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.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

An Historic Day

On 20 May 1969, Elder Marion G. Romney met with a small group of Latter-day Saints in Casa de Campo park outside of Madrid and dedicated Spain for the preaching of the gospel.

20 May 2012
Jose Maria Oliveira, B. F. Fotheringham, Smith B. Griffin,
Marion G. Romney, Sterling Nixon, Dean Hunger (?)
That prayer contained a plea "that Zion may grow and increase in this land, that the righteous may be gathered out and that there may be established here in this land, in the not too distant future, wards and stakes for the strengthening of Thy kingdom and the salvation of Thy people upon this land." In the four decades following that dedicatory prayer, 10 stakes were organized in Spain, a temple was dedicated, the country has its own Missionary Training Center.

On 20 May 2012, the 43rd anniversary of the opening of the work, the first branch of church on the island of Ibiza was organized. Ibiza is a small island in the Baleares Islands. The first branch on Mallorca, the largest of the islands, was created in 1980, but Ibiza - with a reputation as a destination resort for young revelers - has never had missionaries or a branch until this year. The first missionaries arrived at the end of January 2012. Now, just 3 1/2 months later, a branch has been organized.

The branch was approved two weeks ago. We traveled to Ibiza on Saturday afternoon in company with Pte. Gomez of the Baleares District. We met Elder and Sister McArthur (2nd counselor in the mission presidency) and Pte. Balcazar (of the Poniente Branch, which includes Ibiza), who flew in from Palma. Pte. Carballo, first counselor in the district presidency, joined us on Sunday from Formentera, a small island near Ibiza, where his currently working.

I had requested interviews with each active priesthood holder on Saturday afternoon. We interviewed 10 wonderful brethren, called a branch president, and retired to our hotel. On Sunday morning we extended calls to additional brethren to serve as counselors in the presidency, a branch clerk, and Elders quorum president. Then in Sacrament meeting we sustained the leaders. Following the meetings we ordained two new elders and set apart five brethren as branch leaders.

We had approximately 50 people in attendance. Having just been organized, this is today a stronger branch with more leadership than some branches in the mission that have been in existence for many years!

Branch members following Sunday meetings

Branch Presidency:
1st C: Luis Velastegui Davila
Pte: Horacio Balda Quiroz
2nd C: Adrian Romero Perez
Sec: Julio Gomez Lopez
Not Pictured: EQP Eduardo Gomez Gonzales
The story of the Ibiza Branch began about 6 years ago when three siblings of the Gomez family of Paraguay moved to the island. Emilse married Adrian Romera, a native of Ibiza, and two of her brothers moved to the Island shortly thereafter. They are part of a very active family from Paraguay, and received permission to partake of the sacrament in their home on Sundays. During the last couple of years, a few more members found them, and a little over a year ago we organized an official group of the Church with a group leader. Their numbers expanded to 12, including children, and there were too many to meet on Sunday mornings in their little apartment, so we received permission to rent an apartment which could be used as a temporary meeting place. We rented the apartment in January and decided to send a pair of missionaries to the island for a few months to see if they could help locate any other members who might be living there.

The results were miraculous. From the day of their arrival, the missionaries were seen by one member after another, none of whom knew there were other members on the island! Several family members of these formerly "less active" members were baptized, and within three months we had a thriving group of over 40 members! Today we have a fully organized branch of the Church. Missionaries have left the island for the summer tourist season, but we expect they will return in the Fall and continue to build the Church on the island of Ibiza. In the meantime, members on Ibiza now have priesthood leaders who hold priesthood keys and can enjoy the blessings which come from belonging to an organized branch of the Church.

The Velastegui family. Luis has been a member for many years and  was found the missionaries in February. His daughter was baptized two months ago and his wife was baptized one month ago. They are preparing to go to the temple in a year.

Pte. Balcazar, the McArthurs, Emilse and Adrian Romero, the Hinckleys

Julio Gomez and Solange and their daughters.
Julio was baptized as a child but  was never active until the end of last January. Their youngest daughter was the first convert baptism on the island - she was baptized several months before the missionaries arrived.

The Hinckleys with Hna. Morelia. She is one of the early miracle stories of Ibiza. She lived in Ibiza for many years, and while visiting her daughter in Valencia two years ago called the missionaries and asked to be baptized that week before returning to Ibiza from her vacation. She has not missed a Sunday ever since. She retired a year ago and moved to Valencia, but flew out to Ibiza to be with us on this special Sunday.


  1. Quite the story. It's nice to hear the history of a branch.

  2. This is outstanding. I'm elated that this blog exists. Such a nice way to keep up on the happenings of my mission (though I'm still bummed that the Elx Stake is now in Malaga).

    Pretty amazing to have a branch on Ibiza. I don't think any of us during the Bowen era thought that missionaries would ever set foot on that island, famous for its hedonism. Since my mission, I've loved seeing the growth of the Illes Balears. To think that ten years ago, they were barely flirting with organizing a second branch in Palma!

  3. I love this!!! Las islas Baleares are my favorite!

  4. Felicidades Ibiza! ¡Qué milagro!

    What an incredible event! I love that historic picture with President Romney. Where do you come up with these?!

  5. Has it been that long since you left Argentina to help start missionary work in Spain? I will never forget the day when I talked to Elder Checci and he said you were all headed there to help open up missionary work in Spain! What a wonderful news to share about how the anniversary was celebrated - quietly with a new branch. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This is fantastic!! I served in Valencia in 95-96 (and then moved south to Elche and Cartagena) and always wished they'd send hermanas to Mallorca. I love seeing this blog and how the work continues to move forward. Thank you!!