Noticias Artículo: Mission Boundary Changes in Spain
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Dear Elders y Hermanas of Spain,
It appears that this weekend's edition of the Church News will be announcing changes to be made to the missions in Spain. In short, the Bilbao mission will be closed, leaving Spain with missions in Madrid, Barcelona, and Malaga. The new mission boundary map is attached.
I have included a letter from President DuVall, a former mission president from Bilbao. His letter is directed to the former missionaries serving in Bilbao, but I believe you will appreciate what he has to say as well.
I hope you all continue to be well and firm in the gospel.
Dear returned missionaries of the Spain Bilbao Mission,
Many of you have already contacted us with the news about the Spain
Bilbao Mission. The rumors are true. I certainly am not “enchufado”
and certainly not in the loop anymore, but I wrote to Presidente Clegg
and he was kind enough to share with me the news he had already shared
with his missionaries. It will be published in the Church News on
February 13. It is happening in other places, not just Spain, but we
will have to wait for the Church News to get more details around the
It is with a sad heart that I contemplate this news that the Spain
Bilbao Mission will be closed. I know that you share with Hermana
DuVall and me an intense love for Bilbao and the mission. Our
connection to Presidente y Hermana Wakefield (the first to open the
mission) even added to that love. As we heard the news, Hermana
DuVall and I sat and talked about the mission and shed a few tears.
There will now be 3 missions in Spain. The Barcelona Mission will
assume the Vitoria Spain Stake and all of the branches and
missionaries that are in that part of the mission. The Leon and
Santiago Districts will now be part of the Madrid Mission. Madrid
will also pick up the Canary Islands. Malaga will lose the Canary
Islands, but it looks like they will gain some of the lower half of
the Madrid Mission and maybe some of the lower part of the current
Barcelona Mission. This will be effective July 1st when Presidente
Mellor returns home from the Malaga Mission and Presidente y Hermana
Clegg are reassigned to preside over the Malaga Mission. There is a
permanent boundary in my heart and it is etched forever, along with
your faces and the people of Spain that we love so dearly. I know you
share those feelings, and it links us together.
NOW, the smile on my face! This is the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ
is at the head of His Church and He is in charge. This decision was
made by a living prophet. That means IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO and
an indication that the “stone is rolling forward”. It will fill the
whole earth, and you are witnessing a miracle in His organization. I
hope it will be OK with you to share a few thoughts on why I think
this will be a good thing for the Kingdom. You may not be aware of a
few of these, and it might help in your evaluation and thinking.
First of all, there isn’t a couple better prepared and better suited
to make this happen than Presidente y Hermana Clegg. There are LOTS
of reasons that have surfaced and will continue to be manifest in why
they were sent to Bilbao. However, this is a major one in my mind.
They are superb in the skills that will be necessary to make this
transition. I absolutely rejoice that they are in the right place at
the right time (what would you expect knowing the Lord is in
While there is so much to be done, the creation of the Vitoria Stake
changed the dynamics of the Bilbao Mission. This marvelous miracle is
wonderful, but in the moment of its creation, the mission president
had a significant change of responsibility. More than half of the
members of the church in Northern Spain no longer fall under his
stewardship. No more temple recommend interviews or any other kind
of interviews, no more priesthood stewardship, etc. All of this is
now under the Stake President (Presidente Franco) and his direct
reporting to the Quorum of the Twelve and the Area Presidency.
The number of missionaries is being reduced (as you already know).
Madrid is going to 60 missionaries, Bilbao is going to 60
missionaries, Barcelona is going to 90, and Malaga something like 70.
The “ideal” mission complement is 120-150 and is that high in many
areas in the world. With this number of missionaries it still only
leaves an average complement of 90-95 missionaries in each of the
three remaining missions. It is still a very good number to allow a
president to have very close contact and still below the old numbers
that each of those 3 missions had. (As you know, Bilbao was the
smallest mission in Spain).
The President of the Malaga mission and the missionaries who were
being transferred had to fly to Madrid many times to catch a plane to
the Canary Islands. It is so much more convenient to travel to the
Canary Islands from Madrid than from any other location. Also,
residencia is a huge issue (have you ever heard that before??). With
recent changes, I believe it will be much better for those
missionaries to have their mission in Madrid.
A few of you that served in the office will know that a mission is
VERY expensive. I am confident that issue was not part of the
decision, but I view it as a “side benefit” to the Kingdom. Instead
of rent on another office and mission home, they can use those dollars
(Euros!!) on ministering and building the stakes and districts.
The travel is about the same from Madrid to A Coruna as it is from
Bilbao. All freeways in Spain lead to Madrid. Also, the Mission Home
in Madrid is close to the airport. The president could fly to
Santiago cheaper and easier than from Bilbao. I don’t see any
downside to the travel. The same is true from Barcelona to Bilbao.
They can make this work!
Well, there are lots of other reasons that have come to my mind as I
have thought about it. You will probably think of some of your own;
transfers, companions, etc. - lots of thoughts. However, we know that
these are great men. They will make it work. I want to thank each
one of you for being part of the greatest mission in the world and for
helping it get to a point where the necessary adjustments could be
made and still have the great growth and success in new converts that
is happening all over Spain. I join you in prayer on behalf of all
those who will carry out this change and on behalf of the great
members and missionaries of the Spain Bilbao Mission.
Hermano and Hermana DuVall
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