Monday, February 3, 2014

Christmas through New Year's Day = Party, Party, Party!

  It's been a L-O-N-G while since I posted.  I've  been experiencing technical difficulties (a tired computer).  Thankfully, I have a talented son who has me back up and running.  Thanks, Tim!

If you had been in Mesa on Christmas Day, 2013  you would have found us celebrating the day with our extended family - the Visitors' Center missionaries.  Sister Ballard had the sisters play a crazy game after they finished up the Mexican Train Domino tournament.
These sisters were trying to draw a Christmas scene (via Sister Ballard's instructions).  The scene featured a fireplace, a Christmas Tree, and some other traditional holiday items. 

As you can imagine, the items in the pictures weren't always recognizable.  It was fun to try and make out exactly what the girls had been trying to draw.  We saw some amazing creativity!
 They easily worked up an appetite after expending all that energy on games and the hilarity that followed.  As you can see, they're exhibiting the joy of the season.  (Lots of good food contributed to their happy smiles!)

We have such a variety of cultures and ethnic backgrounds that comprise our Visitors' Center sisters.  We are learning a lot from each of them.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

 Some of the sisters had to leave before I got this final shot, but we were grateful for all who stayed to make our Christmas celebration special.  These young women are part of our family now, and will always hold a special place in our hearts!

 Just two days later (on December 27th) we held a farewell breakfast for Sister Miller.  The time has come for her to return to Oregon.  Sister Andrus and Sister Ballard were at our home bright and early to help prepare French toast for all of the VC missionaries.  They are such a huge help to me.

 Everyone was happy to help us get rid of the food.  That nice plate of ham was left over from our Christmas feast.  Nothing goes to waste (or should I say waist?) when these young sisters are invited for a meal.  They are not shy about filling up their plates, thank goodness.

Sister Miller had many happy memories to share with us.  Her testimony was very powerful, and we enjoyed her story about the starfish.  I will always associate it with her whenever I hear it again. 
 Our final picture with this special sister was tearful.  We will miss her!  Good luck, Megan, in all your future plans.  I know the Lord will bless you for your faithful service.

On her way to the Mission Home we caught one final picture with our departing sister.  We love her so much!  She has been a faithful missionary and was a VC trainer for several transfers.  We truly benefited from her wonderful example and leadership. 

 The final night of Christmas Lights ended on December 31st.  These tired, but very successful and happy sisters rejoice over the huge stack of referrals they received during the lights.  1758 referrals were garnered over the 33 days of the lights.  It was especially awesome that 862 of those were self-referrals (the most productive kind)  because those people requested missionaries for themselves as a result of being touched by the spirit they felt here at the Visitors' Center.

 As we began the New Year - 2014, the mission celebrated this grand occasion with a mission-wide activity.  The missionaries were especially excited to be given permission to wear P-day attire.

 The party began with a nice lunch of sub sandwiches, chips, drinks, and dessert.  Now the young elders and sisters will be given the opportunity to work off those calories playing group games.  Sister Jenkins is going from table to table with last minute instructions.

This bean-bag toss game was more difficult than it looked, but Sister Hamstead demonstrated to the other players how to get the job done right.

Because of their high score they were awarded $20 each.  Way to GO. girls! 

These sisters (Finau and Brownell) were playing kick baseball with a ball that came almost to their knees.  They were having a great time!

Sister Brown shows thumbs up for her team's performance.  Sisters stick together in all kinds of weather.

 This group of missionaries were fighting over chairs in the circle, and it seemed that they were doing a pretty good job of unseating the person whose seat they coveted.

These young people were human foosball players.  Sisters DeMille and Jeppson were holding up their end of the line while waiting for the ball to come to them.

I caught Sister Orr with a big smile on her face.  These young people really deserve a chance to let down their hair and have some fun after working so hard during Christmas Lights.  We are so proud of their efforts and how effective they were.
To replace Sister Miller,  we were happy to welcome Sister Tingey to the Mesa Temple Visitors' Center.  Sister Tingey came to us from Brigham City, Utah.

Sister Tingey's trainer is the very capable Sister Avanesjan from Germany.  She couldn't have received a more capable missionary to be her trainer.  Lucky girl!

Just for fun I couldn't resist posting our newest "look alike" photo.  Sister Weedman (left) and Sister Orr (right) bought the exact same outfit, and Sister Weber (center) just happened to wear the same colors on the day these other sisters wore theirs.  I guess what they say about 'great minds' must be true.  We are definitely one big happy family!

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