Suzanne and Allen Smith are in Houston visiting their son and his family for Christmas. They came to the center today and took us to lunch. It was fun to see and visit with them and talk about Alpine and family. Suzanne is Steven's cousin (Aunt Lucille's daughter).
On Tuesday we went to work early because we closed the office at about 3pm so we could attend the mission Christmas dinner, devotional and picture "shoot". At work we had one of our candidates come in. She is a single mom of two boys. She drives a school bus and makes $16.00 per hour but wanted a better paying job so she could provide a better life for her boys. She has friends who work at a refinery and make good money and have good benefits so she has been trying or thinking that she would like to work at a refinery. We talked to her about a school that she was looking at to take a class that will help her get into a refinery job. Steven advised her that she should make sure that after she takes the class that the school has a good track record of graduate placements. He also pointed out that at a refinery she most likely would have to work shift work. She had not thought of that and who would watch her boys while she was working? We then talked about her bus job and if there was a possibility of advancement there. Steven helped her think of things that she had not thought of before. She said that we were an answer to her prayer. We told her that we just wanted her to make sure that she had all the facts before paying lots of money for a class that might not help her get the employment that she thinks she wants. She said that right now she needs to be home with her boys at night so I think that she will check on advancing with the school district bus department. A very smart, ambitious young mother trying to do her best to take care of her boys and herself. When she left the church I could tell that she was happier, less confused and more at peace with her life.
I am so thankful that we were able to go to the mission Christmas conference. The devotional was great. One zone sang a Christmas song and read scriptures. One sister played the flute when her zone sang. Two sisters and two Elders sang together; all the musical numbers were just beautiful. President Hansen offered the closing prayer, what a powerful prayer as he blessed the missionaries and their families. He offered a special blessing on a young sister who is going home for emergency surgery. It was a very spiritual meeting and I am so thankful that we were there. After the meeting they passed out letters to the young Elders and Sisters from their parents and gave them time to read them there in the chapel. We then each received a gift from President and Sister Hansen and also a Christmas card from the First Presidency. I am thankful to be a missionary and the great army of missionaries we are serving with.
When we returned home Elder Cameron and his new companion stopped by. He has some slacks that need a stitch or two and I am very thankful that I can help. These young missionaries who are serving in these latter-days are the best!
Wednesday was real quiet at work, no one called or came in. We sent job postings, checked new church employment website and updated our candidates files. The weather was real damp and warm, kind of reminded me of Arabia in December. It was our mission temple day today so we closed an hour early and went to the temple. It is a beautiful temple. After the session, I was leaving the dressing room I saw Sister Beck who used to live in Delaware. Her husband was the Bishop of the Christiana Ward and while he was serving as bishop he had a heart attack and died.
She then moved to Houston and we lost track of her after that. She has remarried and works in the temple on Wednesday! Another "tender mercy" to be there at the right time and to meet her again. We caught up with Steven and met her husband for just a second, I hope we can get together with them at a latter time. Today is Prophet Joseph Smith's birthday. I know he truly is a prophet and through him the gospel was restored. It has been a great day. I am thankful to be a missionary and I have the best companion!
Thursday we went grocery shopping for just a few items that we needed. We delivered a Christmas treat to our Hispanic neighbors who live above us and to the side of us. Our neighbor above us is worried that her three children make too much noise but we assured her again that they were just fine. In the evening we went for a drive to see the Christmas lights in some of the nearby neighborhoods. The weather was cold and very windy today.
Friday was a very sunny beautiful Christmas Day. We slept in until 7am and had a very nice morning together, our first Christmas in the mission field and we are glad we are here. We received nice gifts from friends and family. Debbie had put together a book with the Family Proclamation and pictures of our family though out the book it is beautiful, tears flowed as we read it. What a beautiful day, with the flowers out and all (in front of the apartment complex).
We went to my cousin Kent Chamberlain's home for dinner. It was fun to visit and be with him and Diane. There was just the four of us and we talked of Alpine and our families. It was a wonderful day. We talked to our kids and some of the grandchildren, everyone is doing well and they have each enjoyed Christmas. We are thankful for our family.
On Saturday the senior missionaries came to our apartment for breakfast, it was fun to have them. We drove to the Johnson Space Center together and enjoyed our time there. It is an interesting place but very crowded today. The weather was a bit on the cool side so poor Elder Walker nearly froze.
Sunday we visited the Katy 4th ward. We met our only candidate in that ward, he is now employed and we were happy to get that news! Sacrament Meeting talks were very good and we enjoyed meeting with the members of that newly formed ward. The priesthood and RS lessons were very good. A very nice sabbath day, cool, lots of sunshine and no wind.
We love our mission experience and are so thankful to be able to serve together.
May the Lord bless you
Love Mom and Dad