Friday, February 7, 2014

New year, new missionaries, new opportunities

We had a great time in the MTC celebrating the New Year in the Spanish customary way of eating 12 grapes, one at each dong of the clock at midnight.  First time we've been awake at midnight on New Year's Eve in a long time!  The tricky thing is that the grapes have seeds in them.  A lot of the missionaries just swallowed the seeds whole, but this lady de-seeded the grapes prior to midnight, yet still could NOT eat them fast enough.  I did put one grape in my mouth with each dong of the clock but when it was over I had chipmunk cheeks to chew on for a while!
About a week after New Years we said goodbye to a wonderful group of missionaries and welcomed in a new batch.  Then two week later we had to say the hardest good bye--the Sitteruds completed their mission and went home:(  We had such a wonderful experience working with them.  I personally learned SO much about the gospel in action and I grew to be a better person, rubbing shoulders with them.  We miss them a lot!  This is what I wrote to our daughter:
It's a little like when you are expecting your second child and wonder if you can ever love her as much as you do your first child.
Her reply: I just want to remind you that I am your second child so you have nothing to worry about.
The Lovells are wonderful people.  We really enjoyed about ten days of working with them until it was decided by the area authority that the numbers of expected missionaries did NOT warrant two counselors and they prefer to use local members.  So the Benitos will remain and we have moved on.  We will continue to do the music hour on Sundays and give hair cuts and shots.  That frees up our Sundays so we can go to the local wards and interact more with the young single adults that we work with.
Also, we started teaching an institute class in Alcala (an hour train ride away) on the history of hymns which we are really enjoying.  Good, smart kids in the class!  So we will continue to be busy and look for opportunities to help the Madrid missionaries more.
Here are some pictures:

Everyone with their twelve grapes ready for midnight!

The missionaries from the MTC going to Madrid

The traditional treat for Kings Day, roscon

Teaching conducting skills

Elder Christopherson

Getting ready to sing on the steps by the temple

President Sitterud taking pix on his ipad and Elder Sullivan waving his arms!

Last Sunday with the Sitteruds

Elder Malan with the hermanas planning in our piso

Elder Helske (from Finland!) fixing our Spanish lesson.

Another beautiful sunset out our window.

President and Sister Lovell, the new MTC president and his wife.

A couple of elders badly in need of haircuts.

Elder Nickerl trying not to cry while being shorn.


  1. Liyara says that the Roncon looks like a donut. But she likes chocolate ones.

    We also like this grape tradition, which we might try... if only we didn't have to wait up so late!!

    Your second child

  2. Yay! Thank you so much for these pictures and for helping our Elder with music and his crazy hair. It grows fast! This post made my night!

  3. Love the apron you are wearing!