Sunday, December 11, 2011

Now THIS is a White Christmas!!

Our White Christmas participants with their silly missionaries...we love these guys and gals!
I have such a difficult time realizing it is December!!!  And only two weeks until the red man creeps through our house and fills our stockings and I AM STILL SWEATING!!!  I suppose if you grew up with palm trees, rainy nights, air conditioning and wanting ice cream in December it would not feel odd but MY history is a fireplace, a warm, snuggly blanket, hot chocolate, a snowstorm howling outside and a great book in front of the tree listening to Christmas music filling the air.  Somehow this just doesn't feel right however.........we had two more marvelous Devotionals and the missionaries are helping me get into the spirit and create a new Christmas on the other side of the world.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I LOVE these people.  They are so warm, friendly, appreciative and enthusiastic.  Our teaching is really blossoming and in the new year, the focus of the work will change drastically...can't wait to see what explosions occur then~
Elder Macaisa, Elder Miole, Sister Tabudlong, Elder Young, Elder Valdez
Friday night we had our second Devotional in the Alicia district.  The missionaries there are so amazing and did a fabulous job of pulling off this wonderful message.  President Carlos does such a great job of bringing the focus to the Savior at this time of year with his message at the end of each presentation.   One of the most moving parts of the evening is always at the end of the devotional when we invite any current or past full-time missionaries to come up and sing 'We'll Bring the World His Truth' with the missionary choir on the stand.  Some are hesitant to come forward but once a couple stand up, they all join in and what a powerful message is delivered-we are bringing His truth to this part of the world and how wonderful that truth is in our lives.  There are few dry eyes, even the investigators are touched.

Yesterday was such a busy day-the morning started with the District [kind of like a Stake but more spread out] Relief Society Christmas Party.  The women here LOVE to party and can really put on quite the event.  It is so funny though because the word promptly does not exist in their culture.  When I ask someone when an event is supposed to start, they give me a time range of usually two hours.  I was told this party will start around 8 but it was 10 when the actual opening exercises, the welcome, etc. occurred.  I think part of the reason is the distance and transportation issues these people face-some come two hours to attend and bring their food for the day with them.  The Relief Society party went until 2 and most then boarded Jeepney's to take them to Burgos for the Devotional.

The sisters from Tabuk-2 hours away

The sweet Aurora sisters with their part of the entertainment
We also had a marvelously 'white Christmas' with the baptism of 24 people!!!  What an awesome sight as they all gathered for a photo shoot.  The baptism was at noon [but really started at 1:15] and with the speakers and the program, ended at 2:45 which really put a crunch on the devotional participants but we pulled it off without a hitch!  Randy has a solo part that is just wonderful-he sings 'When Joseph Went to Bethlehem' with such feeling and emotion and it takes me back to our Christmas eve celebrations with our little ones-we always 'did' the nativity and that was a favorite song for our family.  If Cristin and Kim were to hear him, they both would be weeping...he also plays the violin as an obligato to Mary's Lullaby, normally sung as a duet with Brenda and me but last night, as the Carlos' were at a District Conference and couldn't attend, I invited our 'Filipina Cora' to sing it as a solo-she is only 8 years old but has such a strong and pure voice.  I saw many eyes being dabbed during her presentation.  Brenda invited her to do it again in Cauayan on the 18th for their devotional so we will hear her one more time.

Our 'characters' for Roxas were Elder McGuffin, Elder Oliver, Elder Rausa, Elder Ward and Sister Villamor
Tomorrow I will go to the mission home very early and will spend my preparation day baking Christmas cookies and candies with Brenda.  Not sure if Gloria or Sister Russell [Sharon] will be able to come but it will be fun.  I am making Soda Cracker Candy, a favorite of our family.  What is your favorite Christmas goody and are you making it this year???


  1. Wonderful post! Maybe we Americans are too time focused? I am like you and like to begin on time . . . very aware of time. We have clocks all over our house. I noticed at my son's house in Louisiana, they have no clocks anywhere in their home. And they are very laid back when it comes to being on time. I like visiting with them because they are so relaxed when it comes to time . . . as long as it's not something I'm in charge of, or have to meet someone at a certain time, I'm OK.

    Your post made me think of a podcast I listened to this week. Someone recounted a story a friend told them. A woman had the opportunity to meet Mother Theresa, who the woman greatly admired. This woman told Mother Theresa she would love to go to Calcutta and help her. Mother Theresa responded by saying the only way you can really help in a meaningful way would be to come to love the people so much you can't keep yourself from serving them. To us it's lIke serving in the Conestoga Branch, or the Philippines, or wherever. Loving the people is the key. It never starts out that way, like when we've had new temple presidents, after about a year they really come to love the temple workers. At first they love them in a general way, but after a year of serving, they REALLY love them as individuals.
    I'm so glad you have this wonderful opportunity. And I'm so glad you are sharing it with us. What did we do before blogging?

  2. The Alicia District? Who knew?