Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our 14-Day Trip in Spain during Temple Shutdown

The Madrid Temple was closed for cleaning for two weeks during January and we visited southern and eastern Spain during that time. Beverly's sister and husband flew here from Utah to travel with us and Sister Miriam de Schweinitz joined us for our trip. This blog post shows one picture from each of the major cities we visited.

Our 2300-mile Trip Through Spain

The red line shows the route of our automobile trip through southern and eastern Spain.

Córdoba, Andalucía, Spain

Scott and Beverly in the Great Mosque of Córdoba

Sevilla, Andalucía, Spain

Plaza de España, Sevilla

Jerez de la Frontera

Dancing horses of the famous Royal School of Equestrian Arts, Jerez

Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory)

The Rock of Gibraltar, near the dividing point between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea

Ronda, Andalucía, Spain

Puente Nuevo (completed in 1793), 390 feet tall, Ronda

Marbella, Andalucía, Spain

Upscale beachfront, Marbella

Málaga, Andalucía, Spain

City of Málaga, as viewed from Gibralfaro Castle

Granada, Andalucía, Spain

Patio de los Leones, La Alhambra, Granada

Valencia, Valencia, Spain

Museo de la Ciencias, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia

Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain

Amphithéâtre (Roman amphitheater) of Tarragona and the Mediterranean Sea

 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia (Gaudí Cathedral), Barcelona

Girona, Catalonia, Spain

"Cases penjades" (Painted Houses) on Onyar River with Cathedral at left, Girona

Besalú, Catalonia, Spain

12th-century Romanesque bridge over the Fluvià river in Besalú

 Montserrat, Catalonia, Spain

Monasterio de Montserrat in the high mountains west of Barcelona
The entire country of Spain is beautiful and we especially enjoyed seeing southern and eastern Spain. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fiesta de Despedida (Farewell Party) for Ebys

On Saturday evening, February 16, we (Scott and Beverly) organized a farewell party for Jon and Diane Eby, Madrid Temple missionaries, who left for home the following Monday. Here is a copy of the invitations that we sent around to all the local senior missionaries:

The MTC President and his wife were kind enough to invite us to hold the event at the MTC cafeteria on the top floor of our apartment building. Elder Eby served not only in the temple but also as a counselor in the MTC presidency.

Sister Smalley (new temple missionary), Sister Sitterud (wife of the MTC president), and Sister Jones (new temple missionary with her husband) enjoy chatting together before the meal:

Elder Pérez, Pres. Paya (counselor in the temple presidency), and Elder Jones (new temple missionary with his wife) visit with each other: 

We had a pot-luck dinner with salads and desserts and barbecue sandwiches. This photo shows (left to right around the serving table) Sister Hernández, Sister López, Sister Eby, Sister Smalley, Elder Eby, Sister de Schweinitz (background), and Beverly at the end of the table (all are temple missionaries):

Another group of missionaries dish up their food–Elder Gutiérrez, Daniel Gutiérrez, Pres. Paya, Sister Conesa, Sister Salas, Elder Alfonso, Sister Blesa, Elder Lloyd and Sister Pérez:

After the dinner, the Elder and Sister Eby expressed their love and appreciation to everyone:

The Ebys were wonderful and effective temple missionaries. They were our dear friends and we will miss them greatly.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Temple Missionary Conference: Love One Another

As we have mentioned in earlier posts, we are in charge of the monthly luncheon at the Temple Missionary Conference for the Madrid Temple missionaries and for other local missionaries. For the month of February, we chose the theme of "Love One Another" (the conference was held the week of Valentine's Day).

For centerpieces on the tables, Beverly made "heart" flowers, put the vase on a paper doily and added heart candies (which were difficult to find in Spain!):

The complete decorations for the tables looked like this:

We were happy that Elder Mike and Sister Charmaine Anderson (whose mission blog is http://canaryislandsysa.blogspot.com) were able to join us. Here they are seated with Sister and President Tenney (he is the Madrid Temple President):
The Andersons are here in Madrid just long enough to apply for their Spanish residency card, and then they are heading to Tenerife of the Canary Islands to work with the Young Single Adult program and employment. They will do a great job!

