Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas Missionaries

"You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why, Christmas is coming to the ASNM, and Santa is bringing a very large DINNER!!!"  Here is Sister Cox after we opened the roast beef from Brother Funaki.  Magnificent, and so large that it covered the entire counter.  The senior couples helped with preparation and set up and took turns attending the conference.  Half the mission came on Tuesday and half on Thursday.  Sister Howes and Sister Cox prepared the menu - a true Australian Christmas Dinner, which included ham, beef, rolls, green salad, macaroni salad, baked potatoes, beets, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  For dessert, we had chocolate rocher cake, fruit, brandy snaps ( minus the brandy), and the Christmas  favorite pavlova with mango and passion fruit.  The first conference, we were in the kitchen.  I am certain my father was watching in disbelief as his daughter became the "expert" carver after Elder Feil's hand got tired. I show these pictures so that my children can also moan, cry, or laugh depending on how funny they think it must have been to see Mom as the carver!  

We are not always sure how to make things work but hopefully, you can see this video.  If not, go to facebook because I seem to be better at uploading to that site.

And here they all are, enjoying their Christmas dinner in Aussie land.  Elder Smith is Australian so of course he is animated and happy.  He is also pretty funny!

Lots of missionaries enjoying the plenty of food.  The islanders enjoyed the goodly portion of meat.  They do enjoy eating their meat.  Must be like some of our grandchildren!  Even the Sisters enjoyed lots of different choices for food.  We had a training conference in the morning focused on rescuing all who need a helping hand.  After the training, we watched our neighbor in Lehi as the star of Ephraim's Rescue.  Several of our missionaries are descendants of Ephraim Hanks.  

After the movie came the wonderful meal and finally a talent show followed by a video of a lot of the missionaries' pictures.  The fleet Elders put it together using our imovie program and our laptop.  That was why we were late last week uploading our blog - our computer was held captive until we could get a final copy.  A hundred hours later, we produced a wonderful 38 minute movie with music using pictures and video clips from our missionaries.  

After the conference, which ended about 4pm, the missionaries went to designated rooms and picked up all of their Christmas packages from home as well as a few gifts from the mission.

There were some amazing musical numbers and a dance number that I am still trying to get a copy of.  If I get it, I will share and you can laugh right along with Elder Feil and I!

This was day 2 meat carving with our experts - Elder Roberts and Elder Williams.  

Enter the star of the show - the meat.  Brother Funaki does this for a living and I am not sure if he cooks it in a pit or has a gigantic oven.

True Christmas Joy!
 Preparing to cut - this old rancher is so excited to cut this side of beef.  He had the biggest smile on his face and the carving was just as much fun to watch.

The Carver gets to taste his work!

No waste - they cleaned everything up, unlike our carving the conference before.  I wanted to take lessons but had to be in the conference on this day.  I will have him come to Lehi and train anyone who wants to take lessons.

The photos seem out of order because the first conference we were working constantly and couldn't take very many pictures and the second day we were attending and also struggled to take pictures!  But you can get an idea and hopefully enjoy.  The ham is served cold because it is so hot.  This week the temperatures reached 41 celsius which is 105+ degrees F.

President is always showing by example how to serve.  He poured and served water to all the missionaries.

President and Sister Howes have a grandson who is fighting cancer.  He was able to come to the conference to meet all of the missionaries who have been fasting and praying for him.

This is Elder Feil pretending to do the Haka dance with a Samoan and a Maori.  He definitely needs more practice looking scarey!

After the conference, they all come back to the office and enjoy visiting and eating candy as they get ready to head back to their areas.  This group is from Sweden, Spain, New Zealand, Philippines, and Germany.  Amazing, huh?

This is the Newcastle group of missionaries that we rarely get to see, but we had a good time with them while they were waiting for companions to become certified on their driving.

The end of a perfect Christmas week involves baptisms and we had a few.  The problem was, the first group pulled the plug and the second group had to wait while we hurriedly filled the font with buckets of water because the spout works so slowly.  Missionaries were everywhere trying to find an open spout to get water and fill the font.  After 20 minutes, the job was complete and the baptism went on without any problems. 

Where else would you see a Christmas tree in the middle of the Church Courtyard! 

We had four getting baptized - all from China. This will be Elder Shim's last baptism as he is going home the last of December.  He has been a great leader and will be missed.
So in closing, we want you all to know we will be thinking of you on Christmas morning.  We are certain that it will be chaotic and fun and as parents, you will enjoy all of the crazy memories with your children.  We will try our best to have facetime visits as well as google hangouts with all.  Of course, we will celebrate a day ahead and will be on to our first Boxing Day in Australia  :) by the time you are in the throes of Christmas. We love and miss you and send great big hugs and sloppy kisses for all.  "Santa Clause is coming to town"! 
Elder and Sister Ho Ho Ho Australia  

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