Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where Did the Islands Get Their Name?

I found this article from a website about the Canary Islands, and thought it was interesting.
Many think that the islands received their name from the canary birds, but it isn't necessarily so.

All breeds of canary bird existing in the world descend from the wild canary bird, "serinus canarius" and are still living and singing in the islands' fields and forests. The wild canary is brown, with some green and yellow shades. The Spaniards caught some of them after the conquest, during the 15th century, and this little singer became -in hundreds of colourful different breeds- a fashionable pet throughout the world.

Roman naturalist Plinius wrote that Juba, King of Mauritania and vassal of Rome in the Ist century B.C., sent an expedition to explore the mythical Fortunate Islands which were in the Dark Ocean beyond the Columns of Hercules (the Strait of Gibraltar). They gave name to some of these islands. One they called "Nivaria" for the snow covering its mountains (nivea=snow, in latin) -the island of Tenerife. Other was called "Herbania" (herba=grass, in latin) for the meadows they found there. A third one was named "Junonia" for the many doves they saw; the dove was the bird dedicated to goddess Juno. And one of the islands, in which they found a fierce breed of dogs (can, canis in latin), was called "Canaria"...

Regardless of what Plinius wrote in the first century, the fact is that the island called Gran Canaria was inhabited by a tribe who called themselves the "canarii." The islands were called "Fortunate Islands" or "Islands of Fortune." During the 15th century, the island of Canaria became famous for the brave defense deployed by their natives against the landings of the conquistadores. They started to call all islands "the Islands of Canaria", from which they were later called "Canary Islands" (Canarias, in Spanish).

The legendary Canary dogs are the emblematic figures who held the coat of arms in the official Seal of the islands. Their bronze statues are to be seen in Santa Ana square, between the Cathedral and the City Hall, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

So was it the bird, the dog, or the "canarii" tribe? No one seems to know for sure.
For More information about the Canary Islands, you can click on this link:


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Old Fashioned Methods Still Work

I have heard it been said that the old fashioned method of evangelizing doesn't work anymore in today's modern society. The idea of going out on the street and passing out gospel tracts to perfect strangers, going door to door inviting folks to church, and preaching on the streets is not "working" anymore, and has been replaced with more "creative" methods of presenting the gospel, such as sports programs, socials, clubs, etc. Figure out a way to draw a crowd, then sneak in the gospel somewhere, and hopefully they won't be offended too much.

I am not against nor criticizing people who do the above as they try to win people to the Lord, as I know many of them have good intentions and at least they are trying to do something (as long as it isn't sinful). God has used those as vehicles to present the gospel. But things haven't changed in that it is still the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation, and the preaching of the cross is still foolishness to those who don't believe--and it will still offend those who choose to reject it, as hard as some may try to water things down so it doesn't upset anyone. No one can be saved unless they believe in their heart the gospel, which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ--calling upon Him with a sincere and repentant heart--no matter where or how they happen to hear the gospel. That will never change. This includes a realization that you have sinned against a holy God, and need Jesus to be your Saviour.

Which brings me to my reason for writing this post--as missionaries here in the Canary Islands our objective is to win people to Christ, and start New Testament churches. This has come by much hard work as we are starting from scratch. My husband is just an old fashioned kind of preacher--he chooses to believe the Bible and endeavor to do what it says. In the book of Acts the early church preached publicly, from house to house, and in the streets. He has endured a lot of rejection and people making fun of him too, so it is by no means an easy task.

When we first arrived in Tenerife, we had the advantage of already speaking Spanish (which is an ongoing learning experience) but my husband was able to start going out and tell people about the Lord, and invite them for a Bible study. He also started going door to door, entering apartment buildings, housing developments, etc. and passing out John and Romans, gospel tracts, and talking to those who would listen.

Did it work? Well, here are a few examples of people who have come as a result of either door to door, street evangelism, etc.

Juliel and his wife--Doug met on street in downtown Santa Cruz, started Bible study in his apartment, discipled his family for 8 months.

