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.
Monday, September 28, 2009
The Hadleys Arrive!
A big welcome to Elder and Hermana Hadley who arrived last week! As a CES missionary couple, they will be working with the Institute in Barcelona.
Because of some last minute changes in the Hadley's itinerary, the Hinckleys were in the South doing interviews when the Hadleys arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday. By the time we arrived home on Friday night they had already had a training meeting with all of the Institute teachers and were hosting the Institute opening social. Knowing that the social would still be going strong at 11:00 p.m. on Friday when we arrived back in Barcelona, we jumped in the car as soon as we arrived home from the train station and drove over to the Insitute. There was, of course, no available parking on the street, but there is a 24-hour garage just a block away, so we pulled into the garage only to learn that the attendant was closing the garage in 15 minutes. They may be open for 24-hours, but apparently not in a row, so we were unable to attend the social.
So Saturday we took the Hadleys down to the Ramblas for some paella and sightseeing (and a lesson in how to use the metro system). We introduced them to the Boqueria, Europe's largest and most famous outdoor food market - the closest thing you'll find in the Western world to the Qing Ping market in Guangzhou. China.
Afterwards we drove up to the top of Tibidabo where they could get a view of the entire area and the Mediterranean Sea. It was a beautiful evening drive with spectacular views.
During the past week we interviewed 45 missionaries in our three southern zones, including missionaries in Valencia, Alicante and Murcia. We traveled 1200 kilometers by train over three days to conduct the interviews. As always, it was a great experience to visit individually with the missionaries. We heard of many miracles, and were once again impressed with the tremendous dedication, obedience, love and maturity of these great missionaries.
We are encouraging our missionaries to begin contacting people within four minutes every time they leave their apartment. They are beginning to develop this habit and are being blessed as they do so.
We continue to see many miracles, large and small. On Sunday Hermana Hinckley and I decided to visit the Hospitalet 2nd Ward, but did not know whether it met in the morning or the afternoon. Since we had a fireside out of town in the afternoon, we went over to the building for the morning block which, as it turned out, was the Hospitalet 1st Ward. It also turned out that our presence there was an answer to prayer - the Elders were working closely with the Bishop to increase missionary work in the ward, and the Bishop had asked the Elders last week if they could invite the mission president to come to Sacrament meeting to help launch this new effort. The Elders, knowing how crowded our schedule is, had been reticent to invite us to come, but come we did! The bishop also expressed thanks for sending a pair of sister missionaries to work in his ward. Through a series of events, we had brought a pair of sisters from the south up to Barcelona and eventually assigned them to work in Hospitalet 1 about two weeks ago. The bishop indicated that he had been praying for a pair of sisters to help in his ward, but had not expressed that desire to me or anyone else. But the Lord knew!
Sunday evening we took the train down to Tarragona, about one hour south of Barcelona, to speak at a fireside in the Tarragona Ward. Nearly 200 members and investigators attended. This is a great ward with great leaders and great members. Hermana Hinckley gave most of her talk in Spanish (the Bishop's wife translated one story for her) - ¡va aprendiendo! It was a wonderful evening meeting with members and investigators. We took the 9:30 train home and were back at our house by 11:00 p.m. - just in time for our 11:30 p.m. bedtime!
This week we will interview 54 missionaries in the north - three days of interviews but, mercifully, no travel. We look forward to meeting individually with these remarkable young men and women.