We were also happy to welcome other new missionaries, Sister Smalley (at left; new temple missionary), Sister Vivian and Elder Bruce Sullivan, who are seated next to President and Sister Sitterud (he is the Madrid MTC President):
Elder and Sister Sullivan are also working with the young single adults and employment. They live in an apartment building located across the street from the temple.

Finally, we were happy to welcome a new temple missionary couple, Elder Greg and Sister Montie Jones. They are seated next to Sister and Elder Pérez (long-time temple missionaries), and President and Sister Somoza (he is first counselor in the temple presidency):
The Jones were employment missionaries in Madrid previously, and they worked one day a week in the temple. They have now returned to serve full-time in the temple. They are a great addition to our temple missionary force.

We enjoy our monthly missionary conference. It's great to eat delicious food, to enjoy each others' company, and to hear a spiritual message from President Tenney.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Best iPad/iPhone Apps for Senior Missionaries

If you have an iDevice (iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch) and are serving in a Spanish-speaking mission, you undoubtedly use many of its built-in apps, for example:
  • Contacts (to keep information on fellow missionaries, local Church leaders, investigators as well as your friends and family at home)
  • Calendar (to keep track of appointments, meetings, events, birthdays, and holidays)
  • Mail (to receive and send email)
  • Music (to listen to music as well as to hear the missionary tasks in Spanish)
  • Safari (to access the world-wide web)
In addition to these apps (which come with your iDevice), you might also like other apps to help you in your service as a senior missionary. Here is a list of apps that I (Scott) recommend for senior missionaries serving in a Spanish-speaking country.

The Collins Spanish-English Dictionary Translation Dictionary and Verbs is the best Spanish-English English-Spanish dictionary currently available for iDevices. (The Oxford Spanish dictionary is actually the best, but it is no longer available.) Unfortunately, this app is very expensive (around $32). Fortunately, because I bought this app for my iPad, it is free on my other iDevices.

This app, simply called Spanish, is probably the best free Spanish-English English-Spanish dictionary (to remove banner ads, you can buy the app for $0.99). It contains all (or most) of the words in the Collins Spanish dictionary listed above, but it doesn't contain as many examples and explanations of each word.

LDS Gospel Library is absolutely essential for any senior missionary. It includes all the scriptures, many manuals, and many other Church resources. It includes scriptures and manuals in both English and Spanish.

The LDS Scripture Library is expensive but worth the cost. It is more complete than the LDS Gospel Library (in English, but not in Spanish) and has a fantastic search engine if you're looking for a scriptural reference or a quote from the Ensign or from some other Church source (manuals, study guides, etc.).

Navigation (to jump from one scripture to another) is much better than in the LDS Gospel Library, which makes it ideal for finding references fast during Church meetings.

This app also allows you to see the words and sheet music to hymns, to play built-in recordings of the hymns (with or without the words in English only, so it doesn't replace the LDS Music app, described below). The disadvantage of LDS Scriptures Library is that it doesn't contain the manuals in Spanish. That's why I use both of these apps.

Important Note: Whichever app you use, you should learn how to use "tabs" to be able to keep more than one book open at the same time (and even more than one place within the same book). For example, during Sunday School class, I keep open a tab with the instructor's manual, a tab for the main book and chapter of scriptures upon which the current lesson is based, and tabs for additional scriptures and references. I just touch a tab to jump back and forth among these references.

LDS Music is also an essential app. It contains the Church hymn book and the children's song book in English and Spanish. It includes the hymns/songs with just the words or with the words and notes, just as they appear in the printed hymn book.

There are other LDS hymn apps but I think this one is the best.

Pages is invaluable for keeping your missionary journal, writing notes, and creating and opening documents (such as your patriarchal blessing). The documents you create are automatically saved to iCloud, which you can then use on your laptop or desktop to download the documents. Even if you lose your iDevice and your laptop, your documents are still safe on iCloud.

