Sunday, December 21, 2014

T'was the Week Before Christmas...
Last week I left off the blog to go watch the Messiah Singalong.  It was wonderful!  I enjoyed every minute of it.  So here is a shot of the orchestra and choir warming up.  It was most professionally done and such fun to get to sing along to some of the songs.
Monday we began our transfer week by sending out 23 missionaries.  Elder Jones took them down to Philly for one last look at the temple under construction and then to Old City Tees and Reading Market and the Love Sign.  We have become enamored by the landmarks in Philadelphia...That night we had dinner with them and enjoyed their testimonies.  We also saw a slideshow of their mission photos and took lots of pictures with them.  We sent home some of our favorite sisters so these are photos of them.  
Sisters Howard, Oveson and Maughn


   Sisters Bettylion, Shaia and Hanson

Sisters Howard, Lindley, Pickett and Sturgess.  We love them all!  Sisters Howard and Maughn served in our ward, so we became especially attached to them.  What beautiful Sister Missionaries!  The next day we met our new missionaries at the airport--16 of them.  We enjoyed dinner and testimonies again, and Elder Jones got to interview them about driving privileges.  The next morning we did some training for them.  Here they are waiting nervously to be assigned to their trainer (companion).  So far we have just one who really wants to go home.  We hope he figures it all out!
OK, we are up to Thursday.  On that day we worked really hard to accomplish all of the changes that occur when we have transfers.  For me that means updating phones and addresses (we closed 5 apartments that day!), for Elder Jones it means collecting the keys to apartments and keys and then figuring out what to do with the extra cars.  In the afternoon we tackled the presents, with the help of the Broomall District Elders and Sisters after their District meeting.  This is what the hall looked like when we took all of the presents out of the President's office and sorted them into zones:
Friday we hustled around trying to figure out just who had not yet received presents from home and filling in the gaps with wonderful gifts donated from various missionary parents.  We had lots of wonderful items to present as gifts, so nobody will be without some gifts.  Friday night we were able to convince President and Sister Anderson to accompany us (Jones' Ballards and Wilsons) to Longwood Gardens.  It is a large tract of over 1000 acres that was originally owned by Pierce Brothers as a wooded area.  Pierre DuPont (yes, the chemical magnate) purchased it and restored it to its beauty, preserving trees, creating wonderful European gardens and fountains and building homes for himself and his workers.  He died over 20 years ago and it is a place that people go to enjoy the various displays seasonally.  We went last year and I also went for the orchid festival.  It is really quite spectacular.  This year it was not too cold and the night was clear, so we enjoy seeing some wonderful fountain and lighting displays, as well as in the conservatory the poinsettias and of course, the childrens train display.  We had a really enjoyable time.

Yes!  We dressed warm for the occasion.  We stopped at Chick-Fil-A for a bite of dinner on our way home.  We really did enjoy our time.  Good thing, for the next morning (Saturday--P-day) we began the first of our 4 Christmas devotionals.  We traveled to Dover Delaware where we took the presents for Dover and Wilmington Zones and delivered them.  We also got to watch their talent and Elder Jones had his 4 service elders doing a "Squatty Body" routine dealing with "Adjusting to Missionary Life".  It was really cute and the service elders will travel with us to each zone devotional and perform this.  
So that was our week!  It went by so very fast.  This week we have devotionals as well.  Tomorrow we travel to Cherry Hill, NJ for 3 zones, then home for 3 zones in Broomall and the last day we will travel to Nazareth for 3 zones.  We do plan to come home via Bethlehem so we can say we traveled to Nazareth and Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.  We have many parents who have been late in sending their Christmas gifts, so we plan on spending Christmas day delivering presents.  Then we will enjoy Christmas evening dinner with our Sister Missionaries and a wonderful family in our ward.  Did I mention that we are LOVING all of this!  It really does feel like Christmas when we attend these devotionals, watch the movie "17 Miracles" and see their talent and pass out Christmas gifts.  It does not get any better than this!

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