Pedro--met Doug as a result of another man who Doug also met on the street of downtown Santa Cruz; has been faithful to church, brings his entire family, his wife has received Christ, and he also is going out on visitation with Doug now.

Yanet--Jenny and Hannah were out on visitation with their Dad, gave her a gospel tract, she was already saved, but came to church the next Sunday, has been faithful ever since, and plays the piano for us.

Cuban couple--Jenny and Hannah gave them a gospel tract one day, a year later Doug is going door to door with another missionary that he is helping, Doug invites them to attend his church and they come, and have been visiting now.

Wednesday night and Sunday morning we had 4 different visitors as a result of Saturday visitation.

Yes, these are challenging days we live in for presenting the gospel, and not as many people respond as we would hope, but it does work--and is still the power of God unto salvation.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blackout Affects Entire Island

Today while we were in the middle of school the electricity went out, and we later learned that the entire island lost power for several hours as a result of a lightning strike which happened just a few miles from our house.

The Associated Press
Published: March 26, 2009

A blackout left the entire island of Tenerife without power for several hours Thursday, trapping people in elevators, halting trains and causing huge traffic jams, officials said.

The outage was apparently caused by an electrical storm that knocked out a power plant, said Luis Roca, a spokesman for the local electrical utility, Unelco.
The Canary Islands, off the coast of northwest Africa, are one of Europe's most popular vacation sites. Tenerife, one of the seven islands, has a population of about 800,000.
Airports on the island operated normally after switching to emergency generators, the national airport authority AENA said.

About two-and-a-half hours after the blackout hit, crews managed to restore power to the island's capital city, Santa Cruz, the town of La Laguna and parts of the island's northern and southern coasts, Unelco said in a statement.

But before that, a light-rail system in Santa Cruz had ground to a halt, traffic lights had failed and huge traffic jams had clogged the streets, said Manuel Barreto, a spokesman for the city fire department.
"There is an absolute gridlock of cars," he said from the island during the peak of the blackout chaos.

The department received numerous calls from people trapped in elevators. Parents were calling each other with instructions to collect children from schools, which closed early. But in many cases people's cars were trapped in parking lots with electronically run doors or exit barriers, Barreto said.

"There are a lot of people out on the street trying to pick up their children," he said.
Hospitals and some other facilities were also operating on emergency power, an official with the Interior Ministry office in Tenerife said.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Don't Drink the Water (or pop for that matter!)

Monday after school we like to take a few hours off to just relax as a family, since the weekends are hectic with Doug working all weekend on ministry related tasks. Yesterday we got off to a rather late start, but jumped in the van, heading south searching for some sun. We ended up at Los Cristianos, a mega tourist area filled with shops, hotels, and restaurants. We walked up and down the boardwalk, enjoying the ocean and scenery.

As we were getting ready to head home, we were inundated with maitre' des hounding us, inviting us to eat in their restaurants. It is off season, so everyone is competing for their share of the tourist euro. We were just going to stop at McDonald's and pick up a chicken sandwich off the euro menu (something new here, similar to our dollar menu in the states) but were allured by the Chinese buffet, only 6.5 Euros per adult and kids 4 euros. It turned out, Rebekah was an adult, and when we ordered, we were informed that because the price of the buffet was so low, everyone must order something to drink to compensate for it, whether bottled water or pop, but everyone, including Leanna had to get one.

In the past we had a large family, so we have often kept our bill down by drinking water at restaurants--and never gave it a second thought--but now if you want water you must pay for it too.

My husband paid the bill when I took Leanna to the ladies room. On our way out I asked him how much it was (big mistake). Apparently to make a bigger profit they charge double for the drinks. What we thought would be an inexpensive dinner cost nearly $50! I was tempted to feel a little angry, but my sweet husband said not to let it ruin my day, and he is right. I let things like that get under my skin. It was nice of him to take us out, not to have to cook dinner for a change, and next time we will know better.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Do Women Listen Better Than Men?

They say that women talk more than men and we are stereotyped for our supposed love of gab, but without making too much of a generalization, I would like to propose that women are better listeners than men. Maybe women's' brains are wired differently when it comes to speech and vocal recognition skills (I didn't know what else to call it so I just made that up!)

