Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013 from the Pennsylvania Jones'!

It is a very different Christmas this year.  Usually by now I have baked hundreds of cookies, made 10 pounds of candy, shopped, decorated and am so excited that I cannot sleep at night.  This year we are experiencing our first Christmas away from family--that part of Christmas we will miss.  But we are happy and engaged in good things.  Last Sunday night we attended a Philadelphia/Valley Forge Stake Messiah Sing-Along.  It was absolutely wonderful.  The orchestra and choir were very top quality.  All the area was invited to participate so we had musicians from other faiths as well as attendees.  It was fun to actually get to SING some of those wonderful songs.  Monday night we attended a Christmas party for all the Senior Missionaries in our Mission and that was thoroughly enjoyable too.  Just minutes before we came the Mission President and his wife were informed that their son-in-law fell off a wall and landed on his back.  They were very concerned about him and his family and it was hard for them as they were so far away that they couldn't do anything but pray.  The next day our entire mission held a fast for the young man.  He broke 4 vertebrae in his neck as well as his sternum.  They reconstructed some vertebrae from his hip bone and used screws and rods and braces for the rest.  It is a miracle, but thankfully he has no loss of feeling.

We have 275 missionaries x about 4 presents each, so we have been collecting lots of presents in the office.  Thursday we traveled to Nazareth, PA, then Cherry Hill, NJ, then Dover, DE for a Christmas movie, devotional, talent show and to pass out all of these presents.  We had a very fun time doing that.  Such talented missionaries and it was special to be part of bringing Christmas to them.  We have Tuesday left with 4 zones from Philly and Valley Forge.  Last night we had our ward party and today we had the Christmas Program followed by a trip to some investigators to take goodies and leave a message.  The Sisters accompanied us.  Not being busy doing my normal temporal things has given both Corry and I time to reflect on the Savior and to realize that that really IS the meaning of Christmas.  We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful 2014!
These are the presents we took to Dover and Wilmington Zones.  We have 11 total zones, so you get a hint of what we have been dealing with.  Each day we drive to the local post office to pick up the boxes (I think 60 was the most we got in one day), then we label them, sort them and then sort them again into zones and then into the van, then into the rec hall and then divvy them out.  The missionaries were super excited, but we have some who ride a bus and will have a really hard time getting home a large box!  For any Missionary Moms I suggest the 12" prepaid USPS boxes and gift cards...
The east coast is quite interesting.  We have had freezing temps for 2 weeks and the 6" total of snow we received did not melt.  It would freeze and we had lots of ice.  But yesterday and today have been 60-64 with rain.  In 24 hours all signs of winter left...

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