A little bit of transfer planning

IMG_0445The Assistants came by tonight as we were getting ready for tomorrow.  The 400 cookies sent from the Vehicle Manager in Salt Lake are now distributed throughout the rest of the gift bags, and the car is loaded for morning.  Tomorrow we do a repeat of today in Quincy, with the missionaries serving up north.  It’s going to be another excellent day.IMG_0444IMG_0447Then we went to work on our mid-departing transfer plans for next week, when those who need to be back for the beginning of the semester in January will be going home.  The regular transfer is the first week of January when school starts, so several need to head home before that to be ready.  Pres Lewis does everything his his power (and he has some of that in university circles) to ensure that everyone going home has a plan in place for their education.  It’s a bonus these missionaries get, serving here.  Pres Lewis is really good at helping the missionaries figure things out and register for school when they get home.  Some of that usually has to happen before missionaries return home.IMG_0446Tonight we made sure all the bases will be covered when 9 leave us next week.IMG_0448

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Christmas Gathering in Yakima 2017

2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (1)This morning we headed to the home of Jim and Sharon Tree on the west side of Yakima for our 3rd Annual Christmas Gathering with the missionaries from the southern zones.  It felt like we were Santa and Mrs Claus in our sleigh!2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (10)The set up and preparation began yesterday, and the Tree’s home was as festive as any home could possibly be!  We had everything except snow, and we are just fine without it!2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (2)Missionaries started arriving at 10:00 and had an hour or so to mingle and renew friendships.  2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (11)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (9)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (12)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (13)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (15)We had our 2017 slideshow playing in 3 different locations today, with almost 2000 pictures from the last year.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (16)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (17)One of my favorite things at missionary gatherings is to watch former companions reunited, and then listen as they share experiences and stories about beloved friends, investigators and members they’ve been missing.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (19)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (21)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (22)Each zone was asked to come with a special musical number (which included everyone) and a spiritual Christmas thought.  There was a bit of practicing and preparing going on as everyone arrived.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (24)The kitchen was also busy.  Jenna and Aimee Packard and their good husbands, Stake Pres. Bennett Packard and his brother, Owen,  pulled off another feast fit for a king!  They brought family members and ward members to help and to serve us today.  We are So Very Grateful for their delicious kindness and their exceptional cooking skills!2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (31)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (25)They cooked 6 or 7 large hams through the night, then shredded them this morning.  If you haven’t had ham prepared this way, you will want to try it.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (29)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (30)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (33)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (35)Missionaries kept coming as we prepared inside.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (36)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (38)The Trees have a real manger across the street, and in the evenings they have a light display that 100s come to see every year.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (41)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (42)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (43)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (45)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (47)Here is their beautiful home:2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (48)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (49)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (50)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (51)The Calls and Pendleburys have been working long hours to prepare for this week, as you will see.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (52)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (53)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (55)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (56)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (58)Getting props ready for their number:2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (60)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (62)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (63)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (64)Elder Holt, table setter:2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (65)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (70)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (74)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (102)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (73)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (75)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (77)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (82)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (86)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (92)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (97)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (100)The Smiths and the Pendleburys.  Bro Smith provided all of the apples that were dried and juiced for each of the missionaries.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (101)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (103)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (105)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (104)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (107)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (108)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (110)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (112)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (113)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (118)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (121)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (124)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (128)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (132)By about 11:15 or so, our Feast was ready.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (138)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (137)Thank  you gifts to the Trees and to the Packards:2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (140)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (141)And then the food was served!2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (143)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (144)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (145)What a room full of happy grateful missionaries!!2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (147)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (149)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (150)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (151)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (156)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (168)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (178)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (180)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (188)Back in the kitchen:2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (189)Brother Tree!2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (190)Our Group Photo:2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (193)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (201)Here is our meeting room from the backyard:2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (204)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (208)After some delicious cheesecake, the tables were taken out and we set up for the program.  First of all, our departing missionaries in this group shared their final testimonies.  We got to hear from Elder Allsop, Sister Banks, Elder Black, Sister Harty, Sister McCourt, Elder Miles and Hermana Young.  These are exceptional missionaries who have loved their time here.  It will be hard to see them go.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (209)Before the rest of the program began:2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (217)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (219)Introducing the newest missionaries:2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (225)A special musical number from the Selah 1st Ward young women:2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (262)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (263)I will post dozens and dozens (I mean hundreds) of photos on our FB page from today, including photos of every group and their special numbers.  Between each number, we sang carols as they came to the front.  We also had a few solo performances by Elder Hodges, Hna Brenchley and a special bagpipe number by Elder Russell.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (266)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (276)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (294)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (268)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (272)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (279)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (281)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (291)Go take a look at all the photos on the FB page.  What fabulous program we enjoyed.  Pres Lewis and I shared some thoughts at the end.  We are so grateful to be here.

