Thursday, December 12, 2013

An Incrediable Week!

By Greg:

This is me and Elder Allred.  We are both from the Hooper Utah Stake.  His father is a Bishop in our stake and he is a great missionary.  He is also a talented singer.  He has a great future, but right now he is in the service of the Lord.

We have been working so hard that we come home each night totally exhausted and are almost too tired to go to bed, if that even makes any sense.

We still are doing our Young Single Adult assignment, and we are helping the Branch prepare for Christmas.  But we have been called back into service to help with finding, renting and stocking apartments for the transfer next week.  We have been Elder Lillywhite's side kicks.  Sister Haws has joined us so now we are a threesome.

This is Elder Lillywhite at the Conference, checking on things.

This past Wednesday was an All-Mission Christmas Conference.  We were also asked to help prepare for this big event. I have done some events planning work with political campaigns, and also been called to be the one who puts out fires at other events, so this felt like I had done this before.

President Keyes wanted us to put together 72 hour kits for all 270 missionaries so we could give them to them as Christmas presents.  It was quite a production to assemble all the stuff, and we enlisted the help of most of the Senior Missionaries.  It was pretty cool to see all of us work together to be as efficient as possible.

We also had to set up a sick room, as there are always sick missionaries.  Today, we hope that they are not all sick!

The scriptures promise missionaries that angels will go before them and be on their right hand and on their left, well, I think a lot of us senior missionaries are part of that effort as we go before them and do many things so they can focus on their most important calling, to find, teach and teach and find.

At the conference, all of the missionaries gathered and they were given bagels, cream cheese and juice at the beginning.  Some came the night before and we had to find beds for them as well.  Mostly we put mattresses in other missionary apartments.  They all arrived safely and on time.

It is so amazing to just stand back and watch them.  An all mission conference brought former companions back together.  It was a grand reunion.

I love these guys, but I am sure glad we are on the same team!

While they had their training we were working.  The President had previously written to parents asking them to send Christmas packages in time for them to be passed out at the conference.  They were set in alphabetical order around the hallway.  It took the entire building hallway.

The Christmas Program, which happened after we had a wonderful dinner prepared and served by the Independence Stake Relief society, was so enjoyable.  Debi will tell about that.


Let me just say that being with all of these choice young men and women touches my heart.  I can hardly talk to them I get so emotional.  I love them and are so concerned about them.  We literally pray as we search for apartments, as we select furniture and as stock them with stuff so that these apartments will be safe, and more importantly a place where they can feel the spirit.  As we all stood and sang "Called to Serve" I took pictures because I got so choked up.

I love being with missionaries!  When I was a young missionary we used to say "The Church must be true or the missionaries would have ruined it long ago!" I don't believe that anymore.  The Church is true and the Missionaries are great, so great!

By Debi:

Merry Christmas to everyone!  We had such a special day yesterday with the whole mission.  Most of the young missionaries were knew to us but we did know some of them.  These two sisters have a very special story.  Before the last transfer Greg and Elder Lillywhite went to find an apartment in the Platt Woods area.  It was a real struggle to find the right one.  After all of the arrangements had been made and the furniture and supplies taken to the apartment the manager of the apartments said that all of the missionaries in the complex had to have a complete background check.  That would be difficult if the missionary was from another country.  We were a little panicked because President Keyes doesn't always decided who goes where until he interviews them.  He decided to put Sister Kong (who was a new arrival and from South Korea)  with Sister Erickson into the Platt Woods area.  We didn't know what to do.  When Sister Kong arrived we found out that she had dual citizenship.  What a relief.  We took them to their apartment and helped them move in. We took Sister Kong to the office and she registered.  Then we took them to Wal-Mart for their food shopping and hugged them goodbye.  Yesterday at the conference they told us that a young man just two doors down from their apartment is taking the lessons.  He is from China and hardly speaks any English and Sister Kong has been able to teach him in his native language.  Miracle!  Yes!
We also work very closely with Sister Missionaries in the Young Single Adult Branch. Above is a picture of Sister White and Sister Tanner (in the middle).  Also Sister Wilson (in red) is an awesome violinist.  She is going home soon.  We will surely miss her and her beautiful music.
Here is a picture of Sister Keyes talking to two sisters.  She is a great lady with a lot of responsibilities.  I don't know how she does everything.  Once in a while I have the privilege of helping her.  We are going to make lasagna tomorrow for the new missionaries coming next week.  Also, just a side note, we went to high school together at Bonneville High.  Go Lakers!
Here are some pictures of tables of sister missionaries.  The sister missionaries are so darling.  We cannot get over how talented they are and what great missionaries they are.

Here are some pictures of the handsome Elders.  They are also awesome help when we call them and ask them to help with the moves.

To end the conference each Zone put on a musical number.  It was in the Chapel so we couldn't take pictures.  The music was so beautiful and many of the missionaries have beautiful voices and play the piano, guitar, violin, or bells. We enjoyed music for almost two years.  It was one of the best Christmas concerts I have ever been too.
This will be a Christmas season that I will not forget!

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