The lighthouse at Formentor, Mallorca

The background shows sidewalk tiles - "rajoles" - that pave the sidewalks throughout Barcelona. They were designed by architect Puig i Cadafalch for the entryway of a home. Since 1915, they have been used by the city to pave sidewalks, and have become emblematic of the city. One of the city's most famous chocolatiers, Enric Rovira, produces chocolate bars in the shape and design of these tiles.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

El Gran Plan de Dios

Sergio Lucero, our young friend who ran up to two missionaries at a bus stop in Valencia a few weeks ago and asked to be baptized, shared this photo on Facebook:

He titles it, "Dibujo del Elder Lara, para explicarme el Gran Plan de Dios" - "Drawing by Elder Lara, to explain to me the Great Plan of God."

We have great missionaries, great investigators, and great members!

A Visit to Tarragona

On our way back home from Valencia we stopped briefly in Tarragona to 1) take the missionaries to lunch, 2) see the missionaries' new piso (apartment), and 3) visit the bus station where a photograph of two missionaries is on display.

Tarragona was the Roman capital of Iberia. If Paul did in fact visit Spain (see Romans 15:24-28) he would have sailed into the port of Tarragona. Local legend is that he arrived in 64 A.D.

We have a great ward in Tarragona, part of the Hospitalet Stake, and two great missionaries serve here: Elders Close and Mattice. On Friday when we visited, Elders Monks and Knudson were in town from Villafranca (Elder Monks was conducting a baptismal interview).

Elders Close, Mattice, Knudsen and Monks overlooking the port of Tarragona
Preach My Gospel says "Talk with everyone" - but some people are more receptive than others!

Hna. Hinckley in bus station next to the photograph of Elders Keller and Nasaeth

Friday, November 19, 2010

A week in Valencia...

Monday we packed up the Toyota and headed down the Autopista del Mar Mediterraneo for Valencia to conduct our final "Mini-MTC", this time with the Valencia Zone. As always, it was a beautiful drive - the blue waters of the Mediterranean on the left, orange groves laden with ripe fruit on the right! But even more beautiful is the Valencia Zone - 16 of the finest missionaries in the world! We spent a wonderful three days with them.

Monday afternoon we arrived in Catarroja to enjoy a paella lunch prepared by ward members. We were joined by the missionaries from Valencia and Catarroja.

The Paelleras were set up in the basement garage of the chapel, where ward members were busily preparing two large paellas!

Preparing the feast

Just before adding the rice...

About to begin!

The real party, of course, began the next day in the Valencia chapel as we started three days of intense learning. The curriculum for the Valencia Zone included:
  1. The Doctrine of Christ - The Missionary Purpose
  2. Receiving Revelation through the Book of Mormon
  3. Receiving Revelation through Church Attendance
  4. Teach People, Not Lessons
  5. How to Begin Teaching
These represent 5 of the 8 lessons which comprise "Fundamentals of Preach My Gospel: Teaching More Effectively," a condensed version of the curriculum with will be taught in the MTCs worldwide beginning in May 2011.

Everyone is on break!


The Amazing Valencia Zone

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mini CCM in Palma

We held the 4th of five "mini-CCM" training sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Having held a mini-CCM in Vitoria, Barcelona, and Hospitalet, this week it was time for the Baleares Zone in Palma.

Elders Bennington, Cannell, Jacinto, Sommerfeldt, Rhead, Bajana
Elder Thompson, Hna. Thompson, Elders Bowers and Greep

Celebrating Elder Thompson's birthday!

Packing up after the meeting

Elder and Hna. Thompson put together a sandwich bar for lunch!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mission Tour

Mission tours are life changing events for missionaries, and our recent tour was no exception. Elder Jose A. Teixeira of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy came with Sister Teixeira and met will every missionary in three special zone conferences.

The tour began in Bilbao, where the Vitoria Zone gathered in the Bilbao chapel. The Hinckleys and the Teixeiras arrived on Tuesday night, and we had a wonderful conference on Wednesday.

Sisters from the Bilbao Ward - who provided us with a wonderful lunch - pose with the Teixeiras and Hinckleys

Following the conference in Bilbao, we flew to Barcelona, arriving at the mission home late Wednesday night. We met with the combined Barcelona, Hospitalet, and Baleares Zones on Thursday in the Hospitalet Stake Center. It was a great conference with 67 missionaries in attendance!
Sister Belnap was aided by Carolina in preparing lunch for the three combined zones in Barcelona. Elder Saldaña (in the back) and Elder Parry joined them in the kitchen.

Elders Plaskett, Greep, Knudson, Hughes, Bowers, and Ryser enjoy lunch in the Hospitalet Stake Center

Sister Teixeira joins Hnas. Snow and Henderson for a photo while enjoying dessert

At the conclusion of the conference in Barcelona, we got in the car and drove south to Valencia, arriving around 8:30 p.m. We checked in at the hotel and had time for a short stroll around town and a quick supper. Friday morning we met with the Valencia Zone for the last meeting of the mission tour. It as another great conference filled with wonderful instruction from the Teixeiras.

Members in Valencia provided us with a special treat!

A special thanks to Elder and Sister Teixeira for their inspired instruction and counsel, and the great spirit which they brought to the mission!

Bilbao missionaries make the news

Wednesday morning as we were about to begin zone conference in Bilbao, a member of the ward brought to us a copy of last Sunday's newspaper with a major article featuring our four missionaries in Bilbao:

In the print edition, this photo covered a half-page! Elder Ramirez and Elder Awerkamp are standing at the entry to the chapel; Hna. Ruz and Hna. Bennion are talking to a investigator.

It is a great article, very positive, with wonderful quotes from the missionaries. We are very proud of these great missionaries!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mission Tour

This week we are excited to have a mission tour by Elder José A. Teixeira of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy and 2nd counselor in the Europe Area Presidency. We begin on Wednesday in Bilbao, then Thursday in Barcelona, and Friday in Valencia.
We look forward to a great spiritual feast!