Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Morning at the Office

The office staff gathered Christmas morning to exchange our gifts (secret pal) and to enjoy a lovely breakfast prepared by our office Elders.
Elders Christensen, Meldrum, Slater, Zullo, Squires all pitched in and made us a breakfast of fruits, french toast, waffles, bacon, and eggs.
The table was set and the grapefruit all cut and ready to eat. The Elders went to a lot of trouble to make sure this breakfast was extra special.
This was not an easy feat with a one burner stove and a small refrigerator, but they pulled it off. The maple syrup I found one day at the store, and was a treat for the missionaries.
Christmas away from home and family is always a difficult time. But being around friends and our sweet missionaries makes it a bit easier.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Party (Wednesday) Chimbas, San Rafael, Godoy Cruz, Valle de Uco, San Martin, Off-ice

Santa came again to Argentina for another party. It is a long way to travel, but with the sleigh and all it didn't take long.
Our sisters loved being together and swapping stories about bad hair cuts, and washing their clothes in a bucket. Left- Hermanas Chamorro, Villalba, Hunt, Llancanao.
He tried to crash the party, this fake Santa (Elder Lloyd), but the peace sign gave him away.
Getting ready to play the white elephant game, the only sisters in the circle, Sisters Burnett and Maucotel gear up to compete.
Sisters Rojas, Alvez and Sybrowsky keep their circle in check.
Elders Orozco and Jones show their winnings, but are hoping to trade for something better.
Elder Ayer waving hello.
Elder Meldrum worked hard to win this Batman, Elder Bateman thought he should win it.
Elder Lambert and Frischknecht having a good time.
Elders Sprague, Bigelow, Knight, Crossa
Elders Ayer, Berezay, Whiteford, Eliason, Salazar, Arparcana.
Elders Davis and Ryan.
Elders Bills and Wajchman.
Elders Paz and Gomez.
Elders Cubilla and Roncal playing the Preach My Gospel game.
Our audience waiting for the start of the Christmas Pageant.
Our famous actors did a wonderful job of portraying the birth of Jesus Christ. They read their parts with great emotion and we all enjoyed the program.
Left- Elder Rodriguez, Hermana Maucotel, Burnett, Villalba, Elders Ayala, Medina, Cardus, Paz, Ayer.
Our gaucho in his new costume- actually Elder Jarvis, who played a tango number on his accordian for our talent show. (Yes that is peanut butter in the jars behind him. I had a little store selling chocolate chips, powdered sugar, brown sugar, condensed milk, all the things they can't buy where they live)
Sister Brown reloading up the treats table for today's party.
Sister Brown and Jarvis, Santa's helpers.

The talent show was represented by every zone. This skit was about President (Elder on the left) having a meeting with his AP's (Elders on the right).
Elder Farnsworth led his zone in a Polynesian dance. Almost as fierce as the dance on Tuesday. I love the enthusiasm of Hermana Rojas.

Elder Meldrum playing a wonderful piano solo.

Santa handing out his Christmas gifts, a stocking full of goodies, a DVD of all the movies the mission has made, as well as landscape pictures from the missionaries.
President and I with the Sisters who were at the Wednesday Christmas Party. (Left- Hermanas Maucotel, Hunt, Burnett, Llancanao, Pres. Sybrowsky, Me, Alvez)
A special picture of our Provo valley missionaries- Elders Slater, Frischknecht, Pres., Me, Hermana Sybrowsky, Elders Meldrum and Bills. We only missed Elders Vazquez, Armstrong and Chase (Tuesday)

A Big Thank You to the Rastelli and Acosta families for their help in cooking and serving of our Christmas Feast.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Party (Tuesday) San Juan, Villa Mercedes, Alvear, Mendoza, Guaymallen, San Luis

A Christmas party on a mission is all about being with your friends you haven't seen for months, or old companions, or zone leaders.
You play silly games, and you eat too much, and you remember for just a few hours what it felt like to just be a boy (or girl).
You are reminded that relationships are far more important then gifts.
And future friendships are right around the corner (on Right-Elder Martin soon to be new AP)
You get to sit next to a stranger you have never met, but yet you know he is really your brother.
Whether you like the roast beef, mashed potato and gravy dinner it doesn't matter (our latins don't like the gravy).
You talk about your areas and who has lived in what "horrible" pension (apartment). And does the toilet still need to be flushed with a bucket of water, or your water heated by burning wood?
Or you ask who has served with who and how they are all doing.
Some are headed home and you just need to give them your last bit of advice.
And some are brand new and you fill them in on everything you think they need to know.
If you are a sister, and always out numbered, you are just glad to be with other young women who will share with you where they found the best hair conditioner for the best price.
And if you are Adriana Rastelli who is our famous mission cook, you are thinking about how much food you made for todays party (100 people) and how you need to hurry home to cook up another 25 eye of round roasts for your party tomorrow.
But before you can eat, you first have to watch the Christmas Pageant put on by your own friends.
The music accompaniment is provided by Elder Petersen and Elder Jarvis on the accordian.
Our famous actors did a wonderful job reading their scripts and telling the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. They realize that because of this story they are here in Argentina, trying to convince souls that Jesus Christ is head of this church and because of his wonderful gift to us we can all live again as families with our Heavenly Father and He. But grace is not sufficient. We need to work out our salvation through our righteous decisions everyday.
(Left above- Elders Naranjo, Workman, Castellon, Hermana Arrieta, Elders Alfonso, Bateman, Alvarado, Hawks)
Let the games begin. Three circles of 33 missionaries each. First the white elephant game.
The Apostacy game (we only broke one chair this year!) Musical chairs with four prophet names, but when you yell apostacy everyone has to change chairs- but whoops someone took out three chairs. It is bedlam.
Then there is the Preach my Gospel game where you have to match up the chapter numbers to the chapter names. This game went very smoothly because they had all studied up.
Elder Patterson and Vazquez showing off their winnings at the White Elephant game.
The hot potato game with a twist- you write a number on your hand, and if you have the hot potato when the music stops, you count to the right to the number you have on your hand and that person is out also. No matter how smart some of them were at moving that potato out of their hand, some were still taken out by the number on their friends hand.
Relay races, which created a whole lot of energy, and wore them out.
Ready set go!
Talent show after the banquet.
Elder Roberts singing and dancing with his backup singers Elders Peterson, Fowler and Stevenson. "All I want for Christmas, is YOU" (pointing to Sister Lindahl-and thank goodness it wasn't any of my sister missionaries or we would have some trouble)
Tongan dance lead by Elder Malaikai- and they were really scary, can't you just see the violent energy? I can just picture them all practicing in front of a mirror, loving every minute of it.
Some of the zones skits were about missionary work.
Some were making fun of us Senior missionaries in a kind way.

And the we sang Jingle Bells and Santa came running in.
Elder Brown was the brave one to put on the suit and say Ho, Ho, Ho, in spanish (O, O, O).
The missionaries received the stocking stuffed with gifts, their Christmas card from the First Presidency, and DVD of all the movies we have made in the mission, and the missionaries favorite landscape photos of the mission.
Sister Brown, Jarvis, and Lindahl cooked for a week making typical Christmas goodies for the missionaries.
The tables at the beginning of the day.
Some of our local Hermanas who came the night before to help decorate the trees. Left- Hermanas Bonilla, Warren, Alvez, and Hermana Adams (who left the next day for home).