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, April 27, 2012


Rumors of the arrival of Elder Escobar have been circulating for weeks! The missionary system included him in the group of missionaries scheduled to arrive on 29 May. Then we got the word two weeks ago that he was arriving at the Madrid MTC and would come with our group that arrived 17 April. Then we got a call on the 16th saying he would not be traveling with that group. Then on Wednesday we were notified that he could come on Friday morning. Since we had a training conference scheduled for Friday morning, we arranged for him to come on Thursday night. And he did! 

We are excited to finally have him in Barcelona. He joined us for training in the morning, and this afternoon went to work!

Los Hinckley with Elder Escobar

Elder Escobar with the Barcelona Zone Leaders,
Elders Corbitt and Matthews, who will be training him.

"Flood the World" - The Miracle of Sant Jordi

Monday, 23 April 2012, was our favorite holiday in Catalunya: Diada de Sant Jordi. St. George the Dragon slayer is the patron saint of Catalunya, and his day is celebrated widely here and in other parts of Spain.

The celebration is two-fold. First, the tradition is that men give the women in their life a red rose, and tables of rose-sellers appear on every corner during the day. Literally millions of roses are sold in a single day.
Street booth selling roses
The second aspect of the celebration is the giving of books - women traditionally give a book to the men in their life. This tradition began in about 1925 in Barcelona to celebrate the fact that both William Shakespeare and Miguel Cervantes died on 23 April 1616. UNESCO subsequently designated 23 April as World Book and Copyright Day (how's that for a charming title?). So along with tables and booths selling roses, tables and booths are found throughout the cities selling books.

Of course, we are willing to give away free books, and take advantage of the holiday to "flood the world with the Book of Mormon." In both 2009 and 2010, we distributed over 800 copies of the Book of Mormon on Sant Jordi. This year the missionaries set a goal to distribute 1,000 copies, and each ward and branch where the holiday is celebrated (and in some places where it is not celebrated) set goals and made plans. The result: 1,611 copies of the Book of Mormon distributed! We received many names and addresses of people willing to learn more about this unique book. In one case, a woman approached the missionaries and asked for two copies - she had received a copy last year but her husband and niece wanted their own copies!

Archie and missionaries from Barcelona 2 at Plaza Catalunya

Elders Tyler and Fica presenting the Book

Archie guarding the cases of books - and distributing them to every passer-by!

Elders Reeves and Garces in the Plaza

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


One of our largest groups - 13 - arrived on Tuesday! It is a great group of missionaries, and they have come from all over the world: Switzerland, Romania, the Canaries, Spain, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, and the United States.
At Montjuic. Not pictured is Elder Perez who did not arrive until 10:00 p.m.

Enjoying the views!

Elder Marcos and Elder Manotas - Zaragoza

Elder Rhead and Elder Poeinar: Vitoria

Elder Ashcroft and Elder Hastings: Manacor

Hnas. Rejon and Goodman: Sabadell

Elders Weiss and McKinnon: Catarroja

Elders Oldroyd and Olaya: Barcelona 3

Hnas. Cruz, Cueva, and Oslund: Hospitalet

Hnas. Cozzolino and Walker: Pamplona

Hnas. Moulton and Wilson: Zaragoza

Hnas. Robinson and Dalton: Bilbao

Elders Bennington, Brinley and Shields: Albacete
Hnas. Fernley and Peña: 

Adeu: Viejos Video 2012 Apr

This week three great missionaries returned home: Elders Hadley, Jimenez, and Plaskett.

Elders Plaskett, Hadley and Jimenez with Pte. Hinckley at the airport
Singing for the Angels
 Viejos video:

¡Por fin! - Viejos Video from March 2012

We finally got around to uploading the viejos video from March, which actually features missionaries from the last few months who completed their missions. They are now home working more miracles! We miss them and love them!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Focusing on Our Purpose

Preach My Gospel, page 40
From the weekly report of a missionary last week:
We were calling people to invite them to the baptism and just sort of going down the ward list. I called one man that had what appeared to be an African name. It was a woman from Paraguay. She did not want to give me her name, where she lived or any information about her. I told her that I was sorry to bother her and told her that my companion and I had just prayed to find someone who could be baptized this month. She went silent for about 30 seconds. I then asked for her name again. She said, "I´m Hilda." I said a couple phrases in Guaraní and she was just laughing. She said she would love to meet with the missionaries and we ended the call. She called back 10 minutes later saying that what I had said had touched her heart and wanted to know my name. I told her and then invited her to be baptized on the 21st of April. She said, “Yes, I think so, but this is all happening so fast!” I said to talk with the missionaries and they would help her get everything ironed out. She lives in another ward, so hopefully [the Elders there] can help her enter the waters of baptism this month. It makes me wonder how many opportunities like that I have missed just not focusing on my purpose. The great thing is that I´m getting better. 
 "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).

"The Gospel Blesses Families"

About two years ago, Hno. Ruben, who had been less active for many years, began to return to activity and has been a faithful member of Barcelona Barrio 2. His wife, Gladys, seeing the changes happening in her husband's life as he began living the Gospel, began to soften her heart, and last year she was baptized.

On Saturday afternoon, Ruben baptized his niece, Jessica. Jessica is the daughter of Gladys' sister, who attended the baptism of her daughter and also come to sacrament meeting on Sunday for Jessica's confirmation (despite walking on crutches due to a painful knee problem).

Elders Keeler, Morrison, Middleton, Krasnoselsky and Reeves
with Jessica and  Felipe (who performed the baptism)
Jessica was taught by the Ayudantes with help and support from Elders Krasnoselsky and Reeves of the office staff (who helped while the Ayudantes were traveling). She is well integrated into the ward Young Women program, most of whom came to her baptism.

One by one, members of this great family are accepting the message of the Restoration - first Ruben, then his wife, then his niece. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Interviews in Palma and Bilbao, and Fullfilling Our Purpose

Wednesday, 4 April 2012: Flew to Palma in the evening to interview the missionaries in the Baleares Zone. Mallorca is a magical place for missionaries - wonderful members, wonderful people, beautiful island. I arrived late at night but took a quick walk through the neighborhood of the hotel before going to bed. It was a beautiful evening!

Santa Eulalia at night
The next morning was equally beautiful when I went out for a run.
Park alongside the Born

But better still were the great missionaries! We have two sisters and 6 elders on the island, as well as Elder and Sister McArthur. It was a great day!

After interviews, I flew to Bilbao where I began interviews that evening with missionaries in the Vitoria Zone.

View of the Guggenheim and the new Iberdrola tower
Following a half dozen interviews, there was a baptism scheduled in Bilbao for the Orozco family. The Orozcos were religious but had become dissatisfied with the church to which they belong and were looking for something else when Bro. Orozco had a conversation with Bishop Gonzalez who invited him to Church. He came with a friend but left before the missionaries could talk to him. But the next week he brought his wife and two children with him, and they have attended each Sunday since. As they met with the missionaries, question after question they had about spiritual matters was answered. As they read the Book of Mormon, attended Church, and prayed, their faith grew. After a few weeks they asked what they needed to do in order to have their 9-year old son baptized. Wednesday night in Bilbao Elder Johnsoned baptized their son and Bishop Gonazalez baptized Brother and Sister Orozco. They are preparing to go to the temple in one year!

Bp. Gonzalez, Pte. Hinckley, the Orozcos, Elders Johnson and Pericle
What do we do? "We baptize worthy converts and their families"