Sunday, December 27, 2009

It doesn't get any better than this!!

This was our first Christmas away from home and family and it was amazing. We are so blessed to have our sons (Elders) and friends here in Naic District. We’ve been to so many Christmas parties we are beginning to feel guilty. We had dinner on the 23rd at the Mission Home with the senior couples and Pres. and Sister Howard. Ham and funeral potatoes, can’t be beat! We even had homemade cherry pie with ice cream for dessert. The traffic was horrendous the days before Christmas. It took us over 6 hours to drive the 50 miles to Manila on the 23rd. We probably should have walked! Going back to Naic on the 24th only took a little over 2 hours so not sure what the problem was the day before. We had Zone Conference on the morning of the 24th. Our choir sang “Angels We Have Heard on High”, “Guard Him Joseph”, “The Mission Song” and the “12 Days of Christmas” (with a twist). It was great! We re-worded the 12 days to go along with missions and the Philippines. “5 letters from home” was quite a hit with the crowd. It was a fun meeting this time with movies, snacks, pizza and singing. We were glad to enjoy and laugh with the missionaries for a while.

Thursday evening, Christmas Eve, was fabulous. All the Elders came over as soon as they got home from the Zone Conference. We had dinner together (freshly baked rolls with egg salad, chicken salad, tuna salad and cheese fillings), chips, drinks, trimmings (lettuce, pickles, olives, onions etc.) and generally made pigs of ourselves. The rolls were a hit. We had ordered them from a bakery that is about a block or so from our apartment. Christy and her family are members of the Naic branch and we get lots of stuff from them. With all the craziness of the holiday she forgot about our order! We stopped as we got back into town to pick them up and she was so upset because she’d forgotten. She sent us on our way (this was at 4:00p.m.) and promised they’d be ready by 6:00 p.m. when we planned to eat. At about 6:02 here came Christy, on the tryke with her hubby, with 2 large trays of warm rolls. The American Elders went nuts with the smell of home! It was great! Everything tasted masarap! We watched the video “Best Two Years” and then had a gift exchange. It was so fun. After that we were still seated in a big circle so we went around and shared what one of our favorite Christmas traditions is. Elder Smith and I almost didn’t make it through. Several of the native Elders commented that this was the first time they had ever had a Christmas. The stories were heartbreaking and made us appreciate all we have so much. One Elder commented that he wanted this (meaning our evening together) to become a tradition for the family he hopes to have someday. We are realizing every day just how blessed we are to be here. How we love the missionaries! After ice cream, cookies and visiting they all trooped next door to the Zone Leaders apartment and went to bed. We told them that IF they had been good, Santa might come! They had been good because he did come. The next morning Santa’s gifts had been handed out, socks opened, breakfast eaten and everyone was out the door and heading to work before 8:30! We collapsed for a bit and then started on the dishes. We met the Taggs and Hussey’s at King Bee (a favorite Chinese restaurant) at 2:00. Had a great dinner and visit then came back to the slightly messy apartment to play games and visit. We all went to the Naic Branch Christmas party that evening and had a good time. They made we three senior couples get up in the middle of the group and play a game. Each sister had a necklace of marshmallows and the Elders had to eat them. First one finished was the winner. Our necks were sticky the rest of the evening!
The lights on our apartment. Best one on the block! Punta Branch party. Kids acting out the nativity We’ve had numerous baptisms during the past few days. 3 on Christmas morning, 5 yesterday and 11 this afternoon.
Trece Martires Branch baptismElder Smith in front of the Trece ChapelCarissa Branch baptismThis was so great! When we went outside for pics in Carissa, a young man from the Branch went back inside and grabbed an umbrella. He walked around and shaded me the entire time we were outside. So thoughtful and kind.We got up early and went to Golden City for their chapel dedication this morning. Left home a bit after 7:00 a.m. We finally got to meet Elder Edwards and his wife. He was raised in Boulder City. He did the dedicatory prayer. We’re thinking things might slow down a little now, but, who knows? Manigong, bagong, taon! (Wishing you a prosperous New Year.)
Yes, we did still miss our family…

2 comments:

Merrivonne said...

You are so wonderful for those young men. They will never forget all the love you show them and you give them a home away from home. Blessings to you and them for this new year and always. Loves to ya!

Willis said...

they got that Golden City Chapel done really quickly! I think I remember being new in the mission when they hadn't even started on it...