Last week flew by in a hurry! We began our week by having our weekly meeting and afterward we had a surprise birthday for President Francis. His birthday is on Dec. 23. His sons are here from BYU Provo and they picked up lunch from Olive Garden. It was very nice and fun!
We had to purchase things for the mission party last week and Monday evening. We were busy ‘making a list and checking it twice’. Elder Spencer is in charge of mail and referrals. We have received an enormous amount of packages for the young missionaries. However, there were several that didn’t receive anything and some that had 10 or more packages. I can see where that would be upsetting for the ones that didn’t get anything. We have been purchasing gifts for the missionaries that didn’t get a package at all. There were 11 elders and 9 sisters that didn’t get anything. We were blessed that we had an anonymous donor that gave us $160 to help with the cost of gifts. (that didn’t cover it, but really helped) We also had 2 wards in Utah that sent packages. One ward sent 6 gifts for guys and one ward sent 5 packages for girls. That really helped too. They called and offered to help. (some people are so in tune to need) Those packages went to those missionaries here from other countries.
On Wednesday we began getting ready for the party. The Spencer’s and the Merrill’s cooked 106 lbs. of pork for pulled pork tacos and about the time we wanted to begin setting up tables and chairs a couple of local missionaries stopped by and said they had a feeling that they should stop. We put them right to work and they were so much help.
On Thursday the party began at 10:00 and went to 4:00. The missionaries were so happy to see all the other missionaries. It was a great time for them. They put on 2 talent shows. One that was chapel friendly and one that was cultural hall friendly. They demonstrated great talents. I wish I could have relaxed and enjoyed the performances, but I was worried about getting the food on the table and ready at 12:00. We had chips and cheesy-salsa dip, pork tacos with all the trimmings and then all the senior missionaries brought the desserts. (anything they wanted) We had tons of food! No one went hungry. Everyone said they liked it.
Elder Merrill and I like popcorn and had tried some purchased popcorn from the stores here, but nothing was very good. We bought the really good 50 lb. bag from Sam’s Club and took our popper to the party. (it was as good as we remembered) He popped 2 giant tubs full of popcorn and the missionaries loved it! (I mean those storage type tubs—not little bowls) When the party was over the youngest Francis boy (just turned 12) poured all the popcorn into a garbage bag and took it home. He loved it! Now we have lots of popcorn and Elder Merrill will probably be known as ‘the popcorn King’ because we will have to serve it every where we go. We were BONE TIRED when we got home and just sat on the couch and starred into space. We had the Spencer’s come over and we watched Mr. Kruger’s Christmas and played a little Skipbo. I had thought about making Gritmascoverpo (our Norwegian tradition on Christmas Eve), but decided that it would be something I would just wait for next year.
We woke up on Christmas and waited until it was late enough to start calling our kids to see how their Christmas was. I love Facetime. It was so fun to see the things they were talking about and laugh with them. It made us homesick, but we just pushed it aside for now and we shall ‘stay strong, be calm and carry on’.
I had invited 7 senior couples for dinner at 2:00 and 5 could come. The Spencer’s offered to host the party because they actually have room for a party at their home. We met and ate and then went on a tour of the Tomlinson Inn, walked (without snow) to the baptismal site for Brigham Young, and went to the Tomlinson cemetery. It was a great day. The Clark family has been living in the Tomlinson Inn but had moved to Connecticut to be near their son who received a full ride scholarship for music. They were here for the week and opened up the home for an open house on Christmas day. I talked Jacob into playing a piano piece for us before we left. It was amazing. He had taken familiar carols and put them together in a piece he had developed. We all loved it!
On Saturday we did a little shopping and moved cars for the mission. Elder Merrill was given the assignment to get the mission a new luggage/furniture trailer (the old one had come off the hitch when the President was taking missionaries to the airport last week and he didn’t trust it any more) and so Dennis found a newer, nicer one. The old one is 9 years old and he couldn’t see anything wrong with the hitch, but the church authorized the new one. He worked really hard to find this one and make the deal on it. The dealer will give us $500 for the old one, and the Spencer’s want to purchase it. (we thought it would be good to bring our stuff home, oh-well!)
We received many nice things from our family and friends. Thank you all so much! We have had so many blessings! At church today Brother Lehman came up to Dennis and said, ‘did you drop this on the floor?” It was a nice German made pocket knife in Christmas décor. He wanted Dennis to have it. What a great friend he is.
Also, Sharon Grafrath (from Batavia) said she called and ordered candy from the Caramel Tree for her daughter in Colorado and talked to Chris for some time and she thought that he was number #1.
It is a blessing to belong to a family and love each and every one. That is what heaven is! We are so blessed.