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.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Adios, Adeu, Agur, Farewell!

No words can express how we feel as we conclude our service in the Spain Barcelona Mission. It has been an incredible three years, filled with more miracles than we ever imagined. We love every missionary we had the privilege of serving with, and we pray that their future will always be bright as they go forward to build the Kingdom. We love the members and the local leaders - their faith and diligence is an inspiration. We are excited to see the Church continue to grow in this remarkable and beautiful land. And we love the new converts whose faith is growing.

We are excited for Presidente and Sister Pace and for all they will do for the mission and for the missionaries. The are the right people at the right time. We are thrilled that they have been called and received this very special assignment to lead the Spain Barcelona Mission and know we are leaving the mission in great hands - they will accomplish great miracles in the work here and will do things that we could not do. We love the way the Lord works!

In the words of one of the great Spanish hymns:

¡Oh hermanos, adios, pues, adios!
El momento de ir vino ya.
Si guardamos el fe en el gran Dios
Nos veremos aún más allá.

Keep the light of el faro burning bright! Adios, adeu, agur, farewell. ¡Hasta ver!

Clark and Kathleen Hinckley

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Last" Concilio

Today was our last zone leader council! In addition to the regular agenda, we made a special excursion to the Columbus statue and the old royal palace where Columbus gave his report on the his voyage of discovery to Ferdinand and Isabella. This is the PowerPoint we viewed before the visit to the sites.
Christopher Columbus
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Pedastal of the Columbus Statue in Barcelona. The statue was dedicated on the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.

Zone Leaders and Ayudantes at the Columbus statue.

We were fortunate to find Columbus on Las Ramblas. Is that land ahead?!

On the steps of the old Royal Palace where Ferdinand and Isabella received Columbus following his voyage of discovery.

In the palace plaza. Columbus and his entourage - including caged parrots and six Indians - entered this plaza in April 1493.

The Palace. The three windows (each of three panes) mark the royal dining hall where Columbus gave the official report of his voyage to the Kings.

Waiting at the light at the top of the Ramblas. What an impressive group!
Following our "field trip" we returned to the mission home to conclude our concilio with an open discussion among zone leaders. Parents, you can be very proud of your sons. I wish you could sit in on one of these meetings and see for yourself the spiritual maturity of these remarkable young leaders. The future of the mission and the Church is in good hands!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Christopher Columbus and the Fullfillment of Prophecy

On friday night following our last zone conference, at the invitation of the Young Single Adults, we spoke at a fireside at the Single Adult Center in Barcelona on the topic of Columbus. It was wonderful to spend some time with these great young people.

We had a full house, standing room only, mostly because our presentation was followed by a dance! It was great to be able to say goodby to these remarkable young people. We will miss them, but we expect to hear great things from them over the years! The future of the Church in Spain is bright! 

Elder and Sister Thompson, advisors to the Center for Young Adults

Last Zone Conferences

Bilbao. Palma. Lleida. Barcelona. It was a whirlwind week of saying farewell to so many wonderful missionaries and friends. We have felt a little bit like parents sending our children off to college: have we taught them everything they need to know? That became the theme of these conferences: what we want to make sure you know.

They were wonderful conferences. After each conference we shook hands and gave abrazos to each missionary. Some we will see when they return home, but some we may never see again in this life. That's why Facebook is worth $100 billion!

Vitoria Zone in Bilbao
Baleares Zone in Palma

Lleida Zone
Barcelona Zone
Hospitalet Zone in Barcelona
 As a reminder that our mission isn't over yet, we did have a couple of unexpected issues arise during the week, including a residency issue which required a quick transfer in order to keep a missionary in the country, so we haven't had much time to think about going home!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Last Zone Conference: Valencia

On Thursday (14 June 2012) we drove with the Ayudantes to Valencia, where we held zone conference on Friday. This was the last time we will see these missionaries, at least in the mission. So it was a somewhat bittersweet experience. They are wonderful and remarkable young men and women. We had a wonderful day together and left having been edified by the Spirit.

Valencia Zone - 15 June 2012 (click for larger image)
Elder Keeler at the wheel on the Autopista del Mediterraneo

From the car window...

Zaragoza Branch Conferences

We traveled to Zaragoza on the AVE last Saturday (9 June 2012) for a conference of the combined Zaragoza branches. We met with the branch councils on Saturday afternoon for a training session on how to hold effective branch council meetings.

Sunday morning we met with both branches for Sacrament meeting - with a combined attendance of 172, a record high! We had a wonderful session.
Hna. Hinckley in Relief Society

In the foyer

Outside the chapel

With my counselor, Pte. Wolfart, and his wife Ines.

Following the meetings I conducted several interviews for temple recommends, patriarchal blessings, and Melchizedek Priesthood ordination. The Church´s then hosted us for lunch before we took the train back to Barcelona.

This was our last visit to Zaragoza and a wonderful opportunity to meet with and say goodby to this wonderful, faithful, Latter-day Saints!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Post Transfer Transfers...

Regularly scheduled transfers were complete on Wednesday, 30 May 2012. On Saturday, we bid farewell to Elder and Sister Brown who have served as advisors to the Barcelona Center for Young Adults (as well as making mountains of sandwiches for zone conferences, inspecting pisos, etc.!). They will be missed!

Los Brown y los Hinckley
Then on Thursday, 7 June 2012, two of our visa-waiters arrived: Elders Beaton and Kersten. We were excited to welcome them to the Faro today!
Elders Oldroyd and Beaton locate Pamplona

Elders Gonzalez and Kersten point out Terrassa


Studying the transfer board

In between, we drove up to La Seu to preside at the conference of the little Andorra Branch. We were excited to have 36 people at branch conference! We have about 10-12 active members, but we sent missionaries into La Sea last month for the first time in 3 years, and they are seeing great success. Looking forward to two baptisms next week, the first in many years in this branch.
Downtown La Seu

Olympic canoe venue

La Seu is Life!

Downtown La Seu