Monday, June 25, 2012

Missionaries in Portugal

During our trip to northern Spain and Portugal (while the temple was closed for two weeks), we hoped that we would see missionaries out doing the work of the Lord. In fact, we saw three different sets of missionaries, but we were only able to stop and talk to one companionship, Elders Hope and Rose, who were serving in Coimbra, Portugal:
Sister Miriam de Schweinitz, Elder Hope, Elder Rose, and Beverly
Elder Nicholas Hope and Elder James Rose were happy, in good spirits, and successfully teaching and baptizing. It was wonderful to talk to them. Their parents should be very proud of them!

Coimbra is a beautiful city with a famous and prestigious university (founded in 1290) that is one of the oldest, continuously operating universities in the world. The tower and the large white buildings with red tile roofs on the hilltop seen in the photo below are part of the university:
Coimbra, Portugal
The week before we left on our trip to Portugal, dozens of members (youth and adults, including temple workers) from the Coimbra Portugal Stake had traveled to Madrid to the temple. They were wonderful, dedicated Church members!

We pray that the missionaries in Portugal will continue having great success.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Our Trip to Northern Spain and Portugal

The Madrid Temple was closed during the past two weeks, and we as temple missionaries were encouraged to visit other places in Spain (and elsewhere) during the break. So Scott and Beverly, along with a senior sister missionary (Sister Miriam de Schweinitz), decided to go on a guided bus tour of northern Spain and Portugal.

The yellow dashed line on this map shows our route, starting in Madrid, right in the center of Spain, and ending in Madrid:

The trip covered about 2200 miles, with major destinations of
  • Northern coast of Spain. The region has the nickname "La Costa Verde" (The Green Coast), a well-deserved name because of the high amount of rainfall.
  • Santiago de Compostella, an official Catholic pilgrimage destination, that 150,000 people walk to from all parts of Europe along the so-called Camino de Santiago (Saint James Way).
  • Lisbon, Portugal, and the nearby Cabo da Roca, the "End of the Earth" or eastern-most edge of the world as it was known before Columbus.
  • And many wonderful, amazing places in between.
Here's a picture taken in Gijón, a city on the Bay of Biscay ("Mar Cantábrico"), as an example of the beautiful Costa Verde that we traveled along for many miles:

We will share information and pictures of beautiful northern Spain and Portugal in future blog posts.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Plazas in Downtown Madrid

When we have a free morning or afternoon, we sometimes catch the bus or metro (subway) and head for some interesting place in downtown Madrid. Here are some of the places we have visited in the short time we have been here.

Plaza de España, with its statues, fountains, and green areas:

The Cervantes monument in the Plaza de España:

A closeup of Don Quixote de la Mancha and his sidekick Sancho Panza, at the Cervantes monument, with Scott standing between them:

The plaza of the Teatro Real (Royal Theater):

Scott in the Plaza Mayor, the major plaza of the Old City:

The Catedral de la Almeduna, as viewed from the park of the Templo de Debod:

Madrid is a wonderful city, and the Madrileños love spending time downtown!

Fun Things You See in the Madrid City Center

If you take a trip to the center of Old Madrid, and walk around the plazas on a Friday or Saturday evening, you see all kinds of street performers. Some of them are very interesting, for example---

This two-person act has a man on the bottom casually holding a pole, while the man above him is suspended in mid air:

This mime portrays a newspaper man reading his newspaper:

This quartet was playing some very nice Mozart:

When Scott first saw this figure, he thought it was another street mime. No. It was a cast-iron statue of a street sweeper:

We also see various cartoon characters. Beverly posed for a photo with Elmo:

The Madrid City Center is an exciting place!

(In case you are wondering, we tipped all of these performers, except the street sweeper.)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dinner with New Members

We invited the Moran family to dinner yesterday, along with Sister Moran's aunt. All of them are from Ecuador. The aunt has been a member of the church for almost 20 years, but the Moran family was baptized only three weeks ago.
Left to Right: Jeremy (age 13), Enrique, Marcela, and Jonathan (age 8) Moran; Beverly; Mercedes Morales (Marcela's aunt) 
Our guests loved Beverly's dinner of spaghetti, fruit salad (with whipped cream), tossed salad, garlic bread, and ice cream. They also seemed to enjoy seeing Scott's photos of Ecuador.

What a fun, wonderful, enthusiastic family! Being with them made us feel almost like proselyting missionaries again.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Technology in Our Apartment

Being a high-tech couple, we were happy to be set up technologically in our apartment in Madrid within a week of our arrival.

We have our two laptops and two iPads that we brought from the U.S., and a new printer/scanner/fax/copier, which we purchased here in Madrid.  Here is Scott's laptop, iPad (with Bluetooth keyboard), and the new printer:

Here are our two telephones, one that came with the apartment for local calls, and one that we purchased here in Madrid to connect to our MagicJack Plus, and our WiFi Router that we also purchased here:

MagicJack is an internet phone service. We pay $30 per year and have unlimited calls to anywhere in the U.S. Also, anyone can call us at no charge because it has a U.S. number with a Utah 801 area code. But our favorite way to communicate with family is via FaceTime on our iPads.

The Internet here is fast and reliable.

Having the technology we need to communicate with the world--especially with our family---is priceless.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Things We See from our Window

Our apartment looks down on the "Temple Square" of Madrid, so we see interesting things from our window.

For example, we see sister missionaries teaching their male investigators (so they will be in a public place, rather than be alone with them):

We see men working on the trees and flowers:

And most wonderful of all, we see young people who have just gotten married in the temple:

It's a wonderful place to live ... and to have a bird's eye view of interesting happenings on the Spanish Temple Square.