After our final Zone Conference,( which I know I haven't posted it yet but that will come next week) we had a visit from the Pelton Family on Friday. Presidente Pelton was President of the Spain Bilbao Mission during the time of the Madrid Temple Dedication in 1999. This is a lovely family whom we enjoyed meeting and spending a few hours with. They were here when their daughters were little and now two are married with their first grand-baby on the way. We spent a few hours at the mission home, then grabbed a quick lunch and came to the office. It was fun to see what was the same and what was different. A wonderful family who also has a love for the Spain Bilbao Mission.
The next day, Saturday was to be our final departing breakfast. Almost all of us are departing so we had to have one. The pitcher in front of you is Elder Holmes "special" sauce for french toast or whatever you want to put it on. It is basically a carmel sauce, and it was enjoyed by all.
The Elders wanted French Toast and Crepes. Well, Elder Hansen thinks he should have them together. That is a lot of sugar and sweet for me, but hey, he's an Elder!
Elder Woods seem's to be saying "I am not so sure about that." Actually, I think he is just getting full.
Elder Plaskett say's "I'm not going anywhere, I just got here. Elder Holmes and Dredge think the same thing, but in a short while, they are returning home.
We left Saturday afternoon to go to Gijon as we were spending our Sunday there. We had a wonderful dinner at the home of Rosa and Carlos along with Marisa and her fiancee Alberto and Moses, a fairly recent convert. It was a wonderful evening. It is getting hard to say good-bye. We cried tears as we left, but know that one day we will be together again. Incidently, the U. S. vs. England game was on their T.V. Yea, USA!
The next day was a wonderful Sunday in Gijon. Hermana Marin is happy to be with many of the children. Actually, two of them are the children of Pres. Martinez, the District Presidency. There was a change in the Branch Presidency, and now Pres. Hildago is the new Branch President. It was a wonderful day to be with the saints in Gijon.
We hugged our wonderful Hermana Abellan and Marin along with Gaby, who HAS a baptismal date on July 3rd. Yea, she has been somewhat of an eternal investigator that did have a baptismal date a year ago, but now it is for real and she is so excited. So are we!
We pushed on to A Coruna to do a fireside. We got to see Hna Moraza one last time. We will see her in the south as she lives in the Malaga Mission, so our good-bye wasn't too sad.
Our dear Hermana Sieverts was sad to see us go. We love her as well as all of our missionaries, but she will be great with the Watkins. We also know we will see her upon our return to Utah as she is a Utah girl.
Same with our dear Elder Strickland, he lives in Utah and we look forward to seeing him there. Actually, we might see him over the next two years as his mother is Spanish and all his family lives in the Southern part of Spain. Who knows, we would love that.
I put this picture on because the reflection makes our two new missionaries look like angels. And they are! We came back from A Coruna to be back on Tuesday to greet these two wonderful young people
The airport is under a large renovation, but we still needed a photo here. We have Hermana Ruz from the Elche Stake and Elder DaSilva from Badajoz, Spain but originally from Angola. His father was a professional basketball player. You should check out Elder DaSilva's hands! They are so excited and the only sad part is that we can't take them to Malaga.
We still love them and took them through their orientation at the Mission Home.
The view of Bilbao is always spectacular. We love it every time we go.
The secretaries were getting them orientated to the details of the mission and of course, time to find out where they will be serving. They will both go with the Barcelona Mission, but where?
Here come the ayudantes with the map.
Elder DaSilva is going to Lorgono and Hermana Ruz is staying in Bilbao. They were both delighted. Elder DaSilva is the most pleasant person with a strong testimony of the gospel and Hermana Ruz is so sweet and eager to go to work.
We drove Elder DaSilva down to Logrono because we were meeting friends for dinner. Here he is with his trainer, Elder Renshaw and Elder Castellon for a week, as Elder Castellon is leaving in a week.
That night we had a wonderful dinner with Pres. Franco and his wife and daughter. He is president of the Vitoria Stake and with Pres. Ruiz de Mendoza and his wife Estrella. He was the District Presidente of Bilbao and now had served as counselor in the mission presidency. We love these people dearly and saying good-bye wasn't easy. We are excited because Sara Ruiz de Mendoza is one of our Hermana's in Malaga. Yea for that!
The next day turned out to be the last day in the mission for Elder Dredge. He is going to the Madrid Mission for one transfer to work with Pres. Watkins and help facilitate the division. We are going to miss him so much. He has done a fantastic job as an assistant and we don't know how we would have made it through without his ever present smile and positive attitude. He reflects the best of what all the missionaries of the Spain Bilbao Mission are like.
We drove to Pamplona where Presidente had a small training with Elder Ashby and Elder Dredge. Elder Ashby is going to be working with Presidente Hinkley of the Spain Barcelona Mission. Elder Ashby, along with his companion Elder Hansen will probably be in Barcelona for a few weeks during the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. It was another tearful day as we seem to be seeing quite a few of our missionaries for the last time. Elder Ashby and Elder Hansen are two wonderful missionaries. Elder Ashby staying on a transfer as is Elder Dredge to help make the change go smoother for our missionaries. We sure love them for all they are going to be doing.
Friday of this busy week brought two fun things to the office. It was Hna Belnap's birthday and so we had to wish her a happy birthday. Hna Belnap is so wonderful and we sure will miss both of them too. They will be moving to Barcelona and aiding the Hinckleys.
Then surprise, we have another new Hermana. Welcome Hermana Culverwell to the Spain Bilbao Mission. She has the distinction of being the last one to come. She is so wonderful and speaks incredible Spanish and has been a missionary for over 7 weeks in the Salt Lake South Mission while she was waiting for her visa.
She is such a young women of faith and she knows how to work, the two most important things any missionary can bring to their mission. She went to Santander where she will be wonderful with Hna Roerig and Johns. We sure wish she was called to Malaga, but we are sure there are wonderful missionaries awaiting us there! This week was very busy, very typical of a seven day stretch in the life of a mission president and his wife. But we love the work and we are so grateful to be here!