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.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Night in Hospitalet

Late last summer, two sister missionaries, Hna. Bennion and Hna. Johns, were visiting Gaudi's famous Parc Guell on a preparation day and met a 50-year old Peruvian woman who was selling ice cream in the park. She was a well-educated woman who was a relatively recent immigrant to Spain. When her children were grown (one son is an electrical engineer, a daughter is married to an aeronautical engineer in London, and her youngest son is finishing his degree in architecture), she left her Communist husband and, at the invitation of her uncle, a retired orthodontist in Belgium, moved to Belgium to begin a new life. Her uncle owned a vacation home in Barcelona, and she eventually moved here, where she met the missionaries in Parc Guell.

Because of work and other obligations, she was never able to attend Church or meet more than a few times with the missionaries, but she knew there was something special about them. Some months later she was on the metro in Barcelona and saw two young woman with an older couple, and thought one of the women looked like Hna. Bennion. She tapped her on the shoulder, and to her delight is was Hna. Bennion. She was with Hna. Culverwell and Hna. Culverwell's parents two days before they all returned home. They invited her to Church the next day and she came. Tonight she we attended her baptism in the Hospitalet Stake Center.

Hna. Marlith and Hna. Hinckley
On Christmas eve, Maria was walking to the local parrish church with her daughter, but found the church closed. She had not felt good about where she was spiritually in her life, and recalls praying in her heart, "Heavenly Father, I know this is not the right path, I don't know what is, please lead me to it." Although her mother was a less-active member, Maria had never had any interest in the Church. On her way back home, she heard some missionaries singing Christmas carols. She stopped to listen and Elder Egan began to talk with her. She was impressed with the spirit she felt as she talked with him. She gave him her name and address and took some pamphlets home with her, and immediately felt like this was an answer to her prayer.

Two days later two elders contacted Maria's mother and she told them she wanted to get in touch with the bishop and receive a blessing. The elders gave her information to Hna. Kline in Hospitalet who called her and invited her to Church. Not only did she come, but her daughter Maria, to her surprise, said she would come with her. So grandmother, daughter and grandchild attended Church the following Sunday together. Tonight Maria and her daughter were baptized.

Hna. Marlith, Hna. Maria and her daughter Maria Rosa
 We love Saturdays!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Today is a historic day in the mission - for the first time ever missionaries are being assigned to the island of Ibiza! Elders Allphin and Roco fly out tonight to officially begin missionary work there.

We currently have an official group organized on Ibiza, part of the Poniente Branch in Palma de Mallorca. We have had a small number of members on island for some time. Several months ago Pte. Balcazar of the Poniente Branch flew  to Ibiza to meet with the members, and began to discuss with me and the district president the need to at least organize a group and call a group leader. Hna. Hinckley and I visited the island a few months ago and met with the members. Following that trip we established a formal group and called a group leader. We have spent a few months looking for a missionary apartment there which could be used by members as well as missionaries and we put the pieces in place to build a branch. We were able to sign a contract on an apartment this week and Elder Allphin and Elder Roco are at the airport as I write this.

Elders Roco and Allphin prior to leaving for Ibiza
We have about 12 active members on the island in three families. Most of the members are part of a large family from Paraguay, but we have one other mother with two daughters and an elderly sister who was baptized about two years ago and recently endowed. One of the Paraguayan sisters is married to a man from Ibiza who was also baptized about two years ago and they were endowed and sealed just a few months ago. We believe there are other members on the island, and the members have at least one additional family they have been preparing for baptism. We are excited about the potential to create a new branch from this little group of the Poniente Branch!

File:ForbysIbizaTown 02.jpg

The island has a population of about 150,000, large enough to support Church growth in membership. It is a popular tourist spot in the summer month, so much so that we will probably pull the missionaries out before the season gets into full swing, but during the off-season it is as quiet and tranquil as its sister islands, Mallorca and Menorca.

The members are very excited to finally have some missionaries on the island. They see themselves as pioneers for the Church on the island, and are anxious to built a strong branch of the Church!

"Scheduled" Transfers

Today was actually a "scheduled" transfer day, meaning it is a day in which, barring visa issues, missionaries are scheduled to arrive and go home. Because we are going through a phase of growth in the number of missionaries in the mission after the reductions of two years ago, no one went home this week. In fact, Since November we have only had 3 missionaries return home!

