Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fiesta de San Isidro

This was one of those "surprise parades" that I didn't know was coming. Last year I just caught it from my balcony. This year I grabbed my camera, ran downstairs, and ran up the street past all the participants so I wouldn't miss anything.

The Fiesta de San Isidro celebrates the patron saint of the farmers, Saint Isidro. It is celebrated on the 15th of May (so I'm a bit late with this post) and they came into town with tractors pulling festively decorated wagons.

The horses were almost all very spirited and beautiful, and of course everyone was dressed in their finest traditional Spanish outfits.
Saint Isidore (Isidro) was born about 1070 and was a farmer his whole life. He was very generous, and had a number of miraculous stories and miracles attributed to him. For example, it is said that his son fell into a well, and when he and his wife Santa Maria prayed, the water level rose until they were able to get their son out of the well.

Other stories told of how he would go to mass and pray every day while angels did his work, and how when he did work, angels worked on either side of him, so he was able to do the work of three men.

One last story (there are many) - he would bring people home to eat with them, and one day he brought home so many Marie ran out of food. When she told Isidore, he told her to look again, and she was able to keep scooping food out until everyone was fed.

These pictures don't go with the Fiesta de San Isidro, but were part of the International Festival (the parade was short :) ). Quite the variety of meats!

And will you take a lemon with your piglet?  You can buy whole piglets and whole rabbits (skinned) in the supermarkets. And there is always a large selection of fresh fish right out in the open that they will help you get!

Of course there were huge vats of Paella (the traditional Spanish rice and meat dish, often with a variety of seafood in it).
 This is a random food picture - a traditional cake with a real egg in the middle of it. We got it to celebrate some Spanish Saint in La Mancha when we were there the end of April.  Spain does love it's Saints and Festivals!

Here are a few random pictures of the Fuengirola beach as they prepared for the summer tourist season. Here they're digging holes for the beach umbrellas, all with that kind of natural, matty look.

They also brought in loads of sand and spread it around with tractors. A beach can never have enough sand!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sevilla Conference and Fun part 2

Los Awesome Misión Málaga de España ¨Senior¨ Missionaries
Top:  Los Redds, Los Wiscombs
Bottom:  Los Guffeys, me, Los Coombs, y Los Frosts

More pictures in the Maria Louisa Park. This statue had a pair of probably pigeons sitting on its head. Real ¨love birds¨ :)

More of the gardens. It was so peaceful there!
Spring is the time for a Catholic child's  First Communion and there were many families in the park with their kids dressed up in suits or beautiful white dresses to take their Communion pictures. Most were probably around 7 or 8, but it is traditional to take between 7 and 12. You can see a girl with a white parasol to the right.

I love those flowers and these women!

The park´s centerpiece, the outside of the Plaza de España, with its beautiful ceramic tiles. This and many of the buildings were built for an ¨expo¨, the Exposicion Ibero-Americano of 1929. They beautiful and extravagant, built just before the stock market crash of ´29, and was meant, among other things, to boost Spain´s moral after they lost all of their colonies in the Americas.

Some of the trees had a pretty wild root system and I love all the different varieties!

There were a number of little ¨Glorietas¨ around the park dedicated to various writers. This one is for the poet Gustavo Becquer. The three ladies are hopeful love, possessed love, and lost love. And the two Cupids are wounded love, and love which wounds.

Now we move on to the center of the Plaza de España (again, built for expo '29). I´ll let the pictures speak for themselves (loved the beautiful ceramics, waterway, and fountain!) and move on to the WHY of why we were in Sevilla. All of the beautiful parks and buildings were a feast for the eyes, but the Whole Mission Conference was a feast for the soul.
The conference featured President Dykes of the area 70 (which was really cool to see as he used to be the president of the Oregon Portland Mission!) and Elder Alan, an area 70, and their wives. I thought it was going to be a review of the booklets they gave us getting us ready for ipads, but it was nothing of the sort. It was one of the most spiritual meetings I've ever had the privilege to attend.

First President Dykes spoke about Christ and His atonement, and how we are all dependent on his mercy, merits, and grace. Also how Christ will help us make it through whatever may come our way, so don't quit! And get to really know the Savior by study, by prayer, and through the Holy Ghost. He will always be there to help us through whatever we may need him for, whether it be repentance, healing, or whatever.

(Back to the Plaza de España for a bit - there were small niches along the outside of one building dedicated to the southern provinces. Málaga is the province that Fuengirola is in (where the mission office actually is, about a half hour from Málaga).
 President Dykes also challenged us to do something that is really hard for me - learn all of the members' names in our ward! The Mijas branch is easy - there are only about 8 or 10 regular members that aren't missionaries, but I also go to some of the Spanish ward and I only know a few of their names.  That is something I really need to work on. He also challenged us to truly listen and DO when the Holy Ghost tells us something.

Elder Allen talked about moral agency, and using technology correctly. He emphasized that we need to be agents to act, rather than objects to be acted upon. A great idea was that we needed to get on technology with a specific purpose in mind, and when that purpose is accomplished, get off. I'm still working on that.
Safeguards for technology:  Be in tune with the Spirit, Focus on your purpose, Be disciplined, and Be One with your companion and the Lord.
A great conference.

Finally I want to mention a bit about our drive to and from Sevilla. I rode with the Coombs, and on the way we got on the toll road, which has very few exits, but the GPS keep telling us to get off... then on the way home it had us taking these little dinky roads, which actually was pretty cool because we got to see all kinds of beautiful countryside, with lots of little towns often built around hilltops for protection. Turns out the GPS was set to "avoid all major roads". Moral - be careful of the guide you are using and make sure it's leading you to where (and how) you want to go!