Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spain Trip 2010

My parents had their 20 year mission reunion in September. Since being mission presidents in the Spain Las Palmas Mission, they've held reunions with their missionaries every fall in Utah. A few of their missionaries decided that for the 20th reunion they should do it in Spain. Jeremy and I were lucky enough to get to tag along. What an amazing trip--once in a lifetime.

My sweet mother-in-law was the only way we could take this trip. She flew down to stay with our kids. They had a great time and I'm so glad they got to spend that week with her.

This is the view from the mission home, the home that I lived in from ages 11-14.

The Parkers are a missionary couple that now live in the mission home. They were so nice to let us stay with them there in the former mission home. It hadn't changed much from my childhood memories. There's no longer a mission president in The Canary Islands. They belong to the Madrid mission now--so sad. There's only a few missionaries on all of the islands now, and there were around 150 when we lived there.

This is the same chapel that we went to when we lived there. This lady holding the baby was my best friend when I lived there. I went and stayed with her family for a week or so in the summer on another island as a little girl and we had the best time.

We went to 2 branches on Sunday and this is the Telde branch. Although there are a lot less people attending church than there were 20 years ago, I was amazed to see how faithful those members are who hold the whole branch together and run everything by themselves. Good people.

This man was a counselor to my dad and an amazing leader in the church. He had gone inactive years ago and my dad was determined to search him out. No one knew anything about him. Not the members or the missionaries. We drove around on our last night there looking for his apartment. My dad remembered where it was... which was a miracle. It was up on this hill with dozens of other buildings and all narrow one way roads. We almost gave up, but we found this family. It was such an incredible thing to see how much it touched them that he took the time to search them out. He had tears in his eyes and immediately recognized my dad. This was the best part of the trip for me.

We also found the first mission home that we lived in for the first year or so of the mission. Lots of memories...

The lady standing in the back is Sister Caceres. She and her husband and kids were the first family we really met when we arrived in Spain 20 years ago. They were so sweet to us and just took care of everything that we needed. We played with their kids and she helped my mom cook for the missionaries. My parents had heard that her husband had been in an accident and was paralyzed and that they had gone inactive over the years. Then they had recently heard that Sister Caceres had passed away. Anyway, we asked lots of people about them and there was a new address for them on the church records, but no one had seen or heard from them in years. One morning we wrote down the address and headed out to look for their family. We had hardly any trouble finding the place, and as we drove up to it there was a lady sitting out on the porch. My dad and I both said that it looked just like Sister Caceres. We were confused because we had all heard that she had passed away. Well.. we were misinformed. It was her. It was so great to see her after all these years.

This sand sculpture, although inappropriate, was so amazing. The detail in it was incredible.
This is "Triana" and it's just a little boardwalk where we used to go get chocolate croissants and walk around. Hadn't changed much.
Christopher Columbus' home on Gran Canaria

more mission home photos

We were driving through this small town and saw all these men and boys racing down a hill on whatever contraption they could come up with. It was really cute to see how the whole town was out watching and so excited about it.

After they did a temple session the missionaries went next door to the MTC where we had a testimony meeting and a reunion.

in front of the Madrid temple

Jeremy and I rented a car in Madrid because we wanted to drive out to Toledo, the first capital of Spain. We hadn't slept in about 24 hours and driving in Madrid is one of the craziest experiences of my life. We'll definitely go with taxis next time.

Toledo was amazing though...I wish we would have had more time there. The cathedral was absolutely enormous.

Such an amazing trip... I'm so glad we were able to make it happen.


Kristen said...

I looks wonderful--I'm so glad you were able to go. What an amazing experience. By the way, the word verification I had to do to leave a comment was "vitamboo"--what a great word:)

becky said...

wow!! looks like an incredible trip!!! i only lived in uruguay for 3 months, not 3 years, but i can't wait to go back someday!!

Josh loves Anna said...

Thanks for sharing - what a great opportunity and legacy of faith.

Jeremy, did you know that my family lived just outside of Madrid when I was little (5-7) on what was then Torrejon Air Base? We would visit Toledo on school field trips. Love that Spanish architecture.