Moment #1.....We got a call from Ian's parents from Texas
Moment #3.....We had a very memorable day on December 17th with a zone activity. We spent the first part of the time in a testimony meeting with the other missionaries in our zone. It was a sweet experience to hear how each one felt about the gospel and some of their experiences on their missions. Since Megan is in our zone now it was especially great to hear her testimony and share this spiritual meeting with her. We then went on a Christmas
We then came back to the church and had a dinner together and a Christmas "white elephant" gift exchange. We also took a picture with us, Megan, and Sister Allen. Turns out that Sister Allen is a distant Butler cousin. Her mother was a Butler descended from one of the original Salt Lake Butler brothers (Philander).
Moment #4....We visited with our refugee friends and realized they had never celebrated any Christmas traditions either in Africa where they came from or here in America. They seemed to really want to understand some of the traditions here and liked the idea of having a Christmas tree this year. We invited a set of elders to come with us and we helped them understand the decorations that actually do have symbolic meaning and that
Moment #5....We wanted to give a couple of small gifts to Megan and her companion. I started to put a couple of gift bags together and found some cute scarves online to include. They were ordered in plenty of time, but weather delays and other Christmas postal problems held things up. So we ended up having to make a last minute trip to Monongahaela to deliver what we had of the gifts to Megan and her companion. It all turned out wonderful though because they had scheduled a lesson with a new investigator named Mike. Mike is very interested in learning more about the gospel and we were able to sit in on the lesson with them. It was a very unexpected opportunity to participate in the discussion and watch both girls teach a powerful lesson where we all felt the Lord's spirit very strongly.
Moment #6....We had a very enjoyable phone conversation with Bishop Carsey, our home ward bishop. It was fun to reminisce with him since he served his mission here in Pittsburgh around 1982.
Moment #7.... We were invited to a dinner on Christmas eve in the Stoddards home and another on Christmas day with Sister Eldridge. Both times were very nice and appreciated so much. We also especially enjoyed hosting all of the 10 elders in Pittsburgh here at our apartment on Christmas morning. We had a brunch that, of course, included breakfast casserole, sweet rolls, fruit, chocolate milk and eggnog. We ate, relaxed, visited and the elders spread out in rooms around the apartment to skype home to their families. Sister Causey also was able to join us that morning and we had so much fun visiting and interacting with her and the elders. Then, of course, during various times of Christmas eve and Christmas day we were able to Skype home with each of our kids and their families. All of them seemed so happy, peaceful, and joyful. As we see these feelings in our family and others around us it gives us so much of the same feelings.
Glad tiding of great joy.......that's what we felt this year....the whole purpose of us being here on earth. Amidst a world of chaos and confusion.....Christ was born.......he lives, loves us and died for us to live again. Peace and joy......that's what Christmas is all about!!