Sunday, March 31, 2013

Russ and Erin at La Alhambra

Our son Russ and his wife Erin took a two-week trip to Europe, spending the second week with us in Spain. They arrived in Madrid on Saturday, March 23, 2013, and on that same day, the four of us took a train to Granada to visit La Alhambra and other interesting places in the city.

Our first stop at the Alhambra was the Alcazaba, the Moorish fortress:
The Alcazaba on the western edge of the Alhambra complex
Inside the Alcazaba:

Russ and Erin in the Alcazaba of La Alhambra:
Erin and Russ in the Alcazaba, with a view of the Albaicín area of Granada in the background
Scott and Beverly in the Alcazaba, with its walls and towers in the background on the left and the city of Granada on the right
We then went into the Nazrid Palaces (Palacios Nazaríes):
Palacios Nazaríes, with the Church of Santa María de la Alhambra in the center behind the palacios and the Palacio de Carlos V (the large rectagle building with many windows) behind the Palacios Nazaríes on the right
Russ and Erin in the Court of the Golden Room (Patio del Cuarto Dorado):
Erin and Russ in the Patio del Cuarto Dorado, with intricate designs on the upper walls and patterned tile on the lower wallls.

Scott and Beverly at the same location:
Beverly and Scott in the Patio del Cuarto Dorado
Russ and Erin in the Court of the Myrtles (Patio de Arrayanes);
Russ and Erin in the Court of the Myrtles

Scott taking a picture of a wall in the Court of the Myrtles

Erin, Russ, and Beverly pause for a picture in the Carlos V Palace:
Erin, Russ, and Beverly at Carlos V Palace of La Alhambra
Possibly the most famous spot in La Alhambra, the Court of the Lions (Patio de los Leones):
Patio de los Leones

Russ takes a photo in the palace of Generalife:
Russ the Photographer

Scott also takes a picture in Generalife; his jacket testifies that most of the day was cold and wet):
Scott the Photographer

Erin and Russ pose for a photo in the green archway that leads from Generalife and eventually to the Alhambra exit:
Erin and Russ leaving Generalife

Scott and Beverly at the same location, at the end of our visit to La Alhambra:
Scott and Beverly leaving Generalife
We loved Alhambra, but we especially loved going there with Russ and Erin. We had such a great time.

For more photos, click here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bandera de Sión (High on a Mountain Top)

For our monthly Temple Missionary Conference in March 2013, we selected the theme of "High on a Mountain Top," a hymn that is called Bandera de Sión (Banner of Zion) in Spanish. The temples in Spain and elsewhere are the banners or ensigns to the nations of the world.

We made the following invitations for the temple missionaries and, in addition, for the full-time Senior  missionaries serving near the temple:

Then for the centerpieces of the dinner tables, we made these "mountains" with a banner of Zion showing pictures of the Madrid temple:

The decorated tables continued the yellow and blue color theme, some with blue table cloths ...

... and some with yellow table cloths:

We enjoyed a great meal together. At this table are (clockwise from the left) Sister and Brother Sullivan, Young Single Adult missionaries; Elder and Sister Jones, temple missionaries; and Sister and Brother Rodríguez, employment missionaries:

President Tenney gave a wonderful talk on the growth of the church since the first Banner of Zion was flown on Ensign Peak above Salt Lake City in 1847. He showed this video on the growth of the church by the number of temples. It was a great temple missionary conference.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Our Madrid MTC Fireside Presentation

About every three months, President Sitterud of the Madrid MTC invites us to speak at Sacrament Meeting or to give a special presentation to the young missionaries. We enjoy this opportunity to associate with the young Elders and Sisters and to preach the gospel. Here are summaries of our recent fireside with selected slides from the PowerPoint presentations that we utilized.

"Studying the Scriptures" by Beverly

Beverly began by relating some of her personal experiences in studying the scriptures, especially completing her goal to read all the standard works and to look up every footnote for every scripture. During this project, she discovered the internal consistence of the scriptures and had her testimony of the modern scriptures strengthened. She then explained the benefits of regular scripture study, using the following summary slide:

Her presentation included key quotes from Preach My Gospel and from our modern-day prophets and apostles. For example, one of her slides shows this quote from Elder Bruce R. McConkie on hearing the voice of the Lord through the scriptures:

This quote from President Monson expresses the value of the scriptures and the joy of studying them:

She ended with this quote to show how the prophets love the scriptures and to also express her own love for the scriptures:

"My Biggest Mistakes as a Young Missionary" by Scott

Scott began by listing some of the things he did do right as a young missionary (kept mission rules, studied the scriptures and the language, worked hard, and stayed focused on spiritual things), but then he discussed things he could have done better. For example, he mentioned that he made mistakes in goal setting and he presented this list what constitutes the best kind of goals for missionaries:

For example, one of Scott's biggest mistakes as a young missionary was to focus too much on his own personal improvement and not enough on the needs of his investigators:

Another mistake Scott and other young missionaries make is shown in this slide, with a page from Preach My Gospel on goal setting:

Scott ended by telling how he overcame some of his mistakes, applied proper goal-setting principles, and had success with the baptism of the Álvarez family, shown here in 1965:

The MTC missionaries were receptive and responsive our messages, and we look forward to future opportunities to speak at the MTC.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

During the temple closedown in January 2013, Scott and Beverly flew to the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. There we took two excursions and enjoyed some rest and relaxation on and around the beaches of southern Tenerife.

Our first excursion was a guided bus tour that circled the entire island. We started near our hotel in the south. Our first stop was a view of the cliffs of Los Gigantes:

About half-way through the tour, we stopped at the town of Icod de los Vinos to view this 300-year-old Drago Milenio tree:
The tree is actually a bush, once thought to be a thousand years old, and hence the name Milenio. It has over 300 main branches.

Throughout the island, we saw these huge "greenhouses" where bananas, tomatoes, and other crops are grown. The tents keep out birds and hold in water:

Our second tour was a Jeep Safari into the mountains. At our first stop we could see the southern coast below, with its many small volcanoes and the Atlantic Ocean (covered with clouds):

Scott and Beverly at the Roques de García in the Teide National Park, with Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain, in the background: 

Mount Teide, with Roques de García in the foreground:

The famous Roque Cinchado, a picture of which appeared on the 1000 peseta bill (Spanish currency before the euro) in Teide National Park, with the volcano Mount Teide in the background:

The winding road to the famous "Hidden Village of Mazca," which, according to legend, was a hiding place for pirates:

Masca, with the Atlantic Ocean appearing between the two mountains (the tip of the island La Gomera appears on the ocean horizon):

Playa de Torviscas in the city of Costa Adeje on the southern end of Tenerife, near our hotel:

Another beach in southern Tenerife, not far from our hotel. This and the previous picture show the black volcanic sand of the beaches:

We enjoyed attending church in Los Cristianos, about 20 minutes away from our hotel by taxi. Here we pose with the two missionaries, Elder Anderson of Springville, Utah, and Elder Miner of Cokeville, Wyoming (as reported in a previous blog post):

Tenerife and its warm temperatures were a welcome relief from the cold mainland Spain. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting Tenerife in the Canary Islands.