Then we settled everyone into a movie with hot chocolate or hot cider while Santa and his elves went downstairs to set up the gifts and packages.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (309)Elves hard at work:2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (312)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (314)Gift bag contents:  Believing Christ, the book, homemade fudge, dried apples, hot cocoa mixes, hand warmers, popcorn, choc chip cookies and some candies.  Also a Christmas card from the First Presidency.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (313)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (317)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (319)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (320)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (321)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (322)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (323)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (324)A few words of instruction after the movie:2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (327)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (331)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (332)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (334)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (336)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (305)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (339)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (341)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (345)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (354)Then everyone went down into the Christmas room!!2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (356)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (366)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (369)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (370)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (374)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (376)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (377)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (388)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (391)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (394)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (396)On their way out, they each picked up an individual-sized bottle of fresh pressed Yakima apple juice!2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (367)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (397)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (406)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (407)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (409)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (411)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (414)It was fun to send them off into this winter wonderland!  Elder Russell went to the manger with his bagpipes and played carols as everyone left.  It was hauntingly beautiful on this cold clear night.2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (415)2017-12-12 CMS Gathering Yakima (418)

In her book Stars, with thoughts about Christmas, Chieko N. Okazaki shares some important lessons from obscure parts of the Christmas story. I like what she writes about the wise men who had followed the star until they arrived at Herod’s court. There they inquired of the king’s scholars where the child was born–the scholars knew their scriptures anc gave the answer of Bethlehem–and the wise men set off for that town. Sister Okazaki points out:

“It is not enough for us to know what the scriptures say. It is not enough for us to have knowledge–even correct and complete knowledge. We will not see the star unless we leave the court. We will not be led unless we are willing to move. We will not find the child unless we are willing to journey to a place that may only be a strange and foreign name on our mental map. And we will never know what it feels like to ‘rejoice with exceeding great joy’ unless we yearn and seek and journey.”

“There are times and situations and circumstances in our lives when a shepherd’s response of a few hours or an interrupted night’s sleep is not enough. To set our lives in order or to gain the kind of living faith in the Savior that we must have, we may need to make the journey of the wise men, leaving our psychological homes and familiar surroundings, testing the flattering words of the Herods who surround us, being willing to travel far with only the glimmer of a star to guide us. We must travel sometimes with only hope as our companion, because we saw no angels and hear no majestic choirs singing. But hope is enough to lead us to the Savior if we will persevere.”

I think about these words when I’m with missionaries at Christmas time.  They are like the wisemen, who left their homes to follow a star, not knowing exactly where that star would lead them.  For these missionaries, that light as brought them here, to the Washington Yakima Mission.  We are all on this journey, we are all following His light, and doing our best to share that light with others.  I feel surrounded by His light when I am with these seekers.

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Elves in the Mission Home

2017-12-11 Monday Office, Mission Home (39)IMG_9872Everyone was busy today.  We are so grateful for the helpers around us!  The gift bags are organized and ready to transport to the Christmas gatherings tomorrow here in Yakima, and Wednesday in Quincy.  We are so excited.  So is everyone else!2017-12-11 Monday Office, Mission Home (40)We’ve had some local members drop off some gifts to give out to the missionaries and we’ve supplemented the gift baskets so there are enough items for everyone to pick something they need.  We are grateful for so many kind people around us who love the missionaries!2017-12-11 Monday Office, Mission Home (41)

The fresh-pressed apple juice is thawed and poured into individual containers, ready to be handed out tomorrow and Wednesday.  This is SO DELICIOUS.  Oh my, Washington has good apples.2017-12-11 Monday Office, Mission Home (48)

Last transfer we made our mission goal of “being Green” with the vehicles.  That means no incidents, and no accidents.  Bro. Ott, the Missionary Dept Vehicle Main Man promised our mission (and any mission he visits) his home-baked chocolate chip cookies dipped in green chocolate if we were green the entire next transfer after his visit.  It’s really hard to do, but we did it!  Today his 2 large boxes of home-baked chocolate dipped cookies arrived–just in time to drop them into the Christmas gift bags!2017-12-11 Monday Office, Mission Home (42)2017-12-11 Monday Office, Mission Home (43)2017-12-11 Monday Office, Mission Home (44)

We are beginning to receive your family photos and Christmas cards.  Thank you!  Can’t wait to fill up this missionary family door!2017-12-11 Monday Office, Mission Home (45)

This afternoon I made a huge Costco run–for the food we’ll be preparing for Christmas breakfasts in each zone on Christmas morning.

