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.

Friday, August 27, 2010

August Zone Conferences Continued: the northern circuit

Having completed zone conference in Barcelona, Hospitalet, Valencia and Palma, the following week we traveled up north for the Vitoria Zone Conference. Since this part of the mission is still new to us, we decided to spend an extra day and see some the areas we had not yet visited, so we drove up on Monday with the Ayudantes (we are grateful to Elder Raban who is able to help with the driving - hopefully Elder Southwick's international driving permit will arrive shortly!).

Lunch at a rest stop somewhere in Aragón

We left a little after noon (we had staff meeting in the morning) and it is about an 8 hour drive to Vitoria. by the time we checked in at the hotel and parked the car, the day was pretty much over. Vitoria is a beautiful city, filled with parks and wide boulevards, and is immaculately clean.

Looking from the hotel room across one of the many parks of Vitoria - the cathedral in the background

 The Vitoria Zone posing outside the chapel

Elders Raban and Southwick showing off their Ayundate skills - taking a foto with everyone's cameras! 

The Vitoria Sisters: Hnas. Camarero and Ruz (Bilbao), Hna. Hinckley, Hnas. Church and Culverwell (Pamplona)

After the zone conference in Vitoria we drove up to Bilbao where the Ayudantes spent a day working with the zone leaders. We drove over to Santander and visited Elders Hardcastle and Johnson, had a wonderful lunch with them, then returned to Bilbao for the night.

Delivering a new case of Books of Mormon to Elders Harcastle and Johnson in Santander

I got a brief morning run in while in Bilbao - it is a beautiful city and seeing the famous Guggenheim Museum in the flesh (or in the titanium) was amazing!

Taken with my cell phone during my morning run in Bilbao!

We took the long way home on Thursday. Being so close to Guernica, we felt like we needed to see this famous site (and teach the Ayudantes a little bit about Spanish history and culture), we we took a little detour up into the coastal mountains.

Guernica in 1937 and in 2010 (with the Ayudantes)

Picasso's famous painting of Guernica, now housed at the Reina Sofia in Madrid

From Guernica we drove to San Sebastian to visit Elders Cepeda and Pynes. Unfortunately, we could find no parking in the neighborhood, so made a quick visit while we left the car double-parked and neglected to take a camera with us... San Sebastian is considered by some to be the most beautiful city in Europe. It certainly is built around one of the most scenic bays.

San Sebastian

From San Sebastian we headed down to Pamplona where we visited with Hnas. Church and Culverwell. This is a great city with a great ward and two great Hermanas!

 Weekly planning with Hnas. Church and Culverwell in Pamplona

It was a long drive home - 12 hours - but we were able to see several of our missionaries and the cities and areas where they work. Northern Spain is beautiful! Green mountains running along the Atlantic coast, beatiful cities, and wonderful members and missionaries! The zone conference was wonderful, the missionaries are experiencing miracles, people are getting baptized! We are so glad to have this as part of the Spain Barcelona Mission!

August Zone Conferences Begin

Europe may go on vacation in August, but our missionaries serve full-time! We have had a wonderful round of zone conferences over the past two weeks as we have traveled through the entire mission.

The agenda focused on "teaching people, not lessons," part of the new MTC curriculum to help missionaries teach investigators more effectively.

Because we had 4 missionaries returning home the morning after the Barcelona/Hospitalet conference, we did not stay for fotos (apologies to the family and friends hoping to see their missionary!) - final interviews began as soon as zone conference ended!

From Barcelona we traveled (by train) to Valencia for zone conference. The Valencia Zone Leaders (Elder Lara and Elder Cairns) went all out, decorating the lunch tables in Spanish yellow and livening up the room with red and yellow balloons! It made the Dominos pizza taste even better!

The Valencia Zone!

Valencia Zone Conference lunch...

From Valencia we flew to Palma, where Elder and Sister Thompson picked us up and drove us to the chapel (for an interview for a recommend for a patriarchal blessing), then to the hotel. We made a quick visit Corte Ingles to pick up some salad fixings for lunch, then back to the hotel to get a good night's rest before conference.

