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, March 31, 2012

Concilio and Leadership Training

Our monthly zone leader council (Concilio) was held on Monday, 26 March 2012. The next day we had a full day of leadership training, which included all the zone and district leaders and all the trainers - 45 missionaries! We had two wonderful days of training and learning and being taught by the Spirit!

Elder Allphin takes notes during leadership training

Hna. and Elder Dalton really are brother and sister, and both are trainers!

Hnas. Reeder, Cruz, Dalton and Fernley are all training

Thank you, Elder Rhead, for taking the rug back to the office!

Even during training meetings there is other work to do:
Pte. Hinckley signs a new lease agreement for Elder Reeves
during a break in the meeting.

During the training meetings, the missionaries finalized new goals for the mission: 60 convert baptisms in April and 600 during the year 2012! There was a great outpouring of the Spirit as we move forward during this second harvest!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another Missionary from Mallorca!

Sunday I made a quick trip to Palma to set apart Elder Sebastian Cortes of the Levante Branch as a full-time missionary! Elder Cortes entered the Madrid MTC on Wednesday and will serve in the Spain Malaga Mission.

Elder Cortes with his family at the chapel in Palma de Mallorca
We have two more missionaries to set apart in Palma during the next two months, and two more who are putting in their papers!

Barcelona and Hospitalet Zone Conferences

On Friday, 23 March 2012, we held conference with the combined Barcelona and Hospitalet zones. It was a big group - including the couples we had 50 missionaries! We met in the beautiful Barcelona stake center, but unlike most zone conferences, we were not able to sit at tables (the group is just too large). But even though we were in the chapel pews, we were able to devote much of the time to doing "prácticas" (role-plays).

Combined Barcelona and Hospitalet Zones
Elder Middleton teaches about the "little things."
A few of the Elders pose on the steps in the stake center

One of the highlights of the conference was a violin trio with Hnas. Reeder and Eyre and Elder Dixon. The quality and spirit of the music was unforgettable!
Traveling troubadors - Hnas. Reeder and Eyre with their violins
 Hnas. Reeder and Eyre are companions and actually take their violins with them some days and offer to play for people in their homes! It is an unusual contacting approach, but it works!

Up North

The day after returning from Ibiza, we took a long drive up north. Elder Middleton (from England) is getting pretty good at driving on the right side of the road, so he did a lot of the driving. We arrived in Vitoria, capital of the Basque Country, in the evening and held zone conference with the great Vitoria zone on Tuesday, 20 March 2012. Four of our newly-arrived missionaries are serving in the zone, so it was great to see them again!

The Vitoria Zone
 From Vitoria we drove down to Lleida on Tuesday afternoon. Fortunately, the rain held off and we had a pleasant drive. Wednesday morning we had conference with the Lleida zone. It was a another great conference with a great group of missionaries! This zone includes Elder and Hermana Church who drove down from Zaragoza with the Zaragoza hermanas. They add great strength to the zone!
The Lleida Zone
Musical number in Lleida

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea" - 2 Nephi 29:7

Last Saturday night we flew to Ibiza, arriving at 10:00 p.m. A member met us at the airport and whisked us away to spa in the city of Ibiza where we were able to attend the baptism of a new convert.
Arlene at her baptism
With no chapel and no font, the baptism (the third in the past few weeks) was held at a local spa. They allow us use of the facility after 10:00 p.m. and charge only 5 euros for each person who enters the water! It was a wonderful service. Arlene encountered the missionaries about three weeks ago and has made great changes in her life to become a Latter-day Saint. She was baptized by Hno. Julio, who was baptized as a child but was never active in the Church until about three weeks ago. He was ordained a Priest last Sunday so he could perform the ordinance on Saturday night.

It would be almost impossible to recount her the string of miracles that have happened since Elder Allphin and Elder Roco flew to Ibiza 8 weeks ago. This was our first visit since their arrival, and they were anxious for us to meet the members and investigators.

Three months ago we had a little group of ten people meeting in a member's apartment on Sunday mornings. For our visit on Sunday, the elders set up 40 chairs in their apartment (it was a tight fit!) in deference to one of the great miracle stories of the beginnings of the Church in Barcelona.

A few of the 40 chairs in the Elders' apartment
The miracle is that a total of 48 people were in Sacrament meeting! Eleven of them were investigators and 33 members on the island (plus the two missionaries and Pte. and Hna. Hinckley). That is bigger attendance than several branches in the country that have been in existence for years.

Sunday after church
Most of those in attendance are members who have been less active for many years, mostly because they had no way of finding any other members on the island (no branch, no chapel). In case after case, they have found the missionaries in miraculous ways and are excited to now have a place to attend church and again partake of the sacrament.

Last week the elders on Ibiza taught 20 lessons with a member present (a record in the mission) and are so busy they are struggling to keep up with everything. We hope to be able to send some reinforcements in the next few weeks! The Lord truly does "remember those who are upon the isles of the sea."

Monday, March 19, 2012


Transfers were a little complicated this month. After saying goodbye to 10 missionaries on the 6th, we had to wait ten days before receiving any of our new missionaries (the ever-present visa delays). But when they came, they came like an army: 16, including two couples, in the morning, and #17, Elder Schindler, late that same night!
Excited to finally be in Barcelona!
At Montjuic
Elder and Hna. Thompson with the Ayudantes
Elder and Hna. McArthur (yes, they really are that young!)
Through a series of extremely complex logistics organized and carried out by our incredible office elders, all 16 of the missionaries who arrived on the morning train made it to Montjuic, back to the mission home for lunch, then down to the Barcelona 2 chapel for orientation and to meet their new companions, then off to work by 5:00 p.m. It took 3 cars, the van, and a couple of taxis to get the job done, but it worked! And just in time to get back to the train station to pick up Elder Schindler, introduce him to his trainer, and get them bedded down (briefly) before taking a 6:45 train to Girona. Meanwhile the Thompsons and McArthurs accompanied the Browns to the JAS (YSA) activity on Friday night.

