Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Elder Santoro received treats straight from Italy! He brought them in to share with the office staff. Made by his sister, aunt and grandmother. 

Elder Santoro, Sister Dunn, and Elder Nicotra - from Italy too.

I made a few zipper pouches for the office sisters, our landlord and her daughter Robyn, and Sister Dunn. The fabric is authentic African tribal fabric.

The interviews from this week. Each district performed Christmas numbers for us.

The ingredients for one of the cooking demos. They created a yummy teriyaki chicken enchilada, using homemade chapatis (african tortillas). I was very impressed that they didn't even use a recipe!  

Elder Todd and Elder Ainslie making the chapatis

Elder Matos

Very impressive cooking skills!

Elder Kolditz and his creation, teriyaki chicken enchiladas

Elder Perkins

Our sweet landlord and her daughter brought us a lovely Christmas gift

The biscuits (cookies) were all handmade by Rose's daughter, Robyn, who has gone to culinary school. They are so good. We are very slowly eating them.

                                 It's Christmas!!! 150 missionaries begin arriving around 8:30 am.

We served a big breakfast out back of the mission office. It was 91 degrees Fahrenheit today! 

President Dunn and the APs, Elder Stephens and Elder Menendez. They set up a sound system and played festive Christmas music during breakfast. It really brought a great feel to the morning.

And as the elders were eating, Santa and his sleigh arrived!

Elder Hansen was Santa with Sister Hansen as Mrs Santa, with their elves in tow

Driving the sleigh was Elder Allred (Rudolf)

Presents for everyone!
 The following photos are of all 150 elders in attendance. I walked around and photographed them as they ate and visited.

Elder Allred is a good sport!

Breakfast is served

The Hansens are great as Mr and Mrs Santa

Included in the Christmas box was President Dunn's CD 'Bears and Prayers', which tells of his remarkable story of surviving a bear attack in the Grand Teton National Park. The elders were very happy to receive this amazing talk about their very own mission president!  

Sister Dummer and Sister Pier

Santa's li'l elves

President and Sister Dunn sampling the Cinnabon rolls. Yes, they have Cinnabon in South Africa!

Our very own South African Santa

Elder and Sister Cloward

After the breakfast we all went in to the chapel and had a nice program, then President Dunn told the elders we were going to view a video he helped produce, 'The other wiseman'. There had been a rumor that we were going to watch 'Meet the Mormons', so when they heard the title of the movie, you could visibly see the elders slump down in their seats. After the animated video had played for a few minutes it stalled. The APs jumped up to find President Dunn to solve the problem, then....after a minute or so, up on the screen appeared "MEET THE MORMONS"! You should have heard the missionaries. It was wonderful to be able to view this movie, as most of us had not seen it yet. President Dunn got permission & the DVD from the missionary department in SLC. So today was the first time Meet the Mormons was shown on the African continent. So fun to be in on the little surprise the president devised!

After the movie we presented the new mission policy book and a treat bag filled with goodies donated from the good members of the stakes in South Africa. The Christmas Boxes were also thought up and created with the help of Sister Shaw and daughter, and those same members.  

As the missionaries left, they were personally greeted by President and Sister Dunn.

Missionaries always gladly help with the clean up!

The event ended with all missionaries changing into P-day clothes, even President Dunn, and they played soccer, dodgeball, volleyball and basketball. A great day!!

We personally loved every minute of it and were also blessed to Skype with our children and parents on Christmas eve, then today we Skyped again and saw what Santa brought.
Our children surprised us with an awesome video of the events of the last few months. What a special, thoughtful gift!

We love you all, family and friends, and hope you have enjoyed a blessed Christmas day as you celebrated the birth of our Savior. 'He is the Gift'! Don't forget what the very best gift ever given is!