Elder Huaman and Elder Valles arrived this morning from the Madrid MTC, excited and ready to go to work. Elder Roco and Elder Shumway have been working with zone leaders for the past week since they arrived, and today met and began working with their trainers.

Elder Huaman with Elder Olson

Elders Valles and Huaman with Elder Roco and the Hinckleys
at the train station

Partly cloudy over the Mediterrenan - from Montjuic

Elder Roco and Elder Allphin point to Ibiza!

Elder Huaman and Elder Olson will serve in Barcelona 3

Elder Valles will be with Elder Bennington in Albacete de la Mancha!

Elder Shumway and Elder Araujo will serve in Castellon!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Every Week is Transfer Week

10 JAN 2012 Our wonderful Hna. Ruz, who had agreed to extend her mission briefly (meaning she would spend both Christmas and her birthday in the mission rather than at home), returned home after serving a remarkably productive mission. By serving an extra 4-weeks, she was able to continue training her new companion, the legendary Hna. Mancera.

Farewell, Hermana Ruz! We look forward to big things in your future (and an occasional visit visit from you)!

Hnas. Ruz, Hinckley and Mancera
17 JAN 2012 We recieved notice a couple of weeks prior that two missionaries, Hnas. Stephenson and Cruz, had received their visas and would be in Madrid on the 10th and come to us on the 17th! Hna. Stephenson had been serving in Utah SLC and Hna. Cruz on Temple Square. Then on Monday we learned that Elder Shumway would be coming to Barcelona with them on Tuesday! And, the biggest suprise was that Elder Roco would be arriving from Santiago, Chile on Tuesday evening! So instead of receiving just the two missionaries we expected, by the time the day was over we had welcomed 4 new missionaries!

Hna. Stephenson

Elder Shumway

Hna. Cruz

Elder Roco
We don't expect to have any more new arrivals until next Tuesday, 24 JAN 2012!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January is Interview Month...

We see all of the missionaries every month: specialized trianing one month, zone conferences the next month, and interviews in the third month. January is interview month, and we needed to sandwich the interviews between leadership training in the first week and transfers (which happened three times in January: the 10th, 17th, and 24th).

We started in Palma, then did Barcelona and Hospitalet, then drove to Vitoria, stopping in Zaragoza and Lleida on the way back home. We travel to Valenica tomorrow to finish things up!

Palma! (Yes, we ate kebabs)

Vitoria: the Hnas of Pamplona and San Sebastian

Burgos and Logroño

The Vitoria Zone

Hnas. Preston and Walker in Zaragoza

Leadership Training

Following zone leader council on Monday, we held two days of leadership training with all of the district leaders.

Elders Jimenez, Estrada, and Bajaña 
Hnas. Ratcliffe, Soderquist, Rejon and Fernley joined us for the training

Elders Corbitt, Johnson, Rhead, Oldroyd, Jones
and Estrada

Elders Allphin, Lloyd, Keeler, Taylor, Abplanalp, Oldroyd, Mattice,
Hadley and Plaskett

Elders Jones, Rhead, Johnson, Greenburg and Pericle
enjoy the new edition of El Clarín
We experienced a conference as described in Doctrine and Covenants 44:
"And inasmuch as they are faithful, and exercise faith in me, 
I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together."

Concilio: The New Year Begins!

On Monday afternoon, 2 January 2012, we gathered all of the zone leaders together for the first zone leader council (Concilio) of the new year. Following a tradition started last year, we reviewed the history of Columbus, reading of his account of the literal fulfillment of Nephi's prophecy as recorded in 1 Nephi 13:12, then visited the old Royal Palace where he made his official report to Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand in April of 1493.

Zone leaders on the steps of the Medieval palace.
The monarchs were seated at the top of the steps as Columbus  and his entourage
entered the plaza in April of 1493.
We then spent the evening talking about miracles and determining priorities, plans and goals for the coming year. It was a wonderful event, and all left edified!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mosiah 18:35

"They were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken"
Moroni 6:4
Eduardo was excited to be the 450th convert baptism in the mission in 2011!