Saturday we hosted the quarterly Correlation Council Meeting at the mission home with the four stake presidents, district president, and a few guests at the mission home. After serving a late lunch (this is Spain), we had time to pack our bags and take the 8:30 pm flight to Ibiza. A full couple of days!


On 6 March 2012, 10 great missionaries completed their service and returned home. These are always bittersweet days - we are sad to see them go, but excited for what they will accomplish in the next phase of life!

The traditional Canto de los ángeles - Singing for the Angels - was enhanced by the accompaniment of Hna. Galilea Abellán, a returned missionay (England London) in the Hospitalet Stake. A nice touch!

Wednesday morning at the airport
Three missionaries had family members who met them and traveled home with them - Hna. Kline, Hna.Preston, and Elder Hughes. The remaining seven left early Wednesday morning. Look for big things in the years to come from each of them!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Miracles in Bilbao

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." - D&C 123:17

There were no baptisms scheduled for last weekend in the Bilbao Ward, although the missionaries had been doing all that was within there power to help their investigators progress. On Wednesday the Elders met with AJ, a young single adult who was preparing to be baptized later in the month of March. They reviewed with him the baptismal interview questions and, sensing that he was fully prepared and committed, asked if he would like to be baptized on Saturday. He readily agreed.

On Wednesday evening the Elders received a phone call from a recent convert who shares an apartment with another investigator, Tito. The Elders had been teaching Tito for several weeks, but during the last two weeks he had not really been progressing and they had not reported him as a progressing investigator. But after not attending Church last Sunday, he realized how much he was missing, and prayed for guidance. He felt he needed to move forward and get baptized. The Elders agreed to set up a baptismal interview for him on Saturday following the baptism of AJ to see where he was spiritually.

On Saturday Tito attended the baptism, as did another young adult, Carolina. Carolina attended Church regularly and came to the YSA activities, but because her parents opposed her joining the Church the Elders had never taught her. After the baptismal service Carolina came up to the Elders and said through her tears, "I want to be the next one baptized" and asked if she could be baptized Sunday with Tito! They discovered that she had received all of the lessons two years ago, and as she had been attending Church regularly, had a good understanding of the principles and was living all the commandments. She had felt the Spirit so strongly during the service that she felt compelled to be baptized despite the opposition of her parents.

By the end of the day on Sunday, the Bilbao Ward had three wonderful new young single adult members. When missionaries do all things that lie in their power, the Lord's arm is revealed and great miracles occur!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Saturday Night in Badalona - What We Do

Yes, Badalona, the city just up-coast from Barcelona. We drove over to the chapel Saturday evening to attend the baptism of two wonderful new converts. Last December the ward mission leader called the Elders to say that he was inviting a family to the ward Christmas party and wanted the Elders to meet them. The Elders were able to set up an appointment for the following week and began teaching the Alpiri family of five, and they have been reading the Book of Mormon and praying together ever since.

In late January, the father returned to Bolivia where he stayed for six weeks. He continued reading while he was gone and returned home on Thursday. While he did not feel fully prepared for baptism on Saturday, he was happy to have his wife and daughter baptized. He came to service dressed in suit, white shirt and tie, and is preparing to be baptized with his son in a couple of weeks.

Elders Estrada and Corbitt with the Alpiri family
Elder Estrada flies home on Wednesday morning, so this was his last opportunity to baptize someone he had taught. He is working feverishly with Elder Corbitt to finalize a plan for the baptism of Bro. Alpiri.

This was a week full of miracles. In Bilbao, a young single adult who has been investigating for two years but has always declined baptism because of opposition of her parents, attended the baptism a new convert on Saturday afternoon. After the service she came up to Elder Kane, who is being transferred next week, and said, "Elder Kane, I am going to be baptized!" He said, "Great! Please have the missionaries send me some photos of your baptism, as I would love to see them." She responded, "I mean I am getting baptized tomorrow. I have decided to be baptized tomorrow." She was.

In Pamplona, Hna. Moulton, who is also being transferred next week, had a lesson on Thursday with a couple they have been teaching for some time but who were never willing to make the commitment to baptism. When Hna. Moulton mentioned she was leaving of Tuesday, they said, "Well, you can't go until we are baptized. Can we get baptized this Saturday?" They were baptized Saturday afternoon and confirmed today.

It has been a wonderful week, with 21 convert baptisms during the week. The Lord is blessing us with great miracles in this great "second harvest" in Spain. Baptizing worthy converts is what we do. And there are many more preparing for baptism. In Ibiza a week ago a woman with tears in her eyes stopped the missionaries in the street and asked where the Church was. They explained they had only been on the island for a couple of weeks and asked if she was a member. She responded, "No, but I attended Church for 6 years in Paraguay but my mother would never let me get baptized." She then pulled out her wedding photos, showed them pictures of her husband and said, "Don't worry, Elders, I still keep all the commandments and my husband and I were chaste before we were married." She and her husband are preparing to be baptized on March 24.

"Hoy es el tiempo y el día"
Now is the time and the day
Alma 34:31