were able to attend two very choice ones. We were doing interviews and were in Gijon on Friday night. The father in this picture, Juan Ignacio, is the one who was baptized. His wife is a member but was inactive. She was invited to the Branch Christmas party and even though she didn't know it was the "Mormon" church, she came with her family. When she walked in she realized it was the L.D.S. church. The missionaries at the time, Elder Moore and Araya, approached them and they agreed to have the missionaries over. Juan was not really a believer in anything, but when the missionaries gave him The Book of Mormon, he loved it. This was a very sweet and happy baptism. Elder Rowley on the left is the one who completed teaching him and baptized him and Elder Moore, on the right, was in Gijon with Elder Corbridge as our traveling trainers.
Saturday after completing our interviews we kept on driving down to Burgos. This dear sweet sister pictured is from Ecuador. Slyvia had worked in the mission president's home in Ecuador but never joined the church. She comes to Spain and finds the gospel. When she was ready to be baptized she asked if the Mission President could baptize her because she knew the Mission President in Ecuador was such a wonderful man, she wanted the Mission President in Spain to baptize her. Presidente said yes! He is going over the last minute instructions.
There were two baptisms this evening in Burgos. From l. to r. Elder Esteves-Garcia, Sylvia, Presidente Clegg, Cecillia and Elder Sayaz. When Cecilla found out Presidente was coming to baptize Sylvia she wanted the Presidente to baptize her too. What a privilege for El Presidente.
This is Cecillia with her beautiful family. Her 3 week old baby and her husband. She is from Venezuela and her husband is a Spaniard. He is having the lessons with the missionaries and we are sure with time he will accept the invitation to be baptized. In Cecillia's testimony she told us that her husband is a little hard headed, but she hoped he would come around. He is very respectful and helpful as a husband and we are sure he will.
Slyvia is from Ecuador and her sister came, but we didn't get a picture of her. The cute Ecuadorian couple are members of the Burgos Branch and are like family to Sylvia. We were all so excited for the baptisms to start. It was amazing. Both women were very emotional and the spirit was strong and sweet. It was a special night for both of these dear sisters and for Presidente y Hna Clegg, the feelings felt that night will always be cherished. This is the work of the Lord. We love it. In Leon, on this same night, they baptized an entire family of 5. Actually only 4 because one of the children are under the age of 8. We had 20 baptisms this month and many more dates are set for April. The faith of the missionaries and the members and the investigators is wonderful in Northern Spain.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Finally New Missionaries

It has been 4 months without getting any new missionaries and we were so excited to finally have some arrive. Oh, and they were worth the wait! Elder Bajana who is Ecuadorian from Madrid, Hna Marin who is from Castellon, Spain, and Hna Gonzales who is Bolivian from Madrid. What a special group!
We felt an instant bond with them. They were so excited and eager to get going. The excitement that new missionaries bring to the mission is great and it helps all of us re-commit to be better.
They are earnestly writing a letter to themselves to look at in 1 year.
After the orientation and lunch, it is off to the vista of Bilbao. It was a beautiful spring day in Bilbao, a lot of sun and a lot of wind!
It was so windy on the Bilbao side we also took a picture on the side where you can see Las Arenas in the background. What a sweet, special group.
We had to catch a picture of the 3 Nepites?!? Yes, 3 Aydantes, but only for another hour. Elder Ashby is going to be leaving with Elder Bajana to go to Pamplona. Elder Bajana doesn't know yet, so don't tell him. Elder Dredge and Elder Woods are ready for the task ahead, but we will miss Elder Ashby.
Elder Hansen and Elder Holmes go over the information that they need to know about money and traveling and mission stuff.
The moment they are all waiting for. Who will be your companion and where are you going?
Hna Marin was so cute. She was in the CCM with Hna Hildalgo from Gijon and all Hna Hildalgo could talk about was Gijon. She told Hna Marin, you have to pray to go to Gijon. Guess where she is going? Yep, Gijon! Then, Hna Marin knew a few of the missionaries in the mission and she loves Hna Abellan. Who is her trainer? Hna Abellan and Hna Roerig. They will be a trio for a while. Anyway, you can tell that Hna Marin was very happy.
Dear sweet Hna Gonzales was ecstatic about going to Santander and being trained by Hna Johns. She looks like she approves too.
The Ayudantes are just about to tell Elder Bajana that he is going to Pamplona with Elder Ashby but first things first. Elder Ashby has been working the Presidente for a long time and finally convinced him to swap a tie. I don't know, but I am glad that I like the one Presidente received or I would have put a stop to that!
Elder Bajana was stunned and excited to be going to Pamplona with Elder Ashby. Everything he guessed was wrong, it was kind of fun. He looks like a great Elder and Elder Ashby was so excited to go back in the field and work with him. All in all, the day was fun and the mission will be enriched by these new missionaries. It is such an honor to have them here and we are excited to be able to work with them, if only for a short time!

Movie Debut!

What do you do with two charming, good-looking, hard working Spaniard missionaries who are working in Bilbao?
Put them on the T.V. Yes, that is right. The Basque television station in Bilbao wanted to air a program during La Semana Santa, or Holy Week before Easter. They wanted to feature 5 other religions that weren't catholic. They are doing it on the Evangelicals, Scientology, the Orthodox, (We are not sure if that means Jew or Greek.) the Muslims and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! They wanted to follow two missionaries as they were contacting people. They also wanted to interview them and ask them all about what they do. We were so excited and wasn't it wonderful that Elder Roldan and Elder Cepeda were serving in Bilbao. They were hoping we had native Spanish missionaries and we were delighted to have these two do it. They also interviewed Pres. De Molino of the Stake Presidency to talk about the church in Spain and Bro. Inyake (oh so sorry if I misspelled your name) of the Bilbao Ward to talk about family history.
We took off from the Bilbao capilla and Presidente and I went along to watch!
They were incredible. The girl on the left was constantly asking questions and the two Elders answered with ease and fluidity. They wanted them to be walking slowly as they interviewed them.
They answered without hesitation and represented all of our missionaries in a wonderful way.
They walked like this for over 20-25 minutes, constantly asking questions and the Elders just calmly answered back. We know they were both nervous, but we knew they would do great!
They stopped to show them the scriptures as they talked about how we use the Bible and The Book of Mormon. The best part was when the woman asked them why there were here and Elder Cepeda told them they were here to invite everyone to come unto Christ and to be baptized by the proper authority. It was a very powerful moment and the Presidente and I were on the sidelines going "Yes, yes, yes." We felt like the proud parents we are!
It was early after medio-dia so there weren't too many people out, but the Elders walked up to this family and started talking to them. They did a wonderful job. The people also stayed calm and answered them. Afterwards the camera crew had to ask permission if they could use the footage on their show. They said yes. It was fun.
Presidente's smile says it all. This was a wonderful opportunity for thousands of people to get to know who we are. It will be broadcast two times during the week. I think the first time is 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 1st. If that isn't correct, I will change it on this post. They promised to send us a copy and it will definitely be the highlight of our next Zone Conference. These two Elders did an incredible job as we knew they would. Then, just like all missionaries do, they left and went out to work for the rest of the day. Bravo Elders! It is on April 1st, 11:30 p.m. on E.C.V., watch it!!!