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, May 31, 2012

Viejos Video

Special thanks to Elder McKinnon for the vocals on "Brillan rayos de clemencia" - we will miss his voice!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


This week was transfer week, and it was a big transfer! We had 21 outstanding missionaries return home, and received 11 great new missionaries from the Madrid CCM. Pte. Hinckley conducted 11 hours of exit interviews with those returning home. This is always a sweet experience with many mixed emotions.

Leaving the mission home

In the metro station headed for Plaza Catalunya
"Canto de los ángeles" - singing for the angels

Returning missionaries at the Plaza

Boarding the bus for the airport at 7:00 a.m.

On board the bus!

Last foto: at the airport
After completing the exit interviews on Monday, Tuesday began with a trip to the train station to pick up our 11 new missionaries.
At the train station
Arriving at Montjuic
Climbing up to the ramparts of the castle
First view of the Mediterranean

On the ramparts
We are excited to have these great new missionaries serving in El Faro. The Hinckleys had a chance to meet them briefly in Madrid last Friday, and they are a great group! Unlike the last group we received, most of these are from the United States. Only Elder Haikola is from outside the U.S. - he is our first missionary from Finland!

After picking up the nuevos, serving them lunch, and conducting brief interviews we each of them, they went out to work with temporary companions while the Hinckleys and had dinner, testimony meeting, and singing for the angels with the departing missionaries.

Then on Wednesday morning at 7:00 a.m. the departing missionaries and the Hinckleys took a chartered bus to the airport (we have enough mission cars for the missionaries but not for their luggage!) and bid farewell. We will miss them! From the airport, we returned directly to Barcelona Barrio 2 chapel to assign the nuevos to their trainers. After a couple of hours of initial training, everyone left for their assigned areas - which stretch across the mission from Menorca to Burgos to Benidorm!

The complex logistics of all this was made possible by a phenomenal office staff. Our four office elders and two Ayudantes were incredible! The written plan for the transfer logistics was 10 pages long! Great work, Elders Tyler, Reeves, Garces, Middleton, Keeler, and especially Elder Fica who coordinated the plan and all the details. Next project: put a satellite into orbit?



Church History Tour

On Friday, 25 June 2012, Pte. and Hna. Hinckley had a meeting in Madrid with Elder Kopischke. There were two large conventions in the city as well as the Copa del Rey futbol game between Athletic Bilbao and FC Barcelona - and Pep Guardiola´s last game as coach of FC Barcelona. Result: no hotel rooms anywhere in the city. Thanks to the kindness of Pte. Sitterud we were able to stay at the Madrid CCM and take advantage of the trip to do a session at the Madrid Temple.

On the AVE traveling to Madrid at 302 km/h

The Madrid Temple

We met the Cleggs (Spain Malaga Mission) and attended the temple together

At the temple

In addition to attending the temple, we did a mini Church history tour on Saturday morning, visiting two sites from the early days of the Church in Spain. We visited Casa de Campo, a large park on the western edge of the city. On 20 May 1969, Elder Marion G. Romney of the Council of the Twelve offered the dedicatory prayer opening Spain for the preaching of the gospel in this dispensation.

The Hinckleys at Casa de Campo

The Cleggs at Casa de Campo

View of Casa de Campo with Madrid in the distance

We also visited the site of the first missionary apartment in Spain: Isaac Peral 2, near the Moncloa in Madrid

Pte. and Hna. Hinckley at Isaac Peral 2, Pte. Hinckley´s
old missionary apartment in June 1969!

Time did not permit visits to other Church history sites: the Cuatro Caminos Chapel (still in use) or the first meeting place in Madrid at Plaza República Argentina 23 (a nursery school which the Church rented on Sundays). But we had a great day together in the great city of Madrid before saying goodby to the Cleggs and returning to Barcelona!

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.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May: Specialized Training

Over 3,500 kilometers
Nearly 40 hours in the mission van
1 round trip flight
21 cities
36 hours of training
120 missionaries

During May we held specialized training meetings around the mission. The schedule was such that we were able to hold several smaller sessions and traveled most of the mission by car, which also enabled us to meet with many missionaries in their apartments. We held 9 separate training sessions and had a great outpouring the the Spirit as we met together and learned together. 

Sisters in Zaragoza

Between the chapel and the Guggenheim in Bilbao

Lunch in Bilbao before heading over to Santander


Hnas. Maxwell and Dalton serving fresh banana bread in their piso in San Sebastian

Lining up for lunch prepared by Elders Booher and Dixon in Hospitalet

Three flavors of baked chicken!
Alcoy chapel

Albacete whiteboard

Hnas. Farrell and Ratcliff with Hna. Hinckley in Benidorm

Somewhere in La Mancha: Elder Middleton driving on the right side of the road

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hna. Mancera...

Our 4th transfer of the "transfer" was a little sadder - our wonderful Hna. Mancera returned home to Malaga on Thursday due to health reasons. She arrived safely Thursday afternoon and is in the care of her family. She has been fighting with some health issues for the past month and we still didn't have a diagnosis, but we hope  that she will be back in the mission field within a couple of months. She has been a great missionary, and we pray for her improvement and return!

Hna. Mancera with Hna. Dalton in Palma

Elder Salcedo

Our third transfer of this "transfer" took place on 2 May 2012. Elder Henry Salcedo of the Levante Branch in the Baleares District has a call to serve in the Utah Ogden Mission, but is still awaiting his visa, so he is now a visa-waiter with us! We are excited to have Elder Salcedo with us for at least a little while!
Elder Salcedo and his mother at his setting apart