Elder Headrick really struggles to make a paper boat!
I've got it down perfect! (Mine is the good one)
This group of departing missionaries was
"home for Christmas!" They left December 14, 2016.
Australia - 1
Dominican Republic - 1
Mexico - 1
Uruguay - 1
Paraguay - 2
Honduras - 2
Chile - 4
Ecuador - 6
Colombia - 8
Bolivia - 15
United States - 36
Peru - 46
December is definitely the most fun month in the mission. We start out with our annual Christmas "Zone Conference." We divide the mission in to two groups with four zones in each group. We start our with lunch at a chicken restaurant called "Roky's." Our first activity is always to have the missionaries share Christmas traditions from their homes and native countries.
Argentina: Elder Villarreal
Australia: Elder Hannant
Mexico: Sister Dominguez
She leaves tomorrow!
Uruguay: Elder Vasquez
Honduras: Sister Diaz
She just arrived in December.
Honduras: Elder Cruz
Paraguay: Elder Gonzales and Elder Molinas
Chile: Elder Perez and Elder Chiguay
The Americans were having a little debate about which area in the United States had the "real" Christmas: snow or no snow, warm or cold, small or big, etc. Finally Elder Headrick won the argument. He grabbed the microphone and declared, "The real Christmas is in Utah because we have the Salt Lake Temple with the Christmas lights and we have the prophet, President Monson!" That silenced everyone. Nobody could come up with an argument for that! It was one of the funniest moments for me!
Elder Headrick putting the debate to rest with
the attitude only he could give it!
The next highlight is having a skit from each zone. They are always based on missionary work or the scriptures or both! It is always interesting to see what the missionaries come up with and what is on their minds!
Missionaries teach a jungle tribe.
An angel appears to Alma and the Sons of Mosiah.
The ghost of missionaries past, present and future!
Nephi, his brothers and the brass plates
always make it into one of the skits every year!
A new tradition we started last year is a song competition. All of the Latins in each zone learn a Christmas song in English and then we have a competition. The two winning zones then have the privilege to perform at the Plaza when we sing there. It is so much fun to see them sing!
"The Little Drummer Boy." The chorus really
liked the Pa-rump-pap-pum-pum part!
Alvin and the Chipmunks
We ended with a Christmas video and testimonies from the President and Hermana Williams. Many of the missionaries told us that was their favorite part. That meant a lot to us. After the prayer we had banana splits and a movie, "Frosty the Snowman." I think that was really their favorite part!
Elder Wirth and Elder Bagley having a fun time!
On December 23, 2016, we had the privilege of going to the plaza in the middle of downtown Chiclayo and singing for our third year in a row. It has been different every year. The last two years we divided in two groups for two different nights, but this year it worked our that we took the whole group on one night. So we had about 110 missionaries singing together. We had a great program and our choir was a hit like always!
Lots of Christmas Spirit!
Leading the Choir. There was a huge crowd gathered for the program.
Christmas was really different for us this year. We had no family to share it with and we only had six presents under our tree, but it was truly one of the best Christmas' that we have ever had! We started our Christmas Eve with a very special baptism of a woman who was truly prepared to receive the gospel. I had the rare opportunity to talk with her individually before the baptism and I was so impressed with her. I felt the spirit as she expressed her love for the gospel and shared with me how it has changed her life. There was no doubt in my mind that she has a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Mark had the privilege of baptizing her. Hermana Butterfield and Hermana Alcedo and other sisters taught her.
A funny side note about the baptism: When we got there we were greeted by the District Leader who was there to help the other missionaries. We noticed that his white shirt was pretty ragged. The laundry lady had scrubbed his neck to shreds. So after the baptism my husband asked the elder to come in the bathroom. My husband stripped off his shirt and gave it to the surprised elder! Then my husband put on the ragged one. When we got home it went straight into the garbage. I thought that was pretty funny! I bet my husband is the only mission president who would do that (or that is small enough to do it)! This elder is pretty small. He really liked the new shirt and left with a big smile on his face! I love my crazy husband! He is pretty original!
