Thursday, January 12, 2012

All I Want For Christmas

Not what you'd expect under the Christmas tree...

We had a grand Christmas this year. We arrived home from Washington, D.C. on Friday, December 2nd, with just two weeks to unpack and repack in preparation to have our personal belongings shipped to England. We had lots of packages under the Christmas tree, but they were brown cardboard boxes full of clothes and books and household items we'll need for the coming two years. Josh said we were doing a good job of getting ready for Christmas... until Allied Moving Company came and packed all our boxes on Friday, Dec. 16th. No more packages under the tree. Now we had to find a real Christmas.

Iron Chef Sisters Competition - Carpenter style

Jacob, our first Eagle Scout
Mary and Joseph a.k.a. Laina & Ammon
Colin and Amy arrived that same weekend, then we had a week to get some real presents. We kept it pretty simple this year, but we did the important stuff! We got a new family photo taken (through a series of minor miracles), had our second annual Iron Chef Sisters competition, congratulated our first Eagle Scout in the family, took the grandkids to a couple of movies, celebrated Christmas Eve all together with our traditional soups, live Nativity, and a visit from Santa (thanks to Bob & Jane Hyte), sang in the ward choir on Christmas Day (another tradition we love), and completely enjoyed every minute with our family and friends. Phew! What a great week.

Then, we had two weeks to move everything out of our bedroom (no small task after 17 years), reorganize several things in the house, spend as much time as possible with our kids and grandkids, pack for the MTC, and pack for our move to London. Not much sleepin' goin' on during those five weeks between our arrival home from the Washington, D.C. South Mission and our departure for the London South Mission. (Might do things a little differently if we had it to do over again..., but we made it.)

Monday, January 9th, we checked in to the Missionary Training Center in Provo for the MTC President/Visitors' Center Director Seminar. Every detail had been planned for us. On the first evening, we were set apart by Elder David R. Evans, managing director of Church Missionary Department. His gentle counsel and inspired blessings gave us and our family who were able to come great comfort. Tuesday and Wednesday we attended informative training sessions and spiritual presentations that gave us much to ponder about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and a dinner and fireside with Elder Russell M. Nelson. (I even got a hug from Elder Nelson to give to his daughter in England. What a thrill!) We stayed in the newly completed building that includes senior missionary housing, a new bookstore, health services, travel services, work-out center, copy center, post office, etc., etc. What a place! It is hard to describe the spirit of the MTC without using the words uplifting, inspirational, and filled with the power of the Priesthood and the Spirit of love. What a privilege to be there twice in six months.

January 9th at the Missionary Training Center in Provo
On Thursday, January 12th, our training group spent the day downtown on Temple Square and in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. More practical training and experiences, but the highlight was to be taught the true nature of the Godhead at the feet of another apostle, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. His personal witness of  the physical individuality and powerful unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost left us sitting in our seats not wanting to leave at the end of his remarks. Reverence, love, and personal testimony were strengthened.

As we leave our home and family for two years, our hearts are tender and we are humbled by this great opportunity to represent our Savior Jesus Christ and his teachings to the world. It will not be a vacation. It does not come without some sacrifice, but our lives would not be the same without the knowledge of the gospel that we have and the covenants that we have made. We look forward to sharing the truths that have brought so much  peace, love, joy and purpose into our lives.

All we want for Christmas during the coming two years is to find those who are searching for truth and to share it with them.                      ~Pat~

1 comment:

  1. Go get them Mom and Dad! We love you.

    (And we're glad we don't have to say good bye AGAIN for a while.--Bye to Amy and Collin, Bye to the MTC, By at the MTC again, By to London, frankly we're glad you finally left so we could stop saying goodbye :)