I use Converter Plus (Universal) almost daily to convert between dollars and euros, between pounds and kilos, between miles and kilometers, and between Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures. I often use it to convert from liters, centimeters, and milliliters to quarts, gallons, and ounces or even to tablespoons and cups (or any other measure of volume).

You can use the app completely off line, but if you are online, it will automatically update the exchange rate of the currencies. Because the relative value of the euro and dollar change regularly, this is a nice feature.

If you live in Madrid, Madrid Metro by mxData is a great app for using the metro. It contains the metro map and also allows you to find out how to go from one metro station to another metro station, and clearly indicates the number of stops and the transfer points. There are metro apps for other cities in Spain (and probably cities in other countries) as well.
I use MapsWithMe Pro almost daily. It is a database of offline maps (so you don't have to be connected to the internet) of every highway, byway, road, and city street in Spain (and other countries). You can zoom in to see individual countries, cities, roads, and streets or zoom out to see the whole world. You can search to find cities, streets, monuments, restaurants, hotels, or many other locations. It is an essential app to help you get around your city and to travel around your mission or your country. This app also allows you to "pin" locations. For example, you can pin the location of your apartment, homes of members and investigators, businesses that you need to visit, or hotels to stay at if/when you travel. I highly recommend this app (there is also a free version that works well).

iBooks is a great app for reading Church literature. Each month, I download the Liahona in Spanish (free!) onto my laptop and then email the resulting PDF file to my iPad. I can then open (and save) the issue in iBooks for reading at a later time. (There is an app called LDS Liahona Español Magazine, but it has an annual subscription fee.) Some of the things that I have in my iBooks include the following: Predicad Mi Evangelio, Jesús el Cristo, Principios del Evangelio (English version as well), Enseñanzas de los Presidentes de la Iglesia (current and past volumes of these Priesthood and Relief Society manuals), Advanced Spanish Grammar, Diccionario de dudas de la lengua española, and Temple Spanish Tasks (and other Provo MTC Spanish task books).

I use the Deseret News app to keep up-to-date with news in Utah and in the Church.
You can't beat the BYUtv app for watching Church TV shows, BYU sports programs, and other shows in streaming video.
I use the ksl.com app to listen to BYU games on the radio, when they aren't available for viewing on BYUtv.

That's my list of invaluable apps that will help you get the most from your iDevice while you are on your mission. If you have questions or comments about these apps, don't hesitate to send me an email (at spain.missionaries@hotmail.com).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

La Alhambra

La Alhambra is the top-rated attraction in Spain and is listed as number 40 on Hillman's 100 Wonders of the World. In January (when the temple was closed) we visited the Alhambra located in the city of Granada, Andalusia, Spain (within the Sierra Nevada mountain range).

The Alhambra is a Moorish complex of buildings that were originally constructed as a fortress in 889 AD, at the site of an earlier Roman stronghold, and converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada. The buildings are famous for their Múdejar (Spanish-Arabic) style architecture and design.

La Alhambra as seen from the San Nicolás viewpoint:

Windows with sacred Muslim inscriptions and patterns on the walls, located in the Mexuar Prayer Hall:

A closeup of patterns on a wall in La Alhambra:

A garden courtyard:

Hall of Kings:

Court of the Lions as viewed from the Hall of Kings:

Scott and Beverly pose at the Court of Los Arrayanes:

The Court of Lions (Patio de Leones):

Beverly in front of wall design and Islamic text::

Closeup of an arch in the Court of the Lions:

Other windows and archway located in the main palace of La Alhambra:

Scott and Beverly pose near an archway, on this very cold day in January:

The spectacular Cupula of the Hall of Los Abencerrajes:

A view of La Alhambra a dusk, as seen from the Albaysín (old Aarbic quarters):

The photos don't begin to capture the beauty and grandeur of La Alhambra. We hope to return when the weather is warmer!