Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21, 2014


What a great week!  And I again, hardly got any pictures of the BIG things.  You will just have to imagine them with me.  

Sunday started off with a bang.  Up early and started our missionary council meeting at 10:00, Ward Council at 11:00, Choir Practice at 12:00, Sing in Sacrament meeting Christmas choir at 1:00, Teach primary at 2:15, 3:00 set out hundreds and hundreds of cookies on trays for the 4:00 "Linger longer", home quickly to eat a bite and leave at 6:00 to pick up a darling older non-member couple to go to the fabulous Stake Christmas Concert, home at 9:00!  It was a great day!  A day full of music and the true meaning of Christmas.  We had lots of opportunities to be with good people and to share.  It doesn't get much better than this - or does it?

Our Sacrament meeting choir was so under rehearsed but  miraculously we really sounded great.  Such great music and talks.  It was fun to be a part of.  And then the stake concert....... Wow!  They had a 60 person adult choir, a 20 person children's choir, 10 person youth chime group and a 15 person orchestra.  Professional quality voices and musicians made it so great.  Wow!

It's beginning to look A LOT like Christmas!
The picture above was of Monday mornings
package before the missionaries picked them up
to take them to their zones on Tuesday.  This
is a picture of Wednesday's new arrivals.  Our
missionaries are loved and missed!
The rest of our week was great too.    It is amazing to see the amount of packages that we are getting in preparation for Christmas!  What is sad is that some get ten - yes ten packages and other's haven't received anything.  We have been trying to figure out who need the special gift baskets we have made up for sub for Santa  and keeping track of who isn't getting anything.  It is usually the foreign missionaries but amazingly enough we find that some of our very best missionaries are here without much support at home.  You would never know it if you didn't count the packages.  

Table set up for Schmitts and Nielsons.  We suggested
that we set it up on the foyer so that they didn't
have to sit in the middle of the office busyness
but this is what they wanted soooo....
This week was Zone Conferences.  We had Elder and Sister Brent Nielson of the Seventy come be with us for three wonderful days.   We were able to have several opportunities to be with the Nielsons and grew to love them and appreciate their wisdom strength.  Monday night they came and interviewed with the Mission President and his wife for over TWO hours.  We baby sat the kids and set up the table for a dinner they had with the Schmitt family after the interview.  

Tuesday we got to have them come over after the first Zone Conference and eat dinner with us.  We made a wonderful meal of a pork tenderloin with a fruity rich sauce spooned over it, string beans, rice pilaf, a raspberry almond salad and of course, cheesy rolls.  I think the rolls were the hit of the menu.  I am sad that I didn't even think of getting a picture of us with them.  It was a lovely evening with wonderful - very real - people.  

Zone Conference dessert table!
We had only two conference with half of the mission at each one.  What a great spiritual feast with so many wonderful ideas of how to work more effectively as missionaries and in our families.  We stayed at the office on Tuesday while one of the couples went to the conference and then we took our turn on Wednesday.  It started at 8:00 with a Sister's meeting.  Sister Nielson told them that they are here, now for a very special reason.  They should find those reasons.  She told how the church leaders have been praying for years about lowering the age of the sisters to go and how thrilled she was with that when it happened.  She said that there was a great thing that they need to take advantage of happening while on a mission.  They are able to watch wonderful young men and how they use their priesthood to make decisions to guide their lives.  She told them that it was OK to watch these young men and choose what kind of man they want to help them raise their children.  Kinda interesting stuff to be telling sister missionaries.  We then had our combined meetings from 9 - 12, lunch at noon and more meetings from 1-3.  Sounds horrible and long but it was very interesting.  He gave wonderful insight to the missionary program and the future of it.  I have 20 pages of notes but won't go into it now.
Missionaries EVERYWHERE!  We LOVE being with missionaries!


Wednesday night was our scripture class.  We had a small group and have decided that Christmas time is not a good time for extra things like this so we are going to cancel class until the new year.  We were able to get Bart there this time.  It is amazing how quickly he has jumped into activity.  It is so fun to have him involved.  

Beautiful rainbow outside our office!  
Christmas office staff lunch
We had a busy week in the office beside all of the outside the office stuff.  Sooooo many packages.  I had heard that it was a bit crazy but oh my!  It was the week to pay the rent and we were able to get it off without a hitch.  It used to seem like such a big deal to pay all of the rent and get it right.  But we are getting better at it, working on it through the month and it is now quite easy.  Yay!  I can spend $150,000 with one click of the mouse!  We had an office Christmas dinner on Friday and a couple of the elders that live right by the office cooked the meal for us.  

Elder Jennings and Elder Gillespie
It seems like each time we plan a little meal for the office staff there are always others that come by and we end up feeding lots of extras.  Elder Gillespie's dad died a few months ago.  He went home for a week and came back.  He is amazing and doing well.  We love being able to be with these wonderful guys!  They teach us so much.  

Saturday was a great Relief Society activity in our ward.  We had a "White Christmas" and all went to the temple together.  It was fun being with all those wonderful ladies in white.  I have grown to love and respect these good women.  It will be hard to leave them all.  

Sister Owens from Alaska and me
at zone conference.
We are amazed that it is Christmas already.  Time seems to fly by.  I guess that is good because otherwise this time of year would be even harder.  I am missing the regular Christmas stuff that we do at home.  We miss the Christmas programs at the elementary schools, the piano recitals etc.  I keep seeing how family members are gathering and it gives me a bit of a twinge of sadness.  But we really are enjoying the service here and will miss it when we are gone. Isn't that how it is?  We miss home when we are here and will miss here when we are home.  

We are happy and healthy.  We feel blessed to have the gift of the gospel in our lives and the opportunity to help with the missionary force here in San Diego.  What would we ever do without the gift of the atonement in our lives?  I have loved the "He is the Gift" program this year.  It has really helped us put Christmas in perspective this year.  

May Christmas be wonderful!  Let us know what you do and let us be a little involved in your Christmas by hearing about it.  We love you and miss you all!


Anthony our mail man.  He was using Sister
Soffe's phone so I clicked a picture of him.
We love him and are working on him to
receive the lessons.  

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