Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to All!

We started the mission together and here we are together again--2 1/2 years later. Only now everyone in the picture has served a Spanish speaking mission! We are so happy to finally be together again but missing all the other kids and grandkids (now up to 9 with one more on the way!)

(Photo Credit--Austin Howarth)

And we had a WONDERFUL Christmas day!!
It started bright and early with these two arriving at the house
(I am pretty sure that is a halo over Elder Kingsford's head:-)

They are our office couple and totally AWESOME!!
We love them and are so grateful for them!
Truly we could not do what we need to do without all of their help. 

Then the local missionaries started arriving!
Which meant that President Wagner started making pancakes. Just around 400 in all!!
I think he is pretty AWESOME as well!
This picture was in the beginning. In the end he had three griddles going all at the same time!

About 80 missionaries and one stray dog (not sure where he came from, but we found him walking around the house) came for pancakes. 
The guards at the entrance to our housing development were quite amazed we could fit everyone in the house. We did! But it was standing room only!

Here are some pictures from this morning.
 So how many sister missionaries can you fit on one chair?

 Love the companion color coodination!

 This elder received a package today!! And even better--it was from his dad!! Merry Christmas to him!

 Sister N below also received a package today!

We have had a piñata at the house for almost three years now and decided it was now or never! We were going to break it!

 From this picture you would think the elders won in the "getting the most candy" contest. But no. It was the sisters!
 This is a generational picture---Elder S on the right trained Elder J on the left, who trained Elder K in the middle. And of course they have all been trained by President Wagner!
 Believe it or not, this is what the house looked like two minutes after they left--thanks to some amazing helpers!!
We love our missionaries!!
Merry Christmas to you all!

Christmas Conference Day Three!

Due our daughter Kathryn (left) arriving in Mexico (and being reunited with her sister Michelle--who has been staying with us since ending her mission in Honduras a couple weeks ago) we scheduled our final Christmas activity a few days later than the other two.

This time we were in Tepic with the missionaries from Tepic, Santiago and the two zones in Puerto Vallarta--about 86 of us in all! We had a great time being with the missionaries there.

Also joining us was President Wagner's second counselor in the mission presidency and his family. We loved having them with us!! They are wonderful people who have been a tremendous help to us over the past few years!

We began the day with a training meeting for new district and zone leaders.  Then everyone else arrived and the fun began (not that the training meeting wasn't fun, of course:-). We divided into groups and gave each group a bag with a song in it and some props (some were traditional Christmas songs from the U.S. in Spanish and others were traditional Christmas songs from Latin America) and they had 20 minutes to prepare before presenting. I am not sure if they have more fun preparing or presenting!

Here are some pictures from their preparation time . . .

And then they presented their songs for everyone!

After a few more fun activities and a gift exchange, we all went into the chapel for the more serious part of the day. Every Christmas Eve at home, our family acts out the Nativity. So in the mission field we have adapted that to 4 narrators and everyone singing songs--along with a few special musical numbers. It is always a beautiful and fun thing to do with the missionaries.

Then we eat!

 And hand out a few more gifts. These shirts were left over from the young adult conference and the stake in charge donated them to the missionaries.

 And a little gift from us . . .
Meanwhile . . . I should never let my daughters get ahold of the camera!
Then clean up! And mail time.

And on a final note . . . the lucky elder on the right has been with us for all three years we have celebrated Christmas in the mission field!! Due to a knee injury he went home for several months but was able to finally return (after his generation went home). We are so happy to have him with us, but sorry he had to play our games three times now!:-)