We live on a street that has two parts, both are dead ends, and there is a house that sits in the middle of the sections so you can't pass through it. If you take a left turn off the main road you will never find our house, but if you take the right turn on the correct street you will find it with no problem.

We have had the opportunity for several servicemen to come and visit our house, from the electric company, a washing machine repair man, plumber, the telephone company, etc. On all of these occasions we have carefully given the men directions on how to get to our house, explaining the difficult circumstance surrounding our street and how you must take a right turn, etc. Usually about an hour later they call, telling us that they cannot find our house and there is no such number on our street--like we are crazy, and we must have given them the wrong number--or said it wrong at least. Some get down right mad at us, then when they find us they realize what they did wrong--and are usually a little embarrassed--but always have a good excuse for why they couldn't find it.

Last Friday a woman from a company was going to stop by our home to pick something up, and I gave her very specific instructions about how to get here, warning her of the potential mix up. Much to my surprise she showed up in less than 15 minutes. I told her that she was the first person (and she happened to be a woman) that ever found our house without getting lost. She very meekly replied, "Well, I just did what you told me to, and paid attention to the details you gave me."

Now I am assuming it is because first of all, when you try to give a man directions, something in their brain automatically shuts down, because they think they already know where they are going. Secondly, when they are lost, they are too proud to admit it, and would rather blame it on some one's poor directions (in our case they probably blame it on the fact we are foreigners).

Which brings me to my last point--I have noticed that whether the person is a man or woman, there seems to be a certain type of person who can understand everything we say, or at least try and figure it out when they don't. But I have noticed that there are some people that if you don't say it EXACTLY how they are accustomed to hearing it spoken in their particular dialect, they have no imagination or no desire to even guess at what you are trying to say. They just stare at you like what in the world, totally clueless.

It has taught me to be a much more patient listener, especially when I call a business 800 number only to find I have been connected with a foreign answering/phone center. I recall on a few occasions asking them for a person who spoke English. Now I know exactly how they feel.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just Clownin' Around

Last week the theme of Leanna's home school unit was the circus, and each day they had a little skit performed by two clowns, Dewey and Daisy. The girls loved watching them each day as they performed their antics, and Rebekah got the idea that she wanted to dress up like a clown for her upcoming birthday.

We headed down to the town of Candelaria, where there are many small novelty shops, and looked around for some inexpensive props for costumes. The timing was perfect as they had just celebrated Carnival here and there were many items left over in the stores, at reduced prices. It was a lot of fun while developing their creativity, and I thought I would post a few pictures of their first attempts. I am sure they will perfect the art of putting on the makeup, and add more to the costumes as they dream up more ideas.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Never Take Cool Whip for Granted

Today the topic of American food came up at our Sunday dinner. We often discuss what we like, what we don't like about the food here in the islands, and what we miss from the states. Today we were eating homemade minestrone soup and a friend at church gave us some sweetened gofio to try. It is a staple here in the Canary Islands--roasted grains such as wheat, corn, and barley are ground into flour and then added to many different foods, from baby formula, stew, even ice cream. Ours was molded into a loaf with raisins, almonds, and honey, and is very moist and dense. It is something you have to acquire a taste for, I suppose.

"When we get to the states, I am going to Denny's, and get me a big, fat, juicy cheeseburger, french fries, and a chocolate milk shake," stated my husband.

Rebekah wants Perry's Panda Paw ice cream.

And Leanna?

"I want that white stuff that comes in a plastic bowl."

I was a bit puzzled.

"You know, it is like whipped cream, but it isn't?" she said.

Cool whip? I asked.

"Yea, cool whip!"

Who would have ever guessed she would remember cool whip from the states!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Men and Women

I have seen this before, but it brings a smile to my face because in so many ways it is true. Thought I would share it on my blog for those of you who haven't read it before.


When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each throw in $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.

When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need but it's on sale.

A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel .

The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.

A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, but she does.

A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the trash, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.
A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.

Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.
Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.

A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.