Next we had a very enjoyable evening with our office elders. We had a huge dinner with ham, potatoes, green bean casserole, orange rolls, red jello, corn, ambrosia and cookies. This year the Elders had prepared a little program. They sang and caroled for us. That was such a treat!
Christmas Eve 2016
Next they got to open their presents! I have never seen young adults so excited about play-doh and matching green watches! They are definitely a little deprived! They also got flying lighted helicopters. We went out in the street and the five "boys" (including my husband) had fun playing with them.
They were really good sports when Mark subjected them to home family videos for about two hours. We laughed and had a lot of great memories as we watched our family have our annual Christmas Nativity Story with costumes. We saw the whole thing about four times. It was great! We have a special family tradition that we listen to "For unto us a Child is Born" from Handel's Messiah while we look at a lighted up picture of Jesus Christ. Mark and I finished the evening doing that and eating some more ambrosia!
This couple was able to finally go
to go to the temple recently.
Christmas morning was so memorable. After attending Sacrament Meeting, we face timed with Brian and Megan while we opened our presents from them. They sent us a package early in December with candy canes, chocolate chips, jam and Hershey's kisses! It also had two presents in it. They were really anxious for us to open the gifts.
This was our only year in Peru
that our traditional snowman had
candy canes to hold, thanks to
Most of the month of December we had these
two presents under our tree from Megan and Brian.
Mark opened the first package and it was a beautiful new tie that he can definitely use. I opened the other package and saw this:
Not the monkey,
but the little baby t-shirt!
On the back it said, "Coming in July." Mark and I were so surprised! We had not one idea or suspicion that this was the present they were giving us! So Brian and Megan are having their first child in July. It will really be #15 because they didn't know that Lisa was pregnant when they sent it. She will have #14 the end of May! Mark and I were both crying. I could not help thinking of how blessed our family has been while we have served this mission and could not believe that Heavenly Father had poured out another blessing upon us. After that, we felt joy all day.
My second favorite Christmas present from Edna.
We watched some Bible videos and some more family videos. We talked about Christ and what we have learned on this mission. I realized that I have learned with great power, how merciful the Lord really is. I have been so aware of my weaknesses and short comings and yet the Lord has blessed me with all that I need to serve in this calling and with the guidance of His Spirit. It brought me to tears to think about and talk about His great mercy and kindness. We really are nothing without Him.
Ornaments like this make me cry. I
did a lot of crying this Christmas!
A little while later we had a visit from Jake Lattin and his family. He was our very first North American Assistant in the office. He helped get us through those first couple of difficult months. He came with his fiance and his whole family, nine in all. We had so much fun talking, drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies! What a marvelous family he has! It was a prefect way to spend a couple of hours on Christmas Day. They were like family to us.
We (the mission) got a brand new car from the
church for Christmas!
The sisters in our mission sent me these flowers
on New Year's Eve for a gift! They are so sweet!
We rang in the new year with a quiet evening together. It was really nice! We had a fun dinner, watched a movie, played cards, went for a walk and watched an awesome fireworks show for a whole hour right in our own neighborhood. It was fantastic!
New Year's Eve 2016
We got the clock with 11:55 pm in the background without even realizing it! The last minutes of 2016! Happy New year! Hello 2017! We started off the New Year with a special baptism of a sweet lady who has felt very alone in her life. But now she has a whole new ward family. There were four priesthood holders who baptized her. It was amazing to see her courage to be baptized in this manner since she is not able to walk or stand up. She told me that she has been in a lot of pain and that before she just wanted to die. But I told her that being baptized is better! She was so happy that day!
We are sure it is going to be another great year in the Mission Peru Chiclayo! We feel so blessed to be here and to work with such amazing missionaries! Have a Happy New Year!
I love my beautiful flowers!
These are my hibiscus.
This rose bloomed like this for a month!