Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sorry, more Christmas

I just wanted to record a few more pictures of our only Christmas in Spain.  These are pictures of our nativity on Christmas Eve, and our singing at a nursing home plus a couple of pictures of our delivering things to the homeless.

The three kings.

Hermanas Ramos and Samuelson giving food to the homeless.

Lady in the corner with food and blanket we gave her.

At the nursing home, getting ready to sing.

Singing at the nursing home.

Shepherds visited by the angel.

MTC missionaries singing for the Temple missionaries.

Elder Sullivan fitting in at the nursing home.

Another view of the nursing home.

Clara Benito playing cello with a duet accompaniment.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Transfer Day

For those of you who know the procedures for missionaries in the field, you know that world-wide transfers are done every six weeks.  Hence, for missionaries learning a foreign language (except those learning Russian, but that another story), they are here for six weeks, after which they leave the MTC and travel to the mission, meet their mission president and his wife, receive a few hours of orientation, and then are assigned their new companion, and off they go to their firs area of labor.
On the last Sunday evening prior to their departure we have a "Talent Show" at the end of the day, allowing the missionaries to share with each other any particular talent or interest they may have.  These are always lots of fun and often quite amazing as we find our talents and skills some of the missionaries possess of which we had no idea.
Last night was no exception; in fact it was one of the best and most diverse Talent Shows we have had.  I took lots of pictures and videos which I cannot post, mostly because of how long it takes me to post them, but also because I would not want to put on a public site so much personal information about these wonderful missionaries.  However, below are a few pictures, and I've especially posted a video of President and Sister Sitterud singing their favorite song.  There's a really wonderful story about why this happens to be their favorite song, and for fear of getting some of the details wrong, I'll just say it was the song they sang, a lot, to an older woman Joan took care of while they were dating at BYU.  Sadly, this song was removed from the hymn book when it was revised in 1986 (I think that's the correct date).

Elder Nyland shares his "cheek" trick

Sister Samuelson from Draper shares her love of drawing - Madrid Temple

Amulek District - North Americans going to Barcelona, Malaga or Madrid
You might notice in the forgoing that the ratio of Sisters to Elders is quite unbalanced in the group.  We, for the first time in any really obvious way, had more Sisters than Elders, by more than 2-1.  I speculate that THAT may have been part of the reason why this was such a well-behaved and obedient group.

Sister Vasilachi from Romania, living in Italy, going to Rome mission.  Recited I Nephi 3:7 in 6 languages. An amazing young woman, convert to the Church.
At each Talent Show, President and Sister Sitterud sing their favorite song, which is always a highlight.  The hymn has 3 verses, but I only recorded one.  We will miss these wonderful leaders.  Many of you may know that President Sitterud was my old boss at Beneficial Financial for several years.  I've never met a kinder, more gentle, and loving person, and Sister Sitterud is just like him.
(PS: I'll add the video later today-technical difficulties)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Christmas Eve in the MTC

OK, so I lied; I'm not really through posting about last year.  But I just had to add a few memories of our one-and-only Christmas in the MTC.  We'll be gone before next Thanksgiving, and there were so many wonderful memories of the Holiday Season with the MTC missionaries.  First, we had a marvelous Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.  Our non-North Americans loved it as well; after all, how can you NOT enjoy a celebration that centers around gratitude for earthly blessings and a GREAT meal?!
Christmast Eve we invited the Temple Missionaries to join us for a "Christmas Eve Family Home Evening" including the re-enactment from Luke 2 & Matthew's account of the wise men. I was busy MC-ing and didn't get any pictures of that.
But then, Christmas morning, Santa arrived:
President Sitterud makes a great Santa, but it was almost impossible to find a big enough suit

Everyone got a special visit, which I've included for those who would like to see each missionary.  I know it's a lot of pictures of the same thing, but not for the mom or dad whose missionary is pictured below. Enjoy......
Hermana Andrus

Hermana Johns

Hermana Samuelson

Hermana Ramos

Hermana Miller

Hermana Demayola

Hermana Davis

Hermana Brumble

Hermana Plummer

Elder Anderson

Elder Ryland

Elder Dean

Elder Marshall

Elder Friese from Germany who is serving in Colorado, Spanish speaking

Santa had a stocking for our teachers as well. Olga from Latvia

Maestra Zane from Latvia

Xavier Diaz, from Portugal

Brother Marchan from Barcelona

The Giorginos, from Rome, Italy

And of course, Santa did not forget the Sullivans

Later that day, all the missionaries took blankets and food sacks and went to downtown Madrid, the area called Sol to give to the poor and homeless.  It was a very special opportunity and a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas Part III

It's now Jan. 1, the new year (2014?  Really?) has already begun, but I'm still back-posting.  Sorry.  I'll never get everything posted, so this is my last one.  Then I'll move on and stride into this new year.  Actually I'm posting this under some protest.  Vivienne insists that I post it in the hopes that someone will play it for my mom (it's great to have a fan, no matter how imperfect something is-mom's are great).  It was recorded off a little hand-held digital camera, and it DID actually sound a lot better live.  What you can't hear because the little camera didn't pick it up, was a nice solid organ accompaniment in addition to the piano, which substantially enhanced the performance.  So, that's my excuse.