Monday, January 31, 2011

Christmas @ the Mission Home

I was getting a little weepy about spending Christmas all by ourselves in the big empty mission home, so we invited the Assistants and the office Elders along with their pisomates to spend Christmas Eve and Morning with us.  Purely selfish, I know!!!  They didn't arrive until 10:30 pm because they all had dinner appointments and visits planned until late.  As they walked in the door they all begged to sing Christmas carols around the piano!  Music to my ears....literally. They are incredible singers!!  It made my whole Christmas!
Elders Anderson, Carey, Ketchum, Jackson,
R.Driggs, A. Driggs and Reist 

I tried to assign companionships to various bedrooms, but they all wanted to sleep on mattresses in the living room, so we pushed the furniture back and they had a slumber party! I tried to explain how to turn off the Christmas tree lights.  Elder Ketchum looked absolutely thunderstruck, so the lights stayed on all night!

Elders Jackson, Anderson, A. Driggs, Bartholomew
Elders Ketchum, R. Driggs, Reist and Carey

Eight excellent Elders.  Even on Christmas morning they were up on time.  We opened a few gifts, I fed them breakfast and they all went cheerfully off to work.  One of my best Christmases ever!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A New Beginning

My daughter Rachel set this blog up for me more than a year ago, and here it has sat, abandoned and solitary. I've made a new resolve to actually keep up this blog or die in the at tempt! Nothing like a ringing and overblown mission statement to start a new year out right!

We had a wonderful time celebrating the birth of the Savior through the entire month of December. As there are four distinct geographical areas in our mission, we scheduled four consecutive preparation days to have Christmas Celebrations. The schedule was the same for all four celebrations, with slight variations for different circumstances. We had a one hour program with readings from the story of the Nativity from the scriptures interspersed with appropriate hymns. Then we had dinner, followed by white elephant gifts, singing and a zone photo. Sister Jewell, our senior office missionary, made bags of English toffee for each missionary to take home.  

On December 8 we went to the Santiago Zone for the first Christmas Celebration.  After the chicken burrito lunch, the Elders from Ourense brought out THREE birthday cakes for me that a sister in their branch had made.  What a sweet surprise!                                  
Above:  Elders Pyne, Porter, Hinton, Benson, Ellsworth, Howard, Quevedo, Aston, Zamora, and Hnas. Sandoval and Schiffler.

 Elder Zamora, Hnas. Sandoval and Schiffler, Elders Albretsen, Anderson, Pyne, and Porter


The following week we flew to the Canary Islands for their celebration.  Elders Sanchez and Mateer had a little trouble catching their flight from the island of Lanzarote, so we were a little delayed starting, but that gave me a chance to visit with some dear friends from when I served my first mission on the island of Tenerife.  Sister Andrew, the senior sister missionary on Tenerife, cooked a wonderful turkey dinner for us all.  
Back:  Elders Martin de la Sierra, DeHaro, Hodges, Ross,
Andrews, Sanchez, Watkins, Kap, Parker, Mateer and Slack
Front:  Hnas. Benitez, Andrews, Watkins, Parker and Nielsen
The next week, Dec. 22, was the Leon Zone's turn.  We drove to Leon, picking up the Salamanca and Valladolid Elders on the way.  We went with the original menu of chicken burritos with cake and ice cream for dessert.  After we broke up the party, I realized I had forgotten to pass out the English toffee and take the zone picture!  I tried calling everyone back and caught a few, but some had already left to catch buses.  So here is the photo of the ones who were still there:
Back:  Elders Crocker, Castro, Saune, Rivera, Bundy, Murga, Benson, Gallego, Rigby, Simmons
Front: Elders Soliz, Blatter, Whitesides, Wadsworth, and Larrea
Missing:  Elders Kay, Schuerch, Woolsey, Dawson, Robertson and Hanson