Sunday, December 18, 2016

Bring on the Winter Solstice.......Give me a longer day

Blog for December 18, 2016

Hooray for warmer weather, and for the approach of the shortest day of the year!

Happy Christmas greetings to all of you! This has been a busy week surrounding preparing for and putting on a series of Christmas dinners and devotionals for our missionaries. The first was for the missionaries in the zones on the north side of Calgary.

Missionaries from the Calgary North, Calgary West, and Confederation Zones gathering prior to the dinner 

The second gathering was for the zones in the west and south part of Calgary.

Fish Creek, Bow River, Foothills, and Calgary Zones

 The evenings began with a yummy ham, baked potato, and Cesar salad dinner.

Some of our cute Sister missionaries
Me, Sister Smith, Sister Shields, and Sister Thorley

Dinner was followed by a wild and crazy white-elephant gift exchange.

Passing White Elephant gifts left and right during the story being read

Left to right - Elder Purvis, Elder Stringham, and Elder Moffitt

These were some of the white-elephant gifts they ended up with at the end of the story.

Elder Pugh
Sister Blake duking it out with Elder Hatch

Each evening ended with a nice musical program and talks from President and Sister Miles. Again this year Kathy and I were asked to be part of the musical program and we sang, “Were You There on That Christmas Night?”. The other musical numbers came from solos, duets, and mixed group singing from the young missionaries themselves. There is so much incredible music talent in the mission!

Each gathering has been wonderful and heart warming, and there are still two more to go, one in Lethbridge for the zones in that area and Medicine Hat. The last will happen in Cranbrook, British Columbia for the zone out there. Because of the cold and snow and the large distances to travel to Lethbridge, it was felt to be safer to gather the one zone together in Cranbrook. Only President and Sister Miles will make the trip to BC to meet with the missionaries there.

As mentioned in the last couple of blogs, the weather has been absolutely frigid. 

Yes, it reads -10 degrees Fahrenheit

Fortunately, starting today we will have a period of much warmer weather, and right now at 5:00 p.m. the outside temperature is 36 degrees Fahrenheit! It’s a heat wave! Last Sunday we had an inch or two of snow fall on the already frozen ground and this lead to a myriad of car accidents, mostly on P-day. This suggests that too many of our missionaries were in a hurry for their zone P-day get togethers. On Monday I took six calls from around the mission telling of sliding into curbs while going around a turn or a round-about. Five of these dented the front right rims so badly that they had to be replaced (all where Subaru Imprezas) and the sixth dented both of the rims on the right side (a Chevy Cruz). In some cases the front steering arms got bent and one had to have the right front strut replaced. When I take these calls I always ask the missionaries what they learned from the experience or what they needed to have done to avoid the accident, and what could have been done to avoid the accident in the first place. In each case it involved being in a hurry and driving too fast for existing conditions. I don’t feel badly at all when poor judgement results in having to do without their vehicles for a few days. Hopefully having to get about in frigid weather will help them remember to slow down the next time. We also had one accident where another motorist slid into the car driven by some of our Sister missionaries. Thankfully they were not injured but their car was pretty badly damaged. 

Last night we attended a mission staff Christmas dinner at the mission home with President and Sister Miles.

President and Sister Miles and us
We had a lovely meal and a wonderful time visiting. Yesterday was one year to the day of our actual arrival in Calgary. What a fun year it has been!

Before I close, I have to share a picture of our latest grand baby mentioned in the last blog. He had a few days of an elevated bilirubin level and had to have phototherapy for a couple of days but is now doing great. Daughter, Tana, is also doing well. We are sad that we won’t be able to be there for his newborn blessing event.

Baby boy Whicker

We wish each and every one of you a joyous Christmas season. Please take time to reflect on the sacred birth of our Savior and Redeemer and express gratitude for His life, His mission, and His atonement and resurrection. As someone commented recently, “There would be no Christmas were it not for Easter.” Otherwise, the event would be just another baby born into the world. Think on that……..

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