David called and did not get the job he interviewed for in Utah. They have cleaned out their apartment in Rexburg and are headed to Utah for Christmas with Raquel's mother. Jessica called and they are on the road to Delaware for Christmas. We started our mission wide fast this evening. Warm today in the mid 70's.
Tuesday we went shopping for more graham cracker house supplies and putting stuff together to haul to the church tomorrow. The contractor working on the lights around the mission office was back doing punch list items. I guess I am really doing the FM group's job on this little project, but I do not mind as I do like "project" work. We cleaned up the spare bedroom for Elder and Sister Christensen as they will spend tomorrow night with us.
Wednesday - WOW what a day. We started early moving things over to the church and getting set up. Ice in the ice chest and water coolers, setting up tables (the young missionaries do the "work" they just need supervision), and getting the outdoor activities ready. The missionaries had a service project at NAM (similar to Deseret Industries) and Pres. Hansen took the district that is right around the office and they cleaned up along Hafer Road. One of the groups of missionaries did a food drive for NAM in the local neighborhoods and collected just under 3000 pounds of food. They really did a good job with that project. The missionaries all came back to the church at noon to eat lunch. We had 35 large pizzas, green salad, oranges and pumkin bread. Not much left over at all. They were then divided into 3 groups. One went to the YW's room to make graham cracker "houses", one group outside to play ultimate frisbie, and one group to games. The games consisted of the tug of war ran by Elder Christensen (the big rope really worked out well for 25 or 30 missionaries per side), Elder Stringfellow had frozen beef pies to throw as "cow chip" throwing contest, and Elder Thomas ran the stick pull. Every 45 minutes the missionaries rotated between the three main activities. They really had a good time. After the activities we all changed into our proselyting clothes and had the mission picture taken. Let me say that having a family picture taken is a piece of cake compared to getting 170 or so missionaries (including seniors) positioned and ready for the photo. After the photo we quickly set up tables and chairs and had dinner. The sister that does the dinner for the departing missionaries at the temple also did this dinner. It all went well. After dinner we went into the chapel, where Pres and Sister Hansen briefly spoke, and then Elder Gifford Neilson (Area Authority 70) spoke. Following the devotional we went back into the culture hall and the seniors served Blue Bell ice cream and homemade cupcakes. Most all the Stake Presidents and their wives in our mission were also in attendance to the dinner and devotional. It was about 9 pm before we got back to the apartment. But what a wonderful day it was. It is so much fun being around the missionaries.
Thursday Leona fixed a nice breakfast for the Christensen's and we got them on their way. Leona spent the morning at the church cleaning the kitchen and putting things away. I unloaded the truck and put things away at the office. Today the missionaries all went to the temple at assigned times. Leona and I went to the temple later in the afternoon. This evening we went out to get a few things for the BBQ tomorrow.
Friday we got up and ran our 2 miles as usual, got ready and into the office by about 7:40. The office staff fixed a BBQ lunch for the North Zone. Their Zone meeting is held at the Hafer Building so they just came over to the office after their meeting was over. I grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Others had brought potato salad, jello salad, soda, and all the fixin's. The missionaries really seemed to enjoy the lunch. and even sang a hymn for us. We cleaned up and left about 2:30 so I could get up to the mission home to take a family picture for President Hansen. All their kids and grandkids were there. It was fun to be with them for a few minutes.
Christmas day was a quiet day for us (thank goodness). We got to talk to all the kids which was great for us. The Seniors met at the sister's apartment for dinner about 5 pm. We enjoyed a nice meal and long visit together. We are so thankful for this Christmas season - what a blessing to know the true nature of Jesus Christ and the restoration. We are blessed to be serving this mission together and are very thankful for this experience.
Sunday the weather was very cool, but lots of sunshine. The speakers and the ward choir really did an inspiring job in sacrament meeting. One sister spoke on the light of Christ and how the light will always win over darkness - lots to think about.
We love you. Drive safely, you are in our prayers.
Dad and Mom