We are repeating what we did 2 years ago when Christmas didn’t fall on a Sunday.  We decided it would be fun to have each zone get together for a big yummy breakfast Christmas morning while the rest of the world has their family time.  We are family too, so we are going to send out the makings for a great pancake, bacon and eggs feast.  At 10:00 Christmas morning, the missionaries will gather in their areas to have breakfast together, then watch a movie together.  After that they can go out visiting and doing service at care centers and old folks’ homes and for investigators and members.

Today I filled a flatbed and a shopping cart with food at Costco.  We have 90 lbs. of pancake mix, 35 dozen eggs, 45 lbs of tangerines, 360 hot cocoa mix packets, 600 slices of bacon, orange juice, syrup, butter, and paper goods ready to parcel out!  This is going to be fun.  We also have popcorn to go with the movie.  It’s going to be a very merry Christmas here in the Yakima Mission!  Oh, we love our missionaries.

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In case you are wondering, because missionaries are not allowed to go online (except to approved church websites like lds.org or mormon.org), they are not allowed to look at this blog or at our Facebook pages until after they go home.  So this may be a surprise to some of them.  The Zone Leaders in each area are organizing the breakfast and all the details.  We hope they enjoy it and enjoy the camaraderie with their fellow missionaries.

Missionaries, as you know, are also allowed 2 phone calls a year home to their families.  One is on Christmas, and the other is on Mother’s Day.  We hope all of you parents are communicating with your missionary about when they might do that.  We know they are excited to talk with you soon!

We hope each of you has a wonderful Christmas Week as you prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  There is so much love in the air here.  Miracles are happening all around us.  We hope the same is true for each of you, wherever you are!

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All I have left to do this evening is to put together my slide show of about 700-800 photos from the past year to show on the big screen TVs at the gathering places.  It’s SO FUN for these missionaries to see photos of themselves they’ve never seen before.  Wish you all could join us this week.  Stay tuned for lots of pictures!

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Monday at the Office

IMG_9878Well, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the office (or the mail room at the North Pole!)  Packages and missionaries are pouring in and the tree is up!  Excitement is Everywhere!  Thanks to all families who have sent their missionary gifts in early.  This week they will all be delivered and it’s going to be fun!IMG_9873IMG_9898IMG_9876IMG_9877Here’s our Mission Christmas Tree, with every missionary represented on it:IMG_9880IMG_9881IMG_9882IMG_9883IMG_9885Christmas packages!!!IMG_9887Office meeting:IMG_9888IMG_9890IMG_9891IMG_9893She’s making a list, and checking it twice!IMG_989460 or 70 more packages arrived today while we met.IMG_9896IMG_9899IMG_9900P-Day Activities:IMG_9901Sorting and labeling packages (by area).IMG_9906Found my name!IMG_9907IMG_9908IMG_9912IMG_9913Zone labels:IMG_9919IMG_9914IMG_9916IMG_9917IMG_9918IMG_9920IMG_9921

 

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A Baptism in Selah, Englewood Rama

2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (1)Christian was baptized this evening in Selah.  We are so happy for him.  What a perfect way to celebrate the Christmas season, coming unto Him!2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (2)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (3)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (4)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (5)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (6)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (7)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (8)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (9)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (12)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (13)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (16)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (19)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (20)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (15)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (14)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (21)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (22)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (24)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (25)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (26)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (27)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (28)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (29)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (30)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (31)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (33)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (34)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (35)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (36)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (37)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (38)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (40)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (41)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (42)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (43)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (45)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (46)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (47)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (48)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (49)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (50)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (51)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (52)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (53)Couldn’t resist posting each of these:2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (54)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (55)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (56)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (57)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (58)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (59)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (60)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (61)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (62)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (63)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (64)2017-12-10 zBaptism Rama, Selah (65)

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Missionary Correlation Meeting, The Dalles

2017-12-10 Stake Correlation The Dalles (1)This afternoon we had sandwiches as we met with Ward Mission Leaders and the Stake Presidency to talk about the Spanish work in The Dalles Stake.2017-12-10 Stake Correlation The Dalles (2)2017-12-10 Stake Correlation The Dalles (3)After that, we met with the Stake Presidency and the Zone Leaders in our Correlation Meeting.2017-12-10 Stake Correlation The Dalles (4)Here are our excellent Priesthood leaders here in The Dalles. 2017-12-10 Stake Correlation The Dalles (5)2017-12-10 Stake Correlation The Dalles

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Stake Conference in The Dalles, Sunday

2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (1)At 8:30 this morning we had a special meeting with new converts and returning members.  It was so fun to meet so many.2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (2)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (3)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (4)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (5)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (6)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (8)The choir was practicing in the chapel.2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (9)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (10)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (11)Before and after the morning session:2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (12)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (14)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (15)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (16)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (17)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (18)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (19)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (20)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (21)The Dalles Zone:2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (22)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (24)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (26)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (28)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (29)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (30)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (31)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (32)2017-12-10 Stake Conf The Dalles (33)

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