December has been a wonderful month for us. We have truly felt the joy of serving our Savior Jesus Christ and offering this gift of service to Him. We have also felt the great spirit of our wonderful missionaries. We have had the opportunity to meet with four groups of missionaries to celebrate Christmas. We shared Christmas traditions from each country, each district or zone presented skits, we watched videos of the missionaries and the Nativity, sang, gave gifts and ate banana splits. That was such a treat for the missionaries! The skits were so amazing and creative. One group sang "President is coming to town." "He sees you when your sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!" They also had all original words for the verses. We also had a "The Mission's got talent" and Mark and I got to be the judges. It was so much fun!
For the parties, I did some research about our mission and found out some interesting facts: There are fourteen countries represented in our mission. The largest group of missionaries comes from the United States: 93.
The next is Peru with 67.
Canada: 4 (all sisters)
El Salvador, Guatemala, Uruguay: 1
Uno de Guatemala
Dos Hermanas de Colombia
The Beautiful Andes: Christmas 2014
Dos de Mexico
The Williams Family! Sister Williams is
complaining that her husband drives too fast.
I just could not relate.
Uno de Argentina. They love their herbal tea!
Christmas Spirit! We love them!
Uno de El Salvador
It was so interesting to hear about the traditions in every country. One tradition that seems to be common in all the Latin American countries is that they have a huge special dinner at midnight. There is really no focus on Santa Claus here, so it is all about the birth of Christ and family. In the United States we would never have the patience to wait until midnight to eat. We have to get to bed early so that Santa can come!
The numbers in our mission change almost weekly, so these numbers are not exact, but pretty close. We just found out a week ago that they are forming a new mission in our area. The mission south of us is Trujillo, where a new temple is being built. They are splitting the mission to make a Trujillo South and North Mission. So we will be losing our two most southern areas, Cajamarca and Guadalupe, to the Trujillo North Mission. We will lose about 50 missionaries, taking us down to about 180. Of course we hate to lose any of our missionaries, but it will be a relief to not have to drive as much and to have more manageable numbers.
The church is forming some new missions to try to get the number of missionaries in all missions around 200. We have some huge ones here in Peru. The Trujillo Mission has around 270 missionaries! I heard today also, that they are making my hometown, Modesto, a new mission also. It has been a part of the Fresno Mission for a long time. One thing I have learned is that change is constant in the Mission Field.
Another interesting and amazing thing happened in our mission. When I was speaking at out zone conference in November, one sister kept thinking that I was just like her mom and kept having the feeling that her Mom was going to be doing this too. The next day, her Dad called us first, then her and told us he had been called to be a Mission President! But they did not know where they would be serving yet. This sister kept waiting to hear where the call would be and kept telling me there were three openings in Peru and maybe they could come here. I really did not think that was possible, but yesterday she called me and said they were called to the Peru Piura Mission. That mission borders ours on the north. So her parents will be right next to her! I can not believe the miracles that happen in this church. The gospel is so true and this is truly the Lord's work. We love being a part of His work and glory and serving with all these wonderful missionaries from all over the American Continent. They are such choice individuals. It is such a priviledge to serve with them and to serve our Lord Jesus Christ. We hope all is well with you and your loved ones and hope your Christmas will be very merry and bright!
Mark and Dianna Williams
Uno de Uruguay