Saturday, August 2, 2014

Extraordinary Happenings

Most of my days here in Fuengirola are pretty routine. I wake up, read scriptures, write in my journal, do exercises, eat breakfast and shower. After that there's the block and a half walk to the office, checking for referrals, entering data, calling missionaries, writing letters... you know, the regular stuff.  And then there are those extraordinary days. This last little while I've had two such days.
Arlene between her aunt and the cousin that baptized her.
The first occurred on a recent Saturday. First to set the stage...  A month or two ago a beautiful young woman sat down beside me in Relief Society and we introduced ourselves to each other. From that beginning I grew to love Arlene, she of the vivacious smile and enthusiasm for life. She had decided that she wanted to change her life for the better and follow the path of her aunt, who is a member in Málaga. Every Sunday she greeted me with a great smile, double "besos" (the Spanish custom of greeting friends with a kiss on each cheek) and an enthusiastic "American" hug (awesome!).  I got to help teach her for one of the missionary lessons (she speaks both Spanish and English, so it was a mix of both), and soon she was ready for baptism.
But this was to be no ordinary baptism. Arlene's aunt lives out in the countryside on the other side of Malaga surrounded by beautiful hills. She has a pool with palm and olive trees and that is where Arlene was baptised. She was nervous, but it was a beautiful service and the Spirit was SO strong in that beautiful place. The beauty of God's creations out in nature usually brings the Spirit to me in greater measure than anything man made. She was baptized by her young cousin, which made it even more special, and almost all of the local missionaries (whom I've grown to love) were there, to complete a perfect day.
Elders Gonzalez, Thompson, Dansie,
(me), Adams, and Buckway from Fuen.
 They had a huge spread of food with lots of traditional Spanish dishes that I had never tried before, so of coarse I had to try a bit of each of them. I was very stuffed afterwards!  And they were delicious!  I'll have to write a future post on Spanish food.  I thought Elder Dansie was trying to hide in the rt side picture, so I was pulling him over to make sure he was in it too. He and Elder Buckway are the office Elders. Awesome young men!
Hermana Castillo and me (in our office clothes - it was the matinee at 6 :)
 Pictures courtesy of the Castillos since I forgot my camera :s.
The second dia extraordinario came once again courtesy of my great friends, the Castillos. They invited me to a  live Spanish production of Le Miserables (Los Miserables in español) in a beautiful old theatre called el Teatro Cervantes in Malaga. There were box seats, murals on the ceiling, and a small but well-done stage.
 Fortunately I had seen a movie version a long time ago (not the musical though), and had read the book, so I read the Wiki summary and listened to a lot of the music in English and went, hoping for the best. It was totally awesome. The voices were powerful, sets and lighting mesmerizing, and the overall production excellent (in my not all that experienced opinion). I was even able to follow it well enough to feel the power of the redemptive story such that I was shedding a few tears by the end. I count it a great blessing to have been able to go, especially with the wonderful Elder and Hermana Castillo. Thank you, my friends!
Afterwards we went "native" and ate dinner at the fashionably late hour of around 9pm. That's when Spaniards are just getting started. Often restaurants don't even open until 7 or 8 and you'll see families with young children wandering around in the streets at 11 or 12 at night. We ate in the shadow of a beautiful old church, and wandered around exploring the surrounding shop windows, which included a wedding gown display and a very old movie projector with celluloid film in it. Dinner was delicious, as was the company :)
So that wraps up my tale of two venues, one spiritual, and one cultural. One filled with the beauty of God's creations and His spirit, and one celebrating the Spanish  (and French) cultures and Redemption. As I've said many times before, I feel SO BLESSED to be here, and thank God daily and often for the chance to be here in Spain serving Him. I am truly blessed!
Another beautiful evening in Fuengirola. I love the Mediterranean!

1 comment:

  1. It was so fun to share these experiences with you! We adore you and are glad your family is sharing you with us and the Malaga missionaries