Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

What a crazy week.  “Let me explain – too much – let me summarize.”   Five new missionaries came in and five went home.  Very hard to say goodbye to those leaving, they have all touched our hearts in one way or another, and all were just excellent hard working elders.  Two of them are going to BYU-Idaho so we told them to look up our granddaughter, Brenna! 
One of our new missionaries is a sister from St. Petersburg, and one is an elder from Ukraine.  So our training for them in the office was interesting, with the AP's helping us translate.  We also had four visa trips going on during this time, so elders and sisters were constantly on the move through the office and our apartment.  Luggage was everywhere down the long hall at the office, and packing and repacking as they did their last minute shopping.
Last night we had a district Christmas program.  It was so amazing.  They did the nativity and had built a stage, and had wonderful scenery, costumes, scripture reading and the choir!  No treats, which was a surprise to us, because everything we go to has food.  So this was very nice, oh, they did have candy for the little kids, but not Santa!  We liked the comment by one of the Dad’s who helped with the scenery.  “We spent 4 hours building a little stage and backdrop scenery for a program that lasted 45 minutes tops.”  We thought – obviously this was his first experience of bringing a performance to fruition.  Some things just never change no matter where in the world you happen to be.
We also squeezed in a little trip to the local IKEA and the mall yesterday and the decorations there were just like a Mall at Christmas at home, and even around town there are lots of festive lights.  On the hill by the river they are building all kinds of ice sculptures, getting ready for the New Year festivities which will begin on New Year’s Eve and go on for seven days.  So we are anxious to see all of the ice castles and other sculptures when they are done.  The park where all of these are being sculpted and will be on display is only about 3 blocks from our doma (home).  We know that all of the decorations around are for the New Year’s events, not Christmas, but we are enjoying them as part of our Christmas anyway.  We love it here more and more everyday.  The elders love Randy, and he keeps their finances straight for them and of course the love Sue and her tender mothering over them (and probably because she keeps the candy dish full on her desk).  Next event - we will have our district over here on Monday for P-day (preparation day) to make Christmas cookies.  Should be interesting!!
We gave a book of Mormon to our taxi driver the other day.  He was so nice and has a family.  He drove us Friday night, dropped us at the Huffaker’s apt across the river, came back and picked us up a couple of hours later and then picked us up again Saturday morning for the IKEA run and came back to IKEA about 3 hours later and took us home.  Anyway, by Saturday morning we knew we should give the BOM to him--we will see what happens. 
Well, we know you will all have a wonderful Christmas with all of your family and/or friends, but we will wish you Merry Christmas anyway.  Thank you for your ongoing love and support, we love you all so very much.     Randy n Sue

Who's been sitting in my Chair?!

Christmas at the Mall

Christmas Program 

The Peanut Gallery

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