The Baleares Zone in front of the Palma chapel 

"That's a Corsa, not a Porche" - loading up the Thompson's mission car in the hotel garage

We flew back to Barcelona after the zone conference, unpacked, caught up on a few emails, and collapsed into our own bed!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Farewell to a Fabulous Four

Elders Hancock, Bostrom and Hall, and Hna. Walters each gave an extra three weeks before going home on August 25th to start classes this month. They helped us cover some gaps and ease some transitions as we deal with the uncertainties of visas and the unpredicatable arrival of new missionaries. They were dedicated to the last day, including participating in zone conference and their last day in the mission!

They are now back in school where they can spread the word about the Spain Barcelona Mission!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Work Begins - A Slice of History

The first missionaries to preach in Barcelona in modern times arrived at the Barcelona train station at 7:30 a.m. on October 11, 1969, just four months after the first missionaries arrived in Madrid. They were a handsome group:

Elders Glenn Richards, Robert Johnson, Jorge Michalek, Robert Bollard, Michael Duffin, Michael Spackman, David Hall, Gary Glosser at the RENFE station in Barcelona upon arrival

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Two More Make it Through the Visa Game

Good news! Elders Corbitt and Johnson received visas and joined us last week to help in the work! They arrived on Tuesday at the train station, we visited Montjuic for a view of the city, followed by lunch and orientation at the mission home with their new companions.

Arriving at Estació Sants

Moving the bags to the car 

Arriving at the Castell at Montjuic 

With the city in the background...

Following orientation, they were off in the afternoon for their area of labor: Elder Corbitt with Elder Hansen in Alcoy, and Elder Johnson with Elder Hardcastle in Santander - opposite ends of the mission!

We still have 9 missionaries waiting for visas, so we keep praying that they will arrive soon!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Provo Missionary Training Center entranceImage via Wikipedia
At the beginning of July a new missionary training schedule and curriculum was announced worldwide. We began implementation of the new training curriculum with a three day training session this week for all zone and district leaders and trainers. In all, we had 31 missionaries (out of 85 total) participating in the training. Some of them had to travel in the day before and travel home the day after, so they were out of their area for 5 days. This meant that in some cases we had two brand new missionaries with a week in the mission field working together for five days. Great experience!

We conducted training at the chapel closest to the mission home (Barcelona Barrio 2) each day from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. In the evening the Elders went out and worked and applied what they were learning. It was a very intense training experience. The training was divided into eight different lessons (of about 2 hours ) each focusing on a specific topic, but all centered around how to teach more effectively. It was a physically tiring but spiritually energizing week!

We met in the Relief Society room and brought some rugs over from the mission home to help dampen the noise (the tile floors create an echo in the rooms).

Gathering after a short break

On Tuesday we gave everyone 5 euros and sent them out as companionships to buy lunch and make a contact. They came back having eaten and shared the gospel! On Wednesday we had pizza delivered (always a popular meal). And on Wednesday the amazing Hna. Belnap prepared Cafe Rio style burritos!
Hna. Belnap in the church kitchen

Mission Leaders!

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Flag of the Co-principality of AndorraImage via Wikipedia
We have not had missionaries serving in Andorra for about 1 1-2 years, but we have a small branch which includes the Principality of Andorra (with a small chapel in Le Seu, just south of the border in Spain).  Elders Bostrom and Hancock are scheduled to return home on August 18, mid-transfer, and it provided an opportunity to have a companionship spend some time in the Andorra Branch to train the members in missionary work and see if they could find, teach and baptize.

So they day after transfers we drove Elders Bostrom and Hancock north to Andorra! Elder Raban and Elder Parry came along to help with the driving (and get some driving experience!).

Elders Parry, Hancock, Raban and Bostrom with Pte. Hinckley in Andorra

Because taxes are lower in Andorra, many Spaniards go there to shop. The Elders were particularly excited to find bargain prices and large quantities of Nutella!

President Antezana of the Andorra Branch met us in Le Seu - we left the Elders at his home for the afternoon until they could meet up with a member in Andorra where they will be staying.

Ready to go to work!

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