Tuesday, March 13, 2012

FW:





Dear family and friends,
We just got our internet hooked up last night, Monday. It's Tuesday 11:00 am right now and it feels good to be able to communicate with our family and friends at home again without hunting down an internet service somewhere. How spoiled we get!!
 We did get to go to the Madrid temple twice while we were there in the MTC. Beautiful chandelier in the Celestial room. I've never seen one as beautiful. We used head phone sets for the English translation and had an English speaking brother at the veil. There are temple workers from Kaysville working there and another couple from Utah somewhere. There are a lot of people from Utah serving everywhere here in Spain. It's amazing to me to see the desire of so many to want to serve the Lord.
We took a walk one day to check out the stores and buy some electrical adaptors and munchies and also to the mall, about a 15 min walk, to get more mug shots for more residency paper work!! We had to sign a contract drawn up by a lawyer and sign it in front of a notary also. Lots of paper work!
On Friday we rode the bullet train to Malaga. It took us about 2 hrs and 45 min with 3 stops along the way. To drive takes about 6 hours so you can see how fast the train travels. The country side is beautiful. Miles and miles of olive trees, citrus trees and lots of farming land. The fruit here is wonderful. The strawberries are as large as limes. The fruits are all grown here in Spain.
The weather in Madrid was so cold but it's a little warmer here in Malaga. We are running the heating system to keep warm and just about froze the first night because it took forever to get the apartment warmed up. It has all wood and tiled floors. Our apartment is 3 bedroom and 2 baths, living room and a small kitchen but it has an oven, which most apartments here do not have. Most people do not cook here. They buy there food already baked or eat out. Crazy! The kitchen also has a dishwasher, and a clothes dryer and washer. Most apartments do not have clothes dryers or dishwashers. I don't care about the dishwasher so much, but I'm happy I don't have to hang my clothes out the window like most people do. That's why Brother and Sister Massaro had a difficult time finding us an apartment because we told them we really needed and oven and a clothes dryer. I think we really lucked out but the furniture is pretty poor. Our bed is ok except for a little spring pokes me once in awhile!!! The traffic noise is loud all around us until late into the night, but we are getting used to it. We are so tired by bed time it doesn't matter about the noise. We live on a second floor level and have a security lock on the front door where the residents keys are the only way to get in. If Doug goes out and forgets his key, or can't make his key work, which happens often, he just pushes a button that beeps in our apartment and his picture comes up on a little screen so I can see and talk to him and then I can push a button that unlocks the door for him. Cool!! Our door to our apartment has like 12 dead bolts so it would be very unlikely anyone could break in. We are told that there are very little killings or sexual attacks here but there are a lot of thieves looking to snatch your purse, break into your car or home, so I'm glad we have the extra locks. We have roll shudders on the outside of our windows for extra security also. We are in an older part of the city so it's not as nice as some areas.

 We took a little trip with Brother and Sister Massaro to see the Mission President, Pres. Clegg, in Fuengirola yesterday, which is about 30 min from Malaga. What a wonderful man. He and his wife are so full of energy and are so enthusiastic. They will be going home in 6 months.  He has been good for this mission in helping it grow. They have had 80 baptisms in just the last 2 and 1/2 months. After our meeting, took a walk to the beach and down some of the streets. It's beautiful there. We did some shopping to stock up on a few things for our apartment which we will be reimbursed for. We ate at a little sidewalk open air cafe run by Morrocans and had something called a kebob. It's like a wrap and is so good. They tell us there is good chinese food here too.
 We walked to church on Sunday and got lost!! One of the young Elders came looking for us and brought the lost sheep into the fold!!! This Sunday was Ward Conference so the Stake Presidency was there and spoke. EVERYTHING was in Spanish. Very few people speak English. I feel totaly lost. I feel we should have been told to learn as much Spanish as possible before we came. I was told we really didn't need it because most people spoke English. Not true!!!! A brother from the Stake Presidency sat behind us in S.S. and translated a lot of  the lesson, which was nice but in R.S. I had a sister try to tell me a little every 10 min or so. She didn't speak a lot of English but was trying to make me feel part of it. The people are so kind and loving. They greet you with a kissing sound on each side of your cheeks, which I love. The ward meets in a building set up for like a ward meeting house but they don't have a chapel of their own. There about 300 members but only 30 percent active so some work needs to be done there. Those that are active are strong and so loving and accepting of others.
President Clegg did tell us we should attend the English speaking ward for awhile until we start to understand the language a little better. That way we can get the lesson instructions that we need, but we don't have a car yet and it's too far to walk. We should get our car soon and we are fortunate because the mission cannot get any more cars. I guess ours is the last one. The missionaries walk everywhere. They have no bikes or cars. (I know,) I'm a real pansy!
We met some of the youth we will be working with and they are great kids. Some of them spoke English and were asking us a lot of questions. It was fun getting to know them. We are supposed to have our first meeting with the youth counsel Thursday but that is the day we have to travel back to Madrid for more fingerprinting for the local authorities here and handing over the paper work we signed for the notary. The paper work never ends. So we will miss our first youth counsel meeting but the President of the Youth Counsel is on top of things and has been keeping things running while they have been waiting for us to arrive. They have activities almost every night. Family night is with their own families and our youth group FHE is on Thursday. One night for activities of some sort, an English speaking class, institute class, and then a night they just meet to do whatever they decide to do. The youth just love being together as a group. It's great!! We can't wait to really start working with them. Their activities usually don't start until 8:00 or 9:00 at night because of their schooling so we will be up late into the nights and sleeping in in the mornings. Doug will love that kind of life style. I will have to adjust to it I guess. I pray the Lord will bless me to do whatever I need to do. I am willing, I just need the help from above.
I study Spanish everyday. It is coming very slowly for me. I think I know something pretty good until I start a conversation with a real person and then it's a whole new story!! But all is well and we are happy to be serving where we are. Each day gets better and better as we learn our way around and feel comfortable with our surroundings.
I am finally feeling better but it has taken a long time. The plane trip over was good though so I was blessed that way and I don't have any symptoms of asthma since arriving here in Spain, Yeah!!
Doug just got our Magic Jack hooked up as I am writing you so hopefully you can call us at our Utah home phone number. 1-801-544-4804 - blog: jdspainhower.blogspot.com 
Love you all and pray that you are all well and happy. 
Elder and Sister Spainhower





Bullet Train and our piso (apartment)



The Bullet Train
What a train ride! Fast, easy and comfortable.


 
Our bedroom
 


Our bath
 


A Bidet
 





Desk area


3rd bedroom
 
2nd bedroom

 
2nd bedroom

3rd bedroom
 
 



dish washer & clothes dryer
 
2nd bath

 

Kitchen/clothes dryer
 
 
Micro & oven

 


View from bedroom

 
dining area

 
Living room

View from dining area
 
 

 

 
Doug/Madrid Temple

 
Madrid view from the MTC window