Saturday, November 29, 2014

November 30, 2014

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving morning dip!
What a great week we had.  There were those twinges of homesickness but we tried to do what our mission president suggested.  He said that we shouldn't try to have our same traditions from home while on a mission but he challenged us to make this holiday season different - very different.  He told us that we will be back to normal traditions the rest of our lives but use this year to do some unique things.  That we did!

Our Thanksgiving Day started with a quick trip to the beach.  Roger went in and surfed for a couple of hours and I was able to have a wonderful walk along the beach and pier, pass out some "He is the Gift" pass along cards and enjoy the wonderful weather!  What a great start to the day!  It was perfect weather and it was fun to see so many people out enjoying it.  I totally enjoyed it.

The servers getting ready to open the doors to the homeless.
We went home and got ready to go to the Lutheran church.  One of the ladies in our ward goes there every Thanksgiving to serve dinner to the homeless and she invited us to come along.  All of the mission office staff came also.  We had a very quick orientation on how we were to serve the people and got our cute aprons and gloves and then they let the people in.

Part of our crew. Roger,
Sister Soffe, Cheri and Bart
They said that we served about 600 people dinner!  It was really great to help so may who would not have had a dinner like that.  They were so grateful and thrilled to be there.  We were told that we were serving dinner but that the most important thing we were serving was love and that they wanted us to talk to the people and make them feel welcome.

There was a family there who had come every year for the past 6 or 7 years.  They came the first time when they were really struggling and wouldn't be able to have Thanksgiving - they just didn't have the money.  They were embarrassed that they would have to come and eat at a free place until they got to the church and they were made to feel great.  Now they keep coming.  They buy a turkey for someone who they think might need it and give it to them and then come each year and remember their many blessings.

There was another man I talked to who had a good job and a wife six years ago but he lost his job and then lost his wife and then lost everything else - home, health etc.  He is now living on the streets trying to get enough money to get in to an apartment again.    The stories go on and on.

Oh my!  So many people - so much food - so much fun!
My job was to be the "milk lady".  I walked around with a gallon of milk and served it to those who wanted it.  Many of the homeless people told me that they hardly ever get milk.  It spoils too easily and they were drinking it like it was going out of style!  One man had ten - yes ten! - glasses of milk and still ate a good portion of dinner.  We were there for three hours and then were able to sit down and eat some dinner ourselves.

Turkey hats?!!
Around the table, Veronica, me, Roger,
Sister Soffe, Bart, Cheri, Elder Knorr
and Sister Knorr
We met everything from characters who were a bit crazy to quiet, shy people who were down and out.  We loved the whole thing and would love to do it another time.  What a way to feel gratitude for what we have!

The spread!
We then went home and took a short nap (one tradition we didn't miss this year) and then we went to one of our ward members home who invited us for a very non-traditional dinner.

Her son's hobby is cooking and he has a bunch of friends who like to cook also.  They did the cooking and it was WONDERFUL!  It was so much fun to watch them ask they created these masterpieces.  There is so much more to them than it looks and that is probably why it tasted soooooooo good.

We had beef bourguignon, milk chicken with lemon curdles, a wonderful tossed salad, carrots with stuff I can't remember the name of, homemade sour dough bread, rosemary bread twist, yummy new potatoes, and THREE - yes three! - desserts!!!!!  Lemon Cheesecake, chocolate mousse with berries and creme brulle!  Oh wow!  It was all amazing and so much fun.  I didn't get pictures of the desserts.  Darn.  They were amazing.

Everyone there but the lady in our ward were not members or were inactive and we were able to talk with them and make new friends.  What a great evening.

Three of the chefs after the meal!
The whole day was about as perfect of a Thanksgiving Day that you could have if you weren't home with friends and family!

The rest of our week was full of stuff the normal stuff - missionaries, finances, beautiful sunsets, Rubio's Taco Tuesdays, missionaries, and we even got phone calls from some of the family!

Someone gave us a suit
to give to a missionary that needs
it.  Elder Rodriguez is getting fitted
for it.  He was so happy to get it!

We have a couple in our mission who were called to go to India but their visas aren't going to come through until January.  They had already rented their place so they couldn't go home. So they let them come to our mission until they get things settled with India.  They will be the only couple in India and are going to come in on Monday and learn as much as they can about the working of the office.  Can't imagine only having one couple to do all we do.  Their mission is much smaller but still......  Right now it is the mission president and the missionaries doing it all.

Clayton, the Mission President's son
made this for us!  

We bought a Christmas Tree for the office on Wednesday.  It was so weird.  It was 88 degrees and we were buying a Christmas Tree! Christmas music and decorations everywhere and we were so hot!

We are going to make it a "He is the Gift" tree.  We have made cards that say "I will share the gift by_________."  They will fill it out, sign it and put it on our tree.

I spent about a 10 to 15 minutes today putting up all of our decorations for our apartment!  A little 4 foot tree with very few decorations and a red bow on the front door!  That's it.  It is enough to feel Christmasy though!

I would imagine that most of you got some directions on the "He is the gift" campaign the church is kicking off right now.  I am excited to see what difference it makes in the mission.  The missionaries are excited too.  I would like to invite each one of you to pass along one of the cards to someone who might appreciate it.  In Utah that is harder but there are so many who are not active or who are struggling in many different ways who would love the message of the video.  Give it a try and tell me how it goes, would you?

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