Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bon Nadal!

We had such an amazing time in Barcelona for Christmas!  We feel so blessed that we were able to go, and particularly blessed that we made it through all those long plane flights with two toddlers.  Whew.  Thank goodness we had Uncle Spencer there to help!

I could take up pages with all the stories, all the sights we saw, all the beauty of Barcelona.  But the best part, of course, was being a part of all that Mom and Dad are doing.  We saw the whole transfer process - Mom and Dad spending hours in the mission office praying and looking at the transfer board and putting each missionary in the right place.  We met the three new missionaries coming in, and spent time with the three missionaries leaving.  We went to a baptism the day after we arrived, and church the day after that.  Ellie couldn't get enough of the missionaries; she wanted to spend all her time in the office talking to them. They were so sweet to her.

My favorite moment in Barcelona was finding out that the mission had achieved its goal of 400 baptisms for the year.  It was the last Sunday afternoon of the year, and we were heading out to see Parc Guell (designed by Barcelona's famous architect Gaudi).  We met the missionaries coming back to the office.  The assistants had been on the phone all afternoon making sure all the scheduled baptisms had happened.  When they saw us, Elder Lee (an assistant and departing missionary) exclaimed, "We did it!  We just confirmed the 400th baptism!"  It was an emotional moment.  I was so glad we had witnessed it. Later that night, Mom made a Texas moist cake and put candles with the number 400 on it and took it to the office for a celebration.  As the elders continued calling district and zone leaders to gather their weekly numbers, they confirmed two more baptisms, bringing the yearly total to 402.  An incredible miracle!

Despite being so busy, Mom and Dad actually spent a lot of time with us.  After dropping the departing missionaries off at the airport, we all hopped in the big Transporter van and headed to the coast.  Mom and Dad love a little place on the Costa Brava called Tossa de Mar.  The medieval castle walls still stand, complete with medieval apartments build inside the walls.  Ellie was thrilled to walk on an actual castle wall and I, of course, was just soaking in all that medieval history.  The weather was sunny with a breeze, and it was so relaxing.

Mom and Dad took us to their favorite Tapas and hot chocolate restaurants, and their favorite neighborhoods and stores.  We went to the Columbus statue overlooking the harbor, the Maritime Museum, cathedrals, and (at least for me) the National Museum of Catalon Art (a huge medieval fresco collection - heaven).  On our last night, New Year's Eve, Mom cooked up a classic Spanish paella.  She's amazing!  They have so much energy, it's just incredible.  They are just loving being with each other, being missionaries, living in a big European city, and taking care of the Lord's work in Spain.  I'm already saving our pennies to get back as soon as we can!