Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas and Stuff

Today is the Sunday after Christmas and life is finally settling down.  Life has been incredibly busy.  The day before Christmas was our "P" day, a day off,. We got everything ready for Christmas Eve.  Christmas Eve the big thing in our family.  Melody was kind enough to host our traditional events.  I picked up all the fixing for the Wassail, A hot spicy fruit drink.  We then went and started to make soup so we could get ready for the nightly events.  

For the the last 30+ years we have gone out on Christmas eve and caroled in the neighborhood. It has become a tradition not only for us but also for all of our old friends to whom we go every year, it is great fun.  Todd and his new wife Shelly was able to go with us.  He was not able to go for many years due to his former wife's illness.  Some of our friends are having issues with their health, so it was great to be able to share our love with them in song.

We then went to Melodies home for soup and then the Christmas Nativity, most of the family take part, with Shepherds, Wise Men, Angels, The Inn Keeper, and most of all Mary and Joseph.   Todd and Shelly were the stars as Mary and Joseph.  We then bear testimony of the Savior and exchange gifts.  

Christmas Day was really different for us as we are serving on Temple Square as Missionaries. We got up early to see what Santa brought.  Mom got her Diamond ring fixed with a ruby replacing the center diamond, it looks really good.  She also got a MP3 player.  The player has been a real hit as I loaded most of her favorite songs.  I am sure that she will have sores in her ears from over use.  

We then spent the rest of the day visiting with guests coming to see the beauty of the Square. We closed the venues at 6:00 P M and then went to serve Christmas Dinner the Sister Missionaries.  Elder Glad was a waiter and Sister Glad worked as kitchen help.  The evening was concluded by a Christmas Program of music, lots of choirs from the zones and elder 
Elders and Sisters.  Sister Glad was called upon to play eight song.  She was just great her talent is hard to hide. 

The lights have been on for all of the rest of the week with tonight, Sunday the 28 being the last night.

We had an interesting thing happen this last week.  One of our goals is to get guests to go on tours so they can hear the Sister Missionaries tell them about our Church and get referrals. most people want to just go on their own, so there is little chance to obtain referrals .  We were at the South Gate when a couple came in. I greeted them and asked if they wanted to take a free walk around tour with the Sister Missionaries.  They said no that there were not interested.  I then asked them if I could get them a map and explain the things to see on the Square.  The said no that they would be fine.  I told them to enjoy them selves, when Sister Glad's voice came from the Visitors Information Booth "Would you like to learn more about our Church".  
They said "Yes,  we are very intreased about your faith"  They wanted to have missionaries come to their home to teach them and bring them a Book of Mormon.  Things are not always the way we think they are.   

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Missionary Christmas

Christmas time on Temple Square is a wonder of beauty and busyness.  We have completed all of our Christmas shopping, done mostly on as we did not have much time for shopping in the stores.  We bought a "small" Christmas tree that sits on our end table.  We got one that was fiber optic so we did not have to worry about lights.  We did put some small colored balls on it.  The pile of packages under the tree is larger the the tree.  We really don't care because if we want to get in the Christmas Spirit all we have to do is look out the window.

We have placed our Christmas Stockings over the fire place with care knowing that Santa Claus will not be there this year.  Christmas Day will be spent on the Square.  We will be working until 5:00 pm.  Christmas Dinner for all of the Sister Missionaries will be at 5:30 pm.  We will be serving dinner, all of the Senior Elders will be wearing white shirts, black pants and black bow ties.  The Senior Sisters will be wearing matching aprons.   The Christmas Program will start at 8:00 pm.  Mom is playing the piano for the Senior bell Choir, eight songs.  Each zone of the young Sisters will be doing a song.  So Christmas will be a busy day. 

Some special things have taken place on the Square this week.  Elder Scott came to Mission Conference and spoke. He gave all of the Sisters a Apostolic blessing that they could have the gift of tongues, that they would be able to speak the English Language clearly by exercising their faith and work. 

President Stewart has completed his time as the president of the mission,  as special for him, permission was given for all of the Missionaries to go in to  the Tabernacle after closing.  We then all sat in the Choir seats and recorded some of our special songs.  The young sisters took up half of the seats and sang like angels.  We have a CD with the songs.  

We are going to Marty and Melody's home for making candy Sunday.  We will go to the old neighborhood on Christmas Eve to carol and open family gifts.  

Sunday, December 14, 2008

closer to Christmas

We woke up this morning to the first real snow of the Winter, to some that is a wondrous event but to us who have suffered through many years of cold and snow here in Zion it was just cold and slick.  I took some pictures of our forest under our window.  

Today is Sunday we have had a great day.  We were able to attend this morning the Tabernacle Choir annual Christmas Bells Concert.  Brian Stokes Mitchell, a Broadway singer and Edward Herrmann were the guest performers.  It was wonderful.  The story was told about how the song "I heard the bells on Christmas day" was written.  It wonderful story about how Henry W. Longfellow found hope during personal crisis in the 1860s in the midst of the Civil war by his faith in the Savior.  

We are really busy now as we have some new assignments to do on the Square. We are in charge of the Sisters Exercise Program.  We get up early, the building needs to be opened prior the 6:00 am,  Monday, Wednesday and Friday at a local Stake House so the Sisters can exercise.  Their favorite thing is to play soccer in the gym.  A couple of Sisters played for good teams back in their home countries.  It really gets loud and competive

 Dad has also the assignment of getting everything ready for Sacrament Meeting, making the assignments for preparing, blessing and passing the Sacrament.  We go early, 6:30 AM,  Sunday Morning to get everything ready, opening the building, turning on the lights ect.  We are turning in to early morning people.   
Mom gets to go early Saturday Mornings to practice for a special Christmas musical program. She will be playing the Piano. 

At the end of each day we walk home through the Christmas lights up the hill to our apartment,  to feel good about another day spent in the service of the Lord. 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas time on Temple Square

It is Christmas time on Temple Square.  We Invited Melody, Marty and family to see the lights and then come to our apartment for dessert.  We are doing this with all the family except for Roy and Angel, they can't come to Utah this Christmas.  We will really miss them.

Jimmy came to the Statue of the Christ and sat down in front of It all by his self.  The dark bumpy thing in front is Jimmy's head with his bumpy hat on.

We had the funeral for Elder Wirthlin.  Security set up posts at all of the gates on Temple Square with metal scanners ect.  We had to work in the Beehive House during the funeral.  The Sister Missionaries take the people on the tours and we greet the guests and insure that everything goes well, when suddenly we rang for the Sisters to take a group of visitors on a tour and all the Sisters were gone.  They all went to the funeral with out telling us. We had a great time trying to greet visitors and take tours at the same time.  We found that the only way we could do it was by closing and locking the front doors between tours.  

Christmas Story 
We were a struggling family with three small children.  It was hard on our budget to purchase all the gifts for the kids and all of the other things that a good Christmas required.  I was working as an industrial radiographer taking x-ray's of welds in steel fabrication shops.  The work required being in the shops when no one was there due to the radiation hazard.  I had to work late on a night just before Christmas, when Mom called to remind me that I needed to get a Christmas Tree.   I stopped on he way home from work and got a pretty good tree and put it in the trunk of the car and started home.  The Christmas spirit seemed to be really strong because every one was honking and waving to me as I drove home.  It was great to have everyone be so friendly so I waved and honked back.  
I opened the trunk to get the tree only to discover that the tree had fallen out and that I had dragged the tree all of the way home by the rope that I had used to secure it.  There was no needles left on the tree in fact the limbs were pretty skimpy also.  We couldn't afford a new tree so the beat up one had to do.  The kids didn't even notice the difference,  so much for really pretty tree, little kids are more interested in the gifts, but Mom and I felt pretty bad especially when friends or family came to call.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Turkey day and Reunion

Thanksgiving this year was spent with all of our foster daughters, the Sister Missionaries.  We closed Temple Square at 5:00 pm and took all 160 missionaries to "Chuck O Rama" for dinner. 
President Stewart spent some time in the morning explaining the concept of the American Thanksgiving to all of the Sisters, many are from different cultures and have no idea of our traditions.  I am not sure that all of the Sisters had turkey and cranberry sauce.   I asked several if they liked the cranberry sauce, they looked at me and said what is that?

All of the Sisters have Digital Cameras, so a lot of the time is spent taking pictures of each other.  It is amazing to see all of the flashes going off all over the room.
Sister Glad took this picture with me talking with some of the sisters from left to right, Hungry, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, and France. Sister "K", from Hungry is on of our favorite. We use Initials or nick names as many of the names are very hard for the older English tongue to pronounce, 

Sister glad with some "Indians" from Tonga and Hawaii.  The gals love to dress up.  Mom is mentoring a new Missionary from Brazil.  They assign a senior missionary to met once a week with new missionaries to help them in the transition to the U. S. culture and learning English. Many of the Sisters have English as a second language and are struggling to speak it clearly. They are required to take people who speak English on tours many times each day, so they are thrown in to the fire quickly.  
We were working in the North Visitors Center Sunday night when who should show up but Wayne and Karen.  We had a good visit with them.  Wayne is here for a doctor appointment. He did not know that we were here on a mission and had come to see the lights, then LaVere and Diane walked in, they were here with Shaun, their adopted son, and some of Dianes family. They had came to see the lights.  It was a real unplanned family get together. Cami had also came in earlier with all of her family.  Temple Square is really busy during the Christmas Season.  

We had 900,000 Visitors come to the Square last year.  It seemed that that they were all here Saturday and Sunday.  We had to deal with, one bloody nose, a child that need a barf bag and help cleaning up s stinky mess, band aids, three sets of lost children, keeping track of wheel chairs, making sure that the Choirs were in the right place at the right time and some how getting the visitors out of the buildings so we could close up for the night.   Real fun !!

Story #3
I was a young 20 year old man going on a Mission, we went when we were 20 in the good old days, entering the Mission Home.  I was not sure what I was getting my self in to, was scared, very unsure of my self.  There was a large sign at the front door which read "Don't be a crank, be a self starter."  I said to my self that is what I want to be. Since then I have always tried to be a self starter.  My mission was some times hard, we went out every day knocking on doors from 10 in the morning to 10 at night as we had no referrals, but I started each day in my morning prayer by asking for the desire to work hard that day to be a self starter.  I think that it is important in life to go do what is right with out asking for some once else to motivate